Exposed: The Mail’s latest attempt to twist the facts to deny global warming

The Daily Mail have misused an eminent scientist's work to try and imply he supports their pathetic theory that the cold snap means global warming is a myth.

The Mail today published a piece suggesting that scientists believe the current cold weather in Britain is the start of a downward trend in temperatures that challenges global warming theories.

Their article, “Could we be in for 30 years of global COOLING?”, begins:

Britain’s big freeze is the start of a worldwide trend towards colder weather that seriously challenges global warming theories, eminent scientists claimed yesterday. The world has entered a ‘cold mode’ which is likely to bring a global dip in temperatures which will last for 20 to 30 years, they say.

“Summers and winters will all be cooler than in recent years, and the changes will mean that global warming will be ‘paused’ or even reversed, it was claimed.”

The Mail are rather belatedly picking up on a piece of work authored by scientist Mojib Latif, which suggested that because of long-term fluctuations in ocean temperatures, there may be a pause in warming over the current decade, with average temperatures not rising relative to the previous decade.

To give some context, it is generally accepted in the climate science literature that predicting what temperatures will do over relatively short time periods, like a decade, is very difficult. The critical point is that whatever happens over the next decade, it doesn’t undermine scientific certainty that the longer-term trend in global average temperature is upwards.

The Mail continues:

“The predictions are based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They are the work of respected climate scientists and not those routinely dismissed by environmentalists as ‘global warming deniers’.”

Indeed, Latif is a respected scientist engaging in careful, peer-reviewed work. While many other climate scientists differ from his view that temperature rise will stall over this coming decade, such disagreement is part of legitimate scientific debate on a topic (decadal variation in temperatures) that isn’t well understood.

Unfortunately, with Latif’s work as a hook, the Mail engage in all-out misrepresentation and editorial sleight of hand:

“Some experts believe these cycles – and not human pollution – can explain all the major changes in world temperatures in the 20th century. If true, the research challenges the science behind climate change theories, and calls into question the political measures to halt global warming.”

The misrepresentation here is that Latif believes nothing of the sort, and so his work can’t ‘challenge the science behind climate change theories’ or call any current response to climate change into question.

Indeed, quoted in the Guardian, Latif seems completely mystified by such an interpretation of his work:

“Mojib Latif, a climate expert at the Leibniz Institute at Kiel University in Germany, said he ‘cannot understand’ reports that used his research to question the scientific consensus on climate change.

“He told the Guardian: ‘It comes as a surprise to me that people would try to use my statements to try to dispute the nature of global warming’ … He added: ‘There is no doubt within the scientific community that we are affecting the climate, that the climate is changing and responding to our emissions of greenhouse gases.’

So fairly clearly, here we have yet again an article from the Mail that displays breathtaking scientific illiteracy, brought on by a burning desire to misrepresent climate science.

Our guest writer is Christian Hunt

12 Responses to “Exposed: The Mail’s latest attempt to twist the facts to deny global warming”

  1. AndyG

    RT @leftfootfwd: Exposed: The Mail’s latest attempt to twist the facts to deny global warming: http://is.gd/67Gz9

  2. Lucy Openshaw

    RT @leftfootfwd Exposed: The Mail’s latest attempt to twist the facts to deny global warming http://is.gd/67Gz9 <<Will they ever give it up?

  3. Josh Worrad

    RT @leftfootfwd: Exposed: The Mail’s latest attempt to twist the facts to deny global warming: http://is.gd/67Gz9

  4. bashmore

    RT @leftfootfwd The Mail’s attempt to twist the facts to deny global warming http://is.gd/67Gz9 – not letting facts get in way of story

  5. Angus Farquhar

    RT @leftfootfwd: Exposed: The Mail’s latest attempt to twist the facts to deny global warming: http://is.gd/67Gz9

  6. Jonathan Taylor

    RT @leftfootfwd: Exposed: The Mail’s latest attempt to twist the facts to deny global warming: http://is.gd/67Gz9

  7. Alan McKechan

    RT @leftfootfwd: Exposed: The Mail’s latest attempt to twist the facts to deny global warming: http://is.gd/67Gz9

  8. Anon E Mouse

    Christian Hunt – Your article mentions the work by Mojib Latif – perhaps he wasn’t using his work to “dispute the nature of global warming” – but in respect of his paymasters, the IPCC, “He would say that wouldn’t he”.

    I see it like this. He states the world is cooling, that’s both his opinion and the scientific evidence he has produced – that is the opposite to warming to me. If it’s getting colder then how can it be getting warmer?

    1998 may have been “the warmest year on record” but that was over a decade ago and it’s been colder ever since and continues to decline in temperature.

    Spin it however you want but this scientist (a real one btw not like those idiots from the CRU) says the planet is getting colder – that’s it, story over.

    According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado, Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 per cent, since 2007 – and even the most committed global warming activists do not dispute this.

    So the ice is increasing which is what happens when things get colder – it’s basic science.

    Stop wasting people lives with this global warming nonsense and get back to doing something both immediate and important such as preventing Japanese whalers killing marine mammals (and please don’t patronise me with saying all the whales will die if we don’t do something about global warming).

    The sooner Greenpeace get back to their core values and get out of politics the better – come back Patrick Moore all is forgiven…

    (Patrick Moore, the founder of Greenpeace, doesn’t believe in man made global warming either)

  9. Chris Clothier

    @ Anon E Mouse

    He (Mojib Latif) doesn’t state that the world is getting cooler. He says that a short term cooling trend resulting from ocean currents is offsetting a longer term man made global warming trend. The net result is a short-term equilibrium.

    I refer you to his comments on NPR (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=120668812&ft=1&f=1007).

    The ice observations you refer to are consistent with his model.

    Latif remains a firm global warming believer (from the same interview):

    “If my name was not Mojib Latif, my name would be global warming. So I really believe in Global Warming. Okay. However, you know, we have to accept that there are these natural fluctuations, and therefore, the temperature may not show additional warming temporarily.”

  10. Klem

    “The predictions are based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. They are the work of respected climate scientists and not those routinely dismissed by environmentalists as ‘global warming deniers’”

    What is incredible in this, is that these are the same guys who only last year said that CO2 was the driver of climate. They said that it is not the sun or anything else. They said that CO2 is the ONLY thing they knew of which explained all of the climate changes thay were observing. They also said the science was settled, the debate was over. Now they are saying it is ocean currents, not CO2. How can they say these things? How is it that it was CO2 before copenhagen but not CO2 after Copenahgen?

    Climate scientists are not scientists at all, they are lunatics.

  11. Anon E Mouse

    Chris – How can anyone possibly say how long this cooling will last to know if it’s short term or not? People can’t even predict the weather one week ahead.

    I said he wasn’t “disputing the nature of global warming” and like I said he is employed by a body in whose interests it is to perpetuate this nonsense.

    The planet gets steadily cooler – his data shows this. I am interested that the data shows more ice and cooling and not warming. To me cold is cold. Sorry.

    At that life wasting, CO2 producing, big climate love in at Copenhagen last year, they stated the planet could be engulfed by rising sea levels of 6 feet by 2100.

    If Latif is correct that 20-30 years of cooling are due then that fact is screwed already – it’s rubbish and it wasn’t even peddled by those “experts” at the CRU with their fiddled statistics.

    No one knows what will happen with the climate, the planet has always heated and cooled irrespective of the intervention of man.

    Bet governments around the world keep taxing their citizens with “green” taxes though…

  12. Chris Clothier

    @AnonEMouse
    Totally agree with you point that making forecasts is hugely challening. But it is fair to say that Latif is aware of forecasting limitations too. He is doing his best though.

    “To me cold is cold. Sorry” – Of course, if you take any small piece of data without regard to the whole data set you will be able to extrapolate pretty much any trend you want.

    If you look at his presentation at WMO (http://www.wmo.int/wcc3/sessionsdb/documents/PS3_Latif.pdf – slide 10) you can see the data you are refering to. Yes, the mean temperature has fallen over the last few years but it hasn’t even crossed the 21 year mean much less the linear regression. Indeed it just seems to be displaying the same leve of volatility in temperature that has been observed over the past 100 years. The long term trend is the more important.

    Anyway, as far as I understand it his data refers to the Northern Hemisphere observations, not the planet as a whole.

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