Global Warming Link to Drowned Polar Bears Melts Under Searing Fed Probe
by Audrey Hudson
Polar bears drowning in an Alaskan sea because the ice packs are melting—it’s the iconic image of the global warming debate.
But the validity of the science behind the image—presented as an ignoble testament to our environment in peril by Al Gore in his film An Inconvenient Truth—is now part of a federal investigation that has the environmental community on edge.
Any effort to ascertain truth should have the environmental community on edge.
Special agents from the Interior Department’s inspector general's office are questioning the two government scientists about the paper they wrote on drowned polar bears, suggesting mistakes were made in the math and as to how the bears actually died, and the department is eyeing another study currently underway on bear populations.
'Mistakes in math' are so common today.
Biologist Charles Monnett, the lead scientist on the paper, was placed on administrative leave July 18. Fellow biologist Jeffrey Gleason, who also contributed to the study, is being questioned, but has not been suspended.
The disputed paper was published by the journal Polar Biology in 2006, and suggests that the “drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack ice and/or longer open-water periods continues.”
It galvanized the environmental movement that led to the bear’s controversial listing in 2008 as threatened, and it is now protected under the Endangered Species Act.
Although the four dead bears cited in the paper were observed from 1,500 feet during flights over the Beaufort Sea, and the carcasses were never recovered or examined, Gleason told investigators it is likely the creatures drowned in a sudden windstorm that produced 30-knot winds, not for lack of an ice pack.
Amazing. One of the founding tropes of global warming hysteria was based on 4 dead bears observed from 1500 feet following a storm with 30-knot winds. It's obviously global warming.
Time to change world economics and governance!
“We never mentioned global warming in the paper,” Gleason told the investigators, according to the transcript.
Right. Why would anyone imagine that this statement:
“drowning-related deaths of polar bears may increase in the future if the observed trend of regression of pack ice and/or longer open-water periods continues”
had anything to do with global warming. People can be so silly.
Gleason told investigators that reaction to his and Monnett’s paper was overblown and spun out of context.
Now he says that. Why not over the past 15 years, when his paper was being constantly used as a prop for global warming hysteria?
“I think these sorts of things tend to mushroom, and the interpretation gets popularized,” Gleason said. “Something very small turns into this big snowball coming down the mountain, and that's, I think, what happened with this paper.
Gleason concedes that the study had a major impact on the controversial listing of the bear as an endangered species because of global warming.
Golly, I guess it did.
“As a side note, talking about my former supervisor, he actually sent me an e-mail at one point saying, ‘You’re the reason polar bears got listed,’” Gleason said.
Monnett now manages $50 million in studies as part of his duties as a wildlife biologist with the Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement.
A good man to trust with the public's money.
Investigators are also examining Monnet’s procurement of one of those research studies on polar bears conducted by Canada's University of Alberta, as well as the “disclosure of personal relationships and preparation of the scope of work,” according to a July 29 memo from the Interior Department's inspector general’s office.
In particular, investigators are asking questions about the peer review work on Monnett’s drowned polar bear paper, which was done by his wife, Lisa Rotterman, as well as Andrew Derocher, the lead researcher on the Canadian study under review by the inspector general's office.
A paper on which restructuring of world civilization was based was reviewed by the author's... wife.
Monnett is being legally defended by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), which posted the interviews the inspector general's office conducted with both scientists on its website.
PEER calls Monnett’s work “groundbreaking research,”
The investigation is breaking ground for 'global warming science' burial.
and says the investigation is a political attempt to “impugn his observations on polar bears’ vulnerability to retreating sea ice.”
The facts are impugning the research.
“With each interview, it becomes more outrageous that government funds are being spent on this crackpot probe while paying Dr. Monnett’s salary to sit at home,” said Jeff Ruch, executive director of PEER.
How about the government funds spent on this crackpot science? We're safer paying climate scientists to sit home and shut up. It's like protection money.
“This seven-page paper, which had undergone internal peer review,
and outside peer review coordinated by journal editors
Scientists who stood to gain financially from the publicity and funding generated by the research.
, galvanized scientific and public appreciation for the profound effects that climate change may already be having in the Arctic,” PEER said in another statement in support of Monnett.
Four dead bears observed from 1500 feet "galvanized scientific and public appreciation..."
Eric Holder’s Justice Department has already declined to pursue any criminal prosecution in the probe, but the scientists still face possible administrative action for any wrongdoing, the inspector general said in the memo.
Shouldn't the Justice Department decide on a criminal probe after the conclusions of the investigation are published?
With investigators suggesting his research is collapsing, Monnett was defensive in the interview, and asked for the inspectors’ credentials to question his work or second-guess his calculations.
'As to count 2, we the Jury, find the defendant guilty of breath-taking arrogance'.
This b*astard was spending our money on cr*p science. We damn well have the right to ask how he spent it.
For example, there was some confusion as to whether it was three or four dead bears used in the calculation to determine the ratio of survival, and whether Monnett assumed that four swimming bears seen the week earlier were the same polar bears recorded as dead in the next survey.
They were dressed the same, so he figured...
The statistic in question was the percentage of bears likely to survive when swimming in a storm—Monnett estimated it to be around 25%, whereas investigators put the number at more than 57%.
Close enough for climate science, right?
“Is there a potential we made a mistake, and the peer reviewers didn’t catch it? Possibly,” Gleason said.
His wife had a headache, and missed it.
If the scientists had reported the 57% figure, investigator May said, “how people were taking this and exaggerating the results, probably may not have happened in terms of the world taking your study as attributing [the drownings to] global warming.”
Translation: 'if you hadn't fabricated the data, people might not have paid so much attention to your study'.
After nearly two hours of Monnett defending his work to investigators, Ruch from PEER asked the officials to explain what allegations are being made against Monnett.
'You're a fraud' is the allegation.
May said they are examining the “wrong numbers,” “miscalculations” and “scientific misconduct.”
But that's just what climate science is all about.
“Well, that’s not scientific misconduct anyway,” Monnett said. “If anything, it’s sloppy.”
Why is it that 'sloppy' climate science always seem to exaggerate global warming, rather than understate it? Funny that '"sloppy" only goes in one direction...
“I mean, that’s not—I mean, I mean, the level of criticism that they seem to have leveled here, scientific misconduct suggests that we did something deliberately to deceive or to change it,” Monnett said.
“I sure don’t see any indication of that in what you’re asking me about,” Monnett said.
The actual survey Monnett was conducting when he observed the dead bears in 2004 was the migration of bowhead whales. Investigators questioned how he later obtained data for a table listing live and dead polar bear sightings from 1987 to 2004.
Oh, do you mean 'how he obtained data during a time he wasn't doing the research?'
“So how could you make the statement that no dead polar bears were observed” during that time period? May asked.
“Because we talked to the people that had flown the flights, and they would remember whether they had seen any dead polar bears,” Monnett said.
Climate scientists are meticulous about their control groups. 'Hey Joe, see any dead bears in the last couple of years?'
Asked whether he had any documentation to back that up, Monnett said that he did not.
Documentation? Are you kidding? This is climate science. They won an Academy Award, ya know!
“Science is about making the best case you can to test your hypothesis,” Monnett said. “You assemble your arguments and your data, you put it out there, and you see who’s going to knock it down.”
They're knocking it down now, pal.
“And surprisingly, nobody, you know, knocked this down in any way. Everybody was just kind of like, ‘Oh, yeah, four dead polar bears. Okay, that’s kind of cool,’ ” Monnett said.
Is Monnett a scientist or... or... a Valley Gurrl?
Dr. Rob Roy Ramey, a biologist who specializes in endangered species scientific issues for Wildlife Science International, Inc., reviewed Monnett’s paper as well as the inspector general's interviews for HUMAN EVENTS and said that the authors made unwarranted assumptions and large extrapolations based on a single event.
“They did not know if the polar bears actually drowned, they assumed that they had drowned. There were no statistical tests, just extrapolations made with no accounting for measurement error,” Ramey said.
“The paper gives the appearance that rigorous surveying was done for polar bears, when it was not,” Ramey said. “They were flying at 1,500 feet with the purpose of looking for bowhead whales, which are much larger and easier to spot.”
Ramey also says he sees a conflict of interest for Monnett’s wife to be part of the internal peer review, and questioned the awarding of a contract to Derocher, who also participated in the peer review.
“That’s not impartial,” Ramey said. “It’s really important that peer review be truly independent. If they can’t be, then everyone has to state their conflict right up front.”
“I think it’s very illustrative of the problems with government research on endangered species, and raises the question as to whether government should be in the business of science,” Ramey said.
Excellent question. The proper role of government in science, just like the proper role of government in finance, may be to criminally prosecute scientists who lie. The 'honor code' in science is in tatters. Increasingly it is clear that science needs proctors, and federal prosecutors would fit the bill nicely.
Numerous studies contributed to the bear’s listing as a protected species, including the paper on polar bear drowning, which was cited in the Federal Register’s proposed rule.
In making the announcement May 14, 2008, to protect the bear under the Endangered Species Act, the Interior Department said the listing “is based on the best available science, which shows the loss of sea ice threatens and will likely continue to threaten polar bear habitat.”
And when are the Interior Department bureaucrats who listed the polar bear as endangered without reading or scientifically evaluating the junk science behind it going to be fired?
The Interior Department said it would modify regulatory language “to prevent abuse of this listing to erect a backdoor climate policy outside our normal system of political accountability.”
Wow. Remarkably candid.
As part of the Endangered Species Act listing, the department said work would continue with scientists to monitor polar bear populations and trends, as well as the effects of oil and gas operations in the Beaufort Sea region.
Real science required real scientists. A endangered species, is seems.
“Power, money, authority and recognition come with listings on the endangered species list,” Ramey said.
Increasingly, "power, money, authority and recognition" is becoming the only basis for government-funded science, especially in certain fields such as climate science.
Investigators conducted a second interview with Monnett on Tuesday. PEER said in a statement afterward that his “2006 peer-reviewed journal article on drowned polar bears remains the focus of the inquiry.”
Myron Ebell, director of energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said that the government is expected to “spend trillions of dollars to save the world from global warming on the basis of what a few scientists say.”
There's nothing wrong with basing decisions on what scientists say. Just listen carefully to what the scientists say, then do the opposite. You'll probably be right.
“There needs to be due diligence, and we need to challenge and investigate every single claim. The public expects that,” Ebell said. “But we find over and over that shoddy science has been put forward, and in some cases, dishonest and manipulated science, and they say, ‘Trust us,’ ” Ebell said.
“It’s extremely irresponsible.”
I'm astonished (and delighted) by the integrity of the folks investigating this fraud. It's the tip of the iceberg (pardon pun).
Notice the lack of outrage on the so-called 'pro-science' blogs. Where is the NAS? Where is the AAAS? They habitually back the fraudsters. This should make any real scientist furious. This fraud, aside from its intrinsic evil, is besmirching the name of science and damaging the credibility of the many scientists who are honest and competent.
Real scientists need to speak up, denounce the frauds in their midst, denounce the junk science in their midst, and demand integrity in science.
Some fields, such as climate science, are cesspools.
I'll bite. I've just read the paper and it doesn't seem as bad as you claim. The authors clearly indicated the method (observations from a low flying 'plane), surmised that the 4 polar bears probably due to recent storms in the area and suggested that incidents of this sort may increase with further loss of sea ice.
To me it seems like one of those ordinary papers that shouldn't have created much interest. It was only 4 bears after-all. Someone once claimed to me that 90% of all scientific (and medical) papers should not have been published. They only get published to fill the plethora of journals printed.
Peer review isn't really of much use. All it does is to make certain that there aren't any blatant errors. What happens afterwards is more important, the number of times it's cited for example.
From what I can gather, polar bears were placed on the endangered species list because of increasing human encroachment on their habitat, such as the possibility of oil drilling, not because of increased drowning, if it's happening, and if it's due to global warming or not.
I'd personally wait to see if the journal concerned actually retracts the paper, which does happen. 'Science' had an article thisvweek discussing the frequency of retracted papers.
A book I'd recommend is Michael Brook's 'Free Radicals'. It's a great read, discussing the shortcuts scientists take to get to the results. The idea that scientists are dispassionate machines is a myth. Scientists are humans too prone to all the foibles of humans. Science has methods of detecting shoddy or fraudulent work. I'd recommend waiting until the process is finished.
If this paper is suspect, does it affect the AGW hypothesis. My assessment is no, it's only one paper only marginally connected with global warming. I don't think that it was worth the length of your thread or the length of my comment.
By the way, there's a typo in your thread, thevpaper was published in 2006, but in your comment you state 'Why not over the past 15 years, when his paper is being constantly used as a prop ...'
I wouldn't take much notice of anything a spokesman from the Competitive Enterprises Institute says, particularly with his hyperbole of the government spending trillions of dollars on the say-so of a few scientists. It's considerably more than a few and the government hasn't even got a plan. The CEI also gets its funding at least in part from oil and car manufacturers, so it's not exactly unbiased.
There is massive fraud in some areas of science, climate science being the most pervasive. In many ways it differs little from organized crime. Data is misrepresented, faked, hidden, deleted, and the public is sold on funding and economic changes that are beneficial to the science/environmental/leftist community.
The public is beginning to understand, and the backlash is going to get ugly. Honest scientists are in a bind; if they speak out, they are ostracized, but if they remain silent, they are complicit.
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control -- and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.ReplyDelete
This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a NASA-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.
This quote is from Evolution News and Views.
Dr. Egnor is right. Science is going hay-wire!
Reminds me of the War of the Worlds.ReplyDelete
But don't worry the lowly bacteria (the prokariote kind) will do 'em in!
Thank God for God...
This is the feeling I get when reading "stuff" from atheists/materialists/evolutionists.ReplyDelete
They are so full of c**p I have a notion they are looking at their own navel confirming what they believe.
The week-end somehow energizes me!ReplyDelete
Damn. The spam filter has done me in again.ReplyDelete
I think that the only conspiracy regarding AGW is being run by denialist organizations, such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has accepted money from oil and car manufacturers, and also has accepted money from cigarette companies to fund campaigns to convince the public that cigarette smoking is safe.
I feel supported in my belief because almost all national science associations (the American Association of Petroleum geologists has a neutral one) have issued policy statements agreeing that AGW is happening.
National science associations represent all scientists, not just climatologists. Research funding is limited. Scientists regard funding of other scientists' research as theft, taking money away that should have gone to them. This was demonstrated that when Obama liberalized the policy regarding federal funding of embryonic stem research, the first people to take his government to court were two scientists working on adult stem cells who complained that the changed policy would affect their chances of getting funding.
I accept that increasing greenhouse gases will cause increased global warming. I don't see any way around the brute science.
In addition, we also have to consider energy security. There may be undiscovered oil and gas reserves, the Arctic Ocean is a possibility (although the technology to drill in such extreme conditions hasn't been developed yet), however oil and gas reserves have to be in highly specific geological positions. For a start, there has to be an overlying intact cap of impermeable rock else it will leak away and be lost.
Also, all most of our pharmaceuticals and fertilizers come from oil or natural gas, so we're losing a valuable resource by just burning them. All our ships run on oil. Are we going to convert them back to coal?
There's plenty of coal, perhaps enough for 250 years, but because of its sponge like structure, it absorbs trace amounts of toxic heavy metals such as mercury and uranium, so burning a large amount of coal releases a similar amount of radioactivity as a nuclear power plant of the same capacity. So I think we need to phase coal out too.
Our only solutions as I can see them is to conserve our oil and gas and develop alternate energy sources as quickly as possible. Bioengineering bacteria or algae to produce oil is a possibility. It's going to cost money, unfortunately. Pity Bush wasted 3 trillion dollars in Iraq. That money might have helped.
By the way, you still haven't corrected your typo. It's in the paragraph to the left and just below the quote from Orac.
Scientists are humans too, and as such equally prone to come out with incredible statements, made worse that often they are also nerds, with a different mode of thinking.
Steven Hawking for one says we should stop funding SETI and pull our heads in unless we attract the attention of a malevolent ETI.
Unfortunately, if there is one, we've already done so with our over 80 years of uncontrolled radio and television transmissions.
OK, let's return from ranting fantasyland about a few polar bears, and look instead at statistics on actual sea ice:ReplyDelete
So let's keep our eye on the ball. If anyone or anything is conspiring to support the idea of Global Warming, it is the climate data.
"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts" -- John Adams
In other news, 'Darwinism' is due to implode ... any day now: http://home.entouch.net/dmd/moreandmore.htm.ReplyDelete