The sun didn’t do it

SunThe last refuge of the climate sceptics is the claim that global warming is nothing to do with us: it’s the sun wot did it (to paraphrase a British tabloid). The claim has never held much water, but the final hole in the sceptics favourite bucket is a new paper examining claims of a solar driver for recent climate change. The BBC reports:

A new scientific study concludes that changes in the Sun’s output cannot be causing modern-day climate change. It shows that for the last 20 years, the Sun’s output has declined, yet temperatures on Earth have risen. It also shows that modern temperatures are not determined by the Sun’s effect on cosmic rays, as has been claimed.

The paper by Mike Lockwood from the UK’s Rutherford-Appleton Laboratory and Claus Froehlich from the World Radiation Center in Switzerland in the Royal Society’s journal Proceedings A, should put the “solar debate

The fraud of endangered cranks

HomerThe NZ Climate “Science” Coalition updates its web site with a shiny new look, and new articles from David Bellamy and Vincent Gray. Dr Gray’s NZ Climate & Enviro Truth Newsletter #150 isn’t very interesting, being mainly devoted to one of his perennial hobbyhorses – the IPCC and prediction versus projection – but it does give him the chance to vent some anti-environmentalist spleen:

“Biodiversity” is another environmentalist absurdity. It seeks to claim that there is some sort of moral superiority in actual numbers of species present in an ecosystem…
…Then we have the fraud of “endangered” species. There is no record of any one of them ever becoming actually extinct. I tried asking Google for a list of organisms that had recently become extinct. The number was very small, about the same as for the past 400 years.

Breathtaking stuff. Meanwhile, the whiskery botanist indulges in a few favourite sceptic tropes, before ending on a clearly heartfelt plea

New Zealand leads the world in the eradication of feral plants and animals making restoration of the natural ecosystems that kept the biosphere in balance long before the IPCC was invented. Habitat destruction and the loss of biodiversity is one of the greatest threats to climate and landscape stability. I beg your government to continue to lead the world in this sustainable endeavour.

Bellamy manages to use all the words Gray hates in a couple of sentences. Clearly climate crankdom is a broad church…

What’s climate? Ask a real scientist…

A few weeks ago, our beloved Climate “Science

Gone to the great blue dome: RIP Augie

Augie Auer, the charismatic meteorologist, former TV3 weatherman, and leading light of the NZ CSC, died suddenly last weekend while celebrating his 67th birthday and 35th wedding anniversary in Melbourne. [Stuff, Herald, tributes]. I hope he will be remembered for his service to weather forecasting in New Zealand and his superb TV presentation skills, rather than his idiosyncratic views on climate. The world (and this blog) will be the poorer for his loss.

Shooting fish in a barrel

Sometimes the antics of New Zealand’s band of climate cranks, the self-styled Climate Science Coalition, reduce me to tears. More often they make me laugh. Today’s example of their tomfoolery [PDF] has had me chuckling for hours. Dr Vincent Gray, a former coal researcher and leading light of the NZ CSC, hasn’t published any peer-reviewed papers on climate science (he’s had a few in Energy & Environment, but that doesn’t count). He claims to be a “climate consultant” and an “€œexpert reviewer for the IPCC”, but that doesn’t seem to stop him from spouting nonsense. His latest paper claims:

It is quite impossible to obtain a statistically or scientifically acceptable estimate of mean global temperature or its variability over time, from readings on the earth’s surface.

He then proceeds to criticise the global surface temperature record, which seems to be becoming fashionable in certaincircles. On the one hand…

The oceans constitute 71% of the earth’€™s surface, but sea surface temperature measurements suffer from error to a greater degree than measurements on land.

…but he then proceeds to use satellite records of ocean temperatures, excluding land, because…

The “€œLand” [sic: a typo, he means ocean] record is shown in Figure 2 as it ignores variability specific to land surfaces, but still applies to 71% of the earth.

Funnily enough, he doesn’t find much of a warming trend. If he had used the latest combined land and ocean data he would have had to admit that the satellite record showed warming at 0.18ºK per decade – slap in the middle of all modern estimates of increases in the global average. But he ignores that inconvenient truth and soldiers on, to finish with a magnificent assertion completely unsupported by the preceding argument:

Reliable global, regional and local temperature records show that temperatures variability is cyclic, with a period of about 60 years. The temperature does not display a distinguishable €œtrend. The most reliable records show peak temperatures around 1940 and 2005 and low temperatures around 1910 and 1970. These records are incompatible with a belief that there is a distinguishable upwards €œtrend€™ caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

So if we ignore all the evidence that the world is getting warmer, that means that it can’t be getting warmer. I wonder which windmill Dr Vincent will tilt at next? And who is his Sancho Panza? Not the august personage himself, surely?