IPCC report big yet errors few

RealClimate has lengthy post, in response to hooha over errors being found in IPCC's latest report, which have been bandied about together with exerpts of the "Climategate" emails. Gives insight into workings of IPCC, as well as looking at errors, other areas for concern, and overall validity of the report - the latter, of course, being overlooked by those who are exploiting and exaggerating importance of the errors.


[quote]Assessment reports are published every six or seven years and writing them takes about three years. Each working group publishes one of the three volumes of each assessment. The focus of the recent allegations is the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), which was published in 2007.  Its three volumes are almost a thousand pages each, in small print. They were written by over 450 lead authors and 800 contributing authors; most were not previous IPCC authors.

As far as we’re aware, so far only one–or at most two–legitimate errors have been found in the AR4:

Himalayan glaciers: In a regional chapter on Asia in Volume 2, written by authors from the region, it was erroneously stated that 80% of Himalayan glacier area would very likely be gone by 2035. This is of course not the proper IPCC projection of future glacier decline, which is found in Volume 1 of the report.
Sea level in the Netherlands: The WG2 report states that “The Netherlands is an example of a country highly susceptible to both sea-level rise and river flooding because 55% of its territory is below sea level”. This sentence was provided by a Dutch government agency – the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, which has now published a correction stating that the sentence should have read “55 per cent of the Netherlands is at risk of flooding; 26 per cent of the country is below sea level, and 29 per cent is susceptible to river flooding”.

Overall then, the IPCC assessment reports reflect the state of scientific knowledge very well. There have been a few isolated errors, and these have been acknowledged and corrected. What is seriously amiss is something else: the public perception of the IPCC, and of climate science in general, has been massively distorted by the recent media storm. All of these various “gates” – Climategate, Amazongate, Seagate, Africagate, etc., do not represent scandals of the IPCC or of climate science. Rather, they are the embarrassing battle-cries of a media scandal, in which a few journalists have misled the public with grossly overblown or entirely fabricated pseudogates, and many others have naively and willingly followed along without seeing through the scam.[/quote]

IPCC errors: facts and spin

- as at least one of comments says, maybe idealistic to think that the media will clear up this mess; esp when too many journalists not well informed, editors looking for stories about conflict etc. Seems to me media often relies a lot on being spoon-fed information, in form of easily digested press releases including soundbites - hence my referring to this site as "PR for the Planet": the science itself is not sufficient, as PR is also vital.


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