Prosecute the torture.

December 11, 2011

Jack Kelly Sunday

In his column in this week's Post-Gazette, Jack Kelly tries yet again to undermine the undeniable (as per NOAA) science of Climate Change.

Let's fact check a little.  Jack starts with:
Unseasonable cold greeted delegates to the U.N. conference on climate change in Durban, South Africa, Nov. 28. They were chilled more by the impending collapse of one of the most brazen scams in the history of the world.
Even though localized weather data (it was cold yesterday in Des Moines so where's that global warming, huh??) should not be used to validate/invalidate global climate data, I have to ask if this sentence is even true.

Let's go see.  The conference was from November 28 to December 11 of this year.  According to, the average high - low temperatures for Durban is 76F - 67F for November and 79F - 70F for December.  So for a day's temperature to be, as Jack put it, "unseasonably cold" it would have to be significantly below 67F in November and 70F in December, right?

Take a look.

Here's daily average temperatures for those days in La Mercy, South Africa (only 20 miles away):
  • November 28 - 72F
  • November 29 - 68F
  • November 30 - 80F
  • December 1 - 75F
  • December 2 - 72F
  • December 3 - 68F
  • December 4 - 66F
  • December 5 - 70F
  • December 6 - 72F
  • December 7 - 72F
  • December 8 - 66F
  • December 9 - 64F
  • December 10 - 68F
  • December 11- 73F
So of the 14 days of the conference only 5 (December 3-4, 8-10) were below average in temperature and even then only between 2 and 6 degrees below.  Everything else is in the "average" range.  Can someone tell me how that's "unseasonably" cold??

It's not a good thing for Jack when his beginning is so easily fact-checked.  But let's move on:
The warnings of the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the world faced doom from anthropogenic (man-made) global warming were based on peer-reviewed scientific literature, the IPCC chairman claimed. But when Canadian writer Donna LaFramboise checked the 18,531 references in the 2007 report, she found 5,587 were newspaper and magazine articles written by non-experts, unpublished theses and pamphlets produced by environmental groups.
Actually, Framboise didn't herself check the references.  She asked for help online.  Let's start at the reliability of these auditors.  Since she solicited the help by way of her own science skeptic website, the pool of available reviewers is already skewed well into the anti-science crowd - hardly a group to be unbiased doncha think?  These are the folks who were instructed to give the IPCC the benefit of the doubt when grading the science they did.  A was a good grade, F was a bad one.  An F meant that there were too many non peer-reviewed references in the list of references.

But besides that, take a look at her list of auditors.  How many are actually climate scientists?

But besides that, take a look at their findings.  Of the three "working groups" of the IPCC that are being graded (or were being graded - this is done early 2010, by the way) one, Working Group I gets consistent "A" grades for the suitability of the references.  And what chapters of the IPCC 2007 report did Working Group I work on?
Climate Change 2007: Working Group I: The Physical Science Basis
That's right. The Working Group that reviewed THE SCIENCE in the IPCC report received passing grades from even Laframboise's skewed group of auditors.

Check Jack's column again.  Does he point that out?  I don't think so.

And this is just the first two paragraphs.

Here's Jack's third:
IPCC reports supposedly were written by leading scientists. Ms. LaFromboise found many authors were graduate students selected more for political connections and "diversity" than for expertise. This explains, in part, why these reports contain so many factual errors.
Has already been debunked by mediamatters:
Citing what it calls "a scathing new expose on the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change," Fox News is trumpeting claims that IPCC reports "have often been written by graduate students with little or no experience in their field of study." Fox's article, titled "U.N. Hires Grad Students to Author Key Climate Report," comes as the IPCC prepares to issue a new report on weather extremes.

Fox's "expose" is an e-book by Canadian writer Donna Laframboise, who recruited "a team of citizen auditors" to pore over IPCC reports from the past two decades. Drawing from the book, Fox identifies four IPCC authors since 1994 who were in, or had recently completed, grad school.

Here are the facts Fox characteristically avoided: There were over 450 lead authors for the 2007 assessment report, plus 800 contributing authors and more than 2,500 reviewers. Fox identified only one graduate student who worked on the 2007 report. 1 out of over 1250 authors.

The IPCC does not conduct climate research, it reviews and summarizes scientists' studies of climate change. The assessment reports have three volumes consisting of 10-20 chapters. Each chapter has around 7-10 lead authors and 2 coordinating lead authors and goes through two rounds of scientific review. Four of the lead authors could have been chimpanzees and it wouldn't have made a dent in the scientific heft of these massive reports.
When there's this much non-factiness masquerading as skepticism, I think it safe to say that the rest of Jack's column deserves giant fail all on its own.

Go read Ed.

1 comment:

EdHeath said...

Once again, thanks for the shout out. Good job on getting your post out early. And great catch on the Media Matters take down of the Fox story (on the LaFramboise effort).

I was just saying to my girlfriend that the Kelly column has presented a "target rich environment". Way near the end, Kelly says "There never was a consensus among scientists in support of anthropogenic global warming.". Well, sure if you count the quantum physicists, organic chemists and civil engineers who have no professional opinion about climate change. But among the overwhelming majority of climate scientists...

What Jack doesn't say ...