As the Paris climate talks are drawing close, we will see a rapidly increasing number of sensational news stories based on shoddily researched papers and reports on many climate change issues.
Two such sensational news have come to our attention; one claims that the Monsoon is the “top threat to India’s economy” and future development (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-01/climate-change-is-top-threat-to-india-s-economy-modi-aide-says), the other claims that “Climate change threatens 55 million in India’s coastal areas.” (http://m.ndtv.com/india-news/climate-change-threatens-55-million-in-indias-coastal-areas-report-1241649).
As both issues are central to our scientific research, we were deeply shocked to read those stories, which represent typical horror scenarios spread by lobbyists for the purpose of scaring people, and with a total disrespect for scientific observational facts. This makes those two papers not only a disgrace to science but also to geoethical principles.
As to the first paper Indian summer monsoon has declined in amount and intensity in the last 25 years, for reasons that are not well understood. Linking diminishing summer rains to climate change is incorrect and without any scientific merit. Appropriate planning to alleviate water shortage in drought-prone regions, in particular in parts of the Central Peninsular region of India, should be given top priority. Reducing CO2 emissions will have NO impact on future summer monsoon variability.
As to the second paper, it must be stressed that sea level in India (and Bangladesh and the Maldives) has remained stable during the last 50 years. This is evident from observational facts in the field, as well as from tide gauge records. If any model output suggests anything different, it must become completely over-ruled by available observational facts.
The Mumbai tide gauge record is characterised by four trends. The linear mean trend of an 0.7 mm/yr rise is directly misleading. Sea level has remained stable for the last 50 years, so sea level does not pose any real threat to Indian coastal areas.
It is indeed unfortunate that so many reputable Journals and popular magazines such as ‘Nature’ are publishing such “sensational” papers without substantive review process. A case in point: A Special Issue of the AMS (US) December 2015 issue has several papers analyzing extreme weather (EW) events for 2014 in the context of present climate change debate. The authors somehow manage to link the present climate change (and CO2-induced warming of the climate) as ‘The primary cause’ for such EW events or for exacerbating such events. What bothered me was that the winter extremes of 2014 in most parts of US (also in Canada) were somehow linked to CO2-induced warming of the Arctic, which spawns cold weather extremes in conterminous US (and also in Canada)!
Many of these papers provided NO long-term climatology while using some of the IPCC climate models to show how such cold extremes are possible when the Arctic is warm!
In the last few years one of us has written to some of the authors of such papers: As expected, these authors do not respond. No open debate on climate science! The science is handled as if it was settled – which can never be the case (provided one understands what science is all about).
The GW/climate change science is now thriving on this “peer-reviewed reputable Journals”. This has become an industry! A big one, in our view, commanding perhaps several billion dollars world wide by way of research funding for major scientific societies (e.g. AGU AMS in the US; RMS in the UK), which keep publishing thousands of such meaningless papers!
Madhav Khandekar (monsoon specialist), Nils-Axel Mörner (sea level specialist) & Willie Soon (solar science specialist)