[Coral-List] global warming / an inconvenient truth

Alexandra Barron alexandra.barron at banyantree.com
Tue Nov 21 23:09:00 EST 2006

Thanks Simon. 

So, the study has been criticised but no-one has yet replicated using
the alternative search criteria, to test if that is indeed the case?
Exactly how much peer-reviewed literature is out there from the
'skeptic' scientists?


-----Original Message-----
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
[mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of Simon D
Sent: 22 November 2006 00:40
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] global warming / an inconvenient truth

The point in "An Inconvenient Truth" about the extent of agreement among
scientists about climate change came from a 2004 study in Science
(http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686) by Naomi
Oreskes at UC-San Diego.  That study examined all the peer-reviewed
scientific journal articles between 1993 and 2003 in which the abstract
contained the phrase "global climate change". The search was conducted
using the Web of Science, a popular search engine used by scientists for
surveying the popular literature. Of the 928 papers found, none were
skeptical of the notion that "most of the observed warming of the last
50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas
concentrations" (the quote is from the summary of the 2001 IPCC report).

The non-scientists skeptical of the climate change have criticized the
study arguing the results are biased by the search terms. If you change
the search terms, for example use just "climate change", and you will
find some papers examining previous climate changes in the geological
past that may be skeptical about the extent of the human role in today's
changing climate. But the general thesis of the Science paper - that
there is strong agreement in the peer-reviewed scientific literature on
the evidence for the role of greenhouse gas emissions in recent and
projected climate change - is still valid. This back-and-forth on the
Coral-List reflects the disagreement that has arisen in the public
sphere, not in the scientific literature. 


Simon Donner, PhD
Woodrow Wilson School 
Princeton University 

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