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Thursday, January 15, 2015

Despite the winter ice, Rolf E Westgard's pants catch fire at WUWT

Sou | 1:49 AM Go to the first of 20 comments. Add a comment

Why can't deniers just deny science? Some of them have to go further and make up stuff.

Today there's an article by someone called Rolf E. Westgard who's a petrol head as far as I can tell.  He's been featured here before, waffling on about clouds.

This time he's decided to see how many fibs he can tell in a single "guest essay". As with all good fibs, he skirts around the facts - quite a long way around. He mostly manages to avoid bumping into them.

Rolf misrepresents Al Gore

His first fib is a misquote of Al Gore's Nobel Prize speech. Rolf wrote:
In his 2007 Noble Prize acceptance speech, former Vice President  Al Gore warned that the “Arctic ice could be gone in as little as seven years.” 

That's a lie by misrepresentation. What's in inverted commas isn't a direct quote. It's also incomplete and misleading. Here is the relevant part of his actual speech:
Last September 21, as the Northern Hemisphere tilted away from the sun, scientists reported with unprecedented distress that the North Polar ice cap is "falling off a cliff." One study estimated that it could be completely gone during summer in less than 22 years. Another new study, to be presented by U.S. Navy researchers later this week, warns it could happen in as little as 7 years..
Seven years from now.  

Notice that Rolf misquoted. That he gave the reader the impression that it was Mr Gore's opinion, when instead he was citing the science of the time. And that he left out any reference to the possibility that it could be "less than 22 years" - quite a difference from seven years.

That's typical of disinformers. They are a different kettle of fish to deniers. Deniers are people who's brain doesn't work properly when it comes to climate science. Disinformers deliberately twist things so as to mislead. Now whether Rolf has a deficient brain or whether he is deliberately setting out to deceive I cannot say. What I can say is that he does it again in the very next sentence.

Antarctica is a long way from the Arctic

Rolf wrote:
Last week, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution reported:
“The North and South Poles are not melting.” In that report, oceanographer Ted Maksym noted that polar ice “is much more stable than climate scientists once predicted and could even be much thicker than previously thought.”

The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and Ted Maksym reported no such thing. What Rolf linked to was an article at WUWT, which was itself a copy and paste of an article in the Daily Express (a sensationalist tabloid from the UK), which was a puff piece by Benny Peiser of the denier lobby group the GWPF. The article mixed up the Arctic and Antarctica - talking at the same time about polar bears and a study of Antarctic sea ice, would you believe!

The first part that Rolf put in quotes was not anything that Ted Maksym said. It was the first line of the Daily Express article, which itself was made up out of thin air. Not a shred of fact (which I understand is par for the course at the Daily Express). The second bit that he put in quotes (about ice being more stable) looks to be a mish mash from the Express as well. It's pure fabrication.

Now Rolf must have know this. That's why I surmise that he is a disinformer, not a denier. Disinformers are the really bad guys, in case you can't tell. They are the ones wearing black hats. Deniers are their audience and often their chorus.

The chain of deception

In case you've lost track, here is the chain of deception:

  1. Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation lied to the Daily Express
  2. The Daily Express lied to its readers
  3. Anthony Watts copied the Daily Express lies at WUWT
  4. Rolf E. Westgard elaborated on these lies and re-packaged them for WUWT - again.

Rolf made up quotes out of a made up article in a tabloid newspaper. Nowhere does he link to any science. The only link he provided was to the WUWT article which was the copy and paste of the Express article from Benny Peiser of the GWPF. Deniers linking to deniers is another common tactic. The chances of readers following links is remote anyway. The risk of them trying to follow up any further is infinitesimal. 

It started with Nature

The basis of the lie was a report in Nature about robots that went under the ice in Antarctica. I wrote about this research back in November last year. It's not a lie.  What the disinformers have done is twist the facts into a fabrication of their own making. They want people to think that the world isn't getting hotter and the ice isn't melting. The world is getting hotter and the ice is melting.

The only part of Rolf's made up yarn that's factual is that sea ice around Antarctica is a lot thicker than was previously measured. That's because it gets scrunched up. The sea ice crashes into more sea ice and lumps up together making it quite thick in parts. That's in winter of course. In summer there's very little sea ice around Antarctica. It melts.

The other end of the earth

So far I've only got to the second paragraph of Rolf's fabrication. This is what he says next:
That Woods Hole study was confirmed by today’s NOAA  Arctic radar map which shows the Arctic Ice Cap at more than 4,000,000 square miles
Can you see what's wrong? The Woods Hole study that Rolf mentions was about Antarctica not the Arctic, so it can't be "confirmed" by anything that's happening in the Arctic.

What else is wrong? What about Rolf's Arctic sea ice is "more than 4,000,000 square miles"? That would be 10,400,000 square kilometres. Well, the NSIDC reports that in December, the Arctic sea ice extent averaged 12.52 million square kilometers (4.83 million square miles).  So he's wrong there, too. Surprisingly he's erred too low instead of too high. But if he thinks that's somehow sign of a recovery, he's probably in for a shock come summer. In winter the Arctic ices up. Not as much as it used to, but there is a lot of ice in winter.

NOAA 2014 Arctic Report Card

Rolf has picked bits and pieces from different places. He talks about the NOAA's Arctic Report Card, which you can read here.  I'll just add a couple of comparisons:

NOAA report - Greenland is getting hotter:
Estimates of the spatial extent of melting across the Greenland ice sheet ... show that melt extent for the period June through August (JJA, hereafter referred to as the summer) 2014 was above the 1981-2010 average 90% of the time (83 of 92 days, Fig. 3.1d). Melting occurred over 4.3% more of the ice sheet, on average, than in summer 2013, but 12.8% less than the exceptional summer of 2012....
...Between the beginning of June 2013 and the beginning of June 2014, which corresponds closely to the period between the onsets of the 2013 and 2014 melt seasons, there was virtually no net change in cumulative ice sheet mass (Fig. 3.3). The very small 6 Gt (Gigatonne) loss during that 12 month period contrasts with the previous eleven consecutive years of large losses, and particularly with the 474 Gt mass loss between June 2012 and June 2013, the highest annual loss observed in the GRACE record. 

What Rolf wrote:
NOAA’s Arctic Report Card; Update for 2014 provides similar data for the Earth’s other big ice sheet, Greenland. Data from the GRACE satellite and other sources has shown an annual average Greenland ice loss of more than 300 billion tons until 2013.  That loss has now dropped sharply by 98% to 6 billion annual tons since mid 2013. A loss of 300 billion tons adds about one millimeter to sea level rise. 

The NOAA chart of Greenland mass balance:

Then Rolf says: "All this frigid data parallels the 17 year pause in global land and sea surface". Come on, Rolf. Are you trying to tell me that the above chart is in any way shape or form a "17 year pause"? Pull the other one!

From the WUWT comments

joelobryan has it all figured out:
January 13, 2015 at 7:44 pm
There is one last, very important point that needs to be made on the multi-year ice plot.
In the records presented (i.e. the satellite era 1983-2013), nowhere is the biennial trend zero (year to year comparisons). Not in the 80’s, 90’s, 00’s, nor this decade so far. No one year is like the previous year nor the next year in the record.
The obvious implication: The Arctic sea ice pack IS the Earth’s primary heat radiator in a feedback-regulator system of global temp control. It is in constant dynamic, year to year, adjusting its ice extent which changes the dissipation of ocean heat content during the winter cold night nights when the water is either exposed or covered in an ice blanket.
When honest climate scientists once again are able to speak freely, they may likely talk of where the temp anomalies of the 1980-2005 and OHC of that base period went. Possible answer: It went out the Arctic as the Arctic ice extent responded with less ice to release ocean heat to space during the winters. After the sun’s high magnetic activity of the 1970-2000’s subsided, then so will the Arctic ice “recover”.

jayhd is just plain nuts:
January 13, 2015 at 2:10 pm
When do the lawsuits and criminal prosecutions for the fraud Al Gore has perpetrated begin? 

MCourtney is acting like he's nuts, too:
January 13, 2015 at 2:11 pm
OK, Arctic Ice has served its time as the canary in the mine. What’s next?
They didn’t give up when Kilimanjaro didn’t play out, when hurricanes didn’t multiply or when the global temperature stopped sky-rocketing… they just found another dead polar bear to flog.
So, what’s next? 

Well, well, well. Someone did check the links. John Finn wrote:
January 13, 2015 at 2:31 pm
I hope I’m not appearing to be too picky about this but is it possible to get a direct link to the source of this report. This post simply links to a previous WUWT post which, in turn, links to the Daily Express (a UK tabloid newspaper). It’s fair to say that the Express is not the most trusted source of information and I doubt that the Woods Hole Institute have communicated with the Express directly.
I’d wouldn’t expect blogs like WUWT, which is supposed to represent the leading edge of sceptical thinking, to be relying on a relatively down-market newspaper for it’s sources of information. 

John is one misguided pup, isn't he, if he thinks that WUWT is the "leading edge of sceptical thinking" - lol. John's later comments indicate he is much more of a sceptic than is WUWT.

old engineer provides a link to the Nature article.
January 13, 2015 at 2:48 pm
Would a citation from “Nature” help? try this:

Nick Stokes  helped him out as well:
January 13, 2015 at 3:44 pm
Yes, but what you find there is:
1. It isn’t Wood’s Hole that reported
The North and South Poles are not melting”,/i>
It was Benny Peiser who said that. And the Maksym report was about Antarctica only. 

Chip Javert sarcastically points out that one shouldn't expect anything better than WUWT reporting a tabloid reporting a denier making up lies at WUWT.
January 13, 2015 at 3:30 pm
Gosh, John, I so ashamed.
I hope WUWT soon lives up to your great expectations…
Sounds like you come from a very rigorous background.
PS: BTW, some of us can even research stuff like the link you wanted all by our selves. 

Louis is confused by winter ice in the Arctic. He must have figured it should be like the tropics already. Weird people at WUWT.
January 13, 2015 at 3:11 pm
How does Cowtan and Way explain all this ice after claiming the Arctic is warming at about eight times the pace of the rest of the planet?

Related HotWhopper articleAn unsustainable planet - and yellow submarines in Antarctica

G. Williams, T. Maksym, J. Wilkinson, C. Kunz, C. Murphy, P. Kimball & H. Singh. "Thick and deformed Antarctic sea ice mapped with autonomous underwater vehicles." Nature Geosci. (2014).


  1. Al Gore may not have done the study saying the Arctic would be ice free in 7 years, but he did reference it as part of his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. By doing this he gave tacit approval to the findings and in so doing giving the study more weight than it might have garnered otherwise.

    1. Is he not allowed to give "tacit approval " to a scientific study by U.S. Navy researchers? He is in the business of influencing.

    2. Further. Just because the study turns out to be "wrong" does not mean it had no validity. Clearly Al Gore was drawing attention to a worst case scenario.

    3. That isn't the point, Cam, as you well know. Are you a disinformer by trade too, same as Rolf?

      The point is that Rolf misquoted and misrepresented Al Gore, in more ways than one.

      PS Al Gore is fat, too, therefore climate science is a hoax.

    4. This presumably refers to the 2016 +/- 3 years extreme outlier prediction, which could yet be correct. 7 years from 2007 was indeed a worst case, but was credible then. It's not as if he was quoting a right-wing British tabloid with a dying (sic) readership.


  2. Thanks for wading through this Sou and presenting your findings. There is so much disinformation there I would not know where to start.

    I do notice how disinformers misquote Al Gore shamelessly. Whenever I have chased down a quote I always find he (Al Gore) is very careful to attribute what he says to a scientific study and he does not make anything up or exaggerate it. He does have some good science advisors I believe so he will not make many mistakes. I guess it is true that he is a bit overweight and has a big house.

    The other thing I find amusing is how they (deniers) think it is a big find that the ice may be thicker than originally thought. All that means is that there is more to melt and sea-levels potentially will go even higher. Oh well. Logic is not their strong point.

    1. Melting *sea* ice doesn't raise sea levels, so it doesn't matter whether there is really more of it or not (from a sea level perspective).

      It *is* frustrating to me, as a scientist, that the media and even WUWT can't celebrate the work that people like Maksym do, to actually, you know, *learn* new things about our planet. Doesn't matter if AGW is important or not; we still need to know about where climate is going.

    2. @PL

      "Melting *sea* ice doesn't raise sea levels, " Not quite true but I will let that pass. :)

      I was not referring to sea ice. (Though someone else could have been).

    3. Jammy, I think we're on the same side, but the Maksym and AUV work is about sea ice, hence I assume that's the topic here. I'm not aware of significant recent changes in estimated inventory of grounded ice above floatation, but if you have a cite, please share.

      And more on "not quite true that melting sea ice doesn't raise sea levels" would be interesting too; don't let it pass! Help make HW a more sciency place.

    4. This comment has been removed by the author.

    5. Try again.


      Here is a starting point for sea level rise from sea ice:

    6. Thanks for the SkS link; hadn't seen that. I am aware of the Jenkins and Shepherd studies, and in future I was try to say "has *almost* no impact on sea level"; but it really is small.

      The thickest mean sea ice around is about 5 m, so in those places we'd be talking about 5-10 cm SLR if the freshened water stayed right under the floe. However, once it it averaged around the global ocean, it is negligible. Even Shepherd's 1.6% is tiny compared with uncertainties in both steric and mass changes to SLR.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Here we have an excellent example of how lies originate in the black box of vested interest (that behind the GWPF, for whom Peiser speaks; that for which R. E. Westgard speaks) and then wing around the world courtesy of the right wing media (the Daily Express) and the denialist blogosphere.

    One of the many things that deniers deny is that they are the useful idiots manipulated by vested interest for its own ends. Sadly, even when the evidence is this clear, they will deny it still.

  5. @-BBD
    "One of the many things that deniers deny is that they are the useful idiots manipulated by vested interest for its own ends. Sadly, even when the evidence is this clear, they will deny it still."

    That is because they can clearly see that scientists, the major scientific institutions, irrational leftists and hysterical greens are the useful idiots manipulated by vested interests for its own ends. (increase taxation or the NWO?!)

    Sadly even Nature seems to be in on the con, going along with the alarmist message by melting all that ice and having the hottest year in the instrumental record.


  6. BBDJanuary 15, 2015 at 4:25 AM

    One of the many things that deniers deny is that they are the useful idiots manipulated by vested interest for its own ends. Sadly, even when the evidence is this clear, they will deny it still.
    I think it unwise to suggest that the Anti-AGW acolytes are funded by any vested interests (big oil/coal etc.) - without proof!
    I believe most are being urged on by selfishness and greed.
    They think it wrong that they should lose even a small percentage of their wealth when they can continue just as before.
    They do not think beyond their own death so a few decades into the future when AGW starts to really bite and when many of them will be dead, is not within their brain-map
    Suggesting that they should give some of their wealth to the "third world" to prevent them going down the mega-pollution path of industrialisation is just so unbelievable to their little world. It just makes them mad!
    One only has to look at what those in a cool/cold climate say about a 1 deg C increase in temperature - I'm all right jack Just what I need - they ignore the change in weather patterns. They ignore those already at the limits of temperature for living. They do not think of how long it will take to correct if it turns out to be disastrous (too many "ifs" they say). They do not think of the cost to future generations (science and engineering will fix it).

    So selfishness not big oil funding drives the Anti-AGW acolytes.

    1. I was careful not to conflate deniers (the manipulated) with vested interest (the manipulators). Of course you are correct to suggest that many deniers have personality traits that make them susceptible to being manipulated as you suggest.

      On proof that vested interest *does* fund the denial machine (it is the organ grinder, not the monkeys), there's Brulle (2013).

    2. See also John Mashey's investigations. I hope I never end up on the wrong end of that guy's forensic skills.

      I think we're all aware that there are sincere believers (the manipulated), sincere manipulators (who lie in service of a greater truth), and cynical manipulators who do it for personal gratification, pecuniary or psychological.

      If there were no vested interests involved I think the cult of AGW denial would still exist but on the scale of, for instance, the Electric Universe cult (that's plasma cosmology, not the band; for all I know they have a huge cult following).

    3. The Electric Universe folks provide a useful model for many of the true-believer deniers, I think -- they're classic cranks.

      I'm hopeful that as this vast, ginned-up controversy continues, it will become more and more obvious to reasonably intelligent laypeople that sites such as Watts are essentially crank magnets. HotWhopper and a few other sites do a wonderful job of making this clear.

  7. That article was an incredible Gish Gallop wasn't it?

    And what is surprising is they can show a chart that is reasonable accurate like the global sea ice extent, then fail to notice that it shows a downward trend (unless they think 2 years of increase somehow makes up for all the years of decrease).

    But as someone pointed out, the fact that Antarctic sea ice extent is increasing will make no difference to the polar bears.


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