|View Larger Map. Alert, NT|
Warning: there may be a mild peppering of sarcasm in the following post.
About a week ago, Guelph climate change denialist Ross McKitrick — an economist, not a physical scientist — contributed a column to the National Post dismissing climate models as a bunch of unreliable hocus pocus. I responded that McKitrick is quite silly for thinking that God will prevent climate change. And now McKitrick has written again, in turn, saying that his principal objection to climate change theory is that the IPCC and its allies have too readily dismissed what he calls “the socioeconomic model,” which states that the warming we observe is largely the consequence of warming from nearby industrial and other economic development, not from increased solar energy absorption due to greenhouse gas emissions.
People who follow this issue will know what McKitrick is referring to, although they may recognize it by the name used for one of the socioeconomic model’s alleged trump cards: the urban heat island effect. The urban heat island is one particular form of warming due to economic development: essentially, and for a variety of reasons, cities produce a considerable plume of heat irrespective of the underlying natural climate. So, if you cluster all your weather stations inside major urban centres, you might see a “warming trend” that is actually just local warming from economic development and urban sprawl.
As a matter of fact, these sorts of issues have occupied much time on the part of climate scientists, and the general conclusion has been that the urban heat island effect does indeed explain a small amount of observed warming at urban weather stations, but not all of it, and even less of it in remote areas. Please, please, please don’t just read McKitrick’s non-peer-reviewed “analysis” of what he describes as his use of a wide variety of global climate models and give it any more weight than you would a short summary from a sociologist with a high school physics course behind his belt who says he just popped over to Switzerland to take a look at the Large Hadron Collider and he can tell us with high confidence that he’s completed the search for the Higgs-Boson particle.
In any case, now seems an apt time to post the full Environment Canada homegenized data on Alert, Nunavut, for my ongoing Canadian Climate Survey series. (I wrote about the high Arctic before, but didn’t have the proper numbers; these ones show that Alert is experiencing the same trends as nearby stations.) As you can see from the above picture, for which I’m indebted to Google Maps, Alert is a hive of industrial activity. I’m not any more of a physical scientist than McKitrick is, but I assume this is precisely the sort of location we would want to start with if we’re searching for evidence of significant warming due to “socioeconomic activities.” And indeed, that’s precisely what we find:
I don’t know about you, but I’d say that’s a prospect of extreme concern. In fact, I’d go so far as to say that even if McKitrick is right, all he’s doing is building a case for grand-scale energy rationing and de-industrialization, not, as he appears to prefer, the dismantling of the paltry efforts at climate change mitigation we’ve made so far. Conveniently, that sort of rationing would do a great deal to curb carbon emissions, so it’s a win-win. Right, Mr. McKitrick?
Oh, silly me, you’ve already answered that question:
“We call on Christian leaders to understand the truth about climate change and embrace Biblical thinking.”
“Men and women were created in the image of God, given a privileged place among creatures, and commanded to exercise stewardship over the earth.”
Yes, indeed. Incidentally, the image to the left is the Orion Nebula. Shortly after creating the Earth, God took time out of his busy schedule to create this Nebula. It orbits the Earth at a distance of only about one billion year’s travel or so in a Boeing 747. God created it so that humans could exercise dominion over it, and he expects us to begin exercising that dominion any day now.Tweet