Playing games with climate science evidence

May 17, 2007 at 3:02 pm | Posted in Climate change, Climate science, NewScientist, TGGWS | Leave a comment

Issue No. 2604 of NewScientist dated 19 May 2007 contained a very useful:

CLIMATE CHANGE
A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED

… and, in response to Alan Thorpe’s article Fake fights are not helping climate science which you can read on the NERC (Natural Environment Research Council) website, this letter:

Letters

Warming swindle

[Cartoon: “Global warming arguments always raise the temperatures.”]

From Martin Durkin

Alan Thorpe, attacking my film The Great Global Warming Swindle, tells us not to “play games with the evidence” (17 March, p 24). Right ho. Let’s not.

He says: “There is no question that the more CO_2 there is in the atmosphere, the warmer the planet becomes.” Perhaps Thorpe is too young to remember the post-war economic boom. To remind him, it was the biggest explosion of economic activity in the history of human civilisation up to that point; an unprecedented volume of CO_2 was pumped into the atmosphere from lots of factories. What happened to the temperature? It went down. According to most temperature records, it went down from 1940 to about 1975.

Coincidental with the post-war cooling was a marked downturn in solar activity. Yet Thorpe boldly asserts, without any supporting evidence, that solar variations have an insignificant effect on the Earth’s climate. I refer interested readers to the work, published in 2005, by Jan Veizer (GeoScience Canada, vol 32, p13) and Willie Soon (Geophysical Research Letters, vol 32, L16712).

Then Thorpe admits, reluctantly, that in the ice core data, the temperature variation is followed, rather than preceded by changes in the level of CO_2 in the atmosphere. So carbon dioxide is clearly not driving climate. Awkward. So what is driving it? Thorpe says it’s the sun (mighty powerful thing, the sun), but then he tries, feebly, to salvage his CO_2 argument by suggesting that maybe the resulting changes in CO_2 amplify the temperature changes still further.

Oh really? As it happens, there is no evidence at all that this is true. Very often in the ice cores CO_2 rises like a rocket, while the temperature plummets. So who is playing games? Thorpe implies that I think there is a global warming conspiracy. I don’t. But I know that lots of scientists (like Thorpe), and journalists too, have staked their reputations on this theory being true. Many have built their careers on it. I sympathise with them.
London, UK

The editor of NewScientist writes:
For full discussion of climate myths, turn to p 34 and www.newscientist.com/climatemyths — and comment on Veizer’s paper is at http://celestial.notlong.com

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