Hot Topic's "Trufflehunter" Gareth Renowden is showing strong signs he's a closet masochist, by continuing to stridently assert on left-wing blogs that his original review of Air Con was factually sound.
I crafted a response that turns out to be too long for the comments section at Tumeke, so it's here as a fresh post:
Gareth, your Asian brothels quote was taken utterly out of context, and the spin you put on it was crap. You know it, I know it. As I showed, both in the book and my response to you, I was quoting Green activists. You lied in your review, and I clearly established that.
Item 2, your buffoonery over Milankovich cycles. Again, you quoted me out of context, deliberately. The paragraph from page 86 of Air Con you highlighted came at the end of a series of citations from Stott et al and Caillon et al.
Rather than deal with the scientific papers, you throw to a blogsite similar to yours, then come up with this:
“In how many ways is Wishart’s speculation wrong? He clearly doesn’t understand how the climate warms out of an ice age — orbital changes trigger ice sheet melt in the northern hemisphere, which creates an albedo change as white snow and ice is replaced by dark vegetation, reinforcing the warming.”
Newsflash Gareth, you have been overly simplistic here as orbital changes are not the only factor that governs warm and cool periods. More to the point, if Bomber and your other devoted followers actually read the link you helpfully provided in your 'review' (http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-lags-temperature.htm ), they’ll find it bears little resemblance to your explanation of the sequence of events.
What was it you said I didn’t understand? That’s right, you claim that orbital changes trigger ice sheet melt in the <i>northern</i> hemisphere, which creates an albedo change and allows dark vegetation to grow.
What does your reference link actually say:
“It begins with the high <i>southern</i> latitudes (eg - Antarctica) warming and releasing CO2 from the oceans. The CO2 mixes through the atmosphere, amplifying and spreading the warming to northern latitudes (Cuffey 2001). This is why warming in the southern hemisphere precedes warming in the northern hemisphere (Caillon 2003). This is confirmed by marine cores that show tropical temperatures lag southern warming by ~1000 years (Stott 2007).”
Not only does your link quote the same papers I did in Air Con, it also, helpfully, says the same things I wrote in Air Con, such as this in my words from page 85:
“Again, in simple terms, Antarctica warmed up, slowly releasing CO2 trapped in the ice and nearby ocean, and that extra CO2 didn’t reach significant levels for around 800 years. The warming cycle, perhaps then aided by CO2, then helped trigger melt in the Northern Hemisphere.”
Bomber, I sure as hell hope you are taking notes here, because your local hero is taking a pasting. “In how many ways is Wishart’s speculation wrong? He clearly doesn’t understand how the climate warms out of an ice age”, opined Trufflehunter.
Yeah, right. There have been three explanations given. Two of them, from SkepticalScience and Air Con, agree that warming begins in Antarctica and precedes CO2 release by 800 or so years, eventually affecting the northern hemisphere. The third explanation, provided by Truffle, says warming begins in the Northern Hemisphere.
The real hoot is that while Truffle references SkepticalScience, I wonder if he actually understands it at all. Because here’s how Gareth continued his bizarre explanation:
“Eventually there’s enough extra heat to warm the oceans and start CO2 outgassing. In other words, the oceans are not responding to heat somehow stored from an earlier period — they respond to heat as it arrives.”
OK, once again from the reference link Gareth himself provided:
“The eccentricity cycle causes changes in insolation (incoming sunlight). When springtime insolation increases in the southern hemisphere, this coincides with rising temperatures in the south, retreating Antarctic sea ice and melting glaciers in the southern hemisphere (Shemesh 2002). As temperature rises, CO2 also rises but lags the warming by 800 to 1000 years (Monnin 2001, Caillon 2003, Stott 2007).”
Anyone with half a brain want to reconcile Gareth’s claim with what’s written in his own source link? Gareth, you and Bomber remind me of Enron: the smartest guys in the room. Not.
And just in case you want to try and gloss over your embarrassing errors here, I’ll quote some more from SkepticalScience:
“How does warming cause a rise in atmospheric CO2? As the oceans warm, the solubility of CO2 in water falls (Martin 2005). This causes the oceans to give up more CO2, emitting it into the atmosphere. The exact mechanism of how the deep ocean gives up its CO2 is not fully understood but believed to be related to vertical ocean mixing (Toggweiler 1999).”
We are not totally sure how the CO2 finds its way back up from the deep, but find its way up it does.
But Gareth isn’t finished with his high school rendition of global warming theory:
“If the Earth had been as warm as Wishart believes during the Medieval Warm Period (warmer than today, he repeatedly asserts), then the oceans would have emitted CO2 then, and an amplified warming would have taken place. Instead, the MWP was followed by a Little Ice Age.”
Actually, according to the studies your own link referenced, upwelling CO2 from the deep would follow about 800 years after the MWP which is, what, about a century ago?
Regardless, follow the logic for a moment, Gareth, if you can. On your simplistic understanding of greenhouse theory every warm period should turn into runaway global warming. Another newsflash, it hasn’t.
Moberg (2005), Esper (2002) and even Briffa (2000) have all produced data indicating the MWP was as warm as or warmer than Earth currently is. (Graphs reprinted in photo insert, Air Con). It isn’t lil old me making a bald assertion. I’m quoting peer reviewed studies, what are you quoting? Michael Mann? Don’t make me laugh.
If it was that hot, as you yourself acknowledge, CO2 must have been released. Why don’t we see it in the records? I’ll come to that in a second.
You have used the warming out of the great ice ages as proof of CO2 release and amplified warming, so you have admitted the greenhouse effect has definitely been in play in the past. Why did the Earth not collapse in a heatwave of unstoppable global warming at that stage, then? (particularly when you claim the heat of the MWP should have resulted in one)
Don’t worry, it’s a rhetorical question. Because Earth has mechanisms that allow it to deal with both rising heat and rising CO2. One of the most obvious of these is forestation. Plants grow rapidly and absorb the extra CO2 rapidly. Crisis averted, life continues none the wiser.
And all of these devastatingly embarrassing gaffes were made by you in your first “Something Stupid” review of Air Con.
Look, I could go on all week pulling your various reviews and your parliamentary submissions to shreds, but I think the above is just a taste for those readers here who still think you dealt to Air Con. You didn’t even get close. As I’ve shown, your understanding of how Earth warms out of ice ages is in sharp contrast to the very website you referenced, which ironically supports my understanding, not yours.
If I want the best ruffle recipes, I’ll be sure to buy your book. But on global warming you’re not that hot. Sure, you’ve got a happy little choir here and at the Standard to preach to, but most of them wouldn’t have a clue that you are wrong, and most of them (not having read Air Con or any other skeptic book) will blithely continue in their blissful ignorance.
As for your “wager”, purportedly based on page 208 of Air Con, again you misrepresent and misquote me.
You say: "You think the planet is going to cool (Air Con p208). I am willing to bet $100 (for the charity of your choice) that there will be a new record global average annual temperature within the next five years (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, or 2014"
However, that page wasn't about general cooling. What I actually wrote on page 208 is:
“Not withstanding a hot regional blip in Australia, the odds are not good that 2009 will be a record breaking warm year. On current trends it may be cooler again than 2008.”
We know CO2 emissions continue to rise, we know methane emissions continue to rise. Are you willing to wager $2,000 against my $20 that 2009 will be “the hottest year on record”?
By rights, if you are so confident that what I wrote in Air Con on p208 was wrong, you should be leaping at the chance.
UPDATE: Gareth has posted his response, to which I would add the following points:
On the child eating Greens comment he took out of context, he writes:
What I put in my original review was this: "Consider the mental space occupied by someone who is willing to write, publish and promote this (p247): What they [wild greens] really mean is that they want ordinary families and kids to become extinct, leaving space for the Green elite to run the planet and enjoy exclusive bird-watching excursions while feasting on the bones of six year olds who'd earlier been sold to Asian brothels"
Truffle correctly points out I wrote the paragraph, but he gave no hint in his original review of the context (it was a sarcastic reference by me paraphrasing some of the loony things wilder greens had suggested, including cannibalism to keep the population down).
In his final attempt to address my concerns, Gareth does now give a little bit of context, grudgingly, but doesn't include the anchor-quote from German environmentalist Carl Amery: "We in the green movement aspire to a cultural model in which killing a forest will be considered more contemptible than the sale of 6-year-old children to Asian brothels."
If you have a question about someone's "mental space" Truffle, I suggest you start with Ted Turner and Carl Amery. I merely reported their words, so presumably if my paraphrasing offended you so should the original utterances. Lyall Watson's comments in the Financial Times on cannibalism, by the way, arose because he spent time with cannibals and wrote about his experiences. He was a New Age Gaia believer, author of the book Supernature.
Moving on to the substance of the criticisms in the post above, Gareth now acknowledges the link he provided supports what I wrote in Air Con about warming of the Southern hemisphere releasing CO2 about 800 years later which then impacts on the north.
He accuses me of trying "to make a fuss about it", whilst ignoring that it was he who chose this particular point to try and slam me on, unsuccessfully as it now turns out.
He now concedes that on current data we don't really know whether the warming began in the South or the North (the studies I've seen, including the ones cited by his source material, all suggest South), but if he's conceding that point now shouldn't he perhaps have put his brain in gear before opening mouth to attack me on this exact issue in the first place?
'He then says:
"But one thing's clear, warming 800 years ago is not driving the increase in atmospheric CO2 now. There's 40% more than there was in the 1850s."
Let me illustrate, politely, the gap in Gareth's logic here. For centuries, the planet has been in apparent CO2 balance, with an atmospheric level of 280 to 300ppm. But there are several possible explanations for the increase that Gareth failed to factor into the certainty of his comment above.
One is that a surplus can result not just from increased production of CO2, but also from decreased removal of it - in other words, we've removed some of the carbon sinks that would have otherwise soaked it up.
Vast swathes of the globe have had forests cut down in the past 150 years to make way for farms and cities, as human population grew from a billion to seven billion. Deforestation is a major contribution to atmospheric CO2 not just because the wood might be cleared by burning, but also because it's like chopping out a lung. Earth can't breathe as deeply, and therefore can't process the CO2 as quickly as it did two centuries ago.
Therefore, in sharp contrast to Gareth's assurances, increased CO2 from solar warming out of the Little Ice Age may well play a large role in contributing to the CO2 problem today, because it adds to the current surplus and there are not enough forests to deal with it.
Gareth, like many other AGW believers, will instantly chime on the isotope ratios as if this proves human influence is to blame. Not necessarily. It has been established that carbon isotopes from fossil fuel burning are not as easily "digested" back into plant life, so it is entirely conceivable that the most easily digested carbon will be taken in first, and the harder bits left lying around in the atmosphere longer. If there's been a big growth in natural CO2 emissions, they're competing with human-sourced CO2. One would expect the atmospheric ratio to reflect that, and reflect the fact that anthropogenic emissions are on the losing side when it comes to being re-absorbed by carbon sinks.
The oceans are having to work harder because of deforestation as well. So all of these complex factors are at play.
Air Con makes allowances for uncertainties like these, but the arrogance of AGW believers, as illustrated by Gareth's writings, is a tragic indictment on the way they've turned global warming into a religious belief with creeds that must be adhered to, instead of a scientific question with major complexities that need to be resolved.
Gareth has already taken a hammering, deservedly, for his misunderstanding of his own source material as alluded to above. But he's prone to preaching generalities in other areas as well.
For example, he says this:
"The warming is always fast, but the descent into full ice age conditions is relatively gradual"
While descent into full ice ages tends to be driven by orbital cycles, hence the "gradual" aspect, one might by misled by Gareth's comment into believing that warming is always fast, and cooling is always slow. Not so. Greenland ice cores show massive fluctuations in temperature, both up and down, that could occur in as little as a decade for either phenomenon, and produce long term (1000 years or more) of cold or warmth. At the start of the Younger Dryas period, for example, temperatures plunged more than 3C in ten years, provoking a millennium of cold.
The Little Ice Age is described in a NOAA report as an example of the fastest temperature decline in modern history:
"...interestingly the LIA is characterized by the most rapid onset of any of these Holocene cold periods (O'Brien et al., 1995). Initial measurements of CO2 in air bubbles of the GISP2 core (Wahlen et al., 1991) indicate that between AD 1530-1810 atmospheric CO2 levels remained relatively constant at 280+/- ppmv"
Interesting too that the baseline for CO2 measurement by the IPCC appears to be the amount set during the cooler LIA, when you would expect CO2 to be low (having been locked into ice and colder oceans).
As for Gareth's wager, he sets up a strawman. Beyond observing in Air Con that recent temperatures are falling from their highs and the sun is going quieter (which historically is linked to colder climate), I don't extrapolate cooling beyond 2009/10. I repeatedly make the point in the book that Earth has warmed over the past century as it pulls out of the Little Ice Age, and unless someone can convince me (a la Swanson & Tsonis, 2009) that this warming has ended I have little reason to suspect Earth won't continue to gradually warm for awhile.
Therefore, contrary to Gareth's assertion, I'm not wedded to medium to long term cooling - simply because we don't have enough data on where the current trend is going. The MWP lasted several hundred years.
However, for $100 to a charity of his choice (and vice versa) I'm happy to say I don't think 2009 will be a record warm year, and I doubt 2010 will be.
The re-emergence of the natural El Nino later this year however would boost 2010 temps and certainly 2011. How do we control such variables in a wager? To leave them uncorrected means we are simply gambling on oceanic oscillations which, let's face it, is one of the factors I attribute the 1998/early 2000s warmth to. Even if Gareth wins and 2010 turns out to be a record warm year, if it's done by coasting on El Nino it will be a very hollow victory for Trufflehunter.
On the other hand, if 2010 turns out to be a record warm year despite a La Nina, and despite a quiet sun, then not only will I happily pay Gareth's charity a hundred bucks, I'll drink a warm fish milkshake as well.
For those who'd like to follow the debate about Gareth's alleged 'review' of Air Con, here's the main sequence: