Icing The Hype
Jan 11, 2008
Interesting Comments on Revkin’s ‘The Road from Climate Science to Climate Advocacy’ Blog Post

In Andrew Revkin’s Dot Earth blog post ‘The Road from Climate Science to Climate Advocacy’, he discusssed the movement of scientists like Richard Somerville, a climatologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography near San Diego from science towards more advocacy positions with respect to global warming. He concludes by asking the question “Do scientists have a special obligation to be neutral when it comes to the implications of their findings for society more broadly? Is it possible to advocate for a particular course in climate policy and not have that color how you do your scientific research, or how you communicate it? “

Though an interesting piece by itself, the reader comments were also quite illuminating. Two comments stood out. In this comment Raymond T. Pierrehumbert of the University of Chicago tried to discredit the landmark EPW Minority Report by Marc Morano listing 400++ scientists and an impressive list of recent relevant peer review papers. In a later comment, Marc Morano responded (see Morano’s detailed response here). 

Like the March 2007 New York City debate between scientists over whether global warming was a “crisis” in which Dr. Somerville participated and was on the losing side (ScientificAmerican.com’s David Biello criticized climate “crisis” advocate Richard Somerville as “perplexed” and “hardly inspiring"), Morano won this verbal debate hands down with Pierrehumbert. 

Jan 09, 2008
December 14 Climate Change Briefing at the National Press Club on Energy Policy TV

Energy Policy TV on the Climate Channel

See the video on the Climate Channel where researchers discuss a scientific paper by climate scientists at the University of Rochester, the University of Alabama, and the University of Virginia that reports that observed patterns of temperature changes over the last 30 years are not in accord with what greenhouse models predict. These researchers say climate warming is naturally caused, shows no significant human influence, and that carbon dioxide is not a pollutant.

Part 1 is here. Part II can be found here.

Jan 09, 2008
Please Permit Me To Rant And Rave A Bit

By Dr. Joe Sobel, Accuweather

Every now and then it just builds up to the point where I have to let it loose. I can watch and listen only so long before I need to release the pent up pressure...and now I’ve gotten to that point. Over and over again I hear the suits on TV go on and on about this “unbelievable” weather and how it is so much warmer than it “should” be. Right there...in that one short little sentence...were two of my hot button phrases that really get me steamed.  First of all......"unbelievable".....if you don’t expect me to believe you about this weather....why tell me about it???? And if you tell me about it...don’t you expect me to believe you????? So...why is it “unbelievable”...it may be amazing and astounding and shocking and extraordinary.....but....it’s not UNBELIEVABLE!!!! 

Secondly is use of the word “should” in the context of ...temperatures at this time of year “should” be in the 30s. The atmosphere has no obligation to produce temperatures at certain levels.
Read more from Dr. Sobel here.

Jan 07, 2008
People in Greenhouses Throwing Stones

By Climate Resistance

The IPCC is neither, as is frequently claimed, 2500 of the worlds best climate scientists, nor indeed climate scientists at all. This is precisely the misconception we have been challenging, following claims made by the likes of Andrew Dessler about the Inhofe 400 list. The composition of the IPCC, it turns out, is not so different.

Across WGI, II and III, we have a very generous 314 contributors among the 510 we sampled who can reasonably be described as scientific experts. Which scales up to 1539 out of the putative 2500. Some of our critics have argued that it was dishonest to look at WGII and III, and that the climate scientists are all in WGI. Of course WGII/III are not all climate scientists. This criticism misses the point that the IPCC is neither, as is frequently claimed, 2500 of the worlds best climate scientists, nor indeed climate scientists at all. This is precisely the misconception we have been challenging, following claims made by the likes of Andrew Dessler about the Inhofe 400 list. The composition of the IPCC, it turns out, is not so different.

So having taken a look at the authors, we’ll have a go at the reviewers next. The IPCC certainly seem pretty proud of them. One wonders how many of those ‘scientific expert reviewers’ will turn out to be social scientists and economists that Andrew Dessler et al make such a fuss about when they turn up in the Inhofe 400, not to mention, Heaven forbid, web officers, administrative assistants and activists . Intriguingly, many warmers have no time for the reviewers. Stoat, Desmogblog and Tim Lambert claim that anybody can be an expert reviewer, which is a handy argument when you want to cast doubt on the credentials of any pesky ‘denialist’ who happens to be one, but kind of backfires when you’re trying to defend ‘the consensus’ Read more here.

Jan 07, 2008
Ski Areas Nationwide Rejoice over Super Snow Conditions

Associated Press

"This is our best opening since 1977,” said Adriana Blake, marketing director for Taos. The resort couldn’t open for Thanksgiving but later got 68 inches in a week. “This is crazy. It never snows like this.”
Then the jet stream moved south, and the snow began to fall, and fall, and fall. Wolf Creek, Colo., which usually has the deepest base in the state, has suffered for the past two years. It debuted in late November with less than 10 inches. A week before Christmas, it had 115 inches.

“It is spectacular. For the first time in recent history, the industry is up and operating across the country,” said Michael Berry, president of the National Ski Areas Association.

Sugarbush was close to being 100 percent booked for Christmas, a record for the Vermont resort. Also in Vermont, Mad River Glen, which relies mostly on natural snow, reported 100 percent open. New England struggled last year. The Vermont Ski Areas Association said 59 percent of Vermont’s 1,242 trails were open as of Dec. 10, compared with 14 percent at the same time last year.


New England ski resorts enjoyed the flurry of storms after last year’s lack of snow early in the season. In Maine, it provided a fresh layer on top of the roughly 6 feet that the state’s two biggest ski resorts, Sugarloaf USA and Sunday River, each got last month. “It’s been unbelievable,” Sugarloaf spokesman Bill Swain said. “It just keeps coming.”

The snow has been good from the start at Whistler-Blackcomb, British Columbia, the busiest resort in North America.

Icecap Note: This weekend storm has dumped a ton more snow from the western mountains to Colorado. Although the warmth and rains at the back edge of the warm air will erode away some of the snow further east, more cold and more snow is on the way

Jan 06, 2008
Br-r-r! Where did global warming go?

By Jeff Jacoby, Boston Globe Columnist

THE STARK headline appeared just over a year ago. “2007 to be ‘warmest on record,’ “ BBC News reported on Jan. 4, 2007. Citing experts in the British government’s Meteorological Office, the story announced that “the world is likely to experience the warmest year on record in 2007,” surpassing the all-time high reached in 1998. But a funny thing happened on the way to the planetary hot flash: Much of the planet grew bitterly cold.

In South America, for example, the start of winter last year was one of the coldest ever observed. According to Eugenio Hackbart, chief meteorologist of the MetSul Weather Center in Brazil, “a brutal cold wave brought record low temperatures, widespread frost, snow, and major energy disruption.” In Buenos Aires, it snowed for the first time in 89 years, while in Peru the cold was so intense that hundreds of people died and the government declared a state of emergency in 14 of the country’s 24 provinces. In August, Chile’s agriculture minister lamented “the toughest winter we have seen in the past 50 years,” which caused losses of at least $200 million in destroyed crops and livestock. Latin Americans weren’t the only ones shivering. University of Oklahoma geophysicist David Deming, a specialist in temperature and heat flow, notes in the Washington Times that “unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007.” Johannesburg experienced its first significant snowfall in a quarter-century. Australia had its coldest ever June. New Zealand’s vineyards lost much of their 2007 harvest when spring temperatures dropped to record lows.

Closer to home, 44.5 inches of snow fell in New Hampshire last month, breaking the previous record of 43 inches, set in 1876. And the Canadian government is forecasting the coldest winter in 15 years

Given the number of worldwide cold events, it is no surprise that 2007 didn’t turn out to be the warmest ever. In fact, 2007’s global temperature was essentially the same as that in 2006 - and 2005, and 2004, and every year back to 2001. The record set in 1998 has not been surpassed. For nearly a decade now, there has been no global warming. Even though atmospheric carbon dioxide continues to accumulate - it’s up about 4 percent since 1998 - the global mean temperature has remained flat. That raises some obvious questions about the theory that CO2 is the cause of climate change. Read more here.

Jan 05, 2008
Alarming Weather and Global Warming

By Andrew Revkin, New York Times DotEarth

Our provocative science columnist John Tierney endured a hailstorm of responses for a column and blog post this week on the tendency of some climate campaigners to focus on extreme weather as a selling point for cutting greenhouse gases. Today he’s posted an explanation and defense of his view, echoing a lot of what I’ve been writing over the past several years.

And, as I blogged recently, the media definitely have a tendency to get seduced by the “front page thought” when dealing with questions about climate and, say, hurricanes, and thus can miss the legitimate questions still surrounding the science that explores links of that sort.

John and I often disagree, and we definitely have different roles in the media landscape. But on this overarching theme there’s synchrony. Readv more here. See both Tierney columns below.

Jan 04, 2008
Weather Alarmism as a Noble Strategy

By John Tierney, New York Times

Amidst the denunciations of my column and post on weather alarmism, there was a calm question from one critic, Annie Jia: “What is your purpose in writing these articles, aside from making climate-change-is-a-problem advocates look bad, and making climate skeptics happy, and making yourself appear smart by debunking “popular wisdom”? Shouldn’t journalism be more responsible and purposeful than that, and be geared towards some positive end?”

I’ll spare you the usual lecture on journalism being a search for the pure truth no matter where it leads. Journalists, especially columnists, want to tell the truth while also performing some useful public service, and we’re inevitably selective in what we choose to write about. So why did I write about the weaknesses in some of the alarms being raised about global warming? Even if some availability entrepreneurs like Al Gore are mistakenly attributing isolated weather events to global warming, aren’t they serving a noble purpose by getting an otherwise apathetic public to take action against a real problem?

I hope we don’t spend the new few decades watching dueling entrepreneurs trying to turn every weather anomaly into an argument about what humans are doing to the climate. It would be nice to think that we, unlike the ancients who propitiated the gods with human sacrifices, could accept the fact that it’s natural for unusual weather to occur - that the weirdest year of all would be one in which no record was set anywhere. Indulging our superstitious impulses isn’t going to help us deal with the scientific uncertainties ahead. Read more here.

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