Really Sciency

Visit my other blog 'Really Sciency' looking at Climate Science and its portrayal, misrepresentation and denial in the media.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Chinese wispers disprove global warming.

It doesn't take much for most climate skeptics to un-skeptically accept some stories - apparently just telling them what they want to hear will do. It also doesn't help that the standard of most of the worlds reporting media is so, so awful. Most journos are happy to take the lazy way out and rehash others stories, spinning them for effective headlines without backtracking to confirm sources. And so the Chinese whispers start.

A recent and revealing example of this was reported on the RealClimate blog. An interview with a Polish climatologist about a hypothetical, but presently unlikely breakdown in gulf stream circulation, which would cause server winter in the northern hemisphere, results in a shoddy article entitled 'Scientists warn that awaits us, "Winter Millennium"'. This is re-reported, without any apparent checking of the source until it morphs in to claims of "Coldest winter in 1,000 years on its way". 

It is picked on by the 'skeptical' blogger  Anthony Watts on his blog 'Watts Up With That?, which will be known forthwith as 'Watts Wrong With That?' The premise of this is apparently that if this winter is really cold in the north, the coldest for 1,000 years even, then there can't be global warming.

Of course the real irony is that the climate 'skeptic' was not at all skeptical of this report and one of the main reasons that the gulf stream might alter would be due to fresh water melt caused by climate change.


  1. Apparently the Gulf Stream did stop for ten days in 2004
    Then I guess it started up again. What I find astonishing is that someone can actually measure these things .

  2. I hadn't heard about this and I am still a bit sceptical as I haven't come across any research about it.

    I do remember a BBC Horizon program about the possibility and the nightmare that it would be created if it happened including some evidence that it had slowed, as mentioned in the Guardian article.

    But all the research I have seen since seems to point that this scenario is currently unlikely in the near future. This stopping and slowing may be natural and common. We haven't that much data to go on - lets hope so, there is enough to worry about without even more.

  3. Hello Lazarus,

    Wondered why you've gone quiet at the forums. Caught your blog from RC.

    For what it's worth...

    I'm unconvinced by this whole THC stopping meme. From the papers I've read I see the THC as very variable, yet there doesn't seem to be an impact on European temperatures who's trend seems to be attributable to GW and variance to changes in airmasses.

    Chris R

  4. Hi Chris, I'm still lurking on all the forums but seem to have less time. Any posts I do that I think are worth it end up here as well in some form.

    I am sceptical about the gulf stream stopping too. It has happened in the past so will likely happen again, and if enough fresh water is dumped in the northern Arctic it might happen.
    But scientifically I think the jury is still out on this one regards current climate change as a trigger. IMHO it less likely. Bring on more research.

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