My attention has been turned, once more, to the writing of James Delingpole this week.
This article, in my view, contains a number of pieces of misleading information, which in my view should be re-framed into their proper context by the author.
He might need to go away and do a little research to find out that his assertions are based on what I think are myths, urban legends and fallacious arguments : he seems firmly convinced that he is right, even though I think he is most definitely up the wrong creek with the wrong paddle, with the wrong map and seriously in danger of capsizing.
My first piece of advice for anyone approaching the thorny subject of Global Warming : read the science.
My second : don’t read the journalists until you’ve read the science : they may well merely distract you with flibbertigibbert nonsense.
And now for a little unpicking of James Delingpole’s latest.
“How the global warming industry is based on one MASSIVE lie : By James Delingpole Politics Last updated: September 29th, 2009 : For the growing band of AGW “Sceptics” the following story is dynamite.”
I’ll have to stop you right there, James.
There is no evidence of a “growing band” of [Anthropogenic Global Warming] AGW sceptics, skeptics or deniers.
There is evidence that people are getting bored with hearing about Climate Change, but you can’t count them as signing up as sceptics.
James continues with what looks like a smear :-
“…And for those who do believe in Al Gore’s highly profitable myth about “Man-Made Global Warming”…”
I suspect you’re simply repeating the views of others. If Al Gore’s film and speaking tour about Global Warming were based on a “myth”, then the governments of the world would have found this out by now and stopped attending the United Nations conferences on Climate Change.
“the key scene where big green Al deploys his terrifying graph to show how totally s********ed we all are by man-made global warming. This graph – known as the Hockey Stick Curve – purports to show rising global temperatures through the ages. In the part representing the late twentieth century it shoots up almost vertically.”
James, James, you sound like you’re full of propaganda. There is no “purports” about the entirely factual “Hockey Stick”. The temperature on Earth has really been rocketing recently.
You probably don’t notice rising temperatures because of the vagaries of the weather. Everything in Nature goes up and down, with the rotation of the Earth, the precession of the Earth’s axis, the seasons arising from the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, the wind patterns, the rain patterns, the movements of the Oceans due to the Moon…I could go on…weather is indeed fluctuating, and over the long term, so is climate.
However, the key take-home point you don’t seem to have grasped is that the latter part of the 20th Century is not normal fluctuation. We are looking at something genuinely new. And genuinely genuine.
James appears stuck in his apparent benightedness, “…the graph – devised in 1998 by a US climatologist called Dr Michael Mann – is based on a huge lie, as Sceptics have been saying for quite some time.”
The fact that the “Sceptics” have been saying that the Hockey Stick is a lie for quite some time does not validate their statements.
James pushes the button : “…The first thing they noticed is that this “Hockey Stick” […] is that it seemed completely to omit the Medieval Warming Period.”
Well James, who’s to say that the fabled “Medieval Warming Period” actually exists ? Was it anything more than a localised European regional blip ?
“According to Mann’s graph, the hottest period in modern history was NOT the generally balmy era between 900 and 1300 but the late 20th century.”
James, at some point you will be forced to admit, not by arm-wrestling or high-pitched arguments, no, by the facts, the data and the evidence all around you, you will be forced to admit that the late 20th Century and early 21st Century have been unusually warm. And unusually rapidly warmed, too.
“This led many sceptics, among them a Canadian mathematician named Steve McIntyre to smell a rat. He tried to replicate Mann’s tree ring work but was stymied by lack of data: ie the global community of climate-fear-promotion scientists closed ranks and refused to provide him with any information that might contradict their cause.”
Do you not think that since Steve McIntyre is an avowed sceptic (skeptic), and who, I have been told, has been deeply implicated in the spreading of unhelpful conclusions, that the global community of Climate Change scientists might have had pretty reasonable doubts about working with him ?
“…Hadley Centre in Exeter and the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at University of East Anglia…Their data has formed the basis for the IPCC’s […] reports; their scientists – among them Professor Phil Jones and tree ring expert Professor Keith Briffa – have been doughty supporters of Mann’s Hockey Stick theory and of the computer models showing inexorably rising temperatures.”
It’s not just computer models that show “inexorably rising temperatures”. The inexorably rising temperatures themselves show the same thing.
Looks like a pretty solid case of looking at the tree rings and seeing no forest. There really is a wood, there, James, you just need to look at the bigger picture.
Don’t knock the computer models. Would you prefer to have a technologically advanced machine to predict the future based on current and historical data, or would you rather ask someone armed only with a finger in the wind ?
“…their misleading predictions of that “barbecue summer” we never had. As [Christopher] Booker says: “Part of the reason why the Met Office has made such a mess of its forecasts for Britain is that they are based on the same models which failed to predict the declining trend in world temperatures since 2001.””
Tut, tut, James. You have fallen for that old chestnut : weather is not the same as climate. Weather is highly unpredictable. Climate is a long-term set of conditions that are fairly predictable.
And what’s all this ? You use a classic artefact that sceptics have been using for years, you write “the declining trend in world temperatures since 2001”.
Well, if you look at the Hadley trend curves, yes, it looks like the trend is downward since 2001. But the trend of the trend is upward since 1990 – something you omit to admit :-
If you want to see simple visual confirmation that temperatures are continuing to climb, see here :-
In particular, I would like to point you to what I affectionately call the Blob Chart :-
There is no way that anyone can claim that Global Warming is over.
It might have “taken a short break”. The trend fluctuates all the ime. We’ll see. But no, it’s not finished.
I’m going to pass over the tiresome claims of withholding access to data, which is just unmitigated fluff.
James then goes on to look at tree ring data from just one area of the world, and claims that this undermines the whole of Global Warming science.
“…tree ring data series (Yamal in Russia) in a paper published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society in 2008…The scary red line shooting upwards is the one Al Gore, Michael Mann, Keith Briffa and their climate-fear-promotion chums would like you to believe in. The black one, heading downwards, represents scientific reality.”
It may well represent scientific reality in Yamal in Russia, but it doesn’t necessarily represent scientific reality for the whole world.
It’s true that the Yamal data has been very important in correlation with data from other parts of the world to establish the global impact of volanic eruptions – which have a brief cooling effect – for example :-
However, the Yamal data, by itself, should not be used as a proxy for global temperature.
Notice how the sceptic charts, that James refers to in his article, miraculously stop at roughly the year 2001.
Now that’s what I call “cherry-picking the data”.
We’ve had a lot of Global Warming since then.
Stop digging around for tree ring data. Come back to the actual, recent temperature records.
Let me refer you again to the up-to-date global picture, NOAA’s State of the Climate :-
“Selected Global Highlights for August 2009 : …The combined global land and ocean average surface temperature for June-August 2009 was the third warmest on record for the season, 0.59°C above the 20th century average of 15.6°C. For the year to date, the combined global land and ocean surface temperature of 14.5 °C tied with 2003 as the fifth-warmest January-August period on record. This value is 0.55°C above the 20th century average. The worldwide ocean surface temperature for August 2009 was the warmest on record for August, 0.57°C above the 20th century average of 16.4°C. The seasonal (June-August 2009) worldwide ocean surface temperature was also the warmest on record, 0.58°C above the 20th century average of 16.4°C.”
Don’t see no cooling there !
My third piece of advice : trust the scientists, not the journalists, especially those who appear unable to see through the propaganda of disinformation.
James Delingpole is not to be blamed. Perhaps he hasn’t had the strong mentorship and guidance that he needed to see beyond the “Free Speech” manipulation of the data by the American skeptics and their followers, the British sceptics.
The clue is in the name they choose for themselves : “sceptics” hints at nagging doubt, at justified questioning. What they’re actually about is “denial”.
James Delingpole has been misguided, is all.