News that doesn't receive the necessary attention.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Specialist in Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and UN IPCC author said scientists can't predict future of Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, politicians pressure scientists to quantify things that are very difficult to quantify-Wall St. Journal, 2/26/2010

2/26/2010, "Push to Oversimplify at Climate Panel," Wall St. Journal, Jeffrey Ball and Keith Johnson

"The problem stems from the IPCC's thorny mission: Take sophisticated and sometimes inconclusive science, and boil it down to usable advice for lawmakers. To meet that goal, scientists working with the IPCC say they sometimes faced institutional bias toward oversimplification, a Wall Street Journal examination shows.

Richard Alley, a geoscientist who helped write the IPCC's latest report, issued in 2007, described a trip that summer to Greenland's ice sheet with senators who urged him to be as specific as possible about the potential for sea-level rise. The point many of them made, he said: Give more explicit advice—because, if the sea rises, "the levee has to be built some height."...

About 30 paid staffers help thousands of scientists who volunteer to assemble voluminous "assessment reports" every five or six years....

The IPCC's budget, about $7 million this year (2010), comes mainly from contributions from the U.S. and other industrialized nations....

Some researchers continued to feel pressure to boil down science as work began on the IPCC's fourth major report, published in 2007. Things that are "very difficult to quantify must be quantified to keep the policy makers happy," Mr. Alley, the geoscientist, who teaches at Penn State, said in an interview. "It's a very frustrating thing." 

Mr. Alley walked that tightrope in helping write the chapter covering his specialty: the degree to which massive Greenland and antarctic ice sheets might melt, raising sea levels. The problem, he said: "Ice-sheet models are not very good."

Many conversations with policy makers—including Mr. Gore, the senators in Greenland and Christian Gaudin, a French senatorleft the clear impression that "we scientists had better get better numbers," said Mr. Alley, adding that he understands their desire for detail.

So the scientists put numbers into the 2007 study, along with a big caveat—what Mr. Alley calls a "punt." The study took into account things like glacier melt in most of the world, but it noted that it excluded what's happening in the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which "we can't predict," Mr. Alley said.

Inevitably, Mr. Alley said, some people have cited the numbers without that caveat.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Gore said he understands the uncertainties, and that he pointed out in statements "that there was essentially an asterisk" on the 2007 report's sea-level projections. "As he understands the situation from the ice-science community, the uncertainty in sea level applies in both directions," meaning sea-level rise could be greater or smaller than projected, her statement said."...

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In 2013, UN IPCC was given $13 million free US taxpayer dollars from the State Dept. alone:

4/12/13, "Despite sequester, State Department ups support for the UN (IPCC)," George Russell, Fox News

"State Department contributions to “International Organizations and Programs” include a 30 percent hike, to $13 million, for the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."...

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