James Hansen, a former NASA scientist dubbed the “godfather” of global warming, has a new study out claiming future warming could be worse than predicted, with the world suffering through massive sea level rise and super storms.
Hansen’s global warming doomsday scenario suffers from one (well, at least one) major flaw: it depends on a slowdown of Atlantic overturning circulation, which transports warm water from the tropics to the North Atlantic where it warms the atmosphere.
Hansen and his co-authors list a “slowdown and eventual shutdown of the Atlantic overturning circulation with cooling of the North Atlantic region” as one of five impacts man-made global warming would have on the planet.
The Atlantic overturning circulation, or AMOC, shutting down was a key plot point in the Hollywood blockbuster “The Day After Tomorrow.” In the movie, the AMOC shuts down, leading to tornadoes in Los Angeles, floods in New York City and the North Hemisphere eventually freezing over.
Some climate scientists have been warning about a slowing AMOC for years. Before Hansen, a 2015 study by noted alarmist scientists Stefan Rahmstorf of Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University found ice melt from Greenland was slowing down the AMOC.
A new study debunks claims made by Hansen, Rahmstorf and Mann that man-made warming will slow the AMOC or even completely shut it down.
Australian scientists who wrote the study argue there’s “no reliable measure of the AMOC direct or based on proxies that covers a sufficient time window to show a clear trend beyond inter-annual and multi-decadal variability.”
“Claims of strengthening or reducing of the AMOC are therefore pure speculation,” Aussie scientists wrote in their recently published paper.
The Aussie scientists specifically refuted the study by Rahmstorf and Mann claiming ice melt was slowing the AMOC based on climate models and proxy data. That study directly contradicted actual measurements of the AMOC taken by oceanographer Thomas Rossby of the University of Rhode Island.
Rossby and his team measured the Gulf Stream by taking weekly measurements from a ship with acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP), which measures how fast water is moving to a depth of more than 1,800 feet.
“There are variations of the current over time that are natural — and yes, we need to understand these better — but we find absolutely no evidence that suggests that the Gulf Stream is slowing down,” Rossby said of his 2014 study.
“The models and proxies of Rahmstorf et al. predict the overturning circulation is slowing down as the greenhouse gasses warm the planet and the melting ice adds freshwater to the ocean, but actual observations so far as Willis and Rossby et al. show no signs of any slowdown in the circulation,” Aussie scientists wrote, comparing Rahmstorf’s study to Rossby’s.
“Either may be right or wrong, but they cannot both be right. Here we argue that there is no unquestionable evidence of any change in the AMOC signal if not variability,” the Aussies wrote.
Climate scientists have been highly critical of Hansen’s new study, and reports indicate the process to get the paper peer-reviewed was a contentious one.
Climate scientist Peter Thorne said the draft report was “highly political” and questioned whether or not the paper should have been submitted to the journal Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, reported Climate Home. Thorne also said Hansen was “unprofessional” and “grossly inappropriate.”
“I expect this kind of thing of my kids,” Thorne told Climate Home. “I do not expect this behaviour to be out there in the public domain for all to see amongst leading scientists in the field.”
Now, scientists are calling out Hansen for ignoring the evidence on the AMOC. Chip Knappenberger of the libertarian Cato Institute called out Hansen on Twitter for claiming the AMOC was slowing.
.@wattsupwiththat Shutdown of Atlantic overturning circulation key aspect of Hansen’s catastrophic scenario. Oops.
— Chip Knappenberger (@PCKnappenberger) March 23, 2016
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