Friday, 8 May 2015

Week 2 – Making sense of climate denial


This week’s “course” dealt with temperature records. I really didn’t learn much because there wasn’t much to learn. I had hoped that the topics would deal with issues like errors in the historical temperature records and uncertainties in more recent records.

No such luck.

The main messages were:

1. The temperature record is incredibly accurate because “scientists” say so. Sure it keeps getting adjusted but that’s good science. Also, nothing effects temperature except CO2.

2. The temperature doesn’t matter.  It’s only the number of records that get broken that matters. Really. Here’s an actual quote:

“Instead we can compare the number of hot and cold records in any decade. If the number of hot and cold records is about equal, then the weather is not changing. If we see more hot records than cold records, then it is getting warmer, and vice-versa.” Kevin Cowtan, 2015.

3. When glaciers heat up, the ice melts. It’s all caused by CO2 and nothing else.

4. Anyone who says the temperature hasn’t risen appreciably since 1998 is ‘cherry-picking’.

5. The ‘hockey-stick’ is alive and well. If you’re not familiar with the ‘hockey-stick’ controversy, I’ll cover it briefly below.

The first video in the Temperature lesson had a nice ‘hockey-stick’ graph, startlingly similar to the discredited one from the IPCC’s 2001 Third Assessment Report.

Week two, Building a robust temperature record 4min43sec

I tried to find out where this data came from by viewing the ‘Attribution 4’ information flashed at the end of the video.

Week two, Building a robust temperature record 5min53sec

As you can see, it’s produced by Kevin Cowtan from Global Historical Climatology Network and is based on “Natural Thermometers”, apparently tree rings and such. I couldn’t find any actual references.

The following graph from the IPCC’s 1999 First Assessment Report shows a similar (but not identical) time period . Notice how Kevin’s graph leaves out the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age?

Global temperature from 1000 AD

There was a large controversy a few years ago. The ‘hockey-stick’ graph has been discredited up to and including accusations of actual fraud. I won’t mention the researcher’s name as he’s fond of tying critics up in expensive court cases.

The ‘hockey-stick’ graph never been seen again in an IPCC report, and in fact, nowhere else where it’s taken seriously.

Until University of Queensland's Climate Denial 101x.

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