Gross error by Madhav Khandekar

Thanks to HD, who spotted that K has either fabricated or mistranscribed a comment by Broecker. K writes: 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”. Now those are strong words, which I had assumed were merely taken out of context. but no, its worse than that. If you look at SEPP (not usually a reliable source, I grant you) what B actually said was: My lifetime study of Earth’s climate system has humbled me. I’m convinced that we have greatly underestimated the complexity of this system. The importance of obscure phenomena, ranging from those that control the size of raindrops to those that control the amount of water pouring into the deep sea from the shelves of the Antarctic continent, makes reliable modeling very difficult, if not impossible. The “masturbation” bit appears to have been the insertion of Singer.

But I still haven’t seen the entire article, so it would be interesting to know how this fits into the full context.

[Um, OK, it gets worse. Brian points out that the Broecker article appears to be from 1997 and is . It looks like K has fooled himself / been fooled by the SEPP site into thinking it was a 2007 publication. In that case, its clear the B is (a) talking about the models 10 years ago and (b) very much concerned about the dangers of climate change -W]

2 thoughts on “Gross error by Madhav Khandekar”

  1. Broecker published that article in 1997, not 2007, and it can be found here. The quote comes right at the end, and it’s clear from the previous paragraph that he thinks that the uncertainty in the models is a reason for more caution, not less.

    So it’s quoted out of context, plus the date has been changed to make it look like it’s more recent than it actually is. Then Khandekar mangles it further by quoting Singer as well. Is this some kind of record?


  2. And just to clarify my research last night. GSA Today is an open access journal with 4 2007 issues. There is no Broecker 2007 paper.
    “Gross” error, very appropriate, thanks William.


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