Science with forked tongue

Professor Gary Wilson

TV3 had another go at making us believe in scary climate change on Saturday. Oceanographer Professor Chuck Kennicutt and Otago marine scientist Professor Gary Wilson were incited, sorry, I mean interviewed by Lisa Owen (inciting was scarcely necessary with these two — for all they receive in funding they are truly grateful to dangerous man-made climate change).

The interview was occasioned by an international meeting starting tomorrow in Queenstown. Antarctic scientists will apparently determine research objectives for the next 20 years. They’re meeting in a famous tourist town, so they might get in some sightseeing while they’re there — oh, happy chance.

When asked to describe the importance of Antarctica to New Zealand’s climate, both scientists favour vague hints over facts and Miss Owen lets them get away with it. For example, from Dr Kennicutt, we hear classic, fact-free, alarmist rhetoric:

“So there’ll be more melting of ice, there’ll be more rising of ocean water temperatures and air temperatures so we can very accurately predict now that continuing along the same path that we’ve been following will simply make the effects that we see much worse into the future.” [emphasis added]

With logic inescapable — but quantification absent, reasoning insipid and insight nil. We go on:

Owen: So what are you seeing now in terms of changes?

Kennicutt: Well, what we see is loss of sea ice which is generally related to a rise in sea level globally, we see the disintegration of ice shelves, retreat of glaciers we see across the globe and also shifts in the populations of various species so it’s a real wide range of impacts across the spectrum of the physical and living environment.

But, Professor, the question included the qualifier “now”. With no global warming for the last 17 years, these effects, if present, were not caused by warming. Didn’t you know? Next:

Owen: So it’s the West Antarctic Ice Shelf that’s making scientists particularly concerned, isn’t it? Why is that?

Kennicutt: That’s an interesting question and what leads to that is most of the West Antarctic Ice Shelf is actually below sea level so it means that the ice is below the surface of the water and it raises a lot of questions. And we know over geologic history that that ice shelf has completely disintegrated and the question is, is that the most vulnerable part of Antarctica? As we heard there’s about 60 metres of sea level rise that potentially would happen if all of Antarctica melted and about 20 metres of that is in West Antarctica.

The IPCC says the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) has the potential to raise sea level not 20 metres but only about 4.3 metres (Fretwell et al., 2013). Yet this man has studied the Antarctic for over 30 years. Notice that he admits there are a lot of questions they need funding to answer? So how, without answers, can they so confidently sound the alarm?

It’s well known that the Antarctic continent has been crushed beneath the enormous weight of land-bound ice, forcing the crust downwards in places by kilometres. A great deal is made here and elsewhere about the risk of ice below sea level being invaded by the warmer sea and melting, thus raising sea level.

[UPDATE 22-4-14 1010 NZST: Approximately 75% of the area of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet currently rests on bedrock below sea level. It would seem reasonable that the ice mass situated below sea level is considerable. Therefore we need to know its volume (can anyone say?).]

Someone needs to point out that land-bound ice sitting below sea level, if it melts and finds its way to the sea, will not raise sea level. If anything, sea level would fall a bit.

Stop trying to scare us with that lie.

30 Thoughts on “Science with forked tongue

  1. When I was taught science at School and University, it was the hallmark of quality. It was a standard of certainty based on the knowledge that the theory had been tested in practice.

    But yet again we see assertions about warming being termed “science” when they are nothing like the science I was taught.

    That’s the background of most skeptics – and this is what I’m beginning to call “skeptic science” – science proven by facts and not 97% opinion polls. In contrast, academics seem to have changed the whole notion of “science” so that now it means little more than “if you can find a few buddies to agree with your science/politics, then you can call it science”.

    This I think is why we get so much nonsense coming under the term “science”. In essence, it’s just the opinions of a group of academics who may (but probably have not) done an investigation in the old methodical [skeptic] science way.

    Science is no longer a standard so much as a “brand name” for the work of a group of self-appointing academics – one that is fast losing its credibility as the brand name gets used to promote every junk idea from global warming to Tamiflu.

  2. I regret hearing you say this, Mike. Because I must agree with it, yet it’s not how things ought to be. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. That’s a great site, Dave. Zooming in to those graphs to distinguish individual days gives an interesting perspective. Thanks.

  4. Richard C (NZ) on April 22, 2014 at 9:58 am said:

    >”…an international meeting starting tomorrow in Queenstown”

    Invercargill was booked out.

  5. Mike Jowsey on April 22, 2014 at 1:09 pm said:

    “Well, what we see is loss of sea ice which is generally related to a rise in sea level globally

    Huh? This from an ‘oceanographic professor’? OMG….

  6. Mike Jowsey on April 22, 2014 at 1:13 pm said:

    “Antarctic scientists will apparently determine research objectives for the next 20 years.”
    Shivers! I hope somenone has the good sense to review the Ship of Fools fiasco and figure out how not to do Antarctic research.

  7. Richard C (NZ) on April 22, 2014 at 1:26 pm said:

    Owen: So what are you seeing now in terms of changes?

    Kennicutt: “Well, what we see is loss of sea ice…….. ”

    Obviously “we” are not looking at NOAA Antarctic SIE as per Dave’s link upthread:

    http://sunshinehours.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/antarctic_sea_ice_extent_zoomed_2014_day_109_1981-2010.png?w=1024&h=682

    Kennicutt: “…..which is generally related to a rise in sea level globally”

    Err no. SL rise is not “global”, it is regional, and how does Kennicutt reconcile his statement with BOTH regional SL rise AND fall adjacent to Antarctica in the AVISO plot below?):

    http://www.aviso.altimetry.fr/fileadmin/images/data/Products/indic/msl/MSL_Map_MERGED_Global_IB_RWT_NoGIA_Adjust.gif

    And what Mike J. said upthread re “sea” ice and “sea” level.

    AVISO shows 5mm/yr SLR around NZ 1992 – 2013 but the tide guages don’t corroborate that this century, e.g.

    Dunedin (Port Chalmers)
    http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/rlr.monthly.plots/1643_high.png

    Bluff
    http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/rlr.monthly.plots/213_high.png

    The other 7 NZ tide guages with 21st century data are here:

    https://www.climateconversation.org.nz/2014/04/the-ocean-according-to-renwick/#comment-

    Oceanographer Professor Chuck Kennicutt appears to be a modern day snake oil salesman.

  8. Richard C (NZ) on April 22, 2014 at 1:50 pm said:

    Wrong link, should be….

    The other 7 NZ tide guages with 21st century data are here:

    https://www.climateconversation.org.nz/2014/04/science-with-forked-tongue/#comment-725544

  9. Richard C (NZ) on April 22, 2014 at 2:29 pm said:

    I’ve submitted a similar comment to above under the TV3 transcript:

    http://www.3news.co.nz/Interview-Chuck-Kennicutt-and-Gary-Wilson/tabid/1348/articleID/340746/Default.aspx#disqus_thread

    Status: “Waiting to be approved by 3NewsNZ”

    BTW, all the graphs linked above are rendered very clearly in TV3’s Disqus comment – looks great. Although time will tell whether that helps with TV3’s approval process.

  10. Simon on April 22, 2014 at 4:13 pm said:

    There have been some fundamental climatic changes to Antartica over the past 30+ years. Basically, the westerly winds have increased by about 20% and shifted poleward as well. This has lead to some areas cooling and ice gain despite an apparent acceleration in continental warming. There has been disruption to fish and fauna populations.
    You won’t find an Antartic researcher who doesn’t believe that climate change is occurring. That’s because it is clearly visible in the data, not because their funding supposedly depends upon it.

  11. Mike Jowsey on April 22, 2014 at 5:06 pm said:

    Ah, yes Simon climate change is occurring and always will. Please cite your reference regards “an apparent acceleration in continental warming”.

    I’m sure fish and fauna populations will always continue to fluctuate for a variety of reasons. The problem is that as soon as a population change is noted, the forerunner of theories proposed is climate change, ergo more funding is assured.

  12. Richard C (NZ) on April 22, 2014 at 5:17 pm said:

    >”There has been disruption to fish and fauna populations”

    Disruption like this?

    ‘Adelie Penguins: Climate Change Winners’

    Climate change is not bad news for everyone. Some species, like the Adelie penguin, are thriving in the warmer conditions, according to new research………

    LaRue, M. A. et al. (2013) Climate Change Winners: Receding Ice Fields Facilitate Colony Expansion and Altered Dynamics in an Adélie Penguin Metapopulation. PLoS ONE. 8(4): e60568. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0060568

    http://naturebox.org.uk/2013/04/09/adelie-penguins-climate-change-winners/

    >”…some areas cooling and ice gain despite an apparent acceleration in continental warming”

    Awkward contradiction there Simon, Let’s look at some stations – Long Antarctic surface annual air temperature series: Halley, Vostok, Amundsen-Scott and McMurdo

    http://www.climate4you.com/images/AntarcticTemperatures.gif

    So where exactly is the “apparent acceleration in continental warming”? I don’t even see continental warming, let alone acceleration.

  13. Simon, which continent?

    “You won’t find an Antartic researcher who doesn’t believe that climate change is occurring.”

    This reflects the wicked redefinition of global warming as climate change. None of us deny climate change, and we have seen no global warming for at least the last 17 years, yet you mention changes to wind, ice and temperatures as though to rebut something we have said. Nothing we have said contradicts these minor variations, nor do the variations demand we reduce our emissions, for you have not shown them to be caused by man-made temperature changes.

    “That’s because it is clearly visible in the data, not because their funding supposedly depends upon it.”

    We don’t say their funding depends on climate change, they do. See, they talk about their research, whatever niche it’s in, then, whatever the conclusion, they add: “So if we don’t reduce our emissions very soon things will get worse.” And everyone thinks they’ve been looking into man-made global warming, but they haven’t.

    You’re on the same old truck but it’s driving in the wrong direction.

  14. Richard C (NZ) on April 22, 2014 at 6:22 pm said:

    I suspect Simon thinks Central West applies to the entire Antarctic continent on account of this misleadingly titled paper:

    ‘Central West Antarctica among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth’

    David H. Bromwich,
    Julien P. Nicolas,
    Andrew J. Monaghan,
    Matthew A. Lazzara,
    Linda M. Keller,
    George A. Weidner
    & Aaron B. Wilson (2014)

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n2/full/ngeo1671.html

    Except even then there’s been no warming in the Bromwich et al Central West reconstruction since around 1990 in a series that only starts 1958 i.e. warmed already, not “rapidly warming” now, but who knows what the situation was prior to 1958:

    http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v6/n2/carousel/ngeo1671-f2.jpg

    If so (Simon’s conflation), amazing how the warming-conditioned mind is triggered by key words like “most rapidly warming” even though those words haven’t been applicable to even that localized sub-region for over 20 years.

  15. Simon on April 22, 2014 at 8:33 pm said:

    You misrepresent what I said. Let’s try and put this simply, Antartica is probably warming around the edges but cooling in the centre: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Antarctica#cite_note-blogspot1-15
    Four weather stations do not define a continents weather very well. Nor does 50 but it is better than nothing: http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/regions/antarctica

  16. I just got back from a ski trip,to Norway. It was very cold and all the lakes are frozen at 1000m even at Easter. It seemed much colder than it was 25 years ago.

    Mind you, Oslo had a warm start to the winter and no snow fell in the area in early winter.

    Yes, climate change is definitely occurring.

    Would someone please think of the children!

  17. Andy,

    Yes, climate change is definitely occurring.

    Would someone please think of the children!

    But it wasn’t me!

  18. Thank you for aiming for simplicity. So if Antarctica is warming “around the edges” and not in the centre, what is causing that?

  19. Antarctica is “probably” warming around the edges.

    Don’t you love these hard sciences?

  20. Yes, I like all those that remind me of economics.

  21. Simon, if you can’t say what’s causing the Antarctic warming, what are we arguing about?

  22. Richard C (NZ) on April 23, 2014 at 3:18 pm said:

    >”Antartica is probably warming around the edges but cooling in the centre”

    You’re quoting the British Antarctic Survey here Simon. But why didn’t you include all of the bullet point?

    # Antarctica seems to be both warming around the edges and cooling at the center at the same time. Thus it is not possible to say whether it is warming or cooling overall.

    Neither UAH or RSS detect Antarctic warming over the latitudes they cover (which excludes the centre i.e. the periphery):

    UAH
    http://climate4you.com/images/MSU%20UAH%20ArcticAndAntarctic%20MonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif

    RSS
    http://climate4you.com/images/MSU%20RSS%20ArcticAndAntarctic%20MonthlyTempSince1979%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif

    The long-running stations: Halley, Vostok, Amundsen-Scott and McMurdo. are mapped here:

    http://antarcticaedu.com/directions.htm

    And each series again:

    http://climate4you.com/images/AntarcticTemperatures.gif

    If warming is not evident in those 4 distributed long-running stations or the satellite coverage then I think we have to agree with the British Antarctic Survey’s conclusion that “it is not possible to say whether it is warming or cooling overall”.

    Mawson Station
    http://www.john-daly.com/ges/surftmp/stations/mawson.gif

    South Pole
    http://www.john-daly.com/ges/surftmp/stations/amundsen.gif

    South Pole again
    http://www.ukipdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/South-pole-Cooling.png

    Like most climate metrics e.g. SLR, OHC, GAT, it only takes a relatively small localized phenomenon (Peninsula, Central West 25 yrs ago) to skew the entire metric and send those with only a superficial view into paroxysms of alarm. This appears to be the case for Antarctica too.

  23. As we heard there’s about 60 metres of sea level rise that potentially would happen if all of Antarctica melted

    Do people really think that an entire continent will “melt”?

  24. Richard C (NZ) on April 23, 2014 at 5:02 pm said:

    My TV3 comment above still not “approved”. Probably nobody digging through the moderation queue and no other comments anyway i.e. disposable “news”.

  25. Ian Cooper on April 23, 2014 at 8:20 pm said:

    Andy, in answer to your question, its not just that some people, “think that an entire continent will melt,” they are almost willing it to happen so that their doomsday predictions can come true.

    Those other people show their true hand when given the news that the planet hasn’t warmed for something like 17 years now, in stead of celebrating that fact which should mean that all of the nasty things they have predicted are not likely to occur, we find them hanging out for the next super El Nino ( a totally natural event BTW) so that the heat that “we” have caused will finally come to pass & they will all be vindicated!

    This is clearly a case of sceptical science versus dogmatic religion. Religions have lied to their faithful for millenia. Nothing new here.

    Cheers, Coops.

  26. My point is that there is no scenario even in the most alarmist IPCC scenario which suggests that all of Antarctica will melt.

    It is a purely hypothetical question based on some science fantasy.

  27. Richard C (NZ) on April 24, 2014 at 6:38 pm said:

    >”we find them hanging out for the next super El Nino”

    They’ve been hanging out for a while now, as if it’s a given. I think they missed the regime change (not even a concept that registers) but hope springs eternal if the predictions for the next ENSO activity are anything to go by.

    Must be a stressful wait under all that expectation, I hope they’re not in for a letdown.

  28. stan stendera on April 26, 2014 at 8:32 pm said:

    Bob Tisdale at WUWT has a series of posts on the coming (?) El Nino. As of this writing there is NO evidence we are going to have a strong El Nino.

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