In an interesting development nineteen scientists who know their way around the Amazon have issued a strong statement contesting the BU press release flacking a recent paper by the Myneni group (Ear tip to Joe Romm)
The press release from Boston University describing a recent article in the journal Geophysical Research Letters by BU researchers on the response of Amazon forests to the 2005 drought is misleading and inaccurate. It claims that the study “debunks myths about Amazon rainforests”, which is simply not true. First, there is no myth. Rather, there are multiple, consistent lines of evidence from ground--‐based studies published in the peer--reviewed literature that Amazon forests are, indeed, very susceptible to drought stress. Second, nothing is debunked by the new study. The new study contributes to our understanding of interpretations of data retrieved from satellites, but it does not prove or disprove anything about what is really happening on the ground. The BU press release also claims that the new BU paper demonstrates that the IPCC statement about the sensitivity of Amazon forests to small reductions in rainfall is inaccurate, which is also not true. While the IPCC statement could be criticized for citing a review paper rather than original research papers, the main conclusion of the IPCC statement – that Amazonian forests are very susceptible to reductions in rainfall – remains our best understanding of the data available at the time of the IPCC report and also today.among the interesting signers are Simon Lewis, who took out after the press release at Real Climate, and encountered a rather disingenuous reply from the first author, and Myneni's graduate student Arindam Samanta, but also George Woodwell. Woodwell, as those of you young enough to retain some short term memory may recall, was one of the National Academy types that Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute tried to cower by releasing their emails. Eli remarked that Ebell might have stirred up a hornet's nest.
Pass the popcorn