There was an interesting preview paper published back in January by by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman. It sheds light on how the scientists who work in the field view the probability of climate change happening. It is pretty clear from the results that those closest to the data and who know the factors making up climate have a very strong consensus. The more you know, the more sure you are that we have a problem.
The objective of our study presented here is to assess the scientific consensus on climate change through and unbiased survey of a large and broad group of Earth scientists.
The two out of 9 questions in the preview were reported
In the survey, 90% answered ‘risen’ to the first question, and 82% to the second. The specialists amongst this already specialist group are the 79 climatologists who had recently published in this field in peer-reviewed papers. They answered 96.2% as ‘risen’ to the first question, and 97.4% as ‘yes’ to the second.
As someone who did a BSc in Earth Sciences in the early 80’s when rapid human induced climate change was a hypothesis, these are the people that I respect talking on the subject. By nature they are far more skeptical than the CCD’s (climate change deniers), and certainly have more ability to come up with alternate rational hypothesis. Those have been looked at and discarded. This process is what science does. Because of the seriousness of this hypothesis, it has been intensively studied and now has a consensus amongst those knowledgeable in the area that is probably higher than almost any other area of science, amongst those who study the area.
This type of survey is long overdue. That is because one of the favorite tactics of the organized CCD’s has been to say that there is no consensus. To ensure there is not, they attempt to hijack surveys or make up their own documents co-opting names almost randomly. There have been some very annoyed scientists finding their name and reputations added to documents that they did participate in and would not have agreed to.
The survey hijacking was reported at RealClimate.org last year.
They [the surveyors] have unfortunately not always been as successful as one might like problems have ranged from deciding who is qualified to respond; questions that were not specific enough or that could be interpreted in very different ways; to losing control of who answered the questionnaire (one time the password and website were broadcast on a mailing list of climate ‘sceptics’).
In this survey, the majority of those surveyed were in the US and Canada. The survey was online and one-time use invitations were sent to 10,257 people working in the field of earth sciences. It received 3146 participants (30.7%) – a typical response rate for web surveys.
While the respondent’s names are kept private, the authors noted that the survey included participants with well-documented dissenting opinions on global warming theory.
So for the moment this is probably as clear a picture as can be gained of the consensus amongst earth scientists.
These are the types of people that the politicians should be listening to. Not that rather strange set of ‘scientists’ that Act brought to the select committee on the ETS or outright scientific illiterates like Ian Wishart* Those CCD’s don’t have peer-reviewed papers on the subject and largely not even working in the area of earth sciences. Their opinion is essentially worthless except as a purely political consideration – they show we need more scientific education. #
I’ll look forward to seeing the full results in a subsequent paper
hat-tip: Open Parachute
* After reading Ian Wishart you realize that he has no idea of what peer-reviewed scientific papers are. A lot of the papers that he quotes are ‘peer-reviewed’ by other nutters like himself. His latest ‘freezine’ “Climate Reality” seems to show as much disregard for copyright. On the front-page he has reproduced a article from the New Scientist. As well as obviously misinterpreting it (by context), I suspect that he didn’t pay for it.
# This paragraph was mofified after reading some comments which show a clear and inherent misunderstanding of scientific processes.