Thirteen climate scientists and meteorologists have published a sharp criticism of a paper in Nature by University of Hawaii biogeographer Camilo Mora, who calculated dates when earth’s climate will move into a new state caused by human-driven global warming. Mora and his ideas were featured in an interview last week at Yale Environment 360.

In a comment article in Nature, the 13 scientists say that Mora and his colleagues used faulty methodology that produced artificially early dates when specific regions would reach “climate departure.” They also said Mora underestimated the uncertainty involved in forecasting the time of emergence of a new climate regime.

“This overconfidence could impair the effectiveness of climate risk management decisions,” the 13 scientists said in their comment. In his own comment in Nature, Mora defended his methods and said that “our findings are conservative and remain unaltered in the light of their analysis.”

Nature commissioned an independent climate scientist — Scott B. Power of Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology — to assess the arguments of the two sides. Power said that while the 13 scientists presented a more appropriate estimate of when the planet could enter a new climatic state, “important conclusions of Mora and co-workers’ original paper remain valid.”


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Yale Environment 360 is an online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting and debate on global environmental issues. We feature original articles by scientists, journalists, environmentalists, academics, policy makers, and business people, as well as multimedia content and a daily digest of major environmental news. Yale Environment 360 is published by the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and Yale University. We are funded in part by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The opinions and views expressed in Yale Environment 360 are those of the authors and not of the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies or of Yale University.

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