The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Gerry North Complaint re Rep Barton

Gerry North in the Washington Post today:

Regarding Rep. Joe Barton's Oct. 12 letter, "The right to question climate science":

I would like to correct some potential misunderstanding about the conclusions of the 2006 National Research Council report to which Mr. Barton referred. Quoting from the report's summary: "Based on the analyses presented in the original papers by Mann et al. and this newer supporting evidence, the committee finds it plausible that the Northern Hemisphere was warmer during the last few decades of the 20th century than during any comparable period over the preceding millennium."

While we did find some of the methods used in Michael E. Mann's original papers to be less cautious than some of our members might have used, we have not found any evidence that his results were incorrect or even out of line with other works published since his original papers.

Mr. Barton's reference to "Mr. Mann's global warming projections" is incorrect and quite misleading. Mr. Mann's work does not make projections about global warming. His work, and that of our committee, was concerned with the reconstruction of temperatures in the past. As stated in the report, this area of research does not attempt to make any inference about future temperatures. While knowledge of past climates fills in context, the arguments for anthropogenic global warming are mainly based upon the past 50 years of data, including temperatures, model simulations and numerous other indicators.

Gerald R. North, Bryan, Tex.

The writer was chair of the National Research Council's Committee on Reconstruction of Surface Temperatures for the Last 2000 Years, mandated by Congress. The views expressed are his own.

7 comments:

Steve Bloom said...

That's fair enough, but the continued disappearing of Mike's co-authors is a little odd coming from North. Also, while I realize it would have been a complicating factor in the letter, the strongest part of the case is deep-time paleo.

frank -- Decoding SwiftHack said...

"Mr. Barton's reference to 'Mr. Mann's global warming projections' is incorrect and quite misleading. Mr. Mann's work does not make projections about global warming."

Gah. Details are for wimps. And Marxists. Real Americans use guns, banners, and bumper stickers.

And of course, the typical bloke on the street's thoughts on the "hockey stick" are probably along the lines of 'blah global warming blah blah IPCC blah blah blah blah scandal blah blah doubt blah blah blah LINDSAY LOHAN NAKED LINDSAY LOHAN NAKED LINDSAY LOHAN NAKED', while Obama's thoughts on the issue are probably more like 'bipartisanship bipartisanship bipartisanship om om om om om bipartisanship bipartisanship bipartisanship'...

So in the end, one wonders, what's the point of all these corrections? Maybe we should all just throw out hands up and work on a translation of Urn Burial, and then say 'well, it was fun while it lasted'.

-- frank

EliRabett said...

If we are playing blog pong, <a href="http://rabett.blogspot.com/2010/10/gerald-north-dishes.html>you're it.</a>

Larry said...

Urn Burial's a good read, actually. More cheering than Anatomy of Melancholy, and I found therein a quote applicable to palaeontological reconstruction, useful at the time.

I fail to see what climate change has to do with Lindsay Lohan not wearing any clothes but would happily follow a link illustrating this.

Steve Bloom said...

It's getting hot, Larry! :)

Larry said...

Ah, yes, of course.

Thanks, Steve.

TimChase said...

Steve Bloom wrote, "That's fair enough, but the continued disappearing of Mike's co-authors is a little odd coming from North. Also, while I realize it would have been a complicating factor in the letter, the strongest part of the case is deep-time paleo."

It certainly helps to recall Hughes and Bradley nowadays -- seeing how liberally Wegman helped himself to parts of Bradley's Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary.