Friday, October 6, 2017

GWPF Newsletter: Climate Science Controversy Is Good For Science








Reality Check: The Pacific Ocean Is Seeing
‘One Of The Quietest Typhoon Seasons On Record’


In this newsletter:

1) New Study: Climate Science Controversy Is Good For Science
Craig Idso, Watts Up With That, 4 October 2017  
 
2) New Paper: Is Climate Change Controversy Good For Science?
Ferenc Jankó, Judit Papp Vancsó and Norbert Móricz, Scientometrics - September 2017, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp 1745–1759 


 
3) Reality Check: The Pacific Ocean Is Seeing ‘One Of The Quietest Typhoon Seasons On Record’
Daily Caller, 5 October 2017 

 4) Will La Nina Bring Down Global Temperatures To Pre-El Nino Levels?
Paul Dorian, Vencore, Inc., 2 October 2017
 
5) Tony Abbott: Daring to Doubt (Preview)
ABC – Between The Lines, 5 October 2017  
 
6) Tony Abbott Says Nuclear Power Should Be Part Of Australia’s Energy Mix
The Australian, 4 October 2017 
 

Full details:

1) New Study: Climate Science Controversy Is Good For Science
Craig Idso, Watts Up With That, 4 October 2017  

In the title of their newly published article in the journal Scientometrics,  Jankó et al. (2017) ask the important question “Is climate change controversy good for science?”

Their answer, which we will divulge later, came about via a somewhat unique analysis, which compared the reference lists of two major reports published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC; AR4 and AR5) with that published by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC; Climate Change Reconsidered (CCR) and Climate Change Reconsidered II (CCRII)). More specifically, the comparison involved (1) entering all references from the four reports into a database, (2) sorting them by author and by journal, (3) comparing the overlap and differences in citations between the two publishing entities and (4) examining the evolution (i.e., similarities and differences) of citations by each entity between their two reports. And what did these several actions reveal?

Not surprisingly, there were some similarities and differences among the references cited in the IPCC and NIPCC reports. In terms of differences, the IPCC tended to favor citations from journals that are focused more on the modelling enterprise, whereas the NIPCC tended to favor publications in the paleo-sciences. By way of similarity, when comparing the AR4 and CCR reports, both organizations derived references from an overlapping set of 126 journals, which number increased to 198 for the ensuing AR5 and CCRII tomes. However, Jankó et al. report that “the sceptics have broadened their spectrum of journals more than the IPCC,” as the NIPCC added 170 new journals to their citation list between their two reports, while the IPCC added only 158.

Another interesting finding is seen in their examination of who each organization was citing. In-text analysis of the IPCC’s AR5 report revealed that 19 out of the 20 most frequently cited authors in that report were directly involved in the compilation of it. And though the remaining person, J. Hansen, was not officially involved in producing AR5, he participated in the production of at least one prior IPCC report (Third Assessment) as a Contributing Author. Similar analysis of the AR4 report revealed that 14 out of the 16 most frequently cited IPCC authors were involved with the writing of that report. Yet, here again, the remaining two individuals were directly involved in the production of the IPCC’s preceding Third Assessment Report. Such findings indicate the IPCC report authors are most intent on citing their own work, thereby promoting their own interests and findings above the work of others. In contrast, only four of the 18 most frequently cited authors of CCRII, and only one of the 13 most frequently cited authors of CCR, were involved in the compilation of those reports. Thus, the NIPCC reports present a greater degree of independence among its authors and the material they produce and cite than that of the IPCC.

Finally, returning to Jankó et al.’s question posed in the title of their paper — “Is climate change controversy good for science?” — in summing up their analysis they write that “the competitive situation created by the publications of the NIPCC reports … is beneficial for climate science in general; it fosters knowledge creation, i.e. the reviewing process, mobilizing a growing number of references into review.” And while this knowledge creation is important, Jankó et al. caution that “without an explicit dialogue between the [NIPCC and IPCC] reports, there is no chance to mitigate climate change controversy itself.” In other words, (1) there is no scientific consensus, (2) the debate is not settled, (3) nor will it ever go away until the closed-minded circular group-think of the IPCC authors properly recognize and address the counter-theories presented by the NIPCC in its reports. Good luck getting that to happen!

Paper Reviewed

Jankó, F., Vancsó, J.P. and Móricz, N. 2017. Is climate change controversy good for science? IPCC and contrarian reports in the light of bibliometrics. Scientometrics 112: 1745-1759.
 

2) New Paper: Is Climate Change Controversy Good For Science?

Ferenc Jankó, Judit Papp Vancsó and Norbert Móricz, Scientometrics - September 2017, Volume 112, Issue 3, pp 1745–1759

“Contrary to expectations, controversy is beneficial to the science of climate change as it fosters the review process on both sides of the debate.”

Abstract

Debate and controversy concerning the issue of climate change generally results in the hindering and obstruction of social and governmental action on this issue. This paper analyses the scientific background, i.e. the reference list of the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report ‘‘The Physical Science Basis’’ and an alternative climate change report of a US think tank institute ‘‘Climate Change Reconsidered II. Physical Science’’. We compared these two reports to the antecedent reports from 2007 (IPCC AR4 WGI) and 2009 (Climate Change Reconsidered). For the purposes of the study, we developed a database containing all the references collected from the four reports. The bibliometric analysis focused on the distribution of references among peer reviewed scientific journals and the most frequently cited lead authors that created the basis for the evaluation of their different scientific emphasis. Our findings underline that there is still no convergence between the scientific literature of the IPCC and the contrarian reports; however, the remarkable quantitative development on both sides and the qualitative progress of the IPCC report allows us to draw somewhat surprising conclusions in the context of climate change science. Contrary to expectations, controversy is beneficial to the science of climate change as it fosters the review process on both sides of the debate.

Controversy over climate change came face-to-face with the parallel publication of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I. Fifth Assessment Report (hereafter: IPCC AR5) and the ‘‘Climate Change Reconsidered II. Physical Science’’ (CCRII) written by scientists of the ‘‘Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change’’ (NIPCC) and published under the umbrella of several ‘‘climate sceptic’’ enterprise like the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide, Science and Environmental Policy Project and the Heartland Institute. The latter seems to be one of the most influential climate change denial think tanks in the United States (Boussalis and Coan 2016; Dunlap and McCright 2015). Climate change debate in society and politics is under ongoing scientific investigation. This emphasizes its role in science, public perception issues, political and scientific discourses, and media communication (e.g. Abraham et al. 2014; Cook et al. 2013; Dunlap and McCright 2015; Grundmann 2015; Hampel 2016; Medimorec and Pennycook 2015; Pearce et al. 2015); unsurprisingly, the body of literature containing scientometric approaches is also growing in this field (Nordlund 2008; Bjurstro¨m and Polk 2011a, b; Vasileiadou et al. 2011; Marx et al. 2017). However, the explicit confrontation of the opposing sides or the differences between their scientific endeavours (e.g., Benestad et al. 2016; Ryghaug and Skjølsvold 2010), has received little attention, and has barely been studied.

In this paper, we compare the reference lists of IPCC AR5 and CCRII and include their antecedents in the analysis: the IPCC WGI Fourth Assessment Report (hereafter: IPCC AR4) and ‘‘Climate Change Reconsidered’’ (CCR). Following the authors’ publication, which addressed the scientometric and rhetorical comparison of the IPCC AR4 and CCR report (Janko´ et al. 2014), the main question of this study was whether there were identifiable changes in the scientific grounds of the newer publications. We sought answers to our question by addressing the changes in the most important scientific journals, in the proportion of the identical references and among the most frequently cited lead authors.

For the purposes of the bibliometric analysis, we entered all the references of the four reports into a database. (It is noteworthy that only the first six chapters were used from CCR because these reflected the IPCC AR4 WGI.) First, the references were marked by journal and the repeatedly occurring references were extracted. Since the IPCC AR4 came out in 2007, and the CCR was published in 2009 respectively, we chose 2008 as a reference point for the recent literature; thus, references published in 2008 or later were labelled as ‘new’ publications. After processing the literature, we sorted out the new references and the identical publications as well as the most frequently cited lead authors for further analysis. […]

Summing up, this study provides some evidence that there are interesting bibliometric perspectives in the comparison of IPCC and contrarian climate sceptic reports. The use of literature and citations as tools of legitimation play an important aspect in the climate debate, thus the role of bibliometric studies could be decisive here. Our analysis revealed that the reference lists seemed to be quite similar on the level of the cited journals, but only at first glance. The cited references and the key authors barely overlap, which shows the prevailing gap between the two sides. The task is obvious: there is a need to solve the discrepancy and scrutinize the reference material of the NIPCC because several studies report dominant consensus in the literature and non-detectable rejection of anthropogenic climate change theory (cf. Benestad et al. 2016; Cook et al. 2013; Tol 2016). In light of our results, we argue that the quantitative development of the reports arises not only from the booming development of the field, but from the competitive situation created by the publications of the NIPCC reports. This is beneficial for climate science in general; it fosters knowledge creation, i.e. the reviewing process, mobilizing a growing number of references into review. Nevertheless, without an explicit dialogue between the reports, there is no chance to mitigate climate change controversy itself.

Full paper 
 

3) Reality Check: The Pacific Ocean Is Seeing ‘One Of The Quietest Typhoon Seasons On Record’
Daily Caller, 5 October 2017
Michael Bastasch 
 
While the North Atlantic is going through an extremely active hurricane season, the Pacific is going through one of the quietest typhoon seasons since records began.

Meteorologist Ryan Maue compiled data showing accumulated cyclone energy (ACE) in the northwestern Pacific Ocean is only 56 percent of normal, which is based on storm activity from 1981 to 2010. Cyclone activity in the north and central Pacific basin is only 81 percent of normal, Maue reported.

Maue noted there’s only been one super typhoon, Noru, in the northwestern Pacific. Noru hit Japan in August, becoming the region’s strongest typhoon based on sustained wind speeds for the season — which hit 160 miles per hour. There are currently no active storms in the western Pacific basin.

The Tropical Storm Risk Consortium (TSRC), which monitors cyclones, forecast in August that the northwestern Pacific Ocean would be up to 20 percent below normal, based on 1965 to 2015 climatology.

The group said “prevailing ENSO conditions over the central and western NW Pacific show an anomalous zonal temperature gradient that increases from east to west” that are “linked to below norm Northwest Pacific typhoon activity.”
Contrast that with the current Atlantic Ocean hurricane season where Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria all made U.S. landfall as major storms, causing billions of dollars in damages and taking dozens of lives.

Full post
 
4) Will La Nina Bring Down Global Temperatures To Pre-El Nino Levels?
Paul Dorian, Vencore, Inc., 2 October 2017

If history is any guide, once La Nina becomes well-established in the tropical Pacific Ocean, global temperatures should drop noticeably relative-to-normal. 



Oceanic Niño Index (ONI), October 2017

Overview
Earlier this year, there were signs that a weak El Nino in the tropical Pacific Ocean could continue through the fall and even into the upcoming winter season, but there is now substantial agreement amongst numerous computer forecast models that La Nina conditions are likely to become established over the next couple of months and current observations back this notion. La Nina is a naturally occurring oceanic cycle that produces colder-than-normal sea surface temperatures (SSTs) in the equatorial Pacific Ocean whereas El Nino is associated with warmer-than-normal SSTs.  The formation of La Nina in the tropical Pacific Ocean will likely have important ramifications around the world including significant impacts on the upcoming winter season, next summer’s tropical season, and global temperatures.


Compilation of statistical and dynamical computer forecast models of ENSO in coming months.  Most of these models predict La Nina conditions will form over the next couple of months in the tropical Pacific Ocean.; courtesy IRI/CPCComputer model forecasts support the formation of La Nina 

Numerous independently-made computer forecast models depict a change from the current near-neutral conditions in the tropical Pacific Ocean to La Nina conditions by the winter of 2017-2018.  The plume of model El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) model forecasts from mid-September indicate a transition to La Nina conditions are quite likely to take hold by later this fall.  Indeed, some models are predicting a fairly strong La Nina by the middle of the upcoming winter season with sea surface temperatures as much as 1.5°C below-normal in the “Nino 3.4” region (central tropical Pacific).


Sea surface temperatures have indeed changed dramatically in the tropical Pacific Ocean between the spring and today with a “wavy” pattern of colder-than-normal water (bottom panel, blue region) now showing up in the same area that exhibited widespread warmer-than-normal SSTs back in April 2017 (top panel, yellow/orange region). […]

Impact on global temperatures 
Global temperatures spiked across the world during the last strong El Nino event which reached a peak during the latter part of 2015 and early part of 2016 and they have trended slightly lower this year from that high point.  According to Weather Bell Analytics, NOAA’s CFSv2 global temperature anomalies spiked in 2016 to +0.457°C above the 1981-2010 average and those anomalies – while still above normal – have dropped slightly this year to +0.382°C (through October 2nd).  If history is any guide, once La Nina becomes well-established in the tropical Pacific Ocean, global temperatures should drop noticeably relative-to-normal.

Full post
 

5) Tony Abbott: Daring to Doubt (Preview)
ABC – Between The Lines, 5 October 2017  

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott will address the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London next week


A preview of Tony Abbott's speech titled 'Daring to Doubt' which he will deliver next week to the leading climate sceptic group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation in London.

According to the former Prime Minister, climate mitigation is shutting down industries and putting power prices through the roof. And it’s not having the slightest impact on the long-term fate of the planet.

Tony Abbott will become the second former Australian Prime Minister to deliver the annual lecture to the think tank, which is one of the world’s most active groups promoting debate on climate change science.

The organisation is chaired by former Conservative government treasurer Lord Nigel Lawson.

Former Prime Minister John Howard delivered the annual lecture in 2013.
 

6) Tony Abbott Says Nuclear Power Should Be Part Of Australia’s Energy Mix
The Australian, 4 October 2017 

Tony Abbott has called on the Turnbull government to change laws to allow for the construction of nuclear power plants.

The former prime minister said nuclear power should be part of Australia’s energy mix, as well as government-funded coal power plants.

“If we ever do need zero emissions baseload power the only reliable way of getting it is nuclear, currently nuclear is illegal under federal law, well that law should be changed,” Mr Abbott told 2GB radio on Wednesday.

Mr Abbott was critical of a government advertisement played during the AFL and NRL grand finals that mentioned the electricity system was in “transition”.

“What does that mean? Transitions from what to what? The whole problem at the moment is that we need reliable baseload power in our system, this is why I said we should have kept Hazelwood open,” Mr Abbott said.

“I still think we need Hazelwood 2.0, if we can have Snowy 2.0 we can have Hazelwood 2.0 and by far the cheapest form of reliable baseload power is provided by coal, if we are prepared to export our high quality coal for others to use, we must be prepared to use it ourselves.

“If the private sector won’t build new coal fired power stations because of political risk, well then the government must.

“Normally I would not say that the government should do this, but unfortunately there has been so much political interference in the power market over the last decade or so that we have a bad case of market failure which in the end is not market caused but government caused.”

Mr Abbott also attacked research by the Australian National University which predicted Sydney and Melbourne would have 50 degree days by the end of the century, labelling the researchers “group thinkers”.

“I think people are thoroughly sick of this kind of alarmism,” he said.

“I don’t think we should take this so-called research very seriously and the researcher in question just few months ago was saying that she didn’t think she could have a baby because that would exacerbate climate change.

“I think this is just alarmist nonsense.”

Full story


The London-based Global Warming Policy Forum is a world leading think tank on global warming policy issues. The GWPF newsletter is prepared by Director Dr Benny Peiser - for more information, please visit the website at www.thegwpf.com.

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