Thursday, March 15, 2018

Is the Western U.S. Snowpack Declining "Dramatically"?

Last week a paper (Mote et al., 2018)  was published in the journal Climate and Atmospheric Science claiming "dramatic" declines in western U.S snowpack (you can access it here).


The article had all kinds of scary details. The loss in water resources would be "comparable in volume to the West’s largest man-made reservoir, Lake Mead" and the losses would be so great that "new reservoirs cannot be built fast enough to offset the loss of snow storage."

The principal author's (Phil Mote) institution put out a press release that amplified the message, with the lead author noting that:

It is a bigger decline than we had expected,

The media headlined this "dramatic" loss of western snowpack, with hundreds of stories in major outlets around the world, allowing millions of people to learn about the bad news. Here are a few examples. I could show you a hundred more, but you get the point.







But fortunately, the "dramatic" headlines and all the hype are not correct.  

There has been no "dramatic" loss of western snowpack during the past century, but rather a relatively slow, steady decline.  And as I will demonstrate, the scary paper's own research supports a less apocalyptic interpretation.  As does other research in the peer-reviewed literature.

But let's get our terminology down straight.  What does dramatic mean?  Let's look at a typical definition (Oxford)


Since we are not talking about a thespian document, definition (2) is the one we want:  an event or circumstance that is sudden and striking.  Has the trend of snowpack over the western U.S. during the past decades been sudden and striking?

The answer to this question is really important.   Many politicians and activist organizations are claiming that we have experienced a rapid decline in western snowpack driven by global warming.  And an accurate knowledge of snowpack changes is clearly important for making decisions about water resources. And what about the future of western U.S. snowpack?


The Mote et al. paper uses two approaches to evaluate past snowpack changes over the western U.S.  The first is to examine snowpack changes based on direct measurements.  The problem with that approach is that there are only a limited number of stations and the number and distribution of such stations have changed considerably over time.

The second makes use of a snow/hydrology simulation model called VIC (Variable Infiltration Capacity) model, developed by Professor Dennis Lettenmaier of UCLA (and formerly the UW).  This model uses precipitation and temperature inputs (there is a LOT more of these than snowpack measurements) to simulate the changing snowpack.

Below is a figure from the Mote et al paper showing the snowpack (actually the snow-water-equivalent or SWE) over the western U.S. on April 1 each year from 1915 to 2014 using the VIC model approach.  They also fitted a line to the variation over time.  You will note that there is huge amount of variability year to year, with an apparent slow decline in snowpack over the past century.    Specifically, they found a 21% decline over the past century or 2.1% decline per decade.   Hardly seems dramatic.  I should note that April 1 snowpack is a frequently used measure, since in the west snowpack generally peaks around then, and thus April 1 snowpack is a good measure of the water availability for the upcoming warm season.


Now imagine their line was not there.  In fact, you don't have to imagine, I have done it for you!  There doesn't seem to be any decline during the past few decades...if anything, the snowpack seems to be increasing.


In fact, here is the same figure, with only the last 40 years shown.  No decline, dramatic or otherwise is apparent.  Where did that headline come from?


Now a completely independent analysis of long-term snowpack trends over the Northwest U.S. is found in a peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of Climate (A New Look at Snowpack Trends in the Cascade Mountains by Stoelinga et al...found here).   They used a statistical approach to secure the snowpack from temperature, precipitation, and streamflow instead of the physical model (VIC) mentioned above.  But the same general idea.  Their results for 1930 to 2007 are quite similar to those found in the Mote et al (2018) paper, with a 23% decline for the entire period, and increasing snowpack since 1975.  I repeat, increasing.


Furthermore, they went one step further and tried to remove natural variability (like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation) and got the April 1 snowpack trend shown below. Plenty of variability and a very slow decline (16% over the period).  About a 2% decline per decade...similar to  the Mote et al. VIC results.

Nothing large, nothing sudden, nothing dramatic.  2% loss per decade.  No acceleration of snowpack loss.    And as I will explain late, this make perfect sense considering that the Pacific Ocean is just west of us.

But what about snowpack observations over the West?

As noted by Mote et al., there is a major problem using such observations:  the number of measurement sites is small and their numbers and distributions have changes substantially over the past 50 years.  To illustrate, here is a figure from the supplementary material from the Mote et al paper, showing changes in the number of observations for various subregions.  Few observations before 1940 and a major increase in the 60s and 70s.  The numbers have been relatively stable since roughly 1975-1980.


With those issues noted, below is a plot from Mote et al of the observed April 1 snowpack for three western regions: the Cascades, the Rockies, and  California.  The circles are the average snowpack for each region (ignore the red xs and red line...that is for the VIC model which we already covered).  I removed a blue trend line from these figures--I want you to make your own appraisal of the trends.    Specifically, look at the period since 1980, when the observational network as relatively stable.   

It is clear that there is little April 1 snowpack trend in the observations for the last 35 years.  Yes, 2015 has a very poor snowpack...but that was an isolated outlier....for climate studies we must look at the trend...and there simply has not been much of trend.  Just a lot of variability.


As an independent check on the observed trend in April 1 snowpack, research meteorologist Mark Albright, past WA state climatologist, did his own analysis of the April 1 snowpack changes over Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana using the USDA Snotel observing stations.  He considered the period 1984-2017, since the SNOTEL network expanded into the early 1980s.  A seen below, there is virtually no trend over that period (and I might note that 2018 looks like an above-normal year).
Now to beat a dead horse, here is one more observed record of mountain snowpack, one encompassing a very long period (1879-2017):  the snowpack at Donner Summit, high in the Sierra Nevada (this is from the Central Sierra Nevada site associated with the University of California, Berkeley).  The color bars are April 1 snowpack).   More snowpack in the late 1800s, but only a slightly downtrend during the past several decades.


Now you might ask, why has western snowpack been so stable if the earth is warming?  A very good question.

A major part of the answer is that the eastern Pacific has NOT warmed very much and our temperatures are substantially controlled by the eastern Pacific surface temperatures.  To illustrate the lack of warming, here are the surface air temperatures from the NASA/GISS website, showing the trends from 1977-2015.  The eastern Pacific actually cooled during that period.


This pattern is similar to that indicated in climate models driven by increasing CO2.  The Arctic warms up more than anywhere, land warms more quickly than oceans, and eastern oceans generally warm the slowest.

I know that some of you are unhappy with the above analysis, even though the evidence is pretty compelling that the snowpack has not been dramatically reduced the past few decades.  You have heard the constant drumbeat from the media, some activist groups, and a few scientists who should know better.

But before some start calling me names (e.g., climate contrarian or denier) or the Seattle Stranger does another hit piece, or someone complains to my Dean, let me explain that global warming will have major impacts on snowpack during future decades and especially after 2050.  Increasing CO2 will cause increasing warming during the upcoming century that will reduce snowpack substantially.   Some regional climate runs that my group and Professor Eric Salathe completed a few years ago, show major snowpack reductions (see graphic).

But the loss of snowpack during the snowpack has been modest and slow, and certainly not dramatic. And the fact that it has been going on for over a century suggests that part of it is probably natural and not driven by anthropogenically driven increases in greenhouse gases such as CO2.  The planet experienced a cool period (the Little Ice Age) from the 1600s to the late 1800s, that produced more snow over our region.  With the end of the cool period (probably due to natural causes), snowpack has slowly declined.

Scary headlines and claims of dramatic snowpack loss are counterproductive in many ways.   They are clearly not true and thus undermine the credibility of those claiming such losses (activist scientists, politicians, and advocacy organizations).   They can result in poor public policy and infrastructure planning.   They unnecessarily scare people and make them anxious, an increasing problem (two days ago the Seattle Times had a front page article about a UW Bothell class dealing with dealing with anxiety about climate change).


And then there is the moral/ethical dimension.  Scientists and the media must communicate our best understanding of the truth faithfully and not exaggerate/hype to get people to "do the right thing."   As I have learned personally, there is a real cost to telling "inconvenient truths", but society can only make wise decisions if it is provided with unvarnished information based on the best science, and including information about uncertainty.

Another issue regards the press releases of universities and other research institutions.  There is a tendency to go for dramatic headlines and hype to secure the "currency of the realm" for PR people--lots of clicks and attention.   But the contents of the research papers are often distorted in the process.  This was clearly an issue for the Oregon State University press release regarding the Mote et al paper, and it occurs all the time here at the University of Washington and at other instituions.

Finally, the spread of such hyped material says something about the current state of online and print media.  Apparently, few "reporters" bothered to read the paper they were headlining.  Few completed a reality check on the claims.   But they were attracted to the big "dramatic" headline and were happy put out the excessive claims as a way of getting attention and "clicks."  This is  more than an inconvenient truth, but is a challenge for our democracy, since a misinformed public will not make good decisions.


52 comments:

Jim S said...

Cliff:

In this analysis, you have concentrated on snowpack water equivalent, which is perhaps a necessity when using snow course data. Pierce et al. (2013, J Climate) argue that of various snow measures, the fraction of winter precipitation that falls as snow exhibits detectable trends first, followed by the fraction of cold-season precipitation retained in the spring snowpack, and then the snowpack water equivalent. Older snow course data does not allow for the analysis of anything but the latter, but SNOTEL data does allow for the analysis of the fraction of cold-season precipitation retained in the spring snowpack. I encourage you to consider looking at this statistic for recent trends. This statistic also helps account for variations in seasonal precipitation.

In addition, the response of snowpack to warming varies dramatically depending on region, elevation, aspect, and climate. The vulnerability of snow to climate variability and change varies depending on these characteristics. Lumping all stations together obscures important signals. Recognition that SNOTEL stations are located primarily in upper-elevation, sheltered, snowy locations is also important. There are a paucity of observations in some parts of the west where snowpack changes may be more dramatic.

Finally, temperature is not the only driver of snowpack change in a warming world. Changes in precipitation (a reason for using the measured listed above), ablation due to sublimation, dust loading, and other factors may be important depending on location.

All generalizations are wrong. The answer the question raised by your post is more complex than that indicated by overall trends and "dramatic" may be happening in some locations but not others.

Jim

Doc Wellness said...

You say " Scientists and the media must communicate our best understanding of the truth faithfully and not exaggerate/hype to get people to "do the right thing."   … society can only make wise decisions if it is provided with unvarnished information based on the best science, and including information about uncertainty."

Cliff, for a non-climate scientist, what is the best up-to-date source for truthful climate science information that can guide our policy decisions?

Eric Blair said...

The MSM and the scientific community are in dire need of a reckoning regarding their credibility these days but they refuse to acknowledge their errors, and the resultant loss in public confidence continues apace. This is not a good thing for the future of our society.

Ansel said...

There is no doubt that the glaciers are shrinking- and the glaciers provide an excellent "curve smoothing" effect. The Anderson glacier in the Olympics has nearly disappeared, and the South Cascade glacier is a lot smaller than it was 50 years ago. These are only two examples.

The sun is great but the fact is, any change stresses the ecosystem. If the climate were cooling, there would be just as much stress in the ecosystem. Different, but just as great.

Westside guy said...

I would disagree with one statement you made, Cliff. With many papers like this, we are indeed “talking about a thespian document”. ;-)

Tarn said...

Thank you for your professionalism.

Cliff Mass said...

Ansel.... glaciers are very different animals from the snowpack...and they really are not "curve smoothing". Glaciers are much more sensitive to summer temperatures for example, which are much more influenced by continental conditions. Both glaciers and snowpack are declining....and I should note that the regional glaciers started to decline before humans could have been a significant cause..cliff

David Malitz said...

Two comments:

1. You make much of the definition of "dramatic", especially the requirement that the change be "sudden". If you had continued reading from your own source, Oxford, you would see definition 2.1: "Exciting or impressive". I think a snowpack decline of one-fifth over a century qualifies as "impressive". Moreover, Merriam Webster's definition (https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dramatic) is "striking in appearance or effect". Again, suddenness is not required. So I disagree with your contention that the results are not "dramatic".

2. As a statistician, I find it odd that you would remove the trend line from the Mote et al. graph and then appeal to your readers to eyeball the graph and conclude that there's no trend. The trend line is an objective indication that there is a trend -- that's what it's there for. Clearly, there's a lot of year-to-year variability in the data, which is typical of other meteorological time series (e.g., temperature and precipitation). Statistical analysis allows one to discern the long-term trends (i.e., climate patterns) from the year-to-year variability. So why would you ignore that?

Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics) said...

Excellent as usual Cliff. Thanks for giving us your informed and critical analysis. That is exactly what every scientist should be doing - but few are for fear of retribution from the Climate Inquisition.

While we still disagree considerably about the future of 'Global Warming,' it is very important that we reclaim a non-hysterical scientific perspective. Your efforts to separate the truth from the hype are a real step in the right direction and much appreciated.

We are very unlikely to ever get any help from Phil Mote, because his successful business model is built on hysteria. Unfortunately that means that objective science will continue to suffer and younger scientists will try to replicate Phil's success at building an empire at the expense of science.

While such "careerism" is rampant in climate science, it is also a serious problem in other areas, such as epidemiology and medicine. I'm told that 90% of the papers in epidemiology and 30% in medicine do not replicate (ie., are nonsense). Based on a sample of one, it looks like climate science is even worse!

Eric Blair said...

David Malitz - your laborious usage of convoluted semantics is prima facie evidence of the Orwellian attempts at obscuring the issue at hand.

Doc Wellness said...

Cliff,

I'm still looking for an up-to-date, truthful source of climate science. Information that a non-climate scientist can trust and that might be useful for policy-making.

Would for example the 4th Annual Climate Assessment meet those criteria. I can find this with a web search for "Climate Science Special Report".

If not, why not. Are there better sources?

Thanks.

Rod said...

Cliff,
I think many of us tend to believe in climate change but hope it is not true.

I am happy that I will have lived when there was still a bit of diversity in nature. You know, a few Blue whales still around, a handful of tigers in India, a few rhinos left; a few Orcas in Puget Sound. You get the drift.

In two hundred more years: I doubt it. But I will be long gone....

Chuck Wiese said...

Thank you, Cliff, for the true story about western snowpack.

Promoting climate hysteria does nobody any good when trying to get a true evaluation of what is actually changing with respect to the longer term climate trends.

Chuck Wiese
Meteorologist

Russell Cunningham said...

Doc Wellness,

Its not difficult to stay current on the leading research. Doing a basic Google Scholar search for things like, "Anthropogenic climate change" will bring up substantial peer reviewed search outcomes:

https://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&as_sdt=0%2C48&q=anthropogenic+climate+change&oq=anthropgenic+

Cliff's post here is really quite good. As always, I do feel that he downplays the seriousness of anthropogenic induced environmental issues, but, he does stay true to the scientific method and to critical thinking processes. Over hyping a "catastrophic snowpack loss", when there is evidence to the contrary is, as he says, more damaging to the credibility of the scientific community than it is helpful to society.

dardevle said...

What are the natural reasons we went through a cooling in the 1600’s-late 1800’s and what are the natural reasons we are going through a warming period.?

Chuck Wiese said...

Thank you, Cliff, for setting the record straight about western US snowpack. Those that engage in climate hysteria are doing a terrible disservice to science. Accurate analysis of weather records without undue manipulation of raw data is critical to our understanding how much the climate is actually changing and in what way.

Chuck Wiese
Meteorologist

Cliff Mass said...

Russell...thanks. I really am not trying to downplay the seriousness of AGW....I have published several papers on the threats (eg., stronger atmospheric rivers). If you feel I am making a scientific error...tell me and we can discuss, bringing data and model predictions to the table..cliff

Cliff Mass said...

Doc Wellness,
The IPCC reports are generally pretty good...cliff

Andres Depp said...

I'm not sure what to make of this blog post. It just seems wrong on so many levels, and I'm not even a climate scientist. Here are a few objections:

- As David Malitz mentioned, removing the trend line from the Mote graph and then suggesting that "eyeballing" the graph is a better alternative is a bit ... unusual. Since the human eye is subject to all sorts of visual illusions, the only way to accurate determine a trend is to fit a line to the data. All scientists know this, of course.

- Cliff minimizes the -2.1 %/decade trend as "hardly ... dramatic." Mote, et al, however put this in perspective: over 100 years, this is the equivalent of the entire capacity of Lake Mead, which supplies half of the water to Los Angeles. So, the equivalent of 10% of LA's water supply is lost every every 20 years. That's a big deal. And don't forget the loss of generating power generated by Colorado River dams.

- The Journal of Climate Paper cited by Cliff (that he's a co-author on, by the way) is almost 10 years old, and the data analysis ends in 2007. The Mote paper mentions that there has been an acceleration of snow loss since 2007 which, of course, isn't included in Stoelinga et al

- Cliff claims that the snowpack increased from 1975-2007, but if you look carefully at the graph you will see that 1) if they had selected 1974 instead of 1975 there would have been a decrease (i.e. sensitive to end points/noise) and 2) in his own paper (Stoelinga et al) they state that the increase wasn't statistically significant.

- The "independent check" by Mark Albright excludes all of the Southwest, including California, and starts in the year 1984 instead of 1920 as in the Mote paper. That makes the trend line a lot less accurate due to natural variability.

South Sound Guy said...

Cliff,
Have you ever been contacted by the Fox News network to explain how climate change is often over-hyped by the media? An appearance on the Fox News would likely result in the media labeling you a full blown "denier", which of course you are not. Maybe that would affect your decision to appear on Fox?

Terry McDonald said...

I'd consider a 20% loss in the last century to be fairly dramatic that could be an indicator of an increased loss over the next century with increased emissions, the release of methane and the loss of permafrost in the north it could be more like 30-40% over the next century.

Eric Blair said...

"It just seems wrong on so many levels, and I'm not even a climate scientist."

And yet, you persist. Do you have a problem with anyone from the scientific community that dares to offer even a mild contradictory point? This is yet another example of the "wisdom of the crowds" fallacy in action. Really no different from the Salem Witch Trials.

Peter Gleick said...

Interesting that a non-climate scientist, Andres Depp, provides a clear and accurate summary of the problems with your analysis, as does David Malitz.

Ansel said...

I perhaps was too brief... I know that the "health" of glaciers depends upon a number of factors, not just snowfall, but average temperature (both summer and winter, bearing in mind that warm rain in winter has an effect too); also on summer rain, humidity, wind, average solar radiation, and even air quality, since dust particles that fall onto the snow absorb sunlight which might otherwise be reflected.

But I suspect that most of the effects of global warming will accelerate melting and shrinkage of glaciers (with the possible exception of spring cloudiness which you said in your book might increase- though I hope not). That's what I meant when I said "curve smoothing" - the glaciers provide a rough indicator of the net effect of all these factors, at least in a given locality- on which I think we all agree with Al Gore...

Rebecca Timson said...

Nice response, Jim. Also, I am interested in seeing an analysis of any changes in variability.

Rebecca Timson said...

Yes, I had the same concern about the invitation to eyeball it.

dardevle said...

All I know is I often leave on a clear morning to go fishing in the winter. It is like 36 degrees. I go south and west 150 miles and get away from the city and my car says its 26. There has to be some global warming due to all the homes, buildings, concrete, cars etc. That is a major difference due to man. Going south and getting toward the coast should be a warming thing. I can cite many days that I started out at 36 and ended up with 19 degrees when I get out of the car in the very rural areas.

Paul Nickelson said...

Sadly, hperbole is the standard for so-called jouranalism these days. This is somewhat parallel to TV weather people repeatedly yapping about 'FLASH FLOODING' when it is a rise over a day or so and not a wall of water coming down an oroyo.

jimijr said...

I used snowpack data in my thesis, it is highly variable as we see here. Chuck Wiese, Remember when we worked together at WCCO? Dave McGinnis

John Franklin said...

While, as Cliff says, the state of the Pacific Ocean helps in explaining West Coast weather, snowpack, etc. the map he shows from the NASA/GISS website seems to contradict that since for the 1977-2015 period he shows there was a warming trend over the land (where the snowpack is).

It is also unclear why Cliff chose the 1977-2015 time period to map if he is critiquing a paper that evaluates a data set that goes back to the early 20th Century. If you go to the interactive maps on theNASA/GISS website

https://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/maps/

and pick a start time before 1977 and end time of 2017 a warming of the Pacific adjacent to the West Coast is shown.

One would need to justify examining a trend since 1977 in a discussion of century-long trends in snowpack. In 1977 the Pacific Decadal Oscillation went into a warm phase and choosing to start a trend in that year as part of the current discussion seems strange.

JeffB said...

The snowpack isn’t declining rapidly, but you know what is? Common sense. Thankfully there are real scientists like Cliff Mass who remain calm and rational and examine the real data instead of trying to turn everything into a crisis and then feed it to our gullible media.

Cliff Mass said...

John Franklin... there are many reasons to look after 1977.. for example,.there was a major PDO shift right before that time and the PDO is a form of natural variability. If one wants to look at the anthropogenic forcing then one wants to start after that transition. ..cliff

Cliff Mass said...

Peter Gleick,
Those folks found no scientific issues with my analysis. I note there is a slow drop over the century...about 2% per decade.....and far less the last 40 years. My point is that this is not dramatic in any way and some of it must be natural. The "dramatic" declines will come LATER in this century as the effects of greenhouse gas warming becomes more profound. ..cliff

Cliff Mass said...

david malitz.... one of the biggest deficiencies of climate presentation is putting linear (or poorly constructed) trends on data plots....it is hard for the human brain to ignore them. You can see the Mote et al smoothed trend on their paper. They don't explain exactly how they do it...and make a serious mistake...by continuing it to the end of the data...and thus give a mistaken view of the trends at the beginning and ends of the period. I am sure you understand the problem with what they have done...cliff

Leslie Burke said...

Very interesting! Thanks for your analysis!

iron said...

april 1 snowpack is fine and good when the winter/spring is always generally cool and wet. LMK about the summers where we constantly set new record high low temps. the snowpack melts much more throughout the summer than it ever has. this is the primary cause of changes IMO. glaciers die much more quickly when it's always above freezing than if, each night, it cools to subfreezing.

David Young said...

I would be interested in time periods over the Holocene. I have heard that in the earlier part of the past 2 millennia there were megadroughts in the American West that caused civilizations to collapse for example in New Mexico. This would give some context about the trends over the last 150 years. I'm not alarmed by these trends. Bottom line, we need to be prepared for another megadrought which will probably happen regardless of what we do on the emissions front.

sunsnow12 said...

I recommend this article about snowpack published 11 years ago to get additional perspective on the intimidation surrounding this subject: https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/how-one-number-touched-off-big-climate-change-fight-at-uw/

"But before some start calling me names (e.g., climate contrarian or denier) or the Seattle Stranger does another hit piece, or someone complains to my Dean..."

Because all of those things have happened. And things like it - or worse (like being fired from your job) - consistently happen to those who dare go against the alarmist theme.

When anyone reads a scientist write that, does it not shock anymore? What does it say about an argument - any argument on any subject - when intimidation is used to silence opposing views? Is it not even worse in science, where questioning is not only accepted, but encouraged?

Outstanding piece Cliff. It would be great if you or Mark could put a trend line to the last 10-20 years. I see it in the broader diagram going up - which is what I would expect - but would like to see it spelled out specifically. Also melt-out dates. How about a trend line there, since you have pointed out in previous posts that melt out has been getting later and later - a direct contradiction to the collapsing snowpack theme.

Most of all, thank you for the effort and courage to post this, with data supporting it. No one else will. Why is that?

Eric Blair said...

David Young - I think the Pueblo Indians were just one of many indigenous peoples whose civilizations disappeared because of the mega droughts you've referenced. Another factor that's rarely mentioned in this discussion is when the first settlers from Mexico arrived in the CA territory, they were puzzled over the almost complete lack of indigenous peoples there. Once they realized that the fresh water resources were few and far between, the answer became clear.

JeffB said...

Are you the same Peter Gleick that forged a document and committed identity theft and thus stepped down as President of the Pacific Institute? If so I don’t see how you can think that any of your statements would have any credibility at all.

Placeholder said...

@JeffB, your comment prompted to me to do a search on Peter Gleick. If this is the same one, then I think it's fair to completely dismiss anything he says. Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute is a liar and a thief, and should never be believed about anything by anyone.

Bruce Kay said...

Hmm.... never heard of the guy so I googled him as well. It appears from an hours worth of scanning a few articles that a Peter Gleick was determined to have miss represented his identity in his infiltration of the Heartland Institute in search of their finance donor list.

Unlike Donald Trump (as an example of one extreme of moral integrity regarding hiding his own identity) it also appears that this Peter Glieck also admitted his malfeasance (using an alias) and apologized for it, which apparently was the extent of justice required to correct it. Perhaps lost in all the kerfuffle (at least here with the last two posters) is the net result of Peter Gleick's investigations into the Heartland Institute which not coincidentally is amazingly similar to recently revealed investigations, also involving miss representation of identity, employed to reveal the primary mechanism that propelled Donald Trump into power via the secretive manipulating of public perception by Cambridge Analytica:

"The documents released by Gleick exposed Heartland's donors' list – which it had kept private – as well as a plan to spread misinformation about climate change in schools. The ultra-conservative organisation immediately moved to capitalise on the media exposure, setting up a website which it called "Fakegate" and using Gleick's image to sell $22.49 coffee mugs.

But when Heartland promoted the climate conference by taking out a billboard comparing believers in climate change to psychopaths like the Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, a run in donors, which had been relatively modest immediately after Gleick's exposé, spiked dramatically. Two board members resigned, almost all of those based in its Washington DC office quit, and a number of Heartland allies publicly chided the organisation and dropped out of last month's conference."

a quote from https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/jun/07/peter-gleick-reinstated-heartland-expose


All in all, It appears that this one Peter Gleick, while clearly caught with his hand in the cooke jar may not be quite the baby eating satanist that some might like to portray and considering his actual expertise in science, he might even have something worthy to say on this particular Blog.

I mean after all, no one seems to be concerned about the wise words of one Gordon J. Fulks, PhD (Physics) who while no doubt is skilled in his profession, also has a few interesting skeletons in his Closet, one of them called the Heartland Institute!

Maybe we shut avoid the Strawman Fallacy lest it curve back on us like a boomerang, eh boys?

Eric Blair said...

Bruce, only you would come on here to defend a liar and a fraud, all in the service of your own personal and biased narrative. All outside of the State, all within the State. Good grief.

Placeholder said...

Ah yes, Bruce Kay: "Any lie (or liar) for the cause." In posts on prior articles by Prof. Mass, you've made it clear that you want scientists to lie about global warming.

You are a cultist, pushing a religion. Keep right on lying, Bruce, and Peter. It will make you and your choir happier, but it won't work.

Bruce Kay said...

Oh? You poor delicate fellows! Have I thrown my support behind the wrong sort? I'm just trying to provide a little proportion to his supposed crimes and to point out that even if he was Hitlers Butler, it has no relevance in the context of this Blog post where his opinion and observation was certainly no more scandalous than anything anyone else said while his professional credentials for those precise opinions are far better than either you or I.

But I do get your drift. By the sense of Justice that America is famous for ( vengeance without a hint of forgiveness) he was a very naughty boy and henceforth his opinion on everything shall be ignored. That is intelligence for you. Of course by that same standard Rosa Parks was also a terribly bad lady for her breaking of the law back in her day - no negro shall sit at the front of the bus - yet at least for most , she winds up a hero for being entirely correct. This has to do with what was obvious but dangerous then and shockingly even more so now which is:

She broke the law as an act of civil disobedience in order to unambiguously display the far greater crime, one that was perpetuated and protected by the greatest powers of society buttressed entirely by falsehood and mythology, in complete defiance of any moral principle upon which your fair country was allegedly built.

Similarly here, Peter Gleick took risk against the law to reveal what is clearly an aberrant subversion of the very foundation of any liberal democracy - the need for an electorate to be informed by the truth, not mythology and deliberate falsehood. He paid the price, as Rosa Parks and many other actors of civil disobedience have done throughout history and also like them, the tides of history have moved consistently in his favour, not those of the Heritage foundation whose own act of deception was entirely for the purposed to one end - to decisive the American public.

It's a complex world out there and sometimes a rule need to be broken, if that is the only way to show that the most fundamental rules that are foundational to the very essence of a free democratic society are deliberately and consistently broken by those very people who control the rules in the first place.



Eric Blair said...

A classic case of the Dunning - Kruger effect in action.

JeffB said...

So in a nutshell, Peter Gleick is right up there with Rosa Parks. That line of thought is a perfect example of the condescension that got Trump elected.

Bruce Kay said...

You know Jeff If you are secure in your position of judgement, little things like perceived insult or as you say condescension are so minor to the debate that there is no real need to focus on it. I would like to point out that for 3 out of 3, that is the extent of the rebuttal from you. Eric and Place Slipper.

Time will tell if stealing a donor list and a documented strategy to deceive school children from the Heritage Institute is the equal of sitting on the wrong bus seat but like I said, in the time that has passed, that analogy of justified civil disobedience only gets stronger not weaker. But look on the bright side.....

A large meteorite may still strike earth and make all that global warming hoo ha go poof. The question is how much you want to put on it. Well Jeff? Are you willing to ante up 500 bucks to see which way the scales tip in ten years? How about you Eric? You clearly both are plenty confident which Eric knows is one of the key factors in identifying the Dunning Kruger effect. There is in fact only one other factor...... I wonder if Eric knows what it is

Bruce Kay said...

Do you need a little help Eric?

I assumed you knew well what you were talking about when you pointed out an example of the Dunning Kruger effect. There are only two factors involved. I told you one already (confidence) and I can, if you wish, tell you the other if you want to know.

I'm glad you mentioned it as without a doubt it is entirely relevant to the blog post. Let me know

Dick Burkhart said...

I know that in a warming world, at higher altitude we could expect increased snowpack due to increased precipitation, with temperatures still cold enough, at least in certain locations. Is there any data on this?

Bruce Kay said...

Gentlemen! One last parting thrust of the sabre in your flank if you don't mind, this being deliciously apropos.


https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/pipeline-protesters-boston-protest-not-guilty-climate-change-karenna-gore-mary-ann-driscoll-a8276851.html


In hindsight, do you think the fine southern judges presiding over the abominable actions of one Rosa Parks might have ruled similarly?

If not and again in hind sight, knowing now what they might not have then, should they have? Assuming of course that they had a suicidal degree of moral courage?

Opus said...

As a scientist, I thought Andres made some excellent points, and I had hoped to see Cliff respond. While expertise in a subject is important, anyone can spot inconsistencies or provide additional context. Importantly, Andres seems to have read the relevant literature that Cliff is using to support his argument, which is a huge step in the right direction and good grounds on which to support his critique.

Meanwhile, your comment could have been improved by actually providing any verifiable claims of substance, rather than vague insinuations regarding someone's motivations and a hyperbolic comparison to... The witch trials? Really?