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Thursday, September 5, 2013

What is the difference between Anthony Watts and an elephant?

Sou | 3:25 PM One comment so far. Add a comment

Sometimes Anthony Watts mocks science.
Often Anthony Watts mocks science.
Usually Anthony Watts mocks science.
Almost always Anthony Watts mocks science.

There is at least one attribute that Anthony Watts has in common with an elephant.  Neither can understand science (though I can't positively vouch for the elephant in that regard).  I'd be tempted to say neither are good at arithmetic too, but the elephant is probably better at numbers than is Anthony Watts.

Where they differ is that an elephant never forgets.  Anthony Watts on the other hand...


Today he shows that on very rare occasions, Anthony Watts likes a scientific paper.  He posts an article about a paper that discusses the role of soot in the recession of glaciers in Europe soon after the beginning of the industrial revolution.  Anthony has a headline with a question: (article is archived here):

Black Carbon Soot shrank the 19th century glaciers – but why isn’t it listed as a culprit today?
From the University of Colorado at Boulder comes this press release and accompanying photo. The photo, showing hazy pollution laden air in the Bernese Alps, makes me wonder why they don’t attribute current glacier ice loss issues to soot. Asia in particular, is a leader in soot production, right next to those Himalayan glaciers that the IPCC erroneously told us would be gone by 2035.


But it is and "they" do, it's just that Anthony forgets his own articles...


Anthony forgets his own articles so quickly.  Here is just a sample (all links from archived versions):

...and many more.

Thing is, almost every time Anthony writes an article about soot he pretends it's he who discovered the impact - and afresh.  He wouldn't know about soot or carbon if not for the scientific research that he usually mocks.  Yet he also hates organisations like the EPA that regulate the amount of pollution.  He is anti-soot but rejects attempts to control it.

Full of contradictions as well as having a very bad memory, as well as taking credit for things he wouldn't be able to do in a pink fit, or understand.

HotWhopper readers also know that although Anthony Watts has been mocking science for a few years now, particularly climate science, he's yet to open and read an IPCC report.  If he had, he'd have read about soot or black carbon and it's impact on snow, ice and albedo, for example - here as well as in the diagram showing radiative forcing in Chapter 2 of the IPCC AR4 WG1 here:

Source: IPCC AR4 WG1


And now for the science...


Here is the abstract of the PNAS paper by Painter et al, which Anthony writes about this time (my para breaks):
Glaciers in the European Alps began to retreat abruptly from their mid-19th century maximum, marking what appeared to be the end of the Little Ice Age. Alpine temperature and precipitation records suggest that glaciers should instead have continued to grow until circa 1910.
Radiative forcing by increasing deposition of industrial black carbon to snow may represent the driver of the abrupt glacier retreats in the Alps that began in the mid-19th century. Ice cores indicate that black carbon concentrations increased abruptly in the mid-19th century and largely continued to increase into the 20th century, consistent with known increases in black carbon emissions from the industrialization of Western Europe.
Inferred annual surface radiative forcings increased stepwise to 13–17 W⋅m−2 between 1850 and 1880, and to 9–22 W⋅m−2 in the early 1900s, with snowmelt season (April/May/June) forcings reaching greater than 35 W⋅m−2 by the early 1900s. These snowmelt season radiative forcings would have resulted in additional annual snow melting of as much as 0.9 m water equivalent across the melt season. Simulations of glacier mass balances with radiative forcing-equivalent changes in atmospheric temperatures result in conservative estimates of accumulating negative mass balances of magnitude −15 m water equivalent by 1900 and −30 m water equivalent by 1930, magnitudes and timing consistent with the observed retreat.  
These results suggest a possible physical explanation for the abrupt retreat of glaciers in the Alps in the mid-19th century that is consistent with existing temperature and precipitation records and reconstructions.


1 comment:

Lars Karlsson said...

"Where they differ is that an elephant never forgets."

Also an elephant has thicker skin.