Report of the French Académie des Sciences

The report “Le changement climatique” was published the 26th October. It is short, 13 pages, and relatively sober. There is no breathless hysterical alarm à la Al Gore or Greenpeace; on the contrary we find constant reminders of the relevant uncertainties (which show the influence of climate realists like Claude Allègre or Vincent Courtillot)

These uncertainties are not so visible in the 10 point conclusion, where for example one reads:  “Cette augmentation [ de la température] est principalement due à l’augmentation de la concentration du CO2 dans l’atmosphère”: The warming is predominantly caused by the rising CO2 concentration.

Not everybody will subscribe this!

Let me just pick from this report 3 points where I can not agree:

Page 3, concerning the ocean temperatures:  “La température des océans, … montre une augmentation moyenne globale depuis quelques décennies.” Translation: ” since several decades, the temperature of the oceans is rising”.
Here the inconvenient fact that the Argos floats show that the oceans are not warming, but slightly cooling since 2003  is not mentioned.  Over several decades the tredn is indeed positive, but it has flattened since at least 7 years, and this was not predicted by any climate model!

Page 4, concerning the Antarctica/Greenland ice mass balance: ” Les calottes polaires de l’Antarctique et du Groenland ont un bilan total de masse négatif depuis une dizaine d’années“. Translation: “since about a decade the mass balance of the Greenland and Antarctica ice cover is negative.”
Wingham et al (2006) write in their report published by the Royal Socitety that for  Antarctica 1992-2003 the mass balance = 27+/-29 Gt y-1 and the range -5 to +85 Gty-1. They also say that mass gains of East Antarctica > mass loss of West Antarctica. Hardly a negative balance!

Page 4, concerning sea level rise:  “la hausse du niveau moyen global de la mer est de l’ordre de 3,4 mm/an” (since 1992). Translation: “sea level rise since 1992is approx. 3.4 mmy-1”.
A quick glance to Prof. Ole Humlum excellent website www.climate4you.com tells that sealevel rise since 2000 was 2.75mmy-1, about 24% less than given by the French report.

There are many of these semi-truths in the report: you chose the start date and time span that give you what you are looking for: an alarming trend! But more recent changes that do not continue this trend are not mentioned.

As a conclusion one may say this:  the new reports on climate change of both the Royal Society and the Académie des Sciences are written in a much more sober style as previously; uncertainties are not swept under the carpet. Even if the overall tone still is on the alarmist side the change from the preceding reports is remarkable! Is the scientific big brass back on the way to climate realism?

A commented version of the report can be found here.

Many French daily papers or press agencies wrote that this report is a blow to Claude Allègre and Vincent Courtillot and a sanctification of the IPCC. This hasty and wrong conclusion is the result of the more and more common sloppy work of (science) journalists. They rapidly glance over the abstract and conclusion and rush to the computer, writing articles that are mostly wrong in respect of the full text and the meaning of the report.

______________________

added the 5th Nov.2010:

Look here for Vincent Courtillot’s comment.

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