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« Where's the food going to come from? | Main | Harsh liberalism »
Saturday
Jul212007

Climate cuttings 6

Welcome to the sixth edition of climate cuttings, in which I round up interesting postings in the world of global warming.

Reaction to the Lockwood paper, which claims that the sun can't be causing recent warming, rumbles on.

Climate scientist Eduardo Zorita describes a Nature post lauding the results as "an example of what science journalism should not be". He goes on to explain why the Lockwood paper might be considered superficial.

Nigel Calder, former editor of New Scientist and co-author of a book on the solar theory of climate change with Henrik Svensmark, is interviewed in the London Book Review. He points out that the earth has stopped warming despite continued rises in CO2, a fact that supports the solar theory better than the CO2 one.

John Brignell of Numberwatch, in common with other commentators, takes issue with the odd smoothing algorithm used by Lockwood.

Astronomer David Whitehouse weighs in too. 

Anthony Watts of surfacestations.org (15% of the network now surveyed!) has been investigating the impact of the paint used on climate stations. This was originally specified as whitewash, but because this is no longer available, latex paint is now used instead. He thinks that this may have introduced a warming bias into the data and has designed an experiment to find out if he's right. Why has nobody done this before? 

Glacier melt has been something of a theme for the week. Roger Pielke notes a paper describing the advance of the Siachen glacier in the Himalayas, and points out that this evidence needs to be taken into account when considering the oft-repeated claims that glaciers are retreating everywhere. William Connelly says that nobody is saying this. Lonnie Thompson (a man who is perhaps best known for not archiving his data) then somewhat takes the ground from under Connelly's feet when he is quoted in the New York Times as saying that glacial ice loss is “a repeating theme whether you are in tropical Andes, the Himalayas or Kilimanjaro in Africa.”

Roger Pielke has also been highlighting the issue of land use and its effect on climate. This is an area which is not well captured by climate models.

Not climate, but weather - a distinction lost on most of the MSM - but it's been remarkably cold in many parts of the world, particularly in the southern hemisphere.

First snow in Buenos Aires for nearly a century
Cold snap in Peru prompts emergency
Savage cold snap has brought record low temperatures to Australia

It's also been wet and not very warm in the UK. The Met Office had predicted a hot dry summer, so they've now decided to hedge their bets about the outlook for the winter. It will be wetter, but dryer. Perhaps. This is the Gypsy Rose Lee school of weather forecasting, I guess.

An environmentalist went for a swim near the north pole, claiming that this was only possible because of recent climate change. It was widely pointed out that this wasn't true.  

 

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Reader Comments (6)

This is bizarre.

You say: "Climate scientist Eduardo Zorita describes a Nature post lauding the results as "an example of what science journalism should not be". He goes on to explain why the Lockwood paper might be considered superficial."

Well, that Nature blog post actually ends with:

"But blaming the sun for recent global warming is no science-backed position anymore – it is deliberate disinformation."

Which sort of gies against how you're trying to portray it.
Jul 24, 2007 at 2:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterSunny
I meant "goes" at the end, not "gies".
Jul 24, 2007 at 2:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterSunny
I think you may have got this back to front Sunny. Zorita is criticising Nature's commentary on the Lockwood paper.
Jul 24, 2007 at 7:10 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Ah, I didn't see the comments of that blog post.

I have a problem with that comment too.

He says: "To be fair, this is also just one single paper and perhaps other analyses may have reached different conclusions on the lag between sun and temperature, but it illustrates that things may be more complex than at first sight."

Sounds like a bit of a fudge to me. Sure, nothing in science is ever set. A bit like... evolution? Big bang theory? The existence of atoms?

Rather than saying "nothing is set", to placate deniers, I would say that unless evidence is overwhelmingly shown to the contrary, there's no valid reason not to accept it as true.
Jul 25, 2007 at 3:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterSunny
I'm not sure where your bit about "nothing is set" comes from. Zorita is not saying this, he's saying that, based on Waple et al, the relationship between solar output and temperature is likely to be more complex than discussed in the Lockwood paper. He is saying that the solar theory needs further work, but takes strong issue with those who are saying the debate is over.
Jul 25, 2007 at 6:23 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill
Evidence for a physical linkage between galactic cosmic rays and regional climate time series
Charles A. Perry

Perry found a 30 to 35 year lag between solar activity and climatic effects.
Jul 28, 2007 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Nicklin

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