Lord Ridiculous

April 13, 2010

If you haven’t seen it already, here’s Peter Sinclair’s latest installment on Lord Monckton, a man I had the pleasure of breakfasting with (or near) in Copenhagen.


  1. Thanks for posting the link. I just watched the entire 9 plus minutes.

    I found the part on the Greenland ice sheet most convincing.

    The first portion on the artic ice sheet – where he stressed that Lord Monckton didn’t know the difference between ice extent and ice volume was not persuasive.

    Lord Monckton was accurate that ice extent data shows a recovery of ice extent and an increase of 24% from 2007. So changing the metric from what Monckton was discussing to something he was not discussing is a good debate tactic, but not a very good argument.

    As far as I know, we don’t actually have good data on ice volume in the artic – and in fact the EU just started taking data with a new satalitte to address this lack (I believe it just started operating on April 13, 2010). So the ice volume argument raised – appears to me to be based on speculation and not data – so that was a very unconvincing portion of the video.

    I also didn’t find the rebuttal of the global cooling since 2002 very convincing.

    Even if the idea of giving a column of numbers to four statiscians and asking them to see if they find a cooling trend is valid – they didn’t find a warming trend – all the found was no trend. Whether temperatures were cooling for 8 years or flat for 8 years – that is still a problem with the climate models, which predicted no such thing.

    Pointing out that Monckton may have been exagerating (even if true) doesn’t really address the thrust of his argument – which is that this last 8 year period is at odds with what the climate models predicted.

    That is not to say that the climate scientists are not correct – it just shows that the climate models are incomplete and not yet ready to be trusted with predictions of what the climate will be like in 2100, when they cannot even predict what the climate will be like from 2002 to 2010 accurately.

    The Greenland ice sheet portion seemed very persuasive to me.

    So one out of three isn’t bad.

  2. RickA, your ability to pretend that information adverse to your position doesn’t exist is, well… lawyerly.

    Let’s do just one: The models do not predict short-term fluctuations, nor does anyone claim they can (notwithstanding some early, shaky efforts on the part of a couple teams). Arguing that the inability to do so has anything to do with being able to project within reasonable bounds the climate state in 2100 is like arguing that the inability to accurately preduct next week’s weather means that it cannot be said with confidence that it will be warmer during the coming summer and colder again the following winter. Increased CO2 warms the climate as inexorably as axial tilt makes for seasons.

    Of course you’ve seen this explanation probably dozens of times and feel free to ignore it, so why do I bother?

    • The models do predict short term fluctuations which raises the question of whether the fluctuations match those observed. The answer, of course, being that if you looked at the output of the models and analyzed the statistical properties of the models and the observational data you would get a good match.

      To put it in Rick terms, you can find 8-10 year intervals in the old Hansen 1988 GISS model that where global temperature is flat, just not between 2001 and 2008, which, of course, is why we want to look at longer term data and predictions.

    • Steve – I am just trying to help this guy beef up his presentation.

      You know if I find several points weak (for the reasons I stated) that many others will also.

      I appreciate your season analogy.

      And of course I am not a climate scientist.

      However, I worry that our data (really only 150 years or so of instrument data) may be capturing only the climate equivalent of April – June, or even a smaller time interval equivalent.

      Obviously if one projected that temperature trend, one would totally miss the climate equivalent of winter.

      Me – I am a wait and see guy – so I will wait and see how the observations compare to the model predictions.

      So far, I am not impressed with the accuracy of the models.

      Hopefully they will improve.

  3. Don’t like the models, Rick? Fine. Ignore them. Paleoclimate studies plus current observations provide more than enough information to tell us we’re in trouble. That CO2 level is the prime determinant of the climate state is no longer a scientific question, and the last time it was at 350 ppm sea level was ~25 meters higher than present. 500 ppm, which we will certainly reach, is enough to melt all of the ice. The only question is how fast it will happen (and that’s what we need the models for, BTW). A fast transition boosted by permafrost methane and ice albedo feedbacks won’t be very much fun. OTOH the really bad effects will likely be after your lifetime, so party on, right?

  4. Well, Rick, I see you’ve been going on over at RC about paleoclimate. Interestingly you seem to think that pointing to various warmer past periods supports your point. Here’s a little news: Most of the last half-billion years has been much warmer than currently. The Pleistocene glaciations are unprecedented in climate history. Large-scale long-term, what’s changed is that CO2 levels have dropped (driven by plate tectonic effects) even while solar irradiance has increased. It’s gotten colder because the former has outweighed the latter. We know from climate history that things can warm up very quickly, and that high CO2 levels can have such an effect. We know from Pliocene studies that the same planet we have now with 325 ppm CO2 is a much warmer place. We know that rapid climate transitions are associated with mass extinctions and other highly unpleasant effects.

    What part of this are you unclear on?

    And speaking of the reduced warming of the last ten years or so, here’s a little something to consider. Now I’ve got just one thing to say: Are you feeling lucky, punk? Well, are you?

    • Steve.

      I just saw in comment #217 at RealClimate that BPL agreed that previous interglacials did get warmer than today.

      Again – the only reason I was listing previous warmer periods was because BPL said there hadn’t been any for 20 million years(which I didn’t agree with).

      After I provided him a cite to a nature article, he conceded.

      So I do think listing previous warmer periods does support my point that there were previous warmer periods (within 20 millions years of the present).

  5. Steve:

    “Missing heat” – that is just more proof that we don’t yet fully understand the climate and that our models are not accurate. Which is the only point I have been making all along. We need more science and better models – especially if the Government is going to use them to base policy on.

    Of course we need to find the “missing heat” – just so we can model the climate correctly.

    How can our climate models be accurate if they are missing over 50% of the heat?

    I don’t understand why you are so angry.

    At realclimate I merely questioned BPL’s assertion that it hasn’t been this warm in 20,000,000 years. I don’t think that is scientifically correct. It doesn’t sound like you agree with that assertion either.

    I merely question people who state in absolute terms that they know what is going to happen in 100 years – when I think we really have a very imperfect idea of where we are going to be in 100 years.

    I do think we are warming and will continue to warm – but I don’t think it is going to be nearly as much as the doom and gloom folks. My guess – about 1 degree C by 2100.

    I don’t think all the ice is going to melt by 2100.

    That is crazy talk.

    Even if the temperature goes up 6 degrees C, which is won’t – it will still be below freezing in Antarctica – year-round, which has 80 to 90% of all the ice in the world.

    So I am feeling lucky.

  6. Rick, I’m angry because you’re willing to gamble with everyone else’s future, mine included.

    Re your question about how can climate models be accurate if they’re missing 50% of the heat, I’m afraid your logic fails in multiple ways. Try again. Note in particular that the calculated shortfall isn’t derived from a model output.

    Re BPL, I suspect his confusion was between temperature and its rate of increase. It’s the latter that’s unusual.

    • Well from my point of view, you want to take my money, in the form of higher taxes, food expenses, energy expenses and fuel expenses, to gamble it on a plan which has a high chance of accomplishing nothing.

      You are also taking a gamble, but you want to gamble with everybody elses money.

      Why don’t you (and I mean global warmers) work on making low carbon energy cheaper than coal, fuel oil and/or natural gas.

      Then economics will cause a switchover to a low carbon economy.

      Forcing everybody to use more expensive power just won’t work. Allowing people to choose a cheaper power which you find more desirable from a carbon standpoint will.

      But go ahead and blame me for global warming if it makes you feel better.

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