Richard Betts Misunderstands Basic Science

By Paul Homewood

 

When in a hole, stop digging Richard!

 

From NTZ:

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Just recently Anthony Watts posted an article on wildfires penned by Paul Homewood. Lately alarmists have been blaming the active forest fire season on global warming. They warn that warmer temperatures will lead to more wildfires.

Is it so?

First it’s important to note that warmer temperatures don’t necessarily lead to more drought and wild fires. For example in 2018 I reported here how the Sahara desert has shrunk by a whopping 700,000 sq km over the recent decades, even though this is a region with very warm temperatures.

Also we know that the earth’s surface has often been drier during cooler times.

Moreover, aspiring meteorologist Chris Martz here explains that long-term forest fires have not been getting worse in the USA, and “are nowhere near as bad as they used to be”.

U.S. wildland fire counts by year since 1926 (Figure 5a – left) and U.S. wildland fire burn acreage over that same time period (Figure 5b – right).

Climate scientist doesn’t understand why forests dry

On the WUWT article I commented at Twitter that when it comes to wildfires, temperature is not a factor behind them, to which University of Exeter, Met Office, IPCC. UK Climate Prof. commented:

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Most laypersons of course believe that higher temperatures “dry out” surfaces and fuel faster, as climate expert Prof. Richard Betts obviously did. After all, we use a hair dryer to dry our hair more quickly, or throw our wet laundry in the dryer. So most people think that it’s the high temperature that is doing the drying. But that’s not quite how it works.

Astonishing misunderstanding of fundamental science

We can forgive a layperson for misunderstanding this fundamental science, but it is spectacularly astonishing that a supposedly distinguished climate professor such as Prof. Betts would misunderstand it. How on earth could someone with such a fundamental misunderstanding be expected to explain climate to us, let alone model it?

Or perhaps, in his desire to be dramatic, he got sloppy and miscommunicated it.

It’s the relative humidity, stupid!

There’s only one factor behind drying forest, grassland, ground surface: the relative humidity of the air next to the surface (difference temperature and dew point) and precipitation.

If the air has a very high relative humidity, then drying will take a long time, no matter what the temperature is. If temperature was the main factor behind drying, then places like the Amazon, Congo  or Southeast Asian rainforests would have dried up and burned long ago. But they haven’t.

In fact the planet’s biggest deserts are the Arctic and Antarctic. Last I checked they are still cooler than the Amazon.

It’s not the temperature!

To help drive the point home to the MetOffice climatologist, veteran meteorologist Jörg Kachelmann at Twitter joined in, asking Prof. Betts:

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Kachelmann added:

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Remember, these are the scientists who provide the input into the climate models.

Full story here.

via NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

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September 30, 2020 at 03:36PM

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