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Zombie Denial : Undead Arguments Rise Again

What is it with Global Warming denial arguments ? Just when you think they’ve finally bitten the dust, up they pop again to stagger and stomp menacingly towards you in rather unconvincing make up, spattered in stage paint blood.

Today it’s the zombie return of the “urban heat island” bogeyman, courtesy of that top science boffin, James Delingpole :-

“…you need first to be aware of one of the most contentious points about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) – the reliability of weather station records and the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI)… Put very simply, there is great concern among sceptics that the data records used to support the IPCC’s claims about “unprecedented” and catastrophic late 20th century global warming are untrustworthy… these records rely on a dwindling number of weather surface stations whose readings have been skewed either by relocation or by the warming effects of the cities which have grown around them over the years…”

Ah, poor treasure ! Clearly, I would expect you to have studied the science of Climate Change for you to be confident to write on this matter. However, I would dare to suggest that you must have been dozing through the lecture on the fabled, debunked urban heat island effect.

This matter has been investigated and dismissed. Here’s the summary of what the widely respected Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had to say about it in their highly influential Fourth Assessment Report; reading from Working Group 1, Chapter 3 :-

“Executive Summary : Urban heat island effects are real but local, and have not biased the large-scale trends. A number of recent studies indicate that effects of urbanisation and land use change on the land-based temperature record are negligible (0.006 degrees C per decade) as far as hemispheric- and continental-scale averages are concerned because the very real but local effects are avoided or accounted for in the data sets used. In any case, they are not present in the [Sea Surface Temperature] SST component of the record. Increasing evidence suggests that urban heat island effects extend to changes in precipitation, clouds and [Diurnal Temperature Range] DTR, with these detectable as a ‘weekend effect’ owing to lower pollution and other effects during weekends.”

In the main body of the Chapter 3, it goes on to discuss, and reject the findings of research papers whose authors include several key Climate Change sceptics – Ross McKitrick and Patrick Michaels :-

“ Urban Heat Islands and Land Use Effects : McKitrick and Michaels (2004) and De Laat and Maurellis (2006) attempted to demonstrate that geographical patterns of warming trends over land are strongly correlated with geographical patterns of industrial and socioeconomic development, implying that urbanisation and related land surface changes have caused much of the observed warming. However, the locations of greatest socioeconomic development are also those that have been most warmed by atmospheric circulation changes (Sections and 3.6.4), which exhibit large-scale coherence. Hence, the correlation of warming with industrial and socioeconomic development ceases to be statistically significant…”

So there you have it : a true zombie argument. It’s dead, but James Delingpole strives to keep it teeteringly alive.

I shall treat the rest of his article as being similarly leaky, centring, as it appears to, on unjustified and unjustifiable allegations of malpractice and malcontent amongst the academic community.

Come to class, James, and hear the real Climate Change science. Stop getting sucked into the undead vortex surrounding Steve McIntyre and Anthony Watts.

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