Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Melanie Phillips - Ignorant Fuckwit, Or Just Mentally Unstable?

You decide. The world famous climatologist has been once again sharing her perceived wisdom with the world. Here are her latest pearls of wisdom:

Hang on, you murmur: in any event, aren’t we simultaneously being told that global warming will mean parched summers and winter deluges? Sure — but global warming is a truly miraculous theory. It means that, without a shadow of a doubt, we will have dry summers and wet winters, and wet summers and er, well, wet winters. As Dr Stott says:

‘In the UK wetter winters are expected which will lead to more extreme rainfall, whereas summers are expected to get drier. However, it is possible under climate change that there could be an increase of extreme rainfall even under general drying.’

As it gets dryer, it will get wetter. Truly, this global warming theory has some extraordinary properties.

Now, it struck me that good old Mel has rather missed the point here. What Dr Stott is saying is that as the country becomes generally drier, it will be subject to more extreme rainfall (ie heavy bursts of rainfall over short periods of time). It is quite a simple concept to get your head around, providing you are not clinically insane of course. The phenomenon of high temperatures and a drier climate combined with heavy bursts of rainfall is not unusual. NASA helpfully explains this in reference to Sub-Saharan Africa:

In the tropical wet-and-dry climate, there is a distinct dry season during the winter months. During the dry season, very little rainfall occurs and droughts are common. Rainfall occurs during the remainder of the year. Rainfall in the tropical wet-and-dry climate can be highly irregular, varying tremendously from one year to the next. In this climate regime, destructive floods can be followed by severe drought. Vegetation in the tropical wet-and-dry regions of Sub-Saharan Africa is mainly tall savanna grass and low, drought resistant deciduous trees.

So there we have it. It is possible, as the climate becomes drier, that there can be cases of extreme rainfall during general drying periods. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that Mel fails to grasp such basic science, after all this is the woman who believed that water vapour makes up most of the atmosphere. However, the really bizarre thing about this article is that she openly ridicules Dr Philip Stott. This is odd because she usually relies on Dr Stott to attack those who believe in climate change here, here, here, and here. Undermining her own source? She really has lost it.

* Unlike Mel, I am happy to admit that my knowledge of science is pretty sketchy. If there is any obvious cock-up regarding rainfall in dry climates, please tell me.