Madhav Khandekar

Unless I haven’t been paying attention, the mighty Madhav Khandekar’s “Questioning the Global Warming Science: An Annotated bibliography of recent peer-reviewed papers” has been met with total indifference. Until now… Its supposed (I think) to be a sort of Peiser-done-properly.

He saith: “a large number of studies questioning the GW science have appeared in peer-reviewed International scientific Journals” and “This Document presents an annotated bibliography of selected peer reviewed papers which question the current state of the GW science.” So we’d better start at the beginning, “1. Temperature reconstruction using proxy data: The Hockey-Stick Graph [ie, MBH98/99]”

This lists “papers” a-f. Paper a is M&M 2003 in E&E. E&E’s peer-reviewed status is unclear, and I’m not giving it the benefit of the doubt. Paper e is the Wegman report, which obviously wasn’t published in a PR journal (for some reason he doesn’t list the NRC report, only provides a tendentious mis-summarisation in the text). So thats 2/6 gone for a start. b and c are M&M 2005 in GRL, and von S 2004 in Science. And whatever you may think of them, they definitely don’t like the Hockey Stick. And d is a reconstruction by Moberg, which is not the Hockey Stick, though it is fully compatible with the IPCC TAR text. But hold on a minute… the HS “is now abandoned in favor of a more recent reconstruction of the earth’s temperature by Moberg et al”. Um… so if thats right, how can Moberg be questionning the current state of GW science, as K asserts? Houston, we have a problem (of course the truth is that Moberg and MBH co-exist, as do several others, and we don’t know which is right; and that von S is very likely wrong. But the game, presumably, is not right or wrong but who-said-what). So, unless you can live with simultaneously declaring MBH the current state of science, and yet also abandonded (in which case you can believe anything), I think we need a better definition. Attribution is the one Oreskes uses: that “most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”.

The great arbiter of right and wrong is of course wikipedia: [[Scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming]] lists three criteria, which are in essense T since 1860; attribution; and future warming. None of these papers would contradict any of that, they are orthogonal to it.

Only nutters believe that the temperature hasn’t risen, and attribution tends to be the heart of the current debate (how dull) so I’m going to go with that. In which case, we have 3 papers that disagree with MBH, but not with the “current state of GW science”. Unless someone cares to provide a plausible definition of “current state” that they would disagree with. AR4 chapter 6 is one possible, but I haven’t read it carefully yet. Certainly box 6.4, fig 1 provides a whole lot of wiggle plots of various T fluctuations around the globe, so K’s ref f, which is about stalactites in the Alps and how 800-1300 was warmer than the LIA (assuming he is quoting it accurately) doesn’t matter. And 6.10 shows both MBH99 and Moberg without dissing either, so presumably both are compatible with “the current state of science”.

Grepping for von S, I find “von Storch et al. (2004) suggested that temperature reconstructions may not fully represent variance on long time scales. This would represent a bias… At present, the extent of any such biases … is uncertain… It is very unlikely, however, that any bias would be as large as the factor of two suggested by von Storch et al. (2004) with regard to the reconstruction by Mann et al. (1998), as discussed by Burger and Cubash (2005) and Wahl et al. (2006).” So, arguably von S *is* counter to IPCC. Ah, but “the possibility of a bias does
not affect the general conclusion about the relative warmth of the 20th century based on these data.” Oh.

Conclusion so far: K has failed to provide a definition of consensus; if we use the same as Oreskes, then all his papers in section 1 are within it; if we use contradicts-IPCC, then von S is possible.

Small note: if you’re a skeptic, raving or otherwise, who would like to dispute my assessement, then I welcome your opinion; but please don’t just say “of course X counts”; that would be dull. Say why, and by which definition.

6 thoughts on “Madhav Khandekar”

  1. Forgive me if I’m mistaken, but is it not a little … egregious… to imply that Wally Broecker doubts the effects of increasing atmospheric CO2?

    It’s fine that the selected (cherry-picked from SEPP??) paragraph questions the efficacy of modelling the complexities of the atmosphere but I feel that the insinuation here is that he doesn’t hold with the meat of the argument.

    Anybody got a copy of the GSA (2007) to hand? I can only find the original 1997 version and that doesn’t pull any punches.

    [You’ve got me there… where does Broeckner come in, and what is GSA? -W]


  2. Yes, sorry, I could have done that better:

    From page 24

    “In summary the present suite of climate models cannot as yet provide reliable projection of the earth’s climate over the next fifty to one hundred years. In a recent paper “Will our ride into the greenhouse future be a
    smooth one?” GSA Today (2007), Prof. Wallace Broecker, recipient of the 2006 Craaford Prize (Sweden) succinctly summarizes the present state of the earth’s climate and climate models as follows:

    “My lifetime study of Earth’s climate system has humbled me. I am convinced that we have greatly underestimated the complexity of this system. Global climate change predictions are mostly mental masturbation in the
    final analysis””

    The original paper in GSA (1997) relates to Broecker’s fears that we are tormenting an “ornery beast” by sticking CO2 into the atmosphere. I can’t see that his opinion will have changed by 180*.

    [Aha, now I see. Yes, I rather suspect a fuller quote would reveal B not supporting K at all -W]


  3. No, Hugh, it’s just incompetous.

    I wonder why MK bothers. It is perfectly possible to take the stats as given by the IPCC, calculate the least-bad case scenario, and come to a conclusion that it’s not as bad as people are saying. Climate sensitivity may be only 2C. Sea levels may only rise by 25cm this century. The GIS and WAIS are probably (arguably) safe enough. All this is inside the FAR.If this is what MK and others are getting at, they’d be better served using the science rather than trying to contradict it.

    And before anyone gets hot under the collar with me; this isn’t what I think, it’s what you could argue with the known science.


  4. Personally, I like Pat Michaels saying:

    “Look this new UN report comes out and it says human beings are warming the surface temperature. To me that is like a breathless announcement that there is gambling in Las Vegas. We know that because greenhouse theory predicts that winters should warm more that summers which they have, that the coldest air of the winter should warm preferentially, which it has, ….and finally that the global stratosphere should cool and all of these things have been observed for decades. Fine, so that’s nothing new, lets establish that, let’s stipulate that.”


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