Saturday, 24 May 2014

Cairns Post Letters from the Wingnuts #23: Bill has a new friend

I previously made a brief note of another climate change denial letter sent to the Cairns Post by regular wingnut Bill Schutz. I pointed out that in addition to his usual errors about science he had even stuffed up his attribution of a famous quote to Mark Twain. I had intended to come back to the scientific claims in Mr Schutz's letter, but a Robin Willows of Clifton Beach decided to jump on board the wingnut express and double down on Mr Schutz's claims. Mr Willows (I'm guessing Mr) also tacked on a rather amusing end.
Bill Schutz (12-5, "Put warming fees on ice") states there has been no global warming for 17 years and nine months. 
Well, no mistake there. Mr Schutz did indeed make that erroneous claim. He does so regularly, for example here in my Letters from the Wingnuts #15. Oh, and my Letters from the Wingnuts #14.
Bill might have added that this is according to remote sensing systems' (satellites) global; mean temperature change data (land and ocean) which shows no "statistically significant" warming from zero for 17 years and nine months.
There are numerous problems with this claim. Not the least is that it's a case of cherry picking. 1998, which the deniers choose as the starting point for their time frame, was an exceptionally strong El Nino year. It was, at the time, the hottest year on record. The years subsequent to 1998 have continued along the trend set by the years before 1998. A number of years have been hotter, the exact number depending on which dataset is being used.

Global temperature anomalies - from Coltan and Way (via Open Mind)
Simply put, warming has continued with 1998 being an outlier from the trend. Deniers carefully pick a small subset of the data, maximising the impact of that outlier, to get the result they want. Statistics need to be used carefully and in context in order to increase understanding.

For a fuller explanation, please read Global Temperature - the Post-1998 Surprise at Tamino's Open Mind.
This data has not been "adjusted", unlike some of the terrestrial ones, to suit the warming scare.
Ah, the adjusted data gambit. Yes, some datasets do get adjusted as problems with them become understood. This is how science is meant to work. The adjustments are made using methodologies discussed in the scientific literature, and are used to correct known errors, not to suit a political end.
During this time carbon dioxide has increased by about 9 per cent.

I'm amazed most folks don't know about this. Unfortunately, the mainstream doesn't report "good news" regarding the climate and they should so taxpayers can judge for themselves how much of their money should be spent.
I guess Mr Willows doesn't consider the Australian, a newspaper with a long history of climate change denial, as "mainstream media". The Cairns Post, the very paper he is writing to, hosts Andrew Bolt's drivel weekly. Bolt also has his own TV show on Channel 10. I know Channel 10 is struggling in the ratings, but I think we can still call them mainstream media.

And then comes the spit-takingly stupid bit. The bit that made Mr Willows's letter jump out and beg to be criticised:
There will probably be an El Nino event in late 2014/early 2015, which will cause a rise in temperatures, especially in the northern hemisphere, but it will have nothing to do with carbon dioxide, which is 0.04 per cent of the atmosphere.
Yes, Mr Willows starts his piece by taking advantage of a high spike caused by an extremely strong El Nino event, and then finishes by saying the warmth we are about to experience is due to an El Nino so we should disregard it. Odd that he didn't apply his own standard to 1998, isn't it?

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