de Freitas on solid ground

what is weather

(h/t Bob D for most of the references)

Journalist Chris Barton has a story in yesterday’s Herald titled The climate dissenter holds his ground. After looking at Barton’s alarmist arguments I’ll stand with Chris de Freitas on the solid ground.

The story begins with the implication (not that the journalist says it this plainly) that, even with the planet battling weather extremes, that is not enough to convince an Auckland climate scientist (Associate Professor Chris de Freitas, at the University of Auckland) of the truth of human-induced global warming. We’re supposed to feel exasperation: “What will it take to get that man to see sense?”

But Barton is dead wrong. For why should “extreme” weather be an indication of man-made global warming? How could we get more extreme weather out of global warming?

What is weather

Weather is made up of several elements: temperature, air movement (wind), precipitation (rain, snow), sunshine, water vapour and clouds. What does it mean for those factors to become extreme? Remember that “extreme” might mean more or might mean less. Less rain equals drought.

Mr Barton must be saying that under global warming it will become both hotter and colder, winds will both increase and decrease, precipitation will be both less and more, and clouds will both increase and decrease. Presumably water vapour will go both up and down.

Chris de Freitas

And this will all come from the same cause, which is increased warmth. How amazing.

This means only that weather will continue as usual. The expression “extreme weather events” means “climate.” We’ve always had extreme weather events.

We’ve been reading for years that global warming will cause floods and droughts to increase simultaneously, so perhaps that bold reasoning has softened our brains, and we’re now ready to accept any climatic nonsense.

Mr Barton ought to think about what he’s writing. Because the notion of the planet battling the weather, when it’s the planet itself which patently produces the weather, is plain illogical. Certainly, we battle the weather, but the planet doesn’t.

Just think association

Then he catalogues a string of bad weather events as though no other year had them but neglects to offer any reason to link them to global warming. We’re merely invited to “associate” those unpleasant and often tragic events with his mention of global warming. He omits to say that the northern winter of 2010-2011 produced record low temperatures and snowfall throughout England, Wales, Ireland, France, Scandinavia, Germany, Poland and Belgium and other places across the northern hemisphere.

But he’s claiming, in effect, that all damaging weather is caused by global warming and that makes no sense. Those record cold northern temperatures were not caused by warming.

He mentions the Mississippi floods, but they were caused by record snow melt, combined with poor maintenance of the levees and waterways. It’s unclear how record snow was caused by global warming.

Warming that persists during cooling

There has been no atmospheric warming for over a decade, and the oceans are clearly cooling. So even if we were to discover some mechanism by which “extreme weather” can be caused by global warming, we must then ask what kind of warming persists during cooling?

The claims regarding recent weather events are incorrect. The strong El Niño/La Niña sequence we saw in 2010/2011 was responsible for many of these events, and any half-decent environmental research should have revealed this.

There’s no indication that global warming will result in stronger storms. The World Meteorological Organisation announced earlier this year they find no connection between global warming and hurricane activity.

Stronger storms tend to be associated with larger north-south temperature differences. Global warming will tend to raise temperatures at higher latitudes, which will reduce those north-south differences, so reducing storm intensity. That’s the opposite of what Barton is saying here.

Russian Heat Wave

NASA/NOAA:

“Despite this strong evidence for a warming planet, greenhouse gas forcing fails to explain the 2010 heat wave over western Russia. The natural process of atmospheric blocking, and the climate impacts induced by such blocking, are the principal cause for this heat wave. It is not known whether, or to what exent, greenhouse gas emissions may affect the frequency or intensity of blocking during summer. It is important to note that observations reveal no trend in a daily frequency of July blocking over the period since 1948, nor is there an appreciable trend in the absolute values of upper tropospheric summertime heights over western Russia for the period since 1900.”

Pakistan floods

The Pakistan floods were linked to this same blocking event.

Queensland Floods

Australian Climate Report, page 42:
“The floods across eastern Australia in 2010 and early 2011 were the consequence of a very strong La Niña event, and not the result of climate change. That is, the underlying cause of the floods is a natural part of climate variability, which is part of the reason why Australia has always been a “land of droughts and flooding rains.” The extent, if any, of the influence of the warming planet on the intensity of these heavy rains and floods is simply unknown at this time. There is no evidence that the strength of La Niña events is increasing due to climate change.”

Tornadoes

The IPCC has never even attempted to link tornado activity to global warming, simply because tornadoes are caused by cold air masses meeting warm air masses. A search of the IPCC SPM (Summary for Policy Makers) has zero results for the word “tornado”. Similarly for the “Regional Climate Projections.” Also, before the tornado season even began, most US meteorologists were predicting a record season this year because of the influence of the La Niña event.

The Texas drought, although severe, pales into insignificance beside the 1930s Dust Bowl, and the terrible droughts of the 1950s and the late 1980s. They are not demonstrating any increase in “severity.”

In aiming (ostensibly) to correct misapprehensions about dangerous human-caused global warming, Mr Barton instead exposes a very deep ignorance of it.

However, now Barton goes for the personal throat of the good professor, arguing for defects in a course de Freitas teaches at the university. He describes the “pretty simple” science that underlies episodes of extreme weather:

Increased heating leads to greater evaporation. Warm air holds more moisture. Hence increased water vapour and more energy in the atmosphere. Sooner or later the trapped energy has to go somewhere, and inevitably it ends up as weather. Thus increased surface drying, thereby increasing the intensity and duration of drought. And storms – whether with thunder, rain, snow or cyclones – are supplied with increased moisture, producing more intense precipitation events.

If we overlook the fact we’ve seen no increase in atmospheric temperatures for perhaps fifteen years (except in a single famous dataset managed by the “father of global warming,” James Hansen, at GISS), then this seems a reasonable mechanism. So do we observe this in nature? Well, yes, we do. This local increase in temperature gives rise to thunderstorms, which, according to Willis Eschenbach’s thermostat hypothesis, take the heat away most efficiently. Before extreme weather events occur. Or you could call a thunderstorm an extreme event, couldn’t you? Albeit a very common one.

The total opacity of Martin Manning

Barton turns now to Martin Manning for help. Professor Manning provides an extraordinary statement, obscure to the point of total opacity:

“What we are now starting to see is a collective extreme event which is occurring simultaneously across wide regions,” says the director of Victoria University’s NZ Climate Change Research Institute. “There is a huge spread of these events that makes them new and different.”

Simultaneously? But Barton’s own description shows many events occurring over many months. What does “starting to see” mean? It will continue? This is only the beginning, folks, and it’s all been predicted. This is nonsensical, frightening science by fiat from on high. We cannot take it seriously.

What’s a “collective extreme event” “occurring simultaneously” that actually takes months to happen? Further, there is a “huge spread” of these events. This is ridiculous. He’s talking about simple weather, which hasn’t changed at all.

Prof Manning, kindly supply graphs of increased storm (or any other “extreme” event you like) frequency and intensity showing a correlation with increasing atmospheric temperaures. Please. Thanks.

Applauds fraudulent hockey stick

Barton makes a detailed attack on de Freitas’ Geography 101 course, applauding Mann’s completely deprecated hockey stick graph of global temperature over the last 1000 years, omitting the fact that the strong recent upturn in the graph is caused by a single tree above the Arctic circle. It’s laughed at in serious academic circles and the author for many years refused FOI requests to release the data.

Barton thinks you can get better opinions from students about the quality of a course than you can from the professor who creates it. But how can that be true? They don’t even have a degree yet.

It was good to hear Glenn McGregor supporting de Freitas’ right to express his opinion freely. It was not so good to wade through Barton’s attack on that right.

Manning says those who are teaching students need to cover the full range of what goes in to scientific literature in a balanced way. “When you are teaching courses to students you really have a responsibility to cover the range of understanding and not just be dominated by a personal stance,” he says. “Courses in universities and schools should not be personal opinion.”

So, Prof Manning, do you similarly insist on having the “sceptical” climate view taught alongside your own establishment climate view? Come back to us on that, if you would.

Barton says:

To explain de Freitas’s view it’s necessary to acknowledge that he is one of a rare breed of climate scientists who oppose the climate change consensus as declared by the IPCC in 2007.

But this is disingenuous, because he does not “explain” Chris’ view. Nor is de Freitas one of a “rare breed”, he’s actually one of many thousands of scientists who have publicly declared doubts about the IPCC AR4 of 2007. Far more than the mere half-dozen or so credible voices responsible for the statement in the AR4 that humans are probably causing climate change. Nor is it hard to have doubts when the temperature can be seen not to have risen since about 1995.

But the company he keeps numbers just six in New Zealand and 142 worldwide according to the ICSC which keeps a register of “climate experts” who challenge “the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused climate change”.

This is outright deception or incompetence by Barton. A brief inspection is enough to discover that the register only records those who notice the web page and trouble themselves to enter their details. This journalist needs a better grasp of his ethical duties.

Claims are rising naturally

The references to the insurance industry are laughable. With more people living in situations of greater peril, such as on the coast, and living everywhere in greater numbers, such as in Christchurch or northern Japan, you would expect insurance claims to rise with every damaging event.

Those insurance companies are large organisations themselves, and they’re often subsidiaries of even larger ones and all of them are in the forefront of investment in the new and lucrative carbon credit markets and the alternative energy industries. We can expect them to talk up the global warming risks at every opportunity, simply to maximise their chances of a profit.

Very comic concept

Finally, we’re treated to the idea of scientists forensically examining individual events for telltale “fingerprints” of climate change. (They’re apparently “beginning to show” in extreme weather.) This ends a laughable treatise with a very comic concept.

So let’s try to understand this. We have an undefined concept, “climate change”, which means any weather at all, now to be identified by telltale fingerprints which are also undefined, and all of this will prove to us that humans are endangering the earth. Hmm.

It seems that the existence of weather proves our exacerbation of that weather.

Tell us what the fingerprints are, Chris, so we might believe you. No?

Oh well, we don’t believe you!

Kevin Trenberth says weather records are getting smashed. What’s the evidence for that? Did Barton ask him for evidence?

Well, did you, Chris?

36 Thoughts on “de Freitas on solid ground

  1. out the back on July 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm said:

    It does indeed appear that each “weather extreme”, as they are called, comes with a note, and it always goes like this: the worst (whatever) in 50 years/60 years or you name it. So what are they saying: 50/60 odd years ago it was similar or even worse. All “extremes” do indeed appear to be in line with the pattern at the end of the last warming period exhibiting itself in the late 40’s and 50’s “extremes. What a surprise. And then of course we got “global cooling”, the next human induced ice age. Perhaps Phil is right, carbon tax is a non-event but we keep it anyway, lets introduce capital gains tax so we can appeal to all social thinking NZ’ers to pay their “fair” share of tax.

  2. Flipper on July 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm said:

    Excellent Richard.
    NZ H Ed Murphy should publish it, but he will not.
    That is O’Herald, circa 2011

  3. Australis on July 18, 2011 at 12:16 am said:

    Prof Richard Lindzen, doyen of climate scientists, says extreme weather events are associated with a steep temperature gradient as between the equator and the poles.

    As all the climate records suggest that temps at higher latitudes (especially the Arctic) are warming much faster than the tropics, the temperature gradient is DECREASING as a result of the perceived AGW. Some even go so far as to suggest that the warming at high latitudes (which abates extreme events) is a “fingerprint” of AGW.

    How does Trenberth circumvent this blockage in his theory?

  4. So that’s the “fingerprint” they’re talking about? I didn’t know. A connection might be claimed with “climate change” because that’s rather nicely undefined, but what’s the connection with fossil fuels? Why should extra GHG warm just the upper latitudes?

    You ask a good question. I don’t believe he’s mentioned it. I shall ask him.

  5. Bob D on July 18, 2011 at 11:35 am said:

    What I find extraordinary about this attack by Chris Barton is I can recall no similar occasion when an unqualified (climate-wise) journalist at the Herald has had the temerity to criticise the detailed course content of a professor at New Zealand’s highest rated university. And then on top of that he gets all his facts wrong.
    The Herald should be hanging its head in shame.

    http://www.timeshighereducation.co.uk/world-university-rankings/2010-2011/oceania.html
    http://www.topuniversities.com/top-100-universities-in-the-world-2011

  6. Anthropogenic Global Cooling on July 18, 2011 at 11:50 am said:

    The NZ Herald has been a gutter press propaganda rag for a while now. If you look at all their AGW articles they no longer have comments, as the AGW crowd were getting crushed by those who were informed. The moderator made every attempt he could to remove my comments concerning the tropospheric hotspot when it became plainly obvious the AGW crowd had no answer for it’s absence.

    Now they just resort to spouting any old rubbish in support of AGW, slander & misrepresent de Freitas, and deny comments to anyone wanting to counter their BS claims. When Moncton gets here I can guarantee they’ll see it as their duty to do a slanderous hatchet job on the guy on a daily basis.

  7. I’ve asked editor Tim Murphy for space to reply.

  8. CdF wrote a pretty good article in the Herald back in January

    “Emotion clouding underlying science of global warming”
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/climate-change/news/article.cfm?c_id=26&objectid=10697845

    Read the comments that got though moderation

    Note mine with 7 “likes”

    Andy S (New Zealand)
    11:14 AM Thursday, 20 Jan 2011

    This article seems like a reasonable summary to me. The question is, why has the mainstream media failed to provide this kind of information to date, preferring to spin us with pseudo-scientific claptrap?

    Edit: I see that Hot Topic are on the case now.

  9. Mike Jowsey on July 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm said:

    Maybe you could approach the editor with the argument that the Herald should present a balanced view, as Martin Manning exhorts Auckland University to do.

    btw – Bishop Hill also covered the article briefly here: http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/7/16/de-freitas-profile.html

  10. Andy on July 18, 2011 at 3:48 pm said:

    The article is somewhat bizarre.

    A student said

    “No, nothing,” a student in the course told the Herald. “I learned all that in my Environmental Science class.”

    so he/she learnt it in their environmental science class, not the geography 101 class

    What exactly is this student’s complaint?. The issue that they may be getting some critical thinking skills? You can’t help feeling that there were some very leading questions from the writer. One also wonders who put Barton up to the task.

  11. Richard C (NZ) on July 18, 2011 at 7:32 pm said:

    Is this the same Martin Manning that’s given up citing supporting science and now cites European banks and insurance companies instead?

  12. Andy on July 18, 2011 at 7:39 pm said:

    Mike Palin from Otago shows that he has some ethics on this issue, I am glad to see
    http://hot-topic.co.nz/de-freitas-feeds-his-students-sceptic-propaganda/#comment-26863

  13. >One also wonders who put Barton up to the task.
    A Kiwi Neil Wallis? 😉 (http://climateaudit.org/2011/07/14/covert-operations-by-east-anglias-cru/)

  14. Mike Jowsey on July 18, 2011 at 8:44 pm said:

    Is he in the pay of *gasp* Big Insurance?

  15. Mike Jowsey on July 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm said:

    >What exactly is this student’s complaint?
    Very good point Andy. Trying to walk a mile in student moccasins, have come up with 3 possible complaints(I am sure there may be more):
    1. “Gee, how come they taught us this climate change stuff in Environmental Science?”
    2. “Gee, they taught this stuff over here, so why didn’t they duplicate the teaching over here?”
    3. “Gee, Prof. de Freitas actually wants us to think outside the Box, like real scientists. Too radical – can’t he just tell us what to say in the exam?”.

  16. Andy on July 18, 2011 at 9:36 pm said:

    This will be the same “Big Insurance” who are stalling on my ChCh earthquake claims? The ones who base their predictions on “Big Science” who fiddle with their vanity climate computer models while a few poorly funded real scientists try to map seismic faults that overlap my house in two directions?

  17. Richard C (NZ) on July 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm said:

    Journalist Chris (Barts) Barton does climate science.

    “Increased heating leads to greater evaporation”

    1) What type of “heating” are you referring to Barts? Is it solar short-wave thermal radiative heating? Or down-welling long-wave radiative (DLR) heating from GHGs? If it’s the latter you have a problem because the heating effect of DLR is minimal and it doesn’t heat the oceans, lakes and rivers (heating isn’t the only cause of evaporation BTW Barts). Also, it may come as a surprise to you Barts but DLR isn’t increasing. If the “Increased heating” that you are referring to is in terms of temperature, see 4) below.

    “Warm air holds more moisture.”

    2) True, but how long does it hold it before cloud nucleation occurs and it precipitates out (check out the hydrological cycle Barts – much to learn)?

    “Hence increased water vapour”

    3) No, not “hence” Barts, because first you’ve failed to discriminate between water vapour that remains in the atmosphere and water vapour that has been removed by precipitation. And second, you’ve just assumed that the remaining water vapour has increased but it hasn’t in the GHG critical pressure zones where a decrease has been observed. You should be more careful with your “hence”es Barts.

    “….and more energy in the atmosphere.”

    4) If you mean (hopefully) energy in the form of heat – nope, no tropospheric hot-spot, mid-trop global decadal trend: +0.05 °C (i.e. very close to flat). See what happens when you just assume stuff Barts.

    “Sooner or later the trapped energy has to go somewhere,”

    5) If the energy is “trapped” it can’t “go” anywhere can it Barts? Okay, semantics, yes the “trapped” energy will “go somewhere” sooner or later but remember that the energy is in the form of heat. That’s an important point Barts, it might be worthwhile taking some time to consider how heat dissipates. You can see heat rising (that’s UP Barts) on a hot windless summers day and it keeps going up. Why, you ask Barts? Because heat moves from hot to cold (it’s a law of physics Barts – look it up) and space is very much colder than the surface of the earth, in fact it’s close to absolute zero on the Kelvin temperature scale (just remember space is b*****y cold Barts, and heats seeks to “go” there).

    “….and inevitably it ends up as weather.”

    6) No it doesn’t Barts. Has it not occurred to you by now that the “somewhere” that the “trapped” energy (in the form of heat waaay up in the upper troposphere) goes – is space? Now go back and re-read 5) carefully and this time think Barts, think. I know thinking can be difficult when you’re out of practice but I’m sure you’ll find it very rewarding in the long run.

  18. I’m so glad you’re on our side, Ricky, m’lad! You lead a merry dance and the devil take the hindmost. That was illuminating.

  19. __________________________________

    Chris de Freitas IS THE MAN!! I have been taught by him on multiple occasions, he has a gift and he does well at presenting literature and both views. Keep up the GREAT WORK, CHRIS!
    __________________________________

  20. Anthropogenic Global Cooling on July 19, 2011 at 10:05 am said:

    Looking at the boring nature of Chris Barton’s other newspaper articles, it’s my guess that he’s taking up AGW as a means to attract readers to his articles on the Herald website. AGW is always a very controversial subject, and the mere mention of it will draw people from both sides of the debate, especially if it’s controversial & untruthful. I saw Deborah Coddington mention on Facebook the other day that her job in her NZ Herald articles was purely to stir people up – perhaps it’s a Herald MO to attract readers comments. I also wonder if some of the long time bloggers that comment on the articles are actually NZ Herald employees intentionally stirring the pot.

    If anyone has an issue with Barton’s articles the last thing they should do is refer people to the Herald website to read them, it’ll only encourage him & the Herald to spout more rubbish propaganda. As he’s hardly ever mentioned AGW previously, perhaps it’s an act of desperation to save a failing job.

  21. Mike Jowsey on July 19, 2011 at 6:16 pm said:

    Plus it was a bloody good laugh! Thanks RC – brightened up my whole day, you did. (In a surgically astute manner, I might add).

  22. Mike Jowsey on July 20, 2011 at 9:40 am said:

    Thanks for the insight AGC. I actually sent Barts an ’email’ via the Harold website pointing him at this article. Hope he’s had a look.

    I was interested in the discussion yesterday on National radio (with regard to the News of the World phone hacking scandal) where Rob Oram was opining that due to falling readership many papers, including the Herald, were moving to tabloid style in an effort to shock or titillate their readership rather than dispassionately reporting the news. Your comments seem to align with this.

  23. Bob D on July 20, 2011 at 10:22 am said:

    Thanks for that Zach, it’s good to hear he has support where it matters: AU past students.

  24. Richard C (NZ) on July 20, 2011 at 12:59 pm said:

    What Barts should have read first:-

    Lapse Rate, Moisture, Clouds and Thunderstorms.

    http://eesc.columbia.edu/courses/ees/climate/lectures/atm_phys.html

    The vertical profile of atmospheric temperature

    http://eesc.columbia.edu/courses/ees/slides/climate/atmprofile.gif

    Tropopause and lower stratosphere

    http://www.atoptics.co.uk/highsky/htrop.htm

    Tropopause pressure – NH & SH

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~hakim/tropo/trop_pres.html

    Then he could move on to detailed atmospheric thermodynamics, the theorized concept of greenhouse gas induced global warming.and the elusive “hot spot” predicted by climate models and conventional ‘greenhouse’ theory e.g. article:-

    Dr. Noor van Andel: The data does not agree with the theory of greenhouse gas induced global warming

    Dr. Noor van Andel has updated his paper CO2 and Climate Change and explains in greater detail how climate scientists have adjusted radiosonde (weather balloon) data to try to bring it into agreement with their computer models and concept of greenhouse gas induced global warming. This is the opposite of the normal scientific procedure of adjusting the models to fit the data. The unadjusted data does not show the elusive “hot spot” predicted by climate models and conventional ‘greenhouse’ theory. Dr. van Andel’s latest version also expands on the descriptions of Miskolczi’s ‘saturated greenhouse’ theory and the cosmic ray theory of Svensmark et al.

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.com/2011/02/dr-noor-van-andel-data-does-not-agree.html

    Paper:-

    “CO2 and climate change”, Noor van Andel, 14-02-2011.

    http://climategate.nl/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/CO2_and_climate_v7.pdf

    Conclusion
    Our present climate is due to an increased length of the last interglacial period, more than 10000 years, due to a low level of GCR that maintains a low cloud cover, a low albedo, more absorbed sunshine and a pleasant climate. In the very long run, we need not mind about CO2 or global warming, but instead about lower GCR activity and global cooling. There is no way we can influence GCR activity. It originates in active black holes and imploding supernovae in the Milky Way, modulated by weaker or stronger solar and interplanetary magnetic fields that screen off the GCR particles.

  25. Richard C (NZ) on July 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm said:

    The syllabus for Columbia University’s “The Climate System” course would no doubt be acceptable to de Freitas detractors.

    http://eesc.columbia.edu/courses/ees/climate/syllabus.html

    The Climate System
    EESC 2100 Spring 2008

    http://eesc.columbia.edu/courses/ees/climate/index.html

    Week 2 “Understanding the Greenhouse Effect”. calculates the effect of additional GHGs. They must assume (like Barts) that upper tropospheric WV increases as a matter of AGW course and that warming is occurring in the places that AGW says it should because in Week 3 they study “Mitigation options for greenhouse gas induced global warming”.

    Then at the bottom of the syllabus under Supplementary Readings we see:-

    Related Online Material

    http://realclimate.org – RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.

    http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/wg1-report.html – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group-1 Fourth Assessment Report.

    Good solid “consensus” stuff and nothing that I can see that actually checks their assumptions against reality, nor is there any mention of the huge body of science contrary to the “consensus”. I wonder what de Freitas detractors have to say about this unbalanced (and clearly warmist) syllabus?

    Might be an interesting exercise to look at the equivalent syllabus to Columbia’s The Climate System component of the Earth’s Environmental Systems series offered at other universities starting with Auckland and Victoria.

  26. Richard C (NZ) on July 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm said:

    From the Herald article:-

    The Herald asked Professor Glenn McGregor, director of the School of Environment at Auckland University where Geography 101 is taught, whether he agreed with De Freitas’s view.

    “There is no debate over the direction of change”

    1) No, no debate but let’s look at the “direction of change” since the last Ice Age to get some perspective:-

    Climate has been fairly stable over the Holocene. Ice core records show that before the Holocene there was global warming after the end of the last ice age and cooling periods, but climate changes became more regional at the start of the Younger Dryas. During the transition from last glacial to holocene, the Huelmo/Mascardi Cold Reversal in the Southern Hemisphere began before the Younger Dryas, and the maximum warmth flowed south to north from 11 000 to 7 000 years ago. It appears that this was influenced by the residual glacial ice remaining in the Northern Hemisphere until the later date.

    The hypsithermal was a period of warming in which the global climate became warmer. However, the warming was probably not uniform across the world. This period ended about 5, 500 years ago, when the earliest human civilizations in Africa and Asia were just beginning to rise. This period of warmth ended with the descent into the Neoglacial. At that time, the climate was not unlike today’s, but there was a slightly warmer period from the 10th–14th centuries known as the Medieval Warm Period. This was followed by the Little Ice Age, from the 13th or 14th century to the mid 19th century, which was a period of significant cooling, though not everywhere as severe as previous times during neoglaciation.

    The Holocene warming is an interglacial period and there is no reason to believe that it represents a permanent end to the current ice age. However, the current global warming may result in the Earth becoming warmer than the Eemian Stage, which peaked at roughly 125 000 years ago and was warmer than the Holocene. This prediction is sometimes referred to as a super-interglacial.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holocene

    “Global warming is happening”

    2) He must be referring to the latest cycle of warming that is consistent with warming and cooling over the last few million years. No debate.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_ice_age

    Of course there’s the “rate-of-change” argument but so what? The acceleration in the underlying temperature trend LEADS the acceleration in CO2 levels.

    “…and will continue to happen”

    3) Either Professor Glenn McGregor has powers that no ordinary human being has or he is just making stuff up. If he does have those powers, he should correct the article in 1) referring to their authenticity when doing so.

    “…and it is driven by human activities”

    4) Whoa – now the debate starts. Astrophysics provides plenty of alternative drivers but let’s present this for starters:

    EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FOR A CELESTIAL ORIGIN OF THE CLIMATE OSCILLATIONS AND ITS IMPLICATIONS
    Scafetta, Submitted May 2010
    http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/scafetta-JSTP2.pdf

    “…so the recent warming”

    5) Arrrh yes – “recent” warming. But there has been no “recent” warming this century has there Professor McGregor?

    “is not part of a natural cycle”

    6) Actually he’s correct, if there’s been no recent warming then it can’t be part of any cycle – but I’m being facetious, sorry.

    “Human activities” can’t explain the recent hiatus in global warming (Kaufmann et al notwithstanding) but natural cycles can Prof McGregor. Perhaps you should expand your syllabus (and maybe cut back some).

  27. Richard C (NZ) on July 20, 2011 at 8:46 pm said:

    The companion Herald article cites Kevin Trenberth:-

    Global warming ‘influencing weather extremes’
    By Isaac Davison
    5:30 AM Friday Jul 15, 2011

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/environment/news/article.cfm?c_id=39&objectid=10738572

    “Christchurch-born climate scientist Kevin Trenberth, now employed by the US National Centre for Atmospheric Research, said the effects of cumulative greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere was most evident in rising ocean temperatures and ice melt.

    He calculated that the sea surface temperature has increased 0.55C since the 1970s. This meant the water vapour in the atmosphere immediately above the ocean increased by 4 per cent.”

    Sea surface temperature 2002 – 2011 update is here :-

    Global SST Update: Still No Sign of Resumed Warming

    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/07/global-sst-update-still-no-sign-of-resumed-warming/

    Water vapour levels are here:-

    http://climate4you.com/ (click “Greenhouse Gasses”)

    WV “immediately above the ocean” is the 1000 mb (hPa) pressure zone. It’s difficult to see Trenberth’s “4%” increase” but selecting 1970 as a start date obviously helps his cause. No increase this century though.

    The data sources are linked and I suggest everyone becomes familiar with WV data and trends because I think we will be hearing a lot more about “extreme weather” as time goes on and the warming hiatus becomes more and more obvious. Trenberth et al will want to grasp the tenuous WV straw at 1000 hPa because the AGW/GHG critical 300 hPa data is obviously contrary to the “consensus”.

    BTW, great “extreme weather” debunking work in the post Richard T.

  28. There’s a previous article from last week by the same Herald author that I missed

    When a group of final year Auckland Medical School students began a week-long assignment on the impact of climate change on public health, they were given a CD of suggested reading material and a list of climate change experts they should talk to.

    Chris de Freitas was on the list and the CD contained several articles disputing climate change and its effects – one written by de Freitas.

    The students were bemused. “The project was on the consequence of climate change on human health – things like temperature-related illnesses and changes in disease patterns – not whether climate change was occurring or not,” said one. Professor Alistair Woodward, head of the School of Population Health, which ran the short course, agrees: “It wasn’t the best use of their time and we won’t run the course that way in the future.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10738747

    One may ask, of course, how we can distinguish the anthropogenic signal from the natural one, and then attribute that to human health.

    However, I think that these studies only reinforce the misconception that ALL climate change is human-induced.

  29. Well spotted Andy, tendentious reporting IMHO. As was said above by Anthropogenic Global Cooling, it looks like an attempt to stir up some controversy. Why does it merit an article in the NZH that 3 med students are badly informed about AGW, lack critical thinking abilities and were given an ill-thought out assignment. (Never mind the insinuations about Holocaust denial and academic freedom!)

  30. Andy on July 22, 2011 at 9:22 am said:

    We should note that de Freitas has been hounded for years.
    This climategate email from Tom Wigley tells a very similar story.

    http://assassinationscience.com/climategate/1/FOIA/mail/1061298033.txt

    If you are interested in the UEA emails, the eastangliaemails.com site appears to have disappeared.

    However, this site gives some good search options

    http://yourvoicematters.org/cru/mailsearch.php

  31. Richard C (NZ) on July 22, 2011 at 10:29 am said:

    And the paper (“CR fiasco” apparently) that Wigley and the “greenhouse community” were trying to quash “under De Freitas’s editorship”?

    Celestial driver of Phanerozoic climate?

    Shaviv and Veizer, 2003

    http://www.juniata.edu/projects/oceans/GL111/celestialdriverofclimate.pdf

    ABSTRACT
    Atmospheric levels of CO2 are commonly assumed to be a main driver of
    global climate. Independent empirical evidence suggests that the galactic cosmic ray flux (CRF) is linked to climate variability. Both drivers are presently discussed in the context of daily to millennial variations, although they should also operate over geological time scales. Here we analyze the reconstructed seawater paleotemperature record for the Phanerozoic (past 545 m.y.), and compare it with the variable CRF reaching Earth and with the reconstructed partial pressure of atmospheric CO2 (pCO2). We find that at least 66% of the variance in the paleotemperature trend could be attributed to CRF variations likely due to solar system passages through the spiral arms of the galaxy. Assuming that the entire residual variance in temperature is due solely to the CO2 greenhouse effect, we propose a tentative upper limit to the long-term “equilibrium” warming effect of CO2, one which is potentially lower than that based on general circulation models.

    I’m looking forward to the CERN CLOUD report but I bet the “greenhouse community” isn’t.

    Thanks for bringing up that email Andy – and thanks Climategate whistleblower (HARRY was that you?).

  32. Anthropogenic Global Cooling says, Now they just resort to spouting any old rubbish in support of AGW, slander & misrepresent de Freitas, and deny comments to anyone wanting to counter their BS claims. – Great point. In fact the BBC Trust recommend ignoring the skeptics as official policy as Melanie Phillips points out http://tinyurl.com/42toztf

  33. Richard C (NZ) on July 26, 2011 at 7:55 pm said:

    Chris de Freitas and Keith Hunter: The great climate debate

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/science/news/article.cfm?c_id=82&objectid=10740806

    Comments are open.

  34. Andy on July 27, 2011 at 9:16 am said:

    Keith Hunter’s arguments seem pretty weak. He even quotes Munich Re, a company that has a financial interest in climate alarmism to back up his claims

  35. Richard C (NZ) on July 27, 2011 at 10:57 am said:

    Weak and a desperate scramble to divert debate from the inconvenient truth. Trenberth, Hunter, Manning et al are all jumping on the “extreme weather” bandwagon citing water vapour levels at near surface levels that are increasing – so what? WV levels at 1000 hPa don’t matter a zot in terms of the ACO2 induced warming of AGW, that’s supposed to happen at 300 hPa but instead of WV and temperature increasing there, both are decreasing.

    Hunter and Manning are both singing from the same song sheet, they’ve given up on AGW relevant science (too hard) and now rely on anecdote and the operating strategies of Euro insurance companies and banks.

    When they abandon scientific rigour, they don’t deserve to be addressed as “Dr” or “Prof” IMHO because they are not adopting a doctoral or professorial approach, they’re just ordinary Joe Schmo’s saying “look! bad weather” and “hey! banks and insurance companies are looking to profit from it” so “man-made climate change must be real”.

  36. Andy on July 29, 2011 at 8:55 am said:

    Donna Laframboise brings up this tawdry topic in her well-researched piece on the NZ scene here:

    http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2011/07/25/prof-condemned-for-not-teaching-ipcc-reports/

    This is suberb. It really skewers our “scientists”

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