Tag Archives: Global warming

U.N Climate Panel Seeks Help

The Nobel Prize-winning international scientific panel studying global warming is seeking independent outside review for how it makes major reports. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says it’s seeking some kind of independent review because of recent criticism about its four 2007 reports.

“The IPCC has a long road ahead to regain trust.”

Chris Field


Critics have found a few unsettling errors, including projections of retreats in Himalayan glaciers, in the thousands of pages of the reports. The Nobel Prize-winning international scientific panel studying global warming is now seeking independent outside review for how it makes major reports.

Scientists say the problems are minor and have nothing to do with the major conclusions about man-made global warming and how it will harm people and ecosystems. But researchers acknowledge that they have been too slow to respond to a drip-drip-drip of criticisms in the past three months. And those criticisms seem to have resonated in poll results and media coverage that has put climate scientists on the defensive.

“The IPCC clearly has suffered a loss in public confidence,” Stanford University climate scientist Chris Field, a chairman of one of the IPCC’s four main research groups told The Associated Press,  Saturday.

“And one of the things that I think the world deserves is a clear understanding of what aspects the IPCC does well and what aspects of the IPCC can be improved.”

An independent review “is much needed,” says  scientist Roger Pielke Jr. of University of Colorado environmental studies and a longtime critic of the IPCC.

“The IPCC has a long road ahead to regain trust,” Pielke says.

In a statement issued Saturday by overall IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri the group of volunteer scientists said it tries to be accurate and follow procedures.

“But we recognize the criticism that has been leveled at us and the need to respond,” Pachauri says.

One example of the criticism was a Senate speech earlier this month when Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., called problems with the IPCC “the makings of a major scientific scandal.”

“There is a crisis of confidence in the IPCC,” Inhofe said Feb. 11.

“The challenges to the integrity and credibility of the IPCC merit a closer examination by the US Congress.”

The panel shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 with former Vice President Al Gore. The panel was created by the United Nations and the World Meteorological Organization.

Pachauri’s statement said the panel consulted with the United Nations and plans to find “distinguished experts” to review how it write its reports.

There were no details on how the review would be done. They will come sometime in early March, according to Pachauri’s statement.

But one of the troubles is that the IPCC is written by most of the world’s top experts in climate science. And the experts who don’t write it, often review it, so it’s hard to find someone both independent and knowledgeable.

“That’s why the IPCC is most likely to find an outside organization or group — such as a scientific society of a national academy of science — to run the review,” Field said.

That panel would then make the decision on who should be part of the review and if former IPCC authors should be part of it. Scientists who write or review the panel’s reports say they do not get paid, but sometimes get reimbursed for travel expense and in the end often lose money on the deal.

University of Victoria climate scientist Andrew Weaver, who has been an IPCC author in the past, called the IPCC plan and statement “an appropriate and measured response.”

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As Climate War Intensifies, So Does Extreme Weather

Climate scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings.  The 2009 study claimed that sea levels would rise by up to 82cm by the end of century – but the report’s author now says true estimate is still unknown.

“It’s one of those things that happens.”

Mark Siddall

Scientists have been forced to withdraw a study on projected sea level rise due to global warming after finding mistakes that undermined the findings, The Guardian report. At the same time, extreme levels of snow is once again paralyzing major European countries.

Climate scientists withdraw their journal that claims rising of sea levels. The 2009 study claimed that sea levels would rise by up to 82cm by the end of century – but the report’s author now says true estimate is still unknown.

The study, published in 2009 in Nature Geoscience, one of the top journals in its field, confirmed the conclusions of the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). It used data over the last 22,000 years to predict that sea level would rise by between 7cm and 82cm by the end of the century.

At the time, Mark Siddall, from the Earth Sciences Department at the University of Bristol, said the study “strengthens the confidence with which one may interpret the IPCC results”. The IPCC said that sea level would probably rise by 18cm-59cm by 2100, though stressed this was based on incomplete information about ice sheet melting and that the true rise could be higher.

Many scientists criticised the IPCC approach as too conservative, and several papers since have suggested that sea level could rise more. Martin Vermeer of the Helsinki University of Technology, Finland and Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany published a study in December that projected a rise of 0.75m to 1.9m by 2100.

Siddall said that he did not know whether the retracted paper’s estimate of sea level rise was an overestimate or an underestimate.

Announcing the formal retraction of the paper from the journal, Siddall said: “It’s one of those things that happens. People make mistakes and mistakes happen in science.” He said there were two separate technical mistakes in the paper, which were pointed out by other scientists after it was published. A formal retraction was required, rather than a correction, because the errors undermined the study’s conclusion.

“Retraction is a regular part of the publication process,” he said. “Science is a complicated game and there are set procedures in place that act as checks and balances.”

Full article at guardian.co.uk

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Moscow Burried By Record Snowfall

Thousands of snow-clearing machines have been working to dig the Russian capital Moscow out of a record-breaking fall of 63cm (nearly 25 inches), according to BBC News.

After a weekend of heavy snow showers, the regional weather centre announced that the previous record of 62cm, set in 1966, had been broken.

Snow ploughs were due to make three clean sweeps of the city on Monday.

Drivers were asked to leave their cars at home but rail services are said to have been unaffected by the weather.

A Moscow railway spokesman said that 4,471km (2,778m) of track had been cleared of snow on Sunday.

In all, about 15,000 snow-clearing machines were deployed in the city of about 10.5 million people, backed by 8,500 dump trucks and about 5,500 street-sweeping personnel.

Source: news.bbc.co.uk

The heavy snowfall is also resulting in canceled flights and delayed trains in Scandinavia and central Europe.

Here’s last nights TV news report from Moscov:

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Top Scientist: "UN Climate Panel Is Losing All Credibility"

The UN climate scientists are under heavy fire. Friday Dutch authorities said the UN’s climate report uses inaccurate data related to the sea level in the Netherlands. Today British top scientist Chris Field says the UN climate panel is loosing credibility after a series of mistakes, miscalculations and use of inaccurate data.

“Any such projection should be based on peer-reviewed literature from computer modeling of how agricultural yields would respond to climate change. I can see no such data supporting the IPCC report.”

Robert Watson

Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change

A leading British government scientist has warned the United Nations’ climate panel to tackle its blunders or lose all credibility, The Sunday Times reports.

Robert Watson, chief scientist at Defra, the environment ministry, who chaired the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 1997 to 2002, was speaking after more potential inaccuracies emerged in the IPCC’s 2007 benchmark report on global warming.

According to timesonline.co.uk the most important is a claim that global warming could cut rain-fed north African crop production by up to 50% by 2020, a remarkably short time for such a dramatic change. The claim has been quoted in speeches by Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, and by Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary-general.

This weekend Professor Chris Field, the new lead author of the IPCC’s climate impacts team, told The Sunday Times that he could find nothing in the report to support the claim. The revelation follows the IPCC’s retraction of a claim that the Himalayan glaciers might all melt by 2035.

The African claims could be even more embarrassing for the IPCC because they appear not only in its report on climate change impacts but, unlike the glaciers claim, are also repeated in its Synthesis Report.

This report is the IPCC’s most politically sensitive publication, distilling its most important science into a form accessible to politicians and policy makers. Its lead authors include Pachauri himself.

In it he wrote: “By 2020, in some countries, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by up to 50%. Agricultural production, including access to food, in many African countries is projected to be severely compromised.” The same claims have since been cited in speeches to world leaders by Pachauri and Ban.

Speaking at the 2008 global climate talks in Poznan, Poland, Pachauri said: “In some countries of Africa, yields from rain-fed agriculture could be reduced by 50% by 2020.” In a speech last July, Ban said: “Yields from rain-fed agriculture could fall by half in some African countries over the next 10 years.”

Speaking this weekend, Field said: “I was not an author on the Synthesis Report but on reading it I cannot find support for the statement about African crop yield declines.”

Watson said such claims should be based on hard evidence. “Any such projection should be based on peer-reviewed literature from computer modeling of how agricultural yields would respond to climate change. I can see no such data supporting the IPCC report,” he said.

The claims in the Synthesis Report go back to the IPCC’s report on the global impacts of climate change. It warns that all Africa faces a long-term threat from farmland turning to desert and then says of north Africa, “additional risks that could be exacerbated by climate change include greater erosion, deficiencies in yields from rain-fed agriculture of up to 50% during the 2000-20 period, and reductions in crop growth period (Agoumi, 2003)”.

Agoumi” refers to a 2003 policy paper written for the International Institute for Sustainable Development, a Canadian think tank. The paper was not peer-reviewed.

Its author was Professor Ali Agoumi, a Moroccan climate expert who looked at the potential impacts of climate change on Tunisia, Morocco and Algeria. His report refers to the risk of “deficient yields from rain-based agriculture of up to 50% during the 2000–20 period”.

These claims refer to other reports prepared by civil servants in each of the three countries as submissions to the UN. These do not appear to have been peer-reviewed either.

The IPCC is also facing criticism over its reports on how sea level rise might affect Holland. Dutch ministers have demanded that it correct a claim that more than half of the Netherlands lies below sea level when, in reality, it is about a quarter.

The errors seem likely to bring about change at the IPCC. Field said: “The IPCC needs to investigate a more sophisticated approach for dealing with emerging errors.”

Link to original article.

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