Tuesday, March 13, 2012

New Survey of Climate Scientists

Dear Readers,
As you know (if you don't that is ok too) , I have previously conducted a number of international surveys of climate scientists. The time is near for the next one. If you have any questions or issues you would like to pose to the scientific community I will try and accommodate them in the survey. Please remember the sample is a broad sweep of all disciplines involved in climate science and therefore the questions cannot address intra-disciplinary issues specifically. In other words, the questions need to be kept fairly general and fairly simple.

This is also true of the possible answers; the survey will not contain any questions requiring a written answer or any answers that require calculation. Most questions will be posed so that they can be answered on a 7 point scale, i.e. none 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 many.  The questions should be relatively short and not open to multiple interpretations. Also, the number of questions cannot be toooooooo long, so be forewarned of possible disappointment.

You can submit questions and suggestions via comments on this blog or contact me directly by email at:


Thanks in advance for any suggestions. However, there is no promise that all or any will eventually find their way into the survey.

Dennis Bray


Anonymous said...

A few ideas:

"How many Sceptic Scientists do you believe to be funded, and influenced, by the oil industry?"

"How many times have you pondered crowd sourcing as a tool for complex calculations? (e.g. Complex Modeling)"

pinroot said...

Since the cAGW scientists receive funding from a wide range of groups and organizations (including the fossil fuel companies) a better question (better than comment 1) would be:
- How much of your funding comes from the fossil fuel industry?

- How much of your funding comes from government (aka taxpayers)?

Dennis Bray said...

RE the first two comments. Do you really think climate scientists would know these details? Please, the questions are not intended to provoke controversy. They are intended to be non-partisan. As for the first question, what could one respond? 27, all ... As for question 2 $275, 30% a lot ... The questions need to be answerable. Sorry

MikeR said...

In the interest of making the survey shorter (and increasing the response rate), I would suggest getting rid of questions 45 onward (Communications). Question 67 should stay; I admit to being confused about how the response fits with the response to 29.

I found the response to question 29 (mitigation vs. adaptation) astonishing - almost an even split. I'd suggest sharpening that question by offering a short definition of the two terms before the question.

I'd take out the followup questions about political/public opinion vs. scientific expertise. I'd rather see some question about whether the Kyoto mitigation is big enough to be effective, or something similar, and whether they think there can actually be an effective mitigation given political realities. Also a question or two about the potential harm done by mitigation. I understand you asked about that in 2003.

It seems to me that instead of all the questions on "do you agree with the IPCC on this or that", I would rather see a straight question(s) like "what is the sensitivity of global temperature to CO2" - smallest likely value, most likely value, largest likely value.

It would also be interesting to have a question like, Are there scientists you respect who believe that the climate sensitivity is much less than the AGW consensus? Obviously, the question is only helpful in conjunction with knowing the respondent's own value of the sensitivity.

In all of these, the wording of the questions is important, and will be criticized whatever you do.

In general, the survey is very long, and maybe by now your experiences with which results are the most interesting can allow you to drop many of the other questions. My own preference is to only ask the questions (along with demographics, which is essential) which bear directly on the chain of reasoning leading to massive mitigation remedies. Probably you care about more issues, though.

Anonymous said...

@ Dennis Bray

It would be interesting to get a more sophisticated answer to the question of "consensus" and sentences like "97% of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming"

Question 1:

The world has warmed by 0.7° C since 1850.
How much of this warming would you attribute to HUMAN causes on a scale from 1 to 7?

1 = none - 7 = all of it

Question 2:

The world has warmed by 0.7° C since 1850.
How much of this warming would you attribute to NATURAL causes on a scale from 1 to 7?

1 = none - 7 = all of it

V. Lenzer

plazaeme said...

From 2007 (IPCC AR4) to now, you feel more confident or less confident on IPCC's attribution of warming to GHG? (Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations.)

Roger Pielke Sr. said...

Dennis - I propose you ask these three questions:

1. Is global warming (and cooling) a subset of climate change or does it dominate climate change?

2. What evidence exists that the multi-decadal global climate models can skillfully predict i) the real-world observed behaviour of large-scale atmospheric-ocean circulation features such as ENSO, the NAO, the PDO, ect. and ii) CHANGES in the statistics (patterning and in time) of these circulation features?

3. Which of the following hypotheses have been rejected?

■Hypothesis 1: Human influence on climate variability and change is of minimal importance, and natural causes dominate climate variations and changes on all time scales. In coming decades, the human influence will continue to be minimal.

■Hypothesis 2a: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and involve a diverse range of first-order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades.

■Hypothesis 2b: Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and are dominated by the emissions into the atmosphere of greenhouse gases, the most important of which is CO2. The adverse impact of these gases on regional and global climate constitutes the primary climate issue for the coming decades.

Best Regards

Roger Sr.

Anonymous said...

Roger Sr and plazaeme ideas sugestions sound good.

Can I sugest, a question or question that can somehow rank the importance of the differant climate forcings/variables.
On a scale of 0 to 7 rank the importance of the following climate forcings/variables:-
Change in CO2
Change in other GHGs
Change in the Sun's output
Land clearing/Land use change

Any survey needs to separate Climate change from Global Warming.
Natural from man made
CO2 from Pollution
And separate man made GHGs from man made LC/LUC