Sunday, January 31, 2010

Over the top?

Among the mounting criticisms of the IPCC is the question of knowledge sources. Some attacks on the IPCC are dismissive of the findings because local knowledge was used to make a claim. I think this is problematic.

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Fickle Science? (Hyperbole or Toilet Bowl)

Typically: When you are 18 years old you want to rearrange the world to suit your vision of utopia. Thirty or forty years later you are content to rearrange the furniture so you don’t fall over the table on your way to the toilet. Does this hypothesis hold in climate science? Does the task of saving the world from immanent climate related catastrophe have an inverse relationship to age?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Beyond Climate Science: State of the Union

It is interesting to note what President Obama has to say about climate change, especially when he addresses the skeptical Republicans:

'I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here's the thing -- even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -- because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.'

Of course, good science is important. But climate policies, be it mitigation or adaptation, do not exclusively depend on 100 % scientific evidence. There are other arguments for both mitigation and adaptation, and there are other powerful mechanisms at work - such as nationalist interests. Climate policies don't stand or fall with IPCC reports or other scientific evidence; there are many cultural, economic and political reasons for adaptation and mitigation.  Of course, the conflicts about manipulated data and conflicts of interest have to be solved; but the future of the world does not depend on these mostly inner-scientific conflicts, nor do climate policies.

Guest post: How could the IPCC foster social learning?

by Falk Schützenmeister

The fact that relative small scientific mistakes, public misperceptions of the scientific method, and maybe the misconduct of a few can shake up a major field of international policy indicates that the institutional coupling between science and policy is too tight. The reputation of Harvard would never be at stake only because a few alumni became felons. In climate research, the outcome of international negotiations depends on a level of moral integrity among IPCC scientists that is unlikely to be found in priesthood.

UEA guilty but no punishment

The Guardian today reports that UEA violated FOI rules but it was too late to prosecute:

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

In case anyone just woke up

This is a re-posting of piece titled 'Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change'.  The article can be found at  The article begins: 'The impact of global warming has been exaggerated by some scientists and there is an urgent need for more honest disclosure of the uncertainty of predictions about the rate of climate change, according to the Government’s chief scientific adviser.'

2nd reader survey on KLIMAZWIEBEL

We have again used the opportunity to survey our readers; no claims are made that this survey would lead to representative or even consistent results. Instead it is just a snapshot. Anyway, it turns out that really many of our readers are scientists - mostly natural scientist. A few decision makers and journalists are among our readers, but hardly any NGO members. And our readers read other blogs as well, in particular Climate Audit, but also Real Climate.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Who agrees with the IPCC?

With the current fiasco concerning the IPCC reports perhaps it is appropriate to see what the climate science community thought about the reports before the report hit the fan. Using the data from the 2008 (after The Report) survey of climate scientists, it seems that most climate scientists (at least those in the survey sample) tended to agree with the IPCC conclusions. There was even a significant minority that claimed the IPCC tended to under estimate things.

An inquiry by a reader

Recently there has been discussion of exaggerations and possibly misleading documents. In November RealClimate posted the Copenhagen document for discussion. I raised the following questions, which were posted but got no reply.

Sea level hyperbole Copenhagen report/IPCC
Executive Summary

Kommentar zuTol-Pielke-Storch in SPIEGEL online

Ich bekam diesen Kommentar, von dem ich glaube, dass manch anderer ähnliche Überlegungen macht. Mit Einverständnis des Kommentators veröffentliche ich den Kommentar hier:

Ich finde nicht, dass es eine gute Idee ist, Patchauri und IPCC in der Presse zu attackieren. 

Monday, January 25, 2010

Save the IPCC

...and here we are: a new article on spiegel-online, written by Hans von Storch, Richard Tol, and Roger Pielke jr.:,1518,673765,00.html

A clear statement by three influential scientists and active bloggers: they advise Pachauri to resign; and they suggest a fundamental reconsideration of the IPCC process.

Climate Soap Opera, new episode

 For those who speak German, here today's article in spiegel-online (a really influential online publication in Germany) 'Schmelzendes Vertrauen'':,1518,673779,00.html

You can bet that the author reads Klimazwiebel and Pielke jr.'s blog. It is interesting that all the different elements such as the hockey stick debate, climategate, the Pachauri business and  Himalaya glaciers add up to a consistent (skeptical) narrative. At least for the Spiegel journalist, with Pielke jr. and Hans von Storch as his principal witnesses.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Miscalculation in the Stern Review

Roger Pielke Jr. reports on his blog about an interesiting, if unexpected entanglement:

There is another important story in involving the Muir-Wood et al. 2006 paper that was misrepresented by the IPCC as showing a linkage between increasing temperatures and rising damages from extreme weather events. The Stern Review Report of the UK government also relied on that paper as the sole basis for its projections of increasing damage from extreme events. In fact as much as 40% of the Stern Reivew projections for the global costs of unmitigated climate change derive from its misuse of the Muir-Wood et al. paper.
The government website which hosts the Stern Review was changed in the meantime (quietly) to correct the data. Problem is that the maths for Stern's cost benefit analysis don't add up any more.

Admission that IPCC report was deliberately dramatised

The Mail on Sunday has the following story:
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.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Watson on the role of scenarios in policy making

In a paper for the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London published in 2005, Robert Watson, former IPCC chairman, has some interesting thoughts about the relation between science and policy. He thinks that scenarios are the crucial tool to influence policy makers:

Friday, January 22, 2010

British Parliament announces independent inquiry

This looks interesting. Perhaps the internal investigation at East Anglia is deemed not  enough:

Guest contribution from Reinhard Böhm, ZAMG, Vienna

“Faking versus adjusting” – why it is wise to sometimes hide “original” data by Reinhard Böhm (Vienna)

Problems when posting comments

Some readers were experiencing problems with posting comments. It is difficult for us to trace them, as they do not happen to all users. For instance, I do not have any problems even when posting comments as plain anonymous user. Googleing has not helped me to find out what the source of the problem may be. I have changed the options to post comments (pop-up window), but I am not sure whether this is the correct solution. If readers find this too cumbersome I will set the options back again to 'comment embedded below post'. Any help in this regard is of course welcome.

Update on Schiermeier quotes

Quirin Schiermeier has now responded to my claim of false direct quotes of mine in the recent issue of nature. I find his response acceptable - things happen in the heat of time limits. When attributing specific (direct) quotes to somebody, it is good journalistic practice to ask for authorization - indeed a common practice among European and North American newspapers and journals. I would also expect that from "nature". -- But I have to admit that the damage done is not large. Its more about the nuances.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Climate Change as Religion?

Sorry, this is only for German speaking readers, it was on German TV a few days ago and is very interesting, if a bit tongue-in-cheek.
Major biblical themes are applied to climate change alarmism, Sociologist Norber Bolz says: "an atheist society such as ours can finally believe again, this time on the basis of (climate) science"

Question to International Journal of Climatology

In 2009, the American thinker reported some events related to a publication in the Inetrnational Journal of Climatology (see also Roger Pielke jr.'s webblog), which I found difficult to believe. When I came across this web-page, I approached the chief editor of the International Journal of Climatology, Glenn McGregor, on 21. December 2009 and asked him: "Do you have a comment on that, possibly somewhere on your web-page, so that I may direct the readers of my new weblog 'Klimazwiebel' to this explanation and contextualisation?" Now, on 21 January 2010 I got an answer: "I will compose a response to the AT article in due course."
(corrected for clarification, 22. January 2010, HvS)

Schiermeier in nature - quoting incorrectly

Quirin Schiermeier quotes me with "You need to be very circumspect about the added value of downscaling to regional impacts," agrees Hans von Storch in this week's issue of nature. And: he cautions, "planners should handle them with kid gloves. Whenever possible, they'd rather wait with spending big money on adaptation projects until there is more certainty about the things to come." I have not spoken with Mr Schiermeier about regional modelling, at least not recently; the term "kid gloves" is unknown to me, not part of my vocabulary. I have asked him for evidence that I have said these sentences to whom.

Indeed, I have been in contact with Quirin Schiermeier earlier this year, asking for "myths" about climate change. I have offered him three cases, none of them had any reference to regional modelling. He had told me that he would use the first of my myths, but obviously he decided to use my name differently.

Here are my three myths:

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Schellnhuber calls for reform of IPCC

HJ Schellnhuber comments on the fiasco about the Himalya glaciers in the IPCC report, according to SPIEGEL online:
"Das ist ein peinlicher Fehler, der nicht passieren durfte", sagt Hans Joachim Schellnhuber vom Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung im Gespräch mit SPIEGEL ONLINE. "Er zeigt, dass das IPCC-Verfahren weiter verbessert werden muss." Es bestehe Reformbedarf: "Man sollte über die Struktur des Rates und den Zuschnitt der Arbeitsgruppen nachdenken."
How serious is this going to change the structure of the IPCC? We do not get details here, but maybe this is asking too much.

Read the rest of the story which contains also comments from Prof. Kaser.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Questions from a fellow blogger

I received the following email regarding some of the results of the survey of climate scienitsts.  Rather than try to answer the questions I thought it more appropriate to post them and let a broader range of opinions to be presented. 

Warmistas, Anti-Warmistas, Hugo Chaves and Kundera’s Concept of Kitsch

Recently I re-read Milan Kundera’s ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being’. (Apologetically, I sometimes tear myself away from the climate change issues.) Within the context of the book Kundera presents an interesting discourse on what he calls The Grand March and an interesting discourse on the concept of kitsch. Borrowing heavily on Kundra this brief discussion looks at the role of kitch in the global warming issue.

Melting glaciers or melting credibility?

The fourth assessment report of the IPCC states
Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world (see Table 10.9) and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate. Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 km2 by the year 2035 (WWF, 2005).
It now appears that this claim was not based on peer reviewed research at all but on a news story in the New Scientist published eight years before the IPCC's report.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Inquiry from Russia: pitfalls of practice of policy advising

I got this inquiry from Russia: "I found some titles of your interesting publications, but they are not available in our local libraries, which do not subscribe foreign editions. If possible, please, explain me what are the main pitfalls in the present practice of policy advice concerning man-made climate change in your opinion? What are the main causes of discrepancy between scientific knowledge about climate change and its understanding in the public?" Here is my answer, to which I invite comments by the readers of Klimazwiebel (please stick to the issue in your comments!)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Three hypotheses

Several comments have mentioned Pielke Sr.s (et al) recent piece in EOS. However, so far this has not been given the attention it deserves. The paper presents thee mutually exclusive hypotheses:

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Look Who's Talking

This little excursion is into who is talking to whom when it comes to climate science and the broader world. It is presented simply as crosstabs of 4 variables from the survey of climate scientist.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The cold snap

This is how UK media refers to the unusual cold winter. Arctic Oscillation (AO) is the technical term. Andy Revkin has an interesting comment on Dotearth where he draws attention the following chart:

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A student is asking ....

A student has sent me five questions on the issue of man-made climate change. As they may be seen as typical, I answer them here on the Klimazwiebel. This may be useful – for the student, who will be able to read the comments of the readers of the blog, – for the bloggers to better understand the issues and concerns among lay people, – for me, who will have a critical assessment of my response to the student.

The idea with this post is that the student will read it plus the comments - so that the different contributions should not represent too much piecework. Therefore, commenters, deal just with the questions raised, and try to make only one statement so that the material, which eventually gathers, is compact!

Friday, January 8, 2010

One month experience with the Klimazwiebel

The weblog was launched on 6 December 2009, and we had until 8 January 29,700 klicks (counting began only a few days after launching), with a total of 53 articles.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Ten years of solitude

Those persons expecting a rapid increase of temperatures may have felt a certain unease during the first 10 years of the 21st century, when the global temperature did not seem to have risen as rapidly as it did in the 80's and 90's in the 20th century. Sometimes a knee-jerk response has been to deny this slow down of the temperature increase, and later, squabble about the sign of the estimated trend and about the cherry-picking of start and end years to calculate this trend.

English version "An Inconvenient Democracy" of Nico Stehr and Hans von Storch

on Roger Pielke Jr.'s Blog.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

A Tale of Two Consensus

This short comment is about a personal foray into publishing in ‘Science’. Before getting into detail of the submission and rejection of the comment, I would like to look at the financial model of Science, as it is somewhat unique (there other similar models but they are not the subject of this commentary).

Guest article by Douglas Maraun - a replique to von Storch's WSJ op-ed

Recently, my attention has been drawn to the essay "Good Science, Bad Politics" in The Wall Street Journal, written by Hans von Storch. I generally agree with his view on good science, and that action is needed to restore confidence in climate science. But while reading this article, I felt quite concerned - not because I think that all of his criticism is wrong, but rather because some of the points made in the article are not justified. In particular, I do not share the focus on the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) only, where a much more general discussion is necessary. As a former researcher at CRU, I believe some points need some clarification.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Pachauri fights back

On the Guardian website Comment is Free, The IPCC chairman defends himself against allegations of conflict of interest. He writes:
The same group of climate deniers who have been active across the Atlantic have now joined hands to attack me personally, alleging business interests on my part which are supposedly benefiting me as well as the Indian Tata group of companies.

ZMAG: Stellungnahme zu Kopenhagen

Eine differenzierte Analyse des Geschehens in Kopenhagen bietet die Österreichische Zentralanstalt für Meteorologie und Geophysik (ZMAG) in Wien am 23. Dezember 2009 an.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch: Projections and Predictions

The survey "CLISCI2008" among climate scientists has been used to examine the terminology concerning two key concepts in climate science, namely, predictions and projections, as used among climate scientists.

2010: Copenhagen in retrospect.

The first decade of the new millennium ended with Copenhagen, and everybody seems to agree that it was a failure. Who is to blame? Of course, the rich nations such as the US and Europe, or the developing countries such as China and India, or the small countries which dare to have their saying in this affair; in any case, the global community presented itself as a failed community, jeopardized by selfish politicians, national interests, and corrupt lobbies. Sigh. There were only a few reasonable men, but nobody listened to their arguments. But we will do so,  in order to learn from the past for the future.