Paul Hudson's climate change denier pornography

On BBC.co.uk a story by Paul Hudson appeared with the title "What happened to global warming?" [LINK]. My opinion of this article is that it is intentionally provocative and misleading, ignoring science for titillation. Hudson takes a mock impartial tone, giving much more credence to climate change deniers than is warranted, and inflating arguments that have been addressed by actual scientists over many years. Additionally he conflates completely different points about the variability of the climate system for the sole purpose of nudging readers toward the unsubstantiated view that global warming has stopped. Let's go through a few of these points in more detail.

Slower warming does not equal cooling

Point number one is essentially the lead of the story: that global average temperature has cooled since 1998. This is now more than misinformation, it has entered the realm of the canard. The source of Hudson's statement is a table at the Met Office website [Hudson's blog, the table]. Amazingly, if you go to the page with that table and actually read the text on the page, it states clearly that global warming has not stopped:
The record-breaking temperatures in 1998 occurred after three decades of warming, starting in the 1970s. These decades saw an increase in global average temperature of about 0.45 °C. After 1998, however, warming slowed significantly — trends over the past 10 years show only a 0.07 °C increase in global average temperature. Although this is only a small increase, it indicates that there has been no global cooling over this period. In fact, over the past decade, most years have remained much closer to the record global average temperature reached in 1998 than to temperatures before the 1970s. All the years from 2000 to 2008 have been in the top 14 warmest years on record.

So the Met Office make sure to inform their visitors that global warming is ongoing. Not only that, but there are other datasets of global average temperature that are slightly different than the Met Office numbers. For example, the National Climatic Data Center's global temperature anomaly data set [LINK], which shows 2003 as slightly warmer than 1998 (though in a statistical tie). This issue has also been thoroughly reviewed at RealClimate [LINK, see links from there].

It is not the sun

The second point Hudson makes is to suggest that something must be going on to explain the "cooling" (that doesn't exist), and his primary argument is that it must be the sun. He appeals to authority in Piers Corbyn (Weatheraction) who "claims that solar charged particles impact us far more than is currently accepted, so much so he says that they are almost entirely responsible for what happens to global temperatures.
He is so excited by what he has discovered that he plans to tell the international scientific community at a conference in London at the end of the month." Um, so Hudson is suggesting that somebody is about to announce that everything we know about climate change is mistaken, but provides no details? And there's no paper to reference? And Corbyn is going to a "conference in London" to announce the findings? Amazingly, Hudson has omitted that this conference is being organized by WeatherAction.com, which is Corbyn's company. Curious, don't you think. Reminds me of the Orbo in a lot of ways. By the looks of it, Corbyn is suggesting some kind of solar wind hypothesis, which makes no sense whatsoever. These ideas, I'm guessing, are rooted in the galactic cosmic ray hypothesis, which hasn't shown much promise [cf, RC].

PDO: refuge of the deniers

Then Hudson's article goes for the oceans. Wait, what do the oceans have to do with solar charged particles? Nothing. Yes, Hudson simply changes course in the middle of his article, which must be some kind of logical fallacy. Anyway, Hudson starts writing about the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, stating that is the most important cyclical warming-cooling mode in the oceans. This is an oversell: the PDO is a big signal, but it is not cyclical, and it is not necessarily the most important mode of variability for the climate. In fact, there is an ongoing debate about what the PDO even is; a current paper supports the view that the PDO is really just a ghost of the ENSO signal, and not a mode of variability unto itself [LINK]. Hudson falls right into the trap, quoting Don Easterbrook:
Professor Easterbrook says: "The PDO cool mode has replaced the warm mode in the Pacific Ocean, virtually assuring us of about 30 years of global cooling."
It should be noted that Don Easterbrook is a retired professor of geology, and has become a climate change denier as a hobby over the past decade or more. It seems quite unlikely that Easterbrook's prediction of cooling for the next 30 years will be right, no matter what phase the PDO is in.

Hudson does then state that people at the Met Office stand by the science and their modeling effort.

A climate crock continues

Then Hudson says, I assume without appreciating the irony,
To confuse the issue even further, last month Mojib Latif, a member of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) says that we may indeed be in a period of cooling worldwide temperatures that could last another 10-20 years.
Of course, Hudson has to say in the next paragraphs that this is not actually what Latif thinks, and that he isn't changing his long held belief that humans are causing the observed climate change. Amazingly, this is also a topic of recent debunking, this time at the hands of Peter Sinclair [LINK].

To end the piece, Hudson says it with the elegance it deserves:
One thing is for sure. It seems the debate about what is causing global warming is far from over. Indeed some would say it is hotting up.
Yes, I guess it really is hotting up.

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