Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: "Expert Credibility in Climate Change"

"The Albert Einstein Memorial is a monumental bronze statue depicting Albert Einstein seated with manuscript papers in hand. It is located in central Washington, D.C., United States, in a grove of trees at the southwest corner of the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences on Constitution Avenue, near the Vietnam Veterans Memorial."---Wikipedia

Today the BBC publishes an article titled "Study examines scientists' 'climate credibility'" (6-22-10). The article is a review of an article that has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences titled "Expert credibility in climate change." [This link may change because it is an early edition, so check the PNAS homepage if you can't access the article.]

Some global warming denialists who do not accept the scientific consensus on man-made global warming are complaining that their denialist perspective isn't getting a fair hearing in the professional literature, but the BBC (6-22-10) article cites a study that points out that the denialists really aren't competent experts in the field of climate science. My opinion is that peer-reviewed scientific literature belongs in the academic journals.

Pseudoscientific denialism, on the other hand, is an ideology like "scientific" Marxism-Leninism that seems to have found its nitch on conspiracist sites such as Marc Morano's blog, Senator Inhofe's site, the Russian tabloid Pravda, Russia Today T.V., the 9-11 Truth Movement blogs, and as the political platform of Australia's Climate Skeptics Party. The denialists call themselves "skeptics," but they are obviously very gullible to be in such company.

The BBC (6-22-10) reports:

Some 98% of climate scientists that publish research on the subject support the view that human activities are warming the planet, a study suggests.

It added there was little disagreement among the most experienced scientists.

But climate sceptics questioned the findings, saying that publication in scientific journals was not a fair test of expertise.

The findings have been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study's authors said they found "immense" differences in both the expertise and scientific prominence of those who supported the "primary tenets" of latest assessments made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and those who were sceptical of the IPCC's findings.

In general, they added, the researchers who were convinced of the human impact on climate change had published twice as many papers as their sceptical counterparts, and were cited in other people's research two to three times more often.

Lead author William Anderegg, from Stanford University in California, US, said the findings suggested that not all experts were equal in what they claimed.

"The researchers who are convinced (by the IPCC's assessment reports) have a lot more experience in climate research and have published a lot more papers in the scientific literature and are generally well respected in their field," he said.

"And it also demonstrates the converse that those who are sceptical of the IPCC's claims, in general, know a lot less about the climate system"....

The researchers said they felt the need to carry out the survey because of the growing public perception that scientific opinion was divided on the issue following recent scandals, such as "climategate" at the UK's University of East Anglia and the use of non-peer reviewed literature in the IPCC findings.

"We really felt that the state of the scientific debate was so far removed from the state of the public discourse and we felt that a good quantitative, rigorous comparison of this would put to rest the notion that the scientists 'disagree' about global warming," Mr Anderegg told BBC News. [See full text.]

The PNAS article summarizes the findings of the research:

Although preliminary estimates from published literature and expert surveys suggest striking agreement among climate scientists on the tenets of anthropogenic climate change (ACC), the American public expresses substantial doubt about both the anthropogenic cause and the level of scientific agreement underpinning ACC. A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself, the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions. Here, we use an extensive dataset of 1,372 climate researchers and their publication and citation data to show that (i) 97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and (ii) the relative climate expertise and scientific prominence of the researchers unconvinced of ACC are substantially below that of the convinced researchers. [Full text]


Anonymous James Evans said...

I don't think you really understand this subject. Best to leave alone, maybe, till you understand it better.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...

I understand that the premier American scientific journal has just weighed in on this debate. The denialists are about as "scientific" as "scientific" "Marxism Leninism."

Denialists lie about what the scientists say.

3:34 PM  

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