This is an open letter to the community from Chris Landsea.
"After some prolonged deliberation, I have decided to withdraw from participating in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). I am withdrawing because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant
- as having become politicized.
- their response was simply to dismiss my concerns.
- primarily on the topic of tropical cyclones (hurricanes and typhoons).
Shortly after Dr. Trenberth requested that I draft the Atlantic hurricane section for the AR4's Observations chapter, Dr. Trenberth participated in
- a press conference organized by scientists at Harvard on the topic "Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity"
- The result of this media interaction was widespread coverage that directly connected
- as being caused by anthropogenic greenhouse gas warming occurring today.
- These media sessions have potential to result in a widespread perception that global warming has made recent hurricane activity much more severe.
- To my knowledge, none of the participants in that press conference had performed any research on hurricane variability, nor were they reporting on any new work in the field.
- either in the Atlantic or any other basin.
- concluded that there was no global warming signal found in the hurricane record.
It is beyond me why my colleagues would utilize the media to push an unsupported agenda that recent hurricane activity has been due to global warming.
- Given Dr. Trenberth’s role as the IPCC’s Lead Author responsible for preparing the text on hurricanes, his public statements so far outside of current scientific understanding led me to concern that it would be very difficult for the IPCC process to proceed objectively with regards to the assessment on hurricane activity.
- I did caution Dr. Trenberth before the media event and provided him a summary of the current understanding within the hurricane research community.
- I was disappointed when the IPCC leadership dismissed my concerns when I brought up the misrepresentation of climate science while invoking the authority of the IPCC.
- even though it is quite clear that the TAR stated that there was no connection between global warming and hurricane activity.
It is certainly true that "individual scientists can do what they wish in their own rights", as one of the folks in the IPCC leadership suggested. Differing conclusions and robust debates are certainly crucial to progress in climate science.
- However, this case is not an honest scientific discussion conducted at a meeting of climate researchers.
- to the media and general public his own opinion that the busy 2004 hurricane season was caused by global warming,
- which is in direct opposition to research written in the field and is counter to conclusions in the TAR.
- has been subverted and compromised, its neutrality lost.
When scientists hold press conferences and speak with the media, much care is needed not to reflect poorly upon the IPCC. It is of more than passing interest to note that Dr. Trenberth, while
- eager to share his views on global warming and hurricanes with the media,
- declined to do so at the Climate Variability and Change Conference in January where he made several presentations.
I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound. As the IPCC leadership has seen no wrong in Dr. Trenberth's actions and have retained him as a Lead Author for the AR4, I have decided to no longer participate in the IPCC AR4.
Sincerely, Chris Landsea
Attached are the correspondence between myself and key members of the IPCC FAR, Download file.
Posted on January 17, 2005 11:39 AM" via WUWT