If you’re not a climate scientist this may come as a surprise. It seems the reason searchers haven’t been able to locate the wreckage of the Malaysian jetliner has everything to do with mankind’s carbon emissions and the way they have tormented the southern oceans. And yes, the experts are serious
Why have we so far not found wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Because of global warming. This is the line being run by way-left US news organization Mother Jones, home of “smart, fearless journalism”, assisted by two leading Australian climate scientists.
Step forward Professor Matthew England, joint director of Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW. This is the very same centre that created the ‘ship of fools’ led by Professor Chris Turney. (That ship got locked in Antarctic pack last December when trying to demonstrate that climate change had reduced the ice).
Professor England has form on alarmism, as befits a contributor to the second and third IPCC reports, and a ‘convening lead author’ for the 2009 Copenhagen summit debacle.
His most recent peer-reviewed paper, published this year, blamed “trade winds” for what he says is the 13-year global surface-warming hiatus. But a year earlier, he described as untruth-tellers those claiming that the IPCC warming projections were over-stated. And a year before that, he was blaming the intensity of Queensland flooding on global warming.
A second source for the Mother Jones report is Dr Steven Rintoul, a CSIRO ocean scientist based in Hobart who specialises in the southern oceans. He was a coordinating lead author on the IPCC Fifth Report.
The third source is Joellen Russell, an associate professor in biogeochemical dynamics at the University of Arizona.
So how has dastardly climate change foiled the MH 370 search? Mother Jones says, “Scientists say man-made climate change has fundamentally altered the currents of the vast, deep oceans where investigators are currently scouring for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight.”
This seems prima facie improbable, given that the past 100 years’ total climate change is about 0.75degC, and there has been a surface warming halt for between 15 years and 17 years, depending on who is doing the calculating.
Anyway, the three climate scientists say the winds of the Southern Indian Ocean bordering the Southern Ocean have been shifting southwards and intensifying over the last twpo or three decades, in part due to a warming atmosphere and the hole in the ozone layer. Ocean currents are also tightening around Antarctica, shifting whole climate systems towards the South Pole, they say.
Matthew England thinks his putative climate-change impacts can decrease the amount of carbon you can get into the oceans, and “affect the temperatures off the Antarctic ice shelf, which is a real worry.” Actually, even the IPCC agrees that Antarctic ice had been growing by about 1.5% per decade during the satellite era, despite the IPCC models predicting a decline. So Dr England seems a bit of a worry-wart.
He does concede that there are ‘basic holes’ in scientific understandings of these oceans. And he continues,
“The reality is that the ocean there is very poorly measured. We have some evidence from satellites, but not nearly enough measurements, not nearly enough understanding of the flow patterns there. We largely rely on models to piece that together. There’s a bit of guesswork there.” (author’s emphasis).
As usual, the model-based climate apocalysm comes first, too bad about the data. Bob Tisdale, a specialist in auditing the IPCC climate models, has reported that the IPCC CMIP3 models for Indian and Pacific Ocean surface temperatures , 1995-2012, forecast an acceleration, whereas the data are flat. For the 30 years to 2012, the models forecast more than double the actual rate of those oceans’ warming.
CSIRO’s Dr Rintoul claims the southward shift of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and the Indian Ocean Gyre Current, are largely human-caused, through wind effects of greenhouse gases and the ozone hole. He also thinks the climate impacts on the ocean are accelerating: “We have seen changes in the last few years that even 5 or 10 years ago we would have thought highly unlikely,” he says. Again, a curious perswpective, given the prolonged halt to warming.
Professor Russell got on her soapbox to say that these southern oceans are gobbling up “so much of the heat that man-made climate change is generating” – presumably, an explanation of the hiatus in surface warming. Shamelessly exploiting an aviation tragedy for climate propaganda purposes, she continues, “This is one of the few areas of the global ocean that is immediately and definitely playing a role in the temperature on land, because it’s taking up all this anthropogenic heat and carbon. The whole ocean is doing that, but here it’s doing it more than it ought to, which is giving us a moment of grace.”
Her error margins are somewhat large – she claims that the Southern Ocean takes up something like 70 percent “plus or minus 30 percent” of all the anthropogenic heat that goes under the ocean. Clever ocean, to select this man-made heat and tuck it down where it can’t be measured! (Actually, in Andrei Tarkovsky’s science fiction film, the ocean on planet Solaris is an agglomeration of intelligent life. Maybe Russell is on to something).
Russell has a grand theory that increasing westerly winds are somehow messing with the southern oceans’ ability to absorb heat, “and potentially shortening this so-called ‘grace’ period where the oceans are giving us a helping hand.” In other words, the MH370 disaster is an excuse to claim that the ocean is gobbling up the ‘missing heat’ and will spit out all that warming when the ocean gets tired of giving humans a grace period from climate disaster.
None of the three scientists have yet blamed global warming for the actual destruction of MH370, but watch that space.
Tony Thomas blames global warming for his poor form at tennis yesterday. He blogs at tthomas061.wordpress.com