Intermittent but reliable

Peter Sinclair’s debunkings of Monckton in Climate Denial Crock of the Week series were posted on Hot Topic recently.  Here he is in one of a new series, Renewable Energy Solution of the Month, intended to augment, not replace, Climate Denial Crock. Wind energy has featured frequently in Hot Topic posts, and Sinclair corrects some of the misconceptions which still surround it.

Big guns brought to bear

homer.jpgThe now infamous McLean, de Freitas and Carter paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research (see Mother Nature’s Sons) has attracted a damning response from some of the biggest names in climate science, including a strong Kiwi contribution*. A comment has been submitted to JGR by Grant Foster, James Annan, Phil Jones, Michael Mann, Brett Mullan, Jim Renwick, Jim Salinger, Gavin Schmidt, and Kevin Trenberth. McLean et al’s “analysis is incorrect”, “seriously overestimates” the link between ENSO and global temperatures, and their paper provides no support for any claim about recent global temperature trends. Here’s the abstract:

McLean et al. [2009] (henceforth MFC09) claim that the El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO), as represented by the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI), accounts for as much as 72% of the global tropospheric temperature anomaly (GTTA) and an even higher 81% of this anomaly in the tropics. They conclude that the SOI is a “dominant and consistent influence on mean global temperatures,” “and perhaps recent trends in global temperatures”. However, their analysis is incorrect in a number of ways, and greatly overstates the influence of ENSO on the climate system. This comment first briefly reviews what is understood about the influence of ENSO on global temperatures, then goes on to show that the analysis of MFC09 severely overestimates the correlation between temperature anomalies and the SOI by inflating the power in the 2–6 year time window while filtering out variability on longer and shorter time scales. It is only because of this faulty analysis that they are able to claim such extremely high correlations. The suggestion in their conclusions that ENSO may be a major contributor to recent trends in global temperature is not supported by their analysis or any physical theory presented in that paper, especially as the analysis method itself eliminates the influence of trends on the purported correlations.

Looks to me like there’s no academic wiggle room for McLean, de Freitas and Carter. They got it very wrong. The big question now is how they managed to sneak the paper through peer-review. Meanwhile, claims that McLean et al shows “that most of the late 20th century global warming and cooling can be attributed to natural climate processes” will remain up at crank web sites, and Carter and de Freitas will consider their real work — to provide more propaganda for the denial machine — well done.

[* Brett Mullan and Jim Renwick are at NIWA, Jim Salinger’s now in the same department at Auckland University as CdF (which must make for interesting conversation over morning coffee), and Kevin Trenberth is a New Zealander.]

In Hamilton

target An attendee at Nick Smith’s and Tim Groser’s public “consultation” at Hamilton last week was distinctly unimpressed.  He said so in a column given a prominent position in Tuesday’s Waikato Times. 

Rob Love expostulated that this was no consultation. Tedious introductions were followed by a long PowerPoint presentation by Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith. Finally, the Associate Minister Tim Groser “shared his observations on the blindingly obvious, while promoting the notion he is engaged heroically in the hardest negotiation ever undertaken.” There was little time left for discussion.

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Hitting now and hard

Bangladesh_49259The Oxfam briefing paper Suffering the Science which figured in a recent post discussing TV3 is well worth attention in its own right.  It is very much in tandem with the Copenhagen Synthesis Report which has been covered in a series of posts on Hot Topic.  The foreword is provided by Professor Diana Liverman who was a co-author of the Synthesis Report.  She comments that the Oxfam study adds powerful human stories to our understanding of climate risks and vulnerabilities.

What immediately stands out from the paper is that climate change is already having serious effects on the lives of poor people, especially in the tropics, and has been doing so for some time.  The paper observes with some asperity that the nations that made themselves wealthy by burning fossil fuels are largely those that will, initially, suffer least from the effects of climate shift. Rich countries in temperate zones are buffered by their wealth and less drastic effects from rising temperatures.  In other places climate change is hitting now and hitting hard.

Continue reading “Hitting now and hard”