Saturday, March 30, 2013

Willis' Motivated Rejection of Science

Today I saw an article by Willis Eschenbach on WUWT about a recent paper by James Hansen, Pushker Kharecha and Makiko Sato*.

Willis' article is full of errors as is usual (eg for DKE comedic relief see this article on Willis 'hypothesising thunderstorms' | Warning: head vice recommended.).

I'll only highlight one curious aspect, where for some inexplicable reason Willis is motivated to reject the impact of Pinatubo (just like Anthony denied the findings of his own and others).

Motivated Rejection of Pinatubo

Willis writes:
So to start with, from both his graph and mine I’m saying absolutely no way to Hansen’s claim that there was a “decreased airborne fraction after the Pinatubo eruption”.
This is the chart he provides, where the blue vertical line marks 1991, when Pinatubo erupted (click chart for larger version):

Look at the red line, which is "Annual Airborne Fraction" - note the further sharp decrease immediately after Pinatubo.  (Is this a case of Willis thinking "if I say it often enough it will become true"?)

The drop in the ΔCO2 is even more sharply illustrated in the following two charts.

The first is Figure 2 from Hansen et al (2013) showing the atmospheric ΔCO2 from the late 1950s to present.  Note how ΔCO2 starts to rise again in the late 1980s followed by a sharp drop in 1991 after Pinatubo.

Figure 2. Annual increase of CO2 based on data from the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL 2012). CO2 change and global temperature change are 12-month running means of differences for the same month of consecutive years. Nino index (Nino3.4 area) is 12-month running mean. Both temperature indices use data from Hansen et al (2010). Annual mean CO2 amount in 1958 was 315 ppm (Mauna Loa) and in 2012 was 394 ppm (Mauna Loa) and 393 ppm (Global).

The second is a chart I drew up from these global CO2 data, where I calculated the difference in atmospheric CO2 between successive January's and added these data of CO2 emissions to the chart.  I've extended the lines of ΔCO2 before and after 1991 to illustrate the sharp change in direction at 1991.

As you can clearly see, the emissions rise while the ΔCO2 drops sharply immediately after Pinatubo (1991 marked by the yellow vertical line).  (The emissions data do not include land use changes, but these would not have a huge impact over the short period in question.) (click chart for larger version).

Willis' flawed 'justification'

Willis justifies his false notion about Pinatubo by this short statement:
The majority of the drop he seems to be pointing to occurred well before Pinatubo occurred … 
However, the astute person will have noticed the flattening of emissions 'before Pinatubo occurred' and the rise in emissions afterwards, while the ΔCO2 drops.

Willis adds the following sentence (tinged with a military expression) to goad his fans (my bold):
In passing, let me comment that any reviewer who let any of that Pinatubo nonsense past them should resign their commission. It was the first thing I noticed when I looked at the paper.
It appears that the word "Pinatubo" is like a red rag to a bull with Willis ("it was the first thing I noticed").

The mystery is what motivates Willis to reject the effect of large volcanos in particular.  That's the part I have yet to fathom.

Postscript: Opening line of another Willis article just posted:
People sometimes ask why I don’t publish in the so-called scientific journals.
Well, duh...!

*James Hansen et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 011006 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/011006

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