Exposed: The climate deniers’ sea levels lies

The latest Spectator claims the sea level rise in the Maldives is a “lie”. And their source for this claim? Climate denier and pseudoscientist Nils-Axel Mörner.

The latest Spectator cover story claims the sea level rise in the Maldives is a “lie”. And their source for this claim? Known climate denier and pseudoscientist Nils-Axel Mörner, long-time critic of the IPCC and a dowsing believer.

Mörner’s ‘studies’ on sea levels have been trashed by real scientists, with the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory concluding in 2005:

“The Maldive Islands are often used as case studies within research into the impacts of potential future sea level change. Therefore, if such studies are to be realistic, it is important that the past and future variations of sea level in the islands are understood as well as possible.

“That objective led a fieldwork team to the Maldives, and resulted in a conclusion that sea level in the islands fell by approximately 30 cm during the past few decades. In the present paper, the suggestion of such a fall has been examined from meteorological and oceanographic perspectives and found to be implausible.

“A number of met-ocean data sets and regional climate indices have been examined, at least one of which would have been expected to reflect a large sea level fall, without any supporting evidence being found. In particular, a suggestion that an increase in evaporation could have caused the fall has been demonstrated to be incorrect.

“Without any real evidence for a hitherto-unrecognised process which could lead to a sea level change as significant as that proposed by the fieldwork team, one concludes that a rise in sea level of approximately half a metre during the 21st century, as suggested by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report, remains the most reliable scenario to employ in future studies of the islands.”

When confronted over the magazine’s story this afternoon, Speccie editor Fraser Nelson went to ground, unable or unwilling to reply to George Monbiot’s grilling of him over the fact-checking of their hysterical claims.

Here is the exchange in full:

GM: “@frasernels Hi Fraser, writing abt your spectacular ballsup this week. Any eds on Spec got a science degree? george at monbiot dot info Thks”

FN: “@GeorgeMonbiot I think the author of the piece had a qualification or two in science. I could be wrong…”

GM: “@frasernels Not the question I asked. Which eds on the Spec have one?”

FN: “@GeorgeMonbiot let me read your mind… A publication is not qualified to run a science piece if the editor doesn’t have a science degree?”

GM: “@frasernels You’re doing almost as good a job at evading difficult questions as Ian Plimer. It’s a simple matter: yes or no?”

FN: “@GeorgeMonbiot my MA is in History & Politics. But the piece was checked by an outsider with a science PhD. Apols for not running it past u”

GM: “@frasernels Still not answering the question. Have ANY editors at the Spec – or any senior staff – got a science degree?”

GM: “@frasernels And question 2: who was this mysterious “outsider” and what was their PhD in?”

GM: “@frasernels Still with us? These are really very easy questions.”

FN: “@GeorgeMonbiot still waiting for a sensible question. But pls do your thought crime piece, ur always on great form when hunting heretics!”

GM: “@frasernels Blimey, how hard is this? Qu 1: Do any editors or senior staff on the Spec have a science degree?”

GM: “@frasernels Qu 2: Who checked Morner’s article and what was their PhD in? These questions sensible enough for you?”

GM: “@frasernels Still waiting Fraser. Two simple questions, so far met with evasion and bluster.”

GM: “@frasernels Come on Fraser, this really isn’t difficult, and a lot of people are now waiting on your answers.”

GM: “While we’re all waiting for a response from @frasernels, here’s my latest blog post: http://bit.ly/rAA7DH How Osborne’s trashing environment”

GM: “OK, @frasernels, this is your last chance before I conclude that you can dish it out but you can’t take it. 2 simple Qs. 2 simple As please.”

Though Nelson remains in hiding, someone who claims to have checked Mörner’s article, Tufty Sylvestris, emerged online, saying “it looks ok to me” – but rather let the cat out of the bag by conceding that “[The] Speccy is not a peer-reviewed journal”. You don’t say!

What, then, gives the weird righty rag the authority to pontificate on all things science?!

Fraser, it’s over to you…

See also:

Fraser Nelson massages new figures to rehash old, discredited argumentWill Straw, August 17th 2011

Fraser Nelson is wrong on the 50p tax rateDuncan Weldon, February 24th 2011

One in the eye for NelsonShamik Das, August 2nd 2010

World on course for 3.5-degree riseGuy Shrubsole, February 1st 2010

Fraser Nelson is wrong on Britain’s AAA ratingDuncan Weldon, November 11th 2009

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