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Letters / Climate is changing constantly

Thank you, J. Sandison, for your response (Not as black and white; SN, 08/12/14), you’ve made a couple of points which deserve further comment.

With respect, I’m not suggesting the debate on changes in global climate is “black and white”; quite the reverse.

I was pointing out a couple of ‘Inconvenient Truths’ to Doug Allen who, like ‘Heather the Weather’, has visited Shetland, riding the gravy train of “man-made global warming”, making a simplistic “black and white” case on which to cash in, while the going is good.

The climate is changing constantly and the factors influencing it are far too complex for anyone to claim certainty about the future. Before we accept alarmism, we need to see convincing scientific evidence, not “I’ve been there and seen it with my own eyes”.

It’s well established that, in the absence of other effects, an increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) will produce warming, to the extent that doubling its concentration would lead to a temperature rise of about 1 Celsius.

What is not well established is the alarmist claim that the net effect of other related influences (“feedbacks”), e.g. cloud cover and increased plant growth, will greatly exacerbate warming and/or, produce an unhelpful, far less, a catastrophic, outcome.

As far as the Arctic is concerned, it isn’t “black and white”, either, since the volume of Arctic ice (the total ice present, irrespective of wind factors), increased by 50 percent in 2013 and sea ice extent has also been increasing for the last few years. (http://www.reportingclimatescience.com/news-stories/article/latest-data-shows-arctic-ice-volume-has-increased.html

In the Antarctic, there has been a steady increase in sea ice extent since satellite records began in 1979 – it didn’t suddenly happen in 2014 – so if the record levels have been caused by wind, the wind must, presumably, have been behaving in the same way since 1979?

Ironically, last (Antarctic) summer, an Australian expedition aiming to celebrate the centenary of a voyage by Douglas Mawson and investigate how much ice had “disappeared” since then, had to be rescued by helicopter when their specially ice-strengthened ship, Akademik Shokalskiy, became trapped in ice a long way short of Mawson’s destination.

Two powerful Australian and Chinese icebreaker ships sent to rescue them also became stuck.

The BBC reported

“Several attempts to break through to the ship by sea – by the Xue Long, Aurora Australis and French-flagged L’Astrolabe – failed because of the thickness of the ice.

Andrew Luck-Baker says the Aurora Australis, although big, was simply not up to the task ……..

One of the aims was to track how quickly the Antarctic’s sea ice was disappearing.”

All this at the end of a 15-year period during which manmade CO2 emissions have continued to soar yet, contrary to the predictions of the much-vaunted computerised climate models, there has been little or no warming. That is why the vacuous catch phrase “climate change” has been substituted for “global warming”.

Ted Scambos, the scientist quoted in the last paragraph of the “Climate.gov” article, acknowledging the Arctic and Antarctic are being affected by “climate change” (of course they are, they always have been!) said:

“But Antarctic sea ice is responding to wind shifts and ocean changes in an unexpected way, and we’re still trying to fully understand it.”

This is code for “Our predictions about Antarctic ice disappearing are being seen to be wildly wrong and we don’t know why.”

Well, it could be that the IPCC’s assumption, which drives all the doom-laden prophecies, namely, that “other influences” will greatly exacerbate moderate CO2-initiated warming and swamp other influences is, itself, wrong.

Indeed, recent research consistently suggests that previous estimates of “climate sensitivity” (to CO2) have been too high.

Alas, it seems we must pour trillions of dollars down the drain while we wait and see. However, the IPCC’s track record fails to inspire.

I repeat my question: “At which instant during the last five billion years was the climate the “correct” one and how do we propose to reinstate that happy state of affairs?”

I don’t expect to hear the answer, or that WWF is calling for the reintroduction of alligators to Spitzbergen, but one thing is certain, erecting thirty-odd thousand, 400-foot wind turbines across the UK, devastating the remaining wilderness and making the poor poorer, won’t make a jot of difference.

John Tulloch
Lyndon
Arrochar

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