View Full Version : More on the multitude of Goremon lies ...

03-02-2010, 01:19 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">Private industry and governments around the world have spent trillions of dollars in the name of saving our planet from manmade global warming. Academic institutions, think tanks and schools have altered their curricula and agenda to accommodate what was seen as the global warming "consensus."

Mounting evidence suggests that claims of manmade global warming might turn out to be the greatest hoax in mankind's history. Immune and hostile to the evidence, President Barack Obama's administration and most of the U.S. Congress sides with Climate Czar Carol Browner, who says, "I'm sticking with the 2,500 scientists. These people have been studying this issue for a very long time and agree this problem is real."

The scientists whom Browner references are associated with the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Let's look some of what they told us. The 2007 IPCC report, which won them a Nobel Peace Prize, said that the probability of Himalayan glaciers "disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high" as a result of manmade global warming. Recently, IPCC was forced to retract their glacier disappearance claim, which was made on the basis of a non-scientific magazine article. When critics initially questioned the prediction, Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC's chairman, dismissed them as "voodoo scientists."

The IPCC also had to retract its claim that up to 40 percent of the Amazonian forests were at risk from global warming and would likely be replaced by "tropical savannas" if temperatures continued to rise. The IPCC claim was based on a paper co-authored by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), two environmental activist groups.

England's now-disgraced University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit (CRU) has been a leader in climate research data. Their data, collected and analyzed by them, have been used for years to bolster IPCC efforts to press governments to cut carbon dioxide emissions. Climatologists, including CRU's disgraced former director Professor Phil Jones, have been accused of manipulating data and criminally withholding scientific information to prevent its disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act.

Professor Jones, considered to be the high priest of the manmade global warming movement, has been in the spotlight since he was forced to step down as CRU's director after the leaking of e-mails that skeptics claim show scientists were manipulating data. In a recent interview with the BBC, he admitted that he did not believe that "the debate on climate change is over" and that he didn't "believe the vast majority of climate scientists think this."

Long denied by the warmers, Professor Jones admitted that the Medieval Warm Period (800 A.D. to 1300 A.D.) might well had been as warm as the Current Warm Period (1975-present), or warmer, and that if it was, "then obviously the late-20th century warmth would not be unprecedented." That suggests global warming may not be a manmade phenomenon. In any case, Professor Jones said that for the past 15 years, there has been no "statistically significant" global warming.

During the BBC interview, Professor Jones dodged several questions: why he had asked a colleague to delete e-mails relating to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report and ask others to do likewise; whether some of his handling of data had crossed the line of acceptable scientific practice; and what about his letter saying that he had used a "trick" to "hide the decline" in tree-ring temperature data?

Given all the false claims and evidence pointing to scientific fraud, I don't think it wise to continue spending billions of dollars and enacting economically crippling regulations in the name of fighting global warming. At the minimum, we should stop the Environmental Protection Agency from going on with their plans to regulate carbon emissions. Companies should resign from the United States Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a lobbying group of businesses and radical environmentalists. Dr. Tom Borelli, who is director of the National Center for Public Policy Research's Free Enterprise Project, says that BP, Caterpillar, Conoco Phillips, Marsh, Inc. and Xerox had the common sense to do so already.</div></div>
&gt;&gt;&gt;OH MY&lt;&lt;&lt; (http://townhall.com/columnists/WalterEWilliams/2010/02/24/global_warming_update)


03-02-2010, 04:26 PM
Looks like Dr Lal iz a silly prikk. madMac.

.........Dr Lal’s admission will only add to the mounting furore over the melting glaciers assertion, which the IPCC was last week forced to withdraw because it has no scientific foundation.
According to the IPCC’s statement of principles, its role is ‘to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis, scientific, technical and socio-economic information – IPCC reports should be neutral with respect to policy’.
The claim that Himalayan glaciers are set to disappear by 2035 rests on two 1999 magazine interviews with glaciologist Syed Hasnain, which were then recycled without any further investigation in a 2005 report by the environmental campaign group WWF.
It was this report that Dr Lal and his team cited as their source.
The WWF article also contained a basic error in its arithmetic. A claim that one glacier was retreating at the alarming rate of 134 metres a year should in fact have said 23 metres – the authors had divided the total loss measured over 121 years by 21, not 121.
Last Friday, the WWF website posted a humiliating statement recognising the claim as ‘unsound’, and saying it ‘regrets any confusion caused’.
Dr Lal said: ‘We knew the WWF report with the 2035 date was “grey literature” [material not published in a peer-reviewed journal]. But it was never picked up by any of the authors in our working group, nor by any of the more than 500 external reviewers, by the governments to which it was sent, or by the final IPCC review editors.’
In fact, the 2035 melting date seems to have been plucked from thin air.
Professor Graham Cogley, a glacier expert at Trent University in Canada, who began to raise doubts in scientific circles last year, said the claim multiplies the rate at which glaciers have been seen to melt by a factor of about 25.
‘My educated guess is that there will be somewhat less ice in 2035 than there is now,’ he said.
Forced to apologise: Chairman of the IPCC Raj Pachauri
‘But there is no way the glaciers will be close to disappearing. It doesn’t seem to me that exaggerating the problem’s seriousness is going to help solve it.’
One of the problems bedevilling Himalayan glacier research is a lack of reliable data. But an authoritative report published last November by the Indian government said: ‘Himalayan glaciers have not in any way exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat.’
When this report was issued, Raj Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, denounced it as ‘voodoo science’.
Having been forced to apologise over the 2035 claim, Dr Pachauri blamed Dr Lal, saying his team had failed to apply IPCC procedures.
It was an accusation rebutted angrily by Dr Lal. ‘We as authors followed them to the letter,’ he said. ‘Had we received information that undermined the claim, we would have included it.’
However, an analysis of those 500-plus formal review comments, to be published tomorrow by the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the new body founded by former Chancellor Nigel Lawson, suggests that when reviewers did raise issues that called the claim into question, Dr Lal and his colleagues simply ignored them.
For example, Hayley Fowler of Newcastle University, suggested that their draft did not mention that Himalayan glaciers in the Karakoram range are growing rapidly, citing a paper published in the influential journal Nature.
In their response, the IPCC authors said, bizarrely, that they were ‘unable to get hold of the suggested references’, but would ‘consider’ this in their final version. They failed to do so.
The Japanese government commented that the draft did not clarify what it meant by stating that the likelihood of the glaciers disappearing by 2035 was ‘very high’. ‘What is the confidence level?’ it asked.
The authors’ response said ‘appropriate revisions and editing made’. But the final version was identical to their draft.
Last week, Professor Georg Kaser, a glacier expert from Austria, who was lead author of a different chapter in the IPCC report, said when he became aware of the 2035 claim a few months before the report was published, he wrote to Dr Lal, urging him to withdraw it as patently untrue.
Dr Lal claimed he never received this letter. ‘He didn’t contact me or any of the other authors of the chapter,’ he said.
The damage to the IPCC’s reputation, already tarnished by last year’s ‘Warmergate’ leaked email scandal, is likely to be considerable.
Benny Peiser, the GWPF’s director, said the affair suggested the IPCC review process was ‘skewed by a bias towards alarmist assessments’.
Environmentalist Alton Byers said the panel’s credibility had been damaged. ‘They’ve done sloppy work,’ he said. ‘We need better research on the ground, not unreliable predictions derived from computer models.’
Last night, Dr Pachauri defended the IPCC, saying it was wrong to generalise based on a single mistake. ‘Our procedure is robust,’ he added.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-...l#ixzz0h3pDKA9n (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1245636/Glacier-scientists-says-knew-data-verified.html#ixzz0h3pDKA9n)

03-02-2010, 04:31 PM
The IPCC's 2035 prediction about Himalayan glaciers
The IPCC Fourth Assessment Report contains a mistake. This is not the first inaccuracy to be found in the AR4 - there have been several papers demonstrating where IPCC predictions have underestimated the climate response to CO2 emissions. However, this time the climate response has been overestimated. Specifically, the IPCC AR4 predicted the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 which is decidedly not the case. What's the significance of this error? To determine this, let's look at how it happened and the broader context.

The error occurs in Section 10.6.2: The Himalayan glaciers of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report:

"Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the likelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high if the Earth keeps warming at the current rate. Its total area will likely shrink from the present 500,000 to 100,000 km2 by the year 2035 (WWF, 2005)."
The source for this information was "An Overview of Glaciers, Glacier Retreat, and Subsequent Impacts in Nepal, India and China", a 2005 report by the World Wildlife Fund. The WWF report was not peer reviewed. On Page 25, we find:

"In 1999, a report by the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology (WGHG) of the International Commission for Snow and Ice (ICSI) stated: “glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world and, if the present rate continues, the livelihood of them disappearing by the year 2035 is very high”. Direct observation of a select few snout positions out of the thousands of Himalayan glaciers indicate that they have been in a general state of decline over, at least, the past 150 years. The prediction that “glaciers in the region will vanish within 40 years as a result of global warming” and that the flow of Himalayan rivers will “eventually diminish, resulting in widespread water shortages” (New Scientist 1999; 1999, 2003) is equally disturbing."
The WWF sourced their information from a 1999 news item in New Scientist. Again this was not peer reviewed (New Scientist is a popular science magazine). The article was based on an interview with Indian scientist Syed Hasnain, chair of the Working Group on Himalayan Glaciology, who speculated that Himalayan glaciers might disappear by 2035. This speculation was not supported by any formal research.

Unfortunately, the error was not spotted in the review process. This may be because it was buried deep in the Working Group II section (which focuses on Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability with a regional emphasis). It was not one of the key features included in the Technical Summary, the Summary for Policymakers or the Synthesis Report. The 2035 prediction was not included in the Working Group I section (focusing on the Physical Science with more of a global emphasis) which was solidly based on peer reviewed research.

The moral of the story seems clear - stick to the peer reviewed scientific literature. This is not to say peer review is infallible. But as a source for climate science, there is no higher standard than rigorous research based on empirical data, conducted by scientific experts and reviewed by other experts in the field.

This leads to an important question: what does the peer reviewed science say about Himalayan glaciers? The ice mass over the Himalayas is the third-largest on earth, after the Arctic/Greenland and Antarctic regions (Barnett 2005). There are approximately 15,000 glaciers in the Himalayas. Each summer, these glaciers release meltwater into the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra Rivers. Approximately 500 million people depend upon water from these three rivers (Kehrwald 2008). In China, 23% of the population lives in the western regions, where glacial melt is the principal water source during dry season (Barnett 2005).

On-site measurement of glacier terminus position and ice core records have found many glaciers on the south slope of the central Himalaya have been retreating at an accelerating rate (Ren 2006). Similarly, ice cores amd accumulation stakes on the Naimona'nyi Glacier have observed it's losing mass, a surprising result due to its high altitude (it is now the highest glacier in the world losing mass) (Kehrwald 2008).

While on-site measurements cover only a small range of the Himalayas, broader coverage is achieved through remote sensing satellites and Geographic Information System methods. They've found that over 80% of glaciers in western China have retreated in the past 50 years, losing 4.5% of their combined areal coverage (Ding 2006). This retreat is accelerating across much of the Tibetan plateau (Yao 2007).

The IPCC error on the 2035 prediction was unfortunate and it's important that such mistakes are avoided in future publications through more rigorous review. But the central message of the Synthesis Report, the concluding document of the IPCC AR4, is confirmed by the peer reviewed literature. The Himalayan glaciers are of vital importance to half a billion people. Most of this crucial resource is disappearing at an accelerating rate.

03-02-2010, 04:38 PM
Glaciologists are this week arguing over how a highly contentious claim about the speed at which glaciers are melting came to be included in the latest report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In 1999 New Scientist reported a comment by the leading Indian glaciologist Syed Hasnain, who said in an email interview with this author that all the glaciers in the central and eastern Himalayas could disappear by 2035.

Hasnain, of Jawaharlal Nehru University in Delhi, who was then chairman of the International Commission on Snow and Ice's working group on Himalayan glaciology, has never repeated the prediction in a peer-reviewed journal. He now says the comment was "speculative".

Despite the 10-year-old New Scientist report being the only source, the claim found its way into the IPCC fourth assessment report published in 2007. Moreover the claim was extrapolated to include all glaciers in the Himalayas.

High probability
Chapter 10 of the report says: "Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world."

The inclusion of this statement has angered many glaciologists, who regard it as unjustified. Vijay Raina, a leading Indian glaciologist, wrote in a discussion paper published by the Indian government in November that there is no sign of "abnormal" retreat in Himalayan glaciers. India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, accused the IPCC of being "alarmist".

The IPCC's chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, has hit back, denouncing the Indian government report as "voodoo science" lacking peer review. He adds that "we have a very clear idea of what is happening" in the Himalayas.

'Disturbing' prediction
The IPCC report sources the prediction to a document published by the environment group WWF in 2005; this document quotes the New Scientist article as its source. The WWF report describes the prediction as "disturbing", without specifically endorsing it.

Nonetheless, the IPCC report goes further, concluding without citing further evidence that the prediction is "very likely" – a term that it says means a likelihood of greater than 90 per cent.

Graham Cogley, a geographer from Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada, says the 2035 date is extremely unlikely. "At current melting rates it might take up to 10 times longer," he says.

Grey literature
However, the lead author of the IPCC chapter, Indian glaciologist Murari Lal, told New Scientist he "outright rejected" the notion that the IPCC was off the mark on Himalayan glaciers. "The IPCC authors did exactly what was expected from them," he says.

"We relied rather heavily on grey [not peer-reviewed] literature, including the WWF report," Lal says. "The error, if any, lies with Dr Hasnain's assertion and not with the IPCC authors."

But Hasnain rejects that. He blames the IPCC for misusing a remark he made to a journalist. "The magic number of 2035 has not [been] mentioned in any research papers written by me, as no peer-reviewed journal will accept speculative figures," he told New Scientist.

"It is not proper for IPCC to include references from popular magazines or newspapers," Hasnain adds.

03-02-2010, 04:47 PM
Key Findings of Recent Glacial Studies in the Indian Himalayas
The studies undertaken from mid 1970s till date have revealed the following interesting fi ndings related to the
glaciers in the Indian Himalayas:
• All the glaciers under observation, during the last three decades of 20th century have shown cumulative
negative mass balance2. Degeneration of the glacier mass has been the highest in Jammu & Kashmir
(single glacier, 10 years record), relatively lower in Himachal Pradesh ( 3 glaciers, 10 years record), even
lower in Uttarakhand (one glacier, 10 years record) and the lowest in Sikkim (one glacier,10 years record),
thus clearly showing a declining trend from north-west to north-east3.
Executive Summary
• Irrespective of latitudinal differences, glacier melt contributes to about 25% to 30% of the total discharge
of glacier ice. Maximum discharge takes place from mid-July to mid-August.
• On an average, the sediment load producing capacity of glacier ice in the Himalayas has been found to
be to the order of 30 tonnes of ice per day per square km² during the melt season in a granite / gneissic
• Ice, forming a glacier in the Himalayas, in its vertical profi le, can exhibit the characteristics of a cold glacier
at certain levels and that of a temperate glacier at other levels.
• Smaller glaciers in the Himalayas - less than 5km long - exhibit an ice thickness of the order of 250m in the
cirque region, and an ice thickness of the order of 40-60m along the middle regions, though some larger
glaciers like Zemu exhibit an ice thickness of over 200m in the middle regions.
• An aerosol/ dust cover of 400gm/m2 – a thickness of about 2mm - has the maximum effect as far as
melting of glaciers is concerned. This impact is maximum on north facing glaciers in the month of
September. Additional thickness of dust up to 4mm does not make any appreciable change in melting. In
fact thickness of dust beyond 6mm serves more as an insulator rather than a conductor of solar heat.
• Himalayan glaciers, although shrinking in volume and constantly showing a retreating front, have not in
any way exhibited, especially in recent years, an abnormal annual retreat, of the order that some glaciers in
Alaska and Greenland are reported4.
• Glaciers in the Himalayas, over a period of the last 100 years, behave in contrasting ways. As an example,
Sonapani glacier has retreated by about 500m during the last one hundred years. On the other hand,
Kangriz glacier has practically not retreated even an inch in the same period. Siachen glacier is believed
to have shown an advance of about 700m between 1862 and 1909, followed by an equally rapid retreat
of around 400m between 1929 and 1958, and hardly any retreat during the last 50 years. Gangotri glacier,
which had hitherto been showing a rather rapid retreat, along its glacier front, at an average of around 20m
per year till up to 2000 AD, has since slowed down considerably, and between September 2007 and June
2009 is practically at a standstill5. The same is true of the Bhagirathkharak and Zemu glaciers.
• It is premature to make a statement that glaciers in the Himalayas are retreating abnormally because of the
global warming. A glacier is affected by a range of physical features and a complex interplay of climatic
factors. It is therefore unlikely that the snout movement of any glacier can be claimed to be a result of
periodic climate variation until many centuries of observations become available. While glacier movements
are primarily due to climate and snowfall, snout movements appear to be peculiar to each particular

03-02-2010, 06:24 PM
There is a school of thought that postulates that the
current fl uctuations, in the form of glacier advance
or retreat, is likely to be more in response to the past
climate than the immediate one. Scientists working
on similar problems in Rockies and Alps, are of the
opinion that, “A large mountain glacier would take
1,000 to 10,000 years to respond to warming today,
while a small mountain glacier would take 100 to
1,000 years to respond. Thus, one explanation for
the glacier retreat could be: they are responding
to natural warming that occurred either during the
Medieval Warm Period in the 11th century or to an
even warmer period that occurred 6,000 years ago”
Mass (glacier ice) transfer studies that were carried
out at Gara glacier revealed that it would have
taken slightly more than 300 years for the mass
accumulated in the accumulation zone of this
glacier (2.5km long) to reach the snout position.
Dating of the glacier ice, from the core samples
collected from near the snout, substantiated this
by revealing the ice to around 250y BP to 300y BP.
Using the corollary that the glacier snout fl uctuation
is in response to past climate would mean that
the fl uctuations exhibited by the snout of the Gara
glacier may have been depicting weather/climatic
conditions of 300 years back and not that of midseventies
of the 20th century?.
If that be so, fl uctuations exhibited by the glacier
of the size of Gangotri or Siachen, along the snout
today, based on glacier ice fl ow movement, may,
in fact, be in response to the climate of 6,000y BP
in the case of former and around 15,000y BP in
the case of latter. Fact remains that the glaciers, so
far as the snout fl uctuation is concerned, do not
show any immediate response to meteorological

03-02-2010, 08:41 PM
<div class="ubbcode-block"><div class="ubbcode-header">Quote:</div><div class="ubbcode-body">....When critics initially questioned the prediction, Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC's chairman, dismissed them as "voodoo scientists."....</div></div>No he didnt. madMac........

".......Chapter 10 of the report says: "Glaciers in the Himalaya are receding faster than in any other part of the world."

The inclusion of this statement has angered many glaciologists, who regard it as unjustified. Vijay Raina, a leading Indian glaciologist, wrote in a discussion paper published by the Indian government in November that there is no sign of "abnormal" retreat in Himalayan glaciers. India's environment minister, Jairam Ramesh, accused the IPCC of being "alarmist".

The IPCC's chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, has hit back, denouncing the Indian government report as "voodoo science" lacking peer review. He adds that "we have a very clear idea of what is happening" in the Himalayas.........."

03-02-2010, 09:12 PM
13.3.2 Land-use changes &lt;&gt;Deforestation in Latin America’s tropical areas will be one of the most serious environmental disasters faced in the region. Currently, Latin America is responsible for 4.3% of global GHG emissions. Of these, 48.3% result from deforestation and land-use changes (UNEP, 2000). By 2010 the forest areas in South and Central America will be reduced by 18 Mha and 1.2 Mha, respectively. These areas (see Figure 13.3) will be used for pasture and expanding livestock production (FAO, 2005).

Figure 13.3. Predicted 2000-2010 South American and Central American deforestation hotspots and diffuse deforestation areas (available at: http://www.virtualcentre.org/en/dec/neotropics/south_america.htm and http://www.virtualcentre.org/en/dec/neotropics/central_america.htm).

If the 2002-2003 deforestation rate (2.3 Mha/yr) in Brazilian Amazonia continues indefinitely, then 100 Mha of forest (about 25% of the original forest) will have disappeared by the year 2020 (Laurance et al., 2005), while by 2050 (for a business-as-usual scenario) 269.8 Mha will be deforested (Moutinho and Schwartzman, 2005). By means of simulation models, Soares-Filho et al. (2005) estimated for Brazilian Amazonia that in the worst-case scenario, by 2050 the projected deforestation trend will eliminate 40% of the current 540 Mha of Amazon forests, releasing approximately 32 Pg (109 tonnes/ha) of carbon to the atmosphere. Moreover, under the current trend, agricultural expansion will eliminate two-thirds of the forest cover of five major watersheds and ten eco-regions, besides the loss of more than 40% of 164 mammalian species habitats.

Projected to be one of the main drivers of future land-use change, the area planted to soybeans in South America is expected to increase from 38 Mha in 2003/04 to 59 Mha in 2019/20 (Maarten Dros, 2004). The total production of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Paraguay will rise by 85% to 172 million tonnes or 57% of world production. Direct and indirect conversion of natural habitats to accommodate this expansion amounts to 21.6 Mha. Habitats with the greatest predicted area losses are the Cerrado (9.6 Mha), dry and humid Chaco (the largest dry forest in South America, which covers parts of Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and Brazil; 6.3 Mha), Amazon transition and rain forests (3.6 Mha), Atlantic forest (1.3 Mha), Chiquitano forest (transition between Amazonian forest and Chaco forest; 0.5 Mha) and Yungas forest (0.2 Mha). This massive deforestation will have negative impacts on the biological diversity and ecosystem composition of South America as well as having important implications for regional and local climate conditions.

03-02-2010, 09:18 PM
Under future climate change, there is a risk of significant species extinctions in many areas of tropical Latin America (high confidence).

Replacement of tropical forest by savannas is expected in eastern Amazonia and the tropical forests of central and southern Mexico, along with replacement of semi-arid vegetation by arid vegetation in parts of north-east Brazil and most of central and northern Mexico due to synergistic effects of both land-use and climate changes (medium confidence) [13.4.1]. By the 2050s, 50% of agricultural lands are very likely to be subjected to desertification and salinisation in some areas (high confidence) [13.4.2]. Seven out of the 25 most critical places with high endemic species concentrations are in Latin America and these areas are undergoing habitat loss. Biological reserves and ecological corridors have been either implemented or planned for the maintenance of biodiversity in natural ecosystems, and these can serve as adaptation measures to help protect ecosystems in the face of climate change. []

03-02-2010, 09:24 PM
Senior Scientist Daniel Nepstad endorses the correctness of the IPCC’s (AR4) statement on Amazon forest susceptibility to rainfall reduction
February 2010

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has been recently criticized in media coverage (e.g. Sunday Times) for presenting inaccurate information on the susceptibility of the forests of the Amazon Basin to rainfall reduction in its fourth assessment. The statement that has drawn the criticism reads as follows:

"Up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to another steady state, not necessarily producing gradual changes between the current and the future situation (Rowell and Moore, 2000)." (IPCC 2007, Magrin et al. 2007)

The Rowell and Moore review report that is cited as the basis of this IPCC statement cites an article that we published in the journal Nature in 1999 as the source for the following statement:

"Up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall. In the 1998 dry season, some 270,000 sq. km of forest became vulnerable to fire, due to completely depleted plant-available water stored in the upper five metres of soil. A further 360,000 sq. km of forest had only 250 mm of plant-available soil water left.[Nepstad et al. 1999]" (Rowell and Moore 2000)

The IPCC statement on the Amazon is correct, but the citations listed in the Rowell and Moore report were incomplete. (The authors of this report interviewed several researchers, including the author of this note, and had originally cited the IPAM website where the statement was made that 30 to 40% of the forests of the Amazon were susceptible to small changes in rainfall). Our 1999 article (Nepstad et al. 1999) estimated that 630,000 km2 of forests were severely drought stressed in 1998, as Rowell and Moore correctly state, but this forest area is only 15% of the total area of forest in the Brazilian Amazon. In another article published in Nature, in 1994, we used less conservative assumptions to estimate that approximately half of the forests of the Amazon depleted large portions of their available soil moisture during seasonal or episodic drought (Nepstad et al. 1994). After the Rowell and Moore report was released in 2000, and prior to the publication of the IPCC AR4, new evidence of the full extent of severe drought in the Amazon was available. In 2004, we estimated that half of the forest area of the Amazon Basin had either fallen below, or was very close to, the critical level of soil moisture below which trees begin to die in 1998. This estimate incorporated new rainfall data and results from an experimental reduction of rainfall in an Amazon forest that we had conducted with funding from the US National Science Foundation (Nepstad et al. 2004). Field evidence of the soil moisture critical threshold is presented in Nepstad et al. 2007.

In sum, the IPCC statement on the Amazon was correct. The report that is cited in support of the IPCC statement (Rowell and Moore 2000) omitted some citations in support of the 40% value statement.

Daniel Nepstad, PhD
Senior Scientist, Woods Hole Research Center
Coordinator of Research, Instituto de Pesquisa Ambiental da Amazonia
Email Dan Nepstad

03-02-2010, 09:30 PM
Did the IPCC 2007 report chapter on Latin America "shame" itself by referencing a report written by "green activists"? The British conservative paper The Times alleged as much in a story over the weekend, calling "bogus" the following statement from the IPCC report:

Up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically to even a slight reduction in precipitation; this means that the tropical vegetation, hydrology and climate system in South America could change very rapidly to another steady state, not necessarily producing gradual changes between the current and the future situation (Rowell and Moore, 2000).

The newspaper's evidence was that the reference for the statement, "Rowell and Moore, 2000," is a non-peer-reviewed report on forest fires by the World Wildlife Fund, which cited as evidence for the claim a 1999 Nature paper. Yet, The Times says, the Nature paper lacks the 40% figure.

Now, Dan Nepstad, a forest expert, and colleagues at the Woods Hole Research Center who wrote the 1999 Nature paper say the IPCC statement is correct. He says it's a case of correct facts but footnotes that refer to the wrong papers or are at least incomplete. (Here's a statement in which Nepstad lays out his position.)

As early as 1994, Nepstad and colleagues found that as much as half the Amazonian forest periodically fell to low enough moisture levels that trees died. In a 1998 experiment they learned that the threshold was roughly a 30% level of moisture in the soil. They confirmed in a 2004 paper—3 years before the IPCC report was published—that as much as half of the forest had soil with the 30% level.

So although IPCC failed to cite studies that would back up the "40%" claim in the WWF report or the IPCC chapter, scientists had found that as much as half of the forest was as sensitive as they describe.

In an e-mail Nepstad sent to Times reporter Jonathan Leake 2 days before the story ran, he detailed those finding, writing:

At the time of the IPCC [report], there was ample evidence that a large portion of the Amazon forest is very close to the lower limit of rainfall that is necessary to sustain dense forest. We published an article in 1994 in Nature in which we estimated that approximately half of the forests of the Brazilian Amazon were periodically exposed to severe drought and soil moisture depletion, especially during El Nino events.

Today in Washington, D.C., speaking at an event hosted by the Center for American Progress, Christopher Field of the Carnegie Institution for Science dismissed the concern with the 40% figure as "inconsequential." Field will lead the portion of the 2014 IPCC report, so-called Working Group II, that will examine impacts such as forest drought. But he said that IPCC must "apply extra assessment" to reports in the "gray" literature, referring to non-peer-reviewed studies.

[Update 2/4 9am: The BBC ran a story I hadn't seen in which a scientist reviewed other evidence of a very vulnerable rainforest on January 30]