Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Richard Lindzen: Climate science: Is it currently designed to answer questions?

Richard Lindzen is not only a renowned climate scientist but also an experienced person who has met many people and understood how many institutions work. In his new, published 35-page paper that is also available via the arXiv,
Climate Science: Is it currently designed to answer questions? (PDF)
he shows that institutionalized climate science is becoming an inefficient tool to answer scientific questions.

For a few decades, the discipline has been losing the creative confrontation between theory and observations and the standard practice of compact problem solving that can lead to results in a finite time. Instead, unconfrontational huge observational projects that never end and simulation took over. The amount and importance of bureaucracy has skyrocketed, a development that has affected many other disciplines, too. This has allowed various players to consciously politicize the field which is particularly important in the case of climatology.

Lindzen writes long and exciting pages about various, very specific examples of activists who have been promoted for political reasons and who help to cripple the objective character of climatology. You will learn what is happening with those scientists who are not "politically correct" in these matters and how the skeptical positions of late scientists are posthumously altered. It may be a scary reading but Richard Lindzen presents the story very calmly and rationally. Recommended!

Off-topic, for economy junkies: CSPAN-3 broadcasts the Senate grilling of Bernanke, Cox, and Paulson.

1 comment:

  1. Lindzen's paper relates an episode from 2005 at a symposium at the Center of Sustainability Studies at Yale. He mentions that when the proceedings were later published Stefan Rahmstorf's contribution had been altered from its original presentation to be an attack on Lindzen's paper and Lindzen personally.

    Therefore, since Rahmstorf is part of the discussion, I would like to take the opportunity again to point out what I consider very serious problems with his 2007 paper in Science, "A semi-empirical approach to projecting sea level rise." Rahmstorf put this paper out to bolster the doomsay scenario of extreme sea level rise.

    The three problems are:

    1) Rahmstorf displays the Sea Level Rise rate vs. Temperature in a way that erroneously implies that it is well fit to a line. See Details

    2) He assumes that the time required to arrive at a new sea level equilibrium after a temperature increase is "on the order or millennia." But his own data shows this to more likely be on the order of decades. See Details

    3)He draws conclusions about the magnitude of sea level rise for the 21st century by extrapolating out more than five times the measurement domain of the temperature. See Details

    Best Regards,