By Paul Homewood
Science Magazine had fun taking the mickey out of this GOP Rep, but failed to uncover some seriously erroneous statements by a supposed “climate scientist” at the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee earlier this week.
This is their account (my bold):
The Earth is not warming. The White Cliffs of Dover are tumbling into the sea and causing sea levels to rise. Global warming is helping grow the Antarctic ice sheet.
Those are some of the skeptical assertions echoed by Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee yesterday. The lawmakers at times embraced research that questions mainstream climate science during a hearing on how technology can be used to address global warming.
A leading climate scientist testifying before the panel spent much of the two hours correcting misstatements.
The purpose of the hearing was to focus on how technology could be deployed for climate change adaptation. But the hearing frequently turned to the basics of climate science. Many of the questions by Republicans and Democrats alike were directed to Philip Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts and former senior adviser to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said he was bothered that established climate science has not been questioned more by the committee, which has accused federal climate scientists of fraudulently manipulating climate data and subpoenaed their records.
“I’m a little bit disturbed by, No. 1, over and over again, I hear, ‘Don’t ever talk about whether mankind is the main cause of the temperature changing and the climate changing,’” he said. “That’s a little disturbing to hear constantly beaten into our heads in a Science Committee meeting, when basically we should all be open to different points of view.”
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the committee, entered into the record an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal yesterday that claimed sea levels are not rising because of climate change, a view that rejects thousands of scientific studies. The piece was written by Fred Singer, who is affiliated with the Heartland Institute in Chicago, Illinois, which promotes the rejection of mainstream climate science.
“To solve climate change challenges, we first need to acknowledge the uncertainties that exist,” Smith said in his opening remarks. “Then we can have confidence that innovations and technology will enable us to mitigate any adverse consequences of climate change.”
At one point, Smith showed a slide of two charts that he said demonstrated how the rate of sea-level rise does not equal the sharp spike in the consumption of fossil fuels. When Smith pointed out that rates of sea-level rise have only increased slightly compared with the rate of fossil fuel use, Duffy pointed out that his chart was from a single tide gauge station, near San Francisco, and that sea levels rise at different rates around the world. Smith did not show rising atmospheric CO2 levels or temperatures, both of which have climbed steadily in recent decades as emissions have increased.
“The rate of global sea-level rise has accelerated and is now four times faster than it was 100 years ago,” Duffy told Smith in response to the charts.
“Is this chart inaccurate, then?” Smith asked.
“It’s accurate, but it doesn’t represent what’s happening globally; it represents what’s happening in San Francisco,” Duffy said.
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) questioned Duffy on the factors that contribute to sea-level rise, pointing out that land subsidence plays a role, as well as human activity.
Brooks then said that erosion plays a significant role in sea-level rise, which is not an idea embraced by mainstream climate researchers. He said the California coastline and the White Cliffs of Dover tumble into the sea every year, and that contributes to sea-level rise. He also said that silt washing into the ocean from the world’s major rivers, including the Mississippi, the Amazon and the Nile, is contributing to sea-level rise.
“Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up,” Brooks said.
Duffy responded: “I’m pretty sure that on human time scales, those are minuscule effects.”
Brooks added that Antarctic ice is growing. That was true a few years ago, and scientists say it does not disprove the theory of global warming because different factors affect the Arctic and Antarctic rates of melting.
“We have satellite records clearly documenting a shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet and an acceleration of that shrinkage,” Duffy said.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but the data I have seen suggests — ” Brooks said.
Duffy answered: “The National Snow and Ice Data Center and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.”
“Well, I’ve got a NASA base in my district, and apparently, they’re telling you one thing and me a different thing,” Brooks said. “But there are plenty of studies that have come that show with respect to Antarctica that the total ice sheet, particularly that above land, is increasing, not decreasing. Now, you could make a different argument if you want to talk about Greenland or the Arctic.”
Earlier this year, NASA researchers determined that Antarctica’s ice loss has accelerated in the last decade. More broadly, sea ice extent at both poles set a record low last year. Scientists are racing to better understand the changes occurring in Antarctica because much of its ice is land-based, meaning it could drive sea-level rise around the world as it melts.
Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) said scientists said in the 1970s that the Earth was cooling, a popular talking point of climate skeptics and the subject of a fake Time magazine cover that has become a meme. Duffy corrected him and said that was essentially an outlier position at the time and that scientists long ago determined that humans were warming the planet.
Posey also asked how carbon dioxide could be captured in permafrost in the periods before humans existed. Duffy told him that it was from non-decayed organic matter. Human activity is now causing the Arctic to warm and thaw the ground, releasing the carbon into the atmosphere, Duffy said.
Posey then asked about theories related to warming being beneficial for habitats and to people.
“What do you say to people who theorize that the Earth as it continues to warm is returning to its normal temperature?” Posey asked.
“Look, if you want to characterize a temperature above today’s temperature as normal, you’re free to do that, but that doesn’t mean that’s a planet we want to live on,” Duffy said.
“I don’t want to get philosophical; I’m trying to stay on science here,” Posey said.
“I’m not getting philosophical; I’m getting extremely practical,” Duffy said. “I’m being extremely practical — if we let the planet warm 2 or 3 degrees, we will have tens of meters of sea-level rise, and the community where I live will essentially cease to exist.”
Posey responded: “I don’t think anybody disputes that the Earth is getting warmer; I think what’s not clear is the exact amount of who caused what, and getting to that is, I think, where we’re trying to go with this committee.”
So let’s look at those three specific claims:
1) The rate of global sea-level rise has accelerated and is now four times faster than it was 100 years ago
This is simply untrue.
According to Jevrejeva’s study in 2014, based on 1277 tidal gauges:
The new reconstruction suggests a linear trend of 1.9 ± 0.3 mm·yr− 1 during the 20th century, with 1.8 ± 0.5 mm·yr− 1 since 1970.
And this is their graph of global sea levels:
It is plainly evident that sea levels have been steadily rising since the mid 19thC, with a slight slow down between 1970 and 1990.
The IPCC acknowledged the same thing in their AR5 Report in 2013:
It is very likely that the mean rate of global averaged sea level rise was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm/yr between 1901 and 2010 and 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm/yr between 1993 and 2010. Tide gauge and satellite altimeter data are consistent regarding the higher rate during the latter period. It is likely that similarly high rates occurred between 1920 and 1950.
It is certainly true that recent sea level rise has been slightly higher than the 20thC average, but that is because the latter had been depressed by that 1970-90 slowdown.
Either way, it is totally fictitious to claim that sea level rise is now four times faster than 100 years ago.
As a matter of interest, this is the graph of sea levels for San Francisco, which Duffy claims doesn’t represent what’s happening globally:
Looks pretty similar to the global trends to me.
And here are the 50-year trends, which clearly show a faster rate of rise between 1920 and 1970, confirming the IPCC assessment:
2) We have satellite records clearly documenting a shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet and an acceleration of that shrinkage
Again, this is a fake claim.
According to a NASA study in 2015, the land ice is actually growing in Antarctica:
A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.
The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.
According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.
And the science is not even that controversial. Put simply, the warming of the climate since the Ice Age has led to increased snowfall over the Antarctic.
And just in case Duffy is talking about sea ice, that too is on an increasing trend, despite a drop in the last two years:
3) Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) said scientists said in the 1970s that the Earth was cooling, a popular talking point of climate skeptics and the subject of a fake Time magazine cover that has become a meme. Duffy corrected him and said that was essentially an outlier position at the time and that scientists long ago determined that humans were warming the planet
This is the biggest BS of the lot.
The cooling of the Earth’s climate between 1940 and the 1970s, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere, was well known by climate scientists at the time.
For instance, HH Lamb wrote this piece for the UNESCO’s Courier magazine in 1973:
He also included this graph in his book, “Climate, History and the Modern World (p258), published in 1982. It was based on work by J Murray Mitchell, originally presented to the WMO/UNESCO Rome symposium on climate change in 1963:
In October 1974, NOAA’s own magazine came to the same conclusion, horrified at the consequences for the world’s food supply:
And the CIA reported that the western world’s leading climatologists were warning of a return to Little Ice Age conditions:
To give false evidence to a Congressional Committee is, I would imagine, an extremely serious offence. Coming from a so-called scientist, who should be an expert in such matters, makes matters worse.
Whether Duffy deliberately lied, or (as I suspect) was simply incompetent and just another victim of groupthink, he should be brought back to the Committee and ordered to correct his untruthful statements.
As for Science Magazine, perhaps they might do a bit of fact checking themselves.
via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT
May 20, 2018 at 03:19AM