Sensitivity and consensus; theory and practice

97So Cook et al1 confirms that there really is a consensus in climate science: 97% of the peer-reviewed literature over the last 20 years supports the fact that humans are responsible for the warming. It’s a solid result, confirming the earlier work of Oreskes and others, but its importance lies in the fact that public perceptions of that consensus lag behind reality. As John puts it:

Quite possibly the most important thing to communicate about climate change is that there is a 97% consensus amongst the scientific experts and scientific research that humans are causing global warming. Let’s spread the word and close the consensus gap.

Indeed. Count this as my small contribution. Meanwhile, another recent paper very nicely demonstrates that the existence of a consensus on the basic facts of warming does not mean that scientists have to agree about everything. Continue reading “Sensitivity and consensus; theory and practice”

  1. Yes, that Cook — the one from Skeptical Science and The Climate Show. Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature, John Cook et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024
    doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/2/024024 []

Measuring climate consensus: crowd-sourced survey

Why not devote 15 minutes of your time to a good cause? John Cook of Skeptical Science, one of the regulars on The Climate Show, who just happens to be a research fellow in climate communication for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, is crowd-sourcing a survey of the climate literature to try and measure the extent of any consensus that might exist. Here’s the full story, in John’s own words:

I’m seeking your assistance in conducting a crowd-sourced online survey of peer-reviewed climate research. I have compiled a database of around 12,000 papers listed in the ‘Web Of Science’ between 1991 to 2011 matching the topic ‘global warming’ or ‘global climate change’. I am now inviting readers from a diverse range of climate blogs to peruse the abstracts of these climate papers with the purpose of estimating the level of consensus in the literature regarding the proposition that humans are causing global warming. If you’re interested in having your readers participate in this survey, please post the following link to the survey:

Take the survey

The survey involves rating 10 randomly selected abstracts and is expected to take 15 minutes. Participants may sign up to receive the final results of the survey (de-individuated so no individual’s data will be published). No other personal information is required (and email is optional). Participants may elect to discontinue the survey at any point and results are only recorded if the survey is completed. Participant ratings are confidential and all data will be de-individuated in the final results so no individual ratings will be published.

The analysis is being conducted by the University of Queensland in collaboration with contributing authors of the website Skeptical Science. The research project is headed by John , and adheres to the Guidelines of the ethical review process of The University of Queensland.

Give it a try — you’ll be helping with an interesting research project, and it might even be educational…