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IPCC’s Odd Approach to “Assessing” the Literature

March 15, 2010

Chip Knappenberger has a fantastic post in which he goes through the paper trail to document just how poorly the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) misrepresented the state of the peer-reviewed literature on the subject of Antarctic sea ice. Here’s the intro:

As I document below, [Working Group I of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report] did a poor job in regard to Antarctic sea ice trends. Somehow, the IPCC specialists assessed away a plethora of evidence showing that the sea ice around Antarctica has been significantly increasing—a behavior that runs counter to climate model projections of sea ice declines—and instead documented only a slight, statistically insignificant rise.

How did this happen? The evidence suggests that IPCC authors were either being territorial in defending and promoting their own work in lieu of other equally legitimate (and ultimately more correct) findings, were being guided by IPCC brass to produce a specific IPCC point-of-view, or both.

I have done a fair bit of research on climate models, and I will attest that Chip’s post is the single worst smoking gun I have seen on the question of whether the IPCC process really represents the “consensus” of practicing scientists. Sure, we’ve all seen the Climategate emails, but the defenders of the orthodoxy can always say that you need more than an awkward phrase in an email to throw out the peer-reviewed models. OK fine, check out Chip’s post.

One last thing: If you are going to read the post, for maximum effect I strongly urge you to read the whole thing from start to finish. There are several different points that Chip makes, and his case gets stronger and stronger. By the end, your jaw may drop when you see just what the IPCC people did on this particular section of the report.

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