Climatologists consensus on global warming: poll sample size 79

humorous pictures

h/t to icanhascheezburger.com

From the Hockey Schtick:

The 97% “Consensus” is only 76 Self-Selected Climatologists

The graphic [directly above] comes via our friends at skepticalscience, assuring us that while 97% of “climate scientists think that global warming is ‘significantly’ due to human activity,” a shocking 72% of news coverage does not reflect this “consensus” and similarly 74% of the public are not convinced.

However, close examination of the source of the claimed 97% consensus reveals that it comes from a non-peer reviewed article describing an online poll in which a total of only 79 climate scientists chose to participate. Of the 79 self-selected climate scientists, 76 agreed with the notion of AGW. Thus, we find climate scientists once again using dubious statistical techniques to deceive the public that there is a 97% scientific consensus on man-made global warming; fortunately they clearly aren’t buying it.

========================================

From the EOS article

Results show that overall, 90% of participants answered “risen” to question 1 and 82% answered yes to question 2. In general, as the level of active research and specialization in climate science increases, so does agreement with the two primary questions (Figure 1). In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and whoalso have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewedpapers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered “risen” to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2. This is in contrast to results of a recent Gallup poll (see http://www.gallup.com/poll/1615/Environment.aspx) that suggests that only 58% of the general public would answer yes to our question 2.

The two areas of expertise in the survey with the smallest percentage of participants

answering yes to question 2 were economic geology with 47% (48 of 103) and meteorology with 64% (23 of 36).

Advertisements

  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Jimmy Haigh

I love the picture of Shrodingers cats…

Ed Moran

Oh! My God!……… It’s worse than we thought!!!!!!!!

Agreed on the cats. Precious.

galileonardo

I just wrote about this at the Guardian the other day and I think my comment bears repeating. Hopefully you concur:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/cif-green/2010/jul/29/richard-north-response-george-monbiot?showallcomments=true#CommentKey:1138a221-0e4b-4ff3-b807-9eade9092b80
I hear the 97% figure thrown around a lot, a talking point I guess it is called, but I had never investigated what that was based upon, so I dug a bit and found the one-page report that was published in Eos January 2009 (I found this – http://julesandjames.blogspot.com/2009/01/your-opinions-please.html – to be pretty funny – wonder why Eos made an exception in the case of publishing this particular opinion poll – hmm, and note that that is written by James Annan, not Fred Singer). I was most curious about the exact questions and the number of participants who were climatologists (a lot of folks who use the figure say “97% of climate scientists”).
Here are the two relevant questions that were asked in the survey:
“1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?”
“2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”
Here are the results:
“In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered “risen” to question 1 and 97.4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2. This is in contrast to results of a recent Gallup poll that suggests that only 58% of the general public would answer yes to our question 2.”
The first question is irrelevant. We have been rebounding from the Little Ice Age for over 200 years! That number should have been 100% and I bet that the 3 respondents who did not go with “risen” chose “remained relatively constant (if any chose “fallen” they should have their credentials checked). And notice the Gallup poll results to this question were not provided in the report.
Now the second question is where it gets interesting. Why do you think it was phrased in that manner? Why didn’t they use a less ambiguous statement more in line with the IPCC consensus claims? How does one quantify a “significant contributing factor?” What if the question had been this instead?
“2. Do you think human activity is THE MOST significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”
I am willing to bet that fewer of the respondents would have answered yes, and that is admittedly my opinion. But at least the question would have more accurately reflected what is presented as the consensus. If anyone knows of any similar studies they can direct me to, I welcome the information.
Finally, a sampling of 79 climate scientists seems pretty anemic to me. Plus, NASA and NOAA were included in the survey. What do you think are the chances that James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt sent out a note making it mandatory that their underlings take the survey? 97%? Maybe I should file a FOIA request and find out. Cheers!
One thing to add as I feel I missed it the first time I posted this. What exactly is presented as the consensus? I think, given the weight given to the IPCC reports, the consensus from AR4 is simply this:
“Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.”
That should put into context the inherent failings of question 2 in the survey. Once again, cheers!

mpaul

I’m surprised it’s so low. In order to be defined as a “Climate Scientist” you must agree with the concensus — otherwise they will dismissively call you a oil industry funded geologist — or something like that. So I’m surprised it wasn’t 100%. Actually the raw data probably was 100%, but they adjusted it becasue they didn’t like the way it looked.

k winterkorn

93 % of climatologists agree that their future income is dependent on ACH (Anthropogenic Climate Hysteria). The other 7% are retired.

Liam

“In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.” – Galileo Galilei

PaulH

Yes, but it’s the *quality* of those who said yes, not the quantity. ;->

Dusty

Having read the A J Strata article on accuracy and error that Gail Combs linked in a previous post, I got a chuckle out of the first comment for the linked post at The Hockey Schtick.

Another appeal to “authority”. Basically, we’ve seen that climate science, at rock bottom, is so easy a caveman could do it. We’re also seeing that all the scary stories are fabricated…. and cavemen can debunk them. Of course, it was never really about the science at all…

Where in the WORLD do they get “72% of news coverage doesn’t reflect the consensus”? In America, precisely 100.000000% of news coverage violently agrees with the Carbon Cult. There are some COMMENTATORS on Fox and other places who disagree, but all the “news” types on Fox are strictly aligned with CNN and the rest.
Britain’s major media show a slightly wider variety, with the Telegraph generally open-minded.

Binny

Just goes to show you that 74% of the public are smarter, than 97% of scientists think they are.

ShrNfr

Indeed the quantum phenomena must be examined in this process. Are AGW morons entangled. You do not know the state of one until you measure the state of the other. They appear to be like bosons in that many of them can be in the same state at the same time unlike fermions. Of course you can make the boson HE4 out of 6 fermions, but that is quite unusual. I do not think you can make anything out of a CRU particle given its morons. Of course you have the Jones exclusion principal that says that logic and AGW cannot exist in the same space at the same time. I agree with Haigh, its quite a catastrophe.

hmmmm….. statistics, damn statistics and li……..
well you probably know the rest.

That’s a fairly old poll article from EOS, Jan. 20, 2009. Note the two questions:
“1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing
mean global temperatures?”
Shouldn’t the number of of folks answering “risen” to question #1 be close to 100%? Is there a strong argument that we haven’t warmed somewhat since the LIA?
Question #2 is extremely vague – “human activity” isn’t very specific nor is “changing mean global temperatures” since that could mean either cooling or warming. Moreover, what level constitutes “significant”?
Just wondering.

Michael Proctor

Love how the big thing is about having peer reviewed papers, the problem is the peers are bias’d, so if you have a scientifically sound paper that “disputes” the “accepted” theory you won’t have it reviewed. ClimateGate highlighted this perfectly.
What scares me is stuff like this although 1600 people were surveyed it makes you wonder if the first question is “Do you support the Greens/Labor?” if the answer is No then you don’t qualify for the survey. 😉
Although I doubt it, I still hold hope that people will look past the politicians and the “green funded” scientists and realise that there is no consensis on both the Answer and the Question of AGW and that the only thing that is definate is what has been happening since the formation of the Earth, Climate Change, and the best thing for us to do is be prepared for changes in climate (ie. better insulated buildings, stronger building codes, no new developments near or below MSL etc)

Lew Skannen

Now that science is being done in this way maybe we can finally get a result on the Riemann Hypothesis.
Can we have a quick vote and resolve this century old problem?
Personally I think that all the zeros ARE on the x=-1/2 line. …

Crossopter

Sometimes it pays to think outside the box……..

BillD

According to my understanding, these data are not from a poll, but rather a query of actively publishing climate scientists. Clearly, if it were a poll, especially random poll, the support would not be so strong for the idea that human activities are warming the planet.

John F. Hultquist

Are any of the cats alive?

cagw_skeptic99

I wonder if they entered a few no votes just to increase the credibility of the result. No one would have believed 100%, and someone somewhere would have been quoted in the press as saying ‘not me’.
By saying 97%, those who would have answered no might think they would need to poll associates?

tom in co

I like the cat pictures too
Therefore we have a 100% consensus of respondents
The sciemce is settled
Where’s my grant money?

Mike

“In questions of science, the authority of a thousand is not worth the humble reasoning of a single individual.” Galileo Galilei – Nothing more to say really

so what was up with the AOL news page I was getting an hour ago?

I notice that Anderegg black list is getting promoted by these characters of dubious lineage. You’d think they’d have the common decency to skip over that PNAS skidmark. Oh wait, it’s SkepticalScience. Scratch that.. it’s perfectly in-keeping with their scratty mentality. They have absolutely no shame.

Mike

Ohh!! And Loved the Cats too……….. Now if you take a ball of wool, you can entangle them 😉

jorgekafkazar

polistra says: “Where in the WORLD do they get ‘72% of news coverage doesn’t reflect the consensus’?”
There were several hundred thousand articles about Lindsey Lohan that didn’t mention the global warming consensus. I’m not sure why. Maybe those must constitute the 72%. It’s a travesty.

John

I would have answered both questions “yes,” but I don’t think they are the most important questions. The questions I would ask as a follow up would be:
* How wide do you think the range of future temperature increases might be, for a doubling of CO2?
* The satellite record suggests that warming is proceeding at a rate of less than 2 degrees per century, but the land based record suggests more. Which do you think is the record with the least amount of error, and why?
It seems clear to me that if you double CO2 and equivalents (including black carbon) and if you keep reducing sulfates (which cool the planet), you will increase warming. But that isn’t the issue — the issue is, is it bad enough to take steps harmful to our economy?
So the question is this: Will the temp increases we will see until alternatives are cheap enough to deploy without major harm to the economy (my estimate: 25 years or so) be so harmful that we have to take steps in the very near future that will throw more people out of work? Or as Roger Pielke Jr. so eloquently suggests, should we put our $ and incentives into R&D to hasten the day of non-carbon technologies that are affordable?
I don’t think the current rate of warming for the duration of the satellite record justifies major harm, and the current trend to start shutting down cheap coal plants. That view stems from the satellite temp record.

Spartan79

I’ve noted an interesting aspect of the climatologist community. Like bears, they hibernate in the winter and come out squealing about global warming in the sweltering days of August. I heard little of this during “Snowmegadon” this winter. Probably southern hemisphere climatologists were carrying the alarmist load at that time, but they are probably quiet right now, with widespread deaths from what is being reported as an unusually cold winter.

JG

Whatever you do….
JUST DON’T LOOK INSIDE THE BOX!!!!

latitude

” and similarly 74% of the public are not convinced”
Ney York is frozen and under water,
we’ve reached a tipping point,
the Arctic is ice free,
billions of species have gone extinct,
it has stopped snowing
we are all flying around in jet cars,
we all have personal robots,
war is a thing of the past,
we are all eating synthetic food,
don’t eat eggs,
do eat eggs………….

Amino Acids in Meteorites

from a non-peer reviewed article
Ooooooh, that’s a no-no!

George

I am not a scientist and barely made it through my elementary science courses for my BA (History and Political Science). But I do not believe in AGW, primarily because I do not trust or believe those (Al Gore, et al) who promulgate the theory. Occam’s Razor applies.

Frank K.

“…an online poll in which a total of only 79 climate scientists chose to participate”
And here are the names of the respondents:
1. Al Gore
2. Albert Gore Jr.
3. Alberto Gorre
4. A. Gore
5. Algo Re
.
.
.

rbateman

Agreed on the public’s concensus: They only want to tax us to smithereens while pretending to be doing something.
C002: license to tax & pollute.

Henry chance

Great picture of cats. It appears their reaction is intensly ambivalent.

EthicallyCivil

Wouldn’t “signficant” mean “within the digits of measurable significance” to a scientist. Sans feedbacks, many skeptics agree that a doubling of CO2 (and the amount increased from 1800 until now) would be within the significant digits. (c.f. Monckton, Lindzen) of the measureable increase.
1. Risen. It has warmed since 1800
2. Yes, a portion of the warming greater than the measurement error can reasonably be attributed to human influence.
Yes to 2. doesn’t not imply important or catastrophic, just greater than error. Signficance is interesting word choice, as outside of a narrow scientific reading it is read as “importance.”

Dave Wendt

I would suggest a little light reading for these folks from a real scientist.
http://www.amazon.com/What-Care-Other-People-Think/dp/0393320928/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1280795135&sr=1-1#
What Do You Care What Other People Think?: Further Adventures of a Curious Character by Richard P. Feynman

Ben

“I notice that Anderegg black list is getting promoted by these characters of dubious lineage. You’d think they’d have the common decency to skip over that PNAS skidmark. Oh wait, it’s SkepticalScience. Scratch that.. it’s perfectly in-keeping with their scratty mentality. They have absolutely no shame.”
Statistics, damn statistics.. and oh yea.
There is no shame anymore on either side of the debate anymore. We will all do our best to make the other side look like chimps. I prefer chimps in lab coats that make accurate predictions better then NOAA.
But you know what? I like cats. Cats eat mice, which are bad and spread disease. What are we talking about again?

Economic Geologist

“The two areas of expertise in the survey with the smallest percentage of participants
answering yes to question 2 were economic geology with 47% (48 of 103) and meteorology with 64% (23 of 36).”
Yay for economic geologists!

Ed Caryl

I’m reminded of the election participation figures in the old Soviet Union. And it means about as much.

Frederick Michael

Heck, if the definition of the consensus is about:
1) temperature is increasing, &
2) anthropogenic CO2 is a significant contributor,
then I qualify as a believer.
What about:
3) it’s a problem that needs fixing?
The problem with this survey isn’t the sample size; it’s the questions. The whole thing smells like bait and switch. They aren’t using this survey result to justify 1 & 2; they’re using it to justify ACTION on 3.

Gnomish

ShrNfr says:
August 2, 2010 at 3:55 pm
Indeed the quantum phenomena must be examined in this process.
Data smashers are used to render measurements into subinformative particles called morons. Near absolute zero, these coalesce into a Schmooze Condensate; they act as one.
They are the fundamental elements of ignorance. (google ‘fundament’)

Craig Moore

The consensus among 97% of bears is that the eagle was an AGW red herring: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XgxoibbPtac

Remember.. Nine of ten cats ‘probably’ prefer Shrodinger..

pat

the manipulation never ceases:
a top australian newspaper – sydney morning herald – had the following by its Environment Editor, Ben Cubby:
29 July: SMH: Ben Cubby: Most want action now on emissions
The two-year emissions trading scheme study found the majority of the 7000 randomly selected people wanted to see carbon trading operating before 2012, even though it would be likely to lift some of the costs of living…
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/most-want-action-now-on-emissions-20100729-10wdr.html
29 July: Australian Climate Madness: Poll: Most Australians want tough action on climate – really?
Sounds pretty compelling, doesn’t it? A little research and an email to Prof Louviere elicits more information about the study (see here for PDF). It was different from most surveys in that it required participants to choose between alternative emissions reductions scenarios, rather than answering Yes/No questions….
But what is the obvious flaw with all this? Clearly, it is the assumption that the requirement for an ETS is not up for question, and that implementing one will somehow be beneficial for the environment. The choice is only between different types of ETS, and, naturally, respondents are going to choose the one which they are informed will hurt them least….
http://www.australianclimatemadness.com/?p=4388
there were some clues way down in Cubby’s article that something was up with this poll, so a big thanks to the folks who got to the bottom of it, even though most of the readers of SMH remain ignorant.

Mike McMillan

Ditto, the cats, though I wonder if observing them will kill them worse than the fact that they’re sitting in the middle of a road.

Bulldust

I know I have posted this link before but this scene from Yes Minister perfectly encapsulates the disingenuous nature of surveys:

As an economist (mineral economist) by training, my natural inclination would be to ask the client “what would you like the answer to be?”*
* Yes, I jest, but you get the drift…
PS> Not so much a cat lover as dog lover, but I must agree the LOLCatz are appropriate and somewhat droll.

JJB MKI

I also heard recently that at least 97% of priests believe in God. Interesting..

wayne

Lew Skannen says:
August 2, 2010 at 4:16 pm
Now that science is being done in this way maybe we can finally get a result on the Riemann Hypothesis.
Can we have a quick vote and resolve this century old problem?
Personally I think that all the zeros ARE on the x=-1/2 line. …
____
I concur, it is my “belief” that all the zeros ARE on the x=-1/2 line. You want proof ??? You mean actual proof? Now that’s a bit trickier.