Crikey! Rachel Stewart admits she lost her rag, but her wrathful polemic is completely out of touch with the real world. Her froth-flecked fulmination is a fine example of a bible-bashing religious rant aimed at sinners. Get the faithful moving: climate change is a mission; all hands on deck.
It was all quite inspiring but fact-free. Still, fact isn’t a requirement when taking umbrage. What matters is the perceived wrong or injustice—using “perceive” in its sense of “seeing what is not there”. When we compare Miss Stewart’s claims with the facts they don’t match up.
Rachel Stewart’s modest, unostentatious assertions
RS: I ended up swearing at him and walking away. It was not my finest hour, and I can offer no excuse for it.
RS: My conclusion is this … the planet continues to burn.
No, that’s wrong. For about 20 years there’s been no significant warming, such that scientists call it a hiatus and discuss at length what caused it. In an article in February last year Dr David Whitehouse made some simple yet penetrating observations:
The hiatus is good for science. It tells us about natural climate variability of which our knowledge is still very limited. It holds valuable scientific information and in climate science, with [its] huge political and economic implications, we need all the information we can get. There are over 40 explanations for the warming hiatus proposed by scientists, from small volcanoes, ocean movements [and] effects in the stratosphere [to] data gathering problems and many more. They can’t all be right [but] they are all a valuable contribution to a scientific mystery. It shows us that the real science is not settled.
The Wikipedia entry on the hiatus has over 90 references to studies, from highly respected climate scientists including Bob Carter, James Hansen, Kevin Trenberth and Thomas Karl, and organisations including the UK Met Office and the IPCC. Finally, there are many places where 50 or so papers are listed offering explanations of the pause, hiatus or slowdown.
How long do we wait?
It’s disingenuous of Rachel Stewart to say “the planet continues to burn” and thus to suggest warming has occurred during a pause in warming; no less than a contradiction in terms. To clarify: the temperature has gone up over the 20 years, but insignificantly, and far less than the models predicted. The models are thus falsified, even if warming resumes.
Judith Curry asks: How long do we need to wait to separate a climate change from the usual variability of weather from year to year?
The gradual rise in the global surface temperature from 1978 to 1998 appeared to confirm the statement in IPCC2007 p. 10 that, “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”.
In 2009 the American Meteorological Society asked whether the growing pause “[falsified] climate predictions”. They suggested that an observed absence of warming of at least 15 years would be sufficient.
As the plateau continued climatologists extended the time scale (didn’t you just know this would happen?). Santer (2011) said at least 17 years are required to identify human contributions. The World Meteorological Organization has adopted a 30-year interval while the American Meteorological Society uses “several decades or longer.” Now Solomon, as reported by Tollefson (2014), is saying that 50 to 100 years are needed to recognize a change in climate.
There’s more evidence of a pause. In the IPCC’s latest report, AR5, the WGI Technical Summary mentions the word ‘hiatus’ 19 times in describing the temperature hiatus over, as they say, “the past 15 years.” Their data ended 5 years ago in 2012 and the hiatus does not seem to have ended, so for 20 years the models have been wronger than a wrong ‘un. The global mean surface temperature has meandered about for the last 20 years until last year, when it rocketed about 0.5 °C, surprising everyone and scaring the hell out of snowflakes who thought we were burning. Just like Rachel: “the planet continues to burn.” But the temperature immediately plummeted right back to where it started. There was no increase. Not that you’d hear that from the Herald.
The snowflakes remember the rocketing up and forget the plummeting down. Last year’s rocketing temperatures weren’t caused by global warming, just a well-documented but unpredictable weather event called El Nino.
In my view 20 years of no significant temperature rise, after all the hoopla about the end of the world, the costly annual jamborees, the demands for money, the guilt trips they’ve put on us, think of the children, the electricity and petrol price rises and the power stations they’ve shut down, after 20 years of all that but no temperature increases to justify it we are justified in saying the climate models have failed. We can now tell these fraud merchants to go back to their sheds or caves or wherever they came from.
We can run the world from now on, thank you.
You can see both the 20-year meandering from about 1996 and last year’s artificial burn in this UAH graph:
RS: Just about every bit of bad news is directly linked to climate change. Everything.
No, that’s wrong and it’s sad. That’s projection, which can ruin your day.
RS: Drought in the east of the country needs to be called what it is: the new norm.
No, that’s wrong. The east coast experiences regular droughts, as anybody knows who takes the trouble to look in a library. It’s not caused by your SUV, either, since part of the cause is seasonal changes in sea surface temperatures in the Indian Ocean. The regular Hawkes Bay droughts are well documented.
THE CLIMATE AND WEATHER OF HAWKE’S BAY, 3rd edition, by P.R. Chappell, NUMBER 58 in the NIWA SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY SERIES, ISSN 1173-0382, says on page 38:
The Hawke’s Bay region experienced a major drought between November 1997 and June 1998. … The Hawke’s Bay region also experienced major droughts in 2002-03, for three consecutive years from 2006-07 to 2008-09, and during the summer and early autumn of 2012-13. … A drought of similar severity to the 2012-13 drought hit the central Hawke’s Bay region in 1945-46.
The introduction to the Chappell report summarises the frequency and severity of the crippling droughts:
Rainfall is extremely variable in spring and summer when westerly winds prevail over the country. In most years insufficient rainfall (dry spells) results in a total depletion of soil moisture to the extent that plant growth ceases. [emphasis added]
So it’s not “the new norm”, it’s the old norm—and it’s not hard to discover this, Miss Stewart.
Here’s more confirmation from Relationship between Climate Modes and Hawke’s Bay Seasonal Rainfall and Temperature, a report prepared by NIWA for the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, June 2015, NIWA CLIENT REPORT No: AKL2015-016 (pdf, 4.2MB).
Although climate change is not directly assessed in this report it should be noted that the climate cycles described above will be superimposed on top of the impacts of climate change.
If NIWA didn’t bother assessing the effect of climate change, they clearly thought it wouldn’t affect Hawke’s Bay weather yet. Which gives the lie, again, to Rachel’s angry spluttering about a “new normal” caused by avoidable human interference in the climate. In addition, Hawkes Bay Today announced only today “Dry conditions still not a drought in Hawke’s Bay.”
Koalas falling from the trees
RS: Anyone notice the heat in Australia last week? Officially the temperatures reached the high 40s. Unofficially, private temperature gauges were showing low 50s, and reports of cattle dropping down dead and koalas expiring and falling out of trees, started filtering through.
No, that’s wrong. We’ve had reports from friends in Oz and they haven’t heard this.
RS: Our own New Zealand summer has been beyond unusual. Wind. Endless, relentless, intense.
No, that’s wrong. You’re seeing the whole country through the lens of a single back yard.
RS: Extreme weather is now common.
No, that’s wrong. Warming, Miss Stewart, as reported by the IPCC (know who they are?) in their Special Report, Managing the Risks of Extreme Events and Disasters to Advance Climate Change Adaptation (SREX) may have occurred since 1950. Let me repeat that: warming may have occurred. It doesn’t sound very confident, does it? But that may have caused a little increase in extreme weather, or it may not.
That’s what the IPCC says, Miss Stewart, I’m not making this up. Where do you get your facts from? The IPCC predicts extreme weather will become common in the future but its Special Report (SREX) says it hasn’t happened yet. Have a look at it.
RS: Climate change is like having your head in a furnace and your feet in the fridge. “Averages” will become meaningless.
No, that’s wrong. Hope you regain control of your marbles. Averages will never be meaningless; they mean the mean. Heh, heh.
RS: ultimately, unless we tackle climate change and right now, there’ll be no human rights or environment to actually fight for.
No, that’s wrong. The religious essence of the global warming cult is laid bare. “This is the defining issue of the age,” they say. “Nothing is more important,” they say, “Not water supply, food security, basic health care, nothing. This is all we care about.” But there’s not a single shred of evidence.
You might be surprised, Rachel, how readily we absorb evidence. To give you a hint, note how quickly we dismiss those who have none. Please stop whinging that’s it’s our fault when you don’t have any evidence for that — but do some research. Who knows? You might learn something.
Fortunately, as I write this the rain has been all around me for hours, gently soaking the Bay of Plenty and easing the latest dry spell on the east coast, and the forecast is for another three days of rain.
Miss Stewart’s research for this distasteful, fact-free rant was slothful. Rather underlines the Herald’s descent into muckraking, gossipy tabloid.
Oh, she quotes Darwin, claiming he describes the dairy farmer she argued with.
RS: To me, he perfectly represents Darwin’s words: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.”
Well, climate is nothing but change, yet nothing has changed, we can see that. The UAH graph of temperature observations shows no temperature rise, sea level rise is normal, rainfall hasn’t changed, storms haven’t increased, droughts haven’t increased, hurricanes are way down, Arctic sea ice has recovered (and it didn’t melt, it was shoved into the Atlantic by the wind).
There’s no drama to any of this, it’s all business as usual, except that the angry woman’s misrepresentations (climate change is everything, extreme weather is now common, we must fight climate change, fossil fuels are burning the world) press the truth out of shape.