Climategate 2.0: Revkin told freezing and melting alarm not a good PR combo

You’d think Andy Revkin could have figured this out for himself.

From the Climategate 2.0 collection, New York Times “reporter” Andy Revkin is contemplating running with a screwy idea, but Ray Pierrehumbert pulls him back into reality:

I think the notion of telling the public to prepare for both global warming and an ice age at the same creates a real public relations >problem for us.

Ya think?

The e-mail exchange is below.
>===== Original Message From =====
>FYI 3
>—–Original Message—–
>From: John Shepherd []
>Sent: 20 February 2004 12:58
>To: Alex Jackson; Gareth Morgan; Claire Powell; Stephen Powell; Lindsey
>Stones; Ben Ward; Maxwell Gonzales; Mathieu Theron; Helen Luke; Rachel
>Hadfield; Adam Williams
>Subject: Abrupt Climate Change
>Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2004 14:01:49 +0100
>Subject: Re: finally preparing to write an update on prospects for
>Cc: Mark Cane ,
> , ,
> , ,
>To: Andy Revkin , David Lea
>From: “R. T. Pierrehumbert”
>X-Mailer: Apple Mail (2.552)
>X-AntiVirus: Found to be clean
>X-Spam-Status: not spam, SpamAssassin (score=-2.8, required 5,
> BAYES_30 -0.93, EMAIL_ATTRIBUTION -0.50, IN_REP_TO -1.00,
>X-Filter-Version: 1.7 (
>X-MailScanner-SOC: Found to be clean
>X-MailScanner-SOC-SpamCheck: not spam, SpamAssassin (score=-4.8,
>required 5,
> BAYES_00 -4.90, HTML_MESSAGE 0.10)
>Dear Andy,
>I’ll have more to say later about this subject, but here are a few
>preliminary thoughts.
>First, I very much agree with David Lea’s comments
>On Friday, February 13, 2004, at 06:38 AM, David Lea wrote:
> I think the notion of telling the public to prepare for both global
>warming and an ice age at the same creates a real public relations
>problem for us.
>This scenario is based on a lot of sloppy and sensationalistic writing
>by the
>brain guy (Calvin?) who wrote the Atlantic Monthly article, and the fact
>others,like the Beeb I guess, like to have the opportunity to show
>of icebergs floating down the Thames. It’s not absolutely out of the
>question, but given the direct effects of greenhouse gases in warming
>the planet, it’s more likely that a THC shutdown would moderate the
>European warming at the expense of making someplace else in the
>world hotter. Those who lived through the Canicule in Europe last
>would find this scenario appealing, but at the same time the heat wave
>shows that there are other circulation changes (so far not at all
>that could in fact make Europe a very hot place. What kind of
>change could lock Europe into deadly summer heat waves like that
>of last summer? That’s the sort of thing we need to think about.
>The message regarding the lesson of the THC should NOT be “global
>will cause an ice age.” The message should be one about year to year or
>decadal variability, and the way alternation of cold
>with very hot ones will exacerbate the problem of adaptation. Imagine a
>of torrid heat, thirty years of pretty good climate, fifty years of
>early frosts,
>a century of drought, twenty years of flood — that’s the kind of thing
>we need to worry about, not the simple “icebergs in the Thames”
>I think it would be very premature to conclude that the angry beast is
>a creature of cold climates, just because our very feeble present
>understanding of Younger Dryas and D-O events suggests it. I’m
>not even sure that I agree with Richard Alley regarding the claim that
>Vellinga and Wood show that models have an adequate response
>to THC shutdown. We still have to worry about the southern hemisphere
>response, and those New Zealand glaciers are still a thorn in the side
>of the whole theory. There is ample evidence from past climates that
>the real system may be more sensitive to small changes in forcing
>than our current models predict. The southern hemisphere cooling
>during the LGM, and the continuing puzzle of Cretaceous and Eocene
>warm climates are two particular examples that come to mind.
>I don’t think it is even fair to say we understand THC shutdown and the
>conditions for triggering it. Some highly simplified models can be made
>to show a greater sensitivity in cold climates (cf the work cited by
>Mark Cane)
>and while these say something about how the physics could play out,
>3D ocean models have many more ways to re-arrange the ocean circulation
>than simple models do. For that matter, even the sign of THC response
>freshwater dumping is in dispute. It turns out to depend on the supply
>of “mixing energy” and the vertical ocean mixing. J. Nilsson of
>and R. Huang of Woods Hole have excellent work showing you can actually
>change the sign of response depending on what vertical mixing model
>you use.
>Finally, there’s more to life than the THC. Just because the THC is the
>favored theory and the most well worked out for D-O events and YD, that
>mean its the only surprise lurking in the system. My own work shows
>a change in the tropical transient eddy activity can have profound
>warming or
>cooling effects through its influence on water vapor feedback. Nobody’s
>a real “switch” yet involving the tropical Pacific, but I’m not sure we
>have identified the THC switch either, if we didn’t have an example from
>Nature (herself, not the magazine) in front of us. It’s the things we
>HAVE EXAMPLES OF that we need to worry about most.
>I’m on sabbatical in Paris just now, and will be away for the next two
>for winter break travels. Hence only intermittently in contact.
>I’ll try to check in on the evolution of this discussion from time to
>time. A
>good Science Times article on the true perils of abrupt change and the
>angry beast would be very salutary.
>–Ray Pierrehumbert

Asher Minns
Communication Manager
Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Tel: 07880 547843 / 01603 593906

2 thoughts on “Climategate 2.0: Revkin told freezing and melting alarm not a good PR combo”

  1. “I think the notion of telling the public to prepare for both global warming and an ice age at the same creates a real public relations >problem for us.”

    For us???

    Okay, so he is not a reporter. He is “fighting” for a cause. And the cause? Most likely against “capitalism”. In other words, against democracy, individual freedom, free markeds. A socialist, IMHO.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.