Monday, 7 April 2008

A ha ha ha and a Mea Culpa

Last month, I took Lorne Gunter to task for promoting the view that

the recently deployed Argo network of buoys "in five years, ..... have failed to detect any global warming. They are not reinforcing the scientific orthodoxy of the day, namely that man is causing the planet to warm dangerously"

Lorne was basing his column on the statement of one Josh Willis. Now for the Mea Culpa, in my post I derided Mr. Willis as a Rocket Scientist. When in fact he has a Ph.D., Oceanography. Whoops! My mistake was assuming that because he works out of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he was therefore a "rocket scientist" (Not that there is anything wrong with that, within their own field they are some of the smartest people on the planet. As with all scientific fields.)

Dr. Willis, you have my most sincere apologies. Even though I was castigating Lorne for mis-reporting the results, I assumed he was accurately portraying your position as a denialist. I see the irony in my denying Lorne's claims on one front, and yet accepting them on another.

Now that I've admitted my mistake, onto the "ha, ha, ha" part of my post.

Dr. Willis responds to Lorne.

It is a well-established fact that human activities are heating up the planet and that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come. Climate change skeptics often highlight certain scientific results as a means of confusing this issue, and that appears to be the case with Mr. Gunter's description of our recent results based on data from Argo buoys.

It is important to remember that climate science is not a public debate carried out on the opinion pages of newspapers. What we know about global warming comes from thousands of scientists pouring over countless data sets, conducting experiments to figure out how the climate works and scrutinizing every aspect of each other's work.

It is easy to pick on computer climate models for not simulating certain things or point out the odd measurement that isn't well understood. Despite this, models and data of all different types tell the same story about the past century: the oceans are warming, sea levels are rising, the temperature of the atmosphere is increasing and carbon dioxide levels continue to go up. Given that, you don't need a fancy computer model or an Argo buoy to tell you that the future will be warmer.

And that, as they say, is that.

Oh and this time, they clarified Dr. Willis' credentials:

Josh Willis is an oceanographer and climate scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

I wonder why Lorne left that part out....

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