date: Fri Dec 3 09:51:51 2004
from: Phil Jones <p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk>
subject: Re: Your IPCC thoughts for UCAR Highlights
to: "Bob Henson" <bhensonatXYZxyzr.edu>
Reply brief as we're at the stage of trying to get the zeroth-order draft
together for Dec 15.
Despite most of my fellow scientists thinking I've been involved in the
IPCC process before, this time for AR4 is my first. The main benefit is
that the science produces an assessment (and associated summaries)
for the govts and policy types. As an aside it produces an excellent book
for teaching (when combined with earlier assessments, as each new one
is an update and not from scratch). Improvements this time will be
FAQs for 1-3 issues per chapter. Side boxes were in last time and will be
continued this time. These are very useful to give detail of techniques
without upsetting the flow.
As Kevin may have said to you, we have a very mixed bag of LAs in
our chapter. Being the basic atmos obs. one, we've picked up a
number of people from developing countries so IPCC can claim
good geographic representation. This has made our task harder as
CLAs as we are working with about 50% good people who can write
reasonable assessments and 50% who probably can't. Getting them all
involved has been a challenge, and we've not really succeeded.
Our LAs are unlikely to cause us much of a problem. Problems will
start when the first order draft (after our next meeting in May) goes
our for review by all and sundry (any scientists anywhere) - sometime
in the late summer. This is when the skeptics and scientists who'll
think we've misrepresented or ignored their views get a chance to
tell us. We have to respond to all. We have an excellent group of
Review Editors to help us here - when we meet in NZ in Dec 05.
I expect that will be an interesting meeting. Getting our less
good LAs involved will be an issue. Susan Solomon is keen for
them to be involved, but many lack global perspectives and a
sense of what the big issues are.
Issues are (and could have been predicted before we started) :
1. How much has the world warmed? Errors attached to all observations.
Issues of representativeness - why urbanizaton and land-use changes are
not that important. A small group of skeptics will likely have a go at us
on this. I hope we have all our bases covered.
2. Surface warming yet lower troposphere not warming as much. A US
report (CCSP) Kevin can tell about will help here, but our likely conclusion
that this issue is resolved will likely come in for lots of flak. Explaining
why we think we're right will be the biggest issue - making sense of
diverse datasets and saying why we think some are right and some
3. Extremes. There is a lot more information out there this time from
initiatives made by earlier assessments. Bringing all this together is the
challenge here, and saying defensible statements.
4. We have a chance this time to go into a lot more detail about
indices (ENSO,NAO etc) and their roles.
We will be endorsing GCOS initiatives to improve the network
and saying that reanalyses in the future have to really consider
issues of changing data inputs. They can do this by running periods
with/without specific datasets to see effects. Getting people to think
this way is coming, but resources are an issue. Computers getting
faster,but we must use this to address the above issues,rather than
using the additional speed to improve resolution. We can do both
but we need good planning and it will all take time.
If you want to clarify anything then email me again.
We are 7 hours ahead and I tend to work 8 till 4.30 which
makes catching me difficult.You can call me at home
say 7-9pm (UK, so noon-2pm yours) most nights (except
Tuesday and Fridays). Home phone is +44 1953 605643 .
At 23:26 02/12/2004, you wrote:
I'm completing a short article about the IPCC process for UCAR's biennial Highlights
report (aimed at a broad audience). I understand you and Kevin Trenberth are
co-convening lead authors on a chapter involving observations of global climate.
If you have a few minutes, I'd very much appreciate including a few words with your
--The IPCC process itself. What do you see as the main benefits and challenges? How
do you wrangle a varied group of authors in a limited amount of time?
--The chapter now taking shape. What are the key science issues this time around? Is
there hope in the short term for improving our global observation network for climate?
How about the long term?
Please feel free to respond in some detail, but even if you only have time for a
sentence or two, that would be very helpful. If you'd prefer to call me, I'm here at
303-497-8605 (USA) between 9 AM and 6 PM mountain time on Friday. I believe we're seven
hours behind the UK.
Thanks very much for your help, Philip.
--Bob Henson, UCAR Communications
PS: Our last issue of Highlights is on line at
Prof. Phil Jones
Climatic Research Unit Telephone +44 (0) 1603 592090
School of Environmental Sciences Fax +44 (0) 1603 507784
University of East Anglia
Norwich Email p.jonesatXYZxyz.ac.uk