Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Cold snap not a sign of ‘global cooling’

In case you were confused by the latest “cooling period” flap.

David Rose, climate 'journalist'In comments, several readers suggested that I examine a recent report from the U.K. newspaper the Daily Mail that attempts to tie the research of modeller and IPCC author Mojib Latif to the current cold spell in Europe.  Now that Latif has responded to this latest distortion of his views in an interview with the Guardian, I’m happy to oblige.

And, while I’m at it, I’ll also take a look at the short and dubious track record of newly-minted contrarian climate “investigative journalist”  David Rose, whose very first climate change article was an overview of Climategate “research” from Steve McIntyre, with generous assistance from Ross McKitrick.

David Rose’s article in the latest Mail on Sunday gets right to the point:

The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists.

Of course, this is exactly the sort of distortion that Latif has been subjected to before, most recently in the wake of his presentation at the World Climate Conference in Geneva last October, as I noted in my post Anatomy of a lie: How Marc Morano and Lorne Gunter spun Mojib Latif.

Perhaps ruefully reflecting on that sorry experience, Latif has responded to this latest outrageous exaggeration in no uncertain terms in an interview with the Manchester Guardian.

The Mail on Sunday article said that Latif’s research showed that the current cold weather heralds such “a global trend towards cooler weather”.

It said: “The BBC assured viewers that the big chill was was merely short-term ‘weather’ that had nothing to do with ‘climate’, which was still warming. The work of Prof Latif and the other scientists refutes that view.”

Not according to Latif. “They are not related at all,” he said. “What we are experiencing now is a weather phenomenon, while we talked about the mean temperature over the next 10 years. You can’t compare the two.

“The natural variation occurs side by side with the manmade warming. Sometimes it has a cooling effect and can offset this warming and other times it can accelerate it.” [Emphasis added]

The Mail also characterized Latif’s research this way:

He and his colleagues predicted the new cooling trend in a paper published in 2008 and warned of it again at an IPCC conference in Geneva last September.

However, the referenced Keenlyside at al paper projects reduced warming (not cooling) for the coming decade 2010-2020 relative to previous decades, as I explained previously. And as Latif makes clear above, his discussion with Rose was limited to the “mean temperature over the next ten years”. All that is a far cry from a “global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years”. …

Mojib Latif slams Daily Mail

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