date: Fri Jul 30 12:51:26 1999
from: Mike Hulme <m.hulmeatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: Re: WWF Australia
to: Adam Markham <Adam.MarkhamatXYZxyzUS.ORG>
Yes, Barrie and I have some email traffic about this over the last few days and the resolution of the issue is summarised in Barrie's final email to me attached below.
Without going into detail I am making some minor changes to the methodology to account for Barrie's concerns. I hope this keeps both CSIRO, WWF-Australia and us all happy!
Michael Rae has also promised some other comments for Australia.
We could do with any comments you have for China especially. Our translator is itching to go!
I am running into problems on another matter also (quite apart from the contract which still hasn't been signed!). The US HoR Science Committee - the Chair called James Sensenbrenner - have complained to Bob Watson about Tom Wigley's use of the preliminary new IPCC SRES emissions scenarios in his Pew Centre report. They think it breaks IPCC rules since these scenarios are not approved. They are also complaining about other procedural issues.
We (that is WGI LAs at least) have authorisation from the IPCC Bureau to use these prelim. emissions scenarios in our science and to translate them into climate change and impacts where possible. The wording of acknowledgement needs to carefully say these are not IPCC-approved and we are encouraged to publish results in peer-reviewed outlets rather than others.
Since I am using the SRES emissions for WWF I am now getting a little jumpy, especially if they make a splash at COP5 in Bonn.
This is not really your problem, but I thought I should mention it to you. I hope I can, with careful wording, get round the problem. I may even leave out all mention of SRES and IPCC - what do you think?
Thank you for your careful consideration of my "trenchant comments". I
am now much happier with what you are doing, and indeed grateful for
your hard work and enterprise is getting the new scenarios out so
quickly for both IPCC and WWF. Shifting to a one standard deviation is
certainly an improvement, along with some discussion of possible changes
in extremes. I fully appreciate that analysis of daily output is a
time-consuming future task, but meantime an appropriate caveat is
needed. Maybe an additional upfront paragraph discussion of the very
issues we have discussed re providing best estimates of changes, even if
their statistical detectability can only be established after a long
time period has elapsed, would be useful?
I should perhaps explain my delicate position in all this. As a retired
CSIRO person I have somewhat more independence than before, and perhaps
a reduced sense of vested interest in CSIRO, but I am still closely in
touch and supportive of what CAR is doing. Also, I have a son who is now
a leading staff member of WWF in Australia and who is naturally well
informed on climate change issues. Moreover, Michael Rae, who is their
local climate change staffer, is a member of the CSIRO sector advisory
committee (along with some industry people as well) and well known to
me. So I anticipated questions from WWF Australia, and from the media
later when the scenarios are released, regarding the scenarios. I did
not want to be in the position of feeling the need to seriously question
in public their presentation or interpretation. You have allayed my
fears on that score, so that is great.
Roger may still follow up with some more detailed comments he is
collating from people in CAR.
At 09:43 29/07/99 -0400, you wrote:
>I'm sure you will get some comments direct from Mike Rae in WWF
>Australia, but I wanted to pass on the gist of what they've said to me so
>They are worried that this may present a slightly more conservative
>approach to the risks than they are hearing from CSIRO. In particular,
>they would like to see the section on variability and extreme events
>beefed up if possible. They regard an increased likelihood of even 50%
>of drought or extreme weather as a significant risk. Drought is also a
>particularly importnat issue for Australia, as are tropical storms.
>I guess the bottom line is that if they are going to go with a big public
>splash on this they need something that will get good support from
>CSIRO scientists (who will certainly be asked to comment by the press).
>One paper they referred me to, which you probably know well is:
>"The Question of Significance" by Barrie in Nature Vol 397, 25 Feb 1999,
>Let me know what you think. Adam