Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Marcel Severijnen on Marcel Crok's new nook "Staat van het klimaat"

By Marcel Severijnen

Within the Dutch climate debate chemist and scientific journalist Marcel Crok has the reputation of critical follower of the developments. He gained some international fame with his 2005 NWT article on the hockeystick affaire. Michael Mann’s method was criticised by McIntyre and McKitrick and by von Storch and Zorita. Crok explained in clear words how the affair developed and how this later symbol of the IPCC report should be valued. There exists a German translation of his still interesting article.

Last November Marcel Crok published a book “Staat van het klimaat”, on which he has worked a long time. The book was appraised, but critical notes were made too at the same time. The book is written in Dutch.

In the first chapter Crok answers the question whether (climate) science is settled. Although climategate has weakened the public acceptance of IPCC conclusions, scientists are not taken as seriously as before climategate, and the influence of weblogs is growing. Crok is right to include the blogosphere as part of the discussion and not to rely just on peer-reviewed literature. From a critical viewpoint he is convinced that science is not settled at all.

Chapter 2 describes the amount of warming, measured with strongly criticized networks, with a majority of stations not qualified for proper measurement, and the possible effect of urbanization. Most mainland stations are situated in urban environments and undergo the influence of neighboring buildings. So, according to Crok, possibly half of the measured warming could be attributed to urban effects.

In chapter 3 Crok wonders how unique the actual warming is in historic perspective. Naturally the hockeystick affair pops up here in all details. Chapters 4 and 5 deal with the question of carbondioxide being the sole cause for the warming, and concluding that there are more factors, including natural and other anthropogenic causes.

What makes this book so special? Crok is very exhaustive in dishing up details and pointing to a plethora of sources, and that makes it hard to access. He enlightens all possible points of discussion, and that deserves a great compliment. In the eyes of alarmists he will be seen as a skeptic, but it’s hard to rebound his elaborate studies. Alarmists, skeptics and critical followers of the climate debate, all are strongly advised to read this book.

In the international domain of climate science this book should be available to everyone, and to my opinion the book deserves an English translation.

The book was accompanied with a blog, where the follow-up of the publication is exposed: http://www.staatvanhetklimaat.nl/


Thomas Jansen said...

Contrary to what Crok predicted before the presentation of the book, he admitted his work is not an independent audit of IPCC, but a one sided attack on IPCC.

Even though Crok's citique sometimes is valid (e.g. when talks about IPCC's malaria claims), in other parts the book is very incosistent and tries to cast doubt on subjects where there is none.

The most important in his book (at least to me) is at the same he claims climate sensitivity is low (but gives little proof for that) and we have little certainty on how big climate sensitivity is (which implies we could underestimate it) : it's a clear example of an inconsistency.

I had high expectations of the book, but it was a huge disappointment, Crok doesn't get much further than copying Watts' blog.

I'm afraid the book has become exactly what you can expect from someone co-blogging on climategate.nl, a site where today Rypke Zeilmaker (co-author of his book) attacks the EUSSR (sic) and where scientists consequently are called 'nutcases', 'idiots' or something alike and where of course everyone sees reds under the bed. Crok did not choose his friends wisely.

Dutch readers of this blog can find a review of his book here : http://noorderlicht.vpro.nl/artikelen/44326677/

Anonymous said...

#Marcel: thanks for writing this review; btw, the title is De Staat van het Klimaat (the state of the climate).
This book is in a way the result of an interview I had with Hans von Storch in late 2004. He said that the paper of McIntyre and McKitrick should have been published in Nature. When I came back in Holland I contact McIntyre and McKitrick and later wrote their story in this long article: http://climategate.nl/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/NWT-feb-2005-hockey-stick-English.pdf
Since then I follow the climate debate on a daily basis, resulting after six years in a book.
I am working hard now to find a publisher for an English edition.

#Thomas Jansen: sorry to hear the book disappointed you. As you and I both know it's impossible in the climate debate to satisfy everyone. I disagree that the book is onesided, although I understand where this feeling comes from. My approach was simple: is there serious criticism on the CO2 hypothesis and if so, what did IPCC do with it. In the book I give many examples of how IPCC ignored or played down peer reviewed literature. You can complain that this is onesided, but that misses the point. IPCC pretends to be comprehensive and objective, the book shows that the latest report was not.

Marcel Crok

Ralf Dekker said...

I do not agree with Thomas's comments on 'De Staat van het Klimaat'. In my view the book gives a pretty complete overview of the state of affairs in climate science. The difference with many other books on the subject is that Crok very meticulously analyses the critisism sceptics have on the main IPCC findings without being onesided. He concludes that much of the sceptisism has merit but he arrives at his (modest) conclusions in a fair and balanced way in my view.
My comment to Crok was that he was far too soft in his conclusions. But then, I am a sceptic.

Thomas Jansen said...


Marcel himself admitted it's a one sided view, so there's no discussion on that.

May I presume you are the same Ralf Dekker who litterally wrote last week : "the green movement is a dangerous mix of hippies, Malthus, Mao and Stalin", and the author of several similar comments on climategate.nl ?


eduardo said...

Preventively, may I remind you that polite, although firm, comments are much more appreciated by the readers than a tit-for-tat

Neven said...

So, according to Crok, possibly half of the measured warming could be attributed to urban effects.

I was led to believe that for this part of the book Crok let himself be inspired mostly by Anthony Watts, which isn't the best of references, to put it mildly. But maybe that's an exaggeration.

I'll receive the book in a week or two and will be able to judge by myself.

_Flin_ said...

Just reading about "possibly half of the measured warming could be attributed to urban effects" makes me avoid this book.

It makes me wonder if the author ever just went over to NASA GISTEMP and read up on their data analysis methods and how they account for urban effects.

The claim that half of the measured warming is due to UHI might be interpreted that the people at UAH and RSS must be doing a really really bad job, because somehow their satellites measure way to much warming. Same goes for the NOAA with their weather balloons. And all other methods measuring temperature that show similar anomaly trends as GISTEMP and HADCRUT.

The UHI claim always seemed plain outlandish, and I am bored with it, personally. There are so many interesting questions about climate, like missing heat, clouds, methane feedbacks, shelf ice melting, influence of warming on weather systems, etc.
But it's UHI again and again. Because of one McKitrick paper that tells THE TRUTH(tm) - Brought to you by Anthony, the happy weatherman.

No matter how often this argument is ripped apart, it keeps popping up.

Neven said...

Because of one McKitrick paper that tells THE TRUTH(tm) - Brought to you by Anthony, the happy weatherman.

Well, I already mentioned Watts, but I'm pretty sure McKitrick and his narrative have a huge influence on Crok and his narrative. And Pielke sr too. The latter is not too bad, the former better than Watts, but still very much 'Hey! Nobody is listening to me! Listen to me! Listen to me!'.