Saturday, 3 December 2011

Mörner & Monbiot

From Nils-Axel Mörner's piece in the Spectator:
"In 2003 the satellite altimetry record was mysteriously tilted upwards to imply a sudden sea level rise rate of 2.3mm per year. When I criticised this dishonest adjustment at a global warming conference in Moscow, a British member of the IPCC delegation admitted in public the reason for this new calibration: ‘We had to do so, otherwise there would be no trend.’..."
Mörner may be a dowsing rod lunatic, but that is not the question - the question is whether the implication of what he is saying here is true, i.e. that the satellite altimetry record was adjusted in 2003 in order to show a trend. Here is George Monbiot's response to that claim:
"Mörner however chooses not to believe the published satellite record, probably because it shows a clear upward trend across the global oceans of 3.3mm a year. This conscious rejection of the established satellite data comes about, the Spectator reveals, because of something Mörner claims to have overheard several years ago at a scientific conference in Moscow which he interprets as evidence of a conspiracy."
[Emphasis added] Of course, but that is the point. Mörner is rejecting the established satellite data because he says it has been manipulated in order to show a trend, and Monbiot does not refute or even question this but simply passes over it as something Mörner "overheard" and "interpreted" as evidence of a conspiracy. Regardless of whether or not Mörner is a lunatic, if this particular claim of his is actually false, then Monbiot ought to attempt to refute it.

It may be more likely that the "manipulation" Mörner claims is actually measurement error leading to overestimation of sea level rise, although with the second release of emails, you'd have to be wary about such a charitable interpretation. Here is Andrew Orlowski quoting one such email message from a certain Peter Thorne:
“The science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run...”

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