A Celtic New Year: lilt or lament?

Mr Morrison invites us all to come on home, and have a Celtic new year — which is always a good thing, as I can testify, being a Celt of many generations standing. While I wait for the ham to subside and the cabernet merlot to wash out of the system1, I’ll point you to the thoughts of George Monbiot, who is less than impressed with the old year:

It was the year of living dangerously. In 2012 governments turned their backs on the living planet, demonstrating that no chronic problem, however grave, will take priority over an immediate concern, however trivial. I believe there has been no worse year for the natural world in the past half-century.

Nor do the efforts of the British government bring him much cheer:

Continue reading “A Celtic New Year: lilt or lament?”

  1. Tomorrow, of course. []

I felt the chill before the winter came

Being keen on accuracy in all things, I feel I should draw the attention of the readers of Hot Topic to a prediction failure. Back in August, in a post called Arctic Sea Ice Forecast: It’s going to be tough to stay cool, I made a number of predictions about how the climate crank echo chamber would respond to the record-breaking Arctic sea ice summer minimum that was then on its way. A number of those predictions came to pass, as this recent accounting demonstrates, but I made some longer term predictions that we can now examine.

Here’s what I wrote on August 12:

When the re-freeze starts, and the Arctic basin is covered in ice once more (early December), Anthony Watts will report on the record rate of ice formation, calling it a “stunning recovery“.

I wish to apologise to Mr Watts, because I got both the timing of his statement and his precise words wrong. Here’s what he said in a post dated October 18 – Sea Ice News Volume 3 Number 15 – Arctic refreeze fastest ever:

After all of the news about a minimum record ice extent last month, this is interesting. As we know when water loses its ice cover, it allows a lot of heat to radiate into space as LWIR. many predictied that as a result of the extra open ocean surface, we see a very fast refreeze in the Arctic. It appears they were right. In fact, this is the fastest monthly scale refreeze rate in the NSIDC satellite record going back to 19791. [My emphasis]

He couldn’t wait until December before commenting on the freeze-up, but perhaps he’s saving the phrase “stunning recovery” for later use — or leaving it for his friend Steven Goddard, who has been exploring novel metrics for the autumn freeze. Sorry, Anthony.

[Elvis Costello]

  1. Copied and pasted from µWatts, so the typos are his. []

Record Arctic Sea-ice minimum 2012 declared – it’s the Silly Season!

In early August I posted my predictions for the “sceptical” response to the record sea ice minimum. Time to call myself to account. I had planned to do my own analysis, but John Mason at Skeptical Science has done such an excellent job of ploughing through the mountains of bullshit that I asked his permission to repost his comprehensive scorecard here…

The truth is incontrovertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it, but there it is. Winston Churchill, 1916.

Late summer has long been known in media circles as the Silly Season, when any old story, embellished a bit here and a bit there, is trundled out to fill column space normally occupied by the graver matters of politics and business.

In the world of climate science, late summer is of course rather more important, marking the peak of the annual sea-ice melting season of the Northern Hemisphere, and this year has been extraordinary, with the canary in the coal mine tweeting louder than ever that something is seriously amiss with the climate.

With Arctic sea-ice having reached a record low extent, area and volume, several weeks ahead of the usual end-of-melt date, the Blogosphere has been ablaze with lengthy discussions of this event and its potential and worrisome ramifications. There have also been mass-outbreaks of denial accompanied by varying degrees of silliness, as one might expect when faced with an event like a record Arctic melt-out. Many commentators could see the meltdown approaching, both in the Arctic and around parts of the Blogosphere, with Gareth Renowden over at Hot Topic speculating in early August as follows:

“When Arctic sea ice area sets a new record low in the next couple of weeks, the usual suspects will say: “You can’t trust area, sea ice extent is the only valid metric“.

When Arctic sea ice extent sets a new record low in September, the following arguments will be run in parallel:

1) There will be a frantic search for a definition of extent in which a new record was not set

2) There will be a complaint that the satellite record has been blighted by the failure of a sensor and the calibrations needed to get a new sensor in operation have corrupted the record

3) It will be claimed that it was all caused by the major Arctic storm that hit in August, and thus can’t be attributed to global warming

4) It’s cyclical — it’s all happened before, in the 1930s, and is therefore nothing unusual

5) That it’s irrelevant, because it’s not global and not happening where anyone lives so can’t possibly matter.

When the sea ice extent and area anomalies blow out to record levels in early October because of the delayed freeze-up, there will be silence.

When the re-freeze starts, and the Arctic basin is covered in ice once more (early December), Anthony Watts will report on the record rate of ice formation, calling it a “stunning recovery“.”

They go on in strange paradox, decided only to be undecided, resolved to be irresolute, adamant for drift, solid for fluidity, all-powerful to be impotent. Winston Churchill, 1936.

How closely did Gareth’s predictions above conform to the reality on the media airwaves? In this post-minimum-declared Blogosphere round-up, we take a light-hearted look.

Continue reading “Record Arctic Sea-ice minimum 2012 declared – it’s the Silly Season!”

Poisonous Heartland, twisted billboards

The Heartland Institute, the Chicago-based right wing think tank notorious for its coordination, organisation and funding of climate denial around the world (including New Zealand), has set new standards for bad taste by launching an advertising campaign for its upcoming climate “conference” that compares those who want action on climate change to terrorists, murderers and tyrants. The first billboard, featuring “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, appeared beside the Eisenhower Expressway in Chicago yesterday:


Jim Lakely, Heartland’s Director of Communications outlines the campaign:

The billboard series features Ted Kaczynski, the infamous Unabomber; Charles Manson, a mass murderer; and Fidel Castro, a tyrant. Other global warming alarmists who may appear on future billboards include Osama bin Laden and James J. Lee (who took hostages inside the headquarters of the Discovery Channel in 2010).

These rogues and villains were chosen because they made public statements about how man-made global warming is a crisis and how mankind must take immediate and drastic actions to stop it.

So have the Pope and the Dalai Lama. Are those august personages “rogues and villains” too?

Heartland’s press release ploughs on:

…what these murderers and madmen have said differs very little from what spokespersons for the United Nations, journalists for the “mainstream” media, and liberal politicians say about global warming.

Of course, not all global warming alarmists are murderers or tyrants.

Let’s be thankful for small mercies.

This despicable little campaign smacks of desperation. Unable to win any scientific argument, or to bend an ever-warming reality to its political views, and faced with dwindling interest from the mainstream media in the US, Heartland has resorted to tawdry sensationalism in an attempt to draw attention to its pathetic little denialist networking event. For an organisation that has made a specialism of breathtaking hypocrisy, this sets new standards. But don’t expect Bast & co, or any of their speakers and supporters to apologise. I confidently predict that the high horses that are so promptly mounted when any sceptic perceives the faintest slight will have mysteriously disappeared to some distant paddock. And yes, Anthony Watts, I’m looking at you…

See also: Leo Hickman at The Guardian.

Update: The internet is on the case:


(hat tip: Daniel Bird)

[Richard Thompson]

Core blimey, Easterbrook’s at it again

Don Easterbrook’s strange obsession with the Greenland temperature record and the GISP2 ice core data series continues. Despite his last effort having been shown to be completely clueless (though still good enough for Bob Carter and “potty peer” Chris Monckton to reference approvingly), he continues to (snow)plough a lonely furrow. This time it’s in a guest post at µWatts headlined (rather poorly) Easterbrook on the magnitude of Greenland GISP2 ice core data. It’s BIG data, obviously, for Don, but sadly he shows no signs of actually doing any proper research, or developing any real understanding of the issues he feels so free to write about.

So where are the errors this time?

Continue reading “Core blimey, Easterbrook’s at it again”