26 November 2009

The Copenhagen Diagnosis

Posted by Dave Petley

As a rule on this blog I try not to drift too far off-topic. Occasionally I will track a hurricane or a typhoon if there is the potential for them to trigger lots of slides. I never stray into the political domain on this blog – and I hope that I never will.

So, today for the probably the first time, I am going to drift into a different field. I am going to remain strictly within the science, but I am going to highlight a key document that is now available. Ahead of the Copenhagen climate discussions a group of key climatologists have released “The Copenhagen Diagnosis“, which is an update to the most recent IPCC report on climate change.

Now, over the last week or so there has been some extraordinary garbage on both the internet and in the mainstream media in relation to the stolen emails and files from the University of East Anglia. I am appalled at the way in which comments within those emails have been manipulated and misrepresented, even by some who should know better, to undermine climate science. Meanwhile the physics of the atmosphere continues as before, and our knowledge of how it is behaving is unchanged, and the picture is not a good one. The strength of the Climate Diagnosis report is the fact that it relies upon good quality observational data. And lets be clear about what the data show:

  • Greenhouse gas emissions are increasing;
  • The climate is continuing to warm (and despite the guff that the denialists spout, tenperatures have increased over the last decade);
  • Sea level is rising at the top end of the previous estimates;
  • Arctice sea ice decline has accelerated

So why have I drifted into featuring climate science on this blog? Well, for two reasons. First, the denialists continue to peddle the myth that there is no consensus. This is not my experience, and so I think it is time for the silent majority of environmental scientists to stand up and be counted. Second, the CRU / Hadley Centre email hack was clearly designed to derail the science of climate ahead of Copenhagen. This is an outrageous attack on science and scientists that we should all oppose.

The document can be downloaded here. Please read it and try to understand what it is saying. This is so very, very important.