Sunday, November 18, 2012

What's Up With That IPCC... no consensus on consensus ???

I'm confounded by the way people swallow Curry, Anthony et al. slanders of the IPCC.   You see, it's one thing to take issue with a study or statement but to misrepresent and then paint this organization into that villainous characterature they have done is ridiculous... no, it's plain dishonest.  Chris Colose wrote a good two-thousand word essay a couple years back that remains as valid today as it was then, here's an except:
". . . I think there’s a lot of misconception on this issue and I see no evidence that Judith is thinking clearly with respect to her claims about the IPCC. Much of the debate has centered around semantics and definitions, so I want to start off with what many people take as “sides” to the debate, particularly when saying things like “the IPCC view” or identifying what a “skeptic” means. Much of the confusion is centered directly on how the scientific community comes to acquire knowledge on a specific topic, or how knowledge of global climate change has evolved. 
The fourth assessment report of the IPCC consisted of three volumes of work, on the scale of ~1000 pages each, with the goal of summarizing research in the areas of the physical science, impacts, and policy of climate change. The AR4 does not represent original research, and so to begin with what Judith and other commenter’s refer to as the “IPCC view” is in reality the aggregate work done by the community in whatever sub-topic is being discussed, expressed as a summary of the “balance of evidence.”
This cannot involve a static world view by definition, but will necessarily be modified as the community does more research and new or better understanding arises. If this were not the case, no need for an AR5 would exist. I also say ‘subtopics’ because the IPCC consists of thousands of “claims” ranging across various chapters, and with varying degrees of certainty. . ." 
I wonder how many of the folks who have been convinced that the IPCC is a villainous organization bent on distorting the science have ever actually taken the time to read IPCC reports or to review their website?
See the thing is, whenever I take the time to look up information at the IPCC website I find they explain their positions quite clearly and their information does include a healthy review of uncertainties and caveats.  Not only that, they provide exhaustive links to sources of data and studies.  None of this is the behavior of nefarious organization bent of manipulating our public officials.
The following are some cut and pastes off of the IPCC website, to give you an idea of what's available.  Hopefully you'll be encouraged to investigate your own particular concerns directly at the IPCC website instead of taking other's agenda driven message for gospel.

International Panel on Climate Change
~ ~ ~ to the Data Distribution Centre (DDC) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The DDC provides climate, socio-economic and environmental data, both from the past and also in scenarios projected into the future. Technical guidelines on the selection and use of different types of data and scenarios in research and assessment are also provided.The DDC is designed primarily for climate change researchers, but materials contained on the site may also be of interest to educators, governmental and non-governmental organisations, and the general public.The DDC web site has the following areas (all accessible from the menu in the left hand column of most pages):
The identification, selection, and application of baseline and scenario data are crucial steps in the assessments of the potential impacts of future climate change. The need to provide a consistent collection of data covering a great diversity of different scenario elements can pose substantial challenges to researchers. The IPCC DDC seeks to provide access to such a collection of data and scenarios and to offer guidance on their application.The DDC is overseen by the IPCC Task Group on Data and Scenario Support for Impact and Climate Analysis (TGICA) and jointly managed by the British Atmospheric Data Centre (BADC) in the United Kingdom, the CSU World Data Center Climate (WDCC) in Germany, and the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) at Columbia University, New York, USA. The data are provided by co-operating modelling and analysis centres.
Guidance on the AR5 Scenario Processs has been added to the site. (18/11/2011)
TGICA members for the 5th Assessment Round appointed. (08/06/2010)
User survey results available. (20/07/2009)
Data in spreadsheet format now available: observed and projected climatologies. (15/04/2009)
  1. Definition of terms
  1. What is a GCM?
  1. Selecting scenarios
  1. Constructing change fields
  1. Reporting & consistency
  1. Stochastic weather generators
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Description of methods
The methods adopted to select, interpret and apply the scenarios should be described in full, with proper citation to comparable previous studies employing similar methods. This information is important for evaluating and comparing different impact studies. 
Presentation of results
Impact studies that employ scenarios should indicate, where possible, the statistical significance of the results. For example, regional scenarios of climate change should be compared with natural variability in the baseline observations or control simulation. Similarly, the impacts of these scenarios should be contrasted with the impacts of natural variability. 
Consideration of uncertainties
At each stage of an impact assessment, there should be a full and proper dicussion of the key uncertainties in the results, including those attributable to the input data, impact models, climate scenarios and non-climatic scenarios. A rigorous sensitivity analysis can be very helpful in identifying some of the major uncertainties. It is also recommended that users should design and apply multiple scenarios in impact assessments, where these multiple scenarios span a range of possible future climates, rather than designing and applying a single "best-guess" scenario
Climate model output
Global mean fields described in the 2007 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (SRES scenarios)  
Multi-model ensemble mean surface temperature anomaly
The multi-model ensemble global mean surface temperature anomalies from the IPCC 4th Assessment Report (2007) are available: AR4 global, multi-model means. 
Precipitation and surface temperature for each model
Global means for all models are available in text files, combined together into zip archives:
Climate model projections and simulations in the DDC: global gridded fields
Data from individual models can be obtained from the links below. These links also give access to data from earlier IPCC Assessment Reports.
  • Monthly means
  • : monthly mean data for each models and scenario, and a wider range of variables.
  • Climatolgies
  • : 20 and 30 year means for each model and scenario, and a range of variables. Some data is also available in GIS compatible Geotiff format.

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