Thursday, March 4, 2010

Climate Science

      According to a recent poll conducted by Yale University, the percentage of respondents who believe climate change is happening dropped from 71% in 2008 to 57% in 2010, while those who do not believe climate change is happening rose from 10% to 20% over the same period. The rest “don’t know.”
      Given the assumption that climate change is real, the percentage that think it is due to human activities dropped from 57% to 47%, while those who think it is natural rose from 33% to 36%. Again, the rest don’t know.
      This is in spite of the increasing barrage of dramatic pictures of cracking and shrinking polar ice caps at both poles, the poleward migration of warm water animal and vegetable species, and the gradual submersion of low lying islands. How much proof does one need?
      I believe the decline in belief in climate change is due to the recent release of emails from U.K climate scientists, that show that they have distorted their data and actively suppressed dissenting opinions. These emails prove only one thing: scientists are human. Who has not written a personal email that would be embarrassing if distributed to the public?
      But there is no way they could have fudged or suppressed any data which has been gathered by tens of thousands of other scientists worldwide.
      Some of the emails also indicated there was an effort to influence editors of scientific journals not to publish papers by global warming deniers. But this is what scientists do: vet papers through the peer review process to weed out poor science.
      Recently Senator James Inhofe [R-Okla.], who famously called global warming the "greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people," came up with a list of "over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries, [who] recently voiced significant objections to major aspects of the so-called 'consensus' on man-made global warming."
      Analysis of the “prominent scientists” on the list reveals that:

• 84 have either taken money from, or are connected to, fossil fuel industries, or think tanks started by those industries. This does not indicate that their science is bad, but it does raise a few questions.

• 49 are retired. The fact that they are no longer active in their profession leads one to wonder if they are up to date.

• 44 are television weathermen. This may be important for the local weather, but it does not indicate any expertise in long term weather analysis.

• 20 are economists. So much for their expertise in weather science.

• 70 have no apparent expertise in climate science. “Hi mom” types.

• Several supposed skeptics on the list have publicly stated that they are very concerned about global warming, and support efforts to address it. One claims he was duped into signing the list and regrets it.

      Of the 413 on Inhofe’s list, 267 are “fillers,” people whose objectivity is questionable. For lists of true scientists who make climate their life’s work, check out the American Geophysical Union, which includes 50,000 earth, ocean and atmospheric scientists, or the International Panel on Climate Change, a body of some 2,000 scientists whose sole purpose is to state consensus about global warming, humankind's role in causing it, and its likely effects.
      The true weather scientists on Inhofe’s list can get their papers through the peer review process, with subsequent publication in scientific journals, but they are simply swamped by the overwhelming evidence contrary to their position. The rest of the "scientists" on his list rightfully have a very difficult time getting their papers reviewed.

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