'Doubters' of climate change lack expertise: Study

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Washington, June 26 (ANI): Scientists who doubt that human beings have contributed significantly to climate change have far less expertise and prominence in climate research as compared to scientists who are convinced, according to a study led by Stanford researchers.

In a quantitative assessment - the first of its kind to address this issue - the team analysed the number of research papers published by more than 900 climate researchers and the number of times their work was cited by other scientists.

"These are standard academic metrics used when universities are making hiring or tenure decisions," said William Anderegg, lead author of a paper.

Expertise was evaluated by the number of papers on climate research written by each individual, with a minimum of 20 required to be included in the analysis.

Climate researchers who are convinced of human-caused climate change had on average about twice as many publications as the unconvinced, said Anderegg.

Prominence was assessed by taking the four most frequently cited papers published in any field by each scientist - not just climate science publications - and tallying the number of times those papers were cited by other researchers.

Papers by climate researchers convinced of human effects were cited approximately 64 percent more often than papers by the unconvinced.

The Stanford team also determined the top 100 climate researchers, based on the total number of climate related publications each had, which produced an even more telling result, Anderegg said.

"When you look at the leading scientists who have made any sort of statement about anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change, you find 97 percent of those top 100 surveyed scientists explicitly agreeing with or endorsing the IPCC's assessment," he said.

"We really wanted to bring the expertise dimension into this whole discussion. We hope to put to rest the notion that keeps being repeated in the media and by some members of the public that 'the scientists disagree' about whether human activity is contributing to climate change," said Anderegg.

The Stanford team is prepared for the doubters of anthropogenic climate change to object to their data.

The study is published in the online Early Edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (ANI)

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