p. 338: There is no such thing as a “tipping point” (or even a “precautionary principle”) in science. The precautionary principle is proposed for the conduct of human affairs. No-one seriously proposes it as a scientific principle. (If it was a scientific principle
would be no as a “tipping
need to argue for point” in science,
its use — it would just happen). There is such but the more technical name is “catastrophe”.
accessible account is given in the book Catastrophe Theory by V. I.
Verlag, 1984, 1986). Since not all things that are catastrophes in the mathematical sense are catastrophic in the human sense, the use of a less ambiguous term such as “tipping point” seems desirable for public communication.
p. 346–347, figures 38, 39, 40: whereas monthly averages do not.
nnual averages show sea surface temperature rises and in the caption of figure 40: The three diagrams
show that the data can easily be manipulated to create a desired outcome.
In particular the linear trend will be almost the same in each case, with small differ- ences coming from a few months at the end. Fitting a trend to monthly, 5-monthly or 12-monthly averages involves (apart from the ends and some rounding of times) the same sums over the same months, whether or not one deals with averages. Using 5-month av- erages just means that each month gets added in 5 times (and divided by 5). From the basic laws of arithmetic, the sum of a set of numbers does not depend on the order in which they are added. So why do the graphs seem to have different trends: because they are plotted on different scales. Each actually shows about 0.7◦C increase over the 40-odd years. This same scam was used by Michael Crichton in State of Fear comparing US and
global data — see section 3.2 of Twisted.
66. p. 350: The El Nin˜o most commonly occurs in late Decembe , lasts for a month or so . . . compared to p. 352 El Nin˜o lasts for 1 to 2 years.
ahiti, which had 100 years of records and showed a see-saw correlation (hence the Southern Oscillation). Wrong. There were not 100 years of records from Darwin be- cause Darwin was not settled until 1869 (initially called Palmerston). More specifically, Walker used a large number of records, and even by the early 1930s, few of these had more than 50 years of data — [DK].
p. 365: Clouds are not factored into climate models. Untrue. See for example sections 12 and 13 of CSIRO Division of tmospheric Research Technical Paper no. 26, available on-
line from the CSIRO Marine and
tmospheric Research website.
lso many textbooks.
69. p. 366: assertion of the 0.5◦C climate sensitivity with no citation and contradicting other values given by Plimer [items 104, 124] — [TL].
7 0 . p . 3 6 6 : T h e E a r t h h a s a n a v e r a g e s u r f a c e t e m p e r a t u r e o f a b o u t 1 5 ◦ C , f o l l o w e d a f e w s e n t e n c e s l a t e r b y I f t h e a t m o s p h e r e h a d n o C O 2 f a r m o r e h e a t w o u l d b e l o s t a n d t average surface temperature would be about –3◦C. The implication of attributing 18◦C of warming to CO2 while saying [caption of Figure 44] bout 98% of the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere is due to water vapour is to imply that in the absence of CO2 and H2O, h e