A couple days ago, we were treated to the alarming article in the Science section of a Flemish newspaper titled “Winter is dying”: scientists see worldwide climate crisis (Dutch). Those “scientists” being Robert Scribbler and Paul Beckwith. This is what they saw (translated from Dutch):
Environmental Scientists fear a “global climate crisis” after the jet stream from the northern hemisphere crossed the equator. That would provide unprecedented changes in weather patterns. Global food production is threatened and winter as we know it would be doomed. Not to mention summer.
and further in the article:
“Our climate continues to behave in new and frightening ways. This was never predicted and we have never seen this before. Welcome to climate chaos. We should declare a state of emergency global climate.”
“The food supply will be affected and these changes have the potential to cause major geopolitical unrest. Strange things are happening on our planet.”
I recognized the name Beckwith. As far as I knew he isn’t a researcher, but a PhD student and part-time teacher. Maybe he did get that PhD in the meanwhile? Apparently not, in his Curriculum Vitae is stated that he is still a PhD student and teaches second year climatology/meteorology as a part-time professor. He doesn’t seem to be a researcher at the University, that is the reason he asks for donations on his website.
Who then is that Robert Scribbler? Apparently he is a blogger with no apparent background in climate science. He describes himself as “a progressive novelist, non-fiction writer and emerging threats expert”. If that guy is a scientist, then I am one too 😉
The phrase “Environmental scientists fear a global climate crisis” suggests that this opinion is carried by many, maybe even all, environmental scientists. That doesn’t seem to be the case. It was the Washington Post that actually asked some scientists whether this claim could be true and broke the news that the claim that the jet stream crossing the equator is a climate climate emergency, was utter nonsense. When it comes to this claim, alarmists (for example Skeptical Science) as well as realists (for example Roy Spencer) are united: those cross-equatorial flows are not uncommon and they all seem to distance themselves from the claim of Scribbler and Beckwith. That is something different from what the newspaper seems to suggest.
So if these cross-equatorial flows are not uncommon, then this puts doubts upon their claims. Those were based on the observation that these crossings were unprecedented and that therefor the seasons will disappear, the food supply will be affected, have the potential to cause geopolitical unrest and a state of emergency should be declared. That reasoning doesn’t fly anymore. This made me wondering how they would respond to this new insights and went to both websites.
However, the inference taken from my article was somewhat misconstrued. Stating that a global climate emergency due to loss of seasonality is currently upon us and is far-reaching. The message in my article is that the situation appears to be worsening and that this particular global climate crisis may be something that we’ll face over the coming years and decades. The article was intended to highlight the risk posed by weakening dividing lines between climate zones, an apparent observed increase in meridional upper air patterns, and in this case, an observation of the upper-level wind pattern that crossed from pole to pole.
Basically saying that although not unprecedented, it is “worsening” and could still be an issue in the future.
Beckwith didn’t do that much effort. As explained in a comment, he just put a question mark behind “unprecedented”… He seem to stay with his claims that (my emphasis):
The jet stream in the Northern Hemisphere has crossed the equator and joined up with the jet stream in the Southern Hemisphere. This is new behaviour, and indicates that climate system mayhem is ongoing.
Our climate system behaviour continues to behave in new and scary ways that we have never anticipated, or seen before.
Welcome to climate chaos. We must declare a global climate emergency.
Also the Youtube video was updated in a comment, a not that honest comment that is:
Not quite unprecedented; it has been pointed out to me that there were a few weaker incidents in 2015 and 2014.
That is not exactly a truthful representation of the criticism. According to Roy Spencer, those cross-equatorial flows has been observed already for several decades on a routine basis. That is not just “a few weaker incidents in 2015 and 2014”.
There was also a second comment that:
Be sure to read the Washington Post article; Google “Jet stream utter nonsense” to find it. In good time I will mercilessly tear this article apart limb by limb:)…
That might get interesting.