Saturday, October 31, 2015

To the best of my knowledge

Sharing some thoughts about debate and developing understanding that came to me while putting together the post.

When a rationalist such as myself makes a claim, there's always an undercurrent of "to the best of my knowledge."  Meaning that, yes, I firmly believe this and this, for such and such reasons.  Yet, I appreciate there's more to learn.  Here is the place for one's constructive-debate opponent to add new information to my store of knowledge.  

Give me stuff I hadn't considered; point out my weaknesses; make me think through why I'm making my particular argument; make me question my own certitude, you bet I'll reexamine my understanding in light of new information.  And though I'm no scientist, I do know that this is also the scientist's way.

Being shown to be wrong may hurt my ego, so what!?  It's an opportunity to understand my topic even better.  That's why I've spent many hundreds (actually thousands all told) of hours chasing down and trying to understand contrarian arguments.  They've been fabulous learning experiences.

The tragedy is realizing that no such love for intellectual adventure and learning about the planet we depend on exists within my Republican/libertarian debate opponents.

Pssst, pass it: "Petition to call on the Dept of Justice to investigate ExxonMobil"

I want to pass along this email message from the writer Bill McKibben and his group because the malicious dirty-tricks and tactical lying about what scientists have been trying to teach us is nothing less than a criminal offense against US citizens and in fact global citizens and the future.  

I'm not talking some vague future down the road either.  If you objectively look at the tempo of extreme (and increasingly destructive) weather events throughout the world, you'll recognize we are now talking about our imminent future being irreparably damaged, thanks to decades worth of "Reaganomics" inspired and greed driven strategic dirty tricks focused on misleading our leaders and the public about the critically important facts regarding what society's sky-rocketing emissions are doing to the global climate that we depend on for everything we hold near and dear.

(Followed by some videos and links to further information.)
If only for the sake of history, let’s stand the hell up.
Petition to call on the Department of Justice to investigate ExxonMobil.
From Bill McKibben for

Dear Friends,
Earlier this morning, leaders from a wide variety of environmental and civil rights groups sent a short letter Attorney General Loretta Lynch, asking for a federal investigation of the allegations that Exxon knew that climate change was real decades ago and lied about it.

This is rare and powerful unity—I don’t remember a moment like it since the first days of the Keystone fight, when the same wide spectrum of leaders wrote a very similar letter.

But encouraging as it is to see this solidarity, the reason for it makes me bitter. Ever since I read the first exposés of Exxon’s mendacity in Inside Climate News and the Los Angeles Times, they’ve haunted me.

A corporation may never have done anything bigger and badder; just think how much would be different if Exxon had told the truth. We wouldn’t fully have solved global warming but we’d be well on the way—there would have been no 25 year phony pretend debate. There’d be a lot more solar panels, and a lot less carbon in the air. There'd be a lot more green jobs, and a lot fewer communities, most of them low income and communities of color, dealing with the terrible health impacts of pollution. None of you would have had to fight simply to get climate change taken seriously; instead we’d all be hard at work on solutions.1

I think we should be angry. I don’t think we should be cynical and say ‘of course they knew.’ This behavior should shock us—it’s shocking. So can you please join us in asking the federal government to investigate Exxon?

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

NPR and Brumfiel don't "appreciate" climate engine

I don't have any time to do anything with this, but I was confronted with another inane news story, this time at NPR.  "Why Hurricane Patricia Can't Be Blamed On Climate Change"  Geoff Brumfiel October 23, 2015 4:45 PM ET
But I do want to share my comments over there - because frankly I hope they make sense to a few people out there.  And if they do, you are welcome to any of this, it's all about us nudging each other into better understanding the world around us and dealing with the fools surrounding us.


I find it absolutely amazing the contortions supposedly educated minds go through to deny the impacts of global warming.  You do such a nice mishmash in this write-up it's tough to figure out which name to blame.  Perhaps all of them, but the quote that's the hair raiser is:

"The warm water that fueled Patricia is available in abundance this year. The Eastern Pacific has been very warm, thanks to an ocean phenomenon known as El Niño. This year's El Niño is likely to be one of the strongest ever recorded, says Mike Halpert of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration."

Why totally ignore that it's global warming that is the reason behind this extremely El Nino?

No storm today is not connected to global warming!  And the intense storms are only a harbringer of what's to come while all we over smart human's keep coming up with complex ways to confuse and fool ourselves.  Contemptible.

Oh that article: "
"Concerning Our Failure to Appreciate the Weather"

Friday, October 23, 2015

Morano, National Review and pals, this is what global warming looks like.

Having watched our climate's slow transformation this past half century has been profoundly heart-breaking.  2015 and we are witnessing our first 200 mph hurricane, from tropical storm to Category 5 hurricane in 24hr, nothing happening in the oceans you tell me.  No global warming over the past 18 years?  Silly fools, we told you where the heat was going, (just because measuring it is exceedingly difficult doesn't mean it wasn't happening and that it wouldn't certainly come back to haunt us.

Satellite Movie Sees Record-Breaking
Hurricane Patricia

Published by Video on Oct 23, 2015
At 8 a.m. EDT on October 23, 2015, the National Hurricane Center reported Patricia became the strongest eastern north pacific hurricane on record with sustained winds near 200 mph. This animation of images captured from October 20 to 23 from NOAA's GOES-West satellite shows Hurricane Patricia near western 

By: Jeff Masters and Bob Henson , 5:04 PM GMT on October 23, 2015

Stunning, historic, mind-boggling, and catastrophic: that sums up Hurricane Patricia, which intensified to an incredible-strength Category 5 storm with 200 mph winds overnight. At 2:46 am EDT October 23, 2015 an Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft measured a central pressure of 880 mb in Patricia, making it the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Western Hemisphere. 

The aircraft measured surface winds of 200 mph, which are the highest reliably-measured surface winds on record for a tropical cyclone, anywhere on the Earth (the three claims from 50/60s have been shown to over-estimates Black 1992)). The previous strongest Eastern Pacific hurricane was Hurricane Linda of 1997, with a pressure of 902 mb (estimated from satellite imagery.) ...

Patricia's central pressure dropped an astonishing 100 mb in 24 hours, making it the fastest-intensifying hurricane ever observed in the Western Hemisphere. Patricia's pressure at 5 am EDT Thursday, October 22, 2015 was 980 mb, and was 880 mb at 5 am EDT Friday. ...

Oh yeah, I can hear it already: "No single storm is proof of global warming."  Nonsense!  Every storm is evidence of our changing climate, none is independent of global warming!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Part 2 - Debating ClimateDepot fan re greenhouse physics

Will H. responded over at ClimateDepot, so I will share his comment along with my three part response.

Will H. responds to citizenschallenge  
October 21, 2015 at 3:52 PM at ClimateDepot

I have no idea as to how I can respond at your political site. Right up front you state, "Will, I don't get your point." That really sums up your entire response. I cannot help that. The problem must be with you. You do not understand what I have been presenting but you are trying to twist it in terms of the AGW religion so as to make political points on your very political site.

Let me say this about that, in three parts:

to Will H. on Oct 21, 2015 at 5:54 PM

Will, for starters it would be good if you didn't use fragments to misrepresent what I wrote. Or perhaps I should write: Why am I not surprised you would pull such a decoy?

Allow me to explain, you were going on about: "... greenhouse gases has nothing to do with how real greenhouses stay warm. ..." My response read:

CC wrote: Will, I don't get your point. Of course, everyone knows that when talking about "global greenhouse effect" we are using a figure of speech, such as "Black Hole" or "Big Bang" - they are catchy and they stick but everyone knows they are labels. We all understand that Earth's global "greenhouse" is very different from a gardener's greenhouse. What's the point in bringing it up?

Incidentally, here's some information on that:

"The mechanism is named after the effect of solar radiation passing through glass and warming a greenhouse, but the way it retains heat is fundamentally different as a greenhouse works by reducing airflow, isolating the warm air inside the structure so that heat is not lost by convection.[2][3][4]"

Will, as for not knowing how to respond - there's a comments section right below the article. Responding is as easy as filling in the text box. If you wanted to do a more extensive rebuttal I've assured you I'd even be willing to offer you your own civil 'guest blog post' and promise not to alter it, though I will be following up with my own review in a subsequent post.


Will H. (a second comment)

Oh, and Will I'd like to correct something else. "Right up front" what I stated was:

"CC responds: Will, I agree with you. There is a plethora of valuable information out there for those who want to learn about our planet and how society is impacting our Earth's eco-systems and its climate engine. I myself have been learning about it since pre-internet days, ever since my long ago high school science classes in the early 1970s.   
As for people "who came up with these ideas" - keep in mind who they really are. You know the very curious, smart, focused students who after years of dedicated study, evolved into skeptical professional full-time scientists, who have gone on to investigating and learning about our climate -  generations worth with the goal of better understanding how planet and its climate system workings.  
It really is that simple. Here, let one explain it.
Richard Alley - what drives scientists?


responds to Will H.  
(yet a third comment)
October 21, 2015 at 6:44 PM (link here) 

OK Will, there is something else, now that I've had time to think about it. 

You call my site political - (full disclosure I am mirroring this dialogue over at WUWTW.)

Since I'm the kind of person who is always questioning myself, I once again reviewed my blogspot article "Debating a ClimateDepot fan about greenhouse physics" trying to see it from your perspective.

But, still what I see is me explaining my position best I could followed by referring to one authoritative study after another. My focus is constantly on better understanding what's really happening upon our fantastic Earth and continually learning more about her. … and sharing that information - yet you yell that I'm political and that AGW is a religion.

I mean that's hysteria talking there - just like that Lord of the Flies land I mentioned at another comment recently.       [let me add - Political !?  
How about a little introspection here? Just, look at ClimateDepot's Morano he's a certified alpha political-operative, Mr. Swift Boat himself, politics it's all he knows and winning is all he cares about - and his blog CD is about as political as it gets.]

I mean think about what you are doing !

Why you gotta think I'm some flaming enemy? - Dude, if we found ourselves on a job-site working together, just a couple people with a job to do - bet we'd get along just fine and get the job done, shake hands and go home feeling good about the day. (That is, if you, like me, possess a sense of integrity and pride in workmanship and a job well done. As a Navajo friend used to say: "I put my pride into that job.")

I'm not an idiot and I'm not your enemy, you simply choose to hate me out of your own insecurity and fears."

Explaining how the "greenhouse effect" is calculated. repost Gavin Schmidt Jan, 2006 article

I'm taking the liberty of reposting this detailed description of how real world scientists calculate the greenhouse effect.  It's a follow up to my previous post and my conversation with another character who thinks climate scientists have their calculations all wrong.

Calculating the greenhouse effect

By Gavin Schmidt  (Gavin who? link here) @ 21 January 2006  @ 

Filed under:  Climate Science  Greenhouse gases 
In another forum (on a planet far, far away), the following quote recently came up:
{And get's regurgitated ad nauseam to this day, thus the need to repost this authoritative and most informative article.}
….the combined effect of these greenhouse gases is to warm Earth’s atmosphere by about 33 ºC, from a chilly -18 ºC in their absence to a pleasant +15 ºC in their presence. 95% (31.35 ºC) of this warming is produced by water vapour, which is far and away the most important greenhouse gas. The other trace gases contribute 5% (1.65 ºC) of the greenhouse warming, amongst which carbon dioxide corresponds to 3.65% (1.19 ºC). The human-caused contribution corresponds to about 3% of the total carbon dioxide in the present atmosphere, the great majority of which is derived from natural sources. Therefore, the probable effect of human-injected carbon dioxide is a miniscule 0.12% of the greenhouse warming, that is a temperature rise of 0.036 ºC. Put another way, 99.88% of the greenhouse effect has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions from human activity8.
We’ve discussed the magnitude of the greenhouse effect before, but it might be helpful to step through this ‘back-of-the-agenda’ calculation and see what the numbers really give. (Deltoid has also had a go at some of these mis-statements). 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Part 1 - Debating ClimateDepot fan re greenhouse physics

Recently in my snippets of free time I've been commenting at a couple Republican/libertarian climate science denying blogs (yeah, I'm still trying to make sense of what's going on inside their heads).  At I've had a couple go-arounds under a story that declares lying about serious science and what scientists are reporting is some kind of "free speech right" - rather than the act of malicious fraud against the people that it is.  

One character has responded to my debate challenge by giving a fairly lengthy account of what he believes.  I am happy to use it as a learning opportunity for interested onlookers.  As it is, my response has too many words and links for posting over there, so I'll post it over here and invite Will to have a look.

Climate Depot - 'Debate no more! Jailed for scientific dissent?!'  9/17/15

(I'm leaving out our initial exchanges.)
citizenschallenge to Will H. Oct. 17, 2015 - 10:12pm

Will, are you really up for this game? If so - can you please explain precisely what you mean by "convective greenhouse effect" - I ask you not because I'm confused by what CGE is, but rather I want to find out if you actually know what that means, so that we can establish a level playing field.

Also I notice you didn't offer any links to anything that hints of scientific inquiry - do you have any links to support your claims and notions? Please share. I look forward to a productive dialogue.
cheers, cc

I was surprised to receive Will's lively response.  Though he didn't share any links to sources he'd learned from, I appreciate the opportunity to respond and point out his deep misunderstanding and his various attempts at deception.  

I reproduced Will's entire comment below - I have not deleted any words, only added breaks to make room for my commentary including links to authoritative sources for some solid background information.

Will H. writes:  I am not playing games. I will explain it but not very precisely. 
I am not the one who came up with these ideas. For a more precise explanation you can look it up on the Internet yourself.
CC responds:  Will, I agree with you.  There is a plethora of valuable information out there for those who want to learn about our planet and how society is impacting our Earth's eco-systems and its climate engine. I myself have been learning about it since pre-internet days, ever since my long ago high school science classes in the early 1970s.

As for people "who came up with these ideas" - keep in mind who they really are.  You know the very curious, smart, focused students who after years of dedicated study, evolved into skeptical professional full-time scientists, who have been investigating and learning about our climate for generations with the goal of understanding its workings better.  
It really is that simple.  Here, let one explain it.

Richard Alley - what drives scientists? 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

ClimateAudit. . .“Citizenschallenge” has no CV

Something has come up that's inspired me to repost this explanation of "who I think I am" and why I invest the time and effort to continue posting here at WUWTW.
Originally posted in February 2014

I'd like to share my response to an observation someone made over at ClimateAudit - 
Consider it a sort of bio piece.
{slightly improved.}
dbs...  Posted Jan 30, 2014 at 6:48 PM : 
“Citizenschallenge” has no CV.
(Response Posted Feb 2, 2014 at 1:11 AM)  dbs,

For starters I have never claimed to be a scientist, nor grad!  That's why, when I state my opinions I make a point of supporting my assertions by sharing the authoritative sources I base them on.  My hope is that curious people will go to original sources and start learning for themselves - the evidence speaks for itself.

As for CV,

Monday, October 12, 2015

"Exxon’s Climate Concealment"… So what?

A couple days ago I started a thread over at the CFI Forum titled "Exxon’s Climate Concealment" with an introduction and the following quote:

The Opinion Pages New York Times
Exxon’s Climate Concealment
By NAOMI ORESKES |  OCT. 9, 2015
"The same thing has happened with climate change, as Inside Climate News, a nonprofit news organization, has been reporting in a series of articles based on internal documents from Exxon Mobil dating from the 1970s and interviews with former company scientists and employees. 
Had Exxon been upfront at the time about the dangers of the greenhouse gases we were spewing into the atmosphere, we might have begun decades ago to develop a less carbon-intensive energy path to avert the worst impacts of a changing climate. Amazingly, politicians are still debating the reality of this threat, thanks in no small part to industry disinformation. 
Government and academic scientists alerted policy makers to the potential threat of human-driven climate change in the 1960s and ’70s, but at that time climate change was still a prediction. By the late 1980s it had become an observed fact. …" 
One comment it received is worth mentioning over here: "Imagine that, pass thousands and thousands of regulations, make it so you have attorneys running the big business and the country. And you have a company that employees thousands of scientists and engineers covering up the truth. What the hell did you expect would happen? The lawyers to tell the truth and do what is morally right?" 

To which I responded: 
What about the simple matter of scientists having a right to have their papers and information honestly represented?

My point is, it’s one thing to come up with every conceivable bias driven argument you can dream up to support one’s doubts.

It’s quite another to deliberately and repeatedly LIE about the work and information of bonafide experts 
in critically important scientific fields.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Considering Steve Goreham's clueless "climatism" in a mad, mad, mad world

Even when I try to get away from the climate science contrarian campaign it seems like there's no escape.  I was looking for a few sites that shared good information about our planet's hydrologic cycle and how a warming world is impacting that.  I came across "Earth’s water cycle, over Carbon Dioxide, cause of Global Warming" by one Steve Goreham at Communities Digital News.  When I first opened it I went straight for the article so missed the first red flag, or more accurately small banner: "Climatism: A Mad, Mad, Mad World."  In any event, I started reading it and it's pretty good, sticking to basic facts, but then the thing goes right off the tracks.

It's appalling the crap these people keep recycling so I'm going to share my observations regarding Mr. Goreham's piece of disconnected nonsense.  I welcome his response.

Goreham writes: "But for the last 16 years, Earth’s surface temperatures have failed to rise, despite rising atmospheric carbon dioxide." ~~~
- WRONG - to begin with the rise continued, but at a slower pace then some expected.  But, more importantly, an incomplete (it left out polar regions among others) surface temperature data set comprises about 8/9% of the heat within our global heat and moisture distribution engine. Ignoring what's been happening in the ocean (90%) is dishonest in the extreme and not at all helpful if you're interested in understanding global patterns.

Goreham writes:"All climate models predicted a rapid rise in global temperatures, in conflict with actual measured data." ~~~ That's a totally bogus claim. It's not backed up by a serious review of the available information.

Writing: "Today’s models are often unable to predict weather conditions for a single season, let alone long-term climate trends." ~~~

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Considering Republican/libertarian disconnect from down to Earth facts.

During my recent forays into commenting at some right-wing websites I've been re-exposed to the Republican faith-based reasoning, which is a sort of oxymoron considering the self-certitude they project and their unwilling to reflect, or learn anything new, let alone change.  I mean it's like they think there's nothing anybody else can teach them.  

In fact, it's worse, anyone who presents information about our world that they don't like, is considered an enemy.  Becoming an "enemy" invites any tactic; misdirection, dirty tricks, manipulative lies, and just plain insults.  All are considered fair-play and a God Given Free Speech Right for them*.

That the "opponent" has a free speech right to have his/her work and words honestly represented to the public, doesn't even cross their minds.  Instead, engaging in vicious destructive slander towards serious professionals who are considered "enemies"  is considered good fun.

In any event, I read a most interesting article worth sharing, "Why Are Republicans the Only Climate-Science-Denying Party in the World?," by Jonathan Chait at New York, it does a much better job than I ever could of putting all this into a relevant context, I will share large sections, but encourage you to read the complete article.

"Why Are Republicans the Only Climate-Science-Denying Party in the World?"

Of all the major conservative parties in the democratic world, the Republican Party stands alone in its denial of the legitimacy of climate science. 
Indeed, the Republican Party stands alone in its conviction that no national or international response to climate change is needed

A new paper by Sondre Båtstrand studies the climate-change positions of electoral manifestos for the conservative parties in nine democracies, ...

Nor can a fealty to free-market theory alone explain the change, either. Free-market ideology traditionally recognizes a role for government when it comes to “externalities,” or actions that impose costs on others. Pollution is the most classic case of an externality — a factory whose production pollutes the air, or a local stream, should have to pay the cost. ...

It is also worth noting that the Republican Party used to fit in with the pattern of other international conservative parties. The Nixon administration created the Environmental Protection Agency and passed the Clean Air Act. The first Bush administration passed amendments strengthening it. Both of those presidents are considered, correctly, to be aliens to the conservative movement. The conservative movement has always opposed environmental regulation, and Republican leaders since the first President Bush — the GOP Congress since the era of Newt Gingrich, George W. Bush, and the current Republican presidential field — have followed conservative thinking. ...

Indeed, administrators of the EPA from previous Republican administrations have endorsed Obama’s climate program, but they lack any influence or even legitimacy within the party today. ...

Rabid opposition is not the only quality that sets the GOP apart from other major conservative parties. The fervent commitment to supply-side economics is also an almost uniquely American idea. The GOP is the only major democratic party in the world that opposes the principle of universal health insurance. The virulence of anti-government ideology in the United States has no parallel anywhere in the world. 

 And so the “moderate” Republican climate position is that action is pointless,  

 The more right-wing position within the party — endorsed by the party’s leading presidential candidate and the chairmen of the science committees in both houses — is that thousands of climate scientists worldwide have secretly coordinated a massive hoax. And then the even more conservative position, advocated by the second-leading candidate in the polls, holds not only that climate science is a massive hoax, but so are evolution and the big bang. The “moderate” candidates are still, by international standards, rabid extremists. It is the nature of long-standing arrangements to dull our sense of the peculiar, to make the bizarre seem ordinary. From a global standpoint, the entire Republican Party has lost its collective mind. ... (emphasis added - LINK)


And then there's this:

Why Republicans are scared of everything and everyone right now

The world is changing. So is the Republican Party, but not in the same way.
By Daniel W. Drezner - September 30, 2015 

Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and a regular contributor to PostEverything.

It's about a revealing study that presents some "pretty incontrovertible" evidence that the most conservative Republican's of 1985 to 1990 would be among the most liberal members these days.  

This seems important for people with a rational experience-based perspective towards life on Earth to learn about and appreciate.  Weird days are heading our way and those who trust in science and humanistic principles of rational dialogue and constructive debate (that we can all learn from) - have these passionate Republican/libertarian/TeaParty characters to deal with, time to understand them a bit better.  

(* Yes I believe extreme conservatism and religious fervor go hand in hand.)

Michael Crichton's "State of Fear" considered, a collection

I've been loaded up with work and other commitments that keep me from getting to some WUWTW projects, but I still have time for checking out what's happening on the internet and I do keep looking for good documentaries and such on YouTube, where I've noticed the stepped up right-wing astro-turfing of ridiculous climate science denying videos repeating the same old discredited arguments.  Lately there seems to be a surge in Michele Crichton "State of Fear" related videos yelling at me from the sidebar, so I figure this may be timely.

It's another example of how your typical Republican/libertarian state of mind is happy to be satisfied with a science-fiction writer (who's interest is in selling block busters that liberally mangle science in order to keep his thrillers moving forward) rather than experts who understand their field and can teach us something. 

Crichton never studied climate science, but he was popular as heck, spoke 'sciency' and said what they wanted to hear.  Here again we see the fundamental problem - that arrogant disregard for learning about how our global heat and moisture distribution engine operates and how human society has been altering it. 

In any event, I'm posting this collection of informative sources for those who want to understand Crichton's "State of Fear" PR game and thus be better prepared for the next time someone tries blowing this bit smoke up yours.


Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion
Gavin Schmidt @ 13 December 2004 -

In a departure from normal practice on this site, this post is a commentary on a piece of out-and-out fiction (unlike most of the other posts which deal with a more subtle kind). Michael Crichton’s new novel “State of Fear” is about a self-important NGO hyping the science of the global warming to further the ends of evil eco-terrorists. The inevitable conclusion of the book is that global warming is a non-problem. A lesson for our times maybe? Unfortunately, I think not.

Like the recent movie “The Day After Tomorrow”, the novel addresses real scientific issues and controversies, but is similarly selective (and occasionally mistaken) about the basic science. I will discuss a selection of the global warming-related issues that are raised in between the car chases, shoot-outs, cannibalistic rites and assorted derring-do. The champion of Crichton’s scientific view is a MIT academic-turned-undercover operative who clearly runs intellectual rings around other characters. The issues are raised as conversations and Q and A sessions between him (and other ‘good guys’) and two characters; an actor (not a very clever chap) and a lawyer (a previously duped innocent), neither of whom know much about the science.

So for actors and lawyers everywhere, I will try and help out.
The issues Crichton raises are familiar to those of us in the field, and come up often in discussions. Some are real and well appreciated while some are red herrings and are used to confuse rather than enlighten. 

The first set of comments relate to the attribution of the recent warming trend to increasing CO2. One character suggests that “if CO2 didn’t cause the global cooling between 1940 and 1970, how can you be sure it is responsible for the recent warming?” (paraphrased from p86) . ...

Secondly, through the copious use of station weather data, a number of single station records with long term cooling trends are shown. ... Global warming is defined by the global mean surface temperature. It does not imply that the whole globe is warming uniformly (which of course it isn’t). ...

Next, and slightly more troubling, we have some rather misleading and selective recollection regarding Jim Hansen’s testimony to congress in 1988. ...

Another issue that often comes up in discussion about the surface temperature record is the impact of the Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE), and here it appears on p370. ...

A central issue in the book concerns sea-level rise. Vanuatu is singled out for special attention since the islanders there are understandably concerned about their low-lying islands eventually being swamped. Sea level however is a surprisingly difficult thing to measure. ...

There are only a few out-and-out errors, but to be generous, they probably just slipped through the editing process. ...

In summary, I am a little disappointed, not least because while researching this book, Crichton actually visited our lab and discussed some of these issues with me and a few of my colleagues. I guess we didn’t do a very good job. Judging from his reading list, the rather dry prose of the IPCC reports did not match up to the some of the racier contrarian texts. Had RealClimate been up and running a few years back, maybe it would’ve all worked out differently… - See more at:

Review of Michael Crichton's State of Fear
By Jeffrey Masters, Ph.D. — Director of Meteorology, Weather Underground, Inc.

Masters finishes and extensive review with the following:

In a conversation about trying to educate an ignorant environmentalist about the realities of Global Warming, Kenner sums up for me the essence of Crichton's presentation of science in State of Fear:

"Her intentions are good," she said.

"And her information is bad," Kenner said. "A prescription for disaster."

The excessive interruptions of an otherwise good story by Crichton's bad science make State of Fear a bad buy.

For further reading...
For one of the more balanced and up-to-date views of the controversies surrounding the Global Warming issue, see Dr. Stephen Schneider's web site. Dr. Schneider, one of the world's foremost climate experts, has testified frequently before Congress on environmental issues and is one of the lead authors of the IPCC scientific reports. He has criticized both industry-funded skeptics and environmental groups on their biased treatment of the Global Warming issue.

Skeptics have routinely called global warming "a hoax", and attacked the credibility of scientists promoting the idea. Are the skeptics right? To shed light on the issue, it is helpful to review how the same skeptics treated the ozone hole issue. Read the 

Weather Underground special feature, The Skeptics vs. The Ozone.

The latest IPCC summary has an excellent summary of what the best scientists in the field figure we know and don't know about Global Warming.


New York Times Sunday Book Review
'State of Fear': Not So Hot
By Bruce Barcott  -  Jan. 30, 2005

There's a problem with Michael Crichton's new thriller, and it shows up before the narrative even begins. In a disclaimer that follows the copyright page, Crichton writes: "This is a work of fiction. Characters, corporations, institutions and organizations in this novel are the product of the author's imagination, or, if real, are used fictitiously without any intent to describe their actual conduct. However, references to real people, institutions and organizations that are documented in footnotes are accurate. Footnotes are real."


Yes, there will be footnotes. Although "State of Fear" comes dressed as an airport-bookstore thriller, Crichton's readers will discover halfway through their flight that the novel more closely resembles one of those Ann Coulter "Liberals Are Stupid" jobs. Liberals, environmentalists and many other straw men endure a stern thrashing in "State of Fear," but Crichton's primary target is the theory of global warming, which he believes is a scientific delusion. In his zeal to expose the emperor's nudity the author cites, ad nauseam, actual studies that seem to contradict the conventional wisdom on global warming. Hence, footnotes.

Scholarly trappings aside, "State of Fear" does follow the basic conventions of the mass-market thriller. There are villains, there are heroes and there is an evil plot to be foiled. ...

A review of the distorted science in Michael Crichton’s State of Fear
By Gavin Schmidt on February 2, 2005 


Book Review: Bad fiction, worse science

Michael Crichton has achieved celebrity status as a novelist, film director, and television producer/series creator. Trained as a doctor, Crichton never pursued a medical career but instead successfully combined his interest in science with a talent for storytelling. His novels and other productions frequently begin with some scientific underpinning—dangerous organisms brought to earth by space capsules in The Andromeda Strain; dinosaurs restored to life from fossilized DNA in Jurassic Park. In most of his novels, he envelops this scientific content in the now-classic formula of a modern technothriller: starkly defined heroes and villains; Earth or some large part of it at risk of destruction; and beautiful, intelligent, available women saved from death by even more able and heroic men. Crichton’s novels attract many readers who take pleasure in reading understandable explanations of cutting-edge science and technology in the sugarcoating of a mass-market thriller.

In his new novel State of Fear, Crichton retains most of the formula while adding a heavy-handed political message. ...


Crichton Thriller State of Fear

Michael Crichton's book State of Fear has characters debating data (complete with graphs and footnotes) and concepts that cast doubt on the validity of global warming evidence. This doubt is echoed in the author's message at the end of the novel and in public interviews. 

Readers may understandably take away some misconceptions from his book. To clear up these misconceptions, we have selected some representative cases to discuss; the list below, however, is not intended to be an exhaustive list of the errors in Crichton's book.

  1. How was Michael Crichton able to take the same data that climate scientists use and come to the conclusion that global warming isn't a real threat? 
  2. State of Fear uses graphs that don't show a warming trend. How can specific locations show cooling if global warming is happening?
  3. What is the "urban heat island effect" and is it contributing to warming?
  4. Crichton argues that C02 in the atmosphere is not closely correlated with warming trends. So why is C02 blamed as a greenhouse gas?
  5. Several times Crichton notes that glaciers are expanding not retreating. Is this accurate or only part of the story?
  6. Michael Crichton says we can't predict the future. Does this preclude our taking steps to reduce heat trapping gas emissions?
  7. Why do we have to act now to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels?