Monday, October 13, 2014

why dispersal may be our only option...,

robinwestenra |  Following on from my recent post regarding the attempt by Dr Gavin Schmidt to rubbish the research of Russian scientists, led by Dr Natalia Shakhova and Dr Igor Semiletov, it now emerges that the latter were not even invited to the high profile meeting at the Royal Society.

The event, held a fortnight ago, is still causing controversy beyond the negative tweeting by NASA Goddard Director, Dr Gavin Schmidt. Schmidt aimed his presentation at discrediting the Russian’s work, using theoretical models, without expertise in methane, or credible data. The end result is that the Russian team have composed a letter to Royal Society President, Sir Paul Nurse, asking for an opportunity to present their findings, including contributions from over 30 scientists working in the region for over 20 years.

One of the longstanding major triumphs of the scientific community has been a commitment to apolitical analysis of important research. We all know there are geopolitical tensions between Russia and the West, but are these now making an unwelcome entree into an area that could pose enormous risk for humanity at large?

The risk of large-scale releases of the deadly greenhouse gas, methane, from the East Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS) may be a subject of debate in the scientific community, but to purposefully exclude one side of the debate and openly denounce their findings is not just immoral, it is reckless.

The letter, signed by Semiletov and Shakhova on behalf of more than 30 scientists, does state to the Royal Society President that the evidence shown by Dr Schmidt (based on work by Dr David Archer) is purely theoretical and that, despite both being very skilled climate modellers, neither has expertise in methane or the area in question, The East Siberian Arctic Shelf.

Whilst the meeting was in process, an expedition in the ESAS was in progress, with over 80 Russian and Swedish scientists. So why would such high profile Western scientists try to discredit a large and growing body of research? It is a hard question to answer, but the intent is certainly evident.

It is a matter for all of our concern if there is a posed risk of environmental devastation emanating from any region of the world. The Earth system does not acknowledge sovereignty or nationalist interests. International collaboration and respect are vital if we are to understand the changes that are going on as a result of man made climate change. The Earth is heating up and many feedbacks from the heating, such as methane releases, are not fully understood but are known to have caused enormous changes in the global climate.

The division between the climate modelling camp and the scientists carrying out observational research is completely nonsensical. It seems perfectly logical that the data collected by one group should be used by the other in order to make the models more accurate. If climate models have no basis in reality, then how can we trust their reliability?

The disdain shown by Dr Schmidt for his international colleagues should now be put aside and the doors of the Royal Society opened to allow the Russian team to present their findings. It is in all of our interests that this takes place, so, Sir Paul, over to you…