Streetwise Professor

September 3, 2007

Thanks, Dr. Pielke

Filed under: Climate Change — The Professor @ 7:56 am

I read with regret that Dr. Roger Pielke is ending his excellent Climate Science blog. I have learned a great deal reading it over the past couple of years. Dr. Pielke’s last post provides an excellent summary of his main conclusions, which are quite reasonable and persuasive. Most notably, Dr. Pielke argues very cogently that a monomaniacal focus on CO2 as the only important anthropogenic climate forcing is counterproductive. Moreover, Dr. Pielke’s criticism of average global temperature as a climate metric is tremendously important and deserves more attention. Temperature is not a conserved quantity, and temperature measurement is rife with errors arising from poorly sited instruments; Dr. Pielke has shown very convincingly that daily minimum temperatures are a particularly flawed measure of climate trends.

Dr. Pielke is also very measured and reasoned in his approach, and is the quintessential scientist. His sober and scientific tone couldn’t be more different from the hysterical millenarianism of GISS’s James “Jeremiah” Hansen. Hansen has been over the top for literally decades, but his stridency and evangelical fervor have reached new extremes in recent months. Rather than honestly acknowledging errors in his data, Dr. Hansen viciously attacks those with the temerity to point them out, and accuses those who disagree with his True Belief with callous indifference to the fate of the planet. [As an aside, Hansen’s dismissal of the irrelevance in the correction of his US data is incredibly lame. If there is such a thing as “global temperature,” temperature one large region (e.g., the US) should be a good proxy for the global temp, so a lowering of temperature in recent years in the US is a bigger deal than Hansen is willing to admit–if Hansen is right about global mean temperature as the best metric of climate change.]

The blogosphere will certainly miss Dr. Pielke’s reasoned voice. He will certainly continue making his prolific contributions to the scientific literature, but more popular media need to hear his views too. We know that Jeremiah Hansen will continue to use the popular media megaphone. Who will make the more reasoned scientific view more accessible to the public? Dr. Pielke, you will be missed.

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