Sunday, 25 March 2012

23/3 Is Christopher Monkton a troll?

Lord Christopher Monkton, is known for evangelizing non anthropogenic climate change or the Bart Simpson defense for Carbon emitting industry depending on who you ask.
YouTube user potholer54 debated Monkton representations on What's Up With That(WUWT). Lets see what potholer54 found when he examined Monkton's claims.
15 - Lord Monckton Bunkum Part 1 - Global cooling and melting ice"
  • Monkton claims  to have been Margeret Thatcher's Science advisor yet  Thatcher's autobiography disagrees referring instead to George Guise in the policy unit, who advise her on climate change before she spoke to the Royal Society and established the Climatic Research Unit.
  • Monkton claims he has written peer reviewed papers. A claim that stems from an opinion peace that he was invited to write and appeared the newsletter to the American Physical Society. Monkton's subsequent insistence that the article was peer reviewed prompted the editor to publish a rebuttal pointion out that it was not peer reviewed. 
  • Monkton is not a scientist, he has degrees in journalism and Classics. While he does not need a science because accurate reporting interpretation of scientific data and science opinion are all he is required to provide to make his case - just lie the school girls who tested Ribenna's Vitamin C levels a while back and found that they did not reach the advertised level.
What do we see when he presents his argument? Lets see...
Claim 1 "we've had nine years of a global cooling trend since 1 January 2001" At St Paul in 2009. However:
In Waiting for Global Cooling by Robert Fawcett and David Jones in April 2008 published by the the National Climate Centre at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in Melbourne wrote "In all three data sets, the linear trend over 1998-2007 is upward (i.e., one of warming), even if the warming is weaker in the British date set than in the American data sets."
1998 was warmer than 2001, Monktons starting point.  AP reported "In a blind test, the AP gave temperature data to independent statisticians and asked them to look for trends, without telling them what the numbers represented. The experts found not true temperature declines over time. Statisticians who analyzed the data found a distinct decades-long upwards trend in the numbers, but could not find a significant drop in the past ten years in either data set. The ups and downs during the last decade repeat random variability in the data as far back as 1880". AP goes on to quote Deke Arndt of NOAA "The last 10 years are the warmest 10-year period of modern record, Even if you analyse the trend during that 10 years the trends is actually positive which means warming." - AP 26 Oct 2009
Where is the evidence supporting Monkton claim, Monkton does not offer any. In a set of rapid changing if you choose an early high point and a late low you can hide an overall upward trend. Climate is subject ot el-nino and la-nina fluctuations every few years and the solar cycle every 11 years and Monkton has cherry picked his data set so that it start with a warm el-nino in finished with an exceptional solar minima thus skewing the result. To avoid this A technique of moving average reveals a long trend within data and using more data perhaps over decades proves a more accurate picture.
Claim 2 No long-term loss of Arctic ice in the Arctic
"Once again we are not looking at a sort of long term systematic loss of ice in the arctic" - C Monkton in Melbourne 2009, When potholer54 pressed for sources Monkton on January 6 2011 replied "Arctic sea ice has indeed been declining for 30 years, and the Monthly CO2 Reports fairly reflect this...". This seems quite a turn around and is in line with the other research. "According to scientific measurements, Arctic sea ice has declined dramatically over at least the past thirty years, with the most extreme decline seen in the summer melt season." (Arctic Sea Ice News and Analysis, Nation Snow and Ice Data Center
Claim 3 No nett loss of ice from Greenland

Monkton claims a very diligent Dutch researcher Ola M Johannessan measured Gleenland's ice using laser altimetry between 1992-2003, he then claims "The average thickness of the vast Greenland ice sheet increased by two inches a year." But what did Ola really mean. Johannesson wrote in the paper Monkton cites that "First, we cannot make an integrated assessment of elevation changes - let alone ice volume and its equivelment sea-level change - for the whole Greenland ice Sheet, including its outlet glaciers, from these observations alone, because marginal areas are not measure completely using ERS-1/ERS-2 altimetry (see Fig 1). it is conceivable that pronounced ablation (e.g. 10,11) in low elevation marginal areas could offset the elevation increases that we observed in the interior areas." Since publication of this paper the loss of lower altitude has been demonstrated to exceed the higher altitude gains and since these were published 2006 Monkton would have had these available to him during his 2009 delivery. Johanneson concluded that the high altitude gains were predicted by climate models and could be explain something like the North Atlantic oscillation.

Monkton Bunkum Part 2 - Sensitivity

Claim 4 - Global cooling
Here Monkton, totally confuses himself, his audience  and a US Congressional Committee.
One of the the more difficult aspects of the climate debate is matching a denier with the a scientist who has expertise in the specialty or knowledge of the particular claims offered. Monkton totally takes advantage of this when Ben McNeil, expert in oceanic CO2 absorption by steering the debate to climate sensitivity. Perhaps leaving McNeil feeling he needed to do more homework while Monkton left him in a cloud of metaphorical bull dust.
The term "forcing" describes the amount of warming by any mechanism, sun light cloud cover, loss of reflective ice atmospheric CO2 etc. For a doubling of atmospheric CO2 are around 3.5-3.7 watts/m2(according 3 IPCC Scientific assessments and Professor Lindzen in 2007). Given and amount of forcing the earth temperature will rise until the amount of heat absorbed is match by the amount of heat escaping this the equilibrium temperature, to calculate this we multiply the forcing(F) by the earths sensitivity(λ) so T=F×λ or to denote change in temperature and force it is usually written as ΔT=ΔF×λ. This will be important later because Monkton makes a mess of it. But first an example ΔT=3.7w/m2 × 0.27 we get a result of 0.999 or about 1℃. However due to changes in the environment we need to take a more studied view of the environment to find to true figure for sensitivity(λ).  Multiple studies put true climate sensitivity at 2.4-to 4.5.
Lindzen's hypothesis, who Monkton borrows from heavily, has several glaring flaws, Lindzen claims that more water vapor leads to more clouds that reflect light back into space while ignoring that they also reflect longer waves back to earth thus introduction positive feedback, work is limited to the tropics not the whole Earth, Meanwhile the geogologic record tells us that feedback is averall positive, so some warming result in further warming from environmental changes caused by the initial warming. Other positive feedback include melting perma forst releasing methane, more water vapor adds to greenhouse effect, and ice that would relect light and heat melts and absorbs heat as ocean water.
What Monkton has done here is cherry picked Lindzen work to fit his own argument without mentioning the problems identified by other researchers.
In his "peer reviewed" paper, Monkton takes a low figure for forcing and divides it by 3. Which is a problem because what he is really doing is mucking around with sensitivity. Surely, no one  can be this mistaken and testify to Congress?!
Lay audiences are easily dazzled formulae flash up quickly, because they don't the knowledge to seperate good physics from bad. Even if their is evidence right in their faces, ever notice how a clear winter's night is often colder than overcast?
Monkton also goes on to claim that a satellite study by a Dr Pinker shows a "natural" decline in cloud cover has lead to an increase in temperature. Later at a debate in opponent his ready with a rebuttal from Dr Pinker which I will paraphrase as "Monkton, you are talking nonsense!". To compound the problem Monkton continue this fallacy in his congressional testimony. Am I wrong here has proven global cooling by showing a temperature increase? No Pinker's specific critique is that "The CO2 forcing value that Mr Christopher Monkton refers to impact on the Earths radiative balance. The numbers that we quote in our paper represent the change in surface short wave radiation due to changes in the atmosphere, clouds, water-vapor, aerosols. These two number cannot be compare at their face value. To the best of my understanding this the source of the misunderstanding."

Claim 5 There is no correlation between CO2 and global temperature over geological time.
If you house has central heating and air conditioning you know the temperature inside bare little relation to the weather. This demonstrates fallacy of Monktons claim that CO2 levels should track with temperature change. It is the idea that the house must be hot if the heating is on, ignoring that the weather may drop the temperature low enough to drop the inside temperature more than the heating can handle. thus demonstrating that house temperature is not related to heating system. output even thought the chill is mitigated by the heating system.
Monkton cites data from a study by Robert Berner who concluded in his atmospheric CO2 research "This means the over the long term[600 million years] there is indeed a correlation between CO2 and paleotemperature, as manifestes by the the greenhouse effect". What we see here is Monkton using Berner's data in a ludicrous quote mine. What is laughable is Monkton attempts to use raw temperature studies over a similar period without adjusting for other factor including solar output  and presents this graph claiming that there is no correlation between the two.

Dana Royer also reviewed all data for the last 600 million years and found a strong correlation through out the Phanerozoic era by adjusting for solar output.

Monkton gives reference to an early Cambrian ice age known as snow ball earth which lasted about 2million years and asks how there could have been so much ice and so much CO2 int the atmosphere. At the time the sun was about 6% less powerful than we see today, and this ice began with a relatively low level of CO2. Since the earth's surface was white and reflected the little solar radiation it was getting it was set to remain frozen for a long time. Volcanic fissures remain exposed, they pumped CO2 into the air.  This CO2 would have been absorbed by the oceans and formed carbonate compounds but was blocked by ice. Atmosphere CO2 rose causing the green house that saw temperatures rise and the eventual melting of the ice, once the oceans were exposed the process accelerated as the blue oceans did not reflect the light from the sun. The process further continues until the hot house earth of the late Cambrian era which saw the evolutionary explosion life.

Claim 6 The Himalayan glaciers showing no particular change in 200 years (except Gangotri)

Monkton cites Prof M I Bhat of the Indian Geological Survey and whom he describes as the person responsible for monitoring Himalayan glaciers. Referencing 200 years of records "from the days of the Raj When first began monitoring these don't you know?", Monkton claims that "there is little evidence of any change except for Gangotri which is experiencing local geological instability nothing to do with global warming. All the others are doing fine." When pressed for a publish source for this opinion Monkton fails to provide the requested citation and instead insists that M I Bhat is the "man on the ground" for this  field of study. and that "locally produced literature tends to support this". When pressed again he again did not provide citations but gave an email address of the person monitoring them. At this point Monkton appears to have no research to back up his claim. Buried at the bottom of a long email Monkton admits "Yes, mountain glaciers in many regions, including the Himalayas, have been receding."
On the occasions where a politician evade questions as Monkton did in the previous email exchange, it often means tehy are hiding something. When contacted by potholer 54, M I Bhat responded to question "Could I describe you as the person responsible for monitoring Himalayan glaciers?" with

"The big and loud answer is: NO."
In fairly typical fashion Monkton revises his qualification of M I Bhat form "the person responsible for monitoring Himalayan glaciers" to "someone who seems to be knowledgeable" and still no peer reviewed literature to be seen.
Claim 6: I did not say what you said id said -quote mining.
One preferred strategy of unscientific politcos is to compile a list of quotes and use them out of context or change them to fit the argument to be pushed.
Kevin Trenberth: Monkton attributes Trenberth as saying "There has been no global warming for a decade. we cannot explain why. It is a travesty that we cant't" in one those climate gate emails. Trenberth is lamenting a lack of data "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warmng at the moment..." Why did Monkton change it?
Justice Burton:  Monkton misqotes Justice Burton comment as "The Armageddon scenario that he depicts is not base on any scientific view" from his judgment concerning a case concerning the use of An Inconvenient Truth in education. The orignal comment was  in relation to the speed of a 7m rise in sea level, later Monkton reframes to reference to whole work in an interview with Climate Depot. What Burton actually said was "It is common ground that if indeed Greenland melted it would release this amount of water, but only after and over millenia, so that Armageddon scenario he predicts, insofar as it suggests that sea level rises of 7 meters might occur in the immediate future isnot in with the scientific consensus."
Dr Murari Lal: In a comedy of errors around a speculative comment suggest the Himalayan glaciers might melt completely by 2035 that misreported in New Scientist copied by the Worldwide Fund for Nature and used in The Inconvenient Truth by principle writer for the Himalayan segment. Lal notes in an interview with David Rose for The Mail, "We knew the WWF report with the 2035 date was "grey literature" [material that is not not published in a peer-reviewed journal]. But it was never pickup by any if the authors in our group, nor by any of the more than 500 external reviewers. by the governments to which it was sent, or by the final IPC review editors."
Monkton somehow turns it into an admission that Lal knew it was false. David Rose is moved to respond "I did not, however accuse him[Lal] of knowingly publishing false information, as others have implied." Again we see Monkton just making stuff up.

Sir John Houghton: The first Chairman of the science panel of the IPCC, "Unless we announce disasters no one will listen." accord to Monkton, but Hougton never said this.  The Independent newspaper says the quote was made up.  Either Monkton is just making this stuff up, or someone badly paraphrased the quote with the bloggersphere, but Peirs Akerman who publish it should really have taken more care, but it appears that he could really remember where he got and cited Global Warming the complete Briefing from 1994. But the quote is not in that book.The quote has been traced to an article in The Daily Telegraph and reads "If we want good environmental policy int the future, we'll have to have a disaster. It's like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there's been an accident". While wound back from using the Monkton keeps using it.

It is interest ingthat he quotes Fox News "We report, you decide". Which would be fine, if Fox News had a history of accurate reporting, but he, like Fox News, have a demonstrated lack of regard for accuracy in reporting.

Claim 7 Mars' polar ice caps are melting
It turns out that is not true. And the Earth's thermal dynamics are distinct from those of the other planets.  Except for last 50 years years CO2 levels have been relatively stable over the last few centuries. Variations in the sun's output measured with sun spot activity track well with temperature changes. More recently the sun output has remain static at a relatively high level temperatures are continuing to climb, something else is pushing them up. Since the 50s CO2 levels have been climbing.

Monkton Claims Scafetta and West attributes 69% of warming to increase activity of the sun and that the international astronomical union accepted this at a 2004 synposium. Actually the 69% figure was an outside limit for warming since 1900 and most astronomers in the field use a much lower number. and IAU did not accept this opinion at supposed synposium of which no record could be found. Monkton did write to Spencer Davies admitting his this was a mistake.

In all, potholer54 identified 21 glaring errors in his presentations, but that is not all, at this point having 5 x 1/4 hour videos debunking the crapfest. potholer54 felt it best to not bore his audience any further. I though it was intriguing how one man so eminent as Lord Monkton could be a font of such a stupendous crapfest. Perhaps the fact that his title is hereditary will help explain it.

Wiki has this to say on Monkton's Climate views
Monckton is on record as accepting that there is a greenhouse effect,[34] and that CO2 contributes to it. However, he has said "there is a startling absence of correlation between the CO2-concentration trend and the temperature trend, necessarily implying that—at least in the short term—there is little or no causative link between the two", but that, on a different timescale, there is "a close correlation between CO2 concentration and temperature: but it was temperature that changed first".[35] In a 2006 article he questioned the appropriateness of using a near-zero discount rate in the Stern Review, which, he wrote, had underestimated the costs of mitigation and overstated its benefits. He said that mitigation was "expensively futile without the consent of the Third World's fast-growing nations".[36]

After a presentation by Monckton at Bethel University (Minnesota), Professor John P Abraham[37] of University of St. Thomas (Minnesota) produced a rebuttal to Monckton's claims.[38] Abraham investigated the origins of many of the claims by contacting the authors of those papers Monckton had cited[39][40] and concluded that "he had misrepresented the science".[40] Monckton "initiated the process of having Abraham hauled up before whatever academic panel his Bible College can muster, to answer disciplinary charges of willful academic dishonesty amounting to gross professional misconduct unbecoming a member of his profession",[41] and asked that Abraham's talk be removed from the University servers, and a donation of $10,000 and $100,000 be made respectively by Abraham and the University to the "United States Association of the Order of Malta for its charitable work in Haiti".[42][43] The university responded that "The University of St Thomas respects your right to disagree with Professor Abraham, just as the University respects Professor Abraham's right to disagree with you. What we object to are your personal attacks against Father Dease, and Professor Abraham, your inflammatory language, and your decision to disparage Professor Abraham Father Dease and The University of St Thomas",[44][45] and it refused all of Monckton's demands.[46]
What do you think? Comment below.

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