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Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming Paperback – Nov 28 2005

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Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming convincingly demonstrates the remarkable differences between what we commonly read about global warming and what is really happening. ... Anyone who reads this book will come away with a new appreciation of the complexity of the climate issue and will question the need for expensive policies that are likely to have little or no detectable effect on the planet's temperature. (Science Daily)

Eleven essayists skillfully contradict and disassemble many false assumptions within the science of global warming as well as methodology used to warn world governments of catastrophic futures. Recommended. (CHOICE)

About the Author

Patrick J. Michaels is research professor of environmental sciences at University of Virginia, state climatologist for Virginia, and senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute in Washington DC. His Bachelor's and Master's degrees are in Biological Sciences from the University of Chicago, and he was awarded a PhD in Ecological Climatology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1979. Dr. Michaels is past president of the American Association of State Climatologists and was program chair for the Committee on Applied Climatology of the American Meteorological Society. Dr. Michaels is author of four books and hundreds of technical and popular articles on climate and its impact on ecosystems and economies. In 1994 he was awarded the American Library Associations 'best government publications worldwide' citation, and was an author of the 2003 'Paper of the Year' in climate science awarded by the Association of American Geographers.

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383 of 424 people found the following review helpful
Excellent scientific foundation. The issue is far more uncertain than the Media states. Aug. 7 2006
By Gaetan Lion - Published on
Format: Paperback
Patrick J. Michaels is the most famous global warming skeptic, but he is not alone. The book consists of ten chapters written by ten different scientists who focus on specific aspects of global warming including: temperature and precipitation forecasts, volatility of weather patterns, the impact of El Nino, impact of rising temperature on human health, impact of CO2 concentration on rising temperature.

The second chapter outlines how a scientist manipulated the underlying variables to create the "hockey stick" suggesting temperature levels are highest for the past millennium. The scientist who created this hockey stick pattern refused to share the data and explain his methodology when he was asked. This scientist purposely overweighed a variable to create the hockey stick effect. The author of the chapter uncovers how the scientific peer review process is bankrupt. A scientist is free to manipulate the data so as to create a fictitious hockey stick that is at the foundation of the global warming paradigm. In the business world, such behavior (manipulation of financial record) would get a CFO in jail. The author makes the case that due diligence requirements (audits) should apply to the scientific world as well.

The third chapter on the poor quality of global temperature record is also excellent. Global temperatures have risen by 0.7 degree Celsius over the past century. But, nearly half of this increase may be due to several upward biases that have caused temperatures to be underestimated during the first half of the 20th century. These biases include the change in thermometer technology and their physical casing that captured ambient heat differently and the urban heat island effect.

The fourth chapter explaining how the cooling of the stratosphere is totally inconsistent with the CO2 global warming hypothesis is fascinating. Chapter 10 expands on the inconsistency of the relationship between CO2 concentration and rise in temperature. In Earth's recent history, we have had periods with much warmer temperatures (6 degree Celsius higher than now) yet with CO2 concentration 20% below current levels. We also have had global cooling with rising CO2 levels. So, at this stage we have no scientific reason to believe there is a reliable relationship between CO2 levels and temperature.

Elsewhere in the book, the scientists explain how the climatic system is extremely sensitive so as to be impossible to model with current knowledge. An error in precipitation of only 0.1 inch equates to an error of 1.77 degree Fahrenheit. Yet, our models are all over the place on precipitation predictions. Similarly, just a 4% increase in stratus clouds formation would counteract any effect from a doubling in CO2 concentration. Yet, we can't model cloud formation so far. Thus, global circulation models (GCM) are incredibly unreliable.

Surprisingly, you don't read any of the above in the press. The science is nuanced and uncertain. The press conveys just the opposite. They suggest our fate is certain and sealed in a toaster unless we change our civilization as we know it. But, that's politics. You got to study the science to counter the daily media obfuscating noise. If you like this book, I also strongly recommend Patrick J. Michaels "Meltdown."
143 of 166 people found the following review helpful
By Joel M. Kauffman - Published on
Format: Paperback
Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming is edited by Prof. of Climate Science Patrick J. Michaels of University of Virginia, who was the State Climatologist of VA and has held other responsible postions in climatology, so he is no outsider to the field. The book has 10 chapters, 9 by authors other than Michaels. There is an adequate index and academic referencing, mostly to refereed journals.

The overal theme is to reveal the flaws in the 2001 Report of the Intergovermental Panel on Climate Change, which is accomplished many times over. This is especially valuable at this moment because we are between the release of the Summary for Policymakers of the 2007 Report and the delayed main body of the Report. Misleading and incomplete statements in the Summary abound, and are dealt with in whole chapters, which cover Michael E. Mann's deceptive temperature record of the past 1000 years, the tendency of warming predictions from modeling to exaggerate warming, the failure of the atmosphere to lead surface temperatures, the failure of hurricane frequency predictions, the lack of any basis for scares on moderate global warming, the correlation of what little warming there is with solar output and solar effect on cosmic rays, themselves affecting cloud formation, and the failure of climate models to allow for the effects of cloud formation.

To take one deception in detail, the Mann graph of temps from 1000-2000 AD was deliberately manufactured to eliminate the Little Ice Age (1450-1850) and the Medieval Warm Period (940-1450) that was warmer than now even though CO2 levels were much lower than now. This graph, without even its original error bars, has been presented by innumerable climate zealots as fact without admitting that two Canadians, Essex & McKitrick, worked out the flaws in it to the point where the Editor of Nature, in which the graph was first published, ordered a "correction of error" by Mann to be published, which was done incompletely.

If this book has a problem, it may be too technical for many readers, in which case A Politically Incorrect Guide to Global Warming and Environmentalism by Christopher C. Horner, 2007 and Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years by S. Fred Singer and Dennis T. Avery, 2006, are strongly recommended.
42 of 51 people found the following review helpful
The inconvenient truth about An Inconvenient Truth Aug. 6 2007
By Gordon Willms - Published on
Format: Paperback
I highly recommend this book. But I suspect that this book will not appeal to most readers. There's none of the intense hyperbole that infects both global warming fanatics and many of their deniers. There are no grand apocalyptic scenarios that garner such strong public appeal. No terrifying future, no living on the brink of disaster. Only quiet nuanced science from those who spend their life in research. One suspects that the politics of global warming has now superseded the science and sad to say, when politics enters the room, truth shuffles its way into the background. This is unfortunate since there are many things about the environment with which we should be concerned - not the least being our consumption of non renewable resources. My fervent hope is that we can move past the exaggerated apocalypse of global warming while addressing the necessary issues of the environment - i.e., the rest of the environment aside from climate change.
In this case of Shattered Consensus, all ten contributors are scientists and experts in their field. Each chapter, and scientific report, covers a separate and distinct aspect of climate. This is really a collection of reports, not a coherent "story". Each contributor has their own style, some being more accessible than others. They present the science as they understand it and in that regard the average reader may find the information dry, or indeed undecipherable. Most of the ten authors include a short conclusion which may be helpful for those unwilling to plow through the science. Nonetheless the reader is left in the end overwhelmed not by the certainty of any position, but by the staggering uncertainty in all aspects related to this Earth's climate. Our ability to measure past trends in climate are dependent on woefully scant data. Our ability to project future trends have no unambiguous models yet. In fact, the variability of the results of the different models are so big as to render them basically useless for anything other than further research. They certainly shouldn't be used to make definitive statements as to future trends. The effects of CO2 are still highly uncertain with some models suggesting no impact and some observations linking CO2 to an indicator of climate change not a driver - i.e., CO2 changes as a result of climate change, not the other way around. Much more research is needed to understand why these discrepancies are observed. Even if global warming is happening, and even if CO2 is at least partly to blame, the impact of global warming in some scenarios is actually beneficial to not only humans, but to some species. Indeed, in all of Earth's history through warming and cooling periods, some species benefit and other lose.
The reader is left with the question, since scientists tell us that the unknowns vastly outweigh the things that are known about climate, what should our policy decisions making framework be based on. Is seems to me that we need to base it on what is known. Air quality, water quality, land use, availability of non renewable resources, are all things we can measure and for which policies can be made. Having a single enemy (CO2, in this case) is certainly more appealing and simple for the average consumer to understand. But simple is not always best.
It should be noted that none of these scientists is involved in the petroleum industry (a favorite disclaimer by those wanting to discredit the validity of anyone critical of global warming science). Some have even been involved in the IPCC directly (the UN Intergovernmental protocol on climate change). Scientists are by nature a conservative lot. A hypothesis lasts as long as the next set of experiments that disprove it, or tenuously as long as further experiments continue to confirm it. Most scientists don't seek a public profile and most are uncomfortable playing the role of a nay-sayer, especially in the face of such publicly popular resources as Al Gore's an Inconvenient Truth. I will rely on the scientific truth to work its way to the surface. I just hope we don't waste too much in the way of public funds on chasing windmills when there are so many important issues in this world that need attention.
133 of 170 people found the following review helpful
Quite a Collection Nov. 9 2006
By Herbert Sweat - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a collection of information on many different aspects of the Global Warming situation. There were chapters that made my blood boil with excitement, and this is nonfiction! I took this book along on a cruise and alternated the chapters with fiction, but each chapter is interesting in its own way. I am now retired, but for many years I was an Earth Science teacher using a video titled, The Greenhouse Conspiracy. That was quite a film, but it is a bit dated and I was wondering if things had changed. Shattered Consensus says no, things haven't changed since that movie was made.
42 of 57 people found the following review helpful
Sample of Scientific Discussions March 14 2007
By G. Elliot - Published on
Format: Paperback
Interesting series of papers on topics of ongoing discussion regarding global warming. The title is a bit overblown, but I guess it matches the assumption, so often printed over and over in the media, that there is a consensus on global warming (or more correctly, human-caused global warming). There's lots of citations given and places to dig into this as deep as you want. I particularly like the part about trying to develop some sort of heat balance between the earth's surface, the various layers in the atmosphere, and the universe to which the earth radiates heat, and all the unexplained measurement error and missing information associated with that.

There was allusion to the plans to try to "Command and Control" the world's economy, based on averting global warming, basically concluding that nothing we can do will change the outcome much anyway, at least in any predictable way. It makes one wonder if the global warming phenomena is being used as a pretext to try "Command and Control" again. This book does not really get into that, but does give a taste of endless unresolved topics associated with global warming.