The last couple of days have seen a few contradictions at WUWT. Or more properly, about faces. Par for the course for the denialati.
About face number 1 - Neukom2014 is "good science"
First up, I noticed that WUWT-ers at first didn't like the recent paper of Neukom et al which reconstructed surface temperatures of the southern hemisphere over the past 1000 years. Anthony tagged it as "bad science". Wondering Willis wrote a couple of articles where he decided it was all wrong because Steve McIntyre said it was all wrong, and Willis agreed. Their argument seems to have been that in their opinion, proxies are more reliable than modern thermometers, which seems a bit silly to me. If a potential proxy didn't reflect temperature as measured by a modern instrument then I'd be inclined to go with the modern instrument - wouldn't you?
It doesn't matter anyway because now Anthony Watts has done an about face. Neukom et al is no longer "bad science". It's very good science. The WUWT about face (archived here) is because of an article in Nature Climate Change by Kim Cobb, which is based on Neukom et al. Anthony Watts' headline is:
New paper finds climate sensitivity to CO2 is lower than previously believed, strong natural variability in Southern Hemisphere
Going by the excerpts published at WUWT, the article doesn't make that finding. It does suggest that climate sensitivity calculations based solely on Northern Hemisphere reconstructions may err on the high side.
If the new reconstruction of Southern Hemisphere temperature is accurate, then estimates of climate sensitivity — the response of global temperature change to a given amount of external radiative forcing — may be lower than those calculated based solely on Northern Hemisphere reconstructions10.
Given that Anthony has now embraced Neukom et al, which said pretty much the same thing as Kim Cobb wrote, what does that mean for deniers? In particular, does it mean they will let go of their obsession with the medieval warm anomaly, which wasn't in much evidence down south? Does it mean they'll accept estimates of climate sensitivity that are based on global (as opposed to NH only) temperature reconstructions?
This is Figure 3 from the Neukom paper showing extreme warm and cold decadal temperatures. The third chart from the top is the combined northern and southern hemispheres. It's getting mighty hot:
About face number 2 - people can afford climate controlIn what is a second about face by the denialiati, it's no longer the case that people will all die of cold when an ice age cometh. I deduce that from Anthony being co-author of a comment to a paper about deaths from heat extremes in Stockholm County in Sweden. (I wrote about that paper several weeks ago.) Anthony and his co-authors are apparently arguing that people will adapt to hot weather by spending up big on air conditioners, therefore they won't die, unlike people in my home state of Victoria. (More people do die in heat waves in my home state. Anthony's only talking about Sweden. Perhaps people in Sweden are tougher.) And in any case, they argue, what about Urban Heat Islands.
The WUWT article is archived here. Pat'n Chip and Anthony's published comment can be read here. Anthony doesn't link to the reply by Åström and colleagues so I will - you can read it in its entirety I think on Readcube.
The main arguments of Pat'nChip and Anthony are:
- Stockholm temperatures aren't the same as global temperatures - which is an odd argument because the scientists didn't ever claim it was. It's irrelevant. They threw in "what about UHI" for good measure.
- People adapt to heat by getting cool.
The main response is (verbatim):
- The observed [temperature] changes are the result of natural processes, including regional climate variability, and anthropogenic influences, including urbanization.
- Our data indicate that there is no adaptation to heat extremes on a decadal basis or to the number of heat extremes occurring each year. Although another study observed a reduction in the population health impact of hot and cold extremes over the twentieth century, this decrease should not be confused with adaptation to climatic change....
- Whether future development pathways will continue to increase resilience will also depend on many factors other than climate change. Importantly, it is not appropriate to assume that historic trends will continue, with or without climate change.
Anthony doesn't say what Swedish people do when it gets too hot for the air conditioners to work. Or what happens when the power companies ration power because there isn't enough to go around with everyone running their new air conditioners full blast.
Anyway if, as Anthony maintains, poor people can afford to buy and run air conditioners when it gets too hot to handle, then they can presumably also afford to buy and run heaters in cold weather.
One thing is that everyone, including Pat'nChip and Anthony Watts are accepting the fact that Sweden is getting hotter. This regional warming is, needless to say, consistent with global warming.
Cobb, Kim M. "Palaeoclimate: A southern misfit." Nature Climate Change 4, no. 5 (2014): 328-329. doi:10.1038/nclimate2219
Neukom, Raphael, Joëlle Gergis, David J. Karoly, Heinz Wanner, Mark Curran, Julie Elbert, Fidel González-Rouco et al. "Inter-hemispheric temperature variability over the past millennium." Nature Climate Change 4, no. 5 (2014): 362-367. doi:10.1038/nclimate2174
Åström, Daniel Oudin, Bertil Forsberg, Kristie L. Ebi, and Joacim Rocklöv. "Attributing mortality from extreme temperatures to climate change in Stockholm, Sweden." Nature Climate Change 3, no. 12 (2013): 1050-1054. DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2022
Knappenberger, Paul, Patrick Michaels, and Anthony Watts. "Adaptation to extreme heat in Stockholm County, Sweden." Nature Climate Change 4, no. 5 (2014): 302-303. doi:10.1038/nclimate2201 (full text here)
Åström, Daniel Oudin, Bertil Forsberg, Kristie L. Ebi, and Joacim Rocklöv. "Reply to'Adaptation to extreme heat in Stockholm County, Sweden'." Nature Climate Change 4, no. 5 (2014): 303-303. doi:10.1038/nclimate2202 (full text here)