Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Climate Crap at the Economist

A denialist writes to the Economist. I quote the letter with responses...

SIR – Indur Goklany questioned whether global warming has caused an increase in droughts and floods (Letters, October 10th). In fact, the answer is already well settled. That question was examined thoroughly by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In its 2001 report, one chapter, titled “Has climate variability, or have climate extremes, changed?”, concluded that there was no discernible increase in storms, hurricanes, floods or droughts. A re-examination of that issue therefore seemed unnecessary in the IPCC’s 2007 report.

That is simply not true. For example, the 2007 report did cover hurricanes the report concluded that it is more likely than not (>50%) that there has been some human contribution to the increases in hurricane intensity and that is likely (>66%) that we will see increases in hurricane intensity during the 21st century. Now the science in this area is still uncertain and that is the point - more is being done all the time and to suggest that the lack of evidence either way is evidence for the negative is a classic 'god-of-the-gaps' sleight of hand.

Concerning rising sea levels, this is a more complex issue since a natural increase of 1-2mm a year has been occurring for many centuries. However, over the past few decades no anthropogenic signal in sea-level changes has been detected. This is firmly backed up by precise satellite altimetry.

Again, simply untrue. There is a rise in sea level going on and it is a worry to the scientists. The satellite in question that gets the data has only been up since 2002, so more data is needed. But again we see the lack of the full picture being used as evidence for the negative.

Meanwhile it was just last month that Professor Mojib Latif of the University of Kiel in Germany, a renowned climate expert and IPCC author, presented his latest work at the World Climate Conference in Geneva. His findings show that the mean global temperature has actually declined since 2001. Moreover, his computer models predict a further temperature drop over the coming decades. All of this beckons the question: just where are the supposedly detrimental effects of anthropogenic CO2?

Classic. Half the story (and the wrong half) being presented as the full picture. This should set the bullshit detectors to max!! Mojib Latif's presentation was about the fact that there are variations in the cycle where for periods the temperature will drop - relative to overall increase - but that this drop will be temporary and still matches the upward trend. The denialist has missed the entire point of the presentation - but that's cherry picking for you. Latif is unequivocal - the temperature is rising and we are causing it.

Horst-Joachim Luedecke
Retired professor of physics
Heidelberg, Germany

Well Mr Retired professor of physics - it is clear that any scientific principals you once had have been checked in at the door when it comes to climate science.

No comments: