Stanford professor Chris Field gives us an interesting look behind the scenes of the new IPCC scare report. It is fascinating to read about how incredibly tough the last five years have been for Field and his team.
We are told that he scientic process started with an "American Idol-style search for scientists to serve as authors and editors". (Perhaps we will see the highlights on television at some later date?) After probably hundreds of meetings in such hardship locations as Bali and Venice, professor Field and his "idols" finally produced "a 2,000-page report as part of a massive, three-part U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report:
In the summer of 2009, Stanford Professor Chris Field embarked on a task of urgent global importance.
Field had been tapped to assemble hundreds of climate scientists to dig through 12,000 scientific papers concerning the current impacts of climate change and its causes.
The team, Working Group II, would ultimately produce a 2,000-page report as part of a massive, three-part U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment Report, which details a consensus view on the current state and fate of the world's climate. --
For Field's group, the long road began in earnest at a July 2009 meeting in Venice, Italy, where 209 scientific experts and IPCC members from around the world developed a chapter-by-chapter outline of the report. Their outline was later formally accepted at a meeting in Bali, Indonesia.
But before Field and his team could begin the heavy lifting of writing the report, they hosted a kind of American Idol-style search for scientists to serve as authors and editors. --
"Stanford didn't see it as a distraction, but as a fundamental function of the university," Diffenbaugh said. His 9-year-old daughter, however, had a different perspective. Her father, worn out from after-hours work on the assessment, would often fall asleep while reading bedtime stories. --
The article also includes some interesting glimpses into the scientific method of the IPCC process:
Sometimes, it took pen sketches too. Lobell recalled a group effort to come up with a key summary figure for the chapter he worked on about food security. "We ended up doodling on napkins over dinner, and then I went back and made a version that ended up in the final report. One of the senior authors described that as the highlight of his career." --
"The challenge is also to communicate things clearly," he added. "For example, it doesn't help much to say, 'Things are uncertain.' It's better to say something like, 'If we knew A, we would know B, but we don't really know A."
The last citation is actually the best summary of the entire report I have so far seen :-)