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Monckton Myth #1: Cooling oceans

Posted on 15 January 2011 by John Cook

Christopher Monckton is a prominent and popular global warming skeptic. The Republican Party have on numerous occasions invited him to testify to Congress or the Senate. He is flown all over the globe to speak at public engagements. The Watts Up With That (WUWT) website often grant him a soap box - one example being an exhortation to WUWT readers to pressure John Abraham's college after Abraham critiqued a Monckton presentation. And last week, WUWT republished in full a long article by Monckton responding to a Mike Steketee article in The Australian. The glowing response from WUWT readers is perhaps best summed up by the very first comment: "The Lord has done well, he’s a hero in my books".

Monckton's response to Steketee's article is a clear example of the rhetorical techniques employed by climate skeptics to paint a misleading picture of climate science. As the article covers many points, we'll take a close look at Monckton's disinformation through a series of detailed blog posts, examining the science discussed and exposing the techniques Monckton uses. We'll start with his first point:

"A recent paper by Professors David Douglass and Robert Knox of Rochester University, New York, has established that – contrary to various climate-extremist assertions – there has been no net accumulation of “missing energy” in the form of heat in the oceans worldwide in the six years since ocean heat content was first reliably measured by the 3000 automated ARGO bathythermographs in 2003. This finding implies that the amount of warming we can expect from even quite a large increase in CO2 concentration is far less than the IPCC and other climate-extremist groups maintain."

Firstly, Monckton incorrectly describes ARGO as bathythermographs while they're actually profiling floats. But that's nitpicking - his key assertion is that the oceans are not accumulating heat, based on the paper 'Recent energy balance of Earth' (Knox & Douglass 2010). This paper considers several estimates of upper ocean heat and find a slight cooling trend in several of the estimates (they also include one estimate that finds a significant warming trend, more on this later). However, this analysis fails to include a number of other reconstructions of ocean heat.

In an effort to create the most reliable measure of ocean heat, various teams across the world combined their efforts into a single 'best estimate' of ocean heat (Lyman 2010). What they found was robust warming in the upper ocean over the 16 years from 1993 to 2008. While the warming trend of the upper ocean from 2003 to 2008 is not as great as the long-term trend, the best estimate indicates the upper ocean is still accumulating heat over this period.

Upper ocean heat content anomaly
Figure 1: Ocean Heat Content anomaly from various teams. Ocean heat is calculated from 0 to 700 metres (Lyman 2010)
.

However, Knox and Douglass only select estimates with a cooling trend, with one interesting exception. They mention one analysis of ocean heat content down to 2000 metres (von Schuckmann 2009) which finds significant ocean warming across the top 2000 metres of the ocean from 2003 to 2008.


Figure 2: Global ocean heat storage (0–2000 metres), measured in 108 Joules per square metre (von Schuckmann 2009).

To put this into perspective, in Figure 3 below, the 'best estimate' of upper ocean heat (0 to 700 metres) from Lyman 2010 is compared to the estimate of deeper ocean heat (0 to 2000 metres) from von Schuckmann 2009. The black line is upper ocean heat and shows a slight warming trend from 2003 to 2008. The blue line is ocean heat down to 2000 metres, showing greater warming than the upper ocean. This suggests heat is penetrating down below 700 metres. To state that the ocean is not accumulating heat (or worse, that the ocean is cooling), Knox and Douglass as well as Monckton fail to take into account all the evidence.


Figure 3: Changing heat content of the global ocean, with respect to the mean of 1993 to 2008 (Trenberth 2010). This analysis samples the ocean to 700 m depth and gives an average warming trend of 0.64 W m−2 (pink line). The data available from Argo floats since 2003 enable an estimate to 2,000 m depth (blue line).

Of course, this is not the final word on ocean heat. Another analysis (Purkey & Johnson 2010) reconstructs ocean heat warming down to abyssal depths and find significant amounts of heat building up even at the bottom of the ocean.

Figure 4: Rate of ocean warming. Areas of warming are shaded in red and regions of cooling are shaded in blue with intensity scaled by the magnitude of the warming. The basins from south to north are the Southeast Pacific Basin, Chile Basin, Peru Basin, and Pacific Basin (Purkey & Johnson 2010).

There are several other indicators of building ocean heat. Satellites observing incoming and outgoing radiation are able to measure changes in the planet's energy imbalance from year to year. What they find is the planet's energy imbalance continues to increase (Trenberth & Fasullo 2010).

Sea level is also driven in large part by changes in ocean heat. As the ocean warms, thermal expansion leads to sea level rise. The other contributor to sea level rise is melting ice sheets and glaciers so sea level rise in general is a good measure of global warming. Over the period of Monckton's alleged "no accumulation of ocean heat", sea levels have continued to rise.


Figure 5: Global sea level rise, inverse barometer applied, seasonal signal removed (University of Colorado at Boulder).

To properly understand what's happening with ocean warming, you need to consider all the evidence - measurements of the upper ocean, deeper ocean heat, abyssal ocean warming, sea level rise and satellite measurements of energy imbalance. Imagine a table covered with all this evidence. What Monckton does is rummage through this evidence, extract the one piece that seems to back his "no warming" position, sweep the rest of the evidence off the table and unequivocally exclaim "there is no net accumulation of heat in the oceans". This is not skepticism. This is ignoring the full body of evidence.

Note to readers. Remember our comments policy: ad hominem comments will be deleted. This thread is for discussing the science of ocean heat, not for personal attacks on Monckton.

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Comments 1 to 50 out of 68:

  1. The analysis in this article concerning why Monckton's claim amounts to mere disinformation is good.

    But (and you knew there was a 'but' coming, didn't you?) it is still not very readable for the general public; I am not sure just who its target audience really is. Does this audience include anyone with actual influence over climate policy?

    So one of Monckton's many false claims is refuted. How many more to go? How do we avoid playing a losing game of catchup, one where we correctly and scientifically refute each one of his false claims, but only too late, after he has persuaded a politically significant population (e.g. the Republican Party in the US) to shut their ears to us?

    It is already too late to avoid disaster; soon it will be too late to avoid catastrophe.
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  2. Through 1979, sea SURFACE temperatures do exhibit a solid warming trend ( I get 1.36K per century rate from the Hadley numbers ).

    That isn't the highest rate for a thirty plus year period, however. From 1910 through 1945, the SST warming was at a rate of 1.7 K per century.

    Climate watching is, unfortunately, a multi-lifetime pursuit.
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  3. Of course we will not attack Lord Monkton personally.

    Monkton is certainly permitted to follow any hobby that he desires. And his public speech is often engaging.

    On this issue - and many others - I notice a few members of Congress often will mistake pompous bufoonery - for valid science. But that is strictly a criticism of Congress.
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  4. John, great post!

    n.b. the Purkey and Johnson link doesn't seem to be working.
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  5. Nice post, John. I need to catch up with some more posts of my own...
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  6. So is the Knox and Douglass paper just cherry-picking data? Did they justify their choice of data sets?
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  7. There is also a rebuttal to Monckton's attempt at a rebuttal :

    Mike Steketee's response to Christopher Monckton

    How much longer can Monckton continue to make merry with the truth ? He obviously has no shame.
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  8. I read the Knox and Douglass paper last week, and the first thing I noticed was that it was submitted on July 28, revised August 10, and accepted August 30. This could not have been a peer reviewed paper, the process was far to quick. I don't know what the standards of the International Journal of Geosciences is, I have never attempted to publish there, but they can't be too strict about scientific integrity.
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  9. Why did the rate of warming within the oceans decrease between 1993 and 2004. Sure it is going up, but from 2004-2008 on that graph posted above shows this...Why?
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  10. The difference from 1910-1945 though, ClimateWatcher, is that there was a substantive rise in sunspot numbers (&, we assume, total solar irradiance), from 1979-2010 though, we've seen a fall in Sunspot Numbers/TSI, yet still we've got oceans warming almost as fast as they were in 1910-1945. Just FYI.
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  11. Matthew, I'm not sure but it might represent heat lost to the atmosphere in the lead-up to the El Nino of 1998. That's just a guess though!
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  12. ClimateWatcher - You might want to take a look at the latest numbers for Argo data and OHC.
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  13. jonathansf13 #8 - the International Journal of Geosciences (IJG) definitely seems very sketchy. It's the same journal that published the horridly flawed Soares paper claiming that CO2 increases are currently following temperature increases (we're working on an article on that one as well). And the group which publishes IJG (and many other journals) seems to have a sketchy habit of re-publishing papers which had been published long ago in other journals, without telling the authors. It's very strange.
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  14. so where do we go to make personal attacks on Monckton then? you spoil all the fun :)

    seriously, being on the back foot responding to this horribly incorrect gentleman and others of his ilk is the very worst approach

    if we can set up a body as significant as the IPCC to present the scientific case to the world's political leaders then surely we can set up a marketing and political arm to present to the media and to actively denigrate these professional snake oil salesmen

    not your job, i know. but there is an awfully naieve game being played here. sometimes you just have to wack people on the nose. hard. as often as necessary.
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  15. dana1981 and jonothansf13,
    I'm trying to find out what the Int Journal of Geosciences and particularly its publisher SCIRP really is. It is quite strange. The domain name www.scirp.org is in the hands of a chinese company well-know for spreading spam. It has a PO Box in the US in Irvine Californa, but so far no real address could be traced.
    So far, I can't help thinking that SCIRP is a fake publisher, may be instrumental to the denial machinery: flawed articles in one of the SCIRP-journals pop-up every once in a while in the skeptical scene in Europe.

    I have contacted the editor of IJG to ask some questions about the publisher, the editor himself, the journal, the peer review process and the quality of the articles. I'll keep you posted.
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  16. I don't think there is much use in going after Monckton. Rather, he should be pressed to present his credentials as a "skeptic". If you are not willing to assume that the negation of your hypothesis might be true, you are not a skeptic, you are a denialist. I fail to see one single case where Monckton qualifies as a skeptic. But I haven't followed him that much.

    He should be pressed to make public statements on issues like the following, and if he doesn't want to, that should be used for cutting him off. And of course, the

    1. What would you accept as evidence for ocean warming? Parameters, single or in combination, critical values.

    2. What rate of warming will you be able to detect using your methodology, or the methodologies of your trusted sources?

    3. Why don't you more thoroughly consider the evidence contradicting your hypotheses?

    4. Are you willing to acknowledge that mainstream science might be correct in some or all of the matters where you disagree with it?
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  17. #16
    I have had a quick look into ulrichsweb.com:

    International Journal of Geosciences
    ISSN: 2156-8359

    Start Year: 2010
    Frequency: Quarterly
    Editor(s): Shuanggen Jin (Editor-in-Chief)
    Price: Free (effective 2010)

    Editor homepage: http://www.geosensings.com/

    Most cited paper in WOS :
    Micro-plate tectonics and kinematics in Northeast Asia inferred from a dense set of GPS observations
    EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS Volume: 257 Issue: 3-4 Pages: 486-496 Published: MAY 30 2007
    11 citations

    the first 10 papers in WOS by citation number has GPS in the title
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  18. #6: ARGO data choice is justified since it's the best global coverage we have, but they have looked at a very short term dataset and there are some known potential problems with ARGO that they're checking iirc.

    It's possible that upper ocean heat content has been flat or declining for 5 years, but the data that suggests that might be flawed.


    It's a bit like when we put up the original MSU satellites to calculate temperatures. They are ideal, but we later found that they were dragging on the atmosphere. There's a potentially similar problem with the ARGO floats...
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  19. Since when does a journalists' personal opinion rate as equal to the conclusion of thousands of scientists? the IPCC summary was approved word by word by the Bush administration. It is not some left wing publication. Why do the deniers get to argue that the IPCC report is extreme when it is mainstream?
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  20. Original Post

    John Cook - we have seen all this evidence about OHC and SLR before (Lyman 2010, von Schukmann 2009 and Trenberth 2010) - on a number of occasions.

    Detailed criticisms have been made of the above Charts, offsets, etc which have not effectively been refuted by those offering OHC increase as proof of AGW. I won't repeat them here.

    That a skilled propagandist like Monckton is citing research papers favourable to his line does not mean the work itself has no merit.

    The OHC story is pretty flat since 2003. The energy balance is far from closed. More ice met and less steric rise in the SLR mix means that energy balance shortfall gets worse.
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  21. Sorry to burst your bubble there, KL, but OHC has gone through flat periods prior to 2003, but that doesn't change the underlying, upward trend-anymore than an occasional flattening in atmospheric temperatures would. The fact remains the same-claims of "cooling oceans" are simply not backed by the available evidence-which shows a clear upward trend in both OHC & SLR, with occasional flat points, but certainly no evidence of a sustained downward trend. Still, Kudos once more for coming to the spirited defense of Monckton-he really needs *all* the help he can get-given the weakness of his actual arguments!
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  22. Ken Lambert

    The question you should really be asking is why is Monckton basing his whole analysis on one study of upper-ocean heat content (down to 700 metres only) - with this study selectively choosing mainly cooling trends - while ignoring all the studies on upper-ocean temperatures, the studies which look at ocean heat content to a depth of 2000 metres, the studies which look at changes in abyssal heat content, and the studies that look at sea-level rise and energy imbalance.

    In short, why is he ignoring the bulk of the evidence in favour of one paper? And why does this not bother you?
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  23. While it may be good fun for this hereditary peer to flit around the world on the denial bandwagon, there is an important issue here. Many people in the world have a psychological need to believe in what the likes of Lord Monckton say rather than face up to making the necessary changes to the way we live in order to combat Climate Change. Others obviously are aware of the changes that we need to make, but prefer to continue with the status quo because it is more profitable for them to do so.

    Unfortunately, the IPCC has been discredited by the email incident. Not because they did anything wrong - we know they didn't - but those seeking a reason not to accept the seriousness of the situation will not trust the IPCC. Excellent as your rebuttals are, they are unlikely to change the mind of someone with a ‘Don’t confuse me with the facts, my mind is made up’ attitude.

    We need a new scientific initiative. Perhaps we can persuade those scientists in possession of a Nobel Prize to form a directorate tasked with analyzing the current state of affairs and likely outcomes for a series of scenarios ranging from ‘do nothing’ to ‘stop the maximum possible amount of human CO2 production’. Their reports should cover the impact on all flora and fauna, especially the human species (both direct impacts such as sea level rise and food production and indirect ones such as limits to development). This exercise should be funded by the UN.

    With a clearly defined position by such an illustrious group it should be possible to consider prosecution (probably in The Hague) of any who can be shown to deliberately publish disinformation i.e. information that contradicts anything published by the Nobel Prize directorate, and in the process hinder urgent action being taken. If hindering action to combat something with the potential to kill millions is not a crime against humanity, I have no idea what is.

    Assuming that the directorate finds agreement with the IPCC, it would reinstate the credibility of that body and free it from having to combat the current output of the denial industry. In the process it would remove a crutch from those members of the public who, for whatever reason, refuse to face the reality of what seems to be fast becoming a dangerous situation.

    One thing that should not happen is the silencing of the deniers; they act as an excellent check on any desire to publish material that is not ‘flameproof’. Of course, it follows that their material would also have to be ‘flameproof’ or they would risk prosecution. In those circumstances it should be possible to improve the quality of public debate from ‘If’ to ‘When?’ and ‘How much?’
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  24. In my RC backreading I have just arrived to a RealClimate article of some interest in this context:
    Science Story: the Making of a Sea Level Study 6 April 2010

    This suggested to me that, in addition to a proportionality to temperature T, sea level rise would also contain a term proportional to the time derivative of temperature, dT/dt. In other words, global sea level would be a good global thermometer, but with a ‘quirk’. I could even think of a physical mechanism for such behaviour.

    ...

    Wow. Introducing the b term had already improved the Pearson correlation r of fit from 90% for Stefan’s original relationship to 97%; nice, but hardly on its own compelling. Bringing in the Chao et al. man-made reservoir correction brought it up to 99.2%!
    Slowly it dawned upon me that, hey, maybe I’m on to something real here, something based in physics: it seems the world ocean can be a remarkably good global thermometer, once you get to know its quirks.

    ...

    about article:

    Global sea level linked to global temperature;
    PNAS December 22, 2009 vol. 106 no. 51 21527-21532
    doi: 10.1073/pnas.0907765106
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  25. #23 funglestrumpet Great idea but I will make an instant prediction. Within hours, probably within minutes, of the announcement of such a body, the attacks would begin. "Nobel laureates" what would they know, scumbag scientists? Computer hackers would go to work discrediting the group and the individuals. The disinformation campaign by Monckton and the rest would continue and continue to be given equal if not more than equal weight in the media (Murdoch will not permit any action on CO2 while he lives, and, I suspect, beyond the grave). And while the Hague is a nice idea America (where so much of this disinformation campaign originates) does not recognise the International Court and would certainly not allow its citizens to be tried there.
    In short, whatever new body was created (and a body created by the UN would have seemed above the lies and smears originally, in the same way as your suggested "Nobel Committee" does) the campaign to prevent action on global warming would continue unabated. Perhaps might gain new vigour with a new target. This is a war for the future of the planet that we are in - it has nothing to do (on one side) with science, facts, analysis, authority, credibility.
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  26. #25 DH, thank you for your comments, and I have to admit that you are probably correct. However, I cannot think of a better option. I really don’t think that we can continue along the track we are currently on. Perhaps Professor James Lovelock is correct when he says that we are in for a cull, he certainly has a better grasp of the whole situation than most, and certainly me. However, I refuse to give in to the Murdochs and Monctons of this world without a fight.

    Let me make a prediction. The human cause of global warming will cease to be important as the actual effects of Climate Change become more apparent. The public will demand action to combat it and will turn to the scientists for guidance action. The “scumbag scientists” attitude will be seen as a dangerous one to adopt. They will accept the science and support the action that scientist advise. They will probably refuse to let America off the hook and a world on one side and America on the other can only have one outcome, regardless of America’s military might. I have previously compared on this site a refusal to act because of the belief that Climate Change is not of human origin as akin to refusing to steer round an iceberg because it too is not of human origin.

    The task for all of us on this side of the fence is to force the debate forwards so that the public at large becomes aware of the danger it and especially it descendants are in. Only then will they see the just how foolish it is to argue the cause as a reason not to act, and anyway, with scientists being relied upon, they will also believe what they said in the past. When you have a tank at the end of your street firing into the houses, destroying the tank is the only object worth going for. It matters not what nationality the crew.

    To continue as we are is to delay action and that is one thing should not be allowed to happen. If my suggestion of a Nobel Prize directorate is a non-starter then we should try to think of other means to push things along. John Cook and his colleagues do an excellent job, but in truth we need something several orders of magnitude greater if we are not to sleepwalk into a situation where it becomes too late to do anything meaningful. I suspect that that time is not far off.
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  27. Anne-Marie Blackburn #22

    And what do "all the studies on upper-ocean temperatures, the studies which look at ocean heat content to a depth of 2000 metres, the studies which look at changes in abyssal heat content, and the studies that look at sea-level rise and energy imbalance" show??

    Suggest you look at 'Robust warming of the upper oceans" thread in this blog.

    In short summary: latest Willis finds less than 0.1W/sq.m warming equivalent in the deep oceans, von Schukmann chart has bumps which indicate impossible heat transfer rates, Lyman composite is pretty flat after full Argo deployment circa 2003 with a probable offset in the XBT-Argo transition rendering the warming trend line unreliable; and in fact all the data prior to 2003 Argo is probably highly unreliable to the point of being useless.

    And to cap it all Trenberth's travesty is that the energy balance is far from closed, and SLR is predominantly ice melt (up to 2mm) which absorbs comparatively little heat energy so the energy imbalance worsens.
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  28. Ken Lambert

    Rather than pointing me to a blog, why not provide links to the primary literature which support all the points you make?

    And then explain to me why it is okay for Monckton to base his assertions on one article only, with the article in question not looking at all reconstructions. Because this is the whole point of the OP - how to ignore the whole body of evidence in favour of a small piece of the jigsaw that supports your position.
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  29. 23, fumblestrumpet,
    Unfortunately, the IPCC has been discredited by the email incident.

    This is incorrect. The e-mails had nothing whatsoever to do with the IPCC, and had no effect on their credibility.

    If anyone chooses to interpret the subsequent validation of the CRU at EAU by three separate bodies as "discrediting," that is their (obviously biased), choice, but in any event, the situation involves a handful of scientists working on one very specific aspect of climate research (i.e. one of several independently compiled set of measurements) at one university.

    It was not the IPCC, and it did not discredit the IPCC, which does not even perform research... they merely compile the research of thousands of climate scientists around the globe into a cohesive set of reports.
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  30. 26, funglestrumpet,
    The “scumbag scientists” attitude will be seen as a dangerous one to adopt.

    I don't think this will ever happen, because a distrust of anyone who appears to be more intelligent than you seems to be inherent in the human species. I think it partly comes from the fact that if someone says something you can't even understand, you have no way of evaluating its truth or even weight. It literally seems like magic, and so is something to be feared and distrusted. Since the message is frightening, then the messenger — the scientist — is doubly so.

    Consider this quote from the 1951 version of The Day the Earth Stood Still (which I happened to catch on TV the other night). This is the version with Klaatu, the alien, threatening to wipe out the human race if they don't learn to stop being so belligerent (as opposed to the 2008 version, where humanity's crime is in raping the planet). The quote below belongs to Professor Barnhardt:
    It is not enough to have men of science. We scientists are too easily ignored — or misunderstood. We must get important men from every field. Educators — philosophers — church leaders — men of vision and imagination — the finest minds in the world.
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  31. 29 Sphaerica.

    Please re-read my post, especially: "Not because they did anything wrong - we know they didn't."

    Like it, or like it not, the IPCC acts as a focus for public suspicion of climate science. I have met several people who have cited the email incident as a reason not to trust anything the scientists say on the matter. When one tries to explain along the lines you argue, all one gets is: "They're all in it together (expletives deleted)" or something along similar lines.

    So I repeat: 'Unfortunately, the IPCC has been discredited by the email incident.' I also repeat that we need to take the debate to another level. If we don't, we are going to spend all our time disproving the denier's 'science' while the climate changes from bad to worse, and the deniers achieve their goal. They will win the war after losing every battle - Bob Dylan.
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  32. 1 "scumbag" was a quotation from another post replying to my original one.

    2 I deliberately chose the term ‘directorate’ because I see it as directing the work, not actually doing it themselves. That being the case, they would draft such expertise as they consider necessary. The core issue is scientific, so it would make sense that the directorate be comprised of scientists. I am sure that a considerable number of people would object to many of the people you suggest. Atheists to church leaders, for instance. Restricting it to Nobel Prize winners automatically curtails any argument as to who should be on the directorate. Without that it would take far too long to set the whole process up. You can bet those who do not want any action on Climate Change would do their best to delay the selection process and we must remove any opportunity for them to do so.

    The most essential thing is that the whole process should raise public awareness of the seriousness of the situation, especially those of the younger generation for obvious reasons. I hope you agree that we cannot carry on as we are with likes of Lord Monckton carrying on unimpeded by proof that his views are discredited.
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  33. The IPCC was not discredited by that event, rather people are simply using a (ir)rationalization to justify their beliefs. If the email incident had never occured, they would have some other reason for saying "the IPCC has been discredited."

    The "war" is demagogy versus science. Those are the two sides that self-proclaimed skeptics keep referring to when they retort "I've seen enough from both sides of the argument. no thanks." That is a direct quote from a friend last week who was referred to this site after saying that snow shows that global warming really isn't happening and "because "they" couldn't make the global warming thing work, they went to climate change".

    The war is about taking the debate to another level. Monckton is one of the purveyors of myths that are repeated ad nauseam. It is simple to ask leading, fallacious questions and point to cherry-picked intervals that support the preconceived notions of the audience being led by the nose.
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  34. funglestrumpet,
    Like it, or like it not, the IPCC acts as a focus for public suspicion of climate science...

    Agreed, but I see no reason to feed that invalid suspicion by mis-stating the facts. The IPCC was not in any way even implicated, let alone discredited, by the CRU server hack, and phrasing the problem as if they were is as good as any propaganda the denialists might choose to generate.

    The IPCC was not discredited by the CRU hack. No one was, but in particular the IPCC was not even involved.
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  35. Re: Sphaerica

    I, too, watched that airing of The Day The Earth Stood Still (one of the all-time classics of Sci-Fi), and remember the quote well. We are in need this day of our own Michael Rennie and sidekick Gort to police us, as it is self-evident we cannot do it ourselves.

    Also, I'm in like mind with you regards the IPCC and funglestrumpet's claims. Words to the contrary, repeating a lie spreads the lie; done enough and eventually the lie becomes the "truth".

    To funglestrumpet's point, worded differently, the IPCC lost a battle of public relations which they did not even know they were engaged in. The disinformation campaign, given wings by those who seek to give equal time to "both sides" (the media and concern trolls), has won over the weak minds of the masses in the US, Canada, Great Britain and Australia. By the time this lot are worried enough to demand action from their leadership, it will be too late.

    The result? Gaining trillions in profits at the bargain price of billions of lives, payable on demand. A demand note that will come due within our childrens' lifetimes, something that those keeping up with the research know full well but dare not say in public.

    Blood money on their hands. And no amount of mea culpas and I didn't knows will erase the stains of guilt from their souls.

    The politics of denial, in-action.

    The Yooper
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  36. On the whole Monckton issue, I will be very disappointed in those in Congress and the Senate who are respectful of the issue of climate change if Monckton is permitted to again testify before Congress and the Senate, unchallenged, as if his opinions (and, based on his qualifications, that is all that they are) count as any sort of meaningful testimony.

    The very first questions asked of him should be "What are your credentials? What gives you a right to voice your personal opinions and perspective before the elected Congress of the United States of America? Why should this body even listen to your testimony, let alone give it any weight, let alone give it the same weight as that of scientists who have dedicated their educations and their lives to the discipline of science?"

    The fact is that a life of privilege, inherited title, and personal wealth are not qualifying attributes, so before another word comes out of his mouth, the American people, and those who use such "witnesses" in official hearings on the issue of climate change, must be forced to recognize how farcical it is for the U.S. government to willingly entertain that sort of testimony.
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  37. 33 to 36

    A point of interest. I have just noticed an item on the web site of The Global Warming Policy Foundation, of which Professor Philip Stot and ex UK Chancellor Nigel Lawson are members:

    "Lawson suggested that the e-mails from the University of East Anglia "called into question" the integrity of the scientific evidence." So, seeing as the IPCC is comprised of the top climate scientists, I repeat yet again: 'Unfortunately, the IPCC has been discredited by the email incident.'

    I hope that is sufficient to resolve the matter and we can get on with raising the level of the debate. Otherwise ages from now we will still be arguing about the science while the politicians sit back rubbing their hands. If the scientists are arguing between themselves, the politicians have little incentive to do anything. (And those with an ulterior motive to do little or nothing are laughing all the way to the bank.)
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  38. You repeat erroneously. Repeating the fallacious soundbites of the contrarians is not raising the level of the debate.
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  39. The GWPF is not a white knight. Their header image shows a temperature chart which is crafted to support the "warming has stopped" soundbite.
    GWPF: Who we are
    Our main purpose is to bring reason, integrity and balance to a debate that has become seriously unbalanced, irrationally alarmist, and all too often depressingly intolerant.

    They, like Monckton, are purveyors of demagogy.
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  40. Philip Stot is a professor emeritus of biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. His published opinion is that global warming is a Barthesian myth, i.e. cultural groupthink.
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  41. Nigel Lawson is a right-wing free marketer; a common perception is that his scientific beliefs are driven by his ideology rather than evidence.

    GWPF backed this travesty by putting up some of the finance. They are a contrarian/denier organisation.
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  42. Sorry, but I should just add that I didn't mean to imply @41 there was anything wrong with being a right-wing free marketer per-se, only that he appears to have reached the conclusion that tackling Global Warming requires state intervention, and has therefore been "extremely motivated" to find flaws in the science.
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  43. 38 & 39. Bibliovermis.

    I am retired and no longer move in scientific circles. The people I tend to meet are members of the general public. The sort of people who only have a tenuous grasp of scientific matters, yet have a vote and thus an influence on the way politicians act. In general they know about the emails. They know that they have been claimed to show that the scientists 'fiddled' the evidence.

    Perhaps I should not have singled out the IPCC and simply put "all scientists." The news that they investigations into the matter completely exonerated the scientists involved seems to have passed the average member of the general public by. The result is that many now believe people such as Melanie Phillips (a U.K. columnist on a daily paper) who claims that it is all "a scam."

    These are the people we have to win over if we are to force the politicians to act. One person that I discussed Climate Change with wrapped up his case by saying: "Scientists don't know what they are talking about. How come they didn't warn us about that earthquake, then?" The term ‘scientifically illiterate’ hardly suffices, does it?

    We face an uphill struggle if we carry on believing that sites like this one, excellent as it is, is going to win over the general public. The aforementioned individual is not by any means alone in his lack of scientific understanding.

    I suppose what I am looking for is a body that can arbitrate. Given an arbitration decision we can move on. It would not silence the deniers completely, but it would make it far more difficult for them to put their views across. Furthermore newspaper proprietors and editors world be exposed as biased if they contradicted the conclusions of that body, providing it was illustrious enough. If a significant majority of people believe in the extent of the problem the politicians will come running for the sake of the votes and the media people will come running for the sake of sales.

    I am scared for my children and my future grandchildren because I can see what is happening. I think the general public would be too if they could only be made to face the facts. Showing that a person’s grandchildren are likely to be living in a world that can at best only feed a third of its population should do the trick. But that case has to be made properly re #23 above.
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  44. Phil of course there is something wrong with "being a right-wing free marketer per-se" it is a discredited and damaging ideology. And it isn't just Lawson, most of the deniers seem to be imbued with this kind of libertarian, mustn't interfere with the market, mustn't regulate anything for any reason philosophy.

    And guys, I think you have been a bit unfair to fungelstrumpet (and what kind of a strumpet is? ... oh, never mind). The attacks on the IPCC may not have been related to the appalling stolen email beat up, but as part of the general campaign in the lead up to Copenhagen, the IPCC was simultaneously being hit with the "riddled with errors" nonsense about melting Himalayan glaciers, flooding Holland and drying Amazon. I can understand Ms Strumpet's desire to set up, as it were, a new "cleanskin" body, but that is what the IPCC was and is. Whatever body was established to bring sanity and urgency to the need to deal with rising GHG would be subject to precisely the kind of misinformation and dirty tricks campaign that we see against any organisation or individual who dares to try to warn the world of coming peril. There is far too much at stake financially, and philosophically, for the deniers to ever give in, no matter how much climatic trauma develops over the coming century.
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  45. What you are asking for is what the IPCC was created for 22 years ago.

    I personally know several scientifically-illiterate, but otherwise intelligent, people. Unfortunately, no body of eminence will sway their opinions. The benefit of attributing anything that contradicts that opinion to vast conspiracy is that it is an ever-widening spiral.

    Your proposal would quickly be shot down as "irrationally alarmist, and all too often depressingly intolerant."
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  46. 44 David Horten
    45 Bibliovermis.

    I am well aware of why the IPCC was created. One can hardly say it has been a roaring success when the likes of Lord Monckton can be invited to appear before a Congress committee on Climate Change. I don’t think we can carry on with business as usual for another 22 years. I can’t remember the exact figures, but the opinion polls showed a considerable drop in public support when ‘Climategate’ first surfaced in the media and they have not recovered.

    All I am trying to do is to initiate a debate on the way forward. If we accept that we can’t carry on as we are for another 22 years, then something has to change, and the sooner we decide on what that change is, the sooner we can implement it. It is all very well having the IPCC produce its findings, but they are all to do with climate science. In my original post I said that we need to quantify the effects of different courses of action (or inaction, if you prefer) in combating it. Climate Change is not happening independent of other events, almost certainly the most significant being population growth, which is going to hit the fan in a pretty big way without any help from a world of rising seas, temperatures and tempers.

    I cannot think of a more illustrious body of people to investigate the effects of Climate Change on food production, economic growth, housing needs (including location), possible mass migrations etc. etc., not to mention verifying once and for all the work of the IPCC, than one composed of Nobel Prize winners. If others can, then put them forward, but please bear in mind that the Nobel Prize winners have already been selected, so no possibility of any delaying tactics by the deniers regarding selection.

    The general public, if pointed to this site, will, in the main, take one look, shake their heads, and go back to watching the telly, yet it is the general public that have to be convinced of the need for action. I have put my views forward and I hope, via all these posts, instigated a debate on how best to achieve that goal. If we can show that the lovely child/grandchild, currently the apple of the family’s eye, so to speak, is likely to face all kinds of privations before they reach the biblical 3 score and ten, then I believe we can get public support for action. The deniers would then be seen as the enemy, not the good guys trying to save our current way of life.
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  47. My apologies if I am misreading you, but that was addressed by IPCC Working Group II.

    The IPCC is also a Nobel Prize winner; 2007 Peace Prize.

    A discussion on how to address the general public is not fostered by continually repeating a contrarian talking point about how the general public is losing belief in science. Demagogy is not the way to counter demagogy when discussing a topic of science.
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  48. I have a comment on this IPCC issue. You cant put the planet in a lab to get esentially 100% certianty on agw. The problem is you need a body to weigh the evidence around the issue, like the IPCC. Such a body will always be criticised, so dissolving and replacing the IPCC may not achieve anything. Sooner or latter you have to make a decision on the weight of evidence.

    The other problem is the public want 100% certainty which is undeliverable.

    I also have a comment regarding the general unusual heat of this debate and missinformation from the likes of Moncton. It just amazes me how Congress would listen to a journalist like this. Lindzen I can understand, not Moncton.

    Vested oil interests are blamed but maybe it goes beyond that. Perhaps we are literally addicted to oil, or perhaps have evolved over thousands of years to become genetically adapted to a high energy use society. Many are therefore fundamentally and subconsciously resisting rational evidence and the need for change. Or are simply understandably fearfull of it.
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  49. Hi Guys, all good stuff, but might be worth mentioning that the ocean is partly absorbing heat through the water heated at the equator, ie through the gulf stream and other Hadley like convections, that gets to the poles and through having become more salty due to evaporation sinks, still warmer, down to the bottom of the ocean and enters one of the deep ocean currents, that may take decades or more to well up again, and only then will we find the ocean in part has become fundamentally warmer.
    The ocean is huge, but to find more heat down the bottom could be major as significant currents well up at the Antarctic and for those cold currents to be warmer could have huge effect on the Antarctic ice shield, particularly the West, (WAIS).- and would continue, - horrific in the long-termness of that extra heat.
    Keep up the good work,
    Geoff Thomas.
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  50. The International journal of Geosciences definitely looks very suspect. Three of the papers in the current issue appear to be climate change sceptical whilst the others area curious mix of obscure topics. To set up a new journal with such broad coverage is bizarre and the editorial board whilst impressively long does not include any names I recognise. There is one paper from my field, micropalaeontology, published in the journal, Jayaraju et al. (2010, issue 1/2). There is nothing disastrously wrong with this paper but it is based on analysis of only four samples which for the type of study reported would be regarded as too small a sample set for publication in a regular peer-reviewed journal. As with the Knox & Douglass paper this paper was published in a very short timescale "Received May 14, 2010; revised June 13, 2010; accepted July 11, 2010".
    It appears that this is essentially grey literature. My guess is that climate change sceptics are exploiting pre-existing dubious outlets rather than actually setting them up.
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