Re: A picture's worth a thousand words - or - who do you love
Posted by DA Morgan on May 02, 2002 at 23:53
Re: A picture's worth a thousand words - or - who do you love (bobbapink)
"Which dataset are they relying on? Do they have political agendas? Finanicial stakes are, after all, not the stakes in the game."
and I'd like to address this:
1. Which dataset are they relying on?
Sometimes their own. Sometimes review work based on multiple datasets. It depends. But what is absolutely essential to the peer review process is that independent researchers ... meaning those who they compete with for grant money ... see their work as meaningful. No one will sign on as a reviewer and approve something that is trash or they will never review another paper again for a reputable journal.
2. Do they have political agendas?
Everyone has a political agenda. My dog has a political agenda ... he will lick my hand in the hope of getting another doggy bone. The only people who don't have an agenda are either dead and buried.
That said ... the political agenda of the author is not relevant when you consider it in light of the peer review process: That is why it exists. If a researcher's work is too politicized or too supportive of the position of a funding source it likely will not be published without modification.
3. Finanicial stakes are, after all, not the stakes in the game."
You are correct. The reseachers get paid the same number of dollars ... either by their university to teach or by contract with a supporting organization no matter what position they take if they take one at all. There is, if anything, less money if GreenPeace is writing the check than there is if Exxon is writing the check.
It is too simplistic to say which dataset is best and here is why. Lets say satellites measure ground temperature and ocean surface temperature. Fine. Balloon's measure air temperature. Fine. I can't remember what the third one was but it will measure whatever it measures. You can't draw a conclusion by comparing them anymore than that stupid example of the fireplace I used could lead to an intelligent solution. What you must do is determine what percentage of the energy arriving at the earth from multiple sources (volcanos, geysers, deep sea vents, solar radiation) is radiated into space. Whatever doesn't leave the planet can only heat it up. And it is not just a question of the ocean surface is getting warmer because the mass of the ocean surface is nearly irrelevant when compared to the mass of the ocean below 100 ft. which is invisible to any form of measurement short of 'being there'. It takes the entire data set. Satellite, balloon, ground temperature, submarine measurement, etc. to make an intelligent determination.
So the melting of an antarctic ice shelf is indicative but not enough. The recession rates of alpine glaciers is indicative but not enough. The movement of flora and fauna north and south from the tropics to more temperate latitudes is indicative but no enough.
But together ... they are more than enough.
Remember I have said global warming is a fact. I have not said that we know the cause. We as humans will suffer even if we can not point a finger of blame.
Post a Followup