Thursday, October 21, 2004

Technology Review: Global Warming Bombshell

Is the fact that this work debunking a primary theory of global warming was rejected by the journal Nature indicative of the Bush administration standing in the way of scientific inquiry? Just curious. Hey Professor Vic, this link is to an MIT related website - that good enough for ya?
Technology Review: Global Warming Bombshell


Blogger Professor Vic said...

Without question an interesting article. Of course, one unpublished article that refutes the results of one study of global warming doesn't debunk the science of global warming.

As someone who has had entirely correct articles rejected because of length or perceived relevance, I understand the frustration of the authors, but it's not necessarily a signal of forces at work to crush dissent.

Just to sum up the article that may or may not have been unfairly denied publication in one single journal, here goes.

It is a fact that global temperatures has risen over the past 100 or so years, corresponding to the time period over which the burning of fossil fuels has become common. The question is whether this big rise is statistically significant and unusual or whether temperatures rise and fall all of the time. A previous article in Nature studying tree rings used statistical analysis to suggest that over the past 500 years, temperatures have been pretty constant until the past 100 years.

The new authors find a tehcnical flaw in the statistical technique used by the authors to estimate old temperatures. While they don't refute the empirical data that shows rising temperatures, they suggest that the previous procedure doesn't really establish that temperatures prior to detailed, recorded history were really relatively constant.

So, global warming has occurred, but it's not clear whether this global warming is unusual or not, unlike the conclusions of the previous research which concluded that it is definitely unusual.

Publishable for sure, but not necessarily publishable in Nature, and not a complete refutation of the theory of global warming.

8:51 AM  

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