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  (Source: Smart Power)
Study says skeptics are not well-informed on the topic

Stanford University recently conducted a study that shows a minimal number of scientists who do not accept that human beings have contributed to the Earth's climate change have "far less expertise and prominence in climate research" than scientists who do believe climate change has been affected by humans. 

The university came to these conclusions by analyzing the number of research papers published "by more than 900 climate researchers" and the number of times these researchers' works were cited by other scientists. The expertise was evaluated by citing the number of research papers written by scientists (with the minimum number for inclusion being 20).

Prominence was analyzed by finding the four most popular climate change and non-climate change papers published by scientists, and "tallying" the number of times these papers were cited. According to the results, approximately 64 percent of papers by climate researchers convinced of human contribution were cited more often than those who are unconvinced. 

"These are standard academic metrics used when universities are making hiring or tenure decisions," said William Anderegg, lead author of a paper published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The scientists who participated in the study were also involved in creating the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which compiled and "assessed the evidence for and against human involvement in climate change, as well as any climate researchers who signed a major public statement disagreeing with the findings of the panel's report."

In addition, the university's team of scientists decided on who the top 100 climate researchers are by determining the "total number of climate-related publications each had." According to Anderegg, 97 percent of those in the top 100 agree with and/or endorse the IPCC's assessment. He also says that this result has been "borne out" by other studies that use different methodology.  

"We really wanted to bring the expertise dimension into this whole discussion," said Anderegg. "We hope to put to rest the notion that keeps being repeated in the media and by some members of the public that 'the scientists disagree' about whether human activity is contributing to climate change."

The scientists at Stanford have mentioned that they are ready to take some heat from doubters of anthropogenic, or human-affected, climate change who "object to their data." But according to Stephen Schneider, a professor of biology and a coauthor of the paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team "took pains to avoid any sort of prejudice or skewed data in their analysis." When selecting researchers for the study who either disagreed with statements of the IPCC or signed the petitions, the Stanford team was sure to stay completely neutral in the study by omitting "those who had no published papers in the climate literature."

Schneider says that despite the careful analysis of this study, skeptics of human-affected climate change will "claim foul" anyway, and will say that climate researchers who are onboard with the idea of anthropogenic climate change are "just trying to deny publication of the doubters' opinion," but he challenges them to "go out and do a study to prove it -- it is of course not true."

"I think the most typical criticism of a paper like this -- not necessarily in academic discourse, but in the broader context -- is going to be that we haven't addressed these sorts of differences could be due to some clique or, at the extreme, a conspiracy of the researchers who are convinced of climate change," Anderegg said. 

"When you stop to consider whether some sort of 'group think' really drives these patterns and it could really exist in science in general, the idea is really pretty laughable," he said. "All of the incentives in science are exactly the opposite."

This Stanford study is the first of its kind to address the issue of scientists' opinions of human-affected climate change, and what their level of expertise and prominence in the field is. 

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RE: Of course its part of a clique
By Stoanhart on 6/28/2010 2:49:21 PM , Rating: 2
Well, the thing is they do mostly agree and you probably wouldn't understand. Unless you are particularly well versed in partial differential equations, physics, and statistical analysis then you can't even begin to analyze the evidence yourself to any meaningful degree. The experts have to summarize it in layman's terms, and when they do, the doubters just claim they're lying. I can see how that would get pretty frustrating, to the point where you just want to tell them "Shut up, what do you know?!"

By Shining Arcanine on 6/28/2010 3:59:49 PM , Rating: 3
The thing with partial differential equations is that you can make them say whatever you want them to say when you are the one defining the ones that are used. They likely derived their partial differential equations from their own ideas of how the world works (i.e. we are ruining it by producing carbon dioxide) rather than from any realistic model of the world.

There are plenty of flaws in their work, especially when you question the statistical confidence levels for the data that they do have. They need millions of years of climate data to draw conclusions with any reasonable confidence level (e.g. 95%), yet they are working with climate data from only a few hundred years. Then they are quick to point to CO2 concentrations in Antarctic for the past hundred thousand years or so years, but those have no relationship to the planet's actual climate. They also say little about atmospheric concentrations of water vapor during that time, which are a far larger greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. That is why it feels hot when it is humid and cool otherwise.

In short, all of their data is meaningless and they are making fabricating their conclusions. It is logically impossible to draw conclusions from the data that they do have and also logically impossible to expand that collection to fix that. It is irrational to think otherwise. The only legitimate work in their field that I have seen so far suggests that the popular ideas they have are all wrong. One paper showed that Mars was exhibiting global warming to the same extent the Earth exhibited it. Another paper suggested that small changes in solar radiation was responsible for recent observations. Yet another paper showed that water vapor levels drop as carbon dioxide levels increase.

Considering the relatively small changes in solar radiation that occur during the winter and summer seasons, I am inclined to agree with the paper that correlates recent temperatures to changes in solar activity. Also, considering the fact that it feels warmer when it is humid and cooler when it is not, I would also agree with the paper that shows water vapor levels as playing a role. The ideas that solar radiation and water vapor levels determine the climate seem more plausible than the idea that carbon dioxide is the determining factor.

RE: Of course its part of a clique
By Suntan on 6/28/2010 5:20:17 PM , Rating: 5
Meh, I’ll just put this out there.

I’m a degreed mechanical engineer specializing in thermodynamics and heat transfer. Back a few years ago (when Al was just starting to get rolling on his war path) I worked for a company that made advanced refrigeration equipment. Due to the fact that they would be very much impacted by any legislation that would further curtail the types of refrigerants available to use (R404a has a GWP that is over 3 thousand time higher than carbon dioxide) I spent the better part of a week digging online for information. (Lest you think I was motivated to believe AGW was false out of some sense of fear for my job, I can tell you that the best thing for an engineer is to have the government outlaw their current designs. It insures a healthy future for engineers when they have to completely redesign all the current products to meet a new government mandate.)

Most of the stuff available then, as now, was just warmed over opinion based on a few actual source reports available at the time. (You can usually tell the difference between a source report and an article of supposition just by asking yourself “where did they come up with that information” as you read the claims, if they don’t have direct explanation of the base data, you know it is just supposition.) Anyway, after a good few days of searching, I found a couple of places that had the actual compiled test data. One was a NOAA report of about 150 pages. The one that most of the papers that started exploding into the public were based on at the time. Looking through it (the base data of the various tests and observation sites around the world) and taking time to make sure I understood the data that was contained within it, for a few days, I finally came away with the belief that no person with a strong foundation in science would actually be convinced that the climate community knew enough to make a thumbs up or down judgment on the topic.

Now I don’t mean to imply that I am an expert on the topic of climate, I certainly wouldn’t know what to investigate to clarify the debate myself, but I do understand how hot bits and cold bit interact with each other better than the average person, and more importantly, I understand how to interpret data and how to vet other people’s conclusions of a set of data. Many of the articles that I then read (one that based their opinions on the NOAA data) just didn’t make sense, by that I mean I could not understand how they formed the conclusions they came to based on the data they referenced. It often didn’t add up, or there was conflicting data that flat out was not evaluated in their reports (even though the conflicting data came from the same massive NOAA report that they got their supportive data from.)

To add on to this, it was right around that time that researchers off the coast of one of the northern islands of Alaska confirmed that they found liquid water vapor within cloud formations where the air temperature was -60°F. Prior to this, “common belief among the climatologists around the world” said that there was no possible way that cloud formations would have liquid water vapor in clouds at temperatures that low. Now if you know something about how differently the sun’s energy reacts to water vapor, as it does to crystalline ice particles in the sky, you would know that this is something that climatologists should have under their belts *before* proclaiming to the world that they know how the model of our Earth heats and cools.

Lastly, this was also the spring/summer after Katrina. Back then, all the climatologists were predicting that the following hurricane season was going to be even worse than the one before (the one that spawned Katrina) and that it was likely that the Gulf area would see at least 12 or 13 hurricanes that season. Guess what, that following season the gulf saw no hurricanes make landfall. Climatologists couldn’t use their computer models to make an accurate prediction out 4 months, yet they expect us to believe they can accurate model events out 20 30 years?

Taking these three separate issues (vast numbers of sensationalist reports that didn’t measure up to the base data, the fact that climatologists still don’t even understand the full workings of the atmosphere, and the fact that their models have been proven to be wrong every instance where time has caught up to their forward looking projections) that is why I disagree with the notion that “the scientific community at large knows AGW is true.” Not because I watch Fox News (I don’t) or because I dislike Keith Oberman (I do) but because I took enough time to make an informed decision on the topic myself. I suggest you all do the same.

Since then I’ve looked into it a few other times, not as deeply, but enough to come away once again that nothing has changed since may initial judgment on the debate (that climatologists still don’t have a foggy clue that actually happens in up in the air around us.)


RE: Of course its part of a clique
By knutjb on 6/28/2010 7:06:40 PM , Rating: 3
How true. Many in the self rarefied air of science want to believe that they are the only group on the planet who have the capacity to comprehend such thought and are bolstered in their belief by the groupies who follow them blindly. Some enjoy producing rather than pure research even though they do have the capacity for research.

I have read many of the IPCC reports and BTW the head guy is just a railroad engineer. I found the IPCC used group A who used group B's data who used group C's data who used group A's data. The now discredited UK group was a prime source. They all had a commonality that is dangerous in the scientific world, unquestioning belief of the conclusion. This is far too complex issue for such an overly simple answer.

Discourse forces ideas to be refined and improved or discredited. Global Warming, Climate Change (an oxymoron label) pushers want that consensus label so they can push an agenda of power for them. Discourse prevents this from happening. So prevent rational discourse.

I don't buy into the "consensus" view, both on historical grounds and distrust of those pushing the consensus idea. (Look how long Newton was considered infallible and how entrenched his ideas were before Einstein) Taking one sole product, CO2, and creating it into the bad guy when there are many other components that are excluded, partly because they are beyond our control and don't contribute to the ideology. Do we impact our environment, of course. Are we the sole cause of all thing bad in the environment, no.

To label those who dare question the data as heretics is simply ludicrous and disingenuous. If your argument has serious holes but you want to believe so bad that you have to resort to ridiculing doubters you will eventually lose the argument, like the global cooling crowd of the 70s.

RE: Of course its part of a clique
By William Gaatjes on 6/29/2010 4:22:40 PM , Rating: 2
Very true. You just summed up exactly the same reasons why i have my doubts as well about Man made global warming.

But i have no doubt about man made global pollution. And that is something humanity should be worried about.

RE: Of course its part of a clique
By Suntan on 6/30/2010 12:22:48 PM , Rating: 2
Define “global pollution.”

Is the house you live in “pollution?” I bet it was probably a nice clean grass land at one time.

Is the teaddy bear your child huges closely while going to sleep “pollution?” It’s probably made of the same materials you think you have issues with.

Is the substance you burn to keep your family warm in the winter “pollution?”

I bet to the birds and squirrels living around you think that everything you own and have ever done is just pollution. Feel free to dig in and eliminate as much of it as you want. Or maybe it is a little more complicated than just labeling it something catchy like “man made global pollution.”


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