In our letter of March 28, 2012, we, the undersigned, respectfully requested that NASA and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) refrain from including unproven remarks in public releases and websites.
On April 11th, Dr. Waleed Abdalati responded, holding that: “As an agency, NASA does not draw conclusions and issue ‘claims’ about research findings.”
Eight days later, at a senate hearing, Dr. Abdalati, did just that, concluding that Sea-Level rise within the next 87 years projects within a range of 0.2 meters to 2 meters, with lower ranges less likely while “the highest values are based on warmest of the temperature scenarios commonly considered for the remainder of the 21st century.” Abdalati added: “The consequences of a 1 meter rise in sea level by the end of this century would be very significant in terms of human well-being and economics, and potentially global socio-political stability.”
The range and imprecision of this conclusion is astounding!
“Commonly considered?” Is this science by poll? If hard data points to a provable rise, it should be stated with its probability. Can you imagine one of your predecessors, Dr. Thomas Paine, declaring, “Our Apollo 11 Lunar Lander’s target is the Sea of Tranquility, but we may make final descent within a range that includes Crater Clavius”?
We are not trying to stifle discourse, but undisciplined commentary, lacking in precision, is wholly inappropriate when NASA’s name and reputation is attached.