Saturday, September 4, 2010

{#8} SPPI & Monckton’s claims regarding David’s: “The Down To Earth Guide to Global Warming” - Examined

MFMI 54:15
(#79) “And they are lying to children as well. They lie even to children....”
MFMI 54:25
“What she (Laurie David) did was to switch the captions on the graphs for temperature and CO2 going back 650,000 years so that she could show that it was CO2 that had changed first and temperature that had followed.”

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From SPPI’s blog: “Laurie David's Book Exposed”: What really makes the David-Gordon graph “amazing” is that it’s egregiously counterfactual. Worse, in order to contrive a visual representation for their claim that CO2 controls temperature change, the authors present unsuspecting children with an altered temperature and CO2 graph that reverses the relationship found in the scientific literature.

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On page 103 of their book, David and Gordon cite the work of Siegenthaler et al. (2005), for their written and graphical contention that temperature lags CO2. However, Siegenthaler et al. clearly state the opposite: “The lags of CO2 with respect to the Antarctic temperature over glacial terminations V to VII are 800, 1600, and 2800 years, respectively, which are consistent with earlier observations during the last four glacial cycles.” (Siegenthaler et al., 2005, Science, vol. 310, 1313-1317)

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That switch in colors, (a lamentable production blunder that I can relate to all too easily myself.) was one error, an error no one is disputing; that will be corrected in future editions.

As for the accompanying text, it contained no mistakes. And, I’m thinking, neither did any of the other hundred some pages of her book, or you’d be all over it. Moreover, considering this is for children, the information they glean from that graph one way or the other is that those two lines are pretty close together all the way through. So, this color thing isn’t any earth shaking matter... like you’re trying to morph it into.

What is more disturbing about your choice of wording is all the important information you leave out. The story of Earth’s long term glacial and interglacial cycles are a complex balancing act involving many components. Atmospheric CO2 being a major one. Perhaps the most dominant influence being the amount of insolation reaching Earth. The most dominant influence on that is Earth’s rotational and orbital variations.

Other major factors include continental drift and how the positioning of continents influences ocean circulation and global heat distribution patterns. Vulcanism has also played a roll. Then, there’s the exciting, and more recent, breakthroughs in understanding the “CO2/Rock-Weathering Thermostat,” as it is reflected in the paleoclimate record and real down to Earth rocks..

Lord Monckton, it is impossible to grasp the paleoclimate CO2/temp variations without including those pieces of information... why do you and SPPI continue to deliberately ignore those important factors? It is exactly that kind of misbehavior that has people complaining about SPPI’s and Monckton’s purposeful promulgation of willful ignorance.


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Further reading . . .

Incidentally, this story about paleoclimate and the coupling of CO2 and temperatures, is another wonderful example of science in action as the steadily accumulating data continues to help us focus in on the real picture. Anyone, sincerely interested in better understanding the dynamics of our climate owes it to themselves to watch, and listen to, Richard Alley’s lecture “The Biggest Control Knob: Carbon Dioxide in Earth’s Climate History” for the latest scientific information on this fascinating topic.

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Why doesn’t SPPI or Monckton ever mention the huge world wide network of scientists and instruments actively involved in monitoring our atmosphere?

"The Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) programme is a partnership involving 80 countries, which provides reliable scientific data and information on the chemical composition of the atmosphere, its natural and anthropogenic change, and helps to improve the understanding of interactions between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere."

"The World Data Centre for Greenhouse Gases (WDCGG) serves to gather, archive and provide data on greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, CFCs, N2O, surface ozone, etc.) and related gases (CO, NOx, SO2, VOC, etc.) in the atmosphere and ocean, as observed under GAW and other programmes."

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Regarding the Solar Constant’s influence:
"Combined radiative forcing from CO2 and sun through the Phanerozoic.
Royer et al. 2006 found that when solar variations are taken into account, the “total radiative forcing” correlates excellently with past temperature reconstructions."

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Regarding Volcanic influences:
"A recent paper by Young et al. (2009) has added weight to the argument that the model over-estimates the level of CO2 present in the atmosphere during the Late Ordovician glaciation. Young’s study of strontium isotopes suggests that large scale volcanic activity prior to the Late Ordovician glaciation drove up atmospheric CO2 levels, triggering an increase in the rate of chemical weathering – the process whereby CO2-laced acid rain reacts with carbonate rocks."

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Regarding Ocean Circulation influences:
Crowley and Berner (2001) suggest that changes in ocean circulation may also play a part in CO2 variability.

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And of course, there is always the question of how accurately Monckton’s and SPPI reproduced their own Paleoclimate chart. has an interesting write up on the graph as presented by Jo Nova, which looks to be a copy of your SPPI graph.

(this version of my email contains some typo corrections.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Keep up the good work but you won't feel as if you are really making a difference until you receive a threat from the merry Monckton to possibly sue you if he gets the time, or something.