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Satellites and global warming II

August 26th, 2002

Ken Parish responds to my post on satellites, making a small but important error in doing so. He attributes the view I quoted to the IPCC then makes the reasonable point that, just because you are one of the 2000 scientists who worked on the report doesn’t mean you endorse everything in it. In fact, the statement I quoted was from the report of a panel assembled by the US National of Academy of Sciences specifically to examine the issue of the apparent discrepancy between satellite and ground data. It had 15 members, one of whom was John Christy. Judging by Christy’s evidence to the US Senate, cited by Ken, Christy would not have written exactly the same report as that of the panel, but he signed his name to it nonetheless, and did not append any dissenting notes as he could have done if he wished. I don’t think it’s “fast and loose” to quote a joint report on a specific topic as evidence of one author’s views on that topic.
To illustrate my point about the fragility of arguments based on short time series take a look at the graph (Fig 1) in Christy’s evidence and drop out the first five years. Even eyeballing it, you can see that the discrepancy between the trends would just about disappear. (As drawn, the level of the satellite data is lower, but that’s a graph artifact).

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