BIGGER: The latest satellite imaging shows that the Antarctic sea ice has expanded in recent months. Photo: iStockphoto

Global warming: humble pie served cold?

Debate is hotting up over longer-term climate trends, historical temperature statistics and a recent expansion of the Antarctic sea ice.


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Those who cry wolf will always be caught out. However, given population growth and associated energy production and evidence of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, it is always prudent to take a watching brief and plan ahead. The Greens have almost singlehandedly destroyed rational debate on climate change and hence delayed sensible discussion in the community particularly concerning adaptive behaviour if and/or when this is needed.

It's disappointing to see Joe Poprzeczny trot out the same old denier lines and show a consistent lack of understanding global warming. It is perhaps more disappointing that business leaders are allowed to be misled by this kind of flawed commentary. I have the good fortune to work with more than 140 climate scientists at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science. To describe these people as catastrophists is an insult to the good work many of them have been doing for decades, before climate science was even a news story. Now let's start correcting some of the errors Mr Poprzeczny has managed to fit into his piece. Global warming has not stopped or even slowed down in the past 15 years. I suspect Mr Poprzeczny is confusing global average temperatures with global warming. Global average temperatures are a measure of the air in an envelope just 2 metres above the Earth's surface. More than 93% of the heat from global warming goes into our oceans, which have continued to warm at an extraordinary rate. As for his statement about Antarctic ice, Mr Poprzeczny is obviously unaware that the Antarctic is overall losing more ice. The expanding ice he is talking about is sea ice only. The reason for its winter expansion appear to be caused by increasing winds around Antarctica and the freshening of surface water caused by large scale ice melt from the continent and its land based ice. This is cherrypicking of the first order and a standard approach by deniers who somehow manage to ignore the multiple observations that clearly show the globe is warming. These observations include but are not limited to, rising sea levels; the global retreat of land-based ice; the melting of permafrost regions; the movement of animals and plants into new areas; the shifting of storm tracks towards the poles - which in the wheat belt of Western Australia has led to a stark drop in rainfall; the rise in heat record and the decline in cold records with the ratio currently around 2:1 and increasing; the increase in heatwaves intensity, length and number; the satellite measurements showing more heat entering the atmosphere than leaving it; the increase in overnight temperatures; and the list goes on and on. Global warming is seen in multiple lines of evidence, not just one. Next we have the laughable statement that if you use 2002 as a starting point then temperatures have plateaued. Does Mr Poprzeczny realise that 2005 and 2010 are two of the hottest years on record with 2010 being hotter than 2005? Then he attacks the Bureau of Meteorology by showing his lack of understanding of the process of homogenisation obviously based on reports on Jennifer Marohasy in The Australian. Ms Marohasy is not a climate scientist and it shows. Her claims have all been answered by the Bureau. In addition, she cherrypicked a total of three or four sites from hundreds. Here is a concerning note for Mr Poprzeczny, if you remove the homogenisation process and use only the raw data, the warming trend across Australia is even more pronounced. Overall, the scientifically peer reviewed process used by the Bureau actually has a cooling effect on the data. As far as I know, Ms Marohasy's work has not been peer reviewed and she has not submitted it for peer review. As Mr Poprzeczny states, he is not qualified to judge. But scientific bodies around the world are and they consider the Bureau's processes to be world leading. His call for an independent commission is a joke. Who would be these independent commissioners? Surely it would have to be scientists with expertise. Probably the same international scientists who have already reviewed the Bureau's processes and declared them close to world's best practice. In short, this column filled with conspiracy theories and a poor understanding of the science of climate is embarrassing. Your business leaders deserve better than having to read something that is so lacking in scientific understanding. Poprzeczny should stick to his areas of expertise in business, politics and education, rather than speculate wildly in an area of science where he has no expertise and is clearly captive to fringe blogs.

Business News.
Alvin, If I understand your argument correctly, global average temperatures are independent of heat going into the climate system. If that is the case, humanity has nothing to worry about. That is good news but I doubt it. Joseph Poprzeczny.

Joe you may not be factoring natural factors here. The earth comprises of many dynamic systems that can counter act each other. I suggest that the answer will become evident around 2100 - long after you & I are around.

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