Laughing With James Delingpole

James Delingpole is so endearingly consistent in barking up the wrong tree, it’s sometimes easiest just to laugh along with his rambling, unscientific meanderings.

“‘AGW? I refute it THUS!”, he shouts out amusingly in his web log post of today :-

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100022226/agw-i-refute-it-thus-central-england-temperatures-1659-to-2009/

proving to me once and for all he could never be a statistician or a Police Officer, as he doesn’t know enough to detect an outright fabrication when he encounters one.

Just because your sources use numbers and charts, doesn’t mean they know what they’re talking about, James. The numbers might convince you and people like you; that’s what the numbers are being used for : to convince you to avoid looking at the real facts.

‘Tis pity you do not seem to have the educational background sufficient to analyse and pry apart fact from fiction. You’re always going to be bamboozled by a chart and influenced by a crummy unfactual line of argument. Poor young James !

Well, to help those of you who have been taken in by this latest atrocity of public communications, let me unpack just a few small details and indicate their unworthiness.

In the web log post that James Delingpole draws his chart from, there are a number of inaccuracies and false assertions that could draw my attention, but I will only alight on a few :-

http://www.c3headlines.com/2010/01/cet-temperatures.html

1. The “Urban Heat Island Effect” Myth

The piece says : “…a higher global warming result, especially during the late 20th century. Even if it wasn’t manipulated, it more than likely has a significant Urban Heat Island (UHI) bias that has not been correctly adjusted…”

The Urban Heat Island Effect is a highly localised warming conjectured to take place in highly developed areas, owing to the build-up of infrastructure that traps heat.

Right from the outset, it is clear that this will not have a major impact on overall global temperatures.

First : the effect is not a source of warming, it is merely a collector of heat.

Second : the effect will mean that urban temperatures will consistently have a higher temperature than areas out of the city centres; but it will not explain temperatures going up in unison in all areas.

Let’s look again at what the ultimate world authority, the IPCC, says regarding this having reviewed all the scientific literature in the subject :-

IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, Working Group 1, Chapter 1, page 102 :-

http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch01.pdf

“analyses…indicate that the bias induced by urban heat islands
in the global temperature time series is either minor or nonexistent…”

Chapter 3, page 237 :-

http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_Ch03.pdf

“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 (0.006ÂșC 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 SST component of the record.”

So that should be the end of that particular claim.

2. The Time Delay in the Earth System

The chart puts the temperature record alongside the Carbon Dioxide emissions record, but in order to see the real causality, one should stagger the graphs by around about 30 years.

Carbon Dioxide added to the atmosphere starts a process of heat accumulation in the overall Earth System that has to percolate through all the elements, such as the air, land and oceans before it can be seen to have had an effect.

The sharp rise in Carbon Dioxide emissions that took place after the Second World War in the late 1940s is therefore probably the main cause of the sharp rise in warming in the 1970s.

3. The Largest Possible Trend

James Delingpole makes reference to the work of Lubos Motl, and produces a table showing the maximum warming rates within a range of time periods.

James Delingpole claims that since the warming rates were high in the past, that the current warming rates cannot be said to be “unprecented”.

But if you are going to quote actual numbers, have you actually looked at the actual numbers, James ?

We all know that there is a lot of variability in temperature records at the Earth’s surface. But, if the fastest warming rates bear any relationship to long-term warming trends, then we could be in for 4.33. to 5.0 degrees Celsius of warming within a Century !

4. Warming Up From The Little Ice Age

James Delingpole and his sources seem to believe that we are still warming up from the Little Ice Age that was supposed to have ended in the 1800s.

What he neglects to do is take you back, further in time.

The 1800s saw the end of a very long-term cooling trend, not of several hundred years, but of several thousand.

The warming since then is truly unprecedented, and cannot be explained by recourse to any other theory than Anthropogenic Global Warming :-

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