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Carter et al. = "skeptical" climate science in a nutshell

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Well-known AGW "skeptic" and marine geologist Bob Carter and 2 other Australian scientists (a geographer and an "applied science consultant") have written a paper entitled Influence of the Southern Oscillation on tropospheric temperature.  Somehow they got it published in the AGU's Journal of Geophysical Research - Atmospheres.

The paper has been making waves in the denial blogosphere, of course.  It concludes

natural climate forcing associated with ENSO is a major contributor to variability and perhaps recent trends in global temperature, a relationship that is not included in current global climate models.

Emphasis mine.

The association between ENSO and global temperature variability is nothing new.  It's well-known that ENSO is a strong factor in year-to-year global temperatures, which is why 1998 was the hottest year on record at the time, and why this year will be at the top as well (El Nino events).

However, the 'O' in ENSO is oscillation, meaning it switches between positive and negative.  The cold cycles cancel out the warm cycles in the long-term.  Moreover, ENSO doesn't have the capability of creating or retaining heat.  It just moves heat around between the oceans and air.  So we know it's not going to impact long-term temperature trends.

But this paper suggests perhaps otherwise.  And Bob Carter goes further, claiming


The worst part is, it's impossible for the paper to have made any such conclusion, because their analysis method removed all temperature variations due to trends.

And in fact other papers have removed the ENSO signal from the global temperature data and found it makes no difference in the long-term trend.

So to sum up,  this paper makes a rather obvious claim (ENSO strongly impacts short-term temperatures), suggests a possible conclusion which is incorrect and defies known science and which is impossible for the study to have shown, one of the authors (who apparently didn't understand his own study's methodology) then makes the erroneous statement definitively, and the denial blogosphere runs with it.

That's 'skeptical' climate science in a nutshell.

Edited by dana1981 - 7/24/2009 at 07:02 pm GMT
post #2 of 2 has a post on this on their Friday Roundup.

(edited to add link)
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