Spiegel Slams Sorrowful State Of Climate Science Communication! “Reports Hardly Trustworthy” …”Arrogant Scientists”

Spiegel science journalist Axel Bojanowski here writes a harsh but well-deserved analysis of the heated debate now raging in climate science.

One thing that we can gather from his analysis is that consensus is totally absent, and that it is very difficult to trust any report on climate science nowadays. He writes in the sub-headline:

Reports on climate science are hardly trustworthy, analyses show. The reason is biased journalists, hyping politicians and arrogant scientists.”

Bojanowski writes that too often the huge uncertainty in the science rarely ever gets properly mentioned, criticizing for example the UN IPCC 2007 claim that hurricanes were in fact growing in intensity. Today of course know we know this is false as there hasn’t been a single major hurricane strike in the US since. (See EPA report)

Distorted communication

Spiegel’s Bojanowski describes a smoke-and-mirrors environment within climate science and its communication. He writes climate scientists today have a “communication problem“, stemming in large part from “uncertainties and knowledge gaps“. The Spiegel journalist feels “their results all too often remain buried“. Citing a recent SAGE article on climate science communication, Bojanowski tells his readers that the authors of reports often present “results coming from climate science in a troublesome way“.

Bojanowski, a geology major, also examines the main purveyors of public climate science knowledge (from a German perspective), arranging them from the extreme downplayers of the issue, all the way to the extreme alarmists: European Institute for Climate and Energy (EIKE), WattsUpWithThat by Anthony Watts, Klimazwiebel by Hans von Storch, Real Climate, The Guardian, and German ultra-alarmist site Klimaretter.

Opinions aside, if anything can be said of his ranking it is that the alarmists in fact do not represent the often claimed overwhelming majority and that in fact a broad spectrum of different positions on the science truly exists – just as one should if the science is to progress and not morph into some sort of unchallengeable dogma.

Bojanowski accuses both sides of distorting the results of science. For example he claims that especially in the USA so-called skeptics (see chart) distort science results in order to label the warnings from climate science as being “exaggerated” .

Uncertainty needs to be highlighted

Spiegel also looks at the efforts being made to improve the communication of climate science, but hints that these efforts are probably making the situation worse. He looks for example at the attempts by Stephan Lewandosky, which were aimed at schooling scientists on reporting their results to produce more pronounced reactions among readers. For example Lewandosky recommends the use of words like “risk” instead of “uncertainty”.  Bojanowski cites a study by Gregory Hollin and Warren Pearce, who conclude that scientists must do a better job at emphasizing the large uncertainties that plague the science.

“Arrogance”, and “imaginary consensus”

The Spiegel journalist also sharply criticizes the IPCC’s introduction of the Summary Report in Stockholm in 2013. “Critical questions by journalists back then were unjustly rebuffed and inadequately answered.”  He then characterizes the IPCC’s  Michel Jarraud handling of an inconvenient question on the global temperature pause by a British reporter as “arrogant”.

Bojanowski writes that journalists seem to cling to the false notion of consensus: “In many reports the journalists seem to cite imaginary consensus.” He brings up a survey of 1868 climate scientists that found no consensus at all among them.

Bojanowski also thinks that US secretary of State John Kerry appears to confuse climate science hypotheses with real prognoses, and adds that although the politicians may have good intentions, they too are doing as poor job communicating the science.

Journal of Science’s McNutt blasted

Bojanowski also shines a harsh light on the chief editor at Science, Marcia McNutt, who is demanding an immediate end to the discussion and that the world take action. Bojanowski responds by bringing up former Obama science advisor Steven Koonin, who rebuked McNutt’s position in an essay in the Wall Street Journal.

Probably the main underlying message of Bojanowski piece at Spiegel is that the science is indeed still very fraught with large uncertainty, and that this uncertainty all too often gets wrongly dismissed. Also it is far too early to make specific policy decisions based on the very little that we do know about climate science. Also one gathers that arrogant scientists who fancy themselves as the bearers of the truth should not be the only ones politicians listen too.

 

36 responses to “Spiegel Slams Sorrowful State Of Climate Science Communication! “Reports Hardly Trustworthy” …”Arrogant Scientists””

  1. DirkH

    Well I guess that’s it then. When erstwhile 100% warmunism aligned media break the ranks , the total replacement of the world economy by a centrally controlled warmunist one has failed. For the IPCC believers this means its over. They won’t be able to stop the dreaded total destruction of life on the planet.

    So, give it up, warmunists. Spend all your money on cheap booze and gasoline. You’ve lost. the media front has collapsed.

    1. sod

      “When erstwhile 100% warmunism aligned media break the ranks , the total replacement of the world economy by a centrally controlled warmunist one has failed.”

      You just have not looked close enough. Spiegel was publishing utterly moronic “sceptic” climate stuff already in the past.

      a main example was the “luxury electricity” title:

      http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/print/d-110117767.html

  2. sod

    “Opinions aside, if anything can be said of his ranking it is that the alarmists in fact do not represent the often claimed overwhelming majority”

    NO!

    I am still really shocked, that a graph like that would be published by Spiegel.

    a line with 7 categories and a blog/paper name added to each of those is pure fabrication and tells us absolutely nothing about the real situation.

    You would need numbers of relevant scientists added to the categories, to get any meaningful result. And the very moment you do that, you will notice that the “neutral” middle was placed at a completely false position (it should be, were the majority of scientists is)

    The labeling of the graph (beschwichtigend vs. alarmismus) is plain out horrible.

    1. yonason

      The graph appears to be contrasting degrees of Alarmism with degrees of skepticism, with blogs selected for what the author deems as representative of degrees within those positions, presumably for information purposes and nothing more. So I don’t see your problem.

      1. sod

        “The graph appears to be contrasting degrees of Alarmism with degrees of skepticism,”

        The graph is labeled “who is informing about uncertainties about climate change”

        The problem is, that Bojanowski just chose a middle “neutral” point and also labeled the ends in a partisan way (“alarmism” is very negative).

        We would want scientists to declare a neutral point. The guardian is of course informing its readers over uncertainties in climate change, as is real climate. So we move the neutral point between those two and change the labels and we get a completely different picture.

        1. yonason

          OK. If you’re saying that the extremes reflect Bojanowski’s bias, that’s another way of saying what I got out of it. And, yeah, the “neutral” was conspicuously unlabeled. It would be nice to know what A.B. thought was neutral.

          1. sod

            “It would be nice to know what A.B. thought was neutral.”

            I am totally uninterested, in what Bojanowski thinks is neutral. I also do not ask my local newspaper reporter, if i should get heart surgery and how to do the operation.

            Instead, i would ask somebody, who knows something about the subject. That is scientists. and most of them will fall from their chair laughing or crying, if “Eike” or “Wuwt” was supposed to them as a source of criticism on climate change reporting.

          2. DirkH

            sod 16. September 2015 at 4:32 PM | Permalink
            “Instead, i would ask somebody, who knows something about the subject. That is scientists. and most of them will fall from their chair laughing or crying, if “Eike” or “Wuwt” was supposed to them as a source of criticism on climate change reporting.”

            Well – only that warmunist modelers are C-rated impostors, not scientists. Otherwise they would not pontificate about catastrophies 2000 years from now as the PIK just did. So, would you ask a C-rated doctor impostor for a diagnosis?

            I know *you* would.

          3. DirkH

            To wit: The warmunist modelers including Hans von Storch tried to declare their science to be postnormal, as defined by the deluded communist Jerome Ravetz. Who lives under the delusion that NORMAL science (according to Kuhn’s classification) cannot assess RISK.
            Which means that he’s never heard of probability theory or statistics.

          4. sod

            Klimalügendetektor has a reply and is showing some basic errors in the Bojanowski piece.

            Basically he is making the exact errors, that he is accusing people of. So when we look at his sources we see, that people there actually DO talk in probabilities and highlight uncertainties.

            http://www.klima-luegendetektor.de/2015/09/08/axel-bojanowski-wissensluecke-bei-spiegel-online/

        2. DirkH

          sod 13. September 2015 at 1:21 PM | Permalink | Reply
          “We would want scientists to declare a neutral point. The guardian is of course informing its readers over uncertainties in climate change, as is real climate.”

          If they did so, they would tell their readers that any prognosis beyond 10 days is impossible.

          So all the Leftist Zombies would have to find another pseudoproblem to rally around.

          1. sod

            “If they did so, they would tell their readers that any prognosis beyond 10 days is impossible.”

            you do not know the difference between weather and climate.

            I can tell you now, that next summer will be warmer than this winter. Please learn the basic facts before making comments on complicated stuff!

            For example Bojanowski wrote another piece about what happens when all oil and coal is burned.

            http://www.spiegel.de/wissenschaft/natur/treibhausgase-koennten-antarktis-komplett-abschmelzen-lassen-a-1051234.html

            That should be read by everyone here (“CO2 is plant food”…)

          2. DirkH

            sod 17. September 2015 at 12:05 PM | Permalink
            “you do not know the difference between weather and climate.”

            Of course I do. Climate is the 30 year moving average of weather – i.e. a lowpassed part of the spectrum of the weather signal.
            And as there is constant shifting of energy between low and high frequencies in a nonlinear system, a climate simulation must necessarily be a weather simulation.

            You though seem to have difficulties understanding this. Maybe a lack of knowledge of nonlinear and specifically chaotic systems, despite your excellent mathematical education that allegedly surpasses even the average redneck hick.

          3. DirkH

            The total incapability of the warmunist fanboy to grasp the information theoretical SIMPLE dependencies of ANY simulation show that warmunism is just a new version of the Jonestown cult or any other apocalyptic cult in mankinds history.
            Google The Laws Of Stupidity.

          4. DirkH

            And don’t get me started on warmunist high calibres taking 25 DIFFERENTLY PARAMETERIZED versions of their model runs and averaging them into an ENSEMBLE! It makes you question whether they can hit a urinal without an assistant helping them aim.

  3. Colorado Wellington

    I understand that even arrogant PC media is loath to insult its readership but there is one more party to blame for the sorry state of climate science communication: Innumerate and scientifically illiterate public.

    Nature abhors vacuum. Mushy heads beg to be filled with more mush and unscrupulous operators are happy to oblige, especially if the governments pay them to do it.

  4. Walter H. Schneider

    The subtitle of the article, ‘Berichten über Klimaforschung ist kaum zu trauen, wie Analysen zeigen. Grund sind voreingenommene Journalisten, übertreibende Politiker und arrogante Forscher. Eine neue Strategie soll das ändern,’ makes the promise that a new strategy will restore trust in climate science.

    It is not at all clear where exactly Axel Bojanowski delivered on that promise. The “new strategy” is neither explained nor outlined. Given that failure, it is of course not at all surprising that the article does not describe what comprises the announced changes that the ‘new strategy’ is supposed to bring about.

  5. Paul Vaughan

    The American climate skeptic blogs have markedly diverged in beliefs from the international climate skeptic blogs, particularly on the topic of sun-climate relations where the American blogs transparently and very offensively push narratives that are decisively inconsistent with observations of nature.

    This isn’t an issue from which sensible members of the international climate skeptic community should shy away.

    Two of the more visible American climate skeptic blogs would need stern correction to be brought in line with sun-climate observations. Uncorrected they have a problem securing trust.

    1. yonason

      A few examples to illustrate what you are asserting would be helpful.

  6. nightspore

    I haven’t kept up to date on the editorship of Science, but I can still remember when Philip Abelson ran the ship – what a difference that was from the present (Mc)nutter. We really need to understand how someone like this could attain such a position. (Maybe sod can tell us.)

    1. Fred Harwood

      Abelson was the last of the best.

  7. Mike Spilligan

    A further problem can be created when any of the three groups compound their statements. For example, Lewandowsky may prefer scientists to use “risk” instead of “uncertainty” but a journalist may further interpret “risk” as “potential danger”.

  8. MikeW

    Climate “science” has been corrupted to the point that it is more correctly labeled “climate studies”. At universities, the climate studies department has much in common with the black studies and women’s studies departments.

  9. Rick W

    Syukuro Manabe is the climate scientists hero. All climate models owe there genesis to his work. He recently presented the 2015 Michio Yanai Distinguished lecture at UCLA. This link covers his presentation:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wy7Qyp8AlkI

    Listen to what he states about non radiative atmospheres at 20:40 minutes in. You realise he has little or no understanding of thermodynamics. That goes to the root of the problem with climate models. The basic physics is WRONG. For all their complexity they are nothing more than extrapolations of a warming trend between 1970 and 1990 correlated to increasing CO2.

    If Manabe had a basic understanding of thermodynamics there may not have been an AGW debate.

    At the 27 minute mark he is showing how dramatically increasing CO2 will cool the stratosphere. Sensitivity in the graph is about 2C per 50ppm. I looked at empirical evidence to support this prediction. This is the comparison I found:
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/temperature/archive/01mb2525_1986.gif
    http://www.cpc.ncep.noaa.gov/products/stratosphere/temperature/archive/01mb2525_2014.gif
    In this comparison the CO2 level from 1986 to 2014 has increased by 50ppm while the stratospheric temperature was colder in 1986 than 2014. The model prediction is demonstrably WRONG.

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  12. harkin

    The only version I can find is the german. Can anyone link to the English?

    1. yonason
  13. yonason

    The first paragraph about Katrina deserves a reference to actual facts, since D.S. supplies none, one way or the other. The following is about the best reference I have found on the topic.
    http://images.popularmechanics.com/science/environment/natural-disasters/2315076

  14. yonason

    OK, just one more (sorry)

    Why are they mentioning Lewandowsky? He’s the idiot who wrote that denial of AGW is akin to denial of the moon landing, not realizing that astronauts who went to the moon are among the foremost AGW deniers.
    http://www.populartechnology.net/2010/06/nasa-astronauts-skeptical-of-man-made.html
    He has no place in the debate, and for D.S. to give him a voice tells me they probably don’t really know what they are talking about, even if they are saying some things I might otherwise agree with.

    1. yonason

      Forgot to include this link to Lewandowsky’s lunacy
      http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/03/25/0956797612457686.abstract

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