Peter Gleick, The Heartland Revelations and Situational Journalism

Peter Gleick, renowned scientist, great guy, crappy journalist.

First, let me catch you up. On Valentine’s Day, there was a release of documents from the Heartland Institute documenting their budget and the status of their fund raising, as well as their strategy for protecting corporate interests in light of overwhelming evidence that Anthropogenic Global Warming and other climate change requires us to alter our global energy strategy. Heartland has been involved in science denialsm for some time. They are one of the groups that worked to deny evidence of the negative health effects of smoking, among other things. Heartland, a Libertarian “think” tank is a relatively small player in the overall climate discussion, and the documents indicate that the annual balance of their budget has been diminishing owing to reductions in contributions. Nonetheless, the documents painted a picture of systematic dishonesty. In particular, the documents seemed to indicate that Heartland was launching a bought and paid for effort to interfere with the teaching of good science in our K-12 educational system, replacing honest science with the willful misdirection we know of as science denialism. Continue reading

Please help climate scientists who are under attack to defend themselves.

Please read and pass on.

Climate researchers are in need of immediate legal assistance to prevent their private correspondence from being exposed to Chris Horner and the American Tradition Institute who are using Freedom of Information (FOI) to harass researchers. (For context please see: and The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has recently stated: “the sharing of research data is vastly different from unreasonable, excessive Freedom of Information Act requests for personal information and voluminous data that are then used to harass and intimidate scientists.” The complete AAAS statement is available at

Please visit the site Scott A. Mandia has set up and donate a few bucks after you read his post.

Climate Change News

You will recall that in July a paper came out claiming that clouds, not CO2, caused climate change (I simplify slightly). Later, the Editor in Chief of the journal that published the paper resigned. Well, today, a paper came out that addresses the science side of the original paper. The origional paper appears to have been both poorly done and probably improperly (as in unethically done). The paper that just came out shows that clouds do not cause climate change. Climate science remains intact. Climate change denialism takes another hit.

I’ve written it up here. Deltoid has this covered as well.

In addition, there is some interesting reading here, here, here, and here.


CloudGate Link Farm

I just posted a summary of the latest rather startling event in Cloud Gate, the curent scandal in the Climate Change Denialist world:

CloudGate: Denialism Gets Dirty, Reputations Are At Stake

Please go have a look and leave any questions you have. If I can’t help you with the questions, I’ll find someone who can.

Meanwhile, this latest event, which involves the resignation of the Editor-in-Chief of a peer reviewed scientific journal, has created a lot of discussion in a very short period of time. Thus, the link farm to help you keep track:

The Original Paper is here.

Wolfgang Wagner’s resignation … is here (pdf).

Blog posts and press reports about the resignation:

Noah or NOAA?

Our faith based Federal Executive has been reluctant to admit to, let alone address, the fact that global warming resulting from release of fossil carbon into the atmosphere is a real phenomenon. It is a little surprising that today, NOAA came out with a press release that virtually admits that global warming is a real phenomenon (but stops short of discussing the cause).

The scientific community is generally united in recognizing the reality of this problem, but there are still holdouts. However, considering that so much of the funding related to this research still comes from industrial sources (as does much of the fossil carbon), that there are holdouts is not surprising.

This is a parable that may be insightful or even inspiring to some. First, a look at the “Yes, it’s real” position. One of the first mainstream institutions to embrace the idea was the Union of Concerned Scientists. This is an excerpt from their web site:

Earth’s surface has undergone unprecedented warming over the last century, particularly over the last two decades. Astonishingly, every single year since 1992 is in the current list of the 20 warmest years on record.[1,2] The natural patterns of climate have been altered. Like detectives, science sleuths seek the answer to “Whodunnit?” — are humans part of the cause? To answer this question, patterns observed by meteorologists and oceanographers are compared with patterns developed using sophisticated models of Earth’s atmosphere and ocean. By matching the observed and modeled patterns, scientists can now positively identify the “human fingerprints” associated with the changes. The fingerprints that humans have left on Earth’s climate are turning up in a diverse range of records and can be seen in the ocean, in the atmosphere, and at the surface

In 1999, James Hansen of NASA wrote an editorial for Goddard (GISS) that showed this graph:

Fig. 1: Climate model calculations reported in Hansen et al. (1988).

And provided this commentary: Continue reading

Thinking of Global Warming

Amazingly enough, we (my family) are going to have to work very hard this year, as we did over the last two years, to get in even one or two good days of cross country skiing. And we live in the middle of Minnesota. This is partly because a good bit of the precip that falls on us these days is actually rain and not snow.

But this is of course a very selfish concern, to the extent that this change is related to human-induced global warming (which I’m betting on). And this reminds me of how often I get the question from students and others, “why worry about global warming … what’s wrong with a little warm weather anyway.”

For one thing I think it is safe to say that the “controversy” is over. No one is seriously questioning that there has been warming, that we are in a warming trend, and that this trend is caused primarily by human release of otherwise trapped (mainly fossil) carbon into the atmosphere. Nice to know that the Yahoos are pretty much silenced by the facts on that one…

Still, the question arises, “why is this important” … even in places where you might not expect it, like this discussion on the geology of the grand canyon: Another Timeline

There are a lot of resources available on this issue, but here is a short version of my two cents:
Continue reading