Understanding Climate Risk

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Archive for December 2011

Climategate V2 emails: exchange on the extremes Table 3-10 in the IPCC TAR

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The second tranche of emails stolen from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit’s servers has been released by a group who are trying a Wikileaks take on how climate science is done. Last time, given their origin, I wouldn’t have anything to do with them. Now it is claimed there are some 200,000 emails in the database, so their likelihood of eventually being made public is pretty high. The latest 5,000 were selected on specific keywords but beyond that are random. Given that likelihood, the way that science is being challenged on “free” speech grounds by opponents of specific scientific findings, and the need to acquaint the wider public with how science is put together, it seems worth illustrating some of those exchanges in full. This is also to counter the egregious quote mining, out-of-context selection and revivification of already investigated claims going on in the blogosphere. Even the quotes taken from the README.txt file accompanying the leaked emails, which is the only part that most journalists will have read, are wildly out of context.

The following exchange is about an early version of Table 3-10 from Chapter 3, Working Group II Developing and Applying Scenarios in the Third Assessment Report. The table was a lot more complex than the final version, having stars denoting confidence and a wide range of extremes. After government review, the response was that the table was too complex and that the most important information to impart were the extremes known with relatively high confidence and their likely impacts. The final version shown to the right reflects those reviews. Read the rest of this entry »

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Written by Roger Jones

December 1, 2011 at 9:41 am