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Irregular Climate podcast 8: Journalismgate, prawngate and rock n roll

Posted on 18 July 2010 by John Cook

The Irregular Climate podcast have just posted Episode 8. In this week, Dan Moutal looks at the real scandal of Climategate: Journalismgate. He touches on how Cuccinelli continues his witchhunt against Michael Mann and outlines all the gory details of Prawngate. Note: Dan is the one who started the Facebook page supporting John Abraham (which now numbers around 300 members). In this week's podcast, Dan also gets a little creative with some rock 'n roll which I must admit had me smiling.

For the skeptic debunk of the week, I take a new look at an old argument. I'm actually writing a new blog post on the subject which I should post over the next day or so - the podcast debunk is a lean and mean version. You can get more details at Did global warming stop in 1998 but here's my transcript from the podcast if anyone's interested.

Skeptic Debunk of the Week

Most climate skeptic arguments, maybe all of them, have one thing in common - they neglect the full body of evidence and cherry pick just the bits of data that give the answer they want. There's one argument that's so misleading, it requires 3 levels of cherry picking. This argument is "global warming stopped in 1998".

The first cherry pick is that it relies on a single temperature record from the Hadley Centre in the UK. This record shows unusually warm temperatures in 1998, caused by the strongest El Niño on record. However, the Hadley record doesn't cover the whole globe. Some of the missing regions happen to be where the fastest warming is occuring. Temperature records that cover the whole planet find that 2005 is the hottest calendar year on record. The hottest 12 months on record were June 2009 to May 2010.

The second cherry pick is that it assumes a climate trend by comparing single data points. If you want to work out what climate is doing, you've got to look at all the data. Effects like El Nino exchange lots of heat between the ocean and the atmosphere, so surface temperature jumps up and down from year to year. To work out the long-term trend, scientists use statistical techniques like moving averages or linear regression. These show that surface temperatures continue to rise since 1998.

The third cherry pick is that this only looks at air temperature. The atmosphere is just one part of our climate. Over 90% of global warming actually goes into the oceans. If you really want to know if global warming continued past 1998, you need to look at all the heat building up in our climate. When we add up the heat going into the oceans, warming the land and air, and melting the ice, we see that the planet continues to build up heat. Global warming clearly continues past 1998.  

And by the way, thanks to John Russell who offered some useful audio tips for the podcast recording. Either that, or he's just winding me up by having me pad my office with blankets and pillows while I record. :-) Hopefully the audio quality is continuing to improve (now I have to figure out how to get rid of that low frequency hum in the background - perhaps a few more blankets over the computer).

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Comments 1 to 6:

  1. Christopher Monckton and other deniers get far more press coverage than they deserve. Journalistic false balance has caused the public to be confused on climate change – the greatest threat to humanity this century. Worse, these deniers have used mainstream media to attack climate science and the scientists who pursue the truth. Let us now turn the tables. Monckton has been exposed by Dr. John Abraham and instead of hiding his tail and whimpering away, Monckton has gone on the offensive by attacking Dr. Abraham and asking his followers to essentially “email bomb” Dr. Abraham’s university president. We need to alert the media to this story. I have assembled a list of 57 media contacts in the hopes that my readers will follow my lead and send letters asking for an investigation of Monckton and his attack on Abraham. I have placed mailto links that will make it easy to send letters to several contacts at once with a single click. In the thread comments, please suggest other contacts in the US and from abroad. This blog thread can then be used in the future to alert the media to denialist activity.
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  2. love these podcasts thanks for the links :-)
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  3. John, Doesn't this months data show that the hottest 12 month period is July 2009 through June 2010? I imagine you wrote that last month. Four months in a row as the record hottest. But didn't it stop warming in 1998?
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    Response: I hadn't got around to downloading the last month's data so yes, it probably is already out of data. I'll make sure I grab the latest data before I finish the 1998 post.
  4. Assume that warms all the time, that the current year will be the warmest. How great it will change, or sometimes less than the possible error? While the year 2005, 2010 will be warmer from 1998? How great and "terrible" is the difference? Sorry for “plagiarism” - I repeat the "M" word - from one of the discussions during the meeting with him ...
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  5. Arkadiusz sorry but I didnt understand that post at all it was like when you tranlate something from japanese to english , srry no offence intended .
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  6. The article lists several directions for heat to go into, all directions the 'skeptics' would like us to forget about: the oceans, the air temperature, the land. But there is still one missing that I would expect to be quite significant, since the heat of evaporation of water is SO huge compared to its heat capacity or heat of melting. How much heat is taken up by evaporating the water of the oceans, or by sublimation of ice? That will not show up as increased air temperature since the temperature remains constant during evaporation.
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