Thursday, 13 August 2009

Climate of Fraud

I saw Bob Carter, a leading opponent of climate science, on SBS TV (semi-commercial government-owned channel in Australia) news tonight (13 August 2009). Shortly afterwards, the view switched to a slide carrying the claim that the IPCC’s models “predict monotonic warming, and they are wrong”. Here is the slide, captured from the online edition of the news (about 1:18 in from the start):

This is a blatant lie.

I reproduce here a graph from the IPCC’s 2007 report [Randall et al. 2007]:

A “monotonic increase” means that temperatures can only increase over time, with a possibility that they may stay level at times. Examine the graph. The yellow area represents results from 58 simulations. The black line is the actual temperature record and the red line the average of the simulations. What you can observe is that the yellow lines and their average, the yellow line, do not either increase or at least fail to drop over the entire period of the simulation.

Indeed it would be bizarre if any reasonable approximation to the real climate showed a monotonic temperature increase, unless that increase was so extreme as to overwhelm all natural variation, and no serious climate scientist is making any such claim. It is widely known that the two major short-term influences on temperature are the El NiƱo Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and the solar cycle. This is why climatologists define the climate as the long-term average. It is a shift in the long-term average that is a concern, not whether temperatures increase every year.

Why is the Carter crew claiming that the theory demands this? Because they want to knock the theory down, and have no evidence to the contrary, so they have no option but to lie.

That he is trundling this stuff out along with cronies from the right wing US Heartland Institute at a time when there is political activity around climate change is no surprise. That they cannot do better is. Professional science obfuscators – including Heartland – confused the public for years around the link between tobacco and cancer without resorting such obvious falsehoods.

[Randall et al. 2007] Randall, D.A., R.A. Wood, S. Bony, R. Colman, T. Fichefet, J. Fyfe, V. Kattsov, A. Pitman, J. Shukla, J. Srinivasan, R.J. Stouffer, A. Sumi and K.E. Taylor, 2007: Climate Models and Their Evaluation. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

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