Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Earth News Science

Dutch Agency Admits Mistakes In UN Climate Report 447

Hugh Pickens writes "The AP reports that the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency has taken the blame for one of the glaring errors that undermined the credibility of a seminal, 3,000-page UN report last year on climate change, and disclosed that it had discovered more small mistakes. However, the review by the agency also claims that none of the errors affected the fundamental conclusion by a UN panel of scientists: that global warming caused by humans already is happening and is threatening the lives and well-being of millions of people. The Dutch agency reported in 2005 that 55 percent of the Netherlands is below sea level, when only 26 percent is. The second previously reported error claimed the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035, which the Dutch agency partly traced to a report on the likely shrinking of glaciers by the year 2350. The original report also said global warming will put 75 million to 250 million Africans at risk of severe water shortages in the next 10 years, but a recalculation showed that range should be 90 million to 220 million. The analysis said future IPCC reports should have a more robust review process, and should look more closely at where information comes from."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dutch Agency Admits Mistakes In UN Climate Report

Comments Filter:
  • by sonicmerlin ( 1505111 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @04:48PM (#32803448)
    All this means is that scientists are in fact humans and make small errors just like everyone else. I'm just glad that scientific academies and agencies have the integrity to publicly admit when they're wrong in spite of the obvious fear-mongering and finger-pointing that will result from the anti-AGW camp.
  • by RocketRabbit ( 830691 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @04:49PM (#32803450)

    I suppose they will redefine the word robust as well now.

    Keep hiding that decline, boys. Wouldn't want anybody to realize that we are in a global cooling snap and have been for a decade now.

  • by RobotRunAmok ( 595286 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @04:58PM (#32803538)

    Global Warming: The Y2K Scare for the New Century.

  • by wwwrench ( 464274 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @04:58PM (#32803544) Homepage
    In reports of this size, there will always be small errors. The problem is that right wing bloggers trumpet these up to raise doubts about the basic science, and then fox news et. al. broadcast this even further. The result is a complete disaster: people will not make the sacrifices needed to stop climate change if they have doubts about whether it is happening. A great example is leakegate, where the Sunday Telegraph used a tiny citation error to suggest a conspiracy of scientists to falsify evidence of global warming (the UN report cited another report which contained the peer reviewed work, rather than directly citing the peer reviewed work). Eventually, the Telegraph retracted their article, but not before the damage was done. http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/06/leakegate-a-retraction/ [realclimate.org] As Mark Twain said, lie can get halfway around the world while the truth is still putting its boots on...
  • by SilverEyes ( 822768 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:03PM (#32803586)
    Read?! Are you crazy? Somebody told me that it SNOWED last week! Why would I read something!?
  • by Cyberax ( 705495 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:06PM (#32803614)

    "Keep hiding that decline, boys. Wouldn't want anybody to realize that we are in a global cooling snap and have been for a decade now."

    Really. Such fools as you should be put against the wall and shot. Then buried with the stake through heart, just to be sure.

    The garbage you're spewing is based on a simple fact of 1998 being a statistical fluke. However, the last year is the _hottest_ year on records and beats 1998. So no, there's just no global cooling. There are just stupid fools who don't understand the basics.

  • by SnarfQuest ( 469614 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:09PM (#32803648)

    Ok, for a report this size, that is being used to massively change the living conditions of many millions of people downwards, how many errors need to be found before the results become questionable? At what point will you stop and say, I think we need to look deeper into this before we subject all these people to miserable living conditions based on these questionable results? There are so many "small errors" in this report that, if you wrote it as a school assignment, you'd probably get a failing grade.

  • Small errors? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:09PM (#32803652)

    55% to 26% is a small error? Sounds like double to me. I'm not going to deny that climate change is happening, its happened for millions of years. I've seen layers of sandstone with sea shells it them, in the next foot of rock above there was petrified wood. From sea to forest in a short geological time span and back then humans weren't around. We may see climate change on such scales, that doesn't frighten me, we can adapt. The thing that does frighten me is politicians who use climate change as a platform to push whatever agenda they please.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:09PM (#32803654) Journal
    If it were just a matter of a mistake, or a typo, it would be one thing, but this is not a case of a typo. It's a case of using unreliable sources of information. They didn't rely solely on scientific journals to compile their report, they used non-scientific and non-peer-reviewed sources to compile the report. This is serious, and some of the ones responsible said they knew it was bad practice at the time.

    For analogous purposes, it is like writing a college research report using wikipedia as a primary source (or as any source really). Any good professor is going to mock you for it, and for good reasons.
  • lol (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps ( 1157495 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:09PM (#32803656)
    "none of the errors affected the fundamental conclusion by a UN panel of scientists" but it did affect the fundamental conclusion of the public as a whole. If you want the entire planet to shift the way it lives, to spend more money and get less for it, then "small errors" likes these are anything but small and completely unacceptable. Measure twice, cut once.
  • No mention of... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Orp ( 6583 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:10PM (#32803666) Homepage

    No mention of the 6,475,248 correct statements in the report.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:11PM (#32803676)

    All this means is that scientists are in fact humans and make small errors just like everyone else.

    Well actually, overstating by 200% the amount of land underwater in a small country is not really a "small" error.

    Some of the other errors are small, true. But it's hard to put a lot of faith the conclusion is correct when so many other little things are wrong. If the report is not consistent in accuracy throughout, trusting the result because they claim to have found "none of the errors actually matter" is not reassuring. It comes off more as sounding like, they already know what the conclusion should be, so the science was just there as window dressing to scare you good and proper.

    It would be nice if other scientists could examine the data themselves to see in fact if there are not any errors that actually matter...

  • Meh! Meh, I say! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by zmollusc ( 763634 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:11PM (#32803678)

    If the climate miraculously stops changing and steadies at current levels, and even if it is so predictable that we can evacuate places before storms hit, there will still be millions of people starving because the population keeps growing and the planet and its resources doesn't.
    So meh to climate change. A few thousand people can live in a desert or tundra, 20 billion cannot.

  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:14PM (#32803698)

    The problem is that right wing bloggers trumpet these up to raise doubts about the basic science

    Oh there's a far greater problem, it's people like you willing to whitewash inaccuracies and the inability for people to review the data used to reach the conclusion they claim is accurate. To just blow past that and still claim there's even science going on, much less that it is sound, is pretty incredible to me on a site where people are otherwise very level-headed about technical matters.

    If you can't peer review, it's not science. If you're theory cannot actually predict anything but the past, that's not a good theory and you need to go back to the drawing board.

  • by copponex ( 13876 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:15PM (#32803708) Homepage

    If you pick 1998 as the year to start, then yes, temperatures have declined from that extraordinary El Nino weather pattern.

    Similarly, I can say that the economy has been roaring since late 2008 - the stock market is up over 30%! Or I can say the economy has been suffering since early 2008 - the market is down over 40%! Both cases are a little misleading, and not only because the Dow Jones has little to do with the real economy.

    Global air and sea temperatures are on average going up, and have been doing so for decades. The US military is planning for the defense of the northwest passage. The USA, Russia, and Canada have already started bickering over the ownership of resources under the ice pack in the Arctic Ocean.

    Something tells me that all of these things are not just coincidence.

  • by Angst Badger ( 8636 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:16PM (#32803724)

    The current debate over global warming is not unlike the debate over evolution, which is to say, there really isn't any rational debate, only people whose vested interests are threatened by the conclusions of science who are desperately grasping at straws to deny settled facts. In the case of evolution, the vested interest is an emotional attachment to long-discredited Bronze Age superstitions, while climate change deniers feel their (unsustainable) wealth and convenience are threatened by the growing recognition that those things cannot go on unchanged without risking our continued existence. As a result, each new fact added to the edifice of evolutionary theory, as with climate theory, leads to a perverse demand that science fill in the ever shrinking gaps. In the case of evolution-deniers, the gaps are now so small that they have been reduced to all but demanding a running video record of speciation. Climate change deniers have a little more wiggle room, the risk of global warming having been recognized for only sixty or so years now, but even they have been reduced to positing the existence of a global conspiracy of climatologists to rule the world.

    It would be funny if the threats we faced were not both urgent and existential.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:20PM (#32803752)

    the obvious fear-mongering and finger-pointing that will result from the anti-AGW camp.

    Yeah, we wouldn't want anything to interfere with the obvious fear-mongering and finger pointing from the pro-AGW camp.

  • by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:20PM (#32803756)
    it's unacceptable when your asking countries to spend trillions based on teh data.

    that's the issue. sure people make mistakes, but a paper written and reviewed by supposed "thousands" of the top scientists in the world (as AGW people like to tout the IPC's paper)????!!!!

  • by Monkeedude1212 ( 1560403 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:22PM (#32803764) Journal

    It's a good analogy in that Y2K was more than just a scare, required a lot of people working on it to prepare, and even though there WERE issues, we managed to evade the catastrophy due to hard work and determination.

    The only issue we have right now is that Global Warming doesn't have the same commitment the Y2K scare had, and Global Warming is not something that can be fixed by computer scientists alone.

  • by SilverEyes ( 822768 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:23PM (#32803774)

    Ok, for a report this size, that is being used to massively change the living conditions of many millions of people downwards, how many errors need to be found before the results become questionable? At what point will you stop and say, I think we need to look deeper into this before we subject all these people to miserable living conditions based on these questionable results? There are so many "small errors" in this report that, if you wrote it as a school assignment, you'd probably get a failing grade.

    Why do people have the notion that implementing strategies for energy diversity, combating climate change, etc. will put us into some kind of dark age?

    I mean, unless you are Iraqi and your job is to set oil fields on fire or pump it into the Persian gulf when the Americans show up, or you get serious kicks out of being wasteful; how bad do you think living more sustainably or paying *slightly-somewhat* more for products and services would be? I'm genuinely curious as to what creature comforts or lifestyles would be so affected that living would noticeably go from (presumably) alright to "miserable".

  • by shutdown -p now ( 807394 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:31PM (#32803830) Journal

    But, if we are honest, most of this is not about the science buy about the policy decisions. We are still reeling from the bad science that meant we could no longer increase yields by spraying crops with DDT just because a few radical scientists created massive birds deaths, like liberals caused the gulf oil spill to stop oil drilling. Or overstating the effects of lead on children, or asbestos, to destroy those industries and destroy capitalism. We all know that scientist don't really do science, but spend all their time trying to destroy democracy and all that is good.

    What's scary is that I can't be 100% sure you're shooting for satire here...

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:34PM (#32803852)

    All this means is that scientists are in fact humans and make small errors just like everyone else.

    Hey, I believe in AGW, but this is much more than just a "small error". It indicates that papers supportive of the conclusion had a much lower threshold for inclusion than papers contradictory to it. As in, there was no threshold for pro-GW papers. You could make up stuff and if it sounded good it could be included, without any fact-checking.

    The issue isn't whether there were a few factual errors. It's whether the report is credible. Your credibility is golden, and once you lose it in the eyes of the public, it's really, really hard to get back. Ideally, in science, the proponent of a theory should also be its harshest critic.

  • Re:Small errors? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:40PM (#32803906) Homepage

    From sea to forest in a short geological time span and back then humans weren't around.

    Are you actually suggesting there are people out there who believe only human activity could possibly lead to significant climate change? Why must climate change be explained either exclusively in terms of human influence or exclusively in terms of non-human factors? It doesn't make sense.

  • by IICV ( 652597 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:41PM (#32803916)

    Do you know how long the IPCC report is? It's effing huge. If the worst things the denialists can find after going through it with a fine toothed comb are what amounts to a typo, a misstatement, and a bad calculation, that is amazing.

    Further, the physical sciences basis [global-gre...arming.com] for global warming remains unchanged and completely unchallenged. The only thing we are quibbling about (indeed, what you're so concerned about in your post) are what the actual effects of global warming will be, not whether or not it is happening.

    It's like that old apocryphal story about Winston Churchill - we've already agreed that global warming is happening, now we're just haggling over how painful it will be. For some reason, people seem to think that if they haggle the pain down a little, the "already agreed" part will go away.

  • Give me a break. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:42PM (#32803940)

    I mean, come 'on.
    The do ate the homework is more believable than this.
    If there were not billions of dollars at stake - maybe I would just ignore it (not believe it), but no way this was a mistake. :)

  • by Das Auge ( 597142 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:45PM (#32803986)

    If you pick 1998 as the year to start, then yes, temperatures have declined from that extraordinary El Nino weather pattern.

    And, if you go back to the end of the last ice age, you'll also see a warming trend. Long before the industrial age and man-made CO2 emissions.

    And again, if you go back to the beginning of the Pliocene Epoch, you'll find that the Earth has cooled since then.

    What's your point?

  • by Krahar ( 1655029 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:46PM (#32803998)
    I haven't read anything of these reports, but I'm going to but in and say that the presence of a reference in a scientific manuscript says nothing on its own about how that reference was used. E.g. if you are going to say that the there has been a large amount of worry about something in the media, then it is entirely appropriate to reference articles in the media that show that worry, and it's entirely appropriate to reference 20 of them just to really make your point. So it depends on how those references were used. In this case they were used poorly - the question is how any other references to non-peer reviewed sources were used.
  • by grcumb ( 781340 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @05:48PM (#32804012) Homepage Journal

    Global Warming: The Y2K Scare for the New Century.

    Absolutely. People realised well before the crisis occurred that remedial action was necessary to address shortcomings in human-designed systems whose effects, while difficult to quantify (and the subject of wild speculation), were known to be adverse.

    While some efforts began well in advance of the crisis itself, consensus concerning action didn't arise immediately. The result was a late push toward a technical fix that ended up costing businesses and governments more, because once-plentiful resources were now in high demand.

    The difference between Y2K and Climate Change, of course, is that one only required that a date field be fixed, and the systems we were modeling were entirely of human creation. Our sense of the scope of the problem, and therefore our predictive capability, was much better. This didn't stop an ill-informed media from announcing the Apocalypse and helping drive a millennial fervour among many, but those in this know were nonetheless able to concentrate on the task at hand and, for the most part, remedy it before it became a problem.

    Our understanding of the scope and nature of Climate Change, on the other hand, is based on observation of a nearly infinitely more complex natural system. Achieving a clear understanding of the scope and exact nature of the problem is therefore exceedingly difficult. Scientific speculation about possible effects has led to an ill-informed media announcing the Apocalypse and helped drive a (Mayan) millennial fervour among many.

    Those in the know are thwarted by competing economic interests who see mere acceptance of the concept of global climate change as a threat to their profitability. They have therefore recruited numerous 'public relations' companies to subvert the credibility of said researchers and to use any means necessary to cast doubt on the research itself. This has hampered efforts to win public support for action, which in turn has made it politically difficult to commit to anything but often meaningless half measures (e.g. cap-and-trade).

    ... But aside from the differences, yeah, they're exactly alike. 8^)

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @06:08PM (#32804160)

    We'd be building nuclear power plants left and right. The fact that they aren't leads to one conclusion: they're not really concerned about carbon emissions and are just using scare tactics to impose their will upon the rest of us.

  • Re:Small errors? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @06:12PM (#32804200) Homepage

    55% to 26% is a small error? Sounds like double to me.

    Yes, that's right. They got the sea level of the Netherlands wrong, and therefore anthropogenic global warming doesn't exist.

    Yup, that's perfectly sound logic, that is.

  • by Daishiman ( 698845 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @06:13PM (#32804206)
    It is a small error in the grand scheme of things. Some measurements need only be precise to the order of magnitude to be significant. In this case, the fact that such a large amount of land can be underwater is still relevant even if they're off by a factor of 10.
  • by quokkaZ ( 1780340 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @06:28PM (#32804306)

    Do you have any regard for the truth, or do you just think sound bites are sufficient?

    The truth is that there are a number of predictions that come from climate science that have been confirmed by observation:

    1. The surface temperature will increase - it has

    2. The heat content of the oceans will increase - it has

    3. The poles - especially the nth pole will warm faster than the rest of the planet. The observed warming of the Nth pole is dramatic.

    4. The stratosphere will cool as the troposphere warms. It has.

    5. Ocean acidity will rise - it has.

    A couple of these predictions are more than a century old, having been first made by the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius in 1896. He was the first to arrive at an estimate of sensitivity of climate to increase in atmospheric CO2. An estimate not that different to what is the accepted range today.

    Not only have these predictions been confirmed by observation, but no other plausible explanation has been found other than an enhanced greenhouse effect. Despite exhaustive efforts, attribution of climate change principally to solar changes, cosmic rays, astronomical cycles etc etc has been shown to be plainly incompatible with available observation.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @06:45PM (#32804430)

    While it is true that the situation would be better if we hadn't listened to them in the eighties and had built more nukes and less coal-fired plants, the fact remains that we are in this situation due to their short-sightedness and unrealistic expectations. Taking more advice from these retards is not the way forward.

  • Re:So true! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @07:15PM (#32804636) Homepage

    how is it rational to believe in a conclusion based on data they will not let you see?

    How is it rational to instead believe the only possible alternative conclusion; that 98.5% of climatologists must be deliberately falsifying their conclusions in a global conspiracy to mislead the public for nefarious but unstated purposes?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @07:27PM (#32804732)

    the obvious fear-mongering and finger-pointing that will result from the anti-AGW camp.

    Yeah, we wouldn't want anything to interfere with the obvious fear-mongering and finger pointing from the pro-AGW camp.

    At this point I'm confused. I'm pretty sure that anthropogenic global warming would be a bad thing for life as we know it and basic chemistry says that all the fossil fuels we dig up have to go somewhere, with known consequences (e.g. Venus). Does that make me pro-AGW or anti-AGW?

    who knows, we're in a rational thought-free zone (era?)..

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @07:29PM (#32804756)

    AGW is a religion, what did you expect?

  • by TruthSauce ( 1813784 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @07:47PM (#32804906)

    I agree with your point to a limited extent, but your tone is one of "neener, neener" which likely enhanced the quick-finger reaction of the troll mods.

    Perhaps that's just a sensitivity to this topic that I have, because both sides of the argument have a very high quantity of argumentative dicks who are completely ignorant, except their particular brand of political talking points.

    The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. You know... . CO2 is clearly bad, but the world won't end in 8 years. Perhaps it's 1,000 years, it's still not OK to do, in my opinion.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @07:50PM (#32804934)

    There are a Billion People in Africa... I am sorry to say this because I know someone will take this wrong but there has been much made about infant mortality in Africa over the past 40 years. As we send them food and medical aid we do not teach them that once infants can live there is no reason to have ten or more children just so one will survive.

    Bill Gates is dumping Billions over there... George Bush gave them 50 Billion + ...

    Overpopulation is their worst enemy with hundreds of millions of people starving.

    They just can not grow enough food for their population

    It seems sad now but in a few decades when their population more then doubles to 2 or 3 billion people all dependent on the USA or Europe to feed them..

    With little or no income ... with no skills and unable to grow their own food...

    This is a very very dangerous thing...

    The same is happening in India and most of the third world.

    Over population many many times the birth rate of modern society...

    At the very least everyone should agree this will lead to a food war.

    It never should have happened.

    Remember the Moors invaded Europe

    What would Europe do if 2 billion Africans decided to take Europe?

    The only thing they could do is use nuclear force you could never fight that as a conventional war.

    we are killing them with kindness

  • by TruthSauce ( 1813784 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @07:54PM (#32804966)

    trusting the result because they claim to have found "none of the errors actually matter" is not reassuring.

    I have to point out... (and as someone said above)

    There are four volumes in the report, the report of which you speak uses "grey material" from goverment, industry and private sources that cannot be found anywhere else. In this case they used a government source for the percentage of land below sea level, unfortunately the Dutch govt got it wrong but that is about impacts and has nothing to do with the science. The scientific volume (WG1) only uses peer-reviewed sources and nobody has yet pointed out any errors in WG1, in fact the people who pointed out the 2035 error were contributors to WG1.

    Note the prominent link directly above the reports to their statement about the 2035 mistake. The IPCC paper is widely recognised by scientific institutions as one of the most robust peer-review exercises ever conducted and it has been forthright about recognizing its mistake.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @07:56PM (#32804972)

    Excuse me?

    Small Errors?

    Nothing about the UN Climate report that pushes _only_ man made global warming, then turns around and holds conferences about the issue with the primary panel representatives being the 7 major banks members of which faithfully determine that a carbon credit tax scheme on the entire world is the way to address the problem.

    It is not a conspiracy, they plainly are doing these things in the open now.

    Why the hell do you need 65 Million in security to hold a climate conference anyway?

    Leaders in the scientific world, if this was actually about _ANY_ sort of science don't need 65 million in security in IN FACT they are discussing how to help mankind through a period of climate change come out better on the other side.

    Same thing for the G20 conference in Toronto, if you are a leader of the world you do not need to spend 1 BILLION dollars on security if you are actually discussing what is in the worlds best interests.

    You also don't have to beat the heads in of coeds and unarmed civilians with billy clubs.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 05, 2010 @08:34PM (#32805296)

    I would not call the 2035 error a mere typo, but I would also not try to use it as a means to discredit the science behind the WGI (the one which deals with the actual science) report.

    Well that would be difficult since he 2035 error occurs in the WG2 (the one that deals with impact) not the WG1 report. Most of the sceptical energy has been spent trying to discredit the WG1 report, which has stood up to very close scrutiny.

    It's probably time for the contratians to concentrate on WG2, so we can make their work as robust as that of WG1.

  • by ZDRuX ( 1010435 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @09:27PM (#32805696)
    There are ominous signs that the Earth's weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production - with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas - parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia - where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.

    The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually. During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree - a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars' worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.

    To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world's weather....

    OOOPS!... sorry, I mistakenly was quoting scientific data from the 1970's with regards to Global Cooling. Nothing to see here I guess, just forget I ever mentioned this. Thank goodness we have honest reporting and scientific fact finding these days, nothing like an apocalyptic blast from the past eh? Now don't forget to stay scared and make sure you let your state agencies dictate how much you eat and what temperature you can keep your house at.

    I'm sure they'll get it right with Global Warming this time!! Maybe we'll even die because of it in 10 years!
  • by ZDRuX ( 1010435 ) on Monday July 05, 2010 @09:29PM (#32805706)
    Just for reference: Newsweek: Global Cooling (1975) [denisdutton.com]
  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Monday July 05, 2010 @11:50PM (#32806624) Journal
    "Yeah, I've had this conversation with you before"

    And yet your unreasonably dogmatic approach to this subject is still preventing you from actually learning anything.

    "The IPCC report is now utterly unreliable for giving us this information"

    Donald Knuth is famous for giving token cheques to anyone who spots an error in his classic computer science textbooks. Several cheques have been handed out over the years and the people who have recieved them display them as a badge of honour. Do you apply the same reasoning to "The art and science of computer programming" and therfore conclude that Knuth's classic texts are "utterly unreliable". /ad-absurdium

    In other words the direct opposite to your claim is true, when someone, (be it Knuth or the IPCC), openly admits and corrects thier mistakes it makes their work more reliable and their motivations more honourable to everyone except extremly myopic observers. When the observers are an army of one-eyed psuedo-skeptical vested interests and the errors are few and far between then it is very strong evidence the work is extrodinarily reliable.

    "the fact that WGII was using unscientific sources of information is unconscionable"

    What is unconscionable is the fact you keep ignoring the fact that the report itself clearly states it's reasoning behind the inclusion of grey material. There is nothing wrong with material from any source unless you are trying to misrepresent it as something other than what it is, which BTW is what you are doing to the WG11.

    Now do you understand why some of the more astute moderators saw through your populist bullshit and moderated you "troll"? - It was not because you make any error in fact, it was because you built a credible sounding strawman by ommitting inconvienient facts. The very tactic that you and your fellow useful idiots [wikipedia.org] often claim the IPCC is guilty of - projection much?
  • by TapeCutter ( 624760 ) * on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @03:42AM (#32807896) Journal
    Heh robinjo, I've been trying to get back to you, unfortunately the slashdot time limit cut off our discussion so I will try and address your last post here. I think our discussion basically arived at the same point climate scientists are at, ie: debating the magnitude of climate sensitivity [wikipedia.org] which IIRC has basically remained unaltered at 3.0degC +/- 1.5degC since the 70's.

    As to the Stefan-Boltzmann law you mentioned in your last post, this is a red-herring introduced a few years ago by the well known fraudster and charater assasin Lord Monckton. Of course there is nothing wrong with the law as it pertains to black bodies, the problem with applying it to climate is that the Earth is not a black body. This is why climate sensitivity is an estimate rather than a law. Note that most psudeo-skeptical site will never use the term "climate sensitivity" since it has a very specific textbook definition and directly contradicts a lot of their bullshit (such as the applicability of the SB law).

    As to the current thread, I'm not EQUATING Knuth to the IPCC, I'm COMPARING their track records for errors to highlight the absurdity of the OP's claim that basically boils down to "imperfect implies useless". To Knuth's credit he managed his feat almost single-handedly so they are hardly equal, OTOH a commitee of one can get things done a lot faster.

    Do you have a credible list of errors for the IPCC that would counter my comparison? - AFAIK the errata lists for both Knuth and the IPCC would be in the single digit region and both have produced a metric shitload of text, as the OP himself points out, the error count for the last WG1 report currently stands at zero after 3yrs of intense and often hostile scrutiny.
  • by radtea ( 464814 ) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @08:36AM (#32809898)

    Only models that show a good correlation are used to predict the future

    Other than proving your ignorance of computational physics, this claim demonstrates very little. I can show you any number of unphysical, highly-parameterized models that can be made to correlate well with the past, but do very badly at predicting the future.

    It is an unfortunate truth that climate models are unphysical and highly parameterized. This combination is very, very bad. An unphysical model with few parameters is not so bad, because it is unlikely to be able to fit real data and so is met with a proper degree of skepticism. A physical model with many parameters is not so bad because at least basic conservation laws will be respected.

    So let me ask: in the model you are running is energy strictly conserved at all levels of the simulation? And are sea-surface and other boundary conditions plausibly physical? These are the two biggies I've found in the models I've examined, and neither of them bode well for the ability of the models to predict the future no matter how well they can be tuned to match the past.

    It is the denial of this fact that distinguishes climate modellers from computational physicists. Computational physicists know--because we have explored a wide range of simple systems with unphysical models in the course of our education--that systems as simple as an orbiting spacecraft or swinging pendulum can be given the appearance of wildly impossible behaviour with apparently trivial unphysical "fixes" that accumulate over time.

    For example, it was believed until about ten years ago that the solar system was chaotic, because all our models of its long term behaviour were unstable. It turns out that extremely subtle errors were creeping into our integrations to produce this behaviour. This is just one example of how even a physical numerical model of a relatively simple system can be badly misleading.

    And anyone who understands computational physics knows this, and would not ever present correlation with the past as justification for the future accuracy of unphysical, highly parameterized models.

  • by mangu ( 126918 ) on Tuesday July 06, 2010 @11:59AM (#32813086)

    One counterexample is enough to falsify a scientific theory. All the Global warming theories of the 80s and 90s predicted an end to snow in the UK

    *No* climatologist would ever go to the extreme of predicting an end to snow anywhere. Google "outliers".

GIVE: Support the helpless victims of computer error.