NoTricksZone and the hundreds of papers disputing climate change.
Let’s keep an open mind. Even better, lets follow the rule of investigative journalism: If your mother tells you she loves you, double check it. What if the entire body of evidence and observation is ready to crumble and we learn that it was the most elaborate hoax in all of human history?
My skeptical sparring partner gave me something. He is a self declared Grinch and, well, at least it wasn’t coal. He pointed me to hundreds of peer reviewed articles that call our beliefs about climate change into question.
I am not a scientist, nor do I have the money to jump the many paywalls science lurks behind. So we will have to do our best. In our case the question is not whether the science itself is correct, but whether the author was presenting skepticism about global warming.
In short, we want to know whether the author might feel misrepresented when seeing their work included on the NoTricksZone list. This site presents lists containing hundreds of ‘skeptic papers’: legitimate works of science; presumably overlooked by the Green Agenda in its attempt to stir up a panic.
The list I was given was a little old (2017), and NoTricksZone had a 2018 list so I started there. There was no way I’d have time for them all so I worked through the first nine in order and hand-picked the tenth, looking for an interesting title.
For some I also mailed the author, informing them that their work was on the list and asking them whether they felt this was a misrepresentation. I’m not sure many will reply: everyone is on holiday, academics can be notoriously hard to track down via email and many are wary about unknown bloggers asking about skeptic websites. But I’ll add their replies at the bottom.
Now lets crack in. Click on the paper’s title to see what I found, and when you’re tired of that skip to the summary..
Temperature trends with reduced impact of ocean air temperature
This paper is paywalled, so the abstract is all we have. It’s concluding sentence tells us that knowledge of the variability of temperatures according to the weather station’s wind protection will help when calculating the affects of solar conditions and greenhouse gas levels.
NoTricksZone had some correspondence with one of the authors, Frank Lansner and he goes into a little more details on the affects of ocean warming:
The little ice-age centuries led to a very cold ocean around 1900-1920 and so ocean and ocean-affected stations were not able to show the warming around 1920-30 so well. The ocean kept the warming hidden to some degree. Ocean temperature rise was somewhat delayed for decades it appears. That’s why ocean temperatures do not well reflect the heat balance over the Earth 1920-50 – unlike OAS areas valleys that reflected the change in heat balance rapidly. Thus it appears OAS data are the data best suited for evaluating the heat balance over the Earth.
When he mentions the ‘heat balance over the Earth’ this seems to imply the heat over land excluding as much as possible heat from the oceans. The point in making that observation is not clear. If you ignore heat from the ocean, it will seem like there is less warming, since more than 90% of the extra heat from global warming winds up there. Commenter RickWill has this to say:
Fundamentally, the oceans hold the energy that drive the climate trends. Temperature changes over land is best described as weather. Way too much noise to be used to determine climate trends.
NoTricksZone takes the observation as a win because the warming does not occur across land in a uniform way. This is the Strawman two argument from Snopes’ Fact Check: The concept of anthropogenic global warming requires every location on earth to respond to climatic variables in the same way.
The comment section itself descends into arguments about whether CO2 causes warming at all, whether greenhouse gases warm the oceans and whether there’s a conspiracy to end fossil fuels. Some commenters take the observations to support global warming. Certainly, the paper does not appear to be attempting to overthrow the basic ideas. It just points out that weather stations near ocean winds show more warming.
Deciding that this overturns anything draws a very long bow indeed, one that is not drawn in the abstract.
If we look at the article’s metrics it turns out that its had zero citations and 55 links on twitter, 7 of whom identified as scientists. Following those links takes you to a predictable place: lots of stuff about immigrants and walls. The principal author, Frank Lansner is a civil engineer, specialising in Microbiology and Biochemistryt, and currently works as a software developer. In a previous piece he claimed that the Arctic has cooled since 1958. It turned out that he was not interpreting the data correctly:
Thus the reality is that the annual average Arctic surface temperature as indicated by DMI has risen at rates around twice the global average over the past 50 years, which is entirely consistent with other Arctic data sets, including the data from GISS.
The other author, Dr Jens Olaf Pepke Pederson, certainly has little doubt about the dangers of global warming. He studies Paleoclimatology, Oceanography and Climatology at the Technical University of Denmark and recently won the Danish Research Result of Year. This study determines that the water vapour affected by the rising earth temperature will amplify the effect of global warming, indicating that what may have been estimated as a 2-3 degree rise will actually be more like 4-5. His partner on this paper sounded a warning:
Despite the gloomy prospects, Gary Shaffer welcomes the award as he sees it as an expression of the growing awareness that climate change is critical for humanity.
Link between the Barents Oscillation and recent boreal winter cooling over the Asian midlatitudes
1.3 Link between the Barents Oscillation and recent boreal winter cooling over the Asian midlatitudes
The Barents Oscillation is a wintertime atmospheric circulation pattern in the Northern Hemisphere that has implications for the Arctic climate. This is described in an earlier paper cited by this one: A robust mode of climate variability in the Arctic: The Barents Oscillation. It starts with this introduction:
Dramatic changes in the Arctic climate have been observed in recent decades, including rising surface air temperature (SAT) with a trend of up to 2C per decade in spring [Rigor et al., 2000] and substantial loss of sea ice [e.g.,Cavalieri, 2003]. These trends are often seen as an amplified response to global warming and can largely be explained by the anthropogenic forcing.
From the paper itself:
Previous studies have indicated that boreal winter cooling in Eurasia is related to Arctic sea-ice loss in autumn and winter, and to Arctic warming (Petoukhov and Semenov,2010; Cohen et al., 2012; Outten and Esau, 2012; Wu et al.,2013).
Here, we also examine the linear trend of boreal winter SAT during 1979–1990. Diﬀerent to the cooling trend of 1990–2015, Figs. 1d–f show a signiﬁcant warming trend in the area of the red box during 1979–90. Satellite observations have indicated that Arctic sea ice has retreated continuously since October 1978 (Comiso et al., 2008); however, the strong cooling trend has only been observed since the late 1980s. Therefore, this might indicate that other factors, such as the AO and BO, in addition to Arctic sea-ice loss, might also aﬀect the winter climate in this region.
The link between boreal winter cooling over the midlatitudes of Asia and the Barents Oscillation (BO) since the late 1980s is discussed in this study, based on five datasets. Results indicate that there is a large-scale boreal winter cooling during 1990–2015 over the Asian midlatitudes, and that it is a part of the decadal oscillations of long-term surface air temperature (SAT) anomalies. The SAT anomalies over the Asian midlatitudes are significantly correlated with the BO in boreal winter. When the BO is in its positive phase, anomalously high sea level pressure over the Barents region, with a clockwise wind anomaly, causes cold air from the high latitudes to move over the midlatitudes of Asia, resulting in anomalous cold conditions in that region. Therefore, the recent increasing trend of the BO has contributed to recent winter cooling over the Asian midlatitudes.
Spatially Distinct Seasonal Patterns and Forcings of the U.S. Warming Hole
J. M. Winter
E. C. Osterberg
D. W. Hyndman
A. D. Kendall
F. J. Magilligan
This, like the previous two, is a ‘Strawman 2’ argument. The paper notes that unexpected low temperatures are occurring in parts of the US. Despite these lows, the annual average temperatures continue to climb and there is no suggestion that global warming is taking a break.
The cold weather here was traced to a weakening of the jet stream, allowing the release of cold air from the north in some places. That weakening may be caused by climate change itself, but this is yet to be concluded.
This paper is behind a paywall and the abstract does not make the link to climate change clear (many scientists now take the shortcut of assuming that the reader is in no doubt about its presence, which should come as no surprise). Fortunately two publications Daily Mail and McClatchy DC, produced articles describing the study including quotes from the authors.
The effect described by this paper is confusingly known as the ‘warming hole’: misleading since it is characterised by cold weather. The conclusion from this study is that changes to the jet stream cause the affect. From the McClatchy article:
In the arctic, a natural phenomenon known as the polar vortex is a huge driver of colder winters. When the polar vortex is stable, arctic cold air is contained by the jet stream flowing to the south.
But when the jet stream is wavy, it allows frigid winds to blow down into the Southeast, a pattern that has repeated itself in many, but not all, years since the 1960s.
The Daily Mail article notes that it’s not certain yet whether changes to the jet stream are caused by global warming:
Additionally, it might be linked to climate change, the report said. ‘Previous research has illustrated that warming temperatures and melting Arctic sea ice set up conditions for a wavier jet stream,’ it explained.
The jet stream above the US started getting wavier in the 1950s, which coincides with the warming hole’s beginning.
We present a novel approach to characterize the spatiotemporal evolution of regional cooling across the eastern United States (commonly called the U.S. warming hole), by defining a spatially explicit boundary around the region of most persistent cooling. The warming hole emerges after a regime shift in 1958 where annual maximum (Tmax) and minimum (Tmin) temperatures decreased by 0.83°C and 0.46°C, respectively. The annual warming hole consists of two distinct seasonal modes, one located in the southeastern United States during winter and spring and the other in the midwestern United States during summer and autumn. A correlation analysis indicates that the seasonal modes differ in causation. Winter temperatures in the warming hole are significantly correlated with the Meridional Circulation Index, North Atlantic Oscillation, and Pacific Decadal Oscillation. However, the variability of ocean‐atmosphere circulation modes is insufficient to explain the summer temperature patterns of the warming hole.
1.4.4 Plain Language Summary
The U.S. “warming hole” is a region in the eastern United States that experienced a broad decline in temperatures beginning in the late 1950s. The warming hole is fundamentally different than global temperature trends, which have been rising since 1880. There are several ideas as to why the warming hole exists, but most cannot fully explain the observed temperature patterns. Interestingly, there is also disagreement about the location and timing of the warming hole, which may add to the difficulty in diagnosing its cause. Here we analyze temperature patterns since 1901 and present a new way to define the location of the warming hole, thereby clarifying much of the variance in location described in previous studies. We find that temperatures in the warming hole are associated with changes in climate indices over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which are likely related to changes in the waviness of the jet stream over the eastern United States. We find evidence that the jet stream exhibited a shift in the late 1950s coincident with the start of the warming hole, resulting in a greater tendency of northerly winds to bring cool air to the southern United States.
Contrasting temperature trends across the ice-free part of Greenland
This paper is available in full. Remember here that the objective is to assess whether the authors would feel that their work was being misrepresented by it’s inclusion in NoTricksZone’s list. Now read the first three sentences of the abstract. We’re done here.
Temperature changes in the Arctic have notable impacts on ecosystem structure and functioning, on soil carbon dynamics, and on the stability of permafrost, thus affecting ecosystem functions and putting man-built infrastructure at risk. Future warming in the Arctic could accelerate important feedbacks in permafrost degradation processes. Therefore it is important to map vulnerable areas most likely to be impacted by temperature changes and at higher risk of degradation, particularly near communities, to assist adaptation to climate change.
Winter Climate Variability In The Southern Appalachian Mountains, 1910-2017
Results of this study indicate that the southern Appalachian Mountains have experienced a statistically significant long-term cooling trend since the early 20th century, with recent decades suggesting a reversal of this cooling.
As before, this effect is described as an anomaly and the paper seek to explanation the unexpected cooling. The author concludes with this:
These findings can be used to bolster discussions with the public about the complexities of climate change and the climate system. This is especially important for regions like the SEUS and the SAM, where citizens are less likely to believe that climate change will affect them directly (Howe, 2015). To date, the SAM have remained resistant to the rate of warming seen worldwide but even slight changes to winter temperatures could have severe economic and environmental impacts…
Continued analysis of climatically anomalous regions, like the SAM, is crucial to understanding the impact of naturally occurring global and hemispheric forcings in masking, or in some cases, amplifying the impacts of the warming global climate.
Effect of Aspect on Climate Variation in Mountain Ranges of Shen- nongjia Massif, Central China
1.7 Yi, 2018: Effect of Aspect on Climate Variation in Mountain Ranges of Shen- nongjia Massif, Central China
From the introduction:
Accelerating global climate change is reshaping ecological communities through changes in species abundance (Elmendorf et al., 2015), and species interactions (Visser et al., 2006). Understanding the influences of global climate change on regional climates has become a key area of research in a variety of disciplines (IPCC, 2007), and many studies have determined that variations in regional climate mediated by climate change have altered the vegetation in regional terrestrial ecosystems (Cao and Woodward, 1998; Gonzalez et al., 2010; Gottfried et al., 2012; Peng et al., 2013). Therefore, understanding, attributing and predicting the regional climate changes is of great importance.
This paper, like the last, was interested an anomalies and changes to weather patterns in mountain ranges. From it’s conclusion:
..complicated change of the regional climates in mountain ranges with contrasting aspects that had different aspects responsesto global warming, which showed some inconsistency with general trends in global climate change.
This paper also passes my test: ‘would the author see its inclusion in the NoTricksZone list as a mirepresentation’. We’re six papers in now and by now the theme is pretty clear: Pierre Gosslin gathered a collection of observations about climate anomalies and decided to brand them all evidence that global warming is fake, even though each author clearly takes the position that it’s not.
Climate variability in the subarctic area for the last 2 millennia
This one had promise. The abstract mentioned all of the sceptics’ talking points: Medievel Climate Anomolay, Little Ice Ages and a multidecadal variability likely due to natural processes acting on the internal climate system on a regional scale. These are all natural factors that act on the climate and are constantly thrown up as alternatives to carbon emissions from humans.
However, the conclusion contains this line:
The focus on the last 2 centuries led us to highlight that the recent warming was marked by a global increasing temperature trend linked to the anthropogenic forcing.
I feel bad for not reading it any more closely, but what’s the point. The author summarised with as clear a statement supporting global warming as you can make. So, moving on.
Impacts of Broad-Scale Surface Freshening of the Southern Ocean in a Coupled Climate Model
Matthew H. England Climate Change Research Centre and ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Wenju Caia and Arnold Sullivan Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Oceans and Atmosphere, Aspendale, Victoria, Australia
Paul J. Durack Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, California
When sea water freezes the salt it contains is left behind in the water. So a consequence of large scale thawing is a ‘freshening’ of sea water. This in turn affects ocean currents and the convection (transfer of heat).
While there has been a measurable drop in the saltiness, the connection with climate change has not been quantified yet.
If climate change is causing the ocean freshening trend, that should become clear within the next 10 years, said study coauthor Thomas Haine, an oceanographer at Johns Hopkins University. “Right now it’s ambiguous because of natural variability.”
This paper is a challenge to the latest combined modelling project for studying ocean circulation (CMIP5). It notes that these models underestimate or fail to capture this historical surface freshening.
One of the consequences of the changes to convection is that some spots at the surface actually become cooler and sea ice increases at those points.
Sceptics point to instances of localised increases in ice mass as evidence that ice mass as a whole is increasing. It’s not. In fact the ice is thawing at alarming rates.
According to a study from NASA released over the summer, ice melting off Antarctica is already having a measurable impact on sea level, increasing global sea levels by 0.3 inches since 1992—with 0.12 inches of that rise coming just since 2012. If all of the ice in Antarctica melted, sea level would rise an immense 190 feet. That may seem far-fetched, however, at least one recent study in Science Advances suggests if we burn all the fossil fuels available we could indeed melt the entire ice cap. Read more:
Low-Frequency Climate Modes and Antarctic Sea Ice Variations, 1982–2013
D. Cerrone Science and Technology Department (DiST), University of Naples Parthenope, Naples, Italy
G. Fusco Science and Technology Department (DiST), University of Naples Parthenope, Naples, and Consorzio Nazionale Interuniversitario per le Scienze del Mare (CoNISMa), Rome, Italy
There are some important distinctions to understand about the poles – Antarctica is a huge land mass covered in ice while the Arctic is a watery area surrounded by land. This makes understanding the climatic changes around them two very different tasks.
In addition, Sea Ice and Land Ice are two very different things. Sea Ice comes and goes over seasons while Land Ice was built up over very long timeframes and is expected to be more consistent in a stable climate.
In the Antarctic:
Antarctic land ice is decreasing at an accelerating rate
Antarctic sea ice is increasing despite the warming Southern Ocean
It is ridiculous to suggest that these scientists pay no attention to sea ice, or that the increase in its volume has not been studied and weighed into the overall assessments. In point of fact, that is what this paper is attempting to do. There is nothing here to suggest that the authors of this paper reject the consensus that climate change is reducing ice overall, they are simply required to use plain language to describe the increases in ice where they appear.
progressive cooling has affected the year-to-year climate of the sub-Antarctic since the 1990s
SIC [sea ice concentration] shows upward annual, spring, and summer trends
In 2015 one study noted that Antarctica had a brief increase in Land Ice (1992-2008). This was a boon for the sceptics since it clearly was a reversal of the expected trend. However the lead author was clear to point out that this too was an anomaly and that the increase was dropping away to be replaced by the massive decreases we see now. NASA now report that land ice increases during the 20th century make up for one third of the current ice loss.
Antarctic sea ice increases are a known and accepted component of an overall picture where the Antarctic ice sheets are still melting at an alarming rate. The Antarctic Ice Loss argument has become one of the most common climate change myths, and there is nothing to suggest that the authors of this paper seek to entertain it.
The effect of a Holocene climatic optimum on the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet during the last 10 kyr
1.11 The effect of a Holocene climatic optimum on the evolution of the Greenland ice sheet during the last 10 kyr
CHRISTINE S. HVIDBERG
The paper notes that the Greenland ice sheet was considerably smaller during a period eight to five thousand years ago. This period is known as the Mid-Holocene warm period The National Centre for Environmental Information has a page describing it where it says:
In summary, the mid-Holocene, roughly 6,000 years ago, was generally warmer than today during summer in the Northern Hemisphere. In some locations, this could be true for winter as well. Moreover, we clearly know the cause of this natural warming, and we know without doubt that this proven “astronomical” climate forcing mechanism cannot be responsible for the warming over the last 100 years.
The authors clearly accept this position.
When NoTricksZone posts an paper in its list their supporting arguments are often no more that a highlighting of lines from the paper. Any occurence of the word ‘cooling’ seems to be enough, so it can be hard to know exactly why they think the paper refutes global warming.
In this case these lines were highlighted:
We find that the ice sheet retreats to a minimum volume of ∼0.15–1.2 m sea-level equivalent smaller than present in the early or mid-Holocene
ice sheet has continued to recover from this minimum up to present day.
temperature anomalies peak at more than 5°C above the present-day reference climate in the early Holocene and the ice sheet loses 20% of its volume in the 3000 years following the onset of the Holocene through increased surface melting.
Geological evidence suggests further that the ice-sheet margins in the southwest retreated up to ∼ 100km behind their present-day position during the mid-Holocene
ice sheet retreat beyond the present ice volume in the mid-Holocene
As the paper points out, that was localised, seasonal and caused by one thing while the warming now is global, year-round and caused in the last 100 years by something else.
The Holocene is the name given to the last 11,700 years of the Earth’s history; the time since the last Ice Age. For perspective, humans were anatomically like use 150,000 years ago and developed our behavioural traits (fishing, bone tools and early art) around 50,000 years ago.
This paper’s purpose is to study the ice loss of the warm period in order to help with future predictions: where it’s melting again but this time because the entire planet is heating:
The results of these simulations highlight the importance of the temperature reconstruction used to derive climate forcing during a paleoclimatic spin-up. If the purpose is to project future ice loss of the Greenland ice sheet, this forcing can have an influence on the Holocene evolution of the ice sheet and thereby how far from steady state with the present climate the simulated ice sheet is.
I wish there was more to say. Of the ten papers and many authors only the primary author on the first one (Frank Lansner) seemed prepared to entertain NoTricksZone at all. His paper has been referred to on twitter seven times by people who claim to be scientists, beyond that, it appears to have little attention. It’s conclusion: that monitoring stations affected by offshore winds show higher temperatures than those that are sheltered, goes “right in the heart of the whole Sun vs. CO2 debate”he is quoted as saying, but there is nothing to suggest how.
His co-author, on the other hand, is an actual climate scientist who clearly doesn’t question the basic premise global warming. To that end, nor does the paper. It simply reports on differences at weather stations.
The remaining nine papers were depressing reading. None of them come close to casting any uncertainty on the consensus about climate change; they simply record its effects and note its anomalies. But refuting climate change over a weather anomaly is like refuting gravity because you saw something fly.
There are more plausible explanations but you’d have to actually read the papers to find them. NoTricksZone is clearly too busy for that: instead Pierre Gosselin seems to search for words like ‘cooling’ then calls it a win.
So, yeah. About the climate change. I guess its still a thing after all.
Replies from authors:
Aaron Purich, author of “Impacts of Broad-Scale Surface Freshening of the Southern Ocean in a Coupled Climate Model ”