Friday, March 19, 2010

Mad as Hell

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


Ben Lawson said...

This denialist jab at the IPCC is like a extra-hot chili dinner. Just when they thought they'd slipped away from the heat, it returns...

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

We are so screwed. Feedback after feedback worse than expected.

No ecosystem will survive a multi decadal drought unscathed. I must admit survive is a dubious term in the circumstance.

People care more about the Aspen. So SAD.

Gamma is rising.

Little Mouse

Anonymous said...

FFS writes: They say "...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..."

This supports the IPCC Warmers case how? There has been no exceptional reduction in rainfall. What they say in the text is entirely consistent with "no problem". FFS

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 6:49,

Read Dai et al. (2004, J. Clim.). Also read Burke et al. (2006, J. Hydromet.).

Just two examples.

WHat they say in the statement is not consistent with "no problem". You really are deluding yourself.


Anonymous said...

Talking of "Mad as hell". Has Eli seen this from ClimatProgress?

"The material that we supplied to some recent FOIA requests was promptly posted on a website, and within minutes after that posting someone found that one of the e-mails included information about how to access Makiko Sato’s password-protected research directory on the GISS website (we had not noticed this due to the volume of material). Within 90 minutes, and before anyone else who saw this password information thought it worth reporting to GISS staff, most if not all of the material in Makiko’s directory was purloined by someone using automated “web harvesting” software and re-posted elsewhere on the web. The primary material consisted of numerous drafts of webpage graphics and article figures made in recent years."


Neven said...

It is all Makiko Sato's own fault. I think he should step down.

Another climate scientist down, 24,923 left to go.

It's much easier to get those trees in the Amazon down. Gotta match?

dhogaza said...

"This supports the IPCC Warmers case how? There has been no exceptional reduction in rainfall. What they say in the text is entirely consistent with "no problem". FFS"

Hilarious, Watts posts a piece stating that there's no increased drought trend in the US, and one of his idiot followers shows up here thinking it's relevant to the Amazon.

EliRabett said...

Makiko Sato is a lady. This is an excellent reason for rejecting all further FOI requests for Email

Anonymous said...

FFS says: Thge IPCC's own report now says "However, the lack of long-term records of daily temperature and rainfall in most of tropical South America does not allow for any conclusive evidence of trends in extreme events in regions such as Amazonia.... Chapter 11, Section 11.6 of the Working Group I Fourth Assessment Report (Christensen et al., 2007) acknowledges that little research is available on extremes of temperature and precipitation for this region."

dhogaza and anon6:49, you are a pair of credulous idiots, unable to profer any defensible argument outside the safety of Closed Minds and Real Dimwit sites.

Anonymous said...

Says scaredy mouse:

What I see here are two articles (Samanta and Saleska) that highlight a new research tool. But then the authors use their "example" data to try and answer an important ecological question for which they have a single year of data and no supporting ground work.

This added ecological puff-stuff should have been shot down and removed by peer-review.

Hank Roberts said...

Er, scaredymouse, you might want to actually read the papers before declaring that "et al. and Saleska" lacked ground truth.

Someone's misstating the facts.
It appears to be you.

"... In contrast to intact forests, areas converted to pasture showed dry-season declines in EVI-derived photosynthetic capacity, presumably because removal of deep-rooted forest trees reduced access to deep soil water. Local canopy photosynthesis measured from eddy flux towers in both a rainforest and forest conversion site confirm our interpretation of satellite data, and suggest that basin-wide carbon fluxes can be constrained by integrating remote sensing and local flux measurements.
Citation: Huete, A. R.,
K. Didan, Y. E. Shimabukuro, P. Ratana, S. R. Saleska, L. R.
Hutyra, W. Yang, R. R. Nemani, and R. Myneni (2006), Amazon
rainforests green-up with sunlight in dry season, Geophys. Res.
Lett., 33, L06405, doi:10.1029/2005GL025583

Hank Roberts said...

P.S., do some of those coauthors' names look familiar?

Hank Roberts said...

PS, point being there are far more than just two articles on this same area, drawing in part at least on the same data set, with some overlapping authorship. If anyone cares to do a nice 3-dimensional plot using geographic area described/coauthors/data sources, it might be an interesting study of overlaps and explain to the nonscientist readers how data can be mined for maximum number of publications, with discussion of how careers are created for one's graduate students and how graduate students, well, this would make it a four-dimensional plot if you add in grad students' PR methodology *cough*Hannity*cough*.

Neven said...

Makiko Sato is a woman? I thought Dr. Pinker was a man as well!

Michael Tobis said...

For what it's worth.

I’ve heard someone, Dr. Rong Fu IIRC, talk about the greening thing.

The prevailing idea is that water-stressed trees die in a drought, but less water stressed trees get more sunlight and can afford to take advantage of it with a growth spurt.

Of course, long term drought is bad for rain forests. Sort of obvious. That’s why they are called “rain” forests. They don’t grow in the arid regions, do they? I wouldn’t think you'd need IPCC's help to figure that out, actually.