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Claims of Himalayan Glacier Disaster Melt Away 561

Posted by kdawson
from the embarrassment-on-embarrassment dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "VOA News reports that leaders of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change have apologized for making a 'poorly substantiated' claim that Himalayan glaciers could disappear by 2035. Scientists who identified the mistake say the IPCC report relied on news accounts that appear to have misquoted a scientific paper — which estimated that the glaciers could disappear by 2350, not 2035. Jeffrey Kargel, an adjunct professor at the University of Arizona who helped expose the IPCC's errors, said the botched projections were extremely embarrassing and damaging. 'The damage was that IPCC had, or I think still has, such a stellar reputation that people view it as an authority — as indeed they should — and so they see a bullet that says Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035 and they take that as a fact.' Experts who follow climate science and policy say they believe the IPCC should re-examine how it vets information when compiling its reports. 'These errors could have been avoided had the norms of scientific publication including peer review and concentration upon peer-reviewed work, been respected,' write the researchers."
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Claims of Himalayan Glacier Disaster Melt Away

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  • Shhhh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 192939495969798999 (58312) <info@@@devinmoore...com> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:35PM (#30874092) Homepage Journal

    If you think that's bad, for each of these errors that gets publicized, vast swaths of the population lose faith in the mountain of scientific evidence for anything whatsoever, including support for man-made global warming.

    • Re:Shhhh! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by EdZ (755139) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:54PM (#30874228)
      Preface: I'm perfectly aware that all available evidence indicates that the global climate is changing, has changed in the past, and will change again in the future (assuming no human intervention to prevent change).

      If you think that's bad, for each of these errors that gets publicized, vast swaths of the population lose faith in the mountain of scientific evidence for anything whatsoever, including support for man-made global warming..

      The same vast swathes would lose faith in scientific evidence if the local quack saw the image of a fictional deity in a piece of foodstuff.

      Now, this is the sort of error that should not be occurring. Yes, it in no way undermines the rest of the IPCC report, but the report should still be held to the highest standards of rigour. To dismiss the error as petty, and that it can be left now it has been corrected, would be to commit a grave mistake. For a subject as complex and important as the impact of anthropogenic CO2 emissions on climate change, continuous and rigorous checking of data should always be performed. Working from an informed 'devils advocate' viewpoint should be encouraged, and not be shunned as "Denialism/shilling for Big Oil/The Gubernmint/etc". That does not absolve criticisms from being subject to the same high standards of rigour, though, as otherwise crack-pottery will prevail.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by khayman80 (824400)

        Yes, this is an embarrassing mistake on the part of working group 2 of the IPCC. When news of this story broke, I wondered why I'd never noticed these ludicrous statements before. Then I realized that the mistake wasn't in the report from working group 1, which is all I'd ever bothered to read. Here's [www.ipcc.ch] what each working group does:

        The IPCC Working Group I (WG I) assesses the physical scientific aspects of the climate system and climate change.

        The main topics assessed by WG I include: changes in greenhouse g

      • Re:Shhhh! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by _Sharp'r_ (649297) <sharper AT booksunderreview DOT com> on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:33AM (#30875616) Homepage Journal

        What do you make of the fact that the IPCC Chairman used these claims to get millions in grant money? [timesonline.co.uk]

        Doesn't sounds like a minor mistake, does it? He used in multiple grant applications the totally bogus figures they've had to "correct".

        This seems to validate all the "deniers" claims that global warming is just a fraudulent industry designed to keep funding going for the scientists involved by scaring people. The leftists look the other way because they use the man-made global warming alarmism to push through their preferred socialist agenda. That's why they get so angry at anyone who comes up with an alternate solution to the problem [nytimes.com]. They're not trying to solve a problem, they're using it as an excuse to grab the power to make people do what they want them to do.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by chrb (1083577)

          There is a logical contradiction in your reasoning:

          This seems to validate all the "deniers" claims that global warming is just a fraudulent industry designed to keep funding going for the scientists involved by scaring people.

          So global warming is a fraud - there is no global warming, and hence no problem?

          That's why they get so angry at anyone who comes up with an alternate solution to the problem [nytimes.com].

          But now global warming is real and is a problem?

          (For the record, Levitt is not a "denier" - he writes "Like those who are criticizing us, we believe that rising global temperatures are a man-made phenomenon and that global warming is an important issue to solve. ")

        • Re:Shhhh! (Score:5, Insightful)

          by GooberToo (74388) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:55PM (#30879326)

          What do you make of the fact that the IPCC Chairman used these claims to get millions in grant money?

          Doesn't sounds like a minor mistake, does it?

          Of course its not a mistake. That's what I've been saying for a long time now. Most of the human climate change evidence is complete bullshit - and obviously so. Anyone notice there is a steady stream of large corrections over the last year or so?

          The computer modules that so many use to fear monger with, are proved invalid almost on a daily basis. The exaguration! That's factually true. Here's how it works. They take historical data and tweak the computer module so that it matches projections over the next couple of months. If the simulation matched the trend, they argue that validates their model. In other words, did history match their projections?

          After that, they then run a future simulation which shows the end of the world. They take that simulation to beg for more money. Then when new data comes out, without fail, it completely invalidates their model and projections. So they then take the new data, tweak their model again, and repeat. This has been true with EVERY computer simulation to date with no exceptions. Not one. And this has been repeating for a decade or more now. Anyone who believes the computer models which show dire consequences are completely ignorant of the facts. To date, all climate change simulations have been proved to be factually inaccurate at every turn. This is absolutely not science! Period.

          You need to keep in mind, MANY computer models showed that the world is under water RIGHT NOW! Yet you don't hear that mentioned do you? Why is that? Seems they just needed to tweak their model just one more time...and the pesky thing like facts keep getting in their way.

          And for those that would call troll or flamebait, how do you think they develop and validate their models if not by adjusting and correcting with new data as it becomes available? Ya, reality is harsh; especially when the true facts indicate most of these guys are completely full of shit, all to obtain yet an additional round of funding.

          Factually, the computer simulations which show these horrible things are simply toys and constantly prove to be false. Without fail. No exceptions. Period. Generally speaking, they show themselves to be incorrect even one year out and they then use these to make predictions decades, centuries, and millenium out - and yet they can't accurately predict the next year. That's what any reasonable person would call bullshit - yet everyone calls it substantiated fact.

          Then we have the steady stream of stories showing unsubstantiated sources references, data exclusion because it contradicts their claims, and ignoring of validated sources which indicate ice loss in some locations is being replaced by ice in new locations.

          At this point, any reasonable person would stand up and yell bullshit. I guess fear mongering is easier to sell than is hard science. Because to date, the most of the "evidence" is anything but hard science. Its what reasonable people call, "bullshit."

          Now that's not to say global climate change isn't happening. I'm not saying that. What I am saying is its accurate to say there is a lot of scientifically unsound science driving a lot of fear mongering which in turn is driving lots of science grants. In other words, bullshit for money. Furthermore, most of the evidence which points a finger at man is extremely questionable on the best of days. And all of these computer models which show doom and gloom, to date, are completely useless - aside from obtaining additional grant money. Could they be right? Sure! But the science absolutely does not say what these people are saying. Unless of course, the scientific method includes hand picking your study samples.

          Realistically, we have no fucking clue what's going on or what will happen and anyone how says otherwise has a bridge to sale or parroting because they don't know the true state of things. Is it possible man is behind it? Yes! Is there proof? Nope!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ceoyoyo (59147)

        "Yes, it in no way undermines the rest of the IPCC report, but the report should still be held to the highest standards of rigour."

        No, it does legitimately cast suspicion on the rest of the IPCC report. If they put one thing in the report based on unsubstantiated news articles then the rigour they used in other areas of the report is questionable. Their conclusions may still be correct, but the quality of the report itself is very much diminished.

        This was a stupid, stupid mistake. They should have known

    • Re:Shhhh! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by HanzoSpam (713251) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:19PM (#30874392)

      If you think that's bad, for each of these errors that gets publicized, vast swaths of the population lose faith in the mountain of scientific evidence for anything whatsoever, including support for man-made global warming.

      If these kind of errors are indicative of the standard by which scientific evidence is being gathered, then the public *should* lose faith in the claims of science.

      Exactly why does science deserve to be put upon a pedestal unquestioned, anyway?

      • Re:Shhhh! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by wizardforce (1005805) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:53PM (#30874592) Journal

        I am curious how and by whom you think actually discovered the flaw in the IPCC's claims. Science requires that scientific work, claims, publications etc. undergo some degree of peer review which is exactly what happened. The IPCC made a claim which was analyzed and corrected by a scientist. Error correction is one of the most remarkable traits of science that is completely absent in its alternatives (pseudoscience, political infighting etc.)

        • Re:Shhhh! (Score:5, Informative)

          by Etcetera (14711) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @11:14PM (#30875148) Homepage

          I am curious how and by whom you think actually discovered the flaw in the IPCC's claims. Science requires that scientific work, claims, publications etc. undergo some degree of peer review which is exactly what happened. The IPCC made a claim which was analyzed and corrected by a scientist. Error correction is one of the most remarkable traits of science that is completely absent in its alternatives (pseudoscience, political infighting etc.)

          Sorry, but that's naive BS. Removed this week after British media reports? People were talking about this two months ago...

          Here's a blog post from 12/1/09:
          http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/climategate-imminent-demise-of-glaciers-due-to-a-typo/ [pajamasmedia.com]

          See the primary sources here:
          http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0010/001065/106523e.pdf [unesco.org] (p 66)
          http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/AR4/website/10.pdf [ipcc-wg2.gov] (p 493)

          And I'm sure *someone* knew about this before then, but simply didn't go public about it.

          Someone want to remind me why I should trust the IPCC (or climate "science") again?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by apoc.famine (621563)

            Because of this:

            "The damage was that IPCC had, or I think still has, such a stellar reputation that people view it as an authority -- as indeed they should -- and so they see a bullet that says Himalayan glaciers will disappear by 2035 and they take that as a fact," he said.

            Kargel is one of four scientists who addressed the issue in a letter that will be published in the Jan. 29 issue of the journal Science. "These errors could have been avoided had the norms of scientific publication including peer review and concentration upon peer-reviewed work, been respected," write the researchers.

            (From here [nytimes.com])

            Scientists fuck up. They are human. They don't do their jobs correctly all the time. They miss-read graphs, miss-interpret data, they allow their own personal biases to interfere with their work.

            But their work isn't the Ten Commandments. It's not the Ultimate Truth. It's not set in stone, the word of god, never able to be questioned or overturned.

            Four scientists looked at it and realized it was wrong. What did they do? They researched it. They looked into

        • by SuperKendall (25149) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @11:40PM (#30875314)

          I am curious how and by whom you think actually discovered the flaw in the IPCC's claims.

          Well actually anyone questioning these claims when first produced were called "crackpot" by the IPCC. So in fact there were other groups that pointed it out, but as is par for the course with AGW any questioning, no matter how scientific, is treated as heresy and ridiculed. Which leads to to wonder what other views currently being labeled as "crackpot" are actually just as valid.

          Just how and why do you think the IPCC admitted to this error? It's not because they did any research into the claim themselves beyond the initial production, they had to be shown the door and then led through it. It was only when the embarrassment could not be contained further they were forced to make a statement.

        • Peer review? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by gillbates (106458) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @11:55PM (#30875406) Homepage Journal

          While peer review is better than unquestioned authority, it does have a remarkable blind side. The adage of mutual back-scratching and the fox guarding the hen house is all too appropriate.

          The problem is that genuinely independent review of science is hard to come by. Consider for example how science treats dissenters such as Michael Behe. When a scientist points out valid problems in papers discussing evolution, he's villified as a creationist. And the interesting part is that his objections are entirely scientific, which incenses the Darwinists even more. Instead of pointing out that his critical analysis makes evolutionary biology a better, more rigorous discipline, his university publishes a disclaimer against him.

          The IPCC scandal and Behe controversies have illustrated quite clearly that modern science is more about consensus than critical thought. While I agree that science *can* provide us with solutions to environmental problems of today and tomorrow, I'm wise enough to realize that it *often* fails to do so for reasons which have nothing to do with science.

          People are starting to realize that calling something "science" doesn't make it true, nor does it make it science.

          • Re:Peer review? (Score:4, Informative)

            by wizardforce (1005805) on Sunday January 24, 2010 @12:05AM (#30875454) Journal

            Consider for example how science treats dissenters such as Michael Behe. When a scientist points out valid problems in papers discussing evolution

            Very very bad example. Behe *is* a creationist. His view of biology and creationism/evolution is faulty at the least and intentionally dishonest at worst. The Intelligent Design movement is a perfect example of what happens when there's plenty of backscrating going on and little if any actual peer review.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by ceoyoyo (59147)

            "When a scientist points out valid problems in papers discussing evolution, he's villified as a creationist."

            Are you kidding? Scientific debates rage about the mechanics of evolution. Theories like kin selection go in and out of favour. If someone could come up with a good, scientific alternative to the whole theory of evolution that describes the data better, he or she most definitely would. That would be your-name-gets-remembered-forever kind of stuff.

            Behe is most famous for his argument that certain

      • Re:Shhhh! (Score:4, Insightful)

        by radtea (464814) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @10:14PM (#30874692)

        faith in the claims of science

        That word you keep using...

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by w0mprat (1317953)

        If these kind of errors are indicative of the standard by which scientific evidence is being gathered, then the public *should* lose faith in the claims of science.

        Exactly why does science deserve to be put upon a pedestal unquestioned, anyway?

        But science is still the best we've got. Considering we live in a society where people still forward chain letters, and avoid walking under ladders; I'd take slightly questionable science over the lay persons so-called 'common sense' in a heart beat.

    • by Joce640k (829181) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @10:16PM (#30874708) Homepage

      Correction of errors is what separates science from religion.

      But I wonder if the press will tell people this strengthens the case, not weakens it? (ie. evidence was scrutinized and corrected)

  • A typo (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Geoffrey.landis (926948) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:36PM (#30874096) Homepage

    Gpasp, there was a TYPO in a summary report, and the editing process didn't catch it.

    A typo.

    In a summary report. Not in an actual scientific paper. Not even in the _science_ summary (which is IPCC working group 1 report, "Physical Science Basis of Climate Change"-- this was the WG-2 report.).

    Yes, it's an annoying typo-- 2350 is significantly different from 2035. Nevertheless, note that the error is NOT in any of the science papers-- it was in a summary report. It should have been edited better (especially as, it turns out, one of the reviewers actually pointed out the error, but his correction didn't make it in), but bad editing in the summary says absolutely nothing about the science. And, in fact, the scientists pointed it out and published the correction in a major venue.

    The problem is, the deniers believe that even one error in a summary report means that the science is wrong, while the scientists are all aware that, yes, it's a bitch, but indeed, sometimes typos creep through.

    All of you who have never had a typo show up uncorrected, feel free to kvetch.

    • Re:A typo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jpmorgan (517966) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:39PM (#30874114) Homepage

      What are you talking about? The IPCC claimed the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035. They based this on an article, based on an article, based on offhand speculation of a single scientist, who admits is was pure speculation with no supporting fact.

      This wasn't a typo. It was damningly shoddy work on the part of the IPCC.

      • Re:A typo (Score:5, Informative)

        by cstacy (534252) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @10:23PM (#30874752)

        What are you talking about? The IPCC claimed the Himalayan glaciers would be gone by 2035. They based this on an article, based on an article, based on offhand speculation of a single scientist, who admits is was pure speculation with no supporting fact.

        This wasn't a typo. It was damningly shoddy work on the part of the IPCC.

        The paragraph starts, "Glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world." Cogley and Michael Zemp of the World Glacier Monitoring System said Himalayan glaciers are melting at about the same rate as other glaciers.

        From the AP report:

        The mistakes were found not by skeptics like Michaels, but by a few of the scientists themselves, including one who is an IPCC co-author.

        The report in question is the second of four issued by the IPCC in 2007 on global warming. This 838-page document had chapters on each continent. The errors were in a half-page section of the Asia chapter. The section got it wrong as to how fast the thousands of glaciers in the Himalayas are melting, scientists said.

        "It is a very shoddily written section," said Graham Cogley, a professor of geography and glaciers at Trent University in Peterborough, Canada, who brought the error to everyone's attention. "It wasn't copy-edited properly."

        Cogley, who wrote a letter about the problems to Science magazine that was published online Wednesday, cited these mistakes:

        • It says that if the Earth continues to warm, the "likelihood of them disappearing by the 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high." Nowhere in peer-reviewed science literature is 2035 mentioned. However, there is a study from Russia that says glaciers could come close to disappearing by 2350. Probably the numbers in the date were transposed, Cogley said.
        • The paragraph says: "Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 square kilometers by the year 2035." Cogley said there are only 33,000 square kilometers of glaciers in the Himalayas.
        • The entire paragraph is attributed to the World Wildlife Fund, when only one sentence came from the WWF, Cogley said. And further, the IPCC likes to brag that it is based on peer-reviewed science, not advocacy group reports. Cogley said the WWF cited the popular science press as its source.
        • A table says that between 1845 and 1965, the Pindari Glacier shrank by 2,840 meters. Then comes a math mistake: It says that's a rate of 135.2 meters a year, when it really is only 23.5 meters a year.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Paltin (983254)
        Still though, this is a vindication for science.

        First off, in hundreds of pages, this is the first major error that's been found. That's not a bad record, and considering the political will to find errors, and the amount of scrutiny the IPCC reports receive, that's pretty good.

        Second, we can judge the strength of the rest of the IPCC's work by examining how they responded to a legitimate error: they accepted it, and corrected it. We now have evidence that they are willing to make changes that improve the
    • Re:A typo (Score:5, Informative)

      by whoever57 (658626) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:45PM (#30874160) Journal

      Gpasp, there was a TYPO in a summary report, and the editing process didn't catch it.

      A typo.

      About as much a typo as your claim. If you RTFM (I know, asking a lot on /.), you will see that the UN Panel wrote the number in the report based on "a 2005 publication by the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF itself had picked it up from a 1999 magazine article based on a phone interview with an Indian scientist". In other words, the UN Panel read a random non-scientific report and used the erroneous prediction presented there. There is a massive failure here -- by the UN Panel when they relied on non-scientific sources for important predictions.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by berashith (222128)

      FTFA

      The chairman of the IPCC panel, Rajendra Pachauri, on Saturday called the forecast "a regrettable error," and says it arose because established procedures were not diligently followed. "The whole paragraph, I mean that entire section is wrong. That was a mistake," said Pachauri..

      You may have to dig in a bit more than the summary, but this as not just a typo.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Burnhard (1031106)
      What do you mean "it was a typo"? It wasn't a typo, it was cribbed from a New Scientist article, that itself was cribbed from a WWF report. It wasn't "scientific" research at all; they basically published information from a WWF pamphlet! This is a direct and attributable deliberate lie: TERI, the organisation that Pachauri works for was recently awarded 3,000,000 euros to study the Glaciers. The guy representing TERI, Syed Hasnain, was the source of the original 2035 claim. Do you think his grant appl
    • Re:A typo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:40PM (#30874534) Homepage
      The problem is, the deniers believe that even one error in a summary report means that the science is wrong, while the scientists are all aware that, yes, it's a bitch, but indeed, sometimes typos creep through.

      The problem is that gullible idiots like you make unwarranted assumptions about the quality of the scientific evidence based on no more than faith. And every piece of evidence to the contrary is summarily ignored.

      The problem isn't with the "deniers" who are pointing all of these problems out. The "deniers" don't deny climate change or even global warming. They just deny the right of censorious assholes like you to claim that climate change is a) unprecedented and b) caused by man-made fossil fuels without actual engineering-quality reports showing either of these things to be true or even likely. They aren't the ones in denial - it's you.

      The smell from underneath the IPCC bandages is pretty bad. The proxy reconstructions of past climate have been shown to be heavily cherry-picked and badly done statistics [climateaudit.org], the measurement of surface temperatures by NOAA and NASA appears been heavily manipulated to show warming [investors.com], as has the temperature records from the Climate Research Unit [scienceand...policy.org] relied upon for the calibration of climate models - and is the subject of several independent investigations for possible scientific fraud in the US and the UK.

      But you'll ignore it all because it comes from "deniers" and you'll invoke preposterous conspiracy theories involving fossil fuel companies while ignoring the cosying up of nearly entire fossil fuel industry with the alarmists.You'll ignore the clear conflict of interest of the scientist who made the original bad claim on Himalayan Glaciers claiming millions from the European Union [eu-highnoon.org] to investigate the problem that he knows doesn't exist. You'll ignore the clear conflict of interest [wattsupwiththat.com] of Rajendra Pachauri and his willingness to fill his pockets with cash [blogspot.com] all the while exhorting everyone else to embrace the New Poverty of enforced energy rationing to Save the Earth from Global Warming that no-one knows is even happening to any great extent nor even a serious problem that can be "fixed".

      Those aren't typos. The entire climate science story is falling apart as scientists investigate clear evidence of fraud, conscious manipulation of evidence in order to deceive and junk science.

      The "deniers" are not the problem - its the neo-creationists like you who keep waving away that "there's nothing to be seen here - move along" while the Global Warming Hysteria explodes behind you.

      And yes, I'm a liberal. A very angry liberal.
  • Dislexyia? (Score:5, Funny)

    by RobertM1968 (951074) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:37PM (#30874108) Homepage Journal

    which estimated that the glaciers could disappear by 2350, not 2035.

    Dislexyia... that would be my excuse if I were them... :-)

  • Four YEARS? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rah1420 (234198) <rah1420@gmail.com> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:38PM (#30874110)

    According to the NY Times article, a scientist (Georg Kaser) warned the working group in 2006 that the findings were erroneous. How did it take four years to bubble up?

    I'd call that a pretty glacial response time. (rimshot)

    • Re:Four YEARS? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by amiga3D (567632) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:48PM (#30874182)
      It took four years because global warming is a hot political issue. Anything that doesn't support imminent disaster is heaped with scorn. I don't know if the earth is heating up or not. I'm not a scientist. I do know that a huge number of the people running around screaming about global warming aren't scientists either. It's too bad that there can't be a quiet, sensible discussion on the subject thanks to all the political baggage.
      • Re:Four YEARS? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Aladrin (926209) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:58PM (#30874248)

        And anything that dares to contradict the AGW-believers is treated with derision and actively attacked, instead of investigated. You know, exactly the opposite of science.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by skine (1524819)

          Let me summarize:

          Random person: Hey, Scientists! You're wrong!

          Scientist: How exactly? Do you have any evidence?

          Random person: Look! They're not being scientific because they don't research my claims!

          *Far, far away, the scientist suddenly face-palms, and doesn't quite know why*

          • Re:Four YEARS? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by NeoTron (6020) <kevin @ s c a rygliders.net> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:42PM (#30874546) Homepage
            Nice try, but you have it completely wrong.

            Let me pick a random website to cite an example...

            www.climateaudit.org

            <climateaudit> Hey guys, I noticed something a bit weird about your figures - here's what's weird...

            <Scientists> PREPOSTEROUS! LIES! DENIER! SCUMBAG! IDIOT! MORON!

            <climateaudit> Er, ok. Lemme recheck..... yep gone over the figures again. Say, could you send me the raw data you used for your research?

            <Scientists> DENIER! DENIER! LIES! I"D RATHER ERASE ALL THE RAW DATA THAN SEND IT TO SCUM LIKE YOU! ...ad nauseum...
            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Cyberax (705495)

              But in reality:

              climateaudit: Hey guys, I noticed something a bit weird about your figures - here's what's weird...

              Scientists: Sorry, but your model uses incorrect parameters. Use , and to adjust your model correctly, then it'll give another result.

              climateaudit: You are suppressing the free thought! CO2 doesn't cause warming, it's the Sun! You have predicted Global Cooling in 70-s! The science is all wrong!

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by timmarhy (659436)
                and thats just the problem, they rely on models, which are hopeless (i write software that produces resource industry models for a living, so i know some of the pit falls). let me put it to you this way - the weather man can't predict the weather for the comming week. but for some reason you think they can predict the weather 100 years into the future accurately?

                simplistic i know but it has to make you think maybe they have it wrong?

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by NeoTron (6020)

                But in reality:

                Well, I have cited the link to www.climateaudit.org [climateaudit.org], where anyone

                can browse to and should read the history of what they did.

                Your claim that Steve McIntyre went on to say:

                "You are suppressing the free thought! CO2 doesn't cause warming, it's the Sun! You have predicted Global Cooling in 70-s! The science is all wrong!"

                .. is an outright lie - one which can be disproven by reading up on the site - where

                you will see that McIntyre insists that replies to his posts about the science, be

                kept to the

      • Re:Four YEARS? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Totenglocke (1291680) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:59PM (#30874252)

        It's too bad that there can't be a quiet, sensible discussion on the subject thanks to all the political baggage

        And that's the problem. No one (or at least, no one in the general population) had heard of global warming / climate change until we had politicians saying "If you don't elect me so that I can pass X laws to stop GW / climate change, we will all die!" - and right from the beginning it was all a matter of politicians using it to get elected so that they can pass other laws that suit their personal views. The fact that as it gets more an more political we have more "evidence" is easily explained by 1) politicians paying people to find "proof" so that they can get elected and 2) people realizing that there's easy money in "proving" global warming.

        Yes, I know many will mod me a troll for being skeptical - I don't care one way or another if the temperature is changing or not. However, since only about 4% of daily CO2 output is from man-made devices and we have plenty of proof of temperatures changing long before the industrial revolution, the claims of man-made global warming are a bunch of bullshit being used by people who want to pass laws to change society to how they feel it should be. The issue is not "are temperatures changing", the issue is "is this caused by human behavior" and there is absolutely no evidence that it is.

      • by NeoTron (6020) <kevin @ s c a rygliders.net> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:14PM (#30874360) Homepage
        Whoever moderated this as Troll is being disingenuous in the extreme.

        There is absolutely NOTHING troll-worthy in what amiga3D said.

        See, this is what I've noticed about /. in the last 5 years or so - seems to be inhabited by
        people who can't subscribe to any anti-anthropogenic cuased global warming argument. So, anything
        which is said against the AGW argument gets modded down.

        FACT : AGW *IS* heavilly politicised.
        FACT : anti-AGW arguments and reasoning appear to be met by insult,ridicule, and attempted censorship.

        Honestly, people, if you can't simply argue your case for and against, in a reasonable manner, and have to
        resort to insults, and censorship, then you have already lost the argument.
    • Re:Four YEARS? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jay L (74152) * <{mf.yaj} {ta} {hsals+yaj}> on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:17PM (#30874374) Homepage

      How did it take four years to bubble up?

      Probably the same way it took four years before they fixed that bug you reported in [software package of your choice].

  • Take home point (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:41PM (#30874122) Homepage
    The scientists who caught this error are scientists who support the consensus that global warming is a real problem. The distinction between good science and bad science is the ability to be critical of theories and colleagues that you agree with. In that regard, while this is an embarrassing snafu, it shouldn't alter our overall confidence that anthropogenic global warming is real and a serious threat to both environmental and economic health. I'm tempted to make a comparison to Piltdown man, a fossil hominid which turned out to be a hoax. Creationists like to point to it a lot but ignore that it was scientists who realized that Piltdown man was a hoax, not creationists. I don't think that global warming is in the same category, in that there are good scientists who disagree. But the general consensus is pretty clear. And events like this show that the general scientific community is still doing good, careful science on this matter, and engaging in careful critical analysis of their own claims. This event underscores that claims by global warming denialists that climatology is a cultish echo-chamber are simply without basis.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by berashith (222128)

      Unfortunately, some of the scientists that originally noticed this issue were afraid to bring it up because of the politically charged nature of this group. Shocking as it may sound, there are global warming scientists who denounce anyone who disagrees with them, and have the power to effect the funding of anyone who is not in lock step with the agenda.

    • Re:Take home point (Score:5, Informative)

      by mrcaseyj (902945) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:21PM (#30874406)

      The scientific process will probably ultimately work, but it doesn't always take the most direct route to the truth. I had heard accusations that the hockey stick graph was garbage, but I dismissed such claims as anti-scientific oil company propaganda. But after the climate gate emails came out I started looking at stuff a little closer. The disturbing thing is not the hockey stick graph itself, but the fact that they're STILL defending it. The hockey stick graph uses tree ring data that gives false temperatures for the last 50 years, but they're still trying to get us to believe that the temperatures those rings give from 1000 years ago are not false. Their analysis of evidence is so biased that they can't even see that that is absurd. The only excuse they seem to give on realclimate is that only some of the tree rings give false temperatures for the last 50 years. But if that's the case, and they knew some of the trees were giving false data, then why on earth would they use those known defective trees in their calculations? It's been reported that they used those defective trees because if they didn't, then the medieval warm period wouldn't be flattened out enough.

      The climate crisis promoters have a tough job. Not only do they have to prove that the globe is warming, they have to prove that the warming is caused by humans. And then they still have to prove that the temperatures are significantly higher than they were at other times in the past. If the temperatures have gone from what they were when we started measuring them in the middle of the little ice age, and risen just up to normal, that would be global warming, and maybe even man made global warming, but nothing to worry about. The hockey stick graph and others like it are critical to their case that temperatures now are especially high. But it's very hard to accurately determine what the temperatures were a thousand years ago. In fact I doubt if it's even possible. Boreholes, sediments, and tree rings seem like very iffy measurement techniques. If we hadn't caught them sending emails about how they needed to crush the medieval warm period, then maybe we could put a little more weight to those past temperature reconstructions of theirs.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gillbates (106458)

      You know, the real crux of the issue is the politicization.

      Now, I'm not saying global warming isn't real, nor that it isn't human caused. However, I did download the global temperature data and ran stats on it.

      And the result?

      1. The global average temperature is now close to what it was a hundred years ago.
      2. From the last half of the 19th century to the beginning of the 20th, it was relatively warm. Then, in a very short period of time (~ a decade), the temperature fell precipitiously until bottoming ou
    • There were a number of people who caught the error and questioned the figure as obviously false (anyone who knew anything about glaciers would know it could not possibly be true). It was the flood of reports like this one [cleanskies.com] that led them to look into where the source originally came from.

      But again, the scientists that caught the error were absolutely not the IPCC and many of them do not support AGW. Indeed, the IPCC was all to happy to initially label anyone questioning the figure as a "crackpot" regardless

  • by Dasher42 (514179) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:43PM (#30874146)

    There is something absolutely wrong with the kind of media coverage. You're telling me that a transposition of digits within a report full of otherwise solid information is "highly damaging"? This is a false sense of even-handedness at best.

    How is solid evidence of shrinking polar caps [nrdc.org] not highly damaging? The hard empirical fact that we've taken the atmospheric CO2 level from ~280 parts per million to over 370? The increasing ocean acidity from absorbing this increased CO2? The fact that widespread deforestation in the midst of de-sequestering carbon locked in oil and carbon and putting it back into the atmosphere on this level has a significant impact?

    The question that will matter to all of us in coming years is not whether the IPCC had, in the midst of a large report of substance, accidentally transposed numbers when discussing a real and dangerous trend. It's not about whether or not you like Al Gore. It's not about the way scientists chattered in their emails while creating and testing computer simulations. This coverage of personality cult or anti-cult, the minor gaffes in an overwhelming body of documented evidence being treated even-handedly as if it thwarts all the rest, it is responsible for promoting complacency or belligerency in the face of a severe environmental threat.

    Will we come to our senses already, or will it take soaring food prices and flooded cities and islands first?

    • by jlar (584848) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:52PM (#30874208)

      Because it is not a transposition of digits. There simply is no forecast and the estimate that they put in is pure BS. From TFA:

      "The IPCC apparently sourced its forecast on a 2005 publication by the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF itself had picked it up from a 1999 magazine article based on a phone interview with an Indian scientist.

      Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh, earlier this week, said that Himalayan glaciers are receding but he said the report they will vanish by 2035 is not based on scientific evidence. "

    • by ducomputergeek (595742) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:41PM (#30874536)

      I grew up in the military industrial complex. You know what the military did every time they wanted a shiny new toy? They created this big boogy man. Back then it was the "Soviets have this new Mig-25 that goes Mach 3+. We must have something to counter it". "The Soviets have this new T-80 tank, we need something to counter it". And the thing of it was the Military damn well knew that the T-80 was a dressed up T-72 and that the F-15 would beat a MIG-25 any day of the week. Yeah, the MIG-25 could go Mach 3....once before the engines had to be replaced. And the people in the defense industry as well as the DOD knew this, but they played the boogey man to Congress and the American people.

      I'm sorry, but I see the same thing happening with this whole Environmental and Global Warming thing. Are there real problems out there? Should be trying not to pollute? Yes. But the tactics these people are using remind me too much of what I saw from the Defense industry.

      These predictions reminds me of an article around 1900 that claimed that if trends continue, the horse manure on the streets of chicago would be 6 ft. deep by 1930. It never happened, the automobile came along and replaced horses. And that, perhaps, is the biggest problem with these predictions. The longer the predicted , the less likely the prediction is to be correct. Things change and I don't believe we have a model yet that works. I don't believe a working model can be created either. Show me one of these ecological dire predictions that I remember hearing in the 1970's and 1980's that have come to pass. I remember the presentations back then saying New York would be underwater by 2010! What about global dimming back in the 1970's? Whatever happened to that?

      None of these models can even begin to take into account uncertainty. What happens if there is a massive Krakatoa type eruption in the next 50 years? Or in this case, the next 350 years? What if there continues to be a lack of sun spot activity for the next 350 years. It's happened before. Oh wait, the Little Ice Age was just a fluke right? We'd better adjust our data and pretend that it and the Medieval warm period never happened according to our models.

      The problem is this has all become political. It's more about power and money than science at this point.

      There are real environmental problems out there. Not only that, but they are problems affecting people's health and real steps we know work can be taken today to help clean them up and instead of spending the money and resources to help fix those problems, it looks as though we are going to spending a bunch of money world wide to fix a problem that is appearing to be more suspect everyday.

      • by bertok (226922) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @10:47PM (#30874958)

        In case you guys are wondering, this is what a moderate denier looks like. He looks like he's making sense, and his position seems perfectly rational and thought out, but that just makes it all the more dangerous because it's still wrong and full of logical fallacies.

        I grew up in the military industrial complex. You know what the military did every time they wanted a shiny new toy? They created this big boogy man. Back then it was the "Soviets have this new Mig-25 that goes Mach 3+. We must have something to counter it". "The Soviets have this new T-80 tank, we need something to counter it". And the thing of it was the Military damn well knew that the T-80 was a dressed up T-72 and that the F-15 would beat a MIG-25 any day of the week. Yeah, the MIG-25 could go Mach 3....once before the engines had to be replaced. And the people in the defense industry as well as the DOD knew this, but they played the boogey man to Congress and the American people.

        I'm sorry, but I see the same thing happening with this whole Environmental and Global Warming thing. Are there real problems out there? Should be trying not to pollute? Yes. But the tactics these people are using remind me too much of what I saw from the Defense industry.

        Basically, you're saying that you've noticed that when people lie to you, the common thing is that they use words. Scientists... also use words, hence they must also be liars!

        Err.. no. The techniques are similar in the sense that group 'A' is crying wolf when there is no wolf, and group 'B' is crying wolf because everyone's about to get eaten.

        ... and group 'A' sells wolf hunting equipment, while group 'B' has bite marks.

        These predictions reminds me of an article around 1900 that claimed that if trends continue, the horse manure on the streets of chicago would be 6 ft. deep by 1930. It never happened, the automobile came along and replaced horses. And that, perhaps, is the biggest problem with these predictions. The longer the predicted , the less likely the prediction is to be correct. Things change and I don't believe we have a model yet that works.

        "I read a prediction by an idiot once, hence, all people making predictions must also be idiots."

        or

        "Some people failed at making a prediction, so all predictions are actually impossible to make."

        I don't believe a working model can be created either. Show me one of these ecological dire predictions that I remember hearing in the 1970's and 1980's that have come to pass. I remember the presentations back then saying New York would be underwater by 2010! What about global dimming back in the 1970's? Whatever happened to that?

        None of these models can even begin to take into account uncertainty.

        On the contrary, ALL scientific models take into account uncertainty. That's easy. The reason those old models were inaccurate was precisely because the uncertainties were so great. There was less data, it was of lower quality, and the analytical techniques just weren't there yet.

        That does not mean that current predictions are just as uncertain. The work of thousands of scientists over the last few decades has been to reduce those uncertainties. They've been measuring glaciers with GPS, drilling cores in ice, collecting tree ring data from around the world, analyzing satellite imaging data, etc...

        The result is still uncertain. For example, the actions of humans themselves is very hard to predict. We don't know exactly what the post-peak-oil curve will look like. We don't know if nuclear power will contribute significantly to energy use in the near future or not. Fusion might become cheap and practical. There might be some disease that wipes out 95% of people.

        However, if things continue as they are going now, including the seemingly unstoppable exponential growth in population, then we're boned. This is clear to anyone who's seen the evidence and can c

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by horza (87255)

          You missed the worse omission:
          "These predictions reminds me of an article around 1900 that claimed that if trends continue, the horse manure on the streets of chicago would be 6 ft. deep by 1930. It never happened, the automobile came along and replaced horses. And that, perhaps, is the biggest problem with these predictions."

          Where does he think the automobile came from? How can he use an example of humans doing something proactive to solve the problem as an excuse to bury our heads in the sand with this on

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by DiamondGeezer (872237)
      How is solid evidence of shrinking polar caps [nrdc.org] not highly damaging? The hard empirical fact that we've taken the atmospheric CO2 level from ~280 parts per million to over 370? The increasing ocean acidity from absorbing this increased CO2? The fact that widespread deforestation in the midst of de-sequestering carbon locked in oil and carbon and putting it back into the atmosphere on this level has a significant impact?

      *sigh*

      1. The Arctic polar cap has been shrinking since the satellite era
  • Traceability (Score:3, Informative)

    by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @08:44PM (#30874154) Homepage Journal

    This is how it works in the specifications I deal with. You start with a set of customer requirements and they go into DOORS [ibm.com] which is a crap tool, its just better than all the alternatives. Then from that you generate system specifications which describe your system at a high level and technical specifications which pretty much how it is going to work. At any point you can point and click to trace back to the source of a particular requirement.

    Now all of that has nothing to do with climate change (apart from the horrible overhead of those big binary doors files we keep copying around) but the concept is pretty straightforward.

    When you write your intermediate and final documents you somehow retain traceability back to the source of the information, so that if one of your conclusions is based on crap assumptions then you can easily identify the problem.

    Its not hard. Just takes some experience in fairly professional technical writing. You don't have to use the craptastic tools. I have written doors like functionality into xslt, for example.

  • by amightywind (691887) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:08PM (#30874314) Journal

    You would think before trying to seize $10's of trillions of the world economy that these climate scientists would want backcast their models for as far back as we have meaningful data. You would think. Maybe the chance to become "Lords of the Earth" is a little too seductive a notion for these eggheads. Climate science is a fraud. The US should withhold funds from the IPCC immediately.

  • by Coolhand2120 (1001761) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:10PM (#30874332)

    The scientist behind the bogus claim in a Nobel Prize-winning UN report that Himalayan glaciers will have melted by 2035 last night admitted it was included purely to put political pressure on world leaders.

    Dr Murari Lal also said he was well aware the statement, in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), did not rest on peer-reviewed scientific research.

    In an interview with The Mail on Sunday, Dr Lal, the co-ordinating lead author of the report's chapter on Asia, said: 'It related to several countries in this region and their water sources. We thought that if we can highlight it, it will impact policy-makers and politicians and encourage them to take some concrete action. 'It had importance for the region, so we thought we should put it in.'

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html [dailymail.co.uk]

  • by vulpinemac (570108) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @09:17PM (#30874382)

    Some of those glaciers have retreated more than 16 miles! If you want my opinion, it's very possible some of those glaciers could disappear by 2035.

  • by herojig (1625143) on Saturday January 23, 2010 @10:39PM (#30874894) Homepage
    As a resident of Nepal, I can tell you we don't believe these reports anyway. In a city where there are more NGOs per captia then people (a slight exaggeration), it's easy to see what the business is all about anyway. For example, why has WWF Nepal gone from protecting Rhinos and Dolphins to protecting the "climate"? Follow the money trail...

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