Puzzle me this: climate change theory allows no ice age  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

The Age has an article on the impending visit of climate change charlatan, Lord Monckton (actually Viscount, for those who care about obsolete aristocratic titles), citing Tim Lambert - Puzzle me this: climate change theory allows no ice age.

CHRISTOPHER WALTER, the Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, likes riddles. In 1999 he announced to the world that he had invented a puzzle made up of 209 irregular polygons and said he would pay £1 million to the first person to solve it. It was a brilliant marketing ploy and the mind-bending Eternity puzzle was a best-seller.

Two University of Cambridge mathematicians, with the aid of a custom-made computer program, solved it within months.

Lord Monckton was reportedly forced to sell his 67-bedroom mansion to pay the prizewinners. But six years later he claimed that he had been planning to sell the house anyway and the tale of his financial ruin was simply made up to sell more puzzles.

He has shifted his gaze from puzzles to climate change, and the riddle at the heart of his alternative climate-change theory looks, to the untrained eye, even more mischievous.

The theory relies on some superficially impressive mathematics. Though climate scientists immediately debunked his hypothesis when it was published in 2008, Lord Monckton is still the most prominent intellectual spokesman for the climate-change sceptic movement. ...

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change thinks that the effect of doubling the amount of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere would make the world warmer by about 2.5 to 4 degrees. Most studies measure the change at about 3 degrees. Climate-change action is based on this consensus view.

Lord Monckton's concept is based on the idea that the calculations have inflated the warming potential of greenhouses gases by about six times.

His theory was published in Forum on Physics and Society, the online newsletter of the American Physical Society.

It was not a peer-reviewed journal, so it was not subject to the normal level of scientific scrutiny that applies to original research, but it was enough to give the claim an initial veneer of credibility.

The argument Lord Monckton mounted has been painstakingly picked apart by several eminent climate-change researchers, but it was an Australian computer scientist, Tim Lambert, who helped collate many of the flaws on his website. ''A lot of the equations used to cover it up were right, but the argument was complete gibberish,'' Mr Lambert said.

The hypothesis took the lowest possible range of carbon dioxide's known warming effect on climate, multiplied it by the lowest possible effect of the various feedbacks that amplify the warming effect, to give a figure well below that shown by any observation.

One of the implications of the hypothesis was that, given what we know about climate, there could not have been ice ages in the past.

''The hypothesis is completely inconsistent with the observations,'' said Professor Matthew England, the co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW.

''In science, the world isn't wrong so the calculations must be wrong.''

The American Physical Society quickly started receiving complaints from its members about the piece, and a lengthy disclaimer was added to the piece saying the society did not endorse Lord Monckton's findings.

However, the paper is still the core of the argument he will be promoting on his Australia tour.


This article annoyed me for the simple reason that the title is missleading.

Since no one has heard of the obscure theories of Monckton outside of his sycophantic sponsors - the title gives the impression that mainstream theory is wrong. At least that's how it reads to me, no?

You don't learn the truth until the bottom 1/4.

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