I think we disagree on the meaning of “hard proof”

Warmist Anthony Sharwood from The Punch finds some “cold hard proof” that it’s getting warmer. He shows a graph of snow fall at Spencer’s creek. It’s his smoking gun.

The black line shows the downward trend over the last 58 years. Pronounced decline, isn’t it. The consistent big seasons of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s are a thing of the past. On average, we’re losing three quarters of a centimetre of snow each year. That’s nearly half a metre since records were first kept.

Wow! 7.5mm per year!

And those observations reveal beyond doubt that Australia is getting warmer.

Actually, they only suggest that Spencer’s creek is getting warmer. First of all, snowfall is only an indicator of temperature, a good one at that, but it’s not a graph of temperature. Secondly, he claims that data from one location can tell us something about the climate of an entire continent.

But there’s no arguing with this snow depth graph. It is elegantly simple and best of all, it represents something tangible. The graph clearly shows that less snow is falling, and less snow is sticking around. And that ain’t happening because the world’s getting cooler, as some argue.

Before he tried to claim reduced snowfall at Spencer’s creek proves warming in Australia, now he suggests it proves a global trend. No skeptic says the world hasn’t been warming over the last century/half-century. It is the last decade where the warming has been in doubt

Now, no one’s saying the snow is going to disappear entirely this century, as predicted by a 2003 CSIRO report with a distinctly doomsday tone. But slowly, it’s going.

Could you contradict yourself anymore? He says no one is saying the snow will disappear this century, but then says the CSIRO are saying that. To his credit however, he is quite critical of global warming alarmism.

The $64 million question is why. Is all this part of a natural cycle or is the hand of human activity at work here?

Bingo! So how does he intend to answer this question?

This article is intended to be the first in an ongoing series in which The Punch asks you, our readers, to weigh in to the climate change debate in a new way. We are particularly keen to hear from those who live and work not in offices, but out there in the elements each day.

Maybe you are a lifelong ski resort worker who has seen the snow decline with your own eyes. You might be a farmer in the wheatbelt, a boat operator seeing coral bleaching on the Reef, an irrigator in the Murray/Darling basin or an indigenous Australian whose family who has lived on the land for thousands of generations.

In essence, we ask anyone who works in the natural environment to come forward and state, in this thread or in a piece of their own, whether they intuitively believe climate change is part of a natural cycle, or something of humanity’s own doing.

This approach is not anti-science. It’s about stepping beyond the typical internet arguments of “my graph is more accurate than yours”, because we’d all agree that’s never settled a single argument.

How is human anecdotal evidence of climate change going to prove that:

  1. the current climate is unusual or
  2. that humans are responsible?

In a lifespan, humans can only directly observe on average about eighty years of climate change. In the context of geological time, this is insignificant.

Let me tell you what my gut tells me, in an attempt to set the snowball rolling, so to speak.

My gut tells me the snow is disappearing much quicker than it would be if people weren’t spewing all kinds of gunk into the atmosphere.

I vividly remember my ski trip way back in the record 1981 season, when you could walk straight out onto the snow from the second floor balcony at our lodge in Perisher. The snow hasn’t been anywhere near that level since.

That’s not to take one enormous snow year as evidence of anything, just as one big cyclone proves nothing in and of itself.

But as someone who has not missed an Australian snow season as either visitor or resort employee for 31 years now, the rate of snow decline just feels wrong.

Of course Sharwood, the omnipotent, hundred-million year old being that he is, is in a position to tell us what is an unusual climate.

Australia has always been a marginal ski country. But the rate at which it is becoming ever more marginal leads me to the irresistible conclusion that external forces are at play beyond the regular fluctuations implicit in the very concept of “climate”.

In short, and to paraphrase the movie The Castle, “it’s the vibe”.

One last time, I admit that this is hardly science. And again, that’s the point.

So what is the point, then? How do you intend to solve a science problem by telling stories?

The world is warming. Surely there are those of you out there who deal with this reality every day. You see it. You feel it. You know there have always been droughts and floods and temperature extremes, but you know this feels different.

Because Sharwood was obviously around five million years ago to know what the current climate feels different in comparison to.


About Climate Nonconformist

Hi, I'm the climatenonconformist (not my real name), and I am a global warming skeptic, among the few in generation Y. With Australia facing the prospect of a carbon tax, we need to be asking the simple question; where is the evidence that our emissions are causing any dangerous warming?
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3 Responses to I think we disagree on the meaning of “hard proof”

  1. Frances says:

    I recommend you read Senator Mitch Fifield’s website and what he has to say about what the Gillard Govt. and the Greens did yesterday in the Senate.
    Media Release – Labor/Greens block carbon scrutiny in the Senate – 22 September 2011

  2. Pingback: Three strikes against democracy | Climate Nonconformist

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