Cheat-Seeking Missles

Friday, February 09, 2007

Bush Climate Censorship Myth Spreads

The Dem-controlled Senate Commerce Committee is holding hearings so Warmie scientists can continue their claims of scientific censorship by the Bush Admin. Reports Environmental News Service (ENS) under the hed Effects of Bush Climate Science Censorship Linger:
The Bush administration's political interference with climate scientists has done lasting damage to the nation's ability to prepare for the challenges of global warming, a former senior associate with the federal climate research program told a Senate panel today.

"Even if we succeed in lifting this heavy hand of censorship there is still the problem of getting the political leadership to embrace the findings put forward by the scientists," said Rick Piltz, who resigned his position with the Climate Change Science Program. ...

A report released last month by the Union of Concerned Scientists, UCS, and the Government Accountability Project, GAP, found that nearly half the 279 climate scientists who responded to a survey reported being pressured to delete references to "global warming" or "climate change" from scientific papers or reports and many said they were prevented from talking to the media or had their work edited.
ENS is really perverting the truth with that last paragraph. As I reported when the Union of Unconcerned with the Truth Scientists issued its report, the big stats are gained by combining people who claim they were censored with people who heard censorship occurred. That means the statistic is a combination of hearsay and double-counting. Here's the actual:
The meat and potato questions are asked in this way:
I have perceived in others and/or personally experienced the following types of activities affecting climate science: ...
and the allowable answers to the various activities are either "perceived," "experienced" or "neither." Only "experienced," i.e., "I experienced this myself," matters. The first category is hearsay, and "neither" is the group that UCS would rather not talk about. So, applying this filter, the question about removing reference to global warming actually turns out like this:
  • 21% say they actually experienced this
  • 54% never experienced such a request
  • 33% heard stories about it
Voila! The real hed here is "Warmie Scientists Prove 21% is Actually Nearly Half," and that's about right for the credibility of the warmie science they push.

You know, "science" like the ocean-rising and Greenland-melting stuff, which is one of the really big Warmie clubs. Control society, limit industry, or we'll all be under water! To respond, I yield my time to the gentleman from Cato, Patrick Michaels:

In very large type, the New York Times Jan. 16 proclaimed "The warming of Greenland." But as has become increasingly typical of their reporting on climate change, that's only about half the news that's fit to print.

The big story, of course, is the melting of Greenland's ice, and threats of a major rise in sea level. After all, if the entire 630,000 cubic miles of it disappeared, the ocean would rise 23 feet.

The Times relied on an off-the-cuff estimate of ice loss, given to it by Professor Carl Boggild from the University Center at Svalbard. The Times reported he "said Greenland could be losing more than 80 cubic miles of ice per year."

Nowhere did the Times give the amount determined by meticulous analysis of recent satellite data, which is around 25 cubic miles, published by NASA's Scott Luthcke in Science less than two months ago.

It then quoted Richard Alley, from Penn State, who reported "a sea-level rise of a foot or two in the coming decades is entirely possible." Wrong. It's entirely impossible.

First, the current sea-level rise contributed by this amount of ice loss is probably too small to even be able to measure in coming decades. The satellite data show a reduction of 3 hundred-thousandths of Greenland's total ice per year (while Mr. Boggild's figure "could" be around 12 hundred-thousandths [0.000012]).

Multiplying the satellite-based figure by 23 feet gives the annual rise in sea level of .01 inch per year. Averaged over three decades, that's a third of an inch, which indeed is too small to be detectable. Over a century, the rise becomes a bit more than an inch. Mr. Boggild's guesstimate yields 31/2 inches per century.

In fact, there's nothing very new going on in Greenland. While the Times pays great attention to ice-loss in eastern Greenland caused by current temperatures, it conveniently forgets to look at nearby temperature histories. The longest record is from Angmagssalik. In the summer (when Greenland's ice melts) the temperature has averaged 43.1 degrees Fahrenheit over the last 10 summers. There was one very warm summer, in 2003, but the other nine years aren't unusual at all.

From 1930 through 1960, the average was 43.7 degrees. In other words, it was warmer for three decades, and there was clearly no large rise in sea level. What happened between 1945 and the mid-1990s was a cooling trend, with 1985-95 being the coldest period in the entire Angmagssalik record, which goes back to the late 19th century. Only in recent years have temperatures begun to look like those that were characteristic of the early 20th century.

That's the caliber of reporting and scientificating on global warming, so the real question isn't, "Did the Bush Admin censor scientists?" but rather "Why didn't the scientists censor themselves?"

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