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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Dissecting Denmor's Denial

Sou | 4:33 PM 14 Comments - leave a comment

Denmor drags out a climate science disinformer

I haven't posted any of the nonsense from HotCopper in a while.  So, courtesy of denmor, a science denier from HotCopper's science and medicine S&M club and the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition this is what passes for 'science' among the share trading science illiterati from Australia.  Denmor (who's been featured here before) and Clifford (Cliff) Ollier present a Gish gallop but not so much that we can't cover most issues touched on.

It makes for a long-ish post so if you arrived via HotWhopper's home page, click 'read more' below or click here.  (If you just want to see a pretty neat animation of CO2, jump down here.)

(Subs req'd to read the original thread. Access is free. Head vice recommended.)

As science-loving Tinnitus observes about denmor's 'contribution':
Wow A polemic paper on climate from a prof that doesn't work in climate science....Do people understand actually what a polemic paper is?
 Anyway, here goes....

It's not (just) the sun, stupid... 

Professor Cliff Ollier of the School of Earth and Environmental Studies, the University of Western Australia, recently presented a paper in Poznan, Poland, in which he described the sun as the major control of climate, but not through greenhouse gases."There is a very good correlation of sunspots and climate. Solar cycles provide a basis for prediction. Solar Cycle 24 has started and we can expect serious cooling..."
First up, while Cliff Ollier is affiliated with UWA he's an "honorary research fellow" indicating he's retired, not a current salaried member of staff.  He's not a climate scientist.

Now that's cleared up, let's look at temperature and solar activity from

Denmor and Cliff Ollier are wrong. Temperature and solar activity were only going in the same direction until about 1940.  Something has happened.  A bigger forcing took over.  I'd go with the science and say it was the rapid increase in greenhouse gases, mainly because of all the carbon dioxide we're putting into the air.

The Arctic sea ice is fast disappearing

Ollier continues with his disinformation, this time about sea ice:
Satellite data show global temperature is essentially unchanged in 30 years. Sea ice shows no change in 30 years, though every annual retreat is heralded by alarmists as proof of AGW. 
Here is the Arctic sea ice volume from the Polar Science Centre.  The Arctic has been losing 3000 cubic km a decade since 1980.  This past decade the loss has been even more dramatic.

As for summer ice loss, this is what has happened:
Monthly averaged ice volume for September 2012 was 3,400 km3. This value is 72% lower than the mean over this period, 80% lower than the maximum in 1979, and 2.0 standard deviations below the 1979-2011 trend.
The summer ice has declined so much that now there is even a small amount of commercial shipping through the Arctic, which brings its own risks.

Antarctic sea ice is increasing

And around Antarctica? Yes, sea ice has grown over winter (it mostly disappears in summer).  Here is some recent research on the subject from Nature, offering different perspectives.

Cold meltwater stops the ice from melting from below

Scientists have known for several years that meltwater from ice sheets can form a cold, fresh layer on the ocean surface that protects sea ice from the warmer waters below....In the model, the meltwater formed a cool freshwater cap that facilitated the expansion of sea ice, leading the researchers to identify this as the most likely cause of the recent trend.

Wind forces and temperature 

Holland and his colleague Ron Kwok, a climate researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, showed that in certain regions of Antarctica, such as the Weddell Sea, sea-ice changes are almost entirely due to the physical force of the winds. In other areas, such as the King Håkon Sea, they result from the combined effects of wind force and temperature.

Total sea ice is shrinking

This snippet from a chart (from the Polar Research Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign -  Cryosphere Today) shows that globally sea ice is declining even below the 1979 to 2008 mean (the flat line).  Click here for the full chart:

Land ice in some parts of Antarctica is melting rapidly

In West Antarctica and on the Antarctic Peninsula, ice is melting rapidly.  In regard to the latter in particular, it has definitely been linked to global warming and is contributing to rising sea levels.

The ocean is getting hotter

Just how many lies can one man tell?  And they are so easy to disprove.  The oceans are heating up and denmor and Ollier can't pretend otherwise.
Ocean temperatures are more important than land temperatures because the ocean holds much more heat than the atmosphere. Since 2004 the Argo observation system of 3000 buoys has been measuring the sea temperature. The machines go down as far as two kilometres and surface every ten days to send out their data, which shows a cooling trend. Because we have data to great depths we know there is nowhere for the heat to be hiding. The greenhouse warming hypothesis requires a rise in temperature. The observed cooling trend show it is not happening, so the hypothesis should be rejected.

This chart from NOAA shows just how much the oceans are heating up. Click here for more charts from NOAA:

Why deniers deny's because of taxation!

Now we get to the crux of the matter.  It is quite likely the reason for the lies:
Carbon dioxide requires extra treatment, as it is the alleged cause of global warming, and the fundamental reason for a carbon tax and calls to cut the carbon footprint. 
Denmor adds later in the thread, in response to Jantimot who writes: In that case, it must be TAXED!
It is its called a carbon tax 
Denmor and Jantimot and Ollier don't want to pay for pollution.  They would rather destroy the world than pay a penny more in taxation.  In Australia, people get compensated for the carbon price so even that's no reason to deny science!

When CO2 was twenty times greater, there were no humans or any other life on land

As for relying on this:
The CO2 content of the atmosphere has been much greater in the geological past, without catastrophe. 
Humans weren't around when the CO2 content was 'much greater'.  They weren't even a twinkle in the eye of the cosmos.  500,000,000 years ago, back when CO2 was about twenty times greater, there wasn't even any life on land.  From Ohio State University:

For a decade, he and his team have been assembling evidence of climate change that occurred 500 million years ago, during the late Cambrian period. They measured the amounts of different chemicals in rock cores taken from around the world, to piece together a complex chain of events from the period.
Their latest measurements, taken in cores from the central United States and the Australian outback, revealed new evidence of a geologic event called the Steptoean Positive Carbon Isotope Excursion (SPICE).
Amounts of carbon and sulfur in the rocks suggest that the event dramatically cooled Earth's climate over two million years -- a very short time by geologic standards. Before the event, the Earth was a hothouse, with up to 20 times more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere compared to the present day. Afterward, the planet had cooled and the carbon dioxide had been replaced with oxygen. The climate and atmospheric composition would have been similar to today.
Dr Salzman observes that after the SPICE event, when CO2 dropped and oxygen rose:
“If we could go back in time and walk around in the late Cambrian, this seems to be the first time we would have felt at home,” Saltzman said. “Of course, there was no life on land at the time, so it wouldn't have been all that comfortable.”

CO2 has risen by 40%

This is how Ollier dismisses a 40% increase in CO2:
The amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is a mere 0.04%, and it is indeed increasing, but the increase started long before 1945 when AGW is supposed to start.
Here's an animation of CO2 rising as featured on the NOAA website. You can be mesmerised by recent growth, or skip towards the end to see how it's changed over 800,000 years - well before modern humans arrived:

Global surface temperature trends and the IPCC

I'd wager that neither Ollier nor denmor has ever read a report from the IPCC.  Ollier writes:
The UN's main adviser, the IPCC, uses adjusted data for the input, their models and codes remain secret, and they do not accept responsibility for their projections.
My guess is that Ollier is confusing homogenisation adjustments and corrections to provide an accurate record of actual global surface temperature trends, with climate models for projecting what will happen under future emission scenarios. Read this paper to see how the GISS analysis of global surface temperature change is prepared.

As for models and codes - here is a link to the latest CMIP5 modelling page, hardly a secret! Here are lots more links to climate models, data and codes.  And here is a link to the myriad reports from the IPCC.  Climate science is a lot more than models, and the IPCC reports are about a lot more than just the science.

For people with a strong stomach and a head vice handy

As denmor graciously says, there is more of Ollier's nonsense here if you can stomach it.
This is denmor's signature slogan would you believe:
Scepticism is the highest of duties; blind faith the unpardonable sin." Huxley

"Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience."

Denmor shows not an ounce of scepticism when it comes to serial disinformers.  As for the "stupid people" quote, well I wouldn't bother arguing with denmor, I'll let science demonstrate where he is wrong! 


Anonymous said...

Why not post a graph showing ongoing divergence of co2 and temperature and please explain.

KAP said...

Glad to oblige:

Now what here needs explanation?

Anonymous said...

Now I know the image is a 2 years old but notice how it does not correlate early in the record and late in the record. It only correlates for about a 30 year period. Co2 keeps rising at an accelerating but temperature does not.

Anonymous said...

EDIT: Asking because i have heard of no good theory to explain the divergence if co2 in the main driver.

Sou said...

Hi Anonymous. You ask why I didn't discuss any purported divergence between CO2 and surface temperature. The direct answer is because nothing like that was claimed in denmor's post.

If you are asking me to write a post just on atmospheric CO2 and temperature, I'll be happy to do so. Come back in a few days.

Meanwhile, here's some reading for you and a video with Richard Alley. The video is long and a little bit technical, but worth it if you have any science background.

Richard Alley on The Biggest Control Knob 

The main things to bear in mind are that:

a human life span is not even a blip on geological time scales,

weather affects surface temperature on human time scales (hours and days and years) while climate is on a scale of decades, and

the extra heat retained because of greenhouse gases is absorbed by land and oceans as well as the air - not always at the same rate at the same time on very short time scales (hours/days/years/decades) - largely because air and oceans are always moving about internally.

Anonymous said...

What "divergence"?

Anonymous (the other one) is clearly a visitor from lala-land.

And anyway - why would it "diverge"? Have the laws of physics suddenly changed and CO2 is no longer a greenhouse gas?

Anonymous (the other one) is clearly a complete cretin.

KAP said...


You're just plain wrong. The correlation between temperature and CO2 has been increasing throughout the measurement record. In the 19th century correlations were low because CO2 wasn't changing, leaving natural forcings as the main climate drivers. During the period 1910-1970, the correlation coefficient between CO2 and HADCRUT4 was .66, and between 1970 and 2012 the correlation was .91

Sou said...

I think Anonymous (the other one) isn't aware that surface temperature fluctuates over time and doesn't go up in a straight line on a yearly basis. Probably isn't familiar with charts and how to use them to interpret data. There could be a smidgen of confirmation bias in there as well.

I won't get to do anything on this before next weekend now.

Anonymous said...

Denmor from HotWhopper reminds me of Chester from the Chester and Spike cartoons.

Hanrahan is Spike with about the same science credentials but the gruff and bluster is try hard.

Sou said...

ha ha - absolutely!

Anonymous said...

MobyT gets a mention on HotWhopper today. Even with a touch of magnamity from resident fruitcake BenBradley of all people.

MobyT had infinite patience. And Ben doesn't realise the majority of reasonable and intelligent see the cesspool they've stumbled upon and quickly move on (or are bullied out).

BenBradley said:

"Since MobyT left the standard of AGW hoax debate and information seems to have gone down the drain...

Mt at least seems to have been totally engrossed in AGW hoax documentation and presenting it regardless of how dumb it was, whereas the few AGW cultists left dont seem to have the knowledge or courage to do much more than the ocasioanal meaningless one-liner, or the even more vacuous "its obvious"...

Unfortunately with Mt gone the information level from the AGW cultists never seems to raise above parrotting algore, which any primary school kid can do these days after so many forced watchings of his widely descredited propaganda movie..."

Sou said...

Wow! Thanks for that. Totally unexpected and I'll take it as a compliment - if a backhanded one.

I'm pleased he got the hoax and cultist bits right. (We've got a big meeting scheduled for the equinox in June in our secret OWG-NWO-Agenda21-funded hideaway. Bring your broomstick!)

I can't agree with him though. The few times I've been back to HC recently it's the quality of denier posts that's gone downhill. They seem to be lacking in imagination and originality. No zing. The crowd hasn't changed much and they're regurgitating the same old, same old talking points in very dull prose (if you could call it that). So much so that I've found nothing of interest to poke fun at :D

Although I must admit that was reduced to a guffawing mess when I read this comment.

I wonder if young Ben has seen the articles in his honour? Would he have been so - ummm - magnanimous?

Sou said...

To add: it pleases me that it's another one in the eye for the redneck general manager and moderators of HotCopper - especially as there are now a few deniers on HC that I crossed swords with about climate stuff, who said they were disappointed I'd been banned.

Sometimes I miss the back and forth with the diehard deniers, but overall HotWhopper is much more fun than HotCopper :D

Anonymous said...

I reckon it is one in the eye. You know shortly after MobyTs exit from HC I mentioned that the thread was poorer for it and the mods deleted my comment!! One in the eye for sure.

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