Friday, 21 December 2012

Cairns Post Letters from the Wingnuts #15: Oh Schutz

It has been a while since I addressed any of the wingnuts writing in to the Cairns Post. This isn't because they fell quiet, just that I didn't get around to it. A couple of recent letters, one from a regular wingnut and one from a new name, have made me decide to break that drought.

The first is from Bill Schutz of Mt Sheridan, a frequent wingnut (he featured in my #10 and #14) of the Letters to the Editors page. He starts with a flourish:
It seems the green idealogues in our little town of Cairns cannot handle the truth.
Yes, a climate change denier has accused others of not being able handle the truth. You should immediately know a whopper is about to follow, and Schulz doesn't disappoint:
If people do not want to believe the UK Met office, than I can easily give them other forms of data which show no warming over the last 16 years.
I guess Schutz's argument wouldn't sound as good if it was a little more honest. "If people do not want to believe a tabloid columnist's interpretation of UK Met Office and University of East Anglia data..." doesn't have the same zing. If Mr Schutz wants to know what the UK Met Office says, perhaps he should look to the UK Met Office instead of the Daily Mail.

Arguments like this have been trotted out for a long time. Deniers for a while claimed it had cooled, but now they seem to be falling back to "the warming isn't statistically significant". The time period chosen is, of course, blatant cherry picking, with the aim of using of the unusually warm 1998 to tilt the trend. Start the analysis a little earlier or a little later and you get a different result. his period a little earlier or a little later, he would have got a very different result. Once again, let's contrast the scientific way to look at the climate versus the denier way to look at it. Skeptical Science's climate escalator illustrates this well:

Back to Mr Schulz's screed:
The University of Alabama, Huntsville, has a similar graph showing since 1979 no statistically significant warming period in that time.
Schutz here alludes to two well known climate change deniers at the University of Alabama at  Huntsville - Roy Spencer (Sourcewatch) and John Christy (Sourcewatch).
It is very important to note the date 1979. That is when the first satellite was launched into outer space to get an accurate reading of temperature globally. While it goes up and down, the graph shows no steep increase in temperature which is all what all the climate models show.
Let's have a look at the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) data series graph from Spencer's own website:

Hmmm... I think I can see a trend there. Odd how the right hand side of the graph is above the zero line, and the left is below.

Spencer and Christy have argued that observed warming is best explained by natural processes, and have created models they claim fit the data better than anthropogenic CO2 models. I suspect that Schutz has seen graphs showing the differences between the UAH data and those models. There are numerous problems with Spencer's and Christy's work, but there's no need to go into that here. Further information can be found, for example, at Real Climate and Skeptical Science.
People cannot trust our land-based temperatures from our Bureau of Meteorology any more, because a lot of these temperature stations are now located in dodgy positions.

Just look at the Cairns Bureau. It is located at Cairns Airport. How logical is that, with lots of hot tarmac and jet engine emissions emitting lots of heat to distort the figures?
I guess Mr Schutz thinks the meteorologists are oblivious to all those planes and the tarmac and don't take them into account. Schutz is arguing for the urban heat island effect. It's a well known denier argument and is simply wrong.
While CO2 emissions have skyrocketed, the temperature has not and it is simply wrong of the Greens to say the world is warming.
See the graphs above. The "Greens" (aka the scientific community) and even many deniers of anthropogenic climate change are right to say it is warming.
Antarctica has recorded its highest ever level of sea ice at 18 million square km.
Antartica did have a large sea ice level this last year, that's true. It was ever so slightly above the record. We should also note that with Antarctica being a continent, the growth of sea ice may, in part, indicate a loss of ice mass from the land. Estimates of recent changes in Antarctic land ice range from losing 100 Gt/year to over 300 Gt/year.

But what of the Arctic? What about the Arctic? An astounding record low that Mr Schulz conveniently ignores. Global sea ice levels are decreasing.
Sea-levels have risen about 10mm in the past 10 years, hardly a catastrophic event, while it is expected that sea levels would rise after coming out of an ice age.
I'm not sure where Schulz pulls this figure from, but it's not all that important. Schulz has understated observed sea level rise, and ignores the impact of future rise. Sea level rise so far has not been a great impact, but will be in the future. We already see flooding in some parts of Cairns when we get king high tides. Imagine what Cairns would be like on a king high tide if sea levels were 50cm higher. A 50cm rise by 2100 is at the low end of current estimates.
The whole green scam is the biggest con in the world's history and as these examples of a non-event keep coming, the world will awake from its slumber, and will accept what we canot change, which is the weather.
It's a bit like the police officer saying "Move along... Nothing to see here" at a crime scene.

Nothing to see below...

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