Daydream (un)believer


It’s crankfest time at the Independent (UK). Over the last few years, the Indescribablyoverhyped (as Stoat describes their climate reporting) has been the most outspoken of the world’s newspapers on the threat of climate change, but this weekend it allowed some of the UK’s leading climate cranks to state their various cases.

Bewhiskered botanical unbeliever David Bellamy:

Global warming is the biggest scam since the church sold indulgences back in the Middle Ages.

Economist Ruth Lea:

When you hear people saying the temperature is going to rise by four degrees this century, do you hear anyone explaining that there’s only a 0.001 probability that will happen? No.

“Climatologist” Piers Corbyn[1. If Corbyn’s a climatologist, then Ken Ring is the saviour of meteorology]:

There’s no evidence that carbon dioxide drives world temperatures or climate change. The ‘hockey stick’ is fraud, Al Gore’s film is fraud, and schemes to remove CO2 from the atmosphere by machines are a scam.

Nigella’s dad, Nigel Lawson:

There has been no global warming this century, and that is apparent from figures produced by the Hadley Centre, the branch of the UK Met Office that monitors world temperatures[2. Despite the Hadley Centre explicitly stating that warming goes on].

Swindler Martin Durkin:

Objectively, it is staggeringly obvious that climate-change science is complete twaddle. There is no correlation, on any meaningful timescale whatsoever, between CO2 and temperature. Take the politics and the grants out of it, and no one would take it seriously.

Hans Schreuder – classic crank:

I haven’t been targeted by activists, which is a shame, as that would have created publicity. I called Al Gore a liar and lots of other things on the site, because I was hoping someone would sue me for defamation. But nobody has bothered.

What a pity, Hans.

[Title reference]

Every loser wins

The Arctic sea ice has started its autumn freeze up. Both the NSIDC and Cryosphere Today metrics show significant increases over their minima for the year, and so I’ve settled my debts to Malcolm and William “Stoat” Connolley. To settle Malcolm’s bet, I have donated $40 to Women’s Refuge (they’re sending a receipt, which I will happily post when it arrives if Malcolm so wishes), but with William I have elected to go “double or quits” on next year’s minimum. He does get a signed copy of Hot Topic though, and it should be with him by the weekend or early next week. To ensure carbon neutrality for the airmail shipping, I will plant an extra tree in the truffière… 😉

So what are the prospects for next year? Will the ice consolidate a little more, hover around the 2007 and 2008 level, or beat 2007? My gut-feel (and, in the absence of further info on how the ice finished this summer, that’s all it is) is that the odds remain roughly 50/50 on a new record. A warmer winter than last, or a sunnier summer is all that it might take to cause greater loss. So I’m happy with my double or quits – at least for the time being.

NSIDC September 24th update here (note continuing reduction in multi-year ice). NASA reports that ice loss in August was fastest ever seen – and produced an excellent animation of ice coverage over the year (in right column, third image down). Meanwhile, ice loss from Greenland is also increasing (there should be much more concrete info later this year when the 2008 summer season reports start appearing), and a team at Ohio State University are beginning the Arctic System Reanalysis project, which will “merge a decade of detailed atmospheric, sea, ice and land surface measurements into a single computer model-based synthesis. The coupling of these immense data sets will produce complex and instructive descriptions of the changes occurring across the normally frigid, remote region.” The project will generate about 350 TB of data. Won’t run on my Macbook Pro, then… Plus there’s some learning about ice going on at the blog of a real ice man – Bob Grumbine’s More Grumbine Science here.

When Gray turns to blue/Flung a dummy

gray.jpg In a dramatic announcement today, Vincent R Gray, the retired coal researcher and diligent proof-reader of IPPC Working Group Reports (he’s inordinately proud of the fact that he submitted over 1,800 comments to the fourth report) has resigned from the Royal Society of New Zealand because of its recent statement on climate change. Given that Gray has been criticising the IPCC view of climate science for 18 years and is a vocal member of the NZ C”S”C, this is perhaps no surprise, but the statement he has issued as a riposte to the Royal Society is a minor classic of its genre. Vincent doesn’t so much spit the dummy as hurl it into low earth orbit, and uses pretty forthright language as he does so.

[Hat tip: Sam Vilain in a recent comment]

Continue reading “When Gray turns to blue/Flung a dummy”

Santa’s blues

Polarbear.jpg What’s a Christmas icon to do, when all the ice at the North Pole disappears in summer? This startling question is posed by the latest flush of media attention to events in the Arctic. First there was a National Geographic story on June 20th speculating that the North Pole would be ice free this summer (note: this is nothing to do with record minima, just do with ice around the pole itself). This was picked up by CNN, who went to Mark Serreze of the NSIDC in Boulder, Colorado for comment:

“We kind of have an informal betting pool going around in our center and that betting pool is ‘does the North Pole melt out this summer?’ and it may well,” said the center’s senior research scientist, Mark Serreze. It’s a 50-50 bet that the thin Arctic sea ice, which was frozen in autumn, will completely melt away at the geographic North Pole, Serreze said.

And then everything went quiet, until The Independent in Britain (referred to as The Indescribablyoverhyped on climate matters by Stoat) picked up the story and ran with it under the headline – Exclusive: no ice at the North Pole:

It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history, ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year.

They seem to be having problems with their choice of tense, and quite how they can justify the “exclusive” tag escapes me… The Drudge Report noticed, and then everyone in the world had to have a go [Telegraph, AP(*)]. Andy Revkin at DotEarth covers it well, and RealClimate chips in with its own analysis. It won’t be long before the usual denialist sites will be spluttering with indignation, despite the fact that the North Pole has a very good chance of being open ocean this summer – even if a new record minimum is not set.

None of this has any relevance to the odds of my winning my various sea-ice bets, but it does give me a chance to post a few interesting Arctic-related links from the last week… As part of its beat-up, The Independent went to Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, for his impressions on the changes in the Arctic, and the BBC’s been carrying a blog from Liz Kalaugher aboard a Canadian icebreaker that over-wintered near Banks Island. Interesting stuff – note Liz’s comments about the weather. Meanwhile, across the melting ice, the Russian defence establishment is beginning to get worried about the impact of melting permafrost.

(*) The AP story uncovers this truly remarkable and hitherto unnoticed fact: “That pushed the older thicker sea ice that had been over the North Pole south toward Greenland and eventually out of the Arctic, Serreze said. That left just a thin one-year layer of ice that previously covered part of Siberia.” So that ice has somehow left the land and started floating towards the Pole. Be afraid, be very afraid…

Like takin’ candy from a baby

CTarctic110608.jpg Another day, another bet on sea ice. A few days ago, a regular reader of HT emailed to ask me if I could provide some support in a long series of comments to a post at Poneke! about the showing of Swindle. So I did (my contributions start here). And now I have another bet on this northern hemisphere summer’s sea ice minimum, with a commenter calling himself “malcolm” taking the Stoat position (cold side = more ice than last year, not something out of the Kama Sutra). So here’s an update on events up North. Consider it a form guide, if you will.

Continue reading “Like takin’ candy from a baby”