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Oh no, ozone recovery hides warming

22 Sep 2021 | OP ED Watch

When you say Antarctica is not warming, indeed is cooling instead, you get some funny looks from people so invested in warming alarmism they find data inconvenient. And some funny stories from people only slightly less so. For instance, as Eric Worrall notes indignantly, a climate scientist over at the state-run Australian Broadcasting Corporation explains that “Our action in reducing ozone depletion is, in the short term, offsetting some of the impacts greenhouse gases are having on summer rainfall systems in the Southern Hemisphere” by moving the “Southern Annular Mode” this way or that (the Southern Annular Mode being some wind). So phew. We are still all going to die after all.

To be specific, the Southern Annular Mode or SAM is “a belt of strong westerly winds linked to rainfall in the Southern Hemisphere. The SAM’s position — either moving further north or south — can influence which latitudes see the impacts of storm systems and cold fronts, and can also have an influence on temperature.” Right. And you never heard of it until the day before yesterday. But now experts say.

Specifically, “Without ozone depletion and greenhouse gas emissions, its position over the southern ocean has a natural variability both north and south. But with those things occurring, the SAM has been trending further south toward Antarctica, research has shown.” Oh has it? Does somebody have a computer model that predicts the behaviour of the SAM so accurately that you can tweak various inputs and understand how it might behave if there was more ozone? Can they predict its behaviour over the past century by inputting known data from 1921? Do they have data on its behaviour before 1850?

No. Of course not. Air currents like ocean currents are extremely complex, non-linear phenomena. Plus if you plow far enough into this story you discover that “climate science professor Julie Arblaster, from Monash University… said it was hard to say exactly what the pushback means for Australian summer rainfall, because the SAM was not the only factor influencing the weather.”

Mind you climate science professor Arblaster is not one of the authors of the actual report, which is full of “the average across four reanalysis products” and “fifty ALL-forcing simulations… for each ensemble” that basically torture the data until it confesses. But all it really means is this thing was shifting toward the South Pole in the latter 20th century then stopped. And unless you know why it was shifting, whether it was in the habit of doing such a thing, and how everything connects to everything else, you’re basically just rationalizing after the fact.

The paper says “The pause (which is widely expected from model results) is only just beginning to emerge in the observations.” But it’s widely expected from model results because you tweaked and torqued the models until they predicted it. And if it does something unexpected next year, well, as John van Neumann said about this sort of thing, “with four parameters I can fit an elephant, with five I can make him wiggle his trunk”.

Still, surely they made a prediction we can hold them to. Not per se. Rather, “The question then arises: as [ozone-depleting substance] concentrations presumably continue to decline but CO2 concentrations presumably continue to rise, will the pause continue, or will there be a transition towards an equatorward-shifted extratropical jet, or will the poleward shifting resume? The answer will depend on the particular CO2 (and other anthropogenic) emissions trajectory. The combination of observations and integrated Earth system models will be crucial to detecting and attributing these changes within our complex climate system…. We thus propose that the pause in these trends might have wider consequences for the Earth system that deserve further study.”

So give us more research money and we’ll blame whatever happens on man-made greenhouse gases. And insist that even if the southern hemisphere isn’t cooling, it is, and we are all going to die. As for that menacing cold in South Africa, um yes well…

P.S. At this point it might seem redundant to note that “Ozone hole over Antarctica larger than usual, scientists say”. But NBC did. Which kind of puts the kibosh on a shrinking ozone hole hiding the warming.

One comment on “Oh no, ozone recovery hides warming”

  1. "As for that menacing cold in South Africa, um yes well…"
    But aren't you forgetting the fundamental law, or as Isaac Asimov might have said, the zeroth law, of climate change: if it's nice it's natural variation, if it's nasty it's climate change. Back in the good old days when climate scientists and their attendant journalists spoke of global warming, our minds were focused solely on things getting warmer. Nowadays of course we know better. Whether it gets warmer or colder, it's all due to humankind's sinful use of fossil fuel. Repent ye, for the day of judgement is at hand!
    Which leads me to think that climate change has morphed from being a science (which it never really was anyway) to being a religion. Facts are neither desirable nor necessary, belief is all.

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