Don't you just hate gratuitous puns in titles, especially when they don't work very well?
Anyway, I said I would post on sci/pol, well that gets pushed on to the stack (remember, urgent points before big ones) by the post Chris Landsea Leaves IPCC on Prometheus. BTW, Landsea is a colleague of Pielkes, which I learnt by reading More on Hurricanes and Climate Change on the same blog. That post is well worth reading and relevant to the current situation.
So... Landsea was one of the 139 authors of the IPCC TAR chapter 2 (though he wasn't one of the 8 lead authors or the 2 co-ordinating lead authors). Incidentally, one of the lead authors was John Christy, who is generally reckoned a skeptic via his custodianship of the S+C MSU record. He's said some pretty skeptical things and has ventured into the political arena, eg here. Its a fair safe bet he disagrees with some of the slant the IPCC TAR took: yet he didn't walk out. Why has Landsea got so huffy?
Landsea is an expert on tropical cyclones, hurricanes, atlantic strorms, that kind of thing. See his bio for details. I'm not. So I'm not going to quibble with his science POV. In fact I agree with quite a bit of the substance of his complaint - that people do tend to get rather carried away and explain trends in storms by GW even when it isn't clear that such a trend exists. However, I disagree with his tone. Landsea says, for example, even though it is quite clear that the TAR stated that there was no connection between global warming and hurricane activity. Weeeeeelll... is that true? The TAR is rather more nuanced, and the SPM says Changes globally in tropical and extra-tropical storm intensity and frequency are dominated by inter-decadal to multi-decadal variations, with no significant trends evident over the 20th century. Conflicting analyses make it difficult to draw definitive conclusions about changes in storm activity, especially in the extra-tropics. But I really didn't want to quibble about the science. For the rest of this post, lets assume that L is dead right on the science and the he has Trenberth bang to rights on that.
So where I really disagree with him is that the "Trenberth incident" was grounds for leaving the IPCC. I'm sure Landsea gets really annoyed because time after time people misrepresent the science on this. But thats all the more reason to stay in the IPCC to make sure it correctly summarises the science. Throwing around aspersions of "politicisation" on evidence this flimsy is distinctly dubious. Trenberth was speaking for himself; being introduced as a convening lead author is irrelevant to that. Landsea seems to think that this proves that the IPCC won't include his comments objectively; this implies without directly saying so that he thinks he would be leant on to sex up his work to make it fit some agenda. But he has no evidence for this. had he stayed onboard, done his best, and got leant on, *then* he could have complained. As it is, his response seems to me an over reaction.
Lastly... all this happened some time ago, early December 2004. And last-lastly, read the last piece of pdf correspondence, which is a letter from Susan Solomon to Landsea. Its odd. Its not the "would you reconsider?" letter you'd expect; its a so-long-and-thanks-for-all-the-fish letter. I wonder if there is some other correspondence there we're not seeing.
[Update: 2005/01/20: Meanwhile, Roy Spencer seems to be going rather wonky over at TCS. How can you call for balance and yet write an article like that?]
[Update 2005/01/21: Reuters story and Steve Schulin provides a transcript of the pdf exchange for the many who had trouble reading those files.
And a bit more. ES points out that Landsea is writing a paper with Michaels. How can you criticise Trenberth and work with Michaels? Well, the obvious answer is: because you're a skeptic]