Sunday, December 13, 2009

Statement from the UK science community

I'm a little surprised to have not seen more mention of this in either the mainstream media or even on blogs:

"We, members of the UK science community, have the utmost confidence in the observational evidence for global warming and the scientific basis for concluding that it is due primarily to human activities. The evidence and the science are deep and extensive. They come from decades of painstaking and meticulous research, by many thousands of scientists across the world who adhere to the highest levels of professional integrity. That research has been subject to peer review and publication, providing traceability of the evidence and support for the scientific method.

The science of climate change draws on fundamental research from an increasing number of disciplines, many of which are represented here. As professional scientists, from students to senior professors, we uphold the findings of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, which concludes that ‘Warming of the climate system is unequivocal’ and that ‘Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations’."

What is perhaps most impressive about this is that the signatures were collected in under a week, and the 1700+ signatories (from UK institutes alone) hugely outnumbers the total authorship of the IPCC WG1 report of 619 people (even that figure is dominated by the "contributing authors" such as myself who had no direct input into the writing process).

36 comments:

Martin said...

But James, numbers mean nothing! 619, 1700... they could all be wrong, and the Galileo of our days, the good lord Monckton of Brenchley, right!

You're so naive... have you actually studied the subject?

Martin said...

This seems to have been done in a hurry.

Brute-force collation, lots of folks whose Christian names are Dr. or Prof. and thus fall under the letter D or P.

But then, pointing out the obvious en masse doesn't require a lot of sophistication, just the right spirit ;-)

James Annan said...

I'm not sure why they were in quite such a hurry. An impressive show of sanity nevertheless in a world where Morano is even making regular appearances in the UK media.

Tom C said...

James -

A lot of us are smart enough to follow an argument and realize when the answer being given does not match up with the question. The answer "it is warming and humans have an influence" is not an answer to the proper question, which is "is there reason for alarm?". So the statement linked to is a non-sequiter.

You and your co-religionists continually practice this mis-direction in order to implement your political goals. The effort to "get rid of the MWP" has been a particularly brazen tactic in the campaign; worthy of Soviet textbook re-writers. It won't work, though, because enough of us are on to the scam.

I asked you many posts ago whether the models would have predicted the MWP. Your answer was not impressive. As long as the models can not predict an MWP (hence it could have resulted from natural variability) and since humanity flourished during the MWP, I and others refuse to be stampeded into massive taxation and the resulting reduced capital mobility that ultimately hurts developing nations.

David B. Benson said...

Tom C --- Europens may have flourished during the European MWP but others elsewhere had big time troubles at about the same time; North China; Mayans; Anasazi and whatever agriculturists were in Peru. I'm sure the list does not end there.

By the way, climatologist W.F. Ruddiman holds that MWP was at least in part anthropogenic in origin; read his popular "Plows, Plagues and Petroleum".

How bad will it be with additional warming? Read Mark Lynas's well-researched "Six Degrees".

P. Lewis said...

...The effort to "get rid of the MWP" has been a particularly brazen tactic in the campaign; worthy of Soviet textbook re-writers. It won't work, though, because ...

Somebody hasn't read AR4 very well then, it seems, as FAQ6.2 (p. 465) says (my emphasis):

"Further back in time, compilations of proxy data from tree rings, ice cores, etc., go back more than a thousand years with decreasing spatial coverage for earlier periods (see Section 6.5). While there are differences among those reconstructions and significant uncertainties remain, all published reconstructions find that temperatures were warm during medieval times, cooled to low values in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and warmed rapidly after that. The medieval level of warmth is uncertain, but may have been reached again in the mid-20th century, only to have likely been exceeded since then. These conclusions are supported by climate modelling as well. Before 2,000 years ago, temperature variations have not been systematically compiled into large-scale averages, but they do not provide evidence for warmer-than-present global annual mean temperatures going back through the Holocene (the last 11,600 years; see Section 6.4). There are strong indications that a warmer climate, with greatly reduced global ice cover and higher sea level, prevailed until around 3 million years ago. Hence, current warmth appears unusual in the context of the past millennia, but not unusual on longer time scales for which changes in tectonic activity (which can drive natural, slow variations in greenhouse gas concentration) become relevant (see Box 6.1).

A different matter is the current rate of warming. ..."

Who is doing the Soviet-style rewriting: the IPCC, who say "all published reconstructions find that temperatures were warm during medieval times", or Tom C, who says "The effort to "get rid of the MWP" has been a particularly brazen tactic in the campaign"?

That it might not be as warm as you would want in your MWP is neither here nor there when the data and their statistical confidence say otherwise (findings which would, as is the norm in science, change when new data and/or analyses that refine those uncertainties come to light). Or perhaps you'd like the palaeoclimate scientists to suppress any data and analyses showing that the MWP was cooler than you'd have liked it to be. Is that the case?

James Annan said...

Tom C,

You and your co-religionists continually practice this mis-direction in order to implement your political goals. The effort to quote out of context has been a particularly brazen tactic in the campaign; worthy of Soviet textbook re-writers. It won't work, though, because enough of us are on to the scam.

As for the MWP, I fail to see the relevance of whether or not the models could accurately predict some minor regional climate variability. All they need to do is support the near-universally-accepted fact that the anthropogenic forcing is very large and abrupt (in the human historical context) and is leading to substantial climate changes.

Tony Lee said...

You and your co-religionists continually practice this mis-direction in order to implement your political goals. The effort to quote out of context has been a particularly brazen tactic in the campaign; worthy of Soviet textbook re-writers. It won't work, though, because enough of us are on to the scam.

I am finally at the point where I can spot sceptic writing from its calm and measured tone.

Martin said...

Tom C:

The answer "it is warming and humans have an influence" is not an answer to the proper question, which is "is there reason for alarm?". So the statement linked to is a non-sequiter.

Untrue. The answer is in the statement text:

‘Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations’

...amounting to half a degree at least -- and that's the transient response. Given the delay loops in the system, we'll have two degrees before lunch.

Not being alarmed is delusional.

Tom C said...

JBB -

"Europens may have flourished during the European MWP but others elsewhere had big time troubles at about the same time; North China; Mayans; Anasazi and whatever agriculturists were in Peru. I'm sure the list does not end there."

So, the MWP was global after all, what with problems in China, Peru, etc. But wait... James says:

"As for the MWP, I fail to see the relevance of whether or not the models could accurately predict some minor regional climate variability."

..."minor regional"...

You guys have apparently not studied Holy Writ (MBH etc.) well enough.

You also realize, no doubt, that in one of the leaked E-mails Briffa admits his view that the MWP warmth matched today's. He was quickly brought in line, though, as he took part in the public savaging of Soon and Baliunas thereafter.

P. Lewis - Amazing that you bring up the issue of statistical confidence. You really think the reconstructions have statistical significance going back 1,000 years? Wow. Also, amazing that you would bring up the issue of paleos suppressing reconstruction data inconvenient to their cause. Seems that for folks on your side this would be an unwelcome topic at the moment.

Martin -

I'm a chemical engineer and know how to do mass and energy modeling. The "warming in the pipeline" meme is nonsense.

P. Lewis said...

Tom C, does AR4 say that "all published reconstructions find that temperatures were warm during medieval times, cooled to low values in the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries, and warmed rapidly after that" or not?

And why do you conflate statistical confidence and significance? The results/analyses will have measures of statistical confidence and significance applied, though I can't say what those are without going back to the individual reconstructions, which I have no intention of doing for you. You could do it for me/us though.

And why do you avoid the questions "Who is doing the Soviet-style rewriting?" and "Is it the case that you'd like the palaeoclimate scientists to suppress any data and analyses showing that the MWP was cooler than you'd have liked it to be?

You said earlier that A lot of us are smart enough to follow an argument....

That is true, And some aren't, but in some DK fantasy world think they are. Methinks you fall into the latter category.

Martin said...

> I'm a chemical engineer and know how
> to do mass and energy modeling. The
> "warming in the pipeline" meme is
> nonsense.

You're joking, right?

I don't find it funny. Rather sad, actually.

Tom C said...

Martin -

I'm a chemical engineer and know how
> to do mass and energy modeling. The
> "warming in the pipeline" meme is
> nonsense.

You're joking, right?

Um, no.

P. Lewis -

There is massive evidence that the MWP was worldwide and much warmer than present. So, as to who is doing the re-writing, it's easy to see when James talks of "minor regional warming" and Mann and Gore use scare quotes for the MWP, as if its existence is a joke.

BTW, is this a sentence in some weird climate science sort of way?:

"That is true, And some aren't, but in some DK fantasy world think they are."

Hugh said...

There is massive evidence that the MWP was worldwide and much warmer than present.

Massive evidence, which is apparently so massive that it isn't even worth citing!

Martin said...

> There is massive evidence that the MWP
> was worldwide and much warmer than
> present.

Yep. Whatever you say Tom. Remember to take your medication.

Jesús said...

Great! Thanks for informing! ;-)

David B. Benson said...

Tom C --- No, MWP was not global; neither Patagonia nor Antarctica took part. And in North America, the main problem was a long drought, not temperature change per se. Furthermore, it does not appear to be the case that that MWP strictly coincided with the European MWP.

Tom C said...

OK, here's one at random:

D Zhang

Chinese Academy of Meteorological Sciences, Baishiqiaolu No. 46, 100081 Beijing, China


"Abstract: The collected documentary records of the cultivation of citrus trees and Boehmeria nivea (a perennial herb) have been used to produce distribution maps of these plants for the eighth, twelfth and thirteenth centuries A.D. The northern boundary of citrus and Boehmeria nivea cultivation in the thirteenth century lay to the north of the modern distribution. During the last 1000 years, the thirteenth-century boundary was the northernmost. This indicates that this was the warmest time in that period. On the basis of knowledge of the climatic conditions required for planting these species, it can be estimated that the annual mean temperature in south Henan Province in the thirteenth century was 0.9–1.0°C higher than at present. A new set of data for the latest snowfall date in Hangzhou from A.D. 1131 to 1264 indicates that this cannot be considered a cold period, as previously believed."

So, according to this researcher, the MWP peaked in China at the same time as in Europe and temperatures were likely 1 C higher than now.

Quick, guys, label this paper as "rubbish", call him an idiot (James is good at the climate science version of the "bon mot"), cite the papers that "refute" him. I'm going to guess that Bradley, Hughes, Mann, Ammann, and company will figure importantly in the citations.

You see, that's the problem. The Team are right because they are climate scientists, defined as those who maximize the case for AGW alarm. Zang, for all I know, is a fervent AGW advocate. But his paper is unacceptable because it minimizes the case for alarm. So, therefore, he is not a real climate scientist (see definition above).

When you are done slandering Zang, you can get to work on Yang et. al. (2002), Xu et. al. (2002), Hong et. al. (2000), etc.

James Annan said...

"So, according to this researcher, the MWP peaked in China at the same
time as in Europe and temperatures were likely 1 C higher than now."

Actually, based on a quick glance at the paper and also the wikipedia page on MWP, the author presents evidence for a warming trend in China over 1000-1200 or so, coincident with the general cooling trend at that time for the northern hemisphere reconstructions (shown on the wikipedia page). Sure, if you give yourself 5 centuries to look at, you can find warm periods pretty much everywhere within that time frame. Today, we have a strong warming just about everywhere in the same decade that is only going to get stronger.

Arie Brand said...
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Arie Brand said...
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Arie Brand said...
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Arie Brand said...

In the case of the MWP we have had the testimony of many instant historians. You know, the types who come up with vineyards in medieval England, a green Greenland etc.

It is therefore a nice change to hear a real historian about it. And not just any historian. The now eighty year old Le Roy Ladurie is one of France's most prolific and prominent historians. He became also one of the first environmental historians with the 1967-publication of his book "Histoire du climat depuis l'an mil". Here is a fragment from an interview with him as it appeared on the German climateblog PrimaKlima:

Question (by La Decouverte):
"Does the present warming look like the return of the Medieval Warming period.?"
Here is his clear answer: "No, the present warming is clearly more pronounced. At the height of the MWP average temperatures were, at least in Scandinavia according to Mausberg, 0.7°C higher than during the minimum of the Little Ice Age. Between 2000 and 2007 we had in France temperatures that were 1.6°C higher than those at the beginning of the twentieth century. ... At the start of the interview Ladurie came up with this precise statement on the theme MWP: "We had here a phase that was a little bit milder perhaps as far as the climate was concerned, comparable to a phase in the thirties and forties." (my translation - AB)

Arie Brand said...

Sorry for the triple post. The reappearance of the comment square misled me.

Arie Brand

Martin said...

Yep, Gish Gallop is easy. Just what the Watties are doing with surface stations, Tom C is trying with cherry-picked locations and sub-periods of the MWP.

Ever heard of analysis Tom? You know, what scientists do for a living?

Tom C said...

If you guys think someone is cherry picking it is not me. The title of the paper I cited is "Evidence for the MWP in China". So your beef is with Dr. Zang, not me.

P. Lewis said...

No it's not Tom C!

No one disputes that there is evidence for warm periods throughout the medieval time period and in various parts of the globe, it's just that there is little or no evidence (currently) for a globally synchronous (get it?) MWP throughout the period. All that is in at least one IPCC report somewhere; definitely in the TAR. And the example you've raised doesn't change things much, if at all.

In the late 1980s–-early 1990s, when data and analyses were scarce concerning this issue, then there might have been a suggestion that it was a synchronous global MWP (then again, with limited data of limited time resolution I doubt whether the professional palaeo people would have said so categorically then either).

The confidence levels are still wide in the palaeo reconstructions (this is not hidden), so there is margin for movement away from the means of those reconstructions (up or down) and for movement in time. If there is, then so be it. If there isn't, then so be it. I couldn't care less, as that's how science works.

Anyway, even if it were a global synchronous event, it's unimportant with regard to late 20th century--early 21st century and later warming.* Why? Because the mechanism for MWP (possibly THC related) is completely different to the "CO2-generated" warming of today and into the future.

So there you have it: the IPCC report(s) say there was an MWP (gosh!), that it did happen in various parts of the globe (golly gosh!!) and that all published reconstructions find that temperatures were warm during medieval times (well, blow me down with a feather!) ... but that evidence of synchrony of events is lacking (aw!) and that it was warmer in some places than in others (good heavens!). Oh, yes, and you haven't discovered something the professional palaeo people are unaware of (as if!).

As for the DK thing, I wouldn't bother yourself, as it was a tad uncomplimentary and you probably wouldn't understand it anyway.

*If the mechanism that caused the MWP event to happen were to occur in a future of high temperatures and high CO2, then it would affect those future temperatures (but not necessarily how one might think in the short to medium term), but that's another issue and one that calls for much speculation.

Martin said...

P. Lewis,

as I said, in rather less words ;-)

Deep Climate said...

And of course there is a connection between the MWP and the CRU hacked emails. For the paper at the centre of the controversy at Climate Research was the Soon and Baliunas tripe on MWP greenlighted by Chris de Freitas.

In the end, despite some tough talk the real scientists bludgeoned that one through a scientific riposte so powerful that editor-in-chief Hans von Storch and four others resigned, citing an obvious breakdown in the peer review process.

You can go here to read more and get the refs:

http://deepclimate.org/2009/12/02/in-the-beginning-friends-of-science-talisman-energy-and-the-de-freitas-brothers/

But of course one of the issues was precisely that of simultaneity.

P. Lewis said...

Martin

I did have a one-word answer, but I think it may have been edited ;-)

James Annan said...

Tom C,

Next time you might fare better if you try reading beyond the title and seeing what the paper actually says :-)

David B. Benson said...

Palaeoclimatologists developing region-specific climate reconstructions of past centuries conventionally label their coldest interval as "LIA" and their warmest interval as the "MWP".[4][6] Others follow the convention and when a significant climate event is found in the "LIA" or "MWP" time frames, associate their events to the period. Some "MWP" events are thus wet events or cold events rather than strictly warm events, particularly in central Antarctica where climate patterns opposite to the North Atlantic area have been noticed.
from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medieval_Warm_Period

EliRabett said...

Tom means the European Warm Period, and by the way, they are making some supposedly drinkable wine in England (gotta be better than the Virginia plonk) as we speak, and the French are worried about competition from Scotland. Of course, that's the Telegraph

Tom C said...

I’m baaack!

“Getting rid” of something like the MWP is no small feat. Probably akin to “getting rid” of the Great Pyramid, or Half Dome. To “get rid”of something so firmly established by both historical and proxy data requires years of persistence and mendacity. Fortunately the East Anglia gang and Don Mann have been up to the task.

Here’s how it was done: First, the damn thing is so well established in European history and was clearly so much warmer than today (for 2-3 centuries) that challenging this fact head on was likely beyond the ample propagandistic abilities of even Don Mann and cohorts. What was needed was an elaborate shell game with geography and time the shells. Then, back this up with manipulated tree-ring data and dubious statistical theories which purport to show an unchanging global mean tempareture for two millenia.

Make the claim that this was merely a regional phenomenon. So, while a region of say 2,000 mile radius centered on London baked for 300 years, the rest of the globe cooled to just the right extent to yield an average global temperature that didn’t budge! For 300 years, nuttin but flat line average global temperatures. The beauty of this claim is that it comports so well with the everyday experience of the common folk. Like the thunderclouds that park themselves over a small village and stay there storming for, say, 65 straight years while the rest of the contry side stays in drought so that the average rainfall for the country is unchanged. Or the counties in Colorado that suddenly become humid as the rain forest for 125 years while the rest of the state becomes drier than normal (but just drier enough so that the average humidity stays rock solid, say +/- 0.05 percent for all 125 years).

Now if a denier (or any scientist not part of the gang) says “wait, it was much warmer half way across the world about the same time” Don Mann replies “no, it was warmer, but that was 50 years after it was warm in the 2,000 mile radius around London”. So, if other regions were very warm, they were not synchronous. If other regions were synchronous, they were not warm. Keep the shells moving, add in threats and insults, establish a network of web apologists, and before you know it the thing is “gotten rid of”.

Tom C said...

Eli -

We are making wine here in Minnesota now. The reason has nothing to do with climate change. It is because of plant breeding and genetic engineering. Pretty lame attempt.

James Annan said...

Tom C said...
I’m baaack!


More's the pity - your conspiracy theories aren't even amusing me any more.

A radius of 2000 miles only covers about 5% of the globe, and what's more no-one that I know of is denying some warmth (in the global mean, compared to the centuries either side) at the MWP, only that it was not as warm as at present. A simple glance at the figure on the wikipedia page I already referred to is sufficient to debunk your main claim.