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Posts Tagged ‘Matt Ridley’

Debunking the Debunkers – Abrupt Climate Change

Posted by greg2213 on July 8, 2013

The Bad Astronomer took issue with an Op Ed, by Matt Ridley, in the WSJ. Unfortunately (for the BA) Ridley follows the evidence, not the consensus, and CAGW loses on the evidence (big time.)

It’s on WUWT

Here’s a comment from Mr. Ridley.

Here’s a cool comment from the WUWT page discussing inconvenient climat events over the last few thousand years, something that few alarmists have any idea have occurred. (I added the clickable links.)


Jimbo says:

Last week a friend chided me for not agreeing with the scientific consensus that climate change is likely to be dangerous.

Your friend was absolutely right about “climate change is likely to be dangerous”. It is a danger to humans and the biosphere. Loooooord help us. Below are the effects of dangerous climate change over the Holocene. Man be damned, we must act now.

Abstract – E. Davis et. al.- September 2006
An Andean ice-core record of a Middle Holocene mega-drought in North Africa and Asia

A large dust peak, dated ~4500 years ago, is contemporaneous with a widespread and prolonged drought that apparently extended from North Africa to eastern China, evidence of which occurs in historical, archeological and paleoclimatic records. This event may have been associated with several centuries of weak Asian/Indian/African monsoons, possibly linked with a protracted cooling in the North Atlantic…..
Abstract – Steven L. Forman et. al. – May 2001
Temporal and spatial patterns of Holocene dune activity on the Great Plains of North America: megadroughts and climate links
Periods of persistent drought are associated with a La Niña-dominated climate state, with cooling of sea surface temperatures in the tropical Pacific Ocean and later of the tropical Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico that significantly weakens cyclogenesis over central North America.
Abstract – Hamish McGowan et. al. – 28 November 2012
Evidence of ENSO mega-drought triggered collapse of prehistory Aboriginal society in northwest Australia
…..Here we show that a mid-Holocene ENSO forced collapse of the Australian summer monsoon and ensuing mega-drought spanning approximately 1500 yrs …..
doi: 10.1029/2012GL053916
Abstract – B. Van Geel et. al. – 17 January 2007
Archaeological and palaeoecological indications of an abrupt climate change in The Netherlands, and evidence for climatological teleconnections around 2650 BP
….Evidence for a synchronous climatic change elsewhere in Europe and on other continents around 2650 BP is presented…..
doi: 10.1002/(SICI)1099-1417(199611
Abstract – Martin Jakobsson et. al. – December 2010
Arctic sea ice cover was strongly reduced during most of the early Holocene and there appear to have been periods of ice free summers in the central Arctic Ocean. This has important consequences for our understanding of the recent trend of declining sea ice…..
Abstract – Samuli Helama et. al. – 13 October 2008
Multicentennial megadrought in northern Europe coincided with a global El Niño–Southern Oscillation drought pattern during the Medieval Climate Anomaly
doi: 10.1130/G25329A.1
Abstract – Richard B. Alleya et. al. – May 2005
The 8k event: cause and consequences of a major Holocene abrupt climate change
Abstract – Scott Stine – 16 June 1994
Extreme and persistent drought in California and Patagonia during mediaeval time
California’s Sierra Nevada experienced extremely severe drought conditions for more than two centuries before ad ~ 1112 and for more than 140 years before ad ~ 1350…I also present similar evidence from Patagonia of drought conditions coinciding with at least the first of these dry periods in California….
Abstract – Martin Claussen et. al. – 7 December 2012
Simulation of an abrupt change in Saharan vegetation in the Mid-Holocene

Climate variability during the present interglacial, the Holocene, has been rather smooth in comparison with the last glacial. Nevertheless, there were some rather abrupt climate changes. One of these changes, the desertification of the Saharan and Arabian region some 4–6 thousand years ago,….
doi: 10.1029/1999GL900494
Abstract – Brian F. Cumming et. al. – 2 December 2002,
Persistent millennial-scale shifts in moisture regimes in western Canada during the past six millennia
…After periods of relative stability, abrupt shifts in diatom assemblages and inferred climatic conditions occur approximately every 1,220 years….
Abstract – Connie A. Woodhouse et. al. – December 1998
2000 Years of Drought Variability in the Central United States
…..One must turn to the paleoclimatic record to examine the full range of past drought variability, including the range of magnitude and duration, and thus gain the improved understanding needed for society to anticipate and plan for droughts of the future. Historical documents, tree rings, archaeological remains, lake sediment, and geomorphic data make it clear that the droughts of the twentieth century, including those of the 1930s and 1950s, were eclipsed several times by droughts earlier in the last 2000 years, and as recently as the late sixteenth century. In general, some droughts prior to 1600 appear to be characterized by longer duration (i.e., multidecadal) and greater spatial extent than those of the twentieth century……;2
Abstract – T. M. Shanahan – 17 April 2009
Atlantic Forcing of Persistent Drought in West Africa
…We find that intervals of severe drought lasting for periods ranging from decades to centuries are characteristic of the monsoon and are linked to natural variations in Atlantic temperatures. Thus the severe drought of recent decades is not anomalous in the context of the past three millennia,…..
doi: 10.1126/science.1166352
Abstract – Fahu Chen et. al. – December 2001
Abrupt Holocene changes of the Asian monsoon at millennial- and centennial-scales: Evidence from lake sediment document in Minqin Basin, NW China
These rapid climatic changes may be representative of a global climatic change pattern during the Holocene.
doi: 10.1007/BF02901902

Here are the effects of dangerous CARBON DIOXIDE, a noxious dioxide.

Randall J. Donohue et. al. – 31 May, 2013
CO2 fertilisation has increased maximum foliage cover across the globe’s warm, arid environments

[1] Satellite observations reveal a greening of the globe over recent decades. The role in this greening of the ‘CO2 fertilization’ effect – the enhancement of photosynthesis due to rising CO2 levels – is yet to be established. The direct CO2 effect on vegetation should be most clearly expressed in warm, arid environments where water is the dominant limit to vegetation growth. Using gas exchange theory, we predict that the 14% increase in atmospheric CO2 (1982–2010) led to a 5 to 10% increase in green foliage cover in warm, arid environments. Satellite observations, analysed to remove the effect of variations in rainfall, show that cover across these environments has increased by 11%. Our results confirm that the anticipated CO2 fertilization effect is occurring alongside ongoing anthropogenic perturbations to the carbon cycle and that the fertilisation effect is now a significant land surface process.


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Global Warming Pseudoscience

Posted by greg2213 on November 10, 2011

This is from a Matt Ridley (warning, Heretic alert) speech: The Angus Millar Lecture of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 31 October 2011

The speech was posted on WUWT, but a full PDF can he found here.

Here are some clips, but it’s important to read the whole thing.

My topic today is scientific heresy. When are scientific heretics right and when are they mad? How do you tell the difference between science and pseudoscience?

Let us run through some issues, starting with the easy ones.

  • Astronomy is a science; astrology is a pseudoscience.
  • Evolution is science; creationism is pseudoscience.
  • Molecular biology is science; homeopathy is pseudoscience.
  • Vaccination is science; the MMR scare is pseudoscience.
  • Oxygen is science; phlogiston was pseudoscience.
  • Chemistry is science; alchemy was pseudoscience.

Experts are worse at forecasting the future than non-experts.

Philip Tetlock did the definitive experiment. He gathered a sample of 284 experts – political scientists, economists and journalists – and harvested 27,450 different specific judgments from them about the future then waited to see if they came true. The results were terrible. The experts were no better than “a dart-throwing chimpanzee”.

I’ve looked and looked but I cannot find one piece of data – as opposed to a model – that shows either unprecedented change or change is that is anywhere close to causing real harm.

Does it matter? Suppose I am right that much of what passes for mainstream climate science is now infested with pseudoscience, buttressed by a bad case of confirmation bias, reliant on wishful thinking, given a free pass by biased reporting and dogmatically intolerant of dissent. So what?

After all there’s pseudoscience and confirmation bias among the climate heretics too.

Well here’s why it matters. The alarmists have been handed power over our lives; the heretics have not. Remember Britain’s unilateral climate act is officially expected to cost the hard-pressed UK economy £18.3 billion a year for the next 39 years and achieve an unmeasurably small change in carbon dioxide levels.

At least crop circle believers cannot almost double your electricity bills and increase fuel poverty while driving jobs to Asia, to support their fetish.

At least creationists have not persuaded the BBC that balanced reporting is no longer necessary.

…did you know that the collective annual budget of Greenpeace, WWF and Friends of the Earth was more than a billion dollars globally last year? People sometimes ask me what’s the incentive for scientists to exaggerate climate change. But look at the sums of money available to those who do so, from the pressure groups, from governments and from big companies. It was not the sceptics who hired an ex News of the World deputy editor as a spin doctor after climategate, it was the University of East Anglia.

In conclusion, I’ve spent a lot of time on climate, but it could have been dietary fat, or nature and nurture. My argument is that like religion, science as an institution is and always has been plagued by the temptations of confirmation bias. With alarming ease it morphs into pseudoscience even – perhaps especially – in the hands of elite experts and especially when predicting the future and when there’s lavish funding at stake. It needs heretics.

Read it all, here

My only quibble:

He says, ” I fully accept that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the climate has been warming and that man is very likely to be at least partly responsible.

And then says, “For, apart from the hockey stick, there is no evidence that climate is changing dangerously or faster than in the past, when it changed naturally.” (emphasis mine)

So what is man partly responsible for, when there’s no evidence that there is anything different about whatever current change may be happening?


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