Monday :: Dec 7, 2009

Break-In, Thieves Target Another Top Climate Scientist

by Turkana

In the wake of the illegal hacking of a leading climate scientist's computers, to concoct a false scandal compared to which the birther absurdity is merely amusing, someone is criminally targeting another leading climate scientist.

The Observer:

Attempts have been made to break into the offices of one of Canada's leading climate scientists, it was revealed yesterday. The victim was Andrew Weaver, a University of Victoria scientist and a key contributor to the work of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In one incident, an old computer was stolen and papers were disturbed.

In addition, individuals have attempted to impersonate technicians in a bid to access data from his office, said Weaver. The attempted breaches, on top of the hacking of files from British climate researcher Phil Jones, have heightened fears that climate-change deniers are mounting a campaign to discredit the work of leading meteorologists before the start of the Copenhagen climate summit tomorrow.

"The key thing is to try to find anybody who's involved in any aspect of the IPCC and find something that you can ... take out of context," said Weaver. The prospect of more break-ins and hacking has forced researchers to step up computer security.

Someone is getting desperate. And it appears to be becoming a pattern. For more on Weaver, this is his homepage.

For those who don't know about the literally criminal first false scandal, DarkSyde at Daily Kos made two superb posts:



For further resources:

EnviroKnow has a comprehensive site.

And the Union of Concerned Scientists has a page on the Scientific Consensus on Global Warming.

Meanwhile, there's an ominous new report in Science Magazine, with more long-term evidence that levels of atmospheric CO2 are synchronous with changes in global ice sheets. The researchers, Aradhna K. Tripati of UCLA, Christopher D. Roberts of the University of Cambridge, and Robert A. Eagle of Cal Tech, write:

These results provide some constraints on pCO2 thresholds for the advance and retreat of continental ice sheets in the past, which is also relevant in the context of anthropogenic climate change because it is uncertain how continental ice sheets will respond over the coming centuries to increased levels of pCO2 (1). By comparing our reconstruction to the published data sets described above, we are able to estimate past thresholds for the buildup of ice in different regions. When pCO2 levels were last similar to modern values (that is, greater than 350 to 400 ppmv), there was little glacial ice on land or sea ice in the Arctic, and a marine-based ice mass on Antarctica was not viable. A sea ice cap on the Arctic Ocean and a large permanent ice sheet were maintained on East Antarctica when pCO2 values fell below this threshold. Lower levels were necessary for the growth of large ice masses on West Antarctica (~250 to 300 ppmv) and Greenland (~220 to 260 ppmv). These values are lower than those indicated by a recent modeling study, which suggested that the threshold on East Antarctica may have been three times greater than in the Northern Hemisphere (35).

This work may support a relatively high climate sensitivity to pCO2. pCO2 values associated with major climate transitions of the past 20 Ma are similar to modern levels. During the Mid-Miocene, when pCO2 was apparently grossly similar to modern levels, global surface temperatures were, on average, 3 to 6°C warmer than in the present (2, 25). We suggest that the Mid-Miocene may be a useful interval to study to understand what effect sustained high pCO2 levels (i.e., a climate in equilibrium with near-modern pCO2 values) may have on climate.

The significance of the comparison to the Mid-Miocene can be found here.

And in the same issue, there is a new study of Greenland's glacial loss that is best summed up in a small report in Nature:

An international team led by Michiel van den Broeke at Utrecht University in the Netherlands gauged the rate at which the Greenland ice sheet is shrinking based firstly on observations of ice movement, melting and snowfall. They then compared these results with remote gravity measurements made by a pair of US–German satellites known as GRACE (the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment). They found that, on average, the ice sheet lost a total of about 1500 gigatons of mass between 2000 and 2008, equivalent to about 0.46 millimetres of global sea level rise per year.

But never mind the scientific facts. Scientists, themselves, are now under attack by those increasingly desperate to dangerously and dishonestly undermine any political will to use those facts to formulate sane policy. And unless you think Mid-Miocene extinction levels were a good thing, the stakes could not be higher.

Turkana :: 11:06 AM :: Comments (25) :: Digg It!