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Woods Hole Climatologist Gives False Evidence To Congress

May 20, 2018

By Paul Homewood

 

Science Magazine had fun taking the mickey out of this GOP Rep, but failed to uncover some seriously erroneous statements by a supposed “climate scientist” at the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee earlier this week.

This is their account (my bold):

 

image

The Earth is not warming. The White Cliffs of Dover are tumbling into the sea and causing sea levels to rise. Global warming is helping grow the Antarctic ice sheet.

Those are some of the skeptical assertions echoed by Republicans on the U.S. House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee yesterday. The lawmakers at times embraced research that questions mainstream climate science during a hearing on how technology can be used to address global warming.

A leading climate scientist testifying before the panel spent much of the two hours correcting misstatements.

The purpose of the hearing was to focus on how technology could be deployed for climate change adaptation. But the hearing frequently turned to the basics of climate science. Many of the questions by Republicans and Democrats alike were directed to Philip Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center in Massachusetts and former senior adviser to the U.S. Global Change Research Program.

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) said he was bothered that established climate science has not been questioned more by the committee, which has accused federal climate scientists of fraudulently manipulating climate data and subpoenaed their records.

“I’m a little bit disturbed by, No. 1, over and over again, I hear, ‘Don’t ever talk about whether mankind is the main cause of the temperature changing and the climate changing,'” he said. “That’s a little disturbing to hear constantly beaten into our heads in a Science Committee meeting, when basically we should all be open to different points of view.”

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), chairman of the committee, entered into the record an opinion piece published in The Wall Street Journal yesterday that claimed sea levels are not rising because of climate change, a view that rejects thousands of scientific studies. The piece was written by Fred Singer, who is affiliated with the Heartland Institute in Chicago, Illinois, which promotes the rejection of mainstream climate science.

“To solve climate change challenges, we first need to acknowledge the uncertainties that exist,” Smith said in his opening remarks. “Then we can have confidence that innovations and technology will enable us to mitigate any adverse consequences of climate change.”

At one point, Smith showed a slide of two charts that he said demonstrated how the rate of sea-level rise does not equal the sharp spike in the consumption of fossil fuels. When Smith pointed out that rates of sea-level rise have only increased slightly compared with the rate of fossil fuel use, Duffy pointed out that his chart was from a single tide gauge station, near San Francisco, and that sea levels rise at different rates around the world. Smith did not show rising atmospheric CO2 levels or temperatures, both of which have climbed steadily in recent decades as emissions have increased.

“The rate of global sea-level rise has accelerated and is now four times faster than it was 100 years ago,” Duffy told Smith in response to the charts.

“Is this chart inaccurate, then?” Smith asked.

“It’s accurate, but it doesn’t represent what’s happening globally; it represents what’s happening in San Francisco,” Duffy said.

Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) questioned Duffy on the factors that contribute to sea-level rise, pointing out that land subsidence plays a role, as well as human activity.

Brooks then said that erosion plays a significant role in sea-level rise, which is not an idea embraced by mainstream climate researchers. He said the California coastline and the White Cliffs of Dover tumble into the sea every year, and that contributes to sea-level rise. He also said that silt washing into the ocean from the world’s major rivers, including the Mississippi, the Amazon and the Nile, is contributing to sea-level rise.

“Every time you have that soil or rock or whatever it is that is deposited into the seas, that forces the sea levels to rise, because now you have less space in those oceans, because the bottom is moving up,” Brooks said.

Duffy responded: “I’m pretty sure that on human time scales, those are minuscule effects.”

Brooks added that Antarctic ice is growing. That was true a few years ago, and scientists say it does not disprove the theory of global warming because different factors affect the Arctic and Antarctic rates of melting.

“We have satellite records clearly documenting a shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet and an acceleration of that shrinkage,” Duffy said.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know where you’re getting your information, but the data I have seen suggests — ” Brooks said.

Duffy answered: “The National Snow and Ice Data Center and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.”

“Well, I’ve got a NASA base in my district, and apparently, they’re telling you one thing and me a different thing,” Brooks said. “But there are plenty of studies that have come that show with respect to Antarctica that the total ice sheet, particularly that above land, is increasing, not decreasing. Now, you could make a different argument if you want to talk about Greenland or the Arctic.”

Earlier this year, NASA researchers determined that Antarctica’s ice loss has accelerated in the last decade. More broadly, sea ice extent at both poles set a record low last year. Scientists are racing to better understand the changes occurring in Antarctica because much of its ice is land-based, meaning it could drive sea-level rise around the world as it melts.

Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) said scientists said in the 1970s that the Earth was cooling, a popular talking point of climate skeptics and the subject of a fake Time magazine cover that has become a meme. Duffy corrected him and said that was essentially an outlier position at the time and that scientists long ago determined that humans were warming the planet.

Posey also asked how carbon dioxide could be captured in permafrost in the periods before humans existed. Duffy told him that it was from non-decayed organic matter. Human activity is now causing the Arctic to warm and thaw the ground, releasing the carbon into the atmosphere, Duffy said.

Posey then asked about theories related to warming being beneficial for habitats and to people.

“What do you say to people who theorize that the Earth as it continues to warm is returning to its normal temperature?” Posey asked.

“Look, if you want to characterize a temperature above today’s temperature as normal, you’re free to do that, but that doesn’t mean that’s a planet we want to live on,” Duffy said.

“I don’t want to get philosophical; I’m trying to stay on science here,” Posey said.

“I’m not getting philosophical; I’m getting extremely practical,” Duffy said. “I’m being extremely practical — if we let the planet warm 2 or 3 degrees, we will have tens of meters of sea-level rise, and the community where I live will essentially cease to exist.”

Posey responded: “I don’t think anybody disputes that the Earth is getting warmer; I think what’s not clear is the exact amount of who caused what, and getting to that is, I think, where we’re trying to go with this committee.”

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/05/republican-lawmaker-rocks-tumbling-ocean-causing-sea-level-rise

 

So let’s look at those three specific  claims:

 

1) The rate of global sea-level rise has accelerated and is now four times faster than it was 100 years ago

This is simply untrue.

According to Jevrejeva’s study in 2014, based on 1277 tidal gauges:

The new reconstruction suggests a linear trend of 1.9 ± 0.3 mm·yr− 1 during the 20th century, with 1.8 ± 0.5 mm·yr− 1 since 1970.

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0921818113002750?via%3Dihub

And this is their graph of global sea levels:

image

Jevrejevaetal2013GPChange

 

It is plainly evident that sea levels have been steadily rising since the mid 19thC, with a slight slow down between 1970 and 1990.

The IPCC acknowledged the same thing in their AR5 Report in 2013:

It is very likely that the mean rate of global averaged sea level rise was 1.7 [1.5 to 1.9] mm/yr between 1901 and 2010 and 3.2 [2.8 to 3.6] mm/yr between 1993 and 2010. Tide gauge and satellite altimeter data are consistent regarding the higher rate during the latter period. It is likely that similarly high rates occurred between 1920 and 1950.

http://ar5-syr.ipcc.ch/topic_observedchanges.php#node11

 

It is certainly true that recent sea level rise has been slightly higher than the 20thC average, but that is because the latter had been depressed by that 1970-90 slowdown.

Either way, it is totally fictitious to claim that sea level rise is now four times faster than 100 years ago.

As a matter of interest, this is the graph of sea levels for San Francisco, which Duffy claims doesn’t represent what’s happening globally:

9414290_meantrend

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?id=9414290

Looks pretty similar to the global trends to me.

And here are the 50-year trends, which clearly show a faster rate of rise between 1920 and 1970, confirming the IPCC assessment:

9414290_50yr

https://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/sltrends_station.shtml?id=9414290

 

 

 

2) We have satellite records clearly documenting a shrinkage of the Antarctic ice sheet and an acceleration of that shrinkage

Again, this is a fake claim.

According to a NASA study in 2015, the land ice is actually growing in Antarctica:

A new NASA study says that an increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is currently adding enough ice to the continent to outweigh the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.

The research challenges the conclusions of other studies, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2013 report, which says that Antarctica is overall losing land ice.

According to the new analysis of satellite data, the Antarctic ice sheet showed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001. That net gain slowed   to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/nasa-study-mass-gains-of-antarctic-ice-sheet-greater-than-losses

 

And the science is not even that controversial. Put simply, the warming of the climate since the Ice Age has led to increased snowfall over the Antarctic.

And just in case Duffy is talking about sea ice, that too is on an increasing trend, despite a drop in the last two years:

http://nsidc.org/data/seaice_index/

 

3) Rep. Bill Posey (R-FL) said scientists said in the 1970s that the Earth was cooling, a popular talking point of climate skeptics and the subject of a fake Time magazine cover that has become a meme. Duffy corrected him and said that was essentially an outlier position at the time and that scientists long ago determined that humans were warming the planet

This is the biggest BS of the lot.

The cooling of the Earth’s climate between 1940 and the 1970s, particularly in the Northern Hemisphere,  was well known by climate scientists at the time.

For instance, HH Lamb wrote this piece for the UNESCO’s Courier magazine in 1973:

image_thumb83

http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0007/000748/074891eo.pdf

He also included this graph in his book, “Climate, History and the Modern World (p258), published in 1982. It was based on work by J Murray Mitchell, originally presented to the WMO/UNESCO Rome symposium on climate change in 1963:

18

 

In October 1974, NOAA’s own magazine came to the same conclusion, horrified at the consequences for the world’s food supply:

 

image_thumb49

image

NOAA Magazine

 

And the CIA reported that the western world’s leading climatologists were warning of a return to Little Ice Age conditions:

image_thumb98

image_thumb99

https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2015/10/12/cia-and-global-cooling/

 

 

False Evidence

To give false evidence to a Congressional Committee is, I would imagine, an extremely serious offence. Coming from a so-called scientist, who should be an expert in such matters, makes matters worse.

Whether Duffy deliberately lied, or (as I suspect) was simply incompetent and just another victim of groupthink, he should be brought back to the Committee and ordered to correct his untruthful statements.

As for Science Magazine, perhaps they might do a bit of fact checking themselves.

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31 Comments
  1. Coeur de Lion permalink
    May 20, 2018 8:25 am

    Disgraceful

  2. Bitter@twisted permalink
    May 20, 2018 8:26 am

    As you say, Paul, this is serious stuff.
    Are you going to contact Rep. Lamar Smith?
    Or bring your analysis to the attention of the GWPF?
    If not, I will.

    • May 20, 2018 8:44 am

      Dave Burton has already contacted the Committee about the sea level aspect. I have asked him to pass this on as well.

      I’ll also get Delingpole to run an article, which hopefully might help

      I have also just emailed the Committee too!

      • dave permalink
        May 20, 2018 9:37 am

        ‘…Sea-Levels…’

        just another ‘cracked record’ about something which no person can actually see or feel. I am close to the sea, where my local tidal range for today is 7560 millimeters, which will shrink to 4310 millimeters over the next 11 days and then expand to…

        Does anyone seriously think a few millimeters or two change in the average of this, over the next decade, could matter? The propagandists do not believe it , but they assume – correctly – that they can fool enough people into worrying about this or something else…

        To the extent that activists do “care,” as usual they can not make up their minds whether a phenomenon is a valid ‘canary in the coalmine’ or actually a terrifying disaster in itself! Either seems to entail the other to their peculiarly associative and neurotic brains.

        By the way how many here fell for yesterday’s line?

        “I do not really care about the wedding, but let’s put the television on so I can see what everybody is wearing.” And three hours later I was still hiding in the garden.

      • A C Osborn permalink
        May 20, 2018 10:58 am

        Paul, you seem to have missed the biggest lie of all.
        ” if we let the planet warm 2 or 3 degrees, we will have tens of meters of sea-level rise, and the community where I live will essentially cease to exist.””
        Tens of Metres, ie more than 30 feet.
        2 to 3 degrees would have little effect on the summer temperatures and no effect on the Winter temperatures of either the Antarctic (-59) or the Arctic (-30).

      • Nigel S permalink
        May 20, 2018 11:05 am

        “tens of meters” suggests at least two (one, two, many …) so at least 66 feet! Perhaps the A/C had been turned off and he was suffering from heat stroke.

      • Bitter@twisted permalink
        May 20, 2018 11:36 am

        Many thanks, Paul.
        You are a tireless seeker of truth and justice.
        I salute you!

      • HotScot permalink
        May 20, 2018 1:04 pm

        Dave

        ”And three hours later I was still hiding in the garden.”

        The two Rugby Premiership semi finals were far too important to let anyone near the remote!

      • tomwys1 permalink
        May 22, 2018 1:04 pm

        Thank you, Paul, Dave, and all others trying to overcome a tidal wave of “CO2 caused” sea-level misinformation, obfuscation, and outright lies. The linear trend of tide gauges worldwide has not changed – repeat – NOT CHANGED!!! The CO2 signal in those gauges, all over the world, is simply absent.

  3. howard dewhirst permalink
    May 20, 2018 10:08 am

    The cooling that followed the 1943 high temperature became known mistakenly as the \nuclear Winter through a combination of ‘its all our fault as cooling began when we started dropping nuclear bombs at end of WWII and from a paper that calculated the cooling that would result in a full scale nuclear war. NCAR issued a temperature graph which showed that by 1970, world temperatures had fallen to 1908 levels. AND oil companies began to design ice breaking tankers to bring oil to Rotterdam, I worked with people who did this. This was the scientific consensus that presumably 97% of ‘scientists’ supported? https://enviroethics.org/2012/06/22/the-cooling-world-newsweek-april-28-1975/
    Now people try to de-bunk it – why\\/ because it cant be right because, as predicted in climategate emails, that cooling period was adjusted out of the record. At all western university in the mid sixties, the Nuclear Winter was what helped get CND under way, it was a given, it was ALL our fault.

  4. Don B permalink
    May 20, 2018 11:31 am

    Tidal gauges around the world confirm what the San Francisco gauge reports: no SLR acceleration.

     http://www.drroyspencer.com/2017/08/an-inconvenient-deception-how-al-gore-distorts-climate-science-and-energy-policy/

  5. May 20, 2018 11:37 am

    Congressman Lamar Smith of Texas has been leading the charge in the US House of Representatives against the hoax of man-caused climate change for a number of years.

    I would like to add that I was a graduate student at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from fall of 1966 to spring of 1969 when I received my MA in plant taxonomy & ecology from that institution. At that time we all KNEW that there was cooling and another ice-age was on the way. Duffy’s assertion that such notions were an “outlier” is preposterous. HE is the out and OUT-LIAR.

    • Geoff Sherrington permalink
      May 20, 2018 12:18 pm

      JG,
      Do you know Dr Clifford Parks? Geoff

    • HotScot permalink
      May 20, 2018 1:08 pm

      Joan

      Global cooling and an impending ice age was plastered all over the UK media in the 70’s.

      Air brushed from alarmist’s collective memory and consigned to the category of an urban myth.

  6. Broadlands permalink
    May 20, 2018 12:17 pm

    “To solve climate change challenges, we first need to acknowledge the uncertainties that exist,” Smith said in his opening remarks. “Then we can have confidence that innovations and technology will enable us to mitigate any adverse consequences of climate change.”

    This is where most conversations and debates miss the mark? It is not possible for humans to control the natural variations by “mitigating” CO2 regardless of innovations and technology. Humans cannot even predict in which direction these variations will go. But, even if they could, the technological capture of hundreds of gigatons of atmospheric CO2 is beyond the costly geological storage capability. The need to acknowledge that is overlooked in the debate over the future of long-term weather and its uncertainties.

    • dave permalink
      May 20, 2018 7:36 pm

      “…conservations and debates miss the mark…”

      For the decision to “go mad” (if one cares to put it that way) almost everywhere, with still more fossil fuels, is a done deal:

      and the population to which those per capita numbers must be related:

      World Population Since 1300 A.D. Chart

      If the rulers of the developing world have any concern about what they are doing – they have a funny way of showing it!

      • dave permalink
        May 20, 2018 7:38 pm

        “…conservations…”

        Possible even ‘conversations.’

      • Broadlands permalink
        May 20, 2018 8:12 pm

        Dave… If you plot the annual history of Mauna Loa CO2 against the global population you will find that the correlation is almost perfect… 0.985. This was pointed out 30 years ago by Newell and Marcus in a small paper entitled “Carbon Dioxide and People.” The correlation remains true today. The dilemma, as Newell & Marcus noted, is what to do about it. That’s the same as deciding what to do about the CO2 today…if population is ignored…which it seems to have been?

  7. Bob Koss permalink
    May 20, 2018 2:11 pm

    Don’t be fooled.

    Woods Hole Research Center (about 40 propagandists since 1985) is not the same as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (500+ scientists since 1930).

    Woods Hole Research Center http://whrc.org
    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute http://www.whoi.edu

    • dave permalink
      May 20, 2018 5:09 pm

      Very easy to get fooled, since it is natural to just hear “Woods Hole research!” and think it comes from the well-known ‘Institute.’ According to the Map, the pompously self-described Research Center is actually in Falmouth, Mass. but it is genuinely located in the area – on the road to Woods Hole, Mass.

    • Broadlands permalink
      May 20, 2018 8:16 pm

      Bob… Thank you for that. I was fooled into thinking it was the the well-regarded WHOI. Check out the Research Center…Ouch. They claim to have all the answers and what to do about the problem. But don’t expect to find it.

  8. May 20, 2018 5:25 pm

    ‘It is certainly true that recent sea level rise has been slightly higher than the 20thC average, but that is because the latter had been depressed by that 1970-90 slowdown.’

    Er, not to defend Duffy but the claim that the current 3mm or so SLR is because of the 1970-90 slowdown is very dubious. It would imply that the “slow” periods of SLR are 1mm a year while the “fast” ones are 3mm/year, averaging about 2mm a year (indeed the Jevrejeva paper you cite says 1.9mm/year for the XX century).

    Just ask yourself: did SLR over the last couple millenia rise by 2 mm a year? No way. More like 0-1 mm a year; if it was 2mm/year the archeological / geological evidence would be massive. So even when taking the XX century as a whole, SLR was significantly faster than what we’ve seen over the last millenia.

    To return to a “natural” rate of 1 (or even 0) milimetres per year, the current 3mm/year would have to actually go negative for decades. I wouldn’t bet on that happening.

    Besides, the question is not whether SLR has accelerated, but whether man has made SLR greater than what it would otherwise have been (i.e. a natural deceleration may have been offset by man-made SLR – not saying that this actually happened). We know somewhere between 0.5 and 1mm/year of SLR is due to the energy imbalance (Earth taking in more heat than it releases – about 0.8w/m2 currently).

    While obviously we don’t know what was the energy imbalance in the year 1800, the idea that this imbalance has not increased as a result of the additional concentration of greenhouse gases is absurd. So if we have made the Earth’s energy imbalance greater, then we have also made SLR greater. Maybe the current acceleration is indeed an anomaly and we’ll return to something like 2mm/year, but even if that happens it will still be greater than the natural rate of sea level rise.

    • May 20, 2018 9:05 pm

      To understand sea level rise since the 19thC, you need to understand just how much glaciers worldwide grew during the LIA.

      https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2017/04/23/glacial-advance-during-the-little-ice-age-2/

      Glaciers are now gradually returning to pre LIA state.

    • Damian permalink
      May 20, 2018 11:06 pm

      The ERBS suite of satellites has recently shown that the Earth’s outgoing radiation is greater than the incoming radiation.

    • May 21, 2018 2:09 am

      You should look how radiation applies to gases eg the chapter in the Chemical Engineering Handbook on Heat and mass transfer. The Stefan-Boltzmann equation applies to surfaces -gases do not have a surface. Then do some maths. on the effect of CO2 in our atmosphere. The amount of absorption of radiation by CO2 is insignificant, in fact so small that it can not be measured. The absorption factor for CO2 for long wave radiation emitted by the earth surface (land & water) is very small (at least one tenth of that of water vapor -H2Og) and then the concentration in the atmosphere is a trace (maybe around 400ppm volume). These can be factored into equations developed by Prof Hoyt Hottel.
      Even on Venus where the concentration of CO2 is around 95%, the CO2 does not significantly effect the Venus surface temperature which is due to gravity and pressure of the atmosphere at the surface.

  9. May 20, 2018 6:02 pm

    Reblogged this on Tallbloke's Talkshop and commented:
    We shouldn’t have to put up with this constant diet of climate misinformation from people who should, or maybe do, know better.

  10. Neal A. Brown, PhD permalink
    May 20, 2018 8:12 pm

    Duffy may be from Woods Hole – but not WHOI.

  11. Mick J permalink
    May 20, 2018 9:03 pm

    A few more outlier studies listed at NoTrickZone. 285 published studies related to a cooling period, rounded up by Kenneth Richard.

    http://notrickszone.com/285-papers-70s-cooling-1/

    Mick.

  12. keith harrison permalink
    May 21, 2018 1:01 am

    Do you also know there is special relationship between Woods Hole,and Brown University, and John Holdren, President Obama’s former science adviser, and acolyte of Paul Erlich, author of Population Bomb 1968. (link to recent article with an interesting video http://whrc.org/holdren-issues-call-for-urgent-climate-action/

  13. dennisambler permalink
    May 21, 2018 9:03 am

    Obama’s “climate czar”, John Holdren, was previously CEO of Woods Hole, an independent activist organisation. He is back there again:

    http://whrc.org/dr-john-holdren-rejoins-the-woods-hole-research-center/

    He has been a long time asssociate of Paul Ehrlich, the population doomster.

  14. May 22, 2018 2:16 am

    Reblogged this on Climate Collections.

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