April 21, 2004

Junk Science at Nature Magazine

From Bizzare Science comes a link to an article at the Cato Institute: bq. What Is Happening to Science? Some things are sacred to scientists: Facts, data, quantitative analysis, and Nature magazine, long recognized as the world's most prestigious science periodical. bq. Lately, many have begun to wonder if Jayson Blair has a new job as their science editor. On page 616 of the April 8 issue, Nature published an article using a technique that they said, on page 593 of the same issue, was "oversold", was inappropriately influencing policymakers, and was "misunderstood by those in search of immediate results." bq. The technique is called "regional climate modeling," which attempts to simulate the effects of global warming over areas the size of, say, the United States. They then go on to talk about the technique in question: bq. As reported by Quirin Schiermeier, scientists at a Lund, Sweden climate conference, "admitted privately that the immediate benefits of regional climate modeling have been oversold in exercises such as the Clinton administration's US regional climate assessment, which sought to evaluate the impact of climate change on each part of the country." bq. Then, 23 pages later, Nature published an alarming and completely misleading article predicting the melting of the entire Greenland ice cap in 1,000 years, thanks to pernicious human economic activity, i.e., global warming, using a regional climate projection. bq. The lower 48 states comprise 2 percent of the globe. Schiermeier reported that the consensus of scientists is that climate models on such a small scale are inappropriate for policy purposes. Greenland covers 0.4 percent of the planet. If the models are no good over the U.S., they're worse over Greenland. Yet the authors "conclude that the Greenland ice-sheet is likely to be eliminated by anthropogenic climate change unless much more substantial emission reductions are made than those envisaged by the IPCC [a United Nations Panel]." And what is the junk science? bq. The first paragraph states: "The Greenland ice-sheet would melt...if the annual average temperature in Greenland increases by more than 3C [5.4F]. This could raise global average sea-level by 7 meters [23 feet] over a period of 1,000 years or more." bq. Guaranteed, that quote will be on Hardball on May 28, the day that the non-science fiction global warming flick, The Day After Tomorrow comes out. It's ironclad. After all, it's from Nature. bq. And it's also deceptive. It's not a warming of 5.4F that causes the massive meltdown. Instead, it's an annual warming of an impossible 14F. Given the way greenhouse warming splits between summer and winter, this implies an outlandish 30F change in the winter, fueled by a world that would have to be producing carbon dioxide at a rate far beyond anything remotely possible. It is the most extreme scenario in a pack of outlandish future emission scenarios that the U.N. cooked up a few years ago. They actually call them "storylines," which is appropriate, since they make little sense. I am just cherry-picking a couple of choice paragraphs - the article goes into much more detail and is worth reading if you have any interesting real science... Posted by DaveH at April 21, 2004 1:37 PM