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Disclaimer. After nearly 40 years managing money for some of the largest life offices and investment managers in the world, I think I have something to offer. These days I'm retired, and I can't by law give you advice. While I do make mistakes, I try hard to do my analysis thoroughly, and to make sure my data are correct (old habits die hard!) Also, don't ask me why I called it "Volewica". It's too late, now.

BTW, clicking on most charts will produce the original-sized, i.e., bigger version.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Peak stupid from the WSJ

The Wall Street Journal used to be one of the Anglosphere's great newspapers, 30 years ago.  Its articles were well researched and often of very high quality.  They assumed their readers were intelligent.  I used to read it with pleasure, even though its political views inclined right.  I remember  being impressed that it had few pictures and plenty of densely spaced text, the exact opposite of the tabloid press at the time, and now.

All newspapers have suffered from the migration of advertising to online forums.  And as revenue has declined, newspapers have had to reduce costs by dispensing with quality journalism.  However, for a paper of this calibre to sink to these lows is quite sad.

A recent paper by Fred Singer shows how far the WSJ's standards have declined.  The writer accepts that water expands when it's heated but nevertheless states that global warming has nothing to do with rising sea levels, because the increase in the Antarctic ice cap has compensated for this expansion.  He uses data from 1915 to 1945 (!) from just one location (San Francisco) to back up this theory.  It's not as if we were in 1818, with limited data!    The old WSJ would never have published this tripe.  Alas, its pages now serve the climate denialism god, as its master Rupert Murdoch requires.

In fact the whole question has been well studied:

Figure – Global sea‐level budget from 1961 to 2008. (left) The observed sea level using coastal and island tide gauges (solid black line with grey shading indicating the estimated uncertainty) and using satellite altimeter data (dashed black line) with thermal expansion and glaciers melting components; terrestrial storage (e.g. dams) partially offsets other contributions to sea‐level rise. (right) The observed sea level and the sum of components.
The chart of the left shows the different sources of the rise in sea levels.  The brick-red line at the bottom shows how "terrestrial storage", i.e., the increase of water on land, including any "rise" in the amount of ice in Antarctica (it's actually been falling) has offset the effects of the other two factors (thermal expansion and melting ice sheets).  The right-hand chart shows the combination of these factors (red line with pink uncertainty band) compared with actual sea-level rise both from tidal gauges and (in recent years) satellites (black solid and dashed line with grey uncertainty band) and the fit seems accurate.

Yes, the sea level is rising, and yes it's due to the thermal expansion of the ocean and melting of the glaciers and ice caps.  And those in turn are due to rising global temperatures which are rising because the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is rising because mankind is burning fossil fuels. 

[Hat tip to Climate Denial Crock of the Week (always excellent reading.)  There is also a Guardian article (Yes, EVs are green and global warming is raising sea levels) discussing this WSJ article and another ineffably feeble article in Politico about how EVs pollute more than ICEVs.]

The denialists are getting desperate.  They're also scraping the bottom of the barrel with the "scientists" and "journalists" they use to write their (frankly) feeble rebuttals of the facts of climate change and its causes.



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