---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Burton
Date: Mon, Jul 30, 2012 at 4:39 AM
Subject: belated rebuttal to CRC Science Panel lead authors

This article which Willo brought to my attention on Thursday is written by six of the main authors of the CRC Science Panel's 2010 "Assessment Report" and their recent Addendum to it it:

"Commentary: 5 Misconceptions About Sea-Level Rise"
(copied here: http://www.webcitation.org/69XSA8rLX)

I've posted the following reply:

Everyone knows that climatology is a highly politicized field.  So isn't it obvious that for a government report on sea level to have maximum credibility, the group of people who produce it should be bipartisan?

Apparently that wasn't obvious to the CRC.  All six of these authors are Democrats.  All five of the "invited contributors" to the CRC Science Panel's 2010 Assessment Report are also Democrats.  No Republicans had any role in creating the Report.

Is it any wonder that what they produced is a partisan political manifesto rather than a competent scientific report?

Equally remarkable is the apparent obliviousness of these six authors to the pecuniary interests of the insurance companies.  They wrote, "the insurance companies... have funded much research into the science, hazards and risks associated with sea-level rise, coastal erosion and storms."

That should be a gigantic red flag, but these six authors seem blind to it.  In fact, they seem to be boasting about the insurance industry connection, as if they think that adds to the credibility of the alarmist research.

Alarmist predictions of accelerated sea-level rise, increased storm frequency and intensity, etc, are like money in the bank to the insurance companies.  Such predictions justify inflating insurance rates, and squandering Beach Fund money on "reinsurance," both of which pad the pockets of the insurance companies.  So of course insurance companies support the research of the most extreme alarmists they can find, like Rahmstorf.

The CRC Science Panel's Assessment Report is riddled with severe errors.  Like John Droz, I composed a detailed critique of it:

Additionally, I attempted at least twice to contact each of the members of the Science Panel individually, and each of the "invited contributors" who worked on the report.  Only one Science Panel member responded substantively.  None of these six did.

I also traveled to the coast and attended one of the Science Panel's meetings, where I heard Stan Riggs defiantly declare that they should not reassess the Report, but rather build on it.  I spoke with some of the members afterward, repeatedly offering to assist them in improving their Report.

They weren't interested.  My offers of assistance were not rebuffed, they were ignored, as were the detailed criticisms in my critique.  Instead of correcting the pervasive errors in their Report, which Droz and I and others had identified, the CRC Science Panel produced a defensive Addendum, which admitted to no mistakes in the original Report.

The Addendum, too, has striking errors.  For instance, it defends the use of the highly unrepresentative Duck tide gauge, which is severely affected by local land subsidence, in preference to the far superior Wilmington gauge, by saying that Duck "fit the stated criteria of consisting of data records longer than 30 years as of 2006."  But:

1. They only used 24 years of data from Duck, not 30 (note that Wilmington had a far superior 75 year continuous sea level record, which they ignored), and

2. The "stated criteria" in their Report was 50 years, not 30 (they said, on page 6, "tide gauges [which] don't extend back in time more than 50 years [make] it difficult to resolve changes in the rate of rise over the decades"), and

3. The peer-reviewed literature indicates that about 60 years of data (not 24 or 30) is needed to determine a robust trend; see:

Here's a sample quote, from Douglas: "For San Francisco, the longest continuous record (140 years) in the U.S., [Pugh] found that 30 year trends computed anywhere in the entire series varied from -2 to +5 mm per year. Since the low frequency spectral content of the San Francisco record is in no way unusual, his analysis established the inadequacy of even 30 year records."

The only good thing about the Addendum is that it did retreat somewhat from the Report's erroneous assertion that the rate sea level rise has accelerated due to climate change (though it didn't admit that the Report contains that error).

The Report made an apples-to-oranges comparison between tide gauge and satellite data, and concluded that "The rate of MSL rise has increased in response to global warming," which is nonsense.

The Addendum says, "The question of whether or not SLR is currently accelerating is a valid question that warrants continued research."

Neither statement is accurate, but the statement in the Report is more blatantly false than the statement in the Addendum.

The truth, which is very good news for the Coast, but which this partisan panel can't bring themselves to admit, is that ~ 3/4 century of greenhouse gas emissions and climbing CO2 levels have resulted in no increase at all in the rate of sea level rise.  That is the single most important fact that everyone should know about sea level rise, but you won't learn it from the CRC Science Panel's Report or Addendum.