Dr. James Hansen speaks on reticence within the climate-science community

“Reticence is fine for the IPCC. And individual scientists can
choose to stay within a comfort zone, not needing to worry
that they say something that proves to be slightly wrong. But
perhaps we should also consider our legacy from a broader
perspective. Do we not know enough to say more?”

“Almost four decades ago Eipper (1970), in a section of his
paper titled ‘The Scientist’s Role’, provided cogent advice and
wisdom about the responsibility of scientists to warn the public
about the potential consequences of human activities. Eipper
recognized sources of scientific reticence, but he concluded
that scientists should not shrink from exercising their rights as
citizens and responsibilities as scientists.”

Environ. Res. Lett. 2 (2007) 024002 (6pp) doi:10.1088/1748-9326/2/2/024002

Scientific reticence and sea level rise
J E Hansen
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, 2880
Broadway, New York, NY 10025, USA

Received 23 March 2007
Accepted for publication 3 May 2007
Published 24 May 2007
Online at stacks.iop.org/ERL/2/024002

I suggest that a ‘scientific reticence’ is
inhibiting the communication of a threat of a
potentially large sea level rise. Delay is dangerous because
of system inertias that could create a situation
with future sea level changes out of our control.
I argue for calling together a panel of scientific
leaders to hear evidence and issue a prompt
plain-written report on current understanding of
the sea level change issue.

Continue reading

U.S. Climate Policy a “Disgrace!”

“In countries like Burundi, you can hold children who are starving and
dying because of weather changes that many experts believe are driven
by our carbon emissions.”

“Not only is the U.S. not leading on climate change, we’re holding
others back,” said Jessica Bailey, who works on climate issues for
the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. “We’re inhibiting progress on climate
change globally.”

” … that’s our national policy toward climate change, and it’s a disgrace.”

The New York Times
August 16, 2007

The Big Melt


If we learned that Al Qaeda was secretly developing a new terrorist
technique that could disrupt water supplies around the globe, force
tens of millions from their homes and potentially endanger our entire
planet, we would be aroused into a frenzy and deploy every possible
asset to neutralize the threat. Continue reading

New historic sea ice minimum

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Today, the Northern Hemisphere sea ice area broke the record for the lowest recorded ice area in recorded history. The new record came a full month before the historic summer minimum typically occurs. There is still a month or more of melt likely this year. It is therefore almost certain that the previous 2005 record will be annihilated by the final 2007 annual minima closer to the end of this summer.

In previous record sea ice minima years, ice area anomalies were confined to certain sectors (N. Atlantic, Beaufort/Bering Sea, etc). The character of 2007’s sea ice melt is unique in that it is dramatic and covers the entire Arctic sector. Atlantic, Pacific and even the central Arctic sectors are showing large negative sea ice area anomalies.

While we use sea ice concentration data supplied by NASA via the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), there are some differencesbetween the way we and NSIDC process our sea ice indices. NSIDC uses 10-day running means; we use 3-day running means. NSIDC will often report sea ice extent indices and records, we are reporting a new sea ice minima sea ice area. The ice area metric includes year-to-year variations within the central pack ice and not just variations in the southern sea ice edge. Regardless of these differences, the rapid rate of sea ice melt this summer, along with the current negative sea ice anomalies almost guarantees a record Northern Hemisphere summer sea ice minimum this summer, by any metric.

Follow this link for some background information on historic sea ice minima.