19 January 2010

More on IPCC and The Glacier Flap

Rajendra Pachauri, IPCC chair, responds directly to the flap over the error on Himalayan glacier melting in the IPCC report:
The chairman of the UN's panel of climate scientists defended his Nobel-winning group on Tuesday against criticism that it had erroneously forecast an early disappearance of the Himalayan glaciers.

A section of a 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the probability of glaciers in the Himalayas "disappearing by the year 2035 and perhaps sooner is very high."

IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri, addressing reporters at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, said that even if the remarks on Himalayan glaciers is incorrect, it does not undermine evidence supporting the existence of climate change.

"Theoretically, let's say we slipped up on one number, I don't think it takes anything away from the overwhelming scientific evidence of what's happening with the climate of this earth," he said.

"I've never used that figure in any of my talks, because I think it's not for the IPCC to make predictions of outcomes or dates. We always give ranges, and that's scientifically the way to do it. We always give ... scenarios of what might happen."

Pachauri, whose panel was harshly criticised by India's environment minister, said the IPCC will respond to the criticism by the end of the week.

"Before the end of the week, we will certainly come to a position and make it known. We are looking into the source of that information, the veracity of it and what it is that the IPCC should say on the subject." . . .

Responding to a question, Pachauri said he feels he is being attacked personally over the potential flaw.

But he put a positive spin on the situation, saying: "You know, you can't attack the science, so attack the chair of the IPCC."

When the issue was raised in a report by the Indian government late last year, Dr. Pachauri had this to say:
The environment ministry on Monday published a discussion paper stating that there was no conclusive evidence to prove that the Himalayan glaciers are melting due to climate change.

The report, released by Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh, however, made it clear that the views expressed by the author, Dr V K Raina, retired deputy director-general of the Geological Survey of India, are not that of the Union government and that it is meant to "stimulate discussion". . .

Dr Pachauri, when contacted by TOI for a response to the discussion paper, said, "I'd like to find out the secret source of this divine intervention... I don't understand the logic of this... I am puzzled where this magical science has come from... This is something indefensible."

When asked if the discussion paper could be taken into consideration in the on-going round of scientific review by IPCC, he said, "IPCC studies only peer-review science. Let someone publish the data in a decent credible publication. I am sure IPCC would then accept it, otherwise we can just throw it into the dustbin."
For his part Dr. Raina is now asking for an apology from the IPCC:
India's senior-most glaciologist V K Raina today said the chief of the UN climate body should apologise to the scientist fraternity for dubbing their work on melting of Himalayan glaciers as "voodoo science".

Raina's demand comes even as the UN body, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC) headed by R K Pachauri, deliberates on retracting its statement on Himalayan glaciers melting.

"The IPCC had dumped our report that the glaciers have not retreated abnormally. Now, with the truth out in open, the IPCC should dump its own report which was based on mere speculation," Raina told PTI.
Still more to come, no doubt.