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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

WUWT recycling trivially false trivia

Sou | 12:18 AM Feel free to comment!

Looks as if Anthony Watts has run out of Quotes, recycling one from his May 20 Quote of the Week.

Let's look at it:
Quote of the Week: : “The influence of mankind on climate is trivially true and numerically insignificant.” Richard Lindzen [H/t Tom Sheehan]
Well, that's about the most wrong-headed thing you could come across from someone who calls himself a scientist.  Everyone knows the influence of "mankind" is having a huge impact on climate.  I don't know who Tom Sheehan is** but I do know who Richard Lindzen is.  He's the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences.

Professor Lindzen describes himself as a "dynamical meteorologist with interests in the broad topics of climate, planetary waves, monsoon meteorology, planetary atmospheres, and hydrodynamic instability". ("Dynamical" is a term used in science and mathematics.  I'd never come across the word till now.)

Professor Lindzen when he was a more active researcher published a lot of papers and made a solid contribution to the field.  In his later career he appears to have got somewhat fixated on trying to prove that climate sensitivity is low, without success.  That hasn't stopped him from talking to various collections of people who also want to have proven that climate sensitivity is low, and reassuring them that it is.

In trying to track down the source of the quote from Lindzen, I came across this 2010 presentation to a Hearing of the House Sub-Committee on Science and Technology (USA), but the quote was slightly different:
The claims that the earth has been warming, that there is a greenhouse effect, and that man’s activities have contributed to warming, are trivially true and essentially meaningless in terms of alarm.

Lindzen ignores the crushing weight of scientific research


Ah, I remember that, I thought to myself.  That was when the Republican-minority committee got a list of science delayers, deniers and not-even-scientists to tell them "not to worry", "God will protect us" and all that sort of nonsense.  Joe Romm was on top of it of course.  Here is a link to his first article about it, and here is a link to his second.  To give you a taste, Joe Romm writes:
...Of course, Lindzen’s testimony somehow manages to ignore the crushing weight of scientific research finding dramatic, unprecedented changes in the natural world in all realms, including (for just one example) the freak Russian heat wave and associated Asian monsoon which killed over 60,000 people this summer during the hottest year on record.
Then there was Lindzen's 2012 presentation to a meeting held in the UK (wrongly promoted on some fake skeptic blogs as being to the House of Lords or to the House of Commons, but it was just a public meeting for deniers).  His presentation was of the same style and had the same quote as his presentation to the US House Sub-Committee of eighteen months or so earlier:
The claims that the earth has been warming, that there is a greenhouse effect, and that man’s activities have contributed to warming, are trivially true and essentially meaningless in terms of alarm.
I remember there was a bit of a fuss about that too.  Here is an article on realclimate.org, figuring out how Lindzen's charts got so screwed up.  Lindzen sort of apologised for the mess up, but probably a bit late for the denier blogosphere to notice.

So I've been unsuccessful in tracking down Anthony Watts'/Tom Sheahan/Sheehan's Quote of the Day.  Maybe the quote suffers from the Chinese Whispers syndrome.


**I believe I've discovered where on the internet the Tom Sheehan article is.  His name could be Tom Sheahan and maybe he is Thomas P. Sheahan, Ph.D, Western Technologies, Inc., whose name is on a list of 100 science deniers circulated back a couple of years ago by the Cato Institute.  A Tom Sheahan (with two "a"s) wrote an article last week for the conservative blog, the somewhat inappropriately named American Thinker, using Anthony's Quote of the Day.  Sheahan doesn't give the source of his quote except that he attributes it to Richard Lindzen.

Update: American Thinker has now changed Thomas Sheahan to Thomas Sheahen.

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