The Climate Change Paper Cancelled by The British Hydrological Society

We’re publishing today an article by James Dent, a retired hydrologist and meteorologist. In a long career, Mr. Dent worked in many parts of the world, specialising in floods and droughts. For a time, he was the World Meteorology Organisation Chief Technical Advisor to the Flood Forecasting and Warning Centre in Bangladesh. The article was initially published in the British Hydrological Society journal Circulation, but was quickly withdrawn.

Here’s an excerpt:

Like the predictions of the progress of Covid, we need to ask what the limitations are to modelling. Too easily the model output is given the status of truth, and quickly becomes unchallengeable. Climate change predictions have been commonplace for at least 25 years, but I recently read an agricultural journalist state that in the future, farmers will have to cope with hotter, drier summers, and warmer, wetter winters, and there will be more extreme events. The message has remained the same, so have we not yet reached the predicted future? It becomes easy to summarise complicated ideas into sound bites.

Over the last 15 years, I have resigned from two national institutions which have incorporated climate change hypotheses into rigid policy statements. This situation could so easily escalate to the dystopian future depicted in the recently published novel The Denial by Ross Clark. Like all the ramifications and issues relating to Covid, the danger comes when theoretical projections provide the basis of legislation, or define the stance of particular organisations, while the media presentations rely on throw-away lines and virtue-signalling in reporting.

I can see similar dangers arising from so-called ‘environmental’ policies, such as ceasing river dredging and weed clearance, ‘rewilding’ and abandoning land and road drainage maintenance. Ultimately we could find ourselves regressing to medieval conditions, where roads and marshy areas become impassable in the winter months.

British Hydrological Society (BHS) President Hayley Fowler, Professor of Climate Change Impacts at Newcastle University, subsequently explained that the paper was “a personal view from one of our membership that climate change was not a real phenomenon”.  She went on to say: “We do not think it is appropriate to provide them with a forum under the BHS logo.” She further noted that the “climate sceptic” viewpoint  did not represent good scholarship in science and we “will be reviewing our governance procedures to make sure that members voices can still be heard, but through the lens of good science”.

James Dent’s essay would have passed without comment 20 years ago. It is statement that climate has always changed, sometimes within short intervals, and climate models produce forecasts, not unchallengeable truth. As I noted in a recent article, the broadcaster and current UCL Professor of Earth Systems Science Mark Maslin said in 1999 that “some, and possibly most, large climate changes involving movements of several degrees centigrade occurred at most on a timescale of a few centuries, sometimes decades, and perhaps even a few years”. By 2014, Maslin was writing articles titled “Why I’ll talk politics with climate change deniers – but not science”, while in 2020 he suggested the origins of racism and climate emergency “share common causes”.

Justifying her Dent banning order, Professor Fowler claimed that anthropogenic activities had unequivocally modified Earth’s climate, causing increasingly disruptive socio-economic and ecological impacts. She suggested that changes to large-scale climate patterns had resulted in increasingly frequent and intense examples of extreme weather events. Global temperatures will continue to increase until at least the mid-century and would rise by 1.5°C and 2°C  during the next century, unless there were deep reductions in human-produced carbon dioxide.

None of this is based on proven scientific fact. Humans are part of nature and have probably had some effect, likely very small, on the atmosphere. Burning fossil fuel, for instance, adds just 4% extra CO2 to an atmosphere that some scientists suggest needs more of this highly beneficial plant food. Ascribing individual weather events to long-term changes in the climate is not science – no credible data that could be falsified is available – it is just someone’s opinion. Prof. Fowler puts great store by the “strength of scientific evidence” presented by the IPCC. As we have seen, recent IPCC reports are often produced by writers such as herself, with similar academic interests and defined outlooks.

Forecasts of future warming come from unreliable computer models. Highly inaccurate guesses are produced because scientists cannot agree on the crucial issue of the amount of warming caused by a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. Estimates range between 0.5°C to 6°C. Many scientists now suggest lower estimates are more realistic, and these fall within margin of error territory. In this territory, it will be impossible to tell whether minor changes in temperature are caused by relatively small amounts of human-caused CO2, or countless other natural causes. Driven by a green climate agenda, the IPCC authorities still favour the higher estimates.

Global warming started to run out of steam nearly 20 years ago and temperatures have been at a standstill for over eight years, according to accurate satellite data.

The graphic above shows clearly the divergence of climate model forecasts from the actual temperature recorded in the thicker green line. Increasingly inaccurate forecasts are seen from the late 1990s. Note the standstill from around 2014 and the slowdown of warming since the mid 1990s peak.

According to Prof. Fowler, large scale climate patterns have resulted in increasingly frequent and intense examples of extreme weather events. What is the definition of ‘extreme weather’, it might be asked – according to the graphic below, it does not seem to be based on human lives lost.

According to Prof. Fowler, many changes in the climate system become larger in direct relation to increasing global warming, and this includes increases in the frequency of intense tropical cyclones.

If there are going to be any increases, they haven’t shown up in the above record yet. Both hurricane and cyclone activity show similar trends going back over 40 years.

Prof. Fowler concludes with some thoughts on the hydrosphere “where the most profound impacts of climate change will pose the greatest risk to Earth’s biomes”. Continued global warming is projected to intensify further the global water cycle, including variability, global monsoon precipitation and the severity of wet and dry events.

Such events might be expected to affect large land masses like the United States. Detailed historical records are available across this territory going back to 1895. Like the storms, the above chart shows there is no great change discernible yet.

The Daily Sceptic asked Professor Fowler to comment further on the Dent cancellation. She was asked to explain what she meant when she said members’ future voices will be heard through the “lens of good science”. At time of going to press, there had not been a reply.

Read James Dent’s banned article here.

Chris Morrison is the Daily Sceptic’s Environment Editor.

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June 2022
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