Prosecute the torture.

April 10, 2013

Jack Kelly: Science Denier

Today was supposed to be a nice restful day.  The weather's getting better, the Pirates have won 2 in a row, and our taxes are all efiled.

Then I read this.

It's Jack Kelly's latest attempt to debunk the climate science.  He fails, by the way as he has failed before.

But let's get started in his latest failure.  He begins:
March was cold in Pittsburgh. Britain had its coldest March since 1962. In Germany, this was the coldest March in 130 years.

"Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth's surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar," The Economist magazine noted March 30.
Ok, there are already two fallacies already.  Did you spot them?  One in each paragraph.

In the first, he's (apparently on purpose) confusing weather and climate.  Weather is the localized stuff you see when you look out the window.  Climate is the overall system.  Just as it was cooler in Pittsburgh earlier this morning (say, at 2am) than it was yesterday during the day (say, at 2pm), the globe is still warmer now than it was 100 years ago.  See how that works?

There's more.  According to Anthony Watt's (who's also something of a skeptic when it comes to climate science) global temperatures for March, 2013 are:
+0.18 C (about 0.32 degrees Fahrenheit) above 30-year average for March.
So, even if "March was cold in Pittsburgh" and even if "Britain had it coldest March since 1962" it doesn't matter over the larger frame of global temperatures.  March 2013 is still about a quarter of a degree Fahrenheit above average.

Then there's the second fallacy - the quotation from The Economist - that the warming "stopped" about 15 years ago (that would be 1997 or so).

You'll note that the point of Jack's column is to declare that global warming doesn't exist.  He writes:
In fact, "global warming" has existed essentially only in computer models.
The reason the science deniers go all the way back to 1998-1997 is that they're "cherry-picking" the data.  From Grist.org:
At the time, 1998 was a record high year in both the CRU and the NASA GISS analyses. In fact, it blew away the previous record by .2 degrees C. (That previous record went all the way back to 1997, by the way!)

According to NASA, it was elevated far above the trend line because 1998 was the year of the strongest El Nino of the century. Choosing that year as a starting point is a classic cherry pick and demonstrates why it is necessary to remove chaotic year-to year-variability (aka: weather) by smoothing out the data.

Clearly 1998 is an anomaly and the trend has not reversed.
There's even a chart showing the anomaly.


See that long tall red line over on the right?  That's the El Nino year of 1998.  See how the line trends upward for 50 or so years before '98?

Jack even ties both fallacies together:
March temperatures were just 0.18 degrees Celsius (.32 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than the average for the last 33 years, about 0.4 degrees Celsius (0.7 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than when warming peaked in 1997 -- well within the range of natural fluctuations.
Take a look again at that chart. And now notice that Jack fails (utterly) to give you, his reading audience, any justification for how or why those numbers are "well within the range of natural fluctuations."

That should tell you something - he doesn't have any.

There's something else to notice.  He's saying that global warming never existed (it's only found in flawed computer models, he said) and that it stopped in 1997.  Um, Jack?  You can't have it both ways, my friend.  You can't say it never existed AND say it stopped 15 years ago.

But I also want you all to notice something else: Jack Kelly for all his discussion of the computer models "full of fudge factors" he fails (again, utterly) to address the evidence of the globe's past warming.  Let's assume that the models are incorrect AND the warming's leveled off (perhaps for good) for a decade and a half.

That still leaves all the evidence that the planet's warmed up over the last century.

Yea, Jack doesn't talk much about that, does he?

1 comment:

Ol' Froth said...

And it was over 80 in D.C. today. While I know that's just a local anomoly, in Jack's mind that should be evidence for warming.