Saturday, October 19, 2013

Climatology Professor, David Legates, fails Climatology 101 at WUWT

Sou | 5:45 PM One comment so far. Add a comment

It's odd how fake sceptics complain when research shows that conspiracy ideation is a predictor of science denial, albeit not as strong a predictor as more extreme free market ideology.  Anthony Watts protests quite loudly and at the same time posts articles that are rife with conspiracy ideation and right wing alarmism.

Today it's an article at WUWT by Dennis M. Mitchell and David R. Legates (archived here).  Their protest at climate science comprises the following:
Constructing a conspiracy theory of deception and incompetence
...climate alarmists are now scrambling to find new shelter from the stress coming from a public that increasingly realizes their doom-and-gloom predictions of climate chaos are based on shoddy data, faulty computer models and perhaps outright deception. The alarmist scientists have put themselves in a climate cataclysm box, and are desperate to protect their reputations, predictions and funding.
It's not uncommon for fake sceptics when faced with the evidence to say the evidence must be wrong.  Thing is though, it presupposes that all the scientists throughout the world who research anything relating to climate and earth systems are conspiring.  Otherwise how could all the evidence point to the same thing:-  that CO2 is increasing and the world is warming.  Never mind the fact that shipping companies must be involved in the conspiracy, pretending that they've been cutting across the Arctic in summer.  Photographers and news outlets must be in on the scam, too. Not to mention the birds and the bees who've shifted their domain, the glaciers and ice sheets and fish in the oceans.

The world is heating up

This dubious pair, we shall see, are knowingly engaged in disinformation.  Or at least one of them is doing it knowingly.
Despite the absence of warming in actual measured temperature records over the last 16 years, and near-record lows in hurricane and tornado activity, they still cry “wolf” repeatedly and try to connect every unusual or “extreme” weather event to human emissions of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide. (Actually, people account for only 4% of all the CO2 that enters Earth’s atmosphere each year.)
There is no "absence of warming" over the last 16 years.  Take a look for yourself:

And that's just the surface temperature.  93% of heat is accumulating in the oceans.  Fake sceptics deny this fact, with this pair claiming:
Year after year, alarmists have changed their protective shells for more absurd answers regarding where the Earth has mysteriously stashed all the energy that greenhouse gases supposedly trapped. For years, alarmists said ocean waters were storing the missing energy. But when the ARGO project demonstrated that the heat was not in the ocean, at least down two kilometers (1.2 miles) beneath the surface, one prominent alarmist responded, “We are puzzled at the results.” We are not puzzled.
They are wrong of course as this chart illustrates:

Fig 3.21 Source: IPCC AR5 WG1
 The only way that seas can rise is by ocean warming and/or melting ice, both of which means the oceans are getting warmer.  The above chart from Chapter 3 of the IPCC report shows that sea levels are rising and the oceans are getting warmer.

As for the bit about the four per cent.  I presume they are talking about the carbon cycle and the annual exchange with the biosphere, land surface and oceans. I don't know if that's accurate or not.  But you'd have thought that even if Professor David Legates isn't crash hot at arithmetic, Dennis Mitchell, being a CPA, would be familiar with the notion of compound interest.  What we add to the air stays there for a very long time.  So far we've increased the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide by 40%. Not only that, but half of the waste CO2 that we're tossing into the air ends up in the ocean.  And now the ocean pH is dropping at an alarming rate.

Oceans are heating up

Of course most fake sceptics don't have a clue about science.  This pair, for example, write this sort of nonsense, knowing that many WUWT readers will fall for it, being science illiterate:
The “puzzling” facts triggered the predictable alarmist tactic of attacking the data and claiming the heat was hiding in the really deep ocean. Ignoring the physics of the problem – how the asserted heat was transferred from atmospheric carbon dioxide, through the sea surface, and beyond the first mile of ocean waters, without being detected – they expect us to believe that fluid thermodynamics is akin to magic.
First, I don't know what David and Dennis mean by "really deep ocean".  They couldn't be more wrong about the oceans heating up.  The heat is accumulating in the top two kilometres as the chart below shows.  I don't know if it's getting warmer at lower depths or not.


It doesn't get "beyond the first mile" without being detected.  It is indeed detected in the top 700 metres as well.  Just look at the chart below.  Do they honestly think otherwise?  I'd say not.  This is just another denier meme. Probably picked up when deniers used to claim there are a lot of undetected underwater volcanoes and people said, how come the top ocean is getting warmer but it's not as hot at depth.

Data Source: NOAA/NODC

Rhetorical strawman fallacy

It's a common tactic of disinformers to make up stuff.  For example, they write:
Have we forgotten that 1998 was to be the “tipping point,” after which Earth would warm uncontrollably? 

Who said that?  When? Where?  I've never even seen deniers try to claim that one before.  It's a load of codswallop.

Deniers reject the greenhouse effect

And this one is so worn out I'm surprised that any denier is still wearing it.
 increasing temperatures always preceded higher CO2
Fancy Anthony Watts allowing such an idiotic statement on his blog :)  Everyone knows that when CO2 is a feedback it has to come after the initial forcing.  This time it's happening as a forcing.  We're adding it to the air.  Whether CO2 rises as a forcing or a feedback doesn't matter.  It will raise the temperature of earth both times.

Now I can understand someone like Dennis Mitchell, who's just a CPA, not understanding climate science.  But I have to ask where he gets his disinformation from and why he doesn't accept science from scientists.  What makes him, a non-expert, think that he knows more than all the world's experts on the subject?  Is he a conspiracy theorist or is it extreme free market ideology that's motivating him to tell lies? I cannot accept that even extremist right wing views mean that one has to toss ethics out the window.  No, it's probably a character defect.

Judge them by their company

And you can judge a man by the company he keeps.  In this case, Dennis the Menace keeps company with known climate disinformer David Legates.  Now David has no excuse for spreading lies about climate science.  He is apparently a Professor of Climatology at the University of Delaware.  There is no way that he isn't aware of the greenhouse effect.  A professor.  Someone who purports to study climate. And he doesn't know the first thing about the properties of greenhouse gases?

I don't buy it.

PS You may remember that David Legates was a co-author with Christopher Monckton and Willie Soon. What did I say about judging a man by the company he keeps?  Anthony Watts, David Legates, Willie Soon, Christopher Monckton, Tim Ball - all denying science in a most ridiculous fashion.

1 comment:

MikeH said...

Legates is a signatory of the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation's "An Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming".

The declaration states:
"We believe Earth and its ecosystems — created by God’s intelligent design and infinite power and sustained by His faithful providence — are robust, resilient, self-regulating, and self-correcting, admirably suited for human flourishing, and displaying His glory. Earth's climate system is no exception."