In commentary at the Globe and Mail to the article “Cheap and dirty: Where provinces diverge on energy crossroads“, user “Eyes Wide Open” states at 8:23 PM on September 12, 2011
You’ve gotta laugh! Here we have Alan Burke talking about cooling over the last decade and coming up with with [sic] his typical unproven and incorrect science as excuses! What about “The Cooling Myth” Alan? You’re speaking about both sides of your mouth! That’s why people cannot trust anything you espouse here on the G&M forums! ROTFLMFAO!
He is accusing me of hypocrisy in a clear attempt to cast doubt on my credibility in commentary there.
He usually makes a personal attack in his comments, in violation of the Globe & Mail‘s commentary terms and conditions to which he agreed in participating to adhere, part of which states on each commentary page (bold emphasis is mine)
“Editor’s Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of The Globe and Mail, but only of the comment writer. Personal attacks, offensive language and unsubstantiated allegations are not allowed. For more information on our commenting policies, please see our Community Guidelines page, or read our full Terms and Conditions. If you see a typo or error on our site, report it to us. Please include a link to the story where you spotted the error.”.
He’ll often then continue with unsubstantiated opinion typical of a doubt monger, contrarian or denialists, on issues of anthropogenic (human caused) global warming leading to climate change, also in contravention of the terms and conditions. Even when reported as abusive, his comments frequently survive “moderation”.
In this particular instance, he claims that I have been talking about “cooling over the last decade”. Yes, I have been talking about it but only to point out that it is not cooling but continuing to warm. I have produced graphs to demonstrate that fact. He then refers to my editorial article “The Cooling Myth” and accuses my of hypocrisy with his statement “You’re speaking about[sic – he apparently means “out of”] both sides of your mouth! That’s why people cannot trust anything you espouse here on the G&M forums!”
I wrote that editorial several years ago, motivated in part by his attacks back then, and have left it intact online, as I do with all of my pages and postings. I preface that editorial with the paragraph
One of the most frequent contrarian and denialist myths is that the Earth is now cooling. The commenters usually use 1998, the peak of an unusually powerful El Niño, as the starting point for a trend, asserting that temperatures have not been rising since then. Their myth does not stand up to scrutiny from the evidence. Visit the Temperatures page for detail. This is a quick summary.
It is important to distinguish between short-term natural variability and long-term rise. There are fluctuations in global average temperature, driven in large part by the oceans, and the transition points around 1910, 1940 and 1970 are likely shifts in decadal natural variability; the flattening of temperatures since about 2000 may also be such a transition but it in no way negates the long-term monotonically increasing and accelerating rise in temperatures attributed to human causes, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. See the PNAS 2009-09-14 article cited below for details about decadal variability.
I also specifically refer to the studies of Swanson, Tsonis, et al, which identifies decadal variability caused by “chaotic” (in the mathematical sense) interactions of the primary ocean currents (bold emphasis is mine)
PNAS: Long-term natural variability and 20th century climate change , doi: 10.1073/pnas.0908699106; Swanson, Sugihara and Tsonis
Global mean temperature at the Earth’s surface responds both to externally imposed forcings, such as those arising from anthropogenic greenhouse gases, as well as to natural modes of variability internal to the climate system. Variability associated with these latter processes, generally referred to as natural long-term climate variability, arises primarily from changes in oceanic circulation. Here we present a technique that objectively identifies the component of inter-decadal global mean surface temperature attributable to natural long-term climate variability. Removal of that hidden variability from the actual observed global mean surface temperature record delineates the externally forced climate signal, which is monotonic, accelerating warming during the 20th century.
Supporting Information (pdf)
There and elsewhere I discuss statistical significance and have frequently pointed out that using a cherry-picked decade to make a point is not a legitimate discussion of long-term climate trends.
I also identify on my site that aerosols, volcanic eruptions and decreasing solar insolation have an impact on global temperatures, resulting in a temporary cooling impact although rarely enough of one to cause actual cooling, an exception being post WWII.
Each of these factors has been identified by me in commentary and there is no hypocrisy. The attack by “Eyes Wide Open” is unjustified, offensive and based on misrepresentation. That’s fairly typical of his comments unfortunately. I have identified that comment as being abusive. It will be interesting to see if the G&M “Moderators” act on that report of abuse. I have frequently asked “Eyes Wide Open” to refrain from personal attack and deal with content but that is clearly not something that he is willing to do.