Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

Congressman Rohrabacher’s Paper Tiger

with 7 comments

Fact: We are overloading the air and oceans with carbon which is causing too much heat to be trapped.  Climate change is arguably the most studied scientific issue of the day and virtually every scientist and scientific body agrees that the planet is warming, and the primary cause is the massive emission of the heat-trapping gas carbon dioxide.  This overwhelming consensus is driven by the multiple human fingerprints of human-caused warming.  In fact, the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) recently issued four reports called America’s Climate Choices (2010) that clearly show humans are driving global warming and the impacts already occurring are cause for serious concern.  The NAS concludes:

”A strong, credible body of scientific evidence shows that climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for a broad range of human and natural systems…. Some scientific conclusions or theories have been so thoroughly examined and tested, and supported by so many independent observations and results, that their likelihood of subsequently being found to be wrong is vanishingly small. Such conclusions and theories are then regarded as settled facts. This is the case for the conclusions that the Earth system is warming and that much of this warming is very likely due to human activities.”

Enter Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) who has a history of getting the science wrongOn three occasions (Feb 4, 2010, March 10, 2010, and Feb 17, 2011), Rep. Rohrabacher has entered  into the Congressional record an open letter signed by over 100 scientists and published as a full page ad in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Washington Times, and Los Angeles Times.  The letter was addressed to the President of the United States and flies in the face of the scientific understanding of climate change. The letter can be viewed here

The letter contained 115 signatures and made the following assertions:

  1. The case for alarm regarding climate change is grossly overstated
  2. Characterization of the scientific facts regarding climate change and the degree of certainty informing the scientific debate is simply incorrect
  3. Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest
  4. There has been no net global warming for over a decade
  5. The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior

So who were these scientists and are they qualified to sign this letter?  (Item #4 is an automatic disqualifier in my book because any legitimate expert should know that a decade cannot be used to refute the underlying climate trend.  This claim is especially absurd given that the past three decades have been the warmest in the instrumental record!)

Journal database search tools (SCOPUS, Academic Search Premier, Science Direct, and Google Scholar)  were used to examine the publications which have relevance to climate science from all of these individuals.  Only papers published between Jan 1, 2006 and the present were considered.  Work prior to that can hardly make assertions on global warming ‘for over a decade’; more generally, there has been an explosion of knowledge about the Earth’s climate system in these last 5 1/2 years.  Total post-2005 publications are listed in the column below titled Climate Papers.  (Note: Energy & Environment publications were not included nor were conference papers.  1/2 point was given to a paper that was only marginally related to climate science.) 

The result: Only nine of these 115 (8%) have published recent research which give evidence that they have some expertise in at least one of areas 3, 4, or 5.  These nine are highlighted below in bolded red.  NONE have expertise in all three of these areas.  Worse, more than 2/3 of the signers have NO RECENT PAPERS related to climate yet they felt qualified to sign a letter addressed to the President of the United States to tell him he is wrong and the science is wrong - the arrogance!

Some of the other 106 scientists have studied various environmental aspects of climate change on lakes or forests, or the climate during prehistoric times, but with no expertise bearing on items 3,4,and 5. Many of the 115 are not themselves scientists in any meaningful sense, though they may have written opinion pieces in various places. This is not to say that there are not distinguished scientists among the remainder:

Dr. Ivar Giaever is a Nobel Laureate of 1973 in Physics. This was awarded jointly to Dr. Giaver, Leo Esaki, and Brian Josephson for work in “tunneling” effects in solid physics.  This has no connection with climate science and Dr. Giaver’s interests turned to biophysics and he has no record at all of work related to climate science nor is he active in research.

Dr. Wil Happer is a distinguished physicist at Princeton and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. Although he has testified before Congress concerning climate science, his expertise is given on his web page as follows: We’re a small research group investigating the fundamental interactions between atoms, molecules and light. More specifically, we’re interested in the mechanisms that limit the performance of optical pumping systems, such as atomic clocks, magnetometers, and laser guide-star adaptive optics systems. Our projects are all tabletop experiments involving lasers and warm vapor cells. This hardly qualifies him as an expert on climate science.

Dr. Ian D. Clark is a productive active researcher in chemical geography, but an examination of his 21 publications shows that none of them have any direct relevance to items 3, 4, or 5.

It is my opinion that by any reasonable standard, the collective judgment of the 116 individuals who signed this letter cannot be compared with the judgment of the panels who contributed to the recent series of National Academy of Sciences reports on these matters. If Congress wants informed, competent advice on these matters they should study these reports and call as witnesses those who contributed to them.

Not surprisingly, Rep. Rohrabacher’s letter is merely a paper tiger. 

 

 Last Name  First, Init  Degree  Affiliation  Climate Papers
Lupo Anthony, R. PhD Univ. of Missouri 12
Humlum Ole PhD Univ. of Oslo 10
Lindzen Richard S. PhD MIT 10
Tonni Eduardo P.  PhD Museo De La Plata, (Argentina)  8
Leavitt Peter R. PhD University of Regina 7.5
Douglass David, H PhD Univ. Rochester 6
Legates David R. PhD Univ. of Delaware 5.5
Khandekar Madhav PhD Climate Consultant Markham 5
Gray William M. PhD Colorado State Univ. 4
Malmgren Bjorn PhD Goteburg University (emeritus) 4
Spencer Roy W PhD Univ. Alabama, Huntsville 4
Taylor George H. MS former Oregon State Climatologist 3.5
Herman Ben PhD Univ. of Arizona (retired) 3
Kramm Gerhard PhD Univ. Alaska 2.5
Ridd Peter PhD James Cook Univ, Aust. 2.5
Akasofu Syun PhD Univ. Alaska Faribanks 2
Armstrong J. Scott PhD University of Pennsylvania 2
Copper Paul PhD Laurentian Univ. (emeritus) 2
Essex Christopher PhD Univ. Western Ontario 2
Gerhard Lee C PhD Kansas Geologist 2
Gerlich Gerhard PhD Technische Universitat Braunschweig 2
Karlen Wibjorn  PhD Stockholm University 2
Kauffman Joel PhD Univ. Sci. Philadelphia 2
Michaels Patrick, J. PhD Univ. of Virginia 2
Morner Nils-axel PhD Stockholm University 2
Ollier Cliff D Dsci Univ. Western Aust. 2
Paltridge  Garth W PhD Univ. Tasmania 2
Ashworth Robert A   Clearstack LLC 1
Essenhigh Robert H PhD Ohio State 1
Hertzberg Martin PhD US Navy (retired) 1
Idso Craig, D. PhD Center For The Study Of Carbon Dioxide And Global Change 1
Idso Sherwood, B. PhD U.S. Dept of Agriculture (retired) 1
Lins Harry F. PhD USGS-IPCC Hydrology & Water Resources 1
Moene Asmunn  PhD Former Head, Forecasting Center, Meteorological Institute, Norway 1
Morgan Richard   PhD Exeter Univ. 1
Tscheuschner Ralf, D.  PhD   1
Walin Gosta  PhD University Of Gothenburg, (emeritus)  1
Anderson Arthur G PhD IBM 0
Anderson Charles R Phd Anderson Materials Evaluation 0
Baht Ismail PhD Univ. Kashmir 0
Barton Colin   CSIRO 0
Bellamy David J     0
Blaylock John - Los Alamos National Lab (retired) 0
Blick Edward F. PhD Univ. Oklahoma (emer) 0
Boehmer-Christiansen Sonja PhD Univ. of Hull 0
Breck Bob BS TV Weatherman, Fox, New Orleans 0
Brignell John PhD Univ. Southampton (emeritus) 0
Campbell Mark L. PhD Dept. of Chem. U.S. Naval Academy 0
Carter Robert M. PhD James Cook Univ, Aust. 0
Clark Ian D. PhD Earth Sciences, Univ. Ottawa, Canada 0
Cohen Roger W. PhD Fellow, APS; Global Thermostat LLD 0
Corbyn Piers MS Weather Action 0
Courtney Richard, S. PhD Consultant 0
Crescenti Uberto PhD Past-President, Italian Geol Society 0
Crockford Susan PhD University of Victoria 0
D’aleo Joseph, S. MS Fellow, AMS 0
Demeo James PhD Univ. of Kansas (retired) 0
Deming David PhD Univ. of Oklahoma 0
Douglas Diane PhD URS Corporation 0
Ferguson John K PhD Univ. Newcastle 0
Ferreyra Eduardo   Argentinian Foundation For A Scientific Ecology 0
Fox Michael R Phd American Nuclear Society 0
Fulks Gordon PhD Gordon Fulks and Assoc. 0
Giaever Ivar PhD Rennselear Emeritus 0
Glatzle Albrecht PhD Sci. Director, Inttas, Paraguay 0
Goodfellow Wayne PhD Univ. of Ottawa 0
Goodridge James - Univ Alabama Emer; Cal State Climogist 0
Gould Laurence PhD Univ. Hartford 0
Gray Vincent PhD New Zealand Climate Coalition 0
Green Kenneth D.Env. Americn Enterprise Institute 0
Green Kesten PhD Monash 0
Happer Will PhD Princeton 0
Hayden Howard, C. PhD Univ. of Connecticut (retired) 0
Hoffman Doug PhD Adjunct prof, U Central Arkansas 0
Huettner Bernd     0
Hutton A. Neil   Past President, Canadian Soc. of Petrol. Geologists 0
Itoh Kiminori  PhD Yokohama National University 0
Japar Stephen, M PhD Ford Research Laboratory 0
Kaijser Sten PhD Uppsala 0
Kear David PhD   0
Keen Richard A PhD Univ. Colorado 0
Kemm Kelvin PhD   0
Knox Robert S Phd Univ. Rochester 0
Koermer James P PhD Plymouth University 0
Kraus Wayne PhD Univ Oklahoma, Emeritus 0
Kvalheim Olav PhD Univ. Bergen 0
Larsen Roar PhD Univ. Science & Technology 0
Lea James F. PhD PL Tech LLC 0
Leahey Douglas PhD Jacques Whitford LTD, Monction, Canada 0
Maccabee Howard PhD Stanford Medical School 0
Malberg Horst PhD Free University of Berlin 0
Marohasy Jennifer PhD Australian Environment Foundation 0
Marusek James   US Navy (retired) 0
McKitrick Ross PhD University Of Guelph 0
Minnich Timmothy, R. MS Minnich And Scotto, Inc. 0
Monce Michael PhD Connecticut Coll. 0
Nowell David Msci Nato Meteorology Canada 0
Peckarek Alfred PhD St. Cloud State Univ. 0
Perkins Robert A PE Univ. Alaska 0
Plimer Ian R PhD Univ. Melbourne 0
Pratt Brian R Phd Univ. Saskatchewan 0
Reinhard John PhD Epix Pharmaceuticals 0
Rose Curt PhD Bishop’s Univ. Quebec, emer. 0
Salonius Peter Msc Canadian Forest Service 0
Sharp Gary PhD Center For Ocean/Climate Resources 0
Sheahan Thomas P. PhD Western Technologies, Inc 0
Simmons Allen   Author 0
Super Arline PhD Retired Research Met; US Dept. Reclam 0
Uriarte Anton PhD Universidad Del Pais Vasco  0
Valentine Brian PhD U.S. Department Of Energy  0
Weber Gerd-Rainer  PhD   0
Wezel Forese-Carlo  PhD Urbino University 0
Wimberley Edward T.  PhD Florida Gulf Coast University 0
Zagoni Miklos  PhD Central Res Inst for Physics, Budapest 0
Zichichi Antonio  PhD President, World Federation Of Scientists 0

 

(For some perspective, NASA’s Dr. Gavin Schmidt has over 50 climate papers published since 2006, many of which directly relate to items 3, 4, and 5).

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Written by Scott Mandia

April 12, 2011 at 5:05 am

Posted in Uncategorized

7 Responses

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  1. What does “net” global warming mean?

    grypo

    April 12, 2011 at 7:18 am

  2. Scott,

    Would love to see these 115 directly compared to the NAS and/or IPCC contributors. It would probably look something like every other assessment of the “consensus” ie 97-99% to 1-3%.

    Would be happy to help with such an effort.

    Nicholas Berini

    April 13, 2011 at 1:33 pm

    • Nicholas,

      I appreciate the offer but it is unnecessary and very time-intensive. You will notice many of the same names on the various petitions. Most of these signers have little to no credibility while those that actually do the research have many, many publications to support their conclusions.

      Scott Mandia

      April 14, 2011 at 4:39 pm

  3. (Item #4 is an automatic disqualifier in my book because any legitimate expert should know that a decade cannot be used to refute the underlying climate trend. This claim is especially absurd given that the past three decades have been the warmest in the instrumental record!)
    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
    I was disappointed by the incompleteness of the above answer:
    Claiming the past decade showed no upward trend is ignoring that the claim was made on the basis of Surface Sea Temperatures, consisting of the statical trick of picking one freakish extreme temperature event as its starting point and ignoring the preceding trend.

    It also ignores that heat has continued to accumulate within the oceans.
    ~ ~ ~
    For more detailed information visit:
    SkepticalScience.com

    “3 levels of cherry picking in a single argument”
    “Did global warming stop in 1998?”
    among other informative articles

    citizenschallenge

    April 14, 2011 at 2:59 pm

  4. Sorry Professor Mandia,
    I do appreciate you know light-years more about these details than I do. Still I wish more could be done to underscore the shear dishonestly of the warming-stopped claim.

    peter

    Mandia: If one follows those links it is quite clear the claims in this letter are without support. Never a problem if you wish to elaborate in comments.

    citizenschallenge

    April 14, 2011 at 3:08 pm

  5. [...] Of the seven authors of the Cato Counterfeit Report only five have any publications and two have dubious backgrounds. There really is no comparison between the authors of the real report from USGCRP and the authors of the fake report. (Cato Institute has a history of documents with few real experts named. See: Congressman Rohrabacher’s Paper Tiger.) [...]


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