Ship's Logs Show "Natural" Climate Change - Maybe

The Denier Press is alive with versions of a story from the UK, showing that old ships' logs reported “a spell of rapid warming during the 1730s” - the implication being that if the earth warmed once by itself, it couldn't possibly be doing so today with the help of 6.6 billion humans.

That said, Lewis Page at The Register bites back with the observation that sailors in the 1730 - a group that doesn't include later record-keeping wizards like Admiral Nelson and Captain James Cook - didn't generally use thermometers to record temperatures, so the log survey relies instead on “consistent language” of the time.

So, Fox News would have us question the current climate change theories of the best scientists the world has ever produced - using the most advanced equipment in human history - in favor of nearly 300-year-old scratchings by people neither trained, nor primarily concerned with climate.

Ahhhh, no.


I’m amazed that The Register would post the obvious, honest and critical observation that thermometers were rarely carried on board warships during this period, so the data is questionable at best.

Perhaps if their usual climate correspondent, Orlowski (, had been available, the story would’ve taken a very different slant? He has never stopped lack of evidence and science from holding back a good AGW denial story….

And here’s a quote from your story:

“Most of these earlier documents contain verbal descriptions of weather rather than numerical data, because ships lacked the instruments to take numerical readings. However, Wheeler and his colleagues found early Royal Navy officers recorded weather in consistent language.”

Which seems to suggest that they used really high quality dart boards when building their refined records.

I am not, in any case, suggesting that this research is useless. I am merely pointing out that it is inexact and out of context, and that the material was collected by people without the training or equipment we would consider essential for even the most junior “scientist” today.

So, by all means, bring it forth as information of interest. But using it to suggest that the modern concern over anthropogenic climate change is somehow undermined by this material is, well, silly.

You mean Michael Mann the distinguished scientist, do you? Here’s a list of his recent articles.

Is it better to take measurements then adjust them for changes in location over time, further adjust to allow for city development, change the sampling equipment and locations, then report them to one hundredth of a degree? Then tell us that the temperature has increased 0.8 degC over 150 years? You mention climate change theories - that’s all they are, and to date, no evidence to substantiate them. In fact, the longer we wait, the more the evidence grows to dispute the theories. For example, the atmosphere has stubbornly refused to manifest the “CO2 global warming signature” at the 10km altitude. It just isn’t happening. Perhaps what the old travellers saw with their eyes is more reliable than wild theories and adjusted data.

What, exactly, are you referring to by that?

The only ‘signature’ of warming-by-CO2 vs. any-warming-at-all in that altitude range is a cooling stratosphere (if it were solar, we would expect it to be warming, but as CO2 traps heat in the troposphere (speaking loosely), if it’s responsible, the stratosphere should cool). And look:
Well, what do you know. The stratosphere is cooling.

You speak of “stubborn refusal”. Demonstrate that you’re above what you (falsely) accuse the data of being, and admit your mistake – or move on to the next (long-refuted) talking point.
World temperature records show no evidence of anthropogenic global warming (“AGW”). Solar activity in the late 20th century was extremely high. Atmospheric CO2 levels rose as the sea surface warmed. Henry’s Solubility Law, with mass balances of carbon and its isotopes, show the total increase in atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial times is less than 4%. Burning all our remaining fossil fuels, cannot double the CO2, but only increase it by 20%.

“…show the total increase in atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial times is less than 4%.”

Anyone (including children) can look at even the recent changes (for example, Mauna Loa, but others, too) and see that this statement above is bogus even for recent times. Even 1960 to present showed and increase of more than 15%. Go back and re-do your math. The argument requires either that we believe that there were huge blips in CO2 just before “industrial times”, or requires us to accept that deniers can pick and choose any ancient point in geological time as the reference, while ignoring other geological and astronomical events and cycles.

“Solar activity in the late 20th century was extremely high.”

Also bogus, and at best wishful thinking. The irony is the deniers cling to theory that contradicts not only physics, but the actual data.

Robert Grumbine (Penguindreams) describes problems with an article at which suggests may not be a reliable source for scientific information.

This new Grumbine blog looks like it may produce some good explanations for the non-scientist. Hat tip to Deltoid.

You keep clinging to the socialist appproved propoganda.
I am sure it is comforting.
In the mean time, Icecap will continue to offer real science in stead of religeous dogma.


propAgana: (as a committed propagandist, you should know this one).

instead: (one word, meaning rather than; i.e. people should listen to sensible counterpoints instead of Gary)

religIous: again, for a zealot such as yourself, this should be a word you take seriously.  But don’t take my word for any of this. Look this stuff up. And while you’re at it, see also, “dogma” and “ideologue.”