A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Now, have you seen these pretty curves, Mr.Blair?.....

Here are some graphs and statistics, courtesy of the ever-excellent Barry Hearn, that Mr. Blair (and all of us) should peruse, and rather soon:

'Global warming: Tony Blair and other stellar effects':

"Tony Blair appears convinced by the enhanced greenhouse hypothesis but atmospheric CO2 levels do not fit changes in the CET [Central England Temperature Record] at all well. For example, from 1695 to 1733, the annual mean temperature rose from 7.25°C to 10.47°C at a time when there was negligible change in atmospheric CO2 - the running mean did not return to such readings until the 1990s. On the other hand, annual mean temperatures fell from 10.62°C in 1949 to 8.47°C by 1963, a period when atmospheric CO2 levels were measurably rising."

"Tony Blair seems to have fallen into the old post hoc, ergo propter hoc ('it happened after, so it was caused by') trap. Do global temperatures react to recent increases in atmospheric greenhouse gasses? Quite possibly but temperatures obviously respond to other influences, possibly much more so than atmospheric CO2. From what we can see, GHGs are a poor fit with measured global near-surface temperatures; so, too, are simple urbanization and sunspot numbers, although length of solar cycle appears to have promise as a primary driver.

Whatever is finally discovered to be the case, simplistic notions about greenhouse gasses appear to fit the post hoc fallacy far better than they do global temperature. Some of the things so briefly discussed here might be drivers of global temperature but hardly in isolation. As the source of global warmth, the sun, and its various phases, looks a likely culprit as a primary driver of global climate, as do the Earth's orbital eccentricities.

On reflection, having the CET show the 1990s just barely eclipse annual mean temperature recorded in 1733 (a 266 year-old record following a temperature climb of ~3.25°C in under 4 decades, a rise which would cause pandemonium today) [my italic], suggests negligible warming over two and one-half centuries, despite massive population increase, urbanization and clearer skies allowing greater solar radiation penetration to ground."

So, "... from 1695 to 1733, the annual mean temperature rose from 7.25°C to 10.47°C..." - just imagine the hype in The Gloomiad if that were happening today!

And,please, please, Mr. Blair, Sir, may we have a sensible and realistic energy policy rather than Green-left-appeasing waffle and worryworting?

Philip, too cold in the garden for tea. Let's annoy the puritans and put on that patio heater.....

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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