Re: [asa] Misuse of Models

From: PvM <>
Date: Sun Mar 18 2007 - 15:41:24 EDT

In Seattle, an interesting dispute is playing out over the extent of the
snow melt in the cascades.

It all started when mayor Nichols released a statement that the snow pack
had been shrinking 50%. It quickly became evident that his statement was
based on an editorial mistake in a University of Oregon report. Estimates
vary from 15-35%, with a consensus estimate of 30%.

Since global warming deniers will jump on any inconsistency, however
inconsequential, it is good to see how science responded to the

Sadly enough they may have now found a martyr in Mark Albright, who was
recently stripped of his unpaid position as state climatologist.

KUOW 1000 reported on this topic

A detailed overview is given in


Mote, upset that Albright was broadly distributing e-mails about the issue,
last week told Albright that he would have to let Mote preview any e-mails
before sending them out, if he was tying his work to the state
climatologist's office.

Mote's position as the state climatologist is a volunteer job that doesn't
carry any official recognition or rules. Mote agreed to do the job several
years ago, and his colleagues accepted it. The office collects and
disseminates climate information and advises the state on climate-related

When Albright refused Mote's ultimatum, Mote barred him from associating
himself with the state climatologist's office.

Mote said Albright was sending out messages showing just his side of the
story, and airing an analysis that hadn't gone through proper quality
checks. As a representative of the climatologist's office, there needed to
be standards, he said.

Snowpack trends

<quote>The issue originated with the publication of an
by the Mayor of Seattle on February 7 stating that "The average
snowpack in the Cascades has declined 50 percent since 1950". In question
was the 50% statistic for the Cascades and the implication that the reported
decline was due entirely to anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change; the
50% figure had appeared, erroneously, in the June 2004 report "Scientific
Consensus Statement on the Likely Impacts of Climate Change on the Pacific
State University). Mark Albright, of UW Atmospheric Sciences, noted
that at the most complete snow courses (a small subset of the total) for the
Cascades, the last 10 years were only a little below the long-term

and the oped that started it all

The average snowpack in the Cascades has declined 50 percent since 1950 and
will be cut in half again in 30 years if we don't start addressing the
problems of climate change now. That snow not only provides our drinking
water, it powers the hydroelectric dams that keep our lights on.

On 3/16/07, John Burgeson (Burgy) <> wrote:
> thanks much for posting the review.
> As one who was a pioneer in the late 1950s on simulation models, and
> as one who has seen the problems they run into and the sometimes
> absurd results they produce, the book appears very useful.
> Burgy
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Received on Sun Mar 18 15:42:02 2007

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