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Senator Inhofe's attempt to distract us from the scientific realities of global warming

Posted on 26 February 2010 by John Cook

There has been a shift in the climate debate over recent months. It seems people are talking less about the science and more about the alleged actions of a small group of climate scientists. Senator Inhofe is an extreme example with his recent attempt to criminalize 17 leading scientists. These accusations are largely based on stolen private emails that are being quoted out of context and/or without understanding of the science involved. Unfortunately, this is shifting the focus away from the most important element of the climate debate: the scientific reality of global warming. The empirical evidence that global warming is happening and that humans are the primary cause has been and continues to be observed, measured and documented in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.

We find out what's happening in our climate by empirical observations - measurements made out in the real world. We have even more confidence in our understanding when independent measurements find the same result. In the case of man-made global warming, we have multiple lines of evidence that global warming is happening and that human activity is the predominant cause. There are not only independent scientific teams all over the globe but also measurements of a wide range of phenomena all painting the same picture.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing. This is measured by hundreds of monitoring stations across the globe, all finding the same increasing trend (NOAA). The rising trend is confirmed by satellite measurements conducted independently by NASA, the European Space Agency and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency. Combined with ice core measurements from Greenland and Antarctica, this tells us that atmospheric CO2 levels are the highest in over 15 million years (Tripati 2009).

What's causing rising CO2? We can use energy statistics to calculate human CO2 emissions at around 29 billion tonnes per year (CDIAC). In contrast, atmospheric CO2 is rising by 15 billion tonnes per year. Humans are emitting nearly twice as much CO2 as ends up remaining in the atmosphere. Measurements of carbon isotopes confirm that the rising CO2 originates from the burning of fossil fuel (Ghosh 2003). Further independent confirmation comes from observed  falling oxygen levels caused by the burning of fossil fuel (Manning 2006).

What's the effect of all this extra CO2? Satellite measurements of outgoing longwave radiation find an enhanced greenhouse effect (Harries 2001, Griggs 2004, Chen 2007). This result is consistent with measurements from the Earth's surface observing more infrared radiation returning back to the surface (Wang 2009, Philipona 2004, Evans 2006). Consequently, our planet is experiencing a build-up of heat (Murphy 2009).

This heat build-up is manifesting itself across the globe. Arctic sea-ice loss is accelerating beyond the worst case scenarios of model forecasts (Stroeve 2007). Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets are losing ice mass at an accelerating rate (Velicogna 2009). This is speeding up sea level rise as observed by tidal gauges and satellite altimeters (Church 2006). Spring is coming earlier each year (Stine 2009). This leads to observed changes in animal breeding and migration (Parmesan 2003). Distribution of plants are shifting to higher elevations (Lenoir 2008).

How will global warming affect humanity? For brevity's sake, let's focus on just one impact. The latest research that takes into account accelerating ice loss estimates sea level rise by the end of this century of between 75 cm to 190 cm (Vermeer 2009). An independent study of glacier ice dynamics predicts similar results (Pfeffer 2008). Studies of Earth's climate 125,000 years ago find that sea levels were at least 6 metres higher than today (Kopp 2009). Global temperatures were around 2°C warmer - this is the amount of warming expected for some of the IPCC's lower emission scenarios. This provides additional evidence that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are highly sensitive to sustained warmer temperatures.

Senator Inhofe is trying to distract us from the unpleasant reality: within the lifetime of our children and grandchildren, they'll witness sea level rise of around 1 to 2 metres. To hope to mitigate against such a future, it's imperative that the climate debate returns to a focus on science. Scientists need to do better at communicating their research to the public. Skeptics who are genuinely seeking scientific truth need to search the peer-reviewed literature to obtain the broader picture. The stakes are too high to be distracted by political manoeuvring and ad hominem attacks.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 137:

  1. co2 continues to rise but according to phil jones there hasbeen "no discernable warming over last 15 years". que pasa ? could greeen house theory need clariication
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    Response: Its imperative that we obtain our understanding of our climate from peer-reviewed science and not media headlines. However, if you are going to insist on sourcing your science from the media and not from scientists, then at least read the full article and don't just go on the headline.
  2. I agree John, it's the science that matters. As a regular contributor to the debate in the UK's Guardian newspaper, I've become increasingly concerned that the paper is not giving the science its due, in favour of the distractions which of course do garner sensational headlines. Science is not the tool of politics and its findings cannot be determined by vote or popularity. We need to concentrate on the evidence, and luckily, as we have taken to saying as we shoot down the zombies - we have an app for that :)
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  3. This "well, the evidence wasn't working for us, let's attack the scientist themselves" business concerns me as almost as much in terms of collateral damage to science in general as it does in terms of dealing with climate change.

    Senator Inhofe in his efforts to discredit climate research is unleashing a degenerative force akin to the cliche movie monster that slips its chains and runs amok. As others have commented, Inhofe's assault will be integrated into the thinking of people for whom scientific research findings are an "inconvenient truth" and they'll use this particular matter to dismiss whatever facts stand in the way of their particular agendas. "Oh, those scientists, you can't trust them."

    I'm not completely sure but I also think Inhofe's exact method is without precedent. In any case, now that a man of seemingly respectable position has stooped this low, we can be sure it will not be the last time we'll see this technique used. For any conflict pitting industry against research findings in a matter of sufficiently high stakes, this now could well be the outcome.

    More and more, I find myself wondering if we were to discover the CFC or tetraethyl lead or acid rain problems in this modern era, would we have been able to tackle them? Tetraethyl lead took a few decades to address, but CFC and acid rain dispersal were fairly crisply dealt with via public policy. I fear that's not possible any more, not in this climate.
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  4. One other thing really bothers me about Senator Inhofe and for that matter what appears to have become a campaign of harassment (see the Competitive Enterprise Institute's recent volley of FOIA demands launched far and wide) against scientists.

    Although the scientists I know are in general a stubborn lot, very much subject to their sense of curiosity almost without regard to worldly matters, distractions of the kind that Inhofe et al are creating are likely to play a negative role in recruitment and retention for outfits such as GISS etc.

    Practicing scientists-- particularly academics-- are generally overcommitted persons with many demands on their time stretching beyond the numbers of hours available in a day. I'm don't think many rejectionists understand how irritating it is for these people to waste their time on redundant requests for information already available or irrelevant to scientific progress.

    For that matter, come to think of it, swerving undeniably bright and productive researchers into wasting their time on political matters that won't affect research results is a sorry waste of human talent.

    I look at this whole sorry affair and a picture of sand being poured into a clockworks is what comes to mind.
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  5. There does seem to be an official line put out by the EPA...

    http://www.foxnews.com/projects/pdf/epa_report2.pdf

    ...the demeanor of which is astounding. In reference to Milankovitch cycles, for example (p46), "There appears to be something which has prevented the Earth from getting even colder than it has during ice ages or warming more than it has during interglacial periods. It is far from clear what these somethings are, but this asymmetry appears to have existed for at least 3 million years." (Hmmm, just around the time some apes discovered fire.)

    Ironically, NASA and the EPA are both government agencies.
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  6. "The empirical evidence that global warming is happening and that humans ..." - this sentence is a large group of researchers. But not all.
    Using Bayesian Statistician may well prove the reverse sequence of events: the natural increase in temperature - an increase in the concentration of water vapor and CO2 (soil respiration) in atmosphere. Just look at this picture:
    http://www.jennifermarohasy.com/blog/archives/Jan% 20Pompe_co2% 20and% 20temp2.gif. Here you can see that the increase in pCO2 - is a function of temperature. Volcanic eruptions - is the smallest (http://i30.tinypic.com/2uzxe0k.jpg). A reduction in the TSI as quickly responds only to the soil. Our surplus is up to 0.5 ppmv C02.
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  7. Our surplus is up to 0.5 ppmv C02/years
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  8. RSVP at 18:54 PM on 26 February, 2010

    What's your point?
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  9. Arkadiusz Semczyszak,
    the characteristic response time of CO2 to warming is not the same as that of warming ro increasing CO2 forcing. Past climate and the physics teach us that the former, the one you suggest is operating now, takes centuries. Also, to get the level of CO2 we are experiencing now the temperature should be several degrees above current.
    We can safely and easily rule it out.
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  10. Just a minor issue on the source of one bit of data.

    The article cites ice core records as indicating that CO2 levels are now the highest they have been in 15 million years. Actually, the ice cores go back just under 1 million years. The longer record is from proxies, mostly ocean sediment analysis. The cited source used changing ratios of boron and calcium (which are impacted by ocean pH... which is impacted by atmospheric CO2) from microorganisms called foraminifera. Recent foraminifera based studies have shown very high correlation with the ice core and modern instrumental records and greater granularity (smaller timeframes between data points) than the ice cores.
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  11. Arkadiusz Semczyszak: As well as Riccardo's point, conservation of mass tells us that it's not nature that's causing the CO2 increase. With atmospheric CO2 going up by about 15bn tons/yr, and human emissions at ~30bn tons/yr, nature MUST be absorbing more than it's giving out.

    This has been detected in the oceans with declining pH, for example.
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  12. Arkadiusz Semczyszak-your claim contains a number of easily identifiable logical fallacies-which I'm happy to outline:
    1) during the interglacial periods of the last 750,000 years, deltaT changed by as much as 10 degrees C, yet this was unable to increase CO2 concentrations by more than 90ppm-over a space of 20,000+ years-yet you're suggesting a "mere" 0.6 degree C change is capable of lifting CO2 emissions by almost 100ppm in the space of only 60 years!

    2) During most of the past interglacial periods, changes in total solar irradiance generated significant warming which *led* to a rise in CO2 emissions. However, the increase in TSI over the 1st half of the 20th century produced *no* significant rise in CO2 emissions-yet CO2 emissions *did* rise significantly during a period when TSI was trending downwards.

    3) Further to (2) rapid increases in CO2 concentrations are detected from the 1950's onwards, wheras rapid warming is only detected from the 1970's onwards, suggesting a lag between CO2 emissions & deltaT of 20-30 years. This also suggests that warming is the result-not the cause-of rising CO2 emissions.

    4) As pointed out elsewhere, if the rise in CO2 concentrations were the result of release from natural carbon sinks, then we would see no change in the ratios of C13 & C12 in atmospheric CO2. Yet we're seeing a marked rise in ratio of C12:C13 in the atmosphere-suggesting that the new CO2 is from a source where there has been significant time for the 13C to decay to 12C-which is definitely true of coal & oil (where its constituent carbon atoms have had *millions* of years to decay from 13C to 12C).

    So, in spite of all the contortions engaged in to absolve human activity for global warming, all the available evidence strongly points to CO2-from anthropogenic sources-as the *cause* of recent global warming!
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  13. Doug, RSVP is once again trying to blame global warming on thermal pollution-in spite of the overwhelming evidence against it. He talks of the EPA report referring to a period of 3 million years ago-yet there is no evidence of human control of fire prior to 1.5 million years BP. There is no *conclusive* evidence of any human control of fire prior to 1 million years BP! Even if humans had controlled fire from 3 million years BP, the amount of thermal energy these small numbers of fires would have generated would have been easily dwarfed by the energy of a single large forest fire! Fact is that RSVP continues to ignore the obvious discrepancy between direct heat generated by anthropogenic sources versus the much greater heat from natural sources (volcanic activity, forest fires & the sun).
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  14. RSVP:

    There is nothing strange about a climate system that for a couple of million years has managed to oscillate back and forth between glacials and interglacials without veering into runaway warming or cooling. There are two simple and straightforward explanations for that:

    (1) The dominant pre-anthropogenic forcings in the Quaternary period were the Milankovich cycles, which are of course cyclical.

    (2) In addition to the positive feedbacks (ice albedo, CO2) there are negative feedbacks (weathering, some in the biosphere) that act to maintain an approximate homeostasis.

    Of course, if this planet had a naturally unstable climate that was subject to runaway warming or cooling, it seems unlikely that intelligent life would have evolved and survived to observe it.

    But note that what we're referring to as "stability" here includes oscillations that involve a shift from a warm earth with sea levels 6 m higher (think "not much Florida left") to a cold earth (think "Boston, New York, and Milwaukee buried under ice"). The fact that the climate can recover from both those extremes, and thus be described as "roughly stable" doesn't mean that either of the extremes would be healthy for our economy or our civilization.
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  15. Hi Ned, you may be interested in reading the Dec 2008 thoughts of James Hansen. He seems to be suggesting that negative feedback systems that have operated in the past to prevent 'runaway' situations may not have sufficient time to play their role this time around, as the positive forcings are increasing at a much faster rate than they have in the past. To top it off, the solar constant is higher today than in the past, due to the continuing evolution of the sun. Point being (I think) is that you can't discount the chances of a truly runaway system if you are going to increase the forcings as quickly as we are, with the current solar constant.

    (Don't take my word for it though, read what he has to say. Note, to the best of my knowledge, Hansen is yet to publish these views in the literature, and thus I guess they should only be considered as opinions at present.)

    http://www.mediafire.com/file/trm9gnmznde/AGU2008.Bjerknes_Lecture.pdf

    Worth a look, particularly p22-24. Cheers, Dan.
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  16. I find a re-occurring pattern in the thought-process of so-called "skeptics". They constantly confuse ideology (politics and policy) with science.

    For some, this could be plain ignorance regarding how science is done. But as in the case of "skeptics" like Inhofe, I'm pretty sure it's agenda-driven.

    Ok, so why do I call them "so-called skeptics"? To me, a skeptic is someone who isn't convinced, but is open to be convinced based on the evidence. A denier (the "so-called skeptic") has their mind made up, but to cherry-picks factoids to support their beliefs, and refuses to accept anything contrary to those beliefs. It's often easier for them to "muddy the waters" surrounding climate science by throwing in ideological junk.

    To a denier, ideology is a science.

    Good article, John. Challenge your readers to separate the science from the ideological debates. And separate the science that proves ACC is real, from the effects of ACC.
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  17. Senator Inhofe is brilliant compared to the republicans in the South Dakota State Legislature.

    ("Republicans" because 92% of the democrats voted against it).

    Astrology and thermology (infrared medical imaging) may be the cause of global warming, not increased CO2.

    No, it's not the Onion. I wish it were.
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  18. The best explanation for the silicate rock weathering carbon cycle negative feedback is Robert Berner's book The Phanerozoic Carbon Cycle, though there is a rich literature. For Croll-Milankovitch cycles I like Rial, J. A., “Earth’s orbital eccentricity and the rhythm of the Pleistocene ice ages: the concealed pacemaker,” Global and Planetary Change 41 (2004) 81-93.

    I receive several investment opportunity newsletter emails every day, one from Casey Research. In a recent newsletter, they document the amount of money “invested” by Goldman Sachs and other banks in the political process (see http://www.caseyresearch.com/displayCdd.php?id=355). Their argument is that this money has a huge return on investment but that it borders on corruption in the Casey Research view. Now the writers at this group are avowed global warming deniers. They have stated that they believe the entire Earth should be paved over, not withstanding that if we managed to do that, we would go extinct. They do not see the irony that ExxonMobil, OPEC, API, WFA, the Koch Brothers and various coal companies also invest huge amounts of money in politicians, scientists and lobbyists (see for example http://www.wunderground.com/blog/JeffMasters/comment.html?entrynum=1389), not to mention Saudi Arabia’s influence on Fox News (see for example http://climateprogress.org/2010/02/23/top-gop-investigator-rep-issa-open-to-probing-saudi-ownership-of-fox-news/ ).

    These companies and their lobbyists have gotten much better at this sort of thing and it is probably true that action on CFCs, acid rain and tetraethyl lead would not be successful in today’s political climate as Doug Bostrom opines above. Lobbying companies like the Heartland institute and scientists like S. Fred Singer honed their skills as disinformationists as tobacco lobbyists.

    This is easily understood. It is simply greed and companies have a responsibility to their shareholders to increase shareholder value. As a stock holder myself in ExxonMobil, that is what I want them to do. This problem would be easily solved (and can only be solved) by forbidding corporations from participating in the political process. Corporations are not citizens and should not be treated as such. Corporations are only tools of society and if they don’t serve the public good, we have a right to eliminate them or break them up. My own view on ExxonMobil, as a shareholder, is that they should stay out of the political process, let whatever regulation, which needs to happen to meet the requirements of society, happen and then compete fairly with other companies under whatever rules society deems necessary. This is easy because we understand the problem, but given the SCOTUS decision of the Supreme Court it pragmatically may not be solvable. Since corporations have to think in the short term, the long term outlook for our economy, our society and our survival is therefore in doubt. Even though global warming effects are obvious now, the real pain is further down the road and in a future heavily discounted by the corporate outlook.

    Kevin Phillips wrote a wonderful book Bad Money, which takes its name from Grisham’s law that bad money drives out good money. Phillips expands this into bad capitalism drives out good capitalism but good capitalism cannot drive out bad capitalism. Just one corrupt corporation will force all others to become corrupt as well in order to compete. This is his explanation for the current economic crises.

    There is another dimension to our problem which is rather more difficult to understand. I call it the Julian Simon effect. Simon is famous as a supply side neo-classical economists who made a bet with the ecologist Paul Ehrlich about the price of certain minerals. Simon won that bet but subsequently lost another. Timing is everything and the outcome of bets doesn’t really prove anything.

    Simon believed that free market capitalism is making the world a better place for everybody and can solve all of our problems so long as governments stay out of the way. Simon believed that global warming, acid rain, lead poisoning, DDT poisoning, the ozone hole, mountaintop removal, overfishing the oceans, ocean acidification and tobacco smoke could not possibly be problems because there is no way that private enterprise could create problems. We could call this Reaganomics. I think critical or rational thinkers might see the flaws in this extreme view. As Herman Daly describes it, neo classical economics, of one school or another, works reasonably well so long as we are far away from any thermodynamic limits, either low entropy resource limits (peak oil being one) or high entropy waste limits (CO2 emissions being one). For free market capitalism to work for the betterment of society, it needs to be regulated by democratically elected governments, elected by a well-informed citizenry.

    One of the amusing contradictions in Simon’s ideology is that Simon would hold out for fusion technology as a sure thing that will come along just in time when the market sends the appropriate price signals (fusion power is only limited by economics, you understand), ignoring that only governments have the resources to try to develop fusion and that there may be rather serious physical limits on our ability to develop a fusion reactor.

    Also, and this too is rather amusing, Simon had absolute faith in technology. He ignores the fact that technology is dependent on exactly the same science that he denies depending only on his arbitrary judgment of whether or not the science in question is convenient. It is also amusing because Simon appears to have been pretty technically illiterate. He was a brilliant economist who probably didn’t know how coal formed in the first place. He believes that every human advancement is due to greed completely discounting curiosity. My own view is that curiosity is responsible for the accumulation of nearly all human knowledge, so we disagree.

    This second problem may not be solvable because it is related to how we have evolved. Lots of people, all global warming deniers, think this way. That is also amusing because many of these folks are young Earth Creationists.

    I suppose it is solvable by education but as Yogi Berra said: “There are some people who, if they don't already know, you can't tell 'em.”

    So here we are. I don’t know how accurate this explanation is nor am I unaware that it may be an oversimplification.

    I am curious to see how our new friend Dave Thompson responds to the science and fact-based discussion which takes place at this web site compared to what passes for thought in the comments section at the American Thinker web site. I hope positively.

    As a former firefighter, I can attest that it takes vastly more courage to change one’s mind and admit that one was wrong (for example Governor Wallace) than it does to rush headlong into a burning building when one is told there may be a life hazard.

    Anyway, regards

    Tony
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  19. robrtl said:

    co2 continues to rise but according to phil jones there hasbeen "no discernable warming over last 15 years". que pasa ? could greeen house theory need clariication



    Please cite where you found that quote.

    Are you equating "no discernable (sic) warming" with "no statistically significant warming"?

    I can assure you they are not the same at all.
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  20. Sorry to disagree with John Cook. Senator Inhofe's staffers did a great job of putting the CRU emails into context.

    Maybe y'all should take another look at the "Minority Report"

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=7db3fbd8-f1b4-4fdf-bd15-12b7df1a0b63
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  21. #8 doug_bostrom
    "What's is your point?"

    Not sure what more needs to be explained. There is a government agency called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that published its own findings on global warming. (A url to the document is provided.)
    Personally, I found the document quite interesting, however its style is relatively lax, and at the same time seems to bias generally against AGW. I assume legistrators can use it as an authoritive guide for assessing their manner of voting on bills concerning control of GHG, and as such perhaps the biases found among senators should not come as a surprise.
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  22. gallopingcamel at 03:33 AM on 27 February 2010

    I'm skeptical of your claim.

    The CRU email release was selective and represents a small fraction the actual discussion, so whatever information came out of this eavesdropping is ipso facto impossible to put into context.

    Senator Inhofe's interpretation of CRU's activities is necessarily unreliable since the folks who obtained the email files heavily edited and redacted their content prior to release.
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  23. Tony Noerpel at 02:53 AM on 27 February, 2010

    That's a very thought provoking comment, thank you.

    RSVP at 05:15 AM on 27 February, 2010

    "Lax" it is. Multiple claims citing Anthony Watts' blog, numerous other blogs cited in support of conclusions, also newspaper opinion pieces as well as a parade of papers many of which are familiar because their conclusions were invalidated with fanfare.

    Hardly authoritative.

    I was especially surprised by the claim that global temperatures have been declining based on a carefully selected endpoints including spans of as short as two years. That's a bit beyond "lax."

    This document is of course the famous Alan Carlin extracurricular project, widely discussed last year.
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  24. Minor typo: Parmeson 2003 is actually ParmesAn 2003.

    And it includes plant distribution as well.
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    Response: Thanks for the typo alert. I was aware of the plant distribution but was trying to tighten up the text for readability purposes. Here is a more expansive list of the physical evidence that global warming is happening (which also had the Parmeson/Parmesan typo but is now fixed)
  25. OK, I'll try again. My previous post was deleted, presumably for my ad hominem attack on Sen. Inhofe (a good honesty test that the policy here is balanced for both "sides"). I doubt there will ever be an criminal inquiry, but I suggest the National Academies of Science conduct a scientific inquiry, and the Academies personally invite Senator Inhofe to be a full participant in that.

    It will be a real education for everyone to have a scientist pull up the data and graphics from the supposed criminal emails ("hide the decline" and "trick"), and explain step by step what work was done and why. Inhofe -- a non-scientist -- can ask all the questions he wants. If he challenges a practice, other panel members can respond "It's perfect legit -- we all do this."
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  26. One frustration I have with RealClimate right now is that they're having to spend a ridiculous amount of time defending themselves and their colleagues against defamatory attacks against their character from various media sources, while there's zero accountability for those making the accusations, much less people like Inhofe. While RealClimate is doing a necessary task and doing a pretty good job of it, it ultimately detracts from what has made the blog so useful over the years - discussion about science from credentialed climate scientists. I'm sure it will all die down (perhaps when clean energy legislation in the U.S. is resolved one way or the other this year), but in the meantime, where to go for the latest interesting climate studies? ScienceDaily is a nice site, as is this one, which has been a rare bright spot (and growing brighter) within all the loud noise.
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  27. doug_bostrom,
    Looking at the CRU emails is often like listening to one side of a phone conversation. You need the other half of the dialog to fully understand what is going on. Fortunately, additional context has been supplied by McKittrick, McIntyre and many other folks who were communicating with the CRU.

    If you want more "Context" than can be found in the senate minority report try this:

    http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/

    The "taken out of context" excuse does not fly in this case. The more context you fill in, the worse things look for the Hockey Team. If there is a fraud trial it will be interesting to see what the lawyers make of it all.
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  28. RSVP (#5)

    I read some of the paper your link points to. It's a bit long for me to read it all in one sitting.

    But on the surface, I did notice several edited charts that left some details out. Some charts run from 2000 to present, I guess to hide how much warming has occurred before that time. A chart on solar irradiance is clipped off at 2000. What happened since then? It's been on a decline. I guess that bit of information was inconvenient for the document's authors.

    Here's the link to the document referenced on your page 46:
    http://ncwatch.typepad.com/dalton_minimum_returns/files/solar_arch_ny_mar2_08.pdf

    The author, David Archibald, proposes the sun is driving our current warming trend, but then also seems to claim the recent minimum in sunspots should herald a cooling trend. Am I missing something?

    He also claims that as CO2 increases in the atm, the ability to retain heat goes down. That may be true (I'll leave that to the technical types here to verify), but he seems to miss that as ANY warming occurs, we do pump more moisture in the atm. THAT enhances the warming effects of CO2.

    Then he says increased CO2 is good (ah, now we see where he's going with this) for us. Plants love it, so it must be ok. And hey, CO2 levels were higher in the past, so it's just natural, right?

    Problem is, the RATE of climate change is outpacing the ability for the rest of the ecosystem to keep up. This is already being observed. So, even if CO2 levels were higher in the past, the RATE of increase/decrease was much, much slower than it is now.

    The rate of CO2 increase, with observable negative changes to the ecosystem, is tied to our use of fossil fuels.

    Can't change the evidence, only deny or accept it.
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  29. allopingcamel at 06:48 AM on 27 February, 2010

    How about we come to an agreement? If somebody mentions the word "fraud", let's follow this specification:

    1) A specific reference to a specific case of fraud is stated, with a detailed explanation of exactly what the putative fraudulent behavior consists of;

    2) The specific parties alleged to have committed that specific case of fraud are individually named, unambiguously identified;

    3) The person making the allegation of fraud accompanies their accusation with their own identifying information, i.e. name, address, country of origin.

    Fair enough?

    I don't find at all persuasive your assertion that hearsay provided by third parties not involved in a conversation is suitable evidence to support allegations of misconduct. So I remain skeptical of Senator Inhofe's extrapolation of facts.
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  30. So this site did become political after all... It had to because the issue is a political and economic one. Science is only used in support of one or the other political position. And in this field science lends itself to be used as the analysis is statistical. Only those who did not work with statistical data can believe that results obtained this way are anything more than approximations of the reality, highly dependent on a number of simplifying assumptions which are necessary but can also be proven wrong. For example normal distribution assumptions, continuity assumptions, etc. So claiming that one is apolitical is disingenuous.
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  31. RSVP -

    Follow up on my post #28.

    I see a lot of blog posts and radio appearances by Archibald, but no peer-reviewed work by this Geologist.

    I did find a critique of his methods at realclimate:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/10/my-model-used-for-deception/

    So forgive me if I'm a bit skeptical (aren't we all?) of the point of page 46 (post #5), if it hangs on claims that can't be supported in peer-reviewed literature.
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  32. 1077 -

    "Science is only used in support of one or the other political position."

    Your partially correct.

    The evidence can be used to support one position or the other. We all take positions for different reasons.

    But the argument doesn't work in reverse.

    The collective process of science itself is as a-political as any process we can use.

    The peer-reviewed process, isn't perfect, but it does move us in the right direction to the facts. The process mitigates personal biases and agendas.

    But the evidence supporting ACC is what it is. Backed up by numerous, independent measurements. The process to get to this point isn't political.

    Now, twisting the facts, and simply denying that evidence can and does serve political purposes. But, that's not science.

    John's article was dead-on.
    0 0
  33. gallopingcamel,
    wrong analogy, there's not third party. We do not need any "third party" to judge. We all know the context and we know what has been written. No need to have someone else in between.
    0 0
  34. The Economist online has a good take on the Phil Jones misquote: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/02/climategate_distortions/.
    0 0
  35. If there is a fraud trial it will be interesting to see what the lawyers make of it all.


    One word for you: Dover.
    0 0
  36. Marcus:

    Slight correction to your post #12 - Carbon-13 is stable and the reason fossil fuels are relatively depleted in C13 isn't radioactive decay, it's photosynthesis's affinity for lighter isotopes of carbon.

    The decay of Carbon-14 means it has very low concentrations in fossil fuels, and therefore burning fossil fuels should lead to a decrease in both C14 and C13 concentrations in the atmosphere (according to the Suess effect), but C14 is complicated by factors such as nuclear testing which greatly increased the atmospheric concentration.
    0 0
  37. "....Its imperative that we obtain our understanding of our climate from peer-reviewed science"

    And it is imperative that we have ALL of the data available for review. Lost, misplaced, inaccessible data is unacceptble

    And it is imperative that skeptical scientists are allowed and encouraged to enter into the peer-review process.

    And it is imperative that non-peer reviewed conclusions be labeled as such when inserted in reports used to request major funding.
    0 0
  38. To the few of you who still think the CRU email theft changes anything about the science, I suggest that you re-read the post from John Cook. How can any of you believe that email from a few scientists refutes these multiple, independent lines of evidence.

    Surely you do not think that ice sheets, glaciers, oceans, plants/animals, CO2, satellites, etc. can read email?

    Scott A. Mandia
    http://www2.sunysuffolk.edu/mandias/global_warming/

    P.S. John, this is a great summary which I will be adding to my site and referring to when I post on anti-science blogs.
    0 0
  39. Karl_from_Wylie,
    "And it is imperative that we have ALL of the data available for review. Lost, misplaced, inaccessible data is unacceptble"
    Luckily we already have those numbers even though a lot of people didn't noticed.
    0 0
  40. #12 Marcus at 23:10 PM on 26 February, 2010
    "the new CO2 is from a source where there has been significant time for the 13C to decay to 12C"

    Marcus,

    13C is a stable isotope, it does not decay. Plant uptake is different, but it's another matter.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon-13
    0 0
  41. gallopingcamel #27:

    The CRU email analysis you cite is shockingly biased and incompetent as documented here:

    http://climatewtf.blogspot.com/2010/02/example-of-pseudogate.html

    http://climatewtf.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-skeptics-distorted-cru-emails-in.html

    and

    http://climatewtf.blogspot.com/2010/02/how-skeptics-distorted-cru-emails-in_20.html
    0 0
  42. #39 Riccardo,

    Phil Jones now admits that data has now gone missing.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/15/phil-jones-lost-weather-data

    "...The dog ate my homework"
    0 0
  43. Karl_from_Wylie, for the real story on the Phil Jones missing data version published by the Guardian, please see "Part 5" of the new RealClimate post "The Guardian Disappoints."
    0 0
  44. Sorry, my mistake. It is 14C, not 13C-I have a tendency to get those two mixed up-thanks for clearing that up Stuart. Still doesn't invalidate my point-namely that we *know* the most recent CO2 emissions are from fossil fuels due to the change in carbon isotope ratios in the atmosphere. Even if we couldn't identify the CO2 in this fashion, it would still leave the following question-if there was so much additional CO2 being held in natural sinks, why did CO2 levels in the troposphere never exceed 290ppm over the past 7.5 million years, in *spite* of significant changes in temperature during the interglacial periods?
    0 0
  45. John, have you deleted a post again? Why?
    0 0
  46. Karl_from_Wylie,
    "The missing records make it impossible to verify claims that rural weather stations in developing China were not significantly moved,"
    Then what? If you loose $10 you've lost all your money? And don't you know there exists the GHCN? A weak try mate, find a better one.
    0 0
  47. The title of the headpost is "Senator Inhofe's attempt to distract us from the scientific realities of global warming", but I don't see any discussion or argument to support your claim that he is distracting rather than focusing the discussions in useful ways.

    It would help your readers if you had included links so that they could easily look to see what Senator Inhofe actually said.

    Here's a link to his EPW committee page, with further links to subject of interest: http://www.epw.senate.gov/inhofe

    Here's the minority report:
    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=7db3fbd8-f1b4-4fdf-bd15-12b7df1a0b63

    Here's a 2 page listing of recent errors and controversies surround IPCC, with links for further info:
    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=9cc0e46e-56be-4728-9099-92dbda199bfc

    Here's a short 1 page note on the relationship between IPCC AR4 and the EPA finding that CO2 is a dangerous pollutant: http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Files.View&FileStore_id=8cbf48d4-22b3-4151-bc9a-651cadd62c4c

    My earlier post appears to have been accidentally deleted.
    0 0
  48. I repost, not the details. Ask. If John deletes facts again, I quit.

    Average NCDC adjustment for the 1850-2010 period for GHCN rural and non-rural sites. Difference of v2.mean_adj & v2.mean (raw data).

    Suggests some bizarre algorithm.

    http://ber.parawag.net/images/GHCN_adjustments.jpg
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/ghcn/v2/
    0 0
  49. .
    #43 Tom Dayton

    Asked about whether he lost track of data, Professor Jones said: ‘There is some truth in that. We do have a trail of where the weather stations have come from but it’s probably not as good as it should be.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1250872/Climategate-U-turn-Astonishment-scientist-centre-global-warming-email-row-admits-data-organised.html#ixzz0gh3ygxsK
    0 0
  50. Berényi Péter at 11:58 AM on 27 February, 2010

    Perhaps would be better for "Temp record is unreliable" thread?
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