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Sunday, March 11, 2007


According to the Independent one of the contributors to Thursdays Global Warming Swindle programme has denounced it.
Professor Wunsch said: "I am angry because they completely misrepresented me. My views were distorted by the context in which they placed them. I was misled as to what it was going to be about. I was told about six months ago that this was to be a programme about how complicated it is to understand what is going on. If they had told me even the title of the programme, I would have absolutely refused to be on it. I am the one who has been swindled."

Here , courtesy of Global Warming Hyperbole, is what he said.
Professor Wunsch:
25:43 The ocean is the major reservoir into which carbon dioxide goes when it comes out of the atmosphere or to from which it is re-emitted to the atmosphere. If you heat the surface of the ocean, it tends to emit carbon dioxide. Similarly, if you cool the ocean surface, the ocean can dissolve more carbon dioxide.

Professor Wunsch:
26:44 - The ocean has a memory of past events ugh running out as far as 10,000 years. So for example, if somebody says oh I'm seeing changes in the North Atlantic, this must mean that the climate system is changing, it may only mean that something happened in a remote part of the ocean decades or hundreds of years ago who's effects are now beginning to show up in the North Atlantic.

In this portion of the film, the professor is speaking about the complexity of climate models and how their results can be greatly influenced by the input data they are given.

Professor Wunsch:
49:22 - The models are so complicated, you can often adjust them is such a way that they do something very exciting.

Professor Wunsch:
50:46 - Even within the scientific community you see, it's a problem. If I run a complicated model and I do something to it like ugh melt a lot of ice into the ocean and nothing happens, ugh it's not likely to get printed. But if I run the same model, and I adjust it in such a way that something dramatic happens to the ocean circulation like the heat transport turns off, ugh it will be published. People will say this is very exciting. It will even get picked by the media. So there is a bias, there's is a very powerful bias within the media, and within the science community itself, toward results which are ugh dramatizable. If Earth freezes over, that's a much more interesting story than saying well you know it ugh fluctuates around, sometimes the mass flux goes up by 10%, sometimes it goes down by 20%, but eventually it comes back. Well you know, which would you do a story on? That's what it's about.

It seems either 1 of 2 things have happened. Either this statement really was faked in some way or the professor has been nobbled. Perhaps advised by his univesity Dean that he had bloody well better dissociate himself from it. I don't believe it was, or indeed practically could have been which leaves us only with the second option. The fact that his complaint is partly about the title of the film also suggests that it is not that he was bamboozled into saying anything untrue but merely that he is being scared off any public discussion at all.

Which rather proves the point he makes about intrinsic establishment bias & that many others have made about it being extremely difficult to withstand the pressure being brought to bear on scientists.

If so the Dean (or whoever has been leaning on him) has no place in an institution at least nominally committed to academic freedom. Unfortunately academic freedom is becoming an outdated concept.

The interview with that chap was the only bit of the film I saw. What he said seemed measured and rational to me. It did, perhaps, have an air of the sort of sceptical and proportionate remarks that some scientists are perhaps happier to make in private rather than in public, but he knew the cameras were running so I just assumed that he had more courage than most. What a pity that the Indie says that he claims to feel misled. He doesn't seem to claim that the film-makers edited his words unfairly though; his complaint seems to be about the context they were set in.
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