September Panics and Smurphy’s Law
Image via CrunchBase
During hot spells in the summer I often find it refreshing to click onto Anthony’s “Sea Ice Page,” and to sit back and simply watch ice melt. It is an escape from my busy, sweaty routine, as long as I avoid the “Sea Ice Posts” where people become anxious, political, and somewhat insulting, about the serene topic of ice melting. However by September there is no way to avoid the furor generated by melting ice. It reaches a crescendo.
I used to like the September Panic because I often could hijack a thread by bringing up the subject of Vikings. I’d rather talk about Vikings floating around during the MWP, than a bunch of bergs floating around and melting today.
The September Panic also entertained me because I used to learn about all sorts of things I didn’t know about. The debate always involved people clobbering each other with facts, and hitting each other over the head with links. In the process you’d learn all sorts of fascinating trivia about Norwegian fishermen in the 1920’s, and arctic explorers in the 1800’s, and even some science.
For example, fresh water floats on top of saltier water, unless it is the Gulf Stream, which is saltier water floating on top of fresher water because it is warmer, until it gets colder.
This science crosses your eyes, in a pleasant manner, and leads inevitably to discussions about thermohaline circulation, which is fascinating, because so little is known about it.
It also leads to discussions about how the freezing of salt water creates floating ice that is turned into fresh water by extracting brine, which forms “brincicles” as it dribbles down through the ice at temperatures far below zero and enters the warmer sea beneath. This in turn leads to discussions involving the fact that, with such large amounts of brine sinking, surface water must come from someplace to replace it, and in some cases this surface water is cold, while in other cases it is warm.
The fact the replacing waters can be warmer leads to discussions about the northernmost branches of the Gulf Stream, and how these branches meander north and south. This in turn leads to talk of the unpredictable nature of meandering, the further downstream you move from the original point where the meandering starts, and this, (if you are lucky,) will lead you to Chaos Theory and Strange Attractors.
(In the case of the Mississippi River, the subject of meandering leads you to the Delta, plus the topics of Engineers, New Orleans, and Murphy’s Law.) (In the case of psychology, the meanderings of the human mind leads to the conclusion humans are utterly unpredictable, unless they are psychologists, in which case they obey Smurphy’s Law, which states a psychologist will succumb to whatever ailment he is expert in.)
In conclusion, the September Panic can be a source of fascinating thought, providing you are willing to drift like a berg and wind up miles off topic.
I’ve been through this all before, during the Great Meltdown of 2007, and its September Panic. Those were great times, for in the period 2006-2007 the so-called “consensus” put forward a great propaganda effort, including the movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” and won Oscars, Peace Prizes, and a sound thrashing from Skeptics.
Congress debunked Mann’s “hockey stick” in 2006, an English Judge rebuked Al Gore for falsehoods in his movie in 2007, and also in 2007 Hansen had to back off his “adjustments” due to the work of McIntyre at Climate Audit. When Rush Limbaugh mentioned McIntyre’s victory, Climate Audit was overwhelmed by traffic, which was one reason the existence of WUWT came to be known by me, and many others.
In essence the “consensus” experienced a debacle in 2007, for its attempts at propaganda drew so much attention that all its flaws stood naked in a glaring spotlight, and ordinary people began to understand the emperor had no clothes.
All this happened before the 2007 ice-extent hit its record low, and added a quality of desperation to that year’s September Panic. Desperate for proof, Alarmists felt the low ice-extent proved Al Gore was right, and the IPCC was right, but, by using such dubious and refutable sources, they effectively were putting their heads on a chopping block. Or climbing out on a limb. Or swimming like fish in a barrel. (Take your pick.)
At this point a new word, a word most people had never used or even heard before, became quite common in the climate debates, and the word was “obfuscation.” (It would be interesting to compare how often that word was used in 2007 with how often it was used in 2005.)
The Alarmist’s obfuscation has now persisted for five years, which means that the melt-down of 2012 is a bit boring. It is a case of “been there, done that.” No longer do I often learn things I didn’t know about. One hears the same, tired, old arguments from 2007, and one knows it is hardly worth replying, because Alarmists are not interested in the vast and awesome complexity of a chaotic scientific reality, preferring the simplicity of a “belief,” which they grip with white knuckles.
About the only interesting and new approach on the part of Alarmists is their attempt to misuse psychology, and to make it a way of marginalizing and ostracizing those who point out their mistakes. Though appalling, this is interesting because it seems a perfect example of Smurfy’s Law.