Thursday, September 4, 2014

Anthony Watts attacks National Geographic Magazine


Or, Anthony Watts steps through the looking glass. 
National Geographic’s Warming Warning – 10 Years Later 
Anthony Watts / August 31, 2014 
Geoff Sherrington writes: National Geographic Magazine had a Global Warming issue in September 2004. New instruments have given new data. By planning now, NatGeo can make a revised issue 10 years later, in September 2014. 
The 2014 edition should aim to correct what is now known to be wrong or questionable in the 2004 edition. We can help. Here are some quotes that need attention. The first three have some commentary, as is suggested for the remainder.
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I find it ironic that Mr. Watts gets super offended when rationalists use the term "denier" to describe him, yet he shamelessly attacks the National Geographic magazine implying they made tons of mistakes in their 2004 feature issue on the coming dangers of climate change, or more accurately the global warming that is triggering significant climate changes.

As the informative links I share prove, an objective investigation reveals that he's plain wrong with his vague insinuation about how the National Geographic got it wrong.  I've already looked at the first three items of his list (here, here and here) - the only ones he managed to comment on, leaving it up to his troops to fill in the rest.  

Please notice the tactic being employed here - Anthony doesn't actually say or explain anything, except to imply most everything scientists have learned about our climate is wrong.  

Worse he does it with a malicious sales pitch that sends his Wattzers off into all corners of the blogosphere to spread this craziness with a disconnected certainty that's truly frightful, since it underscores the seeming hopelessness of reasoning with the Republican/libertarian mind.

I don't comment on most items, (I don't have forever to squander on the man), I've simply added links that will lead the curious student to up to date authoritative information regarding said items.

Also see: 
Deluded deniers: Will WUWT correct all its errors about National Geographic?
September 1, 2014

http://blog.hotwhopper.com/2014/09/deluded-deniers-will-wuwt-correct-all.html


4. “But the recent rate of global sea level rise has departed from the average rate of the past two to three thousand years and is rising much more rapidly – a continuation or acceleration of that trend has the potential to cause striking changes…” P.19
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Anthony Watts with that sea level rise?
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SEAPORTS Magazine feature about Rising Sea Level and Superstorms
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List of cities impacted by current sea level rise
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5. “Even relatively small storm surges in the past two decades have overwhelmed the system of dikes, levees and pump stations … upgraded in the 1990s to forestall the Gulf of Mexico’s relentless creep.” P.19
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Storm surges to cost $100 trillion a year as sea levels rise
story based on this recent study: 
Coastal flood damage and adaptation costs under 21st century sea-level rise - http://www.pnas.org/content/111/9/3292.abstract
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National Hurrican Center, Storm Surge Overview
Surge Vulnerability Facts
  • From 1990-2008, population density increased by 32% in Gulf coastal counties, 17% in Atlantic coastal counties, and 16% in Hawaii (U.S. Census Bureau 2010)
  • Much of the United States' densely populated Atlantic and Gulf Coast coastlines lie less than 10 feet above mean sea level
  • Over half of the Nation's economic productivity is located within coastal zones
  • 72% of ports, 27% of major roads, and 9% of rail lines within the Gulf Coast region are at or below 4 ft elevation (CCSP, SAP 4-7)
  • A storm surge of 23 ft has the ability to inundate 67% of interstates, 57% of arterials, almost half of rail miles, 29 airports, and virtually all ports in the Gulf Coast area (CCSP SAP 4-7)
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6. “Vulnerable to sea-level rise, Tuvalu, a small country in the South Pacific, has already begun formulating evacuation plans.” P.19
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A look at this record will make clear that sea level around Tuvalu continues rising.
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Sea level variations at tropical Pacific islands since 1950
"... Superposition of global mean sea level rise, low-frequency regional variability and vertical ground motion shows that some islands of the region suffered significant ‘total’ sea level rise (i.e., that felt by the population) during the past 60 years. This is especially the case for the Funafuti Island (Tuvalu) where the “total” rate of rise is found to be about 3 times larger than the global mean sea level rise over 1950–2009."
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Ironically at the end of Anthony's list he complains about National Geographic touching up their photographs, like there are any glossy magazine covers that aren't tweaked with photoshop these days.  
Then he goes on about honesty.  I wonder why can't we expect Anthony Watts to live up to those standards of integrity and honesty he expects of 'the other side'???

Dr. Nils-Axel Morner's Maldives Tree - what's up with that?

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7. “The scenarios are disturbing even in wealthy countries like the Netherlands, with nearly half its landmass already at or below sea level.” P.19
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Why doesn't Anthony mention all the time, effort and money that the Dutch are putting into proactively dealing with the reality of sea level rise.  At least they have the money and aren't hiding from the reality.

To Control Floods, The Dutch Turn to Nature for Inspiration
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Netherlands to upgrade flood defences to cope with climate change
March 7, 2014
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The effect of climate change on extreme waves in front of the Dutch coast
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8. “The 20th Century has seen the greatest warming in at least a thousand years, and natural forces can’t account for it all.” P.20
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This remains as true as it was then, with more studies adding to the clarity of our understanding of the past thousands of years.

What hockey stick graphs tell us about recent climate change - 08 Mar 2013
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Recent Warming Is Still Unprecedented In Speed, Scale And Cause: A Marcott Et Al. FAQ
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9. “Both greenhouse gases and temperature are expected to continue rising.” P.20
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We are at 400 ppm and ten years ago we were around 375 ppm.  http://co2now.org

Temperatures have also continued to rise.  It is true that surface temperature rise has been moderated, but it certainly continues rising, and we know that oceans have been absorbing extra heat that is being transported down into ocean depths.  Meaning the heat is still part of our global climate system and it will certain have it's cumulative impact.
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How much has the global temperature risen in the last 100years?
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Global - Global Temperature Trends: 2013 Summation
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10. “Thick smoke towers over a forest near Fairbanks, one more sign that Alaska is getting hotter…. Computer models predict that CO2-induced warming could eventually raise the incidence of fires by more than a half.” P.25
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The Age of Western Wildfires
Published: September 18th, 2012
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Fires Burn More Fiercely As Northern Forests Warm
25 APR 2013: REPORT: From North America to Siberia, rising temperatures and drier woodlands are leading to a longer burning season and a significant increase in forest fires. Scientists warn that this trend is expected continue in the years ahead.
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MORE, BIGGER WILDFIRES BURNING WESTERN U.S., STUDY SHOWS
17 April 2014
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11. “If the West Antarctic ice sheet were to break up, which scientists consider very unlikely this century, it alone contains enough ice to raise sea level by nearly 20 feet.” P.27
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As true today as it was then, except that now we have definite evidence that the West Antarctic is in a state a breakup that can not be halted.
Central West Antarctica among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth - December 2012
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Satellite data shows from 1992 to 2011, Antarctica lost more than 70 billion tonnes of ice, and the rate of loss is now twice as high as it was in the 1990s.
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New concerns on the stability of the west Antarctic ice sheet
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Antarctic Peninsula: rapid warming
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West Antarctic Ice Sheet Is Collapsing - 2014
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12. “Ocean temperatures are rising in all ocean basins and at much deeper depths than previously thought (NOAA)” P.27
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Scientists Find 20 Years of Deep Water Warming Leading to Sea Level Rise
September 20, 2010
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In Hot Water: Global Warming Has Accelerated In Past 15 Years, New Study Of Oceans Confirms - March 25, 2013
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Cause of global warming hiatus found deep in the Atlantic Ocean - August 21, 2014
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13. “Oceans are important sinks …. and take up about a third of human-generated CO2.” P.28
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"Acidification already eating away at tiny creatures along our coast" 
Craig Welch  |  Seattle Times  |  April 30, 2014 
also see 
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The West Coast Ocean Acidification and Hypoxia Science Panel (OAH)
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Monitoring ocean acidification
Since pre-industrial times, the pH of the global surface ocean has decreased from 8.2 to 8.1 (equivalent to a 30% increase in the concentration of hydrogen ions), and it is predicted that with business-as-usual trends, the pH level could drop to 7.9 by the end of the 21 st century. There are widespread concerns as to how marine organisms, especially calcifiers such as shellfish and corals whose ability to build calcium carbonate shells and skeletons can be impaired by ocean acidification, can adapt to a rapid rate of change probably not evident in the last 55 million years.
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14. “ … three greenhouse gases … orchestrating an intricate dance between the radiation of heat from Earth back to space (cooling the planet) and the absorption of radiation in the atmosphere (trapping it near the surface and this warming the planet).” P.29
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Yes and nothing has changed there.  Here's a primer:
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15. (At Barrow) “There are no words, though, to describe how much and how fast the ice is changing.” P.33
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Barrow Sea Ice Break-up: Dark Open Water In Late April
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Barrow, Alaska: Ground Zero for Climate Change - March 2010
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In Barrow, Alaska, climate change in action
Friday, September 6, 2013
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16. “Researchers long ago predicted that the most visible impacts from a globally warmer world would occur first at high latitudes: rising air and sea temperatures, earlier snowmelt, later ice freeze-up, reductions in sea ice, thawing permafrost, more erosion, increases in storm intensity. Now, all these impacts have been documented in Alaska.” P.33
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Arctic Tundra is Being Lost As Far North Quickly Warms - January 2010
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Temperature Changes in Alaska
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Central West Antarctica among the most rapidly warming regions on Earth - 2012
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An unrecognizable Arctic - July 25, 2013
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Alaska unseasonably warm in January 2014
February 6, 2014
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17. “The Fleishmann’s glass frog is barely hanging on …. As Earth’s temperatures rise, scientists are exploring climate’s role in a worldwide amphibian decline.” P.34
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Global catastrophic amphibian declines have multiple causes, no simple solution
April 26, 2011
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The Global Decline of Reptiles, Déjà Vu Amphibians
Reptile species are declining on a global scale. Six significant threats to reptile populations are habitat loss and degradation, introduced invasive species, environmental pollution, disease, unsustainable use, and global climate change
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Loss of Biodiversity and Extinctions
by Anup ShahThis Page Last Updated Sunday, January 19, 2014
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18. “Alpine plants are edging uphill and beginning to overrun rare species near mountain summits.” P.41
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Climate change impacts on Australia’s alpine ecosystems
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Will plant movements keep up with climate change?
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Observed changes in mountain vegetation of the Alps during the XXth century Role of climate and land-use changes
Binational doctoral thesis by Jeanne BODIN
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19. “This is the first instance in which humans appear to be accelerating the change, and warming could take place so quickly that species will not have the time to adapt and avoid extinction.” P.41
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All the evidence at hand indicates this remains quite true.

Stanford Report, August 1, 2013
Climate change on pace to occur 10 times faster than any change recorded in past 65 million years, Stanford scientists say
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Rapid Climate Change
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What does past climate change tell us about global warming?
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20. “At some point, as temperatures continue to rise, species will have no more room to run”. P.41
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Climate change driving species out of habitats much faster than expected  
August 2011
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The Escalator Effect
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CLIMATE CHANGE AS A THREAT TO BIODIVERSITY
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Warming forces species to climb or go polar - April 2014
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21. “Coral necropolis …. Increasingly the planet’s coral is in hot water, parboiled in periods of calm, sunny weather … In 1998 the world’s coral suffered its worst year on record, which left 16% bleached or dead.” P.41
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Considering we haven't done anything about the various threats coral reefs are facing it isn't surprising that coral destruction continues at an alarming pace.

Losing Our Coral Reefs - June 2011
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Status of and Threat to Coral Reefs
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Coral Reefs by Anup Shah  - March 2013
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22. Re: turtle breeding “Storms amplify the trend (to more females) shearing away trees that provide cooling shade to nests on beaches. ‘Severe weather events … really knock the socks off in favour of the females’.” P.47
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When Hurricanes Hit Habitat - 2006
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Vulnerability of Marine Turtles to Climate Change - 2009
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Extreme Events and Marine Life - 2013
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Six Major Impacts of Climate Change on Sea Turtles
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I gotta wonder what Anthony was thinking when he grabbed these quotes.  Is he really that stupid, or simply that malicious and contemptuous of what we have been witnessing upon our planet this past decade of escalating compounding consequences?

Not one item on this list has improved over the past decade and the trends are plainly visible for all who care enough to objectively look into the details.

Although from Watts' closing it seems perhaps he doesn't have a clue and was just flagging whatever found his fancy and now he has signaled his minions to go forth and find the goods:
"Our (WUWT) blog readers are a skilled and diverse. They will prepare and distribute the actuality of the NatGeo 2004 claims as understood in 2012."
Although from reviewing the comments over at WUWT all I'm finding is shallow, heck, down right juvenal rationalizations and lots of defensiveness accompanied by too much self certitude and a fearful lack of intellectual curiosity.  Instead they seem to think saving our economic corporate free market system is all that life on Earth has to offer.  So sad.  

As for Mr. Watts' marching orders, I wonder what kind of information they'll come up with for him.  Perhaps someone will let me know when they manage filling in the blanks for Mr. Watts, or perhaps it's just another one of those 'contrarian promises' that's never actually delivered on.  

It would be quite frightfully interesting to read and consider, I'm sure.

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FYI. I don't go over to WUWT too much since it's bad for my blood pressure besides being totally demoralizing to see the depth of willful ignorance some need to embrace.  I recommend these websites that do spend more time catching and dissecting Anthony Watts' latest crazy-making.

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1 comment:

Manish Kumar said...

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