In countering the global warming hysteria, I’ve been slimed by the best. Michael James’s effort yesterday, trying to discredit a column of mine last week was so cackhanded it doesn’t even come close.

Much of his rant against my column last week is based on the most wilful misrepresentation — to put it mildly — of what I wrote in black and white).

Judge, for example, from this:

Bolt claims his “seven graphs” from reputable sources disprove conclusively that the world is cooling not warming and Arctic ice is not thinning.

First, of course, James uses “disprove” when he meant “prove”. Second, I specifically denied in the column that I was “conclusively” proving the world was now in a cooling phase:

This recent cooling doesn’t disprove the theory that man is warming the world. Ten years is too short to be sure of a trend.

And, hoping to be so clear that even a James couldn’t miss it, I repeated that caveat:

But I repeat: the world may yet warm again, and soon, although scientists at Leibnitz Institute and Max Planck Institute last month predicted it won’t for at least another decade. If at all, say solar experts worried by a lack of sun spots. But even if none of my graphs disproves the theory that man is causing dangerous warming, they should at least make you pause.

No good, I’m afraid. If some zealot wants to misrepresent you, he most certainly will.

But we’re not finished with the errors in that single sentence of James. Here is his third — his claim that I’d tried to prove “conclusively” that “Arctic ice is not thinning”.

In fact, nowhere in the article did I refer to Arctic ice either thinning or thickening. James just made that up, in order to have something to attack.

And even then he had to ignore the latest science to deny what in fact I hadn’t said. Michael, pay attention: that was last April’s scare you regurgitated, about the unusual and dangerous thinness of so much Arctic ice. Read what the the US National Snow and Ice Center now says:

Previous discussion (see April 7, 2008) presented evidence that much of the Arctic Ocean this winter and spring, including the area near the North Pole, was covered with fairly thin, first-year ice. This thin, young ice is vulnerable to melting completely in summer. The large areas of low-concentration ice discussed above reinforce this concern.

Figure 5 shows sea ice thickness for late winter of 2006, 2007, and 2008 derived from the NASA ICESat laser altimeter instrument and provided by Ronald Kwok at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Based on Kwok’s analysis, the first-year ice that formed since last autumn, while spatially extensive, has a mean thickness of 1.6 meters (5.2 feet), which is close to the thickness seen in 2006 and 2007 . Much of this season’s first-year ice formed rather late last autumn, so we had expected to see thinner first-year ice.

So why is the first-year ice thicker than anticipated?

And here’s another bizarre thing. James criticises four graphs in particular, but the fourth — about the North Pole melt — isn’t even one of the seven from my column at all. It’s actually taken from this blog post

Why is this significant? Because James then focuses entirely on the below-average ice cover at the North Pole, treating it as a sign of global warming, when, as the sea ice graph in my original column shows, total sea ice around the world is in fact above average levels. If local melting, through possibly local influences, is proof of global warming, then what should we conclude from a much more extensive freezing in the Southern Hemisphere, Michael? Why do you ignore it? That doesn’t strike me as honest.

Here’s another dodgy thing. James criticises my first graph for showing world temperatures only up to January. In fact, in the graph as it appeared in print, and which I linked to from my blog reprinting — the temperatures are extended to April.

James claims I am “basing my argument — that the world really is cooling rather than warming — on a short blip in the data around January 2008”, which is such a distortion of my argument I am tempted to conclude it is deliberate.

Distortion one: The graph data I present goes up to April, not just to January. Distortion two: In fact, as the graphs which ran with my column show, the cooling seems to have lasted now for close to two years, not one month, as has the fall in sea levels and the rise in total sea ice. Distortion three: My argument is not so much that the world is cooling, on just two years of data, but that there has not been any warming trend for at least seven years, and no net warming since 1998. That’s three more distortions in a single sentence. And an omission: If a decade still seems too short a period to make any conclusions (as I believe along with James), what James fails to acknowledge is that the IPCC’s latest report narrows the period of man-made warming to just the 25-odd years until around 1998 — which seems also rather short for firm conclusions.

I could go through every line of James’ rant to find similar misrepresentations, evasions and ignorance, but this is a writing day and I’m already under the pump. I’ll probably post something fuller on my blog when I have time.

But much of his attack relies on him ignoring — and misrepresenting — the whole basis of my argument.

No, Michael, I’m not saying the world hasn’t warmed over the past century, and have never denied it. Indeed, my graphs showed just that warming.

No, Michael, I’m not denying world temperatures have settled on a high plateau, and have never denied it. Indeed, my graphs show just that.

No, Michael, I’m not denying sea levels have crept up for many scores of years, and in fact said just that in my article. Indeed, my graphs show that rise (which stopped two years ago, Michael, not one.).

No, Michael, the failure of the Arctic melt this year to exceed the record of last year is not evident from just two weeks of records but the entire summer’s so far. Check the graph.

No, Michael, I’m not saying the couple of cold years, the recent fall in sea levels or the increase in sea ice are proof of a trend, or have occurred for long enough to prove anything conclusive. I’ve just noted them, and said they don’t fit climate model predictions or claims of runaway warming.

They deserve simply to be noted and watched — and at least reported without someone like you seeing visions of demons and going into paroxysms of misrepresentation and rage.

There are many ways to discount the data I presented, and I made many of them myself, but James’s way of doing so is a disgrace.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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