Wednesday, January 30, 2013

J.Lovelock:Climate Change Apostate? Or Irrelevant?

The blogosphere seems all a twitter with James Lovelock, originator of the Gaia Hypothesis.  He has become another darling of the anti global warming awareness echo-chamber.  These voices are presenting Lovelock as though he has something to add to the global warming discussion.  But, the thing is, Lovelock's perspective has always been out of step with what the expert community was saying, as Joe Romm explains at the end of this post.

We need to learn from climate specialists, not provocative imaginative thinkers, authors who make extensive use of "writers-license" in their books and articles with an eye towards sales rather than fidelity to the scientific reality.

Let's review Lovelock's words - first off, notice he's talking about his
 own perceptions and claims?   

MSNBC's Ian Johnston's article:  Gaia, scientist James Lovelock: "I was alarmist about climate change"  is clear:
"James Lovelock, the maverick scientist who became a guru to the environmental movement with his “Gaia” theory of the Earth as a single organism, has admitted to being “alarmist” about climate change." <1>
 Climate's 'usual tricks'
“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said. <2>
“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. <3> We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said. <4>
“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising -- carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” <5> he added.
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<1>  Right from the start it is clear that this is about Lovelock and his own predictions - and it has nothing to do with the actual state of the science, now or back then.

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<2>  This is a ridiculous statement that underscores Lovelock impoverished understanding of this topic - if you are curious about the state of the science (2012) this new video is a wonderful visualization of our scientist's understanding of how our global heat distribution engine functions - Earth From Space (HD)

For more information you can read what the experts have to say at the UK's MetOffice:
"Decadal forecasts are designed to forecast fluctuations in the climate system over the next few years through knowledge of the current climate state and multi-year variability of the oceans. This item provides some more detail on what they are, and what they can tell us."
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And again it is important to note, James Lovelock is talking about his own and other author's books - that is a far cry from what serious climatologists were doing or saying at that time or this one for that matter.
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<3>  "Nothing is really happening" indicates a complete disconnect from recent Earth observations and extreme weather incidents.  

Extreme Weather of Last Decade Part of Larger Pattern Linked to Global WarmingMar. 25, 2012 — The past decade has been one of unprecedented weather extremes. Scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) in Germany argue that the high incidence of extremes is not merely accidental. 
From the many single events a pattern emerges. At least for extreme rainfall and heat waves the link with human-caused global warming is clear, the scientists show in a new analysis of scientific evidence in the journal Nature Climate Change. Less clear is the link between warming and storms, despite the observed increase in the intensity of hurricanes.

Journal Reference:
  1. Dim Coumou, Stefan Rahmstorf. A decade of weather extremes. Nature Climate Change, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE1452
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Charlie Phillips give a good over view:
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But, even worse is that Lovelock, the man who originated the Gaia hypothesis, seems oblivious to the pace of global geophysical processes.  It's another one of those denialist diversions - thinking because this year isn't so bad, must mean it's going to stay that way.
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<4> I challenge a skeptic to come up with anything written by an actual climatologist that claimed:  "We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now"... no, not newspaper stories by non-scientists, they don't count - {unless it directly discusses a study.}
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<5>  Here Lovelock falls into parroting a discredited denialist meme.  

To pretend that global warming has stopped requires extreme cherry picking and a steadfast commitment to ignore the preponderance of evidence... to say nothing of ignoring what all the experts are saying.  

And simply because some cling to their fancy statistical games - doesn't mean their claims about what the MetOffice records indicate is truthful.  Here read what the MetOffice has to say:
Met Office in the Media: 14 October 2012
"To address some of the points in David Rose's article published today: . . . " 
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The first decade of this century has been, by far, the warmest decade on the instrumental record.
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There's so much information on this it isn't funny.  For a survey of what Earth observations have taught climatologists:
Ten Charts That Make Clear The Planet Keeps Warming 
By Joe Romm on Oct 15, 2012 
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And from try these informative articles:

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So the jist of this particular phony meme is that because Lovelock's OWN PREDICTION didn't pan out - he thinks climatologists (who never suggested anything near what Lovelock predicted) were wrong.

Now that's some twisted logical tailor made for the phony skeptics out there.

I'm still blown away that someone with his supposed breath of knowledge is so ignorant about current ocean studies and their interactions with the atmosphere.

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Before closing this sad chapter - I want to include this from Joe Romm:

James Lovelock Finally Walks Back His Absurd Doomism, But He Still Doesn’t Follow Climate Science 
By Joe Romm on Apr 23, 2012
Famed scientist James Lovelock has always been in a category of one when it comes to global warming. See for instance my June 2009 post, “Lovelock still makes me look like Paula Abdul, warns climate war could kill nearly all of us, leaving survivors in the Stone Age.” That’s mostly because he doesn’t follow the scientific literature. 
Now that he has dialed back his doomism — alarmism is a wholly inadequate word for Lovelock’s (former) brand of unjustified hopelessness — the media and the deniers are just so excited. That’s especially true since Lovelock has now overshot in the other direction of climate science confusion and just keeps peddling nonsense.
And so we have this MSNBC story: {...}
He was wrong about his doomism before, he is wrong about Gore now, and he is apparently uninformed about basic climate observations (see “Breaking News: The Earth Is Still Warming. A Lot“). Indeed, even MSNBC feels compelled to note:
. . . I do know some climate scientists and others who think that it is certainly possible billions will die if we are so self-destructive as to keep near the worst-case emissions scenario and the carbon cycle feedbacks and soil moisture projections are merely in the middle of their projected range (see “An Illustrated Guide to the Science of Global Warming Impacts: How We Know Inaction Is the Gravest Threat Humanity Faces“).

also see: ... l-warming/
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