14 November 2008

What the Mail Brought Today

Posted by Dan Satterfield

I had two interesting letters in my mail today. One in the snail mail (Yea it is still around, much to my surprise!). The other in my email.

The email brought news of an embargoes story that I can now tell you about. Astronomers have taken the first real pictures of planets orbiting another star! This news is already online at the BBC and even the normally science deficient main stream USA media has it. I do have a pretty good picture that I am posting. This one is better than what I have seen online today.

If you are thinking that this is old news, that other planets have been known for awhile, you are right.

Before now, scientists inferred extrasolar planets by the wobbles in the star or a slight dimming, as a huge planet passed in front of it. This time, we have a photo. It was made by subtracting one wavelength from another. A technique used in satellite meteorology, so I am a little familiar with it. (See GOES Fog Product).

The other  snail mail letter was from the Heritage foundation. They are a huge, and wealthy conservative think tank. It seems that they have mailed hundreds of TV station science reporters, and Meteorologists a handy little booklet of the top 100 experts on Global Warming who are considered skeptics. They sure wasted the postage on the one to me!

So who are these experts? The same old people I constantly hear about. It seems that they actually had quite a bit of trouble getting 100 in a list. I rather doubt that the communication director to Sen. Inhofe of Oklahoma is a scientific expert on climate change. Nor the policy director for the CATO institute. Another conservative think tank.

Actually, almost NONE of the people listed in this little booklet have any recent publications about climate in a peer reviewed journal. Those that do have very little, and what they have has been shown to be faulty by numerous other papers. There are a couple of people listed who are real climate scientists, and they do have papers in peer reviewed journals. That is 2, or three – not 100. 

Compare that to the thousands of scientists, who continue to say, that we are facing an extremely serious planetary wide problem.

So why are they doing this? They want to continue to sow doubt. If they can get one of these skeptics added into a news story on Climate Change, then the public will continue to think that science is divided on the issue.


If there is doubt, there will be no action on climate. They do not want to do anything but delay. They have been very successful. So much so that some climate scientists refuse to deal with the media anymore because their words will be twisted by this cadre of 50-60 people who get way more attention from the media than they deserve.


Here is a good article from the International Herald Tribune last August. It is well written and makes the point better than I can.

I have said it before and I will say it again. If you read where some “expert” says climate change is a hoax, ask yourself if the person making the statement has, and is, publishing papers on the subject in peer reviewed journals. If not, then they are giving you political opinion, not science.

Out of thousands, and thousands of scientists around the world, they could not even find 100 that disagreed. I think the Heritage institute made my point for me.