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MetService critics should stick to science

21 December 2006

MetService critics should stick to science instead of toadying to their political masters

New Zealand Climate Science Coalition scientists have come to the defence of their colleague, Professor Augie Auer, former chief meteorologist of MetService, in response to criticisms posted on Scoop by the present management of MetService.

A statement by the coalition says: "It's time the taxpayer-funded officials in the MetService started explaining the science, instead of resorting to generalised assertions they used in their criticism of Professor Auer.

It seems to us, that instead of presenting valid, verifiable scientific facts, they are more anxious to please their political masters, and to preserve their access to overseas gatherings as representatives of the UN World Met Organization in this part of the world. To this end they have joined those who Mike Hulme, Director of the UK Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research refers to as 'climate catastrophists'.

Where, for instance, is the sound, verifiable evidence that carbon dioxide will cause catastrophic warming in New Zealand or the world? Yet this supposition is the whole basis on which the Government justifies its ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, and its intentions to impose costs on human activities that emit carbon dioxide and methane, while ignoring the fact that we cannot control the hugely greater volume of emissions from natural sources such as volcanoes, wetlands and the oceans that have gone on for millions of years?

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"Instead of bagging a distinguished former colleague, MetService chiefs would do better to answer the question being asked just four days before Christmas, by shivering South Islanders and frost-wary Marlborough grape growers: 'where's all this global warming when we need it?'”

In his response to Professor Auer, Chief Meteorologist Neil Gordon stated:
"During the 20th century, the global average surface temperature has increased by about 0.60C. In the past four decades, temperatures have risen in the lowest 8 kilometres of the atmosphere. Snow cover and ice extent have decreased. Global average sea level has risen and ocean heat content has increased. Snow, wind and rain storms are costing us more."

Mr Gordon's assertions are broken down in capital letters below, followed by comments by coalition scientists:


We are not global warming deniers. We accept that there has been some minor warming as the world comes out of the Little Ice Age. Most of it occurred before 1940. Many of the points made by Neil Gordon cannot be distinguished from natural warming. In any case, another increase of 0.6oC, is hardly likely to be catastrophic. The planet has been several degrees warmer previously with no apparent disastrous or tipping point consequences

Average global temperatures prior to 1950 are dubious because coverage by monitoring stations was poor, especially in the southern hemisphere. Prior to 1900 most observations came from the more densely populated regions of Europe. It is doubtful that the global data derived from these measurements and subsequent proxies such as tree rings are accurate.

Perhaps MetService people should talk to each other more. Their “Weather Ambassador” Bob McDavitt is reported in the New Zealand Herald of 20 December as saying “he doesn't buy into the argument that [the meteorological mayhem of 2006] is all the fault of global warming.”

The current low temperatures in New Zealand, especially in the South Island, are being experienced also in California: Los Angeles International Airport matched the 1924 record low temperature of 39 degrees. Lancaster, a city in the high desert north of Los Angeles shivered at 16 degrees Fahrenheit, two degrees below the previous record from 1965.
Napa's record for December19 from 1924 of 22 degrees has been broken, too.

Monterey tied the 1948 record low temperature.
Seems the closer you're to the ground, the colder it grows.


The temperature of the lower troposphere has been measured accurately by NASA satellites since 1979: ie for 27 years ("LT5.2" which is the University of Alabama's (Huntsville) interpretation of the NASA satellites' data on the temperature of the lower troposphere). During that time, the average Northern Hemisphere's temperature has increased from -0.13 C to + 0.30 C, ie by 0.43 C. The average Southern Hemisphere temperature has increased from -0.08 C to + .09 C, ie by about 0.17 C. Over the entire lower troposphere, the average temperature has increased by 0.3 C over the 27 years with a peak of 0.50 C in October 1998 and a minimum of -0.26 C in May 1993, ie the overall range of fluctuation has been about three-quarters of a degree. In the 8 years since the peak of October 1998 until October 2006, the overall average global temperature has decreased by 0.3 C, despite the record amounts of CO2 that have been poured into the atmosphere by humans during the same period. All of this indicates that any linkage between human produced CO2 and the temperature of the lower troposphere is very weak indeed.


Much of the Antarctic has been cooling. The Dry Valleys have cooled by 0.7 degrees Celsius per decade. An article about Antarctic cooling is : Doran, P.T., J.C. Priscu, et al 2002. Antarctic Climate Cooling and Terrestrial Ecosystem Response. Nature. 415:517-520.

About melting glaciers, NZ and Norwegian glaciologists recently published the following paper: Chinn, T, S. Winkler, M.J. Salinger and N. Haakensen, 2005: Recent glacier advances in Norway and New Zealand: a comparison of their glaciological and meteorological causes. Geografiska Annaler, Series A, vol. 87 (1): 141-157 (March 2005).

If man-made greenhouse emissions have caused the warming that made glaciers retreat, they must be psychic because many glaciers started to retreat long before greenhouse gases could be a factor. For instance, the Franz Josef Glacier started its overall retreat in 1750. The Himalayan Gangotry Glacier started its retreat in 1780. Glaciers advance and retreat, in sync with sunspot cycle length. The Swiss Aletsch Glacier is a good example. Glacier fluctuations correlate very well against C14, which is a proxy for solar activity, (Sunspots influences cosmic rays, which create C14.)

We agree that global average sea levels have risen. But there has been no acceleration of sea-level rise. Sea-level has risen 120 metres since the last ice age. Sea-level was a lot higher during the Bronze Age, when it was warmer than now.
According to satellite observations sea levels have been rising at an average of 2.9 mm per year since 1993. Since 2002, the rate has decreased to 1.5 mm. Other observations confirm that a 2-3mm rate of rise has been going on for the last 100 years at least. As we came out of the last ice age, sea levels rose 100 m between 15000 and 6000 BC at an average rate of 15 mm per year. Atolls survived because the coral growth was able to match the 15 mm pa sea level rise.
The conclusion is that current sea level rise is normal, does not correlate with CO2 increase and is much less than it has been in the past. (Source - University of Colorado - Topex Jason 2005).


We are not aware of any supporting evidence. As far as we understand, the climate catastrophists have a problem with global temperature increase being less than "predicted" by computer models. They get out of this by saying that the oceans have absorbed some of this greenhouse gas heat. However, that does not work. Point one: NIWA in its November weather report state that the seas around NZ are cooler than normal.

This would in part explain why the icebergs got so far north. But an even more devastating bombshell for climate catastrophists must be the following scientific paper: Lyman, J.M, J.K. Willis & G.C. Johnson 2006: Recent cooling of the upper ocean. Geophys. Res. Letters 33, L18604,doi:10.1029/2006GL027033, 2006. The upper 750 metres of the world ocean have cooled dramatically since 2003. Where has that heat gone? Why didn't the models predict it

The paper by Lyman et al stated that the heat content of the entire upper ocean, as accurately measured by Argo buoys, increased by about 8.1 x 10^22 Joules between 1993 and 2003. Then it decreased by about 3.2 x 10^22 Joules during the next two years to 2005.

The cooling occurred at about the same rate as the warming. Since humans have been producing ever increasing quantities of CO2 over the same period, any linkage between this and increasing ocean heat content is somewhere between non-existent and very weak. The study also indicates that the earth's oceans are capable of losing very large quantities of heat, probably to space, despite the theoretical limiting of this loss by means of the "greenhouse gas" effect. This in turn adds to other evidence that the climate models used to predict "global warming" are worthless.


We’re not sure that snow is costing us more, but wind and rain, in the form of hurricanes or cyclones certainly is. The major reasons for that increase in cost are the increase in coastal population and the increased expense of construction. Put those together - as the increased size of coastal cities and towns in terms of housing and infrastructure - and of course damage has become more expensive. (Flip the issue over and the only way that the insurance costs would remain the same in the light of rising construction costs would be if the population of coastal regions decreased. Construction costs twice what they used to be? Better halve the population!)

As for storms, look at what has happened in the U.S. this year. On May 22, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued its “2006 Atlantic Hurricane Outlook,” forecasting an “80 percent chance of an above-normal hurricane season, a 15 percent chance of a near-normal season, and only a 5 percent chance of a below-normal season.” NOAA called for “a very active 2006 season, with 13-16 named storms, 8-10 hurricanes, and 4-6 major hurricanes.”

As of November 30, the 2006 hurricane season saw only nine named-storms, five hurricanes, and two major hurricanes - none of which hit the U.S. According to NOAA’s own classification system, these numbers classify 2006 as a “below-normal” hurricane season - something NOAA gave only a 5 percent chance of happening.

What’s the lesson to be learned from NOAA’s big miscalculation? Could it possibly be that predicting weather and climatic events isn’t so easy?
Consider NOAA’s predictions for the 2006 hurricane season in the context of the man-made global warming hypothesis. Despite the vast collective expertise of NOAA scientists, immense quantities of atmospheric and oceanic data, and unprecedented computing power, NOAA failed miserably in predicting weather events a mere six months into the future - and reiterated those same ill-conceived predictions at mid-season.

Yet global warming alarmists, including those at NOAA, expect us to unthinkingly buy into their dire forecasts of global warming - predictions that extend 100 years or more into the future. Forecasting global climate change decades into the future can only be described as orders of magnitude more complex than forecasting an imminent, six month-long hurricane season.
And let’s not forget that the mathematical climate models used to forecast future global climate gloom-and-doom don’t come close to matching up with historical climate change. How can we reasonably expect them to be predictors of the future climate change? Is it wise to spend trillions of dollars based on such predictions?

The point here is not that the “below-normal” 2006 hurricane season disproves the global warming hypothesis. It doesn’t any more than the “above-normal” 2005 hurricane season proves the hypothesis.

What the 2006 hurricane season reveals is our - or in this case NOAA’s - susceptibility to producing and relying on wildly wrong climate-related predictions. This failure should humble our rush to try modifying weather through economy-killing greenhouse gas regulation - not embolden it.

Finally, the coalition challenges Neil Gordon to give a straight answer to this question:

"Given that, in spite of the predictions of the climate models, the world has not got any warmer since 1998, how many more years of no warming will he need before he will re-examine his views on the climate models and man-made global warming?"


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