Sunday, November 14, 2010

Lord Monckton.

Lord Monckton.  It is incredible that he has been on prominent display in denier circles as one of their big best acts. 

Background.  Stewart Brand tells us the scientist he looks to the most on climate science is James Lovelock.  Lovelock tells Brand that he has discovered a "sensible skeptic", Garth Paltridge.  Paltridge has written a book, The Climate Caper.  The book has a Foreword by Monckton.  Yow.   The following is an attachment to an email sent to Brand:

I have never actually looked into why Monckton is controversial and subject to ridicule among climate scientists until now. 

Monckton claims and repeatedly states that the scientists who have published peer reviewed papers on aspects of climate change who believe climate change represents a threat to civilization that civilization should act to mitigate or avoid are lying to make their case. 

I read a presentation Monckton made to a House Committee, and watched a few minutes of a video of a talk by him.  He makes it clear that the group he is talking about is the “IPCC”, then he claims repeatedly that they lie about this, and they lie about that.   “So they will lie and lie and cheat and even when they are caught out they will continue to lie and cheat and lie

I wouldn't bother to study the man for one more second, except for your assertion that Lovelock took the book The Climate Caper by Paltridge seriously.  Paltridge’s book has an introduction written by Monckton. 

Monckton is arguing at such a low level that Lovelock shouldn’t wonder that climate scientists he runs into are appalled now that he is saying he thinks people should pay attention to the arguments of Paltridge.  

As for my own efforts, I considered briefly one presentation Monckton made before the House Committee on Ways and Means March 12 2009

He called CO2 “a harmless and beneficial trace gas that is necessary to all life on Earth and has little effect on its surface temperature”.  He stated:  "Carbon dioxide is accumulating in the air at less than half the rate the UN [ Monckton equates “UN” with “IPCC” ] had imagined. Not one of its games had predicted the rapid global cooling of the past seven years. Sea surface temperatures have fallen for five years. Sea level has not risen for three years, and is predicted to rise by little more than a foot this century. Worldwide hurricane intensity in October 2008 was at its least for 30 years. Global sea ice shows little trend in 30 years. The ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica are thickening. The Sahara is greening" 

This type of thing, apparently, is typical of what the man comes up with.

Discussion of Monckton and his claim that “CO2 is accumulating in the air at less than half the rate… etc.”, by Dr. John Neilson-Gammon is here

Discussion of Monckton and his claim that there has been anything that could be called “the rapid global cooling of the past seven years”, by Dr. Gavin Schmidt, of NASA G.I.S.S. is here.

Discussion of Monckton and his claim that "global sea ice shows little trend in 30 years", by Dr. Alden Griffith is here on video, (with notes below the video). The site which comes up in discussion where you can see side by side graphic depictions of daily sea ice in the Arctic for any two dates of your choice from 1980 to the present is here.

As for Monckton saying the "Sahara is greening", if this actually is happening or if it happens it would support the theory that he says is not valid, i.e. that said Earth's climate was changing or was going to change rapidly in significant ways. Although a greening of the Sahara would very likely be welcomed by those living around it, the Sahara is the largest source of atmospheric dust in the world and changes to sources of atmospheric dust, because it is an aerosol potentially masking the warming effect that GHGs are dialing in, will have climate impact. (Also see here). How is it possible to believe that a climate change on the scale of greening the Sahara could possibly take place without changes on that scale happening elsewhere on the planet, caused by the same primary forces that caused the Sahara to change?  If the greening of the Sahara was to be offset by desertification elsewhere, such as if the US Southwest was to become Sahara-like, this is exactly the type of rapid change resulting in large scale winners and losers that is very likely to escalate international tension.

George Monbiot is a climate reporter working for The Guardian.  He writes that John Abraham, a professor of thermal sciences at University of Minnesota, has done a more thorough job of investigating the claims made by Monckton than anyone so far.    Abraham became angry after sitting through a Monckton presentation and decided to put in the time to investigate the sources for and statements Monckton made in that talk.  The presentation is painstakingly detailed.  The presentation is here.  Apparently the Monckton speech that angered Abraham was recorded and exists on Youtube. 

By the way, the Trenberth paper Tracking Earth’s Energy Lovelock says was so influential in “softening” his assessment of the threat of climate change directly contradicts Monckton on two of his points that it happens to discuss, i.e. sea level rise and ice melt. 

Trenberth on sea level rise:  “Since 1992, sea level observations from satellite altimeters at millimeter accuracy have revealed an essentially linear global increase of ~3.2 mm per year, with an enhanced rate of rise during the 1997-1998 El Nino and a brief slowdown in the 2007-2008 La Nina.”

Trenberth on ice melt:  “although some heat has gone into the record breaking loss of Arctic sea ice, and some has undoubtedly contributed to the unprecedented melting of Greenland and Antarctica”….   Monckton says both the Greenland and the Antarctic ice sheets are thickening. 

Trenberth as a lead author on the last three IPCC Physical Science Basis reports is one of the scientists Monckton is referring to when he asserts “they will lie and lie and cheat and even when they are caught out they will continue to lie and cheat and lie” 

I don’t understand, after reading this Foreword by Monckton why anyone would recommend a book containing it to anyone else as something they should take seriously. 

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