Hansen colleague rejected IPCC AR4 ES as having "no scientific merit", but what does IPCC do?

The ever sharp Bishop Hill blog writes:

Dr. Andrew A. Lacis - NASA GISS

While perusing some of the review comments to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, I came across the contributions of Andrew Lacis, a colleague of James Hansen’s at GISS. Lacis’s is not a name I’ve come across before but some of what he has to say about Chapter 9 of the IPCC’s report is simply breathtaking.

Chapter 9 is possibly the most important one in the whole IPCC report – it’s the one where they decide that global warming is manmade. This is the one where the headlines are made.

Remember, this guy is mainstream, not a sceptic, and you may need to remind yourself of that fact several times as you read through his comment on the executive summary of the chapter:

There is no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary. The presentation sounds like something put together by Greenpeace activists and their legal department. The points being made are made arbitrarily with legal sounding caveats without having established any foundation or basis in fact. The Executive Summary seems to be a political statement that is only designed to annoy greenhouse skeptics. Wasn’t the IPCC Assessment Report intended to be a scientific document that would merit solid backing from the climate science community – instead of forcing many climate scientists into having to agree with greenhouse skeptic criticisms that this is indeed a report with a clear and obvious political agenda. Attribution can not happen until understanding has been clearly demonstrated. Once the facts of climate change have been established and understood, attribution will become self-evident to all. The Executive Summary as it stands is beyond redemption and should simply be deleted.

I’m speechless. The chapter authors, however weren’t. This was their reply (all of it):

Rejected. [Executive Summary] summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature.

Simply astonishing. This is a consensus?

(h/t to WUWT reader Tom Mills)

UPDATE: There’s an update to the story at Dot Earth.

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/does-an-old-climate-critique-still-hold-up/

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Docrock117

Astonishing…

Harry

“Rejected. [Executive Summary] summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature.”
The earth was flat…that was based on peer reviewed literature as well.
Cold Fusion was based on peer reviewed literature.

Thank you, Dr. Andrew A. Lacis, for having the courage to speak the truth!
Did you get a nice pay raise or promotion after telling the truth at NASA?
With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel

CodeTech

What a coincidence: my response to the AR4 ES is about the same:
“Rejected”.
So I assume the reason we don’t immediately recollect the name of Lacis is that he spoke out?

Danimals

Unbelievable! Wait, …. I do actually believe it – sadly.

Henry chance

Is this man watching the office when Hansen is out protesting against coal mining?
on the executive summary of the chapter:

There is no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary. The presentation sounds like something put together by Greenpeace activists and their legal department.

Peter Miller

Maybe not relevant, but this is another example of how the message is spreading:
This week’s edition of Canada’s Northern Miner has a cartoon entitled: How climate scientists estimate reserves.
First scientist: “The deposit grade is too low.”
Second scientist: “We need to re-work the raw data.”
Third Scientist: “Yes! There is no doubt the ‘real’ grade is much higher.”

John Carter

There are a number of very telling comments from other contributors in that document too. It’s well worth a read.

One of the issues with the review process is what appears to be the absence of any formal process of escalation. We saw this in reviewing chapter 6 comments. A issue would be raised and the author would summarily reject it.
Without any process of escalation and conflict resolution you will always get these types of things. The current process assumes a willing and open minded Lead author(LA) and willing and open minded reviewers.(RV)
LA: The data Shows X
RV: The data actually shows Y.
LA: Thanks mr. reviewer good catch, my bad!
Life is rarely like that. Its more like this:
LA: The data shows X.
RV: wait, my paper shows Y and X is your paper. You should at least
mention my result.
LA: Your results were contradicted by my grad student Phil.
RV: that’s not publsihed yet! nobody has even had a chance to review it
except the two peer review guys that used to work in your lab!
LA: It counts as a published article under the rules.
RV: bastard.
LA: sore loser.
RV: wait till 2013.
LA: as if you’ll be LA, punk
and the shorter polite version.
LA: the data show X
RV: no they dont, they show Y.
LA: rejected.
( celebrity voices have all been impersonated)

JonesII

How are you dealing with this?:
this is indeed a report with a clear and obvious political agenda.
Which is that political agenda?, How will it affect our current way of living?, How will it change the future of our descendents?
Wil they be slaves or what, if these policies are enforced?. Oh, sure, they will tell us “they will live in a more just world, they will be happy and will drink ambrosia (“kool.aid”) everyday.
Who did elect them for even thinking that or planning our future?
In the so called “first world” you can find some of these “thinkers” crossing the streets, so, again:
How are you dealing with them and who are them?

RockyRoad

First, I wouldn’t use Cold Fusion as an example of failed science. Look up LENR (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) on Bing and you’ll find a bunch of interesting developments (admittedly they left the term “cold fusion” behind because of the stigma attached to it, but only be cause physicists were applying the rules of typical fusion reactions to this new breed and the two are vastly different). (On the other hand, perhaps cold fusion IS applicable here–they saw something they couldn’t explain and discounted it because it didn’t fit with current orthodoxy, much the same way CO2 has been the assumed culprit with warming and now they’re realizing maybe that just ain’t so.)
Second, our job is liking chiseling The Thinker out of a block of solid granite. With each whack of the mallet the truth becomes a little more apparent until one day everybody who chooses to see will view what’s obvious. Until then, keep whacking away.

JonesII

It is not a matter of exposing the puppets but the ones who control the puppets.

Grumpy Old man

I humbly and respectfully request that this ‘blip’ be drawn to the attention of H. R. H. Prince of Wales for his consideration and further, make sure your M. P., Congressman or other representative is aware of this item.

John in L du B

Again, a recurring theme here. Notice his degree dates. They’re all in the 1960’s. The only people on either side of the AGW arguement qualified or capable of applying scientific methodology correctly in such a poisoned environment that now exists at US federal intititutions, specifically, NASA and NOAA (oh! and yes, the EPA) are those who have their pensions in the bag and secure. All the younger scientists are in a conflict of interest situation and are being intimidated from dabating the science in any intelligentb way.
The President, even if he believes in AGW, should clean house to maintain the integrity and transparency of science. Oh! Wait!, those were his words right?
To begin with Hansen has to go. He’s stepped way over the line legally and scientifically in my opinion. The President should call in Charles F. Bolden and make it very clear that if he can’t fire Hansen or persuade him to retire, that he’ll find someone who can.

hunter

And now we find that, indeed, the IPCC is using exactly the sources Dr. Lacis claimed were in use.
Who again are the denialists?

From the Bishop Hill blog commenters:
Andrew Lacis: Just how does “anthropological influenced” atmospheric circulation differ from “non-anthropological influenced” atmospheric circulation?
Reply: We don’t understand reviewers point.

😀

Sam

I suggest everyone posts the link for this to their Facebook profile, in the hope it goes viral. And then posts it to their Representative, MP or whoever
Nothing I read on here would astonish me any more…
Btw I wonder if any of our Harrys is THE Harry (Are you Reading Me…)

RockyRoad

Peter Miller (09:24:33) :
Maybe not relevant, but this is another example of how the message is spreading:
This week’s edition of Canada’s Northern Miner has a cartoon entitled: How climate scientists estimate reserves.
First scientist: “The deposit grade is too low.”
Second scientist: “We need to re-work the raw data.”
Third Scientist: “Yes! There is no doubt the ‘real’ grade is much higher.”
————-
Reply:
A good analogy would be Bre-X, a major gold mining scandal that involved salting (fudging) samples taken from a gold deposit. They basically worked from the same hypothesis–that the “real” grade was much higher. You can imagine the outcome; it was a disaster. The reasoning behind the two are equivalent, as will be the consequences.

Steve Goddard

John,
Why would Obama want Hansen fired? They share the same belief system.

Patrik

Here is a paper from 2000 by Lacis, a few others and James Hansen:
http://www.pnas.org/content/97/18/9875.full

This shows very clearly the climate of fear that the scientists are operating in. Speak out of turn, and Hansen or another big boy will slap you down, take away your funding or simply side line you.
This is compelling evidence that needs to be shouted from the roof tops.

geo

What was the word limit on comments? I’d love to read the 2,500 word version of that.
I do feel somewhat for the LA there tho –“delete it” was obviously not a tenable solution, and there isn’t enough detail in that comment to come to grips with on individual issues.
Lacis would have been better off with a couple dozen detail-level comments picking it apart showing what he was pointing at rather than the overarching “To the Trash Bin –GO!” comment. But likely he knew he was tilting at windmills anyway, and decided one pass on the field of honour was enough, and the ultimate impact on the work-product the same.

John F. Hultquist

On the Feb. 6 post ipccs-latest-blunder-africagate at (16:25:53), Kendra asked if no one really studied the references the IPCC used?
There are several responses there but I don’t know if anyone ever kept track of such things in a single document. I know I did not.
However, many have been reported and they mostly end about the same way. Namely, Rejected
Kendra, are you still with us?

rbateman

JonesII (09:30:46) :
How will it affect everyday life?
Watch the Green Police commercial.
X will necessarily skyrocket.
Y will profit by selling X.
Z will be arrested for being in possession ox X, and pay a heavy fine after getting gouged at buying point X’.

It’s hardly surprising since the executive summary was likely written first.

dave ward
Richard Sharpe

Harry (09:10:46) says:

“Rejected. [Executive Summary] summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature.”
The earth was flat…that was based on peer reviewed literature as well.
Cold Fusion was based on peer reviewed literature.

Actually, you are wrong. Educated people have known since the Greeks that the world is not flat. Secondly, there seems to be good evidence for some sort of “cold fusion” effect that needs to be explained.

It's always Marcia, Marcia

There is no scientific merit to be found in the Executive Summary. The presentation sounds like something put together by Greenpeace activists and their legal department…….The Executive Summary as it stands is beyond redemption and should simply be deleted.
This guy is ringing my bell. I didn’t know I had a twin.

Remember this is from IPCC WG1, “The Physical Science Basis”.
Most of the examples of high-profile IPCC errors and exaggeration discussed in the media so far have been from WG2. The unjustified assumption made by journalists (such as Jonathan Leake) is that WG1 is much more rigorous. In fact, WG1 has all the same features of distortion, cherry-picked literature and exaggeration as WG2 (though WG1 does avoid the use of ‘grey’ literature).

rbateman

Richard Sharpe (10:03:32) :
I suspect there is a residual amount of energy in any cold fusion experiment.
What is being measured is the imparted energy from act of performing the experiment. A tribute to the degree of precision of measurement, not of the actual discovery of new energy.
If cold fusion were true, nature would (again .. I suspect) be performing it all day long.

Calvin Ball

Interesting that Lacis doesn’t have a wiki page. Did he ever, or did Connolloy disappear him?

Leon Brozyna

The reply is worth repeating:

Rejected. [Executive Summary] summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature.

Perhaps they are thinking of such peer reviewed literature as newspaper articles, magazine articles, Master and PhD theses and dissertations, Greenpeace articles, NWF articles, and WWF articles.

JohnH

Lacis is not a sceptic, he is appalled by the political agenda of the ES. This is a really heartening development, but Lacis may be just as convinced of AGW as Hansen, AFAIK. Haven’t read his papers.
And some commenters here speak as if he was punished for his criticism. I don’t see that.

Predicador

Just a pointless side note…
His last name is probably of Latvian origin, where it means ‘Bear’. (cf. Ivars Lācis, former rector of the University of Latvia)
Shouldn’t expect a bear to be bullish, even on AGW. 🙂

HA HA HA !!!
“Rejected. [Executive Summary] summarizes Ch 9, which is based on the peer reviewed literature”
Since we now know what “peer reviewed literature” is !!!

SteveS

AR4 ES. Is it just me or does everyone else read that as ‘ARSES’ ,now too?

Leon Brozyna, note my comment above, this is from WG1 so it is using peer reviewed literature, no WWF magazines. But it is carefully cherry-picked literature and the results of it are exaggerated by the IPCC.

“Mark Bowlin (10:00:54) :
It’s hardly surprising since the executive summary was likely written first.”
Probably closer to the truth ………..

MattN

Outstanding….
:golf clap:

David, UK

Lacis’s comment should be (or should *have been*) pasted across the front page of every mainstream newspaper concerned with spreading truth.
(That’ll be approximately none then.)

REPLY:
Revkin at the NYT appears to be working on a story. – A

KeithGuy

Andrew Lacis should have written something like this:
The Executive Summary is a magnificent piece of environmental advocacy worthy of Greenpeace. I would like to congratulate the authors on the subtlety with which they have ignored science in favour of the clever construction of a political agenda.

Peter Brunson

The editors also reject this comment from Andrew Lacis.
“Anthropogenic warming of the climate system is pervasive. . .”? The quantity that is being measured is temperature (of the surface, atmosphere and ocean). Temperature has no identifying label that would make it possible to identify any given temperature change as being “natural” or anthropogenic” in its origin. The term “anthropogenic warming” is yet to be properly defined. In any case, it is hardly a scientifically credible description to be attached to observational data.
Rejected. “Anthropogenic warming is both scientific and easily understood by decision makers and others.
In our little town the “renewable energy board” has little understanding of the implications where AGW is concerned. They are just doing a “good” work.

Adam Gallon

This should be a fun to rattle the cage over at Surreal Climate with. Bet it’ll get chopped everytime!

Nemesis

Apologies if anyone already posted this link:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/youandyours/
“Do you trust climate scientists?” A fairly rational debate involving Philip Stott and Mike Hulme and a public phone in that was on BBC radio 4 today 9th Feb.

Garry

I am rather new to this discussion and only since Climategate broke, so I am no expert on AR4, however…
I did spend 30+ minutes paging through the review comments and was surprised to find several along the lines of (paraphrased) “we are out to support the thesis of AGW.”
Perhaps I misread those comments, so I’ll go through the document again later today.

Vincent

It’s interesting what you can find if you read the reviews. So, although Dr. Lacis has quite rightly criticized the ES, we see Kevin Trenbeth arguing that chapter 9 doesn’t go far enough.
For example, on page 15 he is disappointed with the lack of conviction on hurricanes and says that “I strongly disagree with the wimpy conclusions.”
Response: “We believe that it is still premature to draw strong conclusions.”
Then, two pages later, he confess surprise that “there is nothing on glacier melt, ocean expansion and sea level rise, or salinity.”
Response: Blank.

NickB.

From the next page of comments:
[Andrew Lacis]
“Anthropogenic warming of the climate system is pervasive …” ? The quantity that is being measured is temperature (of the surface, atmosphere and ocean). Temperature has no identifying label that would make it possible to identify any given temperature change as being “natural” or “anthropogenic” in its origin. The term “anthropogenic warming” is yet to be properly defined. In any case, it is hardly a scientifically credible description to be attached to observational data.
Response:
Rejected. “Anthropogenic warming” is both scientific and easily understood by decision makers and others.

I’ll see if I can find a way to pull all his comments. He sounds pretty reasonable to me.

Tenuc

Disgraceful that such an eminent climatologist has been ignored by those pushing the alarmist propaganda at the behest of their pay-masters. Time the IPCC was shut down before any more damage is done.
Just a thought. Perhaps we have a new headline in the making – Non-consensusgate?

It's always Marcia, Marcia

RejectedGate

Dr Lacis also wrote this as comment no 58, showing more orthodoxy of belief as well as the same concern for the science.
The scientific merit of the IPCC Assessment Report would be substantially improved by simply deleting this chapter. Understanding is a prerequisite before any credible attribution can take place. The chapter starts by putting the cart ahead of the horse – attributions are made left and right without ever laying a foundation to stand on. The objective of the Assessment Report should be to produce a clear and convincing documentation of climate change, and avoid becoming a punching bag for climate change critics and skeptics. The place to start is with the observed record of greenhouse gas increases. These GHG increases have physical consequences ie the GHGs produce radiative forcing that is driving the climate system to a new equilibrium. And, there is a global temperature record that verifies that that is indeed what is happening. If, for political reasons, this chapter needs to be retained, it should be rewritten as a synthesis of what has been learned in the earlier chapters, and moved to the end of the Report. If written well, “attribution” will become a self-evident conclusion that is based on the facts presented.