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Accelerating Global Climate Change II

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Sore Throat

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Europe hit by floods PostFri Jun 18, 2010 4:49 pm  Reply with quote

Europe hit by floods

The authorities in Cantabria Province declared mass evacuation after rivers burst their banks. Hundreds of people were left without homes.

20 more people fall victim to deadly floods in the south of France. In the photo: An evacuee being helped out near Draguignan, Var region, in Southern France

The worst hit is the department of Var, where a state of emergency has been in place. In the photo: Evacuees being helped out near Arc sur Argens, Var region, in Southern France

Witnesses say flash floods hit so unexpectedly that many had no time to do anything and stared helplessly as mudslides carried away their cars. In the photo: Aerial view of trucks half submerged at the Vallee de l'Argens, Var region in Southern France

Whole districts were inundated, fields went underwater. In the photo: Aerial view of the flooded Vallee de l'Argens, Var region in Southern France, 16 June 2010

On French television footages the department of Var resemble one huge muddy marsh with roofs of houses above the surface

The authorities in Cantabria Province declared mass evacuation after rivers burst their banks. Hundreds of people were left without homes

Rescue operations are on in flooded areas. In the photo: A boat sails through debris floating in the Nervion river after the floods in Bilbao, northern Spain, 17 June 2010

Austria is bracing itself up for more floods. Torrential rains have already caused flooding in Styria. Sewerage systems are not coping. Local residents have to make water barriers themselves. In the photo: Fire fighters inspect the flood damages after heavy storms in Sinnersdorf area of Pinggau, Austria
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Sore Throat

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Global warming to continue wreaking havoc PostFri Jun 18, 2010 4:52 pm  Reply with quote

Global warming to continue wreaking havoc

Cutting greenhouse gases will be no quick fix for the weather

LONDON - Global warming will continue to bring havoc to the world's weather systems for decades after reductions are made in greenhouse gas emissions, a new study shows.

Scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre in Exeter say climate change could bring greater disruption to the planet's water cycle than previously thought.

The research suggests that increased floods and droughts could continue long after future efforts to stabilise temperature may succeed.

Dr Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Hadley Centre, said: "We can't say that if we manage to bring down our carbon dioxide emissions then we don't need to worry any more. There will still be changes beyond that point."

A team led by Dr Peili Wu used a computer model to analyse how the Earth's water cycle could react to changes in future amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

It found that once carbon dioxide levels rise to a high level, even sharp reductions fail to prevent longlasting impacts on snow and rainfall.

This is due to accumulated heat in the oceans, which dissipates slowly and drives changes in the water cycle as it does so.

Their study simulated the effects of a steady rise in carbon dioxide levels until the equivalent atmospheric concentration topped 1,000ppm (parts per million).

The current carbon dioxide level is just over 390ppm, and most policies aimed at tackling climate change suggest the world should not exceed 450ppm-550ppm, though this would require significant curbs on carbon pollution.

In the study, the scientists then rapidly brought the carbon dioxide level back down to pre-industrial levels of around 280ppm.

In practice, this would be impossible without geo-engineering techniques that could actively remove it from the atmosphere but the scientists wanted to see what would theoretically happen.

The model showed that, while temperatures dropped sharply as CO2 was reduced, the disruption to precipitation continued for several decades.

How the rainfall may change for a particular region is a more complicated question, though the scientists said their model suggested significant drying in South America, Southern Africa and Australia. THE GUARDIAN
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Sore Throat

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Global warming? 97% of experts agree PostFri Jun 25, 2010 4:53 pm  Reply with quote

Global warming? 97% of experts agree


A new study of climate scientists' opinions shows 97 percent agree that global warming is driven mainly by human activity – emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The study, published this week by the National Academy of Sciences, involved 1,372 climate scientists, most considered top researchers in their field.

The study's authors took pains to separate true experts – active researchers with a large number of publications to their credit – from amateurs, or scientists from other fields who make statements about climate change.

They did not pose questions directly to the scientists. Instead, they surveyed public statements the scientists had signed indicating whether they accept that the planet is warming and that humans are the primary cause.

"We felt it would be helpful to put numbers to it, and really to bring in the expertise angle," said William R.L. Anderegg, a doctoral candidate at Stanford University who studies climate change and its effects on ecosystems, and who was the study's lead author. "We thought it was important to provide the average person with a roadmap on where the experts stand on climate change."

Culling out top experts in climate science by relying on their published work helped sharpen the findings, said UC Irvine professor Michael Prather, an expert in climate modeling and an author of climate reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

"This is exactly what you would do, if you were smart, trying to pick a doctor to do some surgery on you," Prather said. "You'd want to know what the patient success rate is. You'd want to put all the statistics together. They did the same thing for science research."

The study grew in part from concern among scientists over increasing media focus on the assertions of groups that call themselves climate change skeptics – those that deny the planet is warming, or that humans are influencing the climate, or both.

The scientists, Anderegg said, had a growing sense that media reports "were becoming increasingly disconnected from the scientific discussion about climate change."

The skeptics included three percent of the top 200 scientists surveyed who remained unconvinced about climate change or humanity's role in it. But an analysis of their work showed far lower levels of publication in the climate field, as well as fewer citations of their work by other climate scientists.

Controversy erupted last year after climate scientists' emails were hacked from the University of East Anglia in England; critics contended that the emails showed exaggeration or attempts by the scientists to manipulate climate data.

The National Academy, however, points to several investigations that found no wrongdoing by the scientists, and that upheld the present scientific consensus on climate change.

Another recent survey, meanwhile, showed a decline in acceptance of human-caused warming among Americans, from 83 percent in 2007 to 75 percent today – still a high number, said the study's author, Jon Krosnick, of Stanford University's Woods Institute for the Environment.

The survey of scientists was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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Sore Throat

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Stanford Study: Few Experts Support Global Warming Skepticis PostMon Jun 28, 2010 4:55 pm  Reply with quote

Stanford Study: Few Experts Support Global Warming Skepticism

Tiffany Kaiser

Stanford University recently conducted a study that shows a minimal number of scientists who do not accept that human beings have contributed to the Earth's climate change have "far less expertise and prominence in climate research" than scientists who do believe climate change has been affected by humans.

The university came to these conclusions by analyzing the number of research papers published "by more than 900 climate researchers" and the number of times these researchers' works were cited by other scientists. The expertise was evaluated by citing the number of research papers written by scientists (with the minimum number for inclusion being 20).

Prominence was analyzed by finding the four most popular climate change and non-climate change papers published by scientists, and "tallying" the number of times these papers were cited. According to the results, approximately 64 percent of papers by climate researchers convinced of human contribution were cited more often than those who are unconvinced.

"These are standard academic metrics used when universities are making hiring or tenure decisions," said William Anderegg, lead author of a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The scientists who participated in the study were also involved in creating the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which compiled and "assessed the evidence for and against human involvement in climate change, as well as any climate researchers who signed a major public statement disagreeing with the findings of the panel's report."

In addition, the university's team of scientists decided on who the top 100 climate researchers are by determining the "total number of climate-related publications each had." According to Anderegg, 97 percent of those in the top 100 agree with and/or endorse the IPCC's assessment. He also says that this result has been "borne out" by other studies that use different methodology.

"We really wanted to bring the expertise dimension into this whole discussion," said Anderegg. "We hope to put to rest the notion that keeps being repeated in the media and by some members of the public that 'the scientists disagree' about whether human activity is contributing to climate change."

The scientists at Stanford have mentioned that they are ready to take some heat from doubters of anthropogenic, or human-affected, climate change who "object to their data." But according to Stephen Schneider, a professor of biology and a coauthor of the paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team "took pains to avoid any sort of prejudice or skewed data in their analysis." When selecting researchers for the study who either disagreed with statements of the IPCC or signed the petitions, the Stanford team was sure to stay completely neutral in the study by omitting "those who had no published papers in the climate literature."

Schneider says that despite the careful analysis of this study, skeptics of human-affected climate change will "claim foul" anyway, and will say that climate researchers who are onboard with the idea of anthropogenic climate change are "just trying to deny publication of the doubters' opinion," but he challenges them to "go out and do a study to prove it -- it is of course not true."

"I think the most typical criticism of a paper like this -- not necessarily in academic discourse, but in the broader context -- is going to be that we haven't addressed these sorts of differences could be due to some clique or, at the extreme, a conspiracy of the researchers who are convinced of climate change," Anderegg said.

"When you stop to consider whether some sort of 'group think' really drives these patterns and it could really exist in science in general, the idea is really pretty laughable," he said. "All of the incentives in science are exactly the opposite."

This Stanford study is the first of its kind to address the issue of scientists' opinions of human-affected climate change, and what their level of expertise and prominence in the field is.
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Sore Throat

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Climate Scientist Cleared of Altering Data PostSat Jul 03, 2010 5:51 pm  Reply with quote

Climate Scientist Cleared of Altering Data


An investigative panel at Pennsylvania State University, weighing the question of whether the scientist, Michael E. Mann, had “seriously deviated from accepted practices within the academic community for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities,” declared that he had not.

Dr. Mann said he was gratified by the findings, the second report from Penn State to clear him. An earlier report had exonerated him of related charges that he suppressed or falsified data, destroyed e-mail and misused confidential information.

The new report did criticize him on a minor point, saying that he had occasionally forwarded to colleagues copies of unpublished manuscripts without the explicit permission of their authors.

The allegations arose after private e-mail messages between Dr. Mann and other scientists were purloined from a computer at the University of East Anglia, in Britain, and posted on the Internet. In one, a British researcher called a data-adjustment procedure Dr. Mann used a “trick.”

The e-mail messages led climate-change skeptics to accuse mainstream researchers, including Dr. Mann, of deliberately manipulating the findings of climate science in order to strengthen their case that human activity is causing the earth to warm up.

“I’m aware, and many researchers now are keenly aware, of the depths to which the climate-change disinformation movement is willing to sink, to the point where they’re willing to criminally break into a university server and steal people’s personal e-mail messages,” Dr. Mann said in an interview.

Like the earlier report from Penn State, the new one was assailed Thursday by advocacy groups skeptical of the case for human-induced climate change.

“It’s no surprise that it’s a whitewash of Dr. Mann’s misconduct, because it was designed to be a whitewash,” said Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a Washington advocacy group. He accused the panel of failing to interview important witnesses.

The panel did not try to vet the accuracy of the science published by Dr. Mann, including a famous finding that the temperature of the earth had jumped recently, compared with past climate inferred from indicators like tree rings. Instead, it examined his methodology — his analytical techniques, his willingness to share data with those skeptical of his findings and the like. The panel unanimously found his approach “well within the range of accepted practices.”

Two inquiries in Britain have largely exonerated the scientists there who were caught up in Climategate, though one report did offer minor criticism of statistical techniques.

Dr. Mann remains under investigation by the attorney general of Virginia for research he did at the University of Virginia.
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Sore Throat

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Second University Review Clears Climate Scientist PostSat Jul 03, 2010 5:55 pm  Reply with quote

Second University Review Clears Climate Scientist

STATE COLLEGE, Pa.—Another Penn State University review has cleared a leading climate scientist of a research misconduct allegation stemming from leaked emails about global warming.

The report released Thursday said professor Michael Mann did not "seriously deviate" from accepted academic practices for proposing, conducting or reporting research.

A university inquiry in February dismissed three related allegations and recommended further investigation on a fourth. A five-member panel of professors dismissed that allegation outright in the report Thursday.

Mr. Mann has long been criticized by skeptics of man-made global warming theories. The review came after computer hackers obtained messages between U.S. and British scientists in November from a British research center.

The security breach at the University of East Anglia leaked correspondence that critics have said proves scientists may have hidden evidence and overstated the case for man-made global warming.

"The Investigatory Committee, after careful review of all available evidence, determined that there is no substance to the allegation" against Mr. Mann, Penn State's latest report concluded.

The investigation did chide Mr. Mann as "careless and inappropriate" for sharing unpublished manuscripts with third parties without getting consent of the manuscripts' authors. Otherwise, the committee said Mr. Mann did not engage or participate in actions that "seriously deviated from accepted practices" for proposing, conducting or reporting research or other scholarly activities.

"These latest findings should finally put to rest the baseless allegations against me and my research," Mr. Mann said in an email about the findings by the committee. "I'm pleased that they and I can now return to our research without further distraction."

The results drew praise from the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the Project on Climate Science.

"The attacks on scientists were a manufactured distraction, and today's report is a welcome return to common sense," said Sherwood Boehlert, a former New York congressman and Republican chair of the House Science Committee who is an adviser for the climate science group.

Mr. Mann still faces an investigation by Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative Republican who has dismissed theories of man-made global warming. Mr. Mann worked at the University of Virginia until 2005, when he left for Penn State.

Mr. Cuccinelli has demanded papers from the university as part of an inquiry over whether Mr. Mann defrauded taxpayers by using manipulated data to seek money to back his research. The University of Virginia has said the investigation is flawed and shouldn't be allowed under the state fraud act.
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Sore Throat

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Review of questioned IPCC report says conclusions 'well-foun PostTue Jul 06, 2010 7:16 pm  Reply with quote

Review of questioned IPCC report says conclusions 'well-founded'
Dutch government finds minor inaccuracies in contested paper, but reasserts that 'climate change poses "substantial risks" to most parts of the world'

Juliette Jowit

The first major independent review of criticisms of the global assessment of climate change led by the United Nations declared today that it found "no errors that would undermine the main conclusions" of the panel of international scientists that climate change will have serious consequences around the world.

However the Dutch panel of experts claims it found 12 errors - from a criticism of the number of people in Africa at risk of water shortages to mistakes in references or typing. It also suggested the summary version of the report had portrayed an over-dramatic picture by putting the emphasis on negative impacts of climate change, and it failed to explain some of the threats were not only driven by climate change.

Among several recommendations, it said the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, paid for by governments including the UK and Netherlands, should in future pay researchers to review the report in more detail.

The report was officially welcomed by the IPCC and scientists who worked on the last assessment report, published in 2007, however only a small number of the "errors" have been corrected. The remaining errors were not accepted by the scientists, said Professor Martin Parry, who was co-chair of the section of the report that was under scrutiny.

"The conclusions are not undermined by any errors, and we'd like that to be the message the world will take," said Parry. "[They found] a very small number of near-trivial errors in about 500 pages [and] probably 100,000 statements. I would say that's pretty good going."

The scientists also rejected the potentially more damaging complaint that the IPCC's Summary for Policy Makers report, which condenses eight chapters on regional impacts to a single page of 32 statements, ignored positive impacts such as the ability to grow new crops in some parts of the world, or opening of shorter Arctic sea routes.

The summary, vetted "line by line" by governments, highlights the biggest impacts on humans and the environment which need political attention, said Parry. Positive benefits tended to be local and relatively small, said Professor David Vaughan of the British Antarctic Survey, a lead coordinating author of the next IPCC assessment.

The agency was asked to examine eight chapters about the regions in the 500-page section on global impacts put together by Working Group II, which itself formed half of the full 1,000-page IPCC assessment.

One "minor inaccuracy" the Dutch panel said it found was an estimate of people in Africa who could be exposed to water stress, which they said should be narrowed from 75m-250m to 90m-220m. However Professor Nigel Arnell, the source of the data, said although the underlying models could have been added differently, to recalculate the total would be to "over-interpret" the data by suggesting a level of accuracy the IPCC does not claim.

As well as the 12 errors, the Dutch reviewers made 23 criticisms of the "quality" of statements. These ranged from failure to explain that forecast water stress and heat deaths also had other causes such as population growth, to pointing out a link to underlying research did not work. Arnell said the IPCC report "repeatedly stresses" its estimates of numbers are a comparison to what would happen if forecast climate change did not happen.

Despite rejecting many criticisms in the Dutch report, the IPCC has employed more reviewers for the fifth assessment, and should consider other changes, including paying scientists to make sure every line of the report is scrutinised before it is published, said Parry.

The Dutch government asked the environment agency to investigate the IPCC report after international controversy about two mistakes in the 2007 assessment: the date by which Himalaya glaciers were expected to melt, and a claim that 55% of the Netherlands is below the sea level. The agency report admits this mistake was based on information it provided and says the real figure was 29%.
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Climategate scientists cleared of manipulating data on globa PostThu Jul 08, 2010 5:44 pm  Reply with quote

Climategate scientists cleared of manipulating data on global warming

Muir Russell report says scientists did not fudge data, but they should have been more open about their work

David Adam
environment correspondent The Guardian

The climate scientists at the centre of a media storm over leaked emails were yesterday cleared of accusations that they fudged their results and silenced critics, but a review found they had failed to be open enough about their work.

Sir Muir Russell, the senior civil servant who led a six-month inquiry into the affair, said the "rigour and honesty" of the scientists at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia (UEA) were not in doubt. His investigation concluded they did not subvert the peer review process to censor criticism and that key data was freely available and could be used by any "competent" researcher.

But the panel said the scientists' responses to "reasonable requests for information" had been "unhelpful and defensive". The inquiry found "emails might have been deleted in order to make them unavailable should a subsequent request be made for them" and that there had been "a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness". Scientists also failed to appreciate the risk their lack of transparency posed to the university and "indeed to the credibility of UK climate science".

The controversy began when 13 years of emails from CRU scientists were released online last year. Climate change sceptics claimed they showed scientists manipulating and suppressing data to back up a theory of manmade climate change. Critics also alleged the scientists abused their positions to cover up flaws and distort the peer review process that determines which studies are published in journals, and so enter the scientific record. Some alleged the emails cast doubt on the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Announcing the findings, Russell said: "Ultimately this has to be about what they did, not what they said. The honesty and rigour of CRU as scientists are not in doubt ... We have not found any evidence of behaviour that might undermine the conclusions of the IPCC assessments."

The review is the third and final inquiry into the email affair, and effectively clears Professor Phil Jones, head of the CRU, and his colleagues of the most serious charges. Questions remain over the way they responded to requests for information from people outside the conventional scientific arena, some of whom were critics of Jones. "We do find that there has been a consistent pattern of failing to display the proper degree of openness, both on the part of CRU scientists and on the part of the UEA," said the report, commissioned by UEA at a cost of £200,000.

It also criticised the CRU scientists for failing to include proper labels on a 1999 graph prepared for the World Meteorological Organisation, which was the subject of an infamous email about Jones using a "trick" to "hide the decline". The panel said the result was misleading, though they accepted this was not deliberate as the necessary caveats had been included in the report text.

Acknowledging that the digital age brought a greater demand for openness and access to data, it concluded "like it or not, this indicates a transformation in the way science has to be conducted in this century." Edward Acton, vice-chancellor of UEA, said the university accepted the report's conclusion that it should have been more open. "The need to develop a culture of greater openness and transparency in CRU is something we faced up to internally some months ago and we are already working to put right."

He hoped the review would "finally lay to rest conspiracy theories, untruths and misunderstandings" that had been circulating, and that the "wilder assertions" about the climate science community would now stop.

Jones issued a statement which said: "I am, of course, extremely relieved that this review has now been completed. We have maintained all along that our science is honest and sound and this has been vindicated now by three different independent external bodies. There are lessons to be learned and I need time to reflect on them." Jones is to be director of research at CRU. Acton said this was "not a demotion but a shift in emphasis of role".

Ed Miliband, the former climate change secretary, said: "Muir Russell has given the world a clear message: we should not believe those who tell us that one string of emails undermines years of climate science. We should also learn lessons because maximum openness and transparency is the best weapon against those who want us to stick our heads in the sand as if climate change isn't happening. Now the world needs to step up the momentum again and get the deal that eluded us at Copenhagen."

Writing on Comment is Free, Dr Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, who testified to the inquiry, said: "The Russell review has rejected all claims of serious scientific misconduct. But he does identify failures, evasions, misleading actions, unjustifiable delays, and pervasive unhelpfulness – all of which amounts to severely sub-optimal academic practice. Climate science will never be the same again."

Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, said: "It is clear that greater transparency is required in climate research because of the intense public interest in it, and its profound implications for society. However, it is also now very apparent that many so-called sceptics owe a huge apology to the public for having presented the email messages as evidence that climate change is a hoax carried out by a conspiracy of dishonest scientists."

Acton said: "CRU will be more closely integrated in the bigger school of environmental sciences and a key difference is to place some of the administrative burden that Phil had before this incident on the head of the school."

Bob Watson, chief scientific advisor to the department of environment, food and rural affairs, said that while it was clear scientists needed to be more transparent, he hoped the report would "draw a line under this episode so that the scientific community can begin to regain the trust of the public and continue to do its vital work on climate change, which remains one of the biggest challenges we face as a planet."

Myles Allen, head of the climate dynamics group at the University of Oxford, said: "What everyone has lost sight of is the spectacular failure of mainstream journalism to keep the whole affair in perspective. Again and again, stories are sexed up with arch hints that these "revelations" might somehow impact on the evidence for human impact on climate. Yet the only error in actual data used for climate change detection to have emerged from this whole affair amounted to a few hundredths of a degree in the estimated global temperature of a couple of years in the 1870s."

• Additional reporting by Christine Ottery
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Sore Throat

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Moving to new thread PostFri Jul 16, 2010 4:59 am  Reply with quote  

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The beat goes on....
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