IPCC based claims on a student dissertation and a magazine article

posted at 11:56 am on January 31, 2010 by Karl

This story just keeps getting better:

The [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change]’s remit is to provide an authoritative assessment of scientific evidence on climate change.

In its most recent report, it stated that observed reductions in mountain ice in the Andes, Alps and Africa was being caused by global warming, citing two papers as the source of the information.

However, it can be revealed that one of the sources quoted was a feature article published in a popular magazine for climbers which was based on anecdotal evidence from mountaineers about the changes they were witnessing on the mountainsides around them.

The other was a dissertation written by a geography student, studying for the equivalent of a master’s degree, at the University of Berne in Switzerland that quoted interviews with mountain guides in the Alps.

Neither the article nor the dissertation was subject to peer review. Moreover, the Sunday Telegraph notes that the latest IPCC report made use of 16 non-peer reviewed reports from the World Wildlife Fund.

Then again, the ClimateGate scandal has raised questions about the the quality and process of peer review in the field of climate change, so maybe it is more honest for the IPCC to rely on a magazine article. It is arguably more honest than covering up the inconvenient truth that the IPCC’s claim that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 was based on nothing but speculation.

These lapses should be a source of embarrassment to those involved, but apparently are not to the UK’s weather service:

The Met Office, which has seven researchers who contributed to the report including Professor Martin Parry who was co-chair of the working group responsible for the part of the report that contained the glacier errors, said: “The IPCC should continue to ensure that its review process is as robust and transparent as possible, that it draws only from the peer-reviewed literature, and that uncertainties in the science and projections are clearly expressed.” (Emphasis added.)

It is impossible for the IPCC to continue drawing only from peer-reviewed studies, because they clearly are not doing that now.

Thanks to Kathleen McKinley for the tip.

Breaking on Hot Air



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There’s nothing left to stand on.

Cricket624 on February 1, 2010 at 8:22 AM

The scientific community as a whole needs to do some major purging.
If you have clean data & can prove it, then your work is still valuable.
With govt agencies faking data for political purposes, like in the fake lynx fur debacle concerning the Fish & Wildlife Svc., it is clear we need to do some house cleaning in the sci community.
But they need to do it themselves & they WON’T unless they are forced bcs these toadies have way too much to lose.
It is disgusting what has been done to science.
Not only should climate data be re-evaluated, ALL disciplines need to go through a lot of their stuff with a fine toothed comb.
Great ideas for under & grad papers here.
But people should not be villified or polarized in popular media when they hold diff. sci views.
I’ve seen incidents in where a scientist with a ‘concensus’ view on their pioneering hypothesis gets challenged by some young or unknown upstart, backed up by threatening & convincing evidence, the big guys get defensive & go through smear campaigns to shut the little guy up.
Scientists need to grow something & GET A CLUE.
Your work may be for $$ now, but after you’re dead & gone do you really want history to tar & feather you?!

Badger40 on February 1, 2010 at 1:39 PM

I just love the irony of using an illogical Appeal to Popularity to make a scientific argument.
RadClown on February 1, 2010 at 11:44 AM

Everyone who makes decisions based on objective standards will always live in constant fear of BEING wrong. It is the greatest weakness conservatives have, and that is why our political opponents always focus on exploiting it.

But the people who make decisions based on emotion do not have that vulnerability. The only thing liberals ever fear is FEELING wrong. And it is, literally, childishly simple for liberals to avoid that feeling.

That’s why all so-called “liberal political issues” – taxes, spending, regulation, etc. – are only means to an end. True collectivism begins and ends with collective thought.

All any liberal ever has to do agree with whatever is the current perceived consensus. And the best part is that, whenever the perceived consensus changes, the liberal never feels the slightest regret over having spent his life being an idiot.

The liberal feels (at most) a very brief period of cognitive dissonance. Then he simply goes along with whatever he’s heard repeated most often by all of his fellow “smart people” on TV this week. He can spend his entire life quite happily without being right once. That couldn’t possibly matter to him. Because the liberal focuses solely on the subjective: making damned sure that he never FEELS wrong.

logis on February 1, 2010 at 2:09 PM

I’ve heard some defenders of the IPCC say that only a few of their claims were not properly sourced. To that I reply that good data mixed with bad data is like the recipe for feces ice cream: Take one quart of golden vanilla ice cream, and add to that a half-pint of human feces. I can guarantee that the whole thing will taste like s–t.

theCork on February 1, 2010 at 2:39 PM

The next embarrassment for the IPCC: yet another section of the 2007 report will be debunked when its “authoritative source” is discovered to have been a children’s placemat completed in crayon that retrieved from a Denny’s dumpster in State College, PA. Michael “Smack me with a Hockey Stick” Mann will deny having any relations – ever – with said placemat.

ya2daup on February 1, 2010 at 3:22 PM