Preternatural Climate News And Other Tweets

(If Revkin can do it… 8-)  – my Twitter account in English is ‘omnologos’)

1- @bbcworld there is something preternatural in seeing every good climate news invariably more than compensated by some badclimate news refers to “Temperature and CO2 feedback loop ‘weaker than thought‘” by Roger Harrabin, which includes:

The authors warn, though, that their research will not reduce projections of future temperature rises.

2- Total rout for AGW : UK Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change refers to “Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change

3- another case of gross misrepresentation of the literature, thereafter conveniently disregarded? refers to my comment “Himalayagate 2

4- Building a broad climate coalition of scientific/professional organizations reminds of “100 Scientists against Einstein” refers to “Climate change activists work to regain momentum” by Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle

5- Science : “Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel Combustion? (answer: mostly biomass) refers to
Science 23 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5913, pp. 495 – 498 “Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel Combustion?” by Örjan Gustafsson et al

6- ClimateDepot “warmists” have been scoring own goals for quite some time – and still they do – refers to “The Disastrous Setback for Climate Advocacy of Late 2009″ by Chris Mooney in “The Intersection” where I comment

I fully agree with redlink18…disparaging any comment that falls outside of the party line and concentrating on blaming a handful of well-paid individuals when there has been a clear and massive change in public opinion in the USA like in the UK, all of that will lead Mooney’s “camp” nowhere.

On the other hand, given that the “warmists” have been scoring spectacular own goals for quite some time now, no wonder they show no chance of getting anything right at the moment.

7- “try and change the Received date! Don’t give those skeptics something to amuse themselves with” refers to “East Anglia Confirmed Emails from the Climate Research Unit – 1189722851.txt

8- Using religious language to fight global warming refers to “Using religious language to fight global warming” by Helen Grady, Analysis, BBC Radio 4

9- @Revkin: Watts is at third of Gandhi’s four stages: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win” refers to “Poorly sited U.S. temperature instruments not responsible for artificial warming” on Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog

IPCC Amazongate: "A Complete Load Of Porkies" Indeed

ADDENDUM JUL 13: Christopher Booker has managed to trace the 40% claim to a deleted web page. “Neither WWF nor Woods Hole come well out of this story“.  Definitely, they do not. See also EU Referendum.

ADDENDUM FEB 15: Daniel Nepstad has posted a statement endorsing “the correctness of the IPCC’s (AR4) statement on Amazon forest susceptibility to rainfall reduction” (link fixed on JUL 13). But Nepstad makes several references to 2004 and 2007 articles whose existence the IPCC authors were not obviously aware of. If the IPCC has been right for the wrong reasons, we can state it has been wrong: because it cannot simply be a matter of having it right by pure chance.

(I have posted a version of the below as a comment at WUWT, concerning James Delingpole’s “After Climategate, Pachaurigate and Glaciergate: Amazongate” and in the response to the following comment by an “Icarus” (Jan 25, 14:19:23):

It appears that the 40% figure references this passage in the WWF/IUCN report:

“Up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall. In the 1998 dry season, some 270,000 sq. km of forest became vulnerable to fire, due to completely depleted plant-available water stored in the upper five metres of soil. A further 360,000 sq. km of forest had only 250 mm of plant-available soil water left.”

This passage references a peer-reviewed article in Nature:

46 D. C. Nepstad, A. Veríssimo, A. Alencar, C. Nobre, E. Lima, P. Lefebvre, P. Schlesinger, C. Potter, P. Mountinho, E. Mendoza, M. Cochrane, V. Brooks, Large-scale Impoverishment of Amazonian Forests by Logging and Fire, Nature, 1999, Vo l 398, 8 April, pp505

Unfortunately I don’t have access to the full article but to call this reference “a complete load of porkies” seems a bit unjustified, unless it can be shown that Rowell and Moore completely misrepresent the Nature article (which of course *is* written by Amazonian specialists).

)

The expression “a complete load of porkies” for what ended up in the IPCC AR4 WG-II Chapter 13, seems a bit justified indeed.

First of all it should not be up to the reader to dig down in the IPCC references until anything peer-reviewed is finally found. If Nepstad et al 1999 were the primary source for the “Up to 40%” claim, that article should have been used, stated and referenced as such, no matter what Rowell and Moore understood of it.

Secondly, the IPCC AR4 WG-II Chapter 13 makes no mention of Nepstad et al 1999. As far as I can see, the Nepstad et al 1999 article is only used in AR4 in the IPCC AR4 WG-II Chapter 4:

(1) p228

Recently observed moderate climatic changes have induced forest productivity gains globally (reviewed in Boisvenue and Running, 2006) and possibly enhanced carbon sequestration, especially in tropical forests (Baker et al., 2004; Lewis et al., 2004a, 2004b; Malhi and Phillips, 2004; Phillips et al., 2004), where these are not reduced by water limitations (e.g., Boisvenue and Running, 2006) or offset by deforestation or novel fire regimes (Nepstad et al., 1999, 2004; Alencar et al., 2006) or by hotter and drier summers at mid- and high latitudes (Angert et al., 2005)

(2) p229

in some tropical and sub-tropical regions, notably South-East Asia and similarly the Amazon (e.g., Nepstad et al., 1999), deforestation rates are still high

You may note that in both cases Nepstad et al 1999 is used to mention deforestation (something one might expect out of an article titled Large-scale Impoverishment of Amazonian Forests by Logging and Fire).

The abstract of that article is particularly terse on Nature.com:

Amazonian deforestation rates are used to determine human effects on the global carbon cycle and to measure Brazil’s progress in curbing forest impoverishment,,. But this widely used measure of tropical land use tells only part of the story..

For some reason, there is a longer version on Mendeley.com:

Amazonian deforestation rates are used to determine human effects on the global carbon cycle(1-3) and to measure Brazil’s progress in curbing forest impoverishment(1,4,5). But this widely used measure of tropical land use tells only part of the story. Here we present field surveys of wood mills and forest burning across Brazilian Amazonia which show that logging crews severely damage 10,000 to 15,000 km(2) yr(-1) of forest that are not included in deforestation mapping programmes. Moreover, we find that surface fires burn additional large areas of standing forest, the destruction of which is normally not documented. Forest impoverishment due to such fires may increase dramatically when severe droughts provoke forest leaf-shedding and greater flammability; our regional water-balance model indicates that an estimated 270,000 km(2) of forest became vulnerable to fire in the 1998 dry season. Overall, we find that present estimates of annual deforestation for Brazilian Amazonia capture less than half of the forest area that is impoverished each year, and even less during; years of severe drought. Both logging and fire increase forest vulnerability to future burning(6,7) and release forest carbon stocks to the atmosphere, potentially doubling net carbon emissions from regional land-use during severe El Nino episodes. If this forest impoverishment is to be controlled, then logging activities need to be restricted or replaced with low-impact timber harvest techniques, and more effective strategies to prevent accidental forest fires need to be implemented.

It is hard not to notice that Nepstad et al 1999 were concerned about deforestation and fires possibly exarcebated by severe droughts, whilst Rowell and Moore, and the IPCC authors and reviewers, completely turned the cards around, pushing hard on the climatic side first.

That is not the first time I have seen “Chinese whispers” at play in the IPCC AR4

Glaciergate "Faulty Communication" Explanation Makes Things Even Worse For The IPCC

Andy Revkin has just published on dotEarth a James Kanter article titled “Explanation Offered for Error in U.N. Climate Report“. Apparently,

Faulty communication allowed an unsubstantiated estimate of the melting rate of Himalayan glaciers to make it into the landmark 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a senior scientist and panel official said Monday. [...] The official, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a vice chairman of the climate change panel, said that a glaciologist, Georg Kaser at the University of Innsbruck, in Austria, had sought to correct the information about the glaciers before it was published by the panel but that the correction came too late and never reached the people who could fix the statement.

This “explanation” obviously explains very little and simply opens up a series of new questions:

  • Why didn’t Dr Kaser think it worthwhile to voice his concerns in any form (public, or private) after the publication of the IPCC report in 2007?
  • What made Dr Kaser place more importance on his colleagues potentially ill feelings about being criticized, than on scientific truth?
  • And if a relatively well-known published scientist such as Dr Kaser finds himself forced into some kind of self-censorship and reluctance to speak out, how poisonous, impermeable to criticism and ultimately anti-scientific has the world of the IPCC become?

Words of wisdom to the big cheeses at the IPCC: please stop digging!

Amazing IPCC: Finding Climate Change Before The Climate Changes

It’s open season on the IPCC, thanks to the absurd antics of a Dr Rajendra Pachauri, and a series of revelations including manipulation of science for policy purposes in matters of glaciers and disaster losses. As it happens, those problems concern a part of the IPCC report of 2007 I have already argued about: the actual evidence for “Climate Change/Global Warming” in the physical world of today, as per the IPCC AR4-WG2-Chapter1 (“Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems” (*))

(for a different example concerning future “changes and responses”, see how a clever mix of “could”, “might” and “likely” means that even if we meet again in 2050 and global cooling is in full swing, still the IPCC reports will be, in a sense, correct)

And so here I’ll add my small contribution: because the IPCC authors and reviewers have managed to collate evidence for climate change where even James Hansen and Reto Ruedy agree that the climate has not (yet) changed. Time to ditch AR4-WG2-Chapter1 altogether?

=============

AR4-WG2-Chapter1 is rapidly turning into a sad joke almost devoid of scientific content. After all, with most if not all tangible AGW effects expected in the future, any serious present “Assessment of observed changes and responses” should be a 1-page note declaring “not much if anything”…

I have already shown quite some time ago how AR4-WG2-Chapter1 fails to demonstrate the “global” in “Global Warming”. For example, Table 1.12, p116 “Global comparison of significant observed changes…”) contains a total of 26,285 observed “significant changes compatible with warming“. Of those, 25,135 come from Europe alone: that is a whopping 95.6% out a continent covering less than 7% of the world’s land area.

Two out of three of the remaining observed “significant changes compatible with warming” come from North America. And so on and so forth.

If it interested anybody, we could start discussing how Europe has been warming of late. But about North America, the IPCC assessment is now smelling even fishier. It all started on Jan 14 with Judicial Watch announcing they

obtained internal documents from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) related to a controversy that erupted in 2007 when Canadian blogger Stephen McIntyre exposed an error in NASA’s handling of raw temperature data from 2000-2006 that exaggerated the reported rise in temperature readings in the United States

The news was linked later the same day by McIntyre himself. With 215 pages to go through, no wonder it took around a week for somebody to notice some peculiar statements (click here to read a funny episode almost straight out of The Office). And so AJ Strata of the Strata-sphere reported on Jan 21:

In their snobbish and arrogant effort to belittle those asking questions about what was the warmest year on record, they [GISS] inadvertently admitted that the current warm period is not significantly greater than the warm spots seen in the US in the 1930’s and 1950’s

What the above refers to is GISS’s Reto Ruedy writing on Aug 10, 2007 (expanding on a quote by James Hansen):

He [McIntyre] concentrates on the US time series which (US covering less than 2% of the world) is so noisy and has such a large margin of error that no conclusions can be drawn from it at this point

Later on Jan 21, AJ Strata pointed to another message by Mr Ruedy, dated Aug 15, 2007 and containing the following statement:

The US has been warming in the period 1980-2006 similarly to the period from 1920-1934; that earlier 15-year period then was followed by a cooling period and the same might be true for the current 25-year period. The annual US mean changes are still large compared to any CO2 effect

In other words: not even at GISS they can see any “climate change” concerning the USA.

And yet…amazingly, at the IPCC “somebody” still managed to find a series of pieces of evidence about “climate change” in the USA. Here they are from fabled IPCC AR4-WG2-Chapter1:

  • p84: Table 1.1. Direct and indirect effects of non-climate drivers. Invasive species:Tamarisk (USA)
  • p85: no change in the number of frost days in the south-eastern USA (Feng and Hu, 2004)
  • p86: Table 1.2. Selected observed effects due to changes in the cryosphere produced by warming. Decreased snow in ski areas at low altitudes:Decrease in number of ski areas from 58 to 17:1975-2002 New Hampshire, northeastern USA:Hamilton, 2003b
  • p89: Table 1.3. Observed changes in runoff/streamflow, lake levels and floods/droughts. Due to dry and unusually warm summers related to warming of western tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans in recent years:1998-2004:Western USA:Andreadis et al., 2005; Pagano and Garen, 2005
  • p92: 1.3.3.2 Changes in coastal wetlands. In the USA, losses in coastal wetlands have been observed in Louisiana (Boesch et al., 1994), the mid-Atlantic region (Kearney et al., 2002), and in parts of New England and New York (Hartig et al., 2002; Hartig and Gornitz, 2004), in spite of recent protective environmental regulations (Kennish, 2001)
  • p100: Table 1.8. Changes in the timing of spring events, based on observations within networks. Location:Period:Species/Indicator:Observed changes (days/decade):References. Western USA:1957-1994:Lilac, honeysuckle (F):-1.5 (lilac), 3.5 (honeysuckle):Cayan et al., 2001
  • p100: Table 1.8. North-eastern USA:1965-2001,1959-1993:Lilac (F, LU),Lilac (F):-3.4 (F) -2.6 (U),-1.7:Wolfe et al., 2005,Schwartz and Reiter, 2000
  • p100: Table 1.8. Washington, DC:1970-1999:100 plant species (F):-0.8:Abu-Asab et al., 2001
  • p102:  Table 1.9. Evidence of significant recent range shifts polewards and to higher elevations. California coast, USA:Spittlebug:Northward range shift:Karban and Strauss, 2004
  • p102:  Table 1.9. Washington State, USA Skipper butterfly Range expansion with increased Tmin Crozier, 2004
  • p102:  Table 1.9. Montana, USA Arctic-alpine species Decline at the southern margin of range Lesica and McCune, 2004
  • p103:  1.3.5.3 Climate-linked extinctions and invasions. The pika (Ochotona princeps), a small mammal found in mountains of the western USA, has been extirpated from many slopes (Beever et al., 2003)
  • p105: Table 1.10. Observed changes in agricultural crop and livestock. Yields:Part of overall yield increase attributed to recent cooling during growing season: 25% maize, 33% soybean:USA county level:1982-1998:Lobell and Asner, 2003
  • p105: Box 1.2. favourable conditions for wine…the same tendencies have also been found in the California, Oregon and Washington vineyards of the USA (Nemani et al., 2001; Jones, 2005).
  • p107: Climate warming can also change the disturbance regime of forests by extending the range of some damaging insects, as observed during the last 20 years for bark beetles in the USA (Williams and Liebhold, 2002)
  • p107: One study of forest fires in Canada (Gillett et al., 2004) found that about half of the observed increase in burnt area during the last 40 years, in spite of improved fire-fighting techniques, is in agreement with simulated warming from a general circulation model (GCM)[...] it seems to be confirmed by another recent study (Westerling et al., 2006), which established a dramatic and sudden increase in large wildfire activity in the western USA in the mid-1980s closely associated with increased spring and summer temperatures and an earlier spring snow melt.
  • p108: This increase in heatwave exposures, where heatwaves are defined as temperature extremes of short duration, has been observed in mid-latitudes in Europe and the USA

============

QED: the IPCC AR4-WG2-Chapter1 is a sad joke almost devoid of scientific content. All that effort has been for nothing, all the more so as it reported (especially) about warming-related climate changes no matter what.

That is, independently even from the actual measured temperatures.

(*) The obligatory full reference: Rosenzweig, C., G. Casassa, D.J. Karoly, A. Imeson, C. Liu, A. Menzel, S. Rawlins, T.L. Root, B. Seguin, P. Tryjanowski, 2007: Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 79-131.

Bad Astronomer, Worse Climatologist

There we go again…another Defender of The Science mixing up “weather” and “climate”. Will Phil be convinced by my “Space-Time has digested AGW” argument?

Maybe not. After all, who am I to pretend to be a climatologist. Well, then , perhaps the head of climate impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre will make the Bad Astronomer change his mind.

people often make the same mistake but in the other direction, and link every heatwave, major flood, drought and famine to global warming.

Of course, we know that these things happen anyway, even without climate change – they may happen more often under a warmer climate, but it is wrong to blame climate change for every single event.

Climate scientists know this, but still there are people outside of climate science who will claim or imply such things if it helps make the news or generate support for their political or business agenda.

Bad Astronomer plus Official Minion

Bad Astronomer plus Official Minion

I have known the Bad Astronomer for many years (I have even met him once and he appreciated some “scientific” investigative job of mine) and he’s up there in my scientific Pantheon about Astronomy (and not just Astronomy).

Plait is also doing a great job in fighting the child-killing practices of the anti-vaxxers. And to prevent the silliness of creationists from spreading. He should then realize his own heavy responsibility in not placing himself at the forefront of misusing science.

Who Cares About Climate? – 2- AGW, As Solid As Hot Air

People are victims of the weather. But if “the weather” is not “the climate“, then people are not victims of “the climate“. Therefore: why should anybody care about “the climate“?

What is all this talk about climate change for, and about?

Part 1 has shown how weeks if not months of “it’s weather, not climate” defenses of AGW mean the evaporation of the very concept of “climate” as used in AGW circles. Close scrutiny in temporal or spatial terms automatically excludes the possibility to talk about “climate”.

This leads to an even bigger problem. As already quoted from a NOAA page

In short, climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area. [...] When scientists talk about climate, they’re looking at averages of precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind velocity, phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other measures of the weather that occur over a long period in a particular place.

But people are affected not by averages: rather, by actual events.

Statistical voyeurism

Statistical voyeurism

It is not for lack of examples that Mark Twain talked about “lies, damned lies and statistics“: apart from cricket, there is no sport where the outcome of a match is based on an average of past (or expected future) performances. Likewise: nobody dies because of of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area…people suffer because of hurricanes, of heatwaves, of many other atmospheric “short-term patterns”, and especially of cold temperatures.

People are victims of the weather. People are not victims of “the climate”.

One can look at this same problem from another side. Read Andrew Freedman at the WP’s Capital Weather Gang:

A larger problem with the media’s approach to covering the recent cold is that it ignores how people tend to think about climate change, which is squarely in the context of extreme weather and climate events. Such events are much more tangible to everyday experience than long-term climate change is, but they are not always related to climate change. Sometimes weather is just weather.

The keyword there is “tangible“. In fact, how did the Guardian’s David Adam write a few months ago about the “scenarios…of how global warming will unfold across Britain as published by “scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre“?

And now for the weather. The 2020s are looking warm and dry, with occasional heavy winter showers. The 2050s should be sunny and warm, with scattered deaths due to heatwaves across London and the south-east. And looking ahead to the 2080s, temperatures could reach 41C, so be sure to pack the suncream for your picnic. And watch out for those great white sharks!

And now for the weather…”. QED.

I am perfectly aware of the fact that it is a rhetorical device used to capture the reader’s attention. That is in fact my point: it is very difficult if not impossible to visualize (and care about) something unless it happens as a physical manifestation rather than as a statistical occurrence.

What is an “increase” in “averages of precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind velocity, phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other measures of the weather“? Who knows? Instead: “For the UK [...] a future of balmy Mediterranean summers“, writes George Monbiot at the time of the Hadley Centre report.

Now, that is something that can be understood. AGW- and therefore climate-related communication has to include some sort of event, as in the infamous David Viner’s quote from 2000:

According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.

After all, at some point “climate change” will have to happen, if AGW is correct. So there must be a series of “AGW events”…but if all events are “weather” and not “climate“, then…why should anybody care about “the climate“?

===========

If you can’t use more or less any weather event to talk about climate, the only logical consequence is that climatology is being confined to a generic suggestion that it may going to be hot, perhaps, likely more often than in the past. The Met Office’s Richard Betts in the BBC Green Room:

Of course, we know that these things [a series of "warmest" years] happen anyway, even without climate change – they may happen more often under a warmer climate, but it is wrong to blame climate change for every single event.

The gain in accuracy of such generic statements is more than compensated by their utter lack of usefulness, as suggested here by William M. “Statistician to the Stars” Briggs:

you do not need to have a model for past data if all you want to say is it was “high” or “low” or whatever

And so the question arises for the n-th time…if to talk about “climate” means to state pretty useless assertions…why should anybody care about “the climate“?

Who Cares About Climate? – 1- How Space-Time Digested AGW

People are victims of the weather. But if “the weather” is not “the climate“, then people are not victims of “the climate“. Therefore: why should anybody care about “the climate“?

What is all this talk about climate change for, and about?

Alas, thanks to the staunch defence of AGW no matter what, it is about almost nothing. I have already written how very little there is to show for AGW (most if not all issues are firmly expected for sometimes in the future). And now, whatever AGW has become, it is turning into a ghost of itself in front of our very eyes, because of insurmountable problems of time (and space) .

The Time Dimension of AGW

World temperatures haven’t gone anywhere for at least a decade, hurricanes haven’t been battering like it’s 2005, and the Arctic sea ice cover hasn’t shrunk as in 2007. And yet in an apparent effort to insulate AGW theory from actual observation of the physical world, there is no shortage of people pontificating that the IPCC consensus is safe, because:

  • whatever we observe in the here-and-now is “weather”
  • the IPCC consensus is about “climate”
  • “climate” is not “weather”
  • “climate” is “weather” averaged over 30 years (who knows why, 30 and not 22 or 100?)

This from a NOAA page discussing the difference between “weather” and “climate”

In short, climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area.

Some scientists define climate as the average weather for a particular region and time period, usually taken over 30-years. It’s really an average pattern of weather for a particular region.

When scientists talk about climate, they’re looking at averages of precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind velocity, phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other measures of the weather that occur over a long period in a particular place.

The insulation of this vaporous average of a thing called “climate” from experienced “weather” events is near to perfect. For example, Leo Hickman and George Monbiot dismiss the significance of “single events” in the Guardian’s Environment blog:

weather [...] believe it or not, it is not always predictable and it changes quite often. It is not the same as climate, and single events are not the same as trends

Revkin goes as far as talking of weather and climate going in opposite directions:

In the last few days, a notable conjunction occurred when these two men [Hansen and Watts] essentially agreed on something: that the planet — despite a lot of very cold patches — is unusually warm.

But the reasoning goes both ways: the same distinction between “weather” and “climate” can be applied to every alleged AGW manifestation on short timescales. Each melting glacier, each heatwave, each single-year or even decadal decrease in Arctic ice is “weather”.

And so we are left in this limbo, where “climate change impacts are already evident” even if they cannot possibly be.

The Space Dimension of AGW

The “G” in AGW means “global”. AGW is meant to apply to the world as a whole. But “climate” heavily depends on local effects, says Wikipedia:

The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, altitude, ice or snow cover, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents

Hansen agrees:

regional short‐term temperature fluctuations [...] are an order of magnitude larger than global average annual anomalies

That is: “local climate” is “weather”, not “climate”. Hence, as explained by Luboš,

the global mean temperature is irrelevant for you and for everyone else, too. It didn’t help the hundreds of frozen people in India, the passengers whose flights were canceled, and millions of other people in the European, Asian, and American civilization centers

That’s not all: even assuming AGW is all fine and right, one should consider the result of “regional variations in radiative forcing“, as already mentioned years ago by Roger Pielke, Sr. :

regional diabatic heating due to human activities represents a major, but under-recognized climate forcing, on long-term global weather patterns. Indeed, this heterogenous climate forcing may be more important on the weather that we experience than changes in weather patterns associated with the more homogeneous spatial radiative forcing of the well-mixed greenhouse gases

AGW: No Close-ups, Please!

If you try to look at it at too fine a temporal detail (a decade or less), there is no such a thing as “climate” (or so we are told). Hence, AGW does not apply. If you try to look at it at too fine a spatial detail (a couple of decades or less), there is no such a thing as “climate” (or so we are told). Hence, AGW does not apply.

That is, weeks if not months of “it’s weather, not climate” defenses of AGW mean the evaporation of the very concept of “climate” as used in AGW circles.

Please somebody explain why should anybody still care about “the climate”…

(continues)

The same can be said about every alleged AGW manifestation on short timescales, from each melting glacier to each heatwave to each single-year or even decadal decrease in Arctic ice. And so we are left in this limbo, where “climate change impacts are already evident” http://www.jri.org.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/JRI_18_Joseph.pdf even if they aren’t.

Major Omission in 'Exaggerated' Glacier Warning's New York Times/IHT Article

(just sent to letters@iht.com)

Dear Editors

There is a major omission in Elisabeth Rosenthal’s article “U.N. Panel’s Glacier Warning Is Criticized as Exaggerated” (International Herald Tribune, paper edition, 20 Jan; New York Times, 18 Jan).

Ms Rosenthal mentions the scientist at the center of the controversy involving the IPCC, Dr. Syed Hasnain, and the fact that Dr Hasnain is “currently a fellow at the TERI research institute in Delhi“. However, there is no hint whatsoever of the fact that the Head of the IPCC, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, is also the Head of TERI.

Dr Hasnain received his fellowship at TERI after making his “exaggerated” remarks. And in the past weeks, Dr Pachauri has been a very outspoken critic of anybody merely suggesting that Dr Hasnain’s estimates for Himalayan glacier melting were an exaggeration.

This means most of your readers will have no idea of the potential major conflicts of interest involving Dr Pachauri, including using Dr Hasnain’s estimates as incorporated in the latest IPCC report in order to raise funds for TERI.

I consider this a major faux-pas on the part of your Newspaper, of whom I have been a proud reader for more than 25 years now. It is a particularly odd one, considering that all Ms Rosenthal had to do was mention the name of Dr Pachauri as Head of both the IPCC and TERI.

Please do issue a correction as soon as possible.

La Tragedia di Una Sinistra Senza Popolo

Una risposta a “Berlusconi a Teheran” di Slavoj Žižek, pubblicato sulla London Review of Books il 23 luglio 2009

Slavoj Žižek, “filosofo materialista-dialettico e psicanalista lacaniano, co-direttore del Centro Internazionale di ‘Humanities’” al Birkbeck College di Londra e in passato gia’ noto come quasi-supporter del Governo Cinese (un dettaglio che come vedremo, e’ rilevante) ha scritto un articolo dal titolo “Berlusconi a Teheran“, pubblicato sulla London Review of Books il 23 luglio scorso. Partendo dalla crisi post-elettorale iraniana, e procedendo con un paragone (anzi, eguagliando) il Presidente iraniano Mohammed Ahmadinejad al Presidente del Consiglio italiano, Žižek mescola una nutrita serie di attacchi contro Berlusconi a un’altrettanto nutrita serie di inni alla democrazia…intesa pero’ come “skaio-crazia”, dove chi comanda e’ (un gruppo di oligarchi) di sinistra.

Dopo una serie di vicissitudini, una versione della risposta tradotta qui sotto non ha potuto trovare spazio sulla LRB in alcuna forma, nonostante fosse stata “approvata” per la pubblicazione due volte.

Cominciamo con il chiarire a cosa sia interessato l’autore di “Berlusconi a Teheran“. E’ difficile pensare che voglia parlare dell’Iran, argomento trattato troppo sommariamente. Forse non vuole parlare neanche di Berlusconi, una variabile a Žižek praticamente sconosciuta e al cui riguardo si perde in troppe imprecisioni, nonostante il Silvio nazionale sia diventato in termini di riconoscibilita’ probabilmente il secondo uomo politico piu’ importante al mondo dopo Barack Obama.

Il vero obiettivo di Žižek sembra il fare i capricci perche’ dopo il 1989 le società occidentali non vogliono votare pedissequamente per le figure e linee politiche favorite da Žižek stesso. E più che una lagnanza, Žižek fa la parte dell’intellettuale di (antica) sinistra che si atteggia a Vercingetorige, e sconfitto getta le armi ai piedi di Giulio Cesare/Berlusconi (lo so, è una scena tratta da un fumetto … ma se Žižek prende ispirazione dal cartone “Kung Fu Panda”, cosa c’è di sbagliato in “Asterix”?).

Se questo e’ il caso; se un articolo che equipara Ahmadinejad a Berlusconi è il segno finale del crollo del pensiero di sinistra … e se mai ci sia stato un tempo in cui ci fosse bisogno che emergesse una nuova sinistra, con un po’ più di fiducia almeno in quel popolo che afferma di voler sostenere e difendere; allora, è questo, quel tempo..

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Come detto, la mancanza di interesse di Žižek negli affari di Teheran è evidente. L’articolo comincia dai disordini a Teheran, ma finisce per discutere di un presunto razzismo di fondo di Berlusconi. Žižek scrive che “ci sono molte versioni degli eventi del mese scorso (Giugno) a Teheran“, quindi procede a scegliere quella di suo gradimento come se stesse sostenendo una squadra di calcio, semplicemente troppo ansioso di individuare i “buoni” e pronto a star loro dietro sempre e comunque. I Paesi e le società non sono visti come interessanti “esperimenti in corso”, da seguire e analizzare, piuttosto come “parco giochi” per annoiati stranieri con poco o niente da rischiare e l’entusiasmo per farsi gli affari degli altri. Tutto cio’ potrebbe essere divertente ma… è Politica?

E in effetti ci vengono date affermazioni totalmente prive di fondamento, come “Ahmadinejad non è l’eroe degli islamici poveri, ma un corrotto islamo-fascista, una specie di Berlusconi iraniano la cui miscela di atteggiamento clownesco e politica di potenza senza scrupoli sta causando disagio anche tra gli Ayatollah“. Cosa mai vuol dire “islamofascismo“? E come fa un populista a non essere l’eroe dei poveri, almeno nella misura in cui e’ percepito dai poveri? E che tipo di pensiero profondo si nasconde dietro la definizione di Žižek di Berlusconi come “un idiota corrotto”?

L’impressione è che quanto sopra non siano “osservazioni” o il risultato di una qualsiasi analisi, ma piuttosto dei punti speciosi, inventati a sostegno di un’indimostrabile equivalenza tra Berlusconi e Ahmadinejad. Forse Žižek sogna di essere in uno stadio di calcio, indossando una maglietta “Berlusconi è un idiota corrotto” sotto uno striscione “Ahmadinejad è un islamo-fascista”, mentre canta l’Internazionale e getta insulti contro un “dream team” avversario composto da Berlusconi, Ahmadinejad, ma anche Sarkozy, Bush Padre e Figlio, Reagan, e chissà, forse anche Nixon. Sulla panchina dei “nemici”: i fondatori del Ku Klux Klan.

Questo atteggiamento da “tifoso sognante” si vede anche nei paragrafi successivi. In un primo momento Žižek afferma che “è vitale” riconoscere che le manifestazioni iraniane sono state “un grande evento di emancipazione, che non rientra nel quadro di una lotta tra liberali filo-occidentali e fondamentalisti anti-occidentali”. Perché allora ricade subito nella vecchia abitudine di attaccare logore etichette a tutto ciò che si muove? “Se non facciamo [ciò che è vitale etc etc]], noi in Occidente entreremo in una era post-democratica, pronti per i nostri Ahmadinejads. Gli Italiani conoscono già il suo nome: Berlusconi”.

Addirittura.

Dietro a questi ragionamenti c’e’ un concetto un po’ peculiare di “democrazia”, e Žižek se ne rende conto visto che procede con lo spiegarcelo. Perche’ Žižek vuole “il Governo da parte della Sinistra”, una skaio-crazia che purtroppo per lui manca dal mondo reale. Una skaio-crazia che andrebbe applicata comunque, e nonostante, se non interamente contro la volontà delle pecore, pardon, del popolo.

Gli animali di allevamento non sono una metafora ironica: Žižek cita con entusiasmo come “manifestamente vero” il pensiero del giornalista americano Walter Lippmann, il quale, ci viene detto, “come Platone … vedeva il popolo come una grande bestia o una mandria smarrita” che “deve essere disciplinato da ‘una classe specializzata’” capace di vedere lontano.

Ma le parole di Lippmann sono del 1922. Per coincidenza (davvero?), in quello stesso anno Benito Mussolini ha conquistato il potere in Italia, introducendo il mondo ad una forma di governo chiamata fascismo, all’inizio popolare tra le élite occidentali, e probabilmente l’esperimento piu’ completo di governo da parte di una “classe specializzata” prima dell’avvento di Stalin.

E’ davvero doloroso leggere questa approvazione da parte di Žižek di una “democrazia come allevamento di animali”, dopo che un gruppo di “pastori del popolo” auto-nominati hanno ucciso centinaia di milioni di esseri umani, dalla Germania nazista al Grande balzo in avanti di Mao al genocidio di Pol Pot agli assassini politici di massa di Pinochet.

Ed e’ davvero curioso che pensieri di questo genere non si siano mai sopiti. Come dice Frank Furedi nel suo libro “La Politica della Paura“, “le élite politiche [contemporanee], svincolate dalla società e interamente incentrate sul presente, spingono per un’agenda misantropica che sottolinea la vulnerabilità delle persone e vede il comportamento individuale come un problema da gestire, [dimostrando] un forte elemento di disprezzo paternalistico [con la sensazione di fondo che] ci siano tutti questi misteriosi selvaggi là fuori, che hanno bisogno di sentirsi dire cosa fare” in cabina elettorale.

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Perché mai qualcuno dovrebbe considerare in modo cosi’ negativo la democrazia rappresentativa? In realtà, Žižek e’ preoccupato con la stessa organizzazione della società contemporanea. Il (secondo) esempio della direzione in cui vede “l’Occidente” evolvere, è Lee Kuan Yew, “il leader di Singapore che ha pensato e messo in pratica un ‘capitalismo con valori asiatici“. Nella “democrazia occidentale”, infatti, Žižek vede la lunga mano del “capitalismo”. E il “progresso capitalistico” viene esplicitamente dichiarato come estraneo a qualunque cosa la “democrazia” significhi.

Seguendo Alain Badiou, ci viene detto che “la democrazia elettorale è rappresentativa nella misura in cui essa è rappresentativa del capitalismo“; e che “le elezioni democratiche … non sono di per sé un’indicazione del vero stato delle cose“(un punto bizzarramente sostenuto utilizzando quel fulgido (si fa per dire) esempio di democrazia elettorale che e’ stata la Francia di Vichy).

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Le affermazioni su Berlusconi sono francamente mal argomentate e scritte, una grottesca insalata di inesattezze storiche e di “non sequitur”.

Niente di cui meravigliarsi, ovviamente, visto che la stessa esistenza di un politico/non-politico come Berlusconi e’ benvenuta nel mondo di Žižek come un candelotto lacrimogeno acceso, in una stanza senza porte e finestre:

(a) E’ ovviamente un errore considerare, come fa Žižek, quanto “resta della ‘sinistra’ italiana” come “ormai rassegnato al suo destino” sotto Berlusconi. Piuttosto, la ‘sinistra’ ha trascorso gli ultimi 15 anni, anche quando era al potere, parlando quasi sempre e solo di Berlusconi. I suoi componenti non sono vittime di una “cinica demoralizzazione“, quanto nemici ipnotizzati, incapaci di qualsiasi pensiero politico che non comprenda (odio contro) Berlusconi.

(b) Žižek rimprovera a Berlusconi di aver agito “più o meno spudoratamente” e di “comportarsi in modo tale da minare la sua dignità di Capo del Governo“, perché “la dignità della politica classica deriva dal suo elevarsi sopra il gioco degli interessi particolari della la società civile…nella sfera ideale del ‘citoyen’ in contrasto con la situazione di conflitto di interessi egoistici che caratterizzano il ‘borghese’“(ecco un altro attacco al capitalismo).

Ma come può questo pensiero andare d’accordo con quando lo stesso Žižek descrive cinicamente le ‘elezioni libere’ come il semplice “mostrare un minimo di cortesia” da parte di chi “è al potere [ma temporaneamente] fa finta di non detenere il potere”? I politici allora devono essere elevati rispetto agli elettori o no?

(c) Ci viene detto che “la scommessa dietro le volgarità di Berlusconi è che le persone si identificheranno con lui come rappresentante dell’immagine mitica dell’Italiano medio”. Questo è un mito diffuso, ma totalmente privo di fondamento, ancora una volta ripetuto da Žižek senza alcun elemento di prova a sostegno. Non spiega affatto le due sconfitte elettorali di Berlusconi, e non può essere riconciliato per esempio con la maggioranza relativa acquisita e poi conservata dal partito di Berlusconi tra gli Italiani all’estero, per esempio nel Regno Unito.

(d) Žižek sostiene che Berlusconi ha bisogno di “paura” per rimanere al potere. Eppure l’attuale Governo italiano e’ stato per mesi accusato di minimizzare ogni tipo di problema, dalla crisi finanziaria globale alla situazione delle vittime del terremoto a L’Aquila, ai problemi per il numero crescente di disoccupati o temporaneamente occupati, fino alla Influenza A. Amico e nemici riconoscono come Berlusconi cerchi sempre di presentare un volto felice, a volte anche troppo rilassato. Uno dei suoi ministri è stato rimproverato per aver suggerito che le scuole potrebbero rimanere chiuse se il contagio di influenza A sara’ peggiore del previsto.

Un esempio molto più vero di deimo-crazia, la manipolazione della paura per scopi politici, è in realtà la Gran Bretagna, dove saltiamo letteralmente da un allarme all’altro: quando la preoccupazione per il morbo della mucca inizia a scemare, arriva il Duemila, poi il riscaldamento globale, poi Blair e i suoi “45 minuti all’attacco da parte di Saddam“, poi l’Aviaria, poi una siccita’ da desertificazione, e adesso l’influenza “suina”. Il rischio per terrorismo e’ invariabilmente “Alto”, e chissa’ cosa ci riservera’ il futuro..

(e) Degli ultimi paragrafi su Berlusconi si può solo rabbrividire. La realtà “dello stato di emergenza“, introdotto da Berlusconi, nel luglio del 2008 è “dimostrata” citando un incidente dell’… Agosto 2007! Il che è circa otto mesi PRIMA che Berlusconi sia tornato al potere. Una ridicolaggine insomma, che precede una filippica rattoppata e infondata che include discorsi sull’”anti-semitismo ragionevole“, su violenza contro gli immigrati e sulla “barbarie berlusconiana“. Certo non c’è bisogno di commento quando l’autore di un articolo si toglie da solo ogni credibilita’.

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L’impressione generale è che il problema non sia la democrazia occidentale e/o elettorale, o personaggi come Berlusconi, Lee Kuan Yew o addirittura Ahmadinejad. Il problema per Žižek è se stesso, e il suo rapporto con un mondo occidentale post-1989 che non è stato in grado (almeno finora) di produrre un clima di fiducia politica significativa riguardo la “sinistra classica”. Gli elettori con regolarita’ non selezionano come rappresentanti membri di quella “classe specializzata” cui pensa di appartenere Žižek, classe che si presenta come l’unica “legittimata” a difendere i poveri, i lavoratori e in generale chiunque non sia un arco-capitalista.

Agli occhi di Žižek, il mondo intero è sottosopra: “la popolarità di Reagan aumentasa dopo ogni apparizione pubblica, proprio mentre i giornalisti enumeravano i suoi errori“. Ma piuttosto che cercare di capirne il perché, Žižek ha arbitrariamente deciso che le ragioni devono trovarsi all’interno della “mandria disorientata” chiamata popolo, e / o nelle astute, malvagi mani di populisti da tutto il mondo. Pertanto, se e quando il processo democratico anche solo temporaneamente fa languire partiti di sinistra all’opposizione, allora è l’intero processo democratico che va classificato come una manifestazione del capitalismo. La soluzione per Žižek è quindi di sbarazzarsi della democrazia elettorale del tutto. E infatti, le “elezioni democratiche che emanano un momento di verità” sono definite esattamente come quelle in cui le persone votano cosi’come Žižek vorrebbe che votassero.

Žižek non e’ solo. Anche Thomas L Friedman del New York Times ha confessato la sua invidia per il sistema autocratico cinese, cosi’ “efficiente” nell’occuparsi di questioni ambientali visto che non deve “perdere tempo” a dialogare con un’opposizione democratica. Come ha fatto notare Jonah Goldberg, studioso e autore di “Liberal Fascism”, si tratta degli stessi argomenti che negli anni Venti resero Mussolini popolare in Europa e anche negli USA, grazie ai treni che arrivavano in orario e alle paludi pontine che venivano prosciugate.

Il fatto poi che le piu’ grandi catastrofi ambientali, come il prosciugamento del Lago d’Aral, siano legate proprio a sistemi autocratici e per questo incapaci di evitare colossali errori, apparentemente a Žižek o Friedman non interessa.

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Tutto sommato, l’articolo di Žižek rappresenta la sconfitta di quella parte della “sinistra classica” che si ritiene come un Sansone collettivo prossimo alla morte (politica) e quindi e’ determinato ad uccidere (politicamente) tutti i Filistei. O usando una metafora forse ancora piu’ appropriata, , o, meglio ancora, come un bambino antipatico che fa i capricci per una e una sola ragione: perché le cose non vanno a modo suo.

Stress Vs. Credibility: Modern Science At A Crossroads

Steven Wiley talks about Biology, but his words explain the one long-lasting damage Climategate has done to mainstream (AGW) climatology, whatever the outcome of the ongoing investigations: an increasing number of skeptics because emotional outbursts destroy confidence in the very data:

it is essential that we maintain respect for each other in our public discourse. Respecting each other is essential for real scientific dialog. If you dismiss someone’s opinion based on your feelings, you lose your objectivity. But being dismissive and emotional during public discussions also makes you look bad to other people and erodes your credibility.

Ideally, a scientist should be a dispassionate observer of the world who weighs the evidence and provides a thoughtful, well-reasoned judgment. This is clearly an idealistic vision of our profession to which we frequently fall short, mostly because scientists find it difficult to be dispassionate about anything. Yet, we should strive for this ideal if we expect that scientific opinions should be given special consideration in society.

This is important because we want people to believe in the data gathered and evaluated using the scientific method. If people aren’t confident in the people who are gathering the data, they won’t believe in its veracity.

[...] Most people can tell the difference between reasonable assertions and unsupported conjecture. The problem is that when emotional outbursts are injected into a situation, any pretense of objectivity becomes lost.

In these times where science offers the best hope for progress in an increasing complex and fractious world, it would be a real tragedy if the bad behavior of some scientists compromised our reputation as neutral seekers of truth. Whether we like it or not, the behavior of each of us colors the popular perception of scientists as a whole.

There’s going to be a need for a huge amount of “the science is settled” declarations before AGW climatology will start to look again as anything remotely objective, in the eyes of the general public. In the meanwhile, it will remain caged within politics and silly holier-than-thou discussions bordering on fundamentalism. And that’s no place for a scientific discipline.

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Here two examples of pretty damaging “emotional outbursts”:

(1) Professor Andrew Watson making the cheap shot of calling Marc Morano an “asshole” at the very end of their BBC Newsnight exchange, i.e. when Morano had no way to respond

(2) The LSE’s Bob Ward going hysterical and literally off on a tangent on Spectator’s Editor Fraser Nelson, during a Sky News debate

"Smart Planet" It Ain't

I hereby nominate Dana Blankenhorn’s blog “That cold snap was global warming in action” as the dumbest of 2010 (so far).

The question now is: has that entry by itself removed any meaning from the website’s name? How can a place called “Smart Planet” get it so spectacularly wrong?

“Nessuno sta dalla parte di Rosarno: ecco perchè in Calabria vince la ‘ndrangheta, e perde lo Stato”

Segnalo questo blog sulla situazione a Rosarno, scritto da Peppe Caridi. Non sono d’accordo su tutti i dettagli ma la conclusione e’ straordinaria nel suo centrare l’antico problema della Calabria:

Quella di Rosarno è stata una guerra fra poveri: da un lato c’erano poveri Italiani, dall’altro c’erano poveri Africani. Hanno perso tutti, ma l’intellighenzia culturale del nostro Paese ha deciso che “i negri hanno ragione” e che i cittadini di Rosarno sono “razzisti e xenofobi”. L’hanno detto e l’hanno scritto un pò tutti, tranne la ‘ndrangheta: l’unica organizzazione che ha deciso di stare dalla parte di Rosarno. Gli altri non possono stare dalla parte di Rosarno perchè pensano che Rosarno sia la ‘ndrangheta. Perchè pensano solo a quei 300 affiliati criminali, non certo rappresentativi anche degli altri 15.700 Rosarnesi onesti e sani.
Qualcuno, tra loro, ha detto di voler fondare un circolo della ‘Lega Nord’ a Rosarno: c’è già a Pantelleria, e una ragazza di Scilla, Carmela Santagati, 29 anni, alle ultime elezioni Europee del 6 e 7 giugno 2009 s’è candidata con la ‘Lega Nord’ in Calabria e ha preso quasi duemila voti. Probabilmente sarà candidata anche alle vicine elezioni Regionali nella lista Calabrese della ‘Lega Nord’, che – strano ma vero – in Calabria rappresenta oggi l’ultimo presidio dello Stato contro la ‘ndrangheta, l’unico appiglio possibile per la gente comune rispetto alla ‘ndrangheta, l’unica organizzazione che – come la ‘ndrangheta – in situazioni simili sceglie di stare dalla parte dei cittadini.

Come ci siamo ridotti…da culla della civiltà Mediterranea, a regno dei paradossi. Siamo costretti a scegliere tra la Lega Nord e la ‘ndrangheta perchè tutti gli altri stanno contro di noi.

Climate Change Going Out Of Fashion At The BBC

No climate change news at the BBC

No climate change news at the BBC

And lo! On the twelfth day of the ninth tenth year of the third millennium, a strange phenomenon appeared on the website of the British (Climate Change) Broadcasting Corporation. In the ‘Science & Environment‘ pages, not even one news item was dedicated to climate change…

Only “features” and “analysis” survive. For how long? Perhaps the Copenhagen disaster of a summit has claimed yet another victim.

AGW, Missing "Step Two"

I think you should be more explicit here in step two

I think you should be more explicit here in step two

Does the average AGWer understand exactly how we go from step one (“CO2 emissions”) to step three (“the world is doomed because of AGW”)? Some notes from Max Beran, originally published in the Climate Sceptics mailing list:

I suspect [some AGWers] think man-made climate change is an actual force that is permeating the environment and quite capable of impacting on everything and anything. It doesn’t need to act first on some intermediate agency that is the proximate cause of whatever phenomenon they are interested in, man-made climate change is just out there in the world doing its evil business. This “paradigm” comes across time and time again in vox pops, and the mouths of lobbyists but it is not absent either in trained scientists, especially those in the softer (non-number- based) realms of science.

What I have in mind is the implication of the words that people use. For example: AGW carries the malaria bug, AGW empties reservoirs, AGW kills off whole species, AGW forces poor people from their homes etc etc, like it was some sort of toxic mist blown in on the wind. This came over strongly with Greenpeace activists and their ilk who were demonstrating in the streets at Copenhagen. It was quite plain from their responses to journalists’ questions that they were totally clueless about what AGW actually was supposed to be and how it would work, capable only of repeating mantra-like shibboleths about what dreadful things it did. It was pure “rentacrowd”, hired to make a noise but no knowledge of what their noise was all about other than it was against a bad thing.

When I managed a global change programme biologists would cite global warming as their agency of first choice when looking for a cause of some population or ecosystem change. There was no need to have a hypothesis about what weather elements actually controlled the phenomenon or even if it was weather sensitive – indeed I knew they wouldn’t have a clue where to go looking for such data for their locality or how they would measure it if they had to. All they knew was that global warming was out there and you could get the Central England Temperature data off the CRU website if you needed something to put on the X-axis of the graph.

Darwin (AGW) Awards vs. The Tragedy Of Cold-Related Deaths

(note: I wrote most of the below last night…as it happens, Indur M. Goklany has just published a blog on similar topics, “Winter kills: Excess Deaths in the Winter Months” on WUWT)

Tragic as it is, the death at the age of 70 of Canon Hereward Cooke on Dec 15 in Copenhagen after having cycled in a snowstorm is the stuff of a Darwin Award. One might even be forgiven if thinking of it as foretold by the near-misses of failed Polar kayaker Lewis Pugh in September 2008, and of the cold and starving Catlin Survey team almost stranded in atrocious Arctic weather in April 2009.

Is this a way to confirm Timpanogos/Ed Darrell‘s suggestion that “you guys cheer at train wrecks and hit-and-run auto-pedestrian accidents, too“? I think not (even if I should thank Ed for comparing the lesser Milliband and Gordon Brown to train wrecks and hit-and-run accidents). There is something enormously serious about climate-related deaths. Compared to that, the misadventures of True (AGW) Believers getting themselves and others in trouble for almost no reason at all, well, those become laughable indeed.

Remember the infamous 2003 Summer Heatwave in Europe? Wikipedia claims it killed “more than 37,451” people (the Earth Policy Institute sums up a toll of  “more than 52,000“) across the Continent.  Now take “excess winter mortality” in England and Wales alone, and despair: according to the Office for National Statistics, in 2008/2009 the number of additional deaths “compared with the average for the non-winter period” was 36,700.

One can only imagine a grand total of excess winter deaths for the whole of Europe in the hundreds of thousands. And that happens every single year, whilst the 2003 Heatwave is just an exceptional event that caused for example a total of 2,139 excess deaths in England and Wales.

Notably, in England and Wales even the 2003/2004 winter saw more than 20,000 excess deaths compared to a non-winter period that included…the August 2003 heatwave.

Excess winter mortality, England and Wales, 1999/2000 to 2008/2009

Excess winter mortality, England and Wales, 1999/2000 to 2008/2009 (original from the UK "Office for National Statistics")

Given the way things are shaping up at the moment, the 2009/2010 numbers will likely be in the 30,000-40,000 range too…I am perfectly sure if we had tens of thousands of excess deaths during a hot summer in the UK, even the rocks would be yelling out about the perils of Global Warming. But since those people are dying because of the cold, one might have to guess it must be alright..