Climate alarmism in South Africa demonstrably false

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Climate alarmism in South Africa
demonstrably false

Letter from Professor Dr. William J. R. Alexander


22 Jan 09  - What is our Minister hoping to achieve at the Midrand Summit?

No debate allowed

The Summit is a closed event with no debate allowed on the science on which it is founded. Why is this? It must be obvious that there is something that the Minister’s advisers wish to withhold from public scrutiny.

Climate alarmists repeatedly claim that the science is settled. This statement is false. In this memo I demonstrate the opposite.

The opening sentence of the Midrand Summit information brochure is:

The South African government regards climate change as one of the greatest threats to our planet and our people.

Unfortunately the statement in itself is demonstrably false. If the situation is indeed so serious, why has the Minister not followed the normal procedure of appointing a multi-disciplinary commission of enquiry consisting of representatives of all the affected groups of our society, to advise him?

Environmental extremists

Instead he has chosen to rely on the advice of a few climatological and environmental extremists. It has become obvious that they have no wider knowledge in the engineering and applied sciences. They have no knowledge of all the economic and sociological consequences of their recommendations.

Furthermore, we are a rainbow nation struggling to overcome the inequalities of the past. Our nation is already suffering from the consequences of Eskom’s failure to keep up with the rising electricity demand. We are on the brink of running out of water as the demand exceeds the availability. Our rivers are becoming increasingly polluted. The economic recession has already resulted in job losses as mines and businesses start closing down.

Poverty is increasing, not decreasing. Crime and racial conflicts within the poorer communities are increasing.

Against all this background, the imposition of restrictions on emissions from our coal burning power stations, transport and other activities can only worsen the situation.

False science

The forthcoming Midrand Summit is founded on false science. These are some examples.

In 2004 I was a member of a team of international experts appointed to advise the Japanese authorities on the establishment of an international water research institute. During a break, I asked the team what they thought of the climate change issue. The response was unanimous. It was nothing more than an unverified hypothesis.

I'm sure that it was a coincidence but the day after the distribution of my memo describing the SW Cape nonsense by 15 authors, the local Beeld newspaper carried an article on a paper published by Francois Engelbrecht and the others in the International Journal of Climatology. The headline of the newspaper article was that large parts of South Africa would be drier in future. The rainfall in the Limpopo region would decrease by up to 20% and in the SW Cape it would decrease by up to 30%.

Serious believability problems

These are dramatic decreases. But as in the case of the 15-authored SW Cape analyses, there are serious believability problems in the analyses.

Firstly, the predictions were based on the output of a single computer model. Secondly and most importantly, changes of this magnitude cannot occur suddenly. We are told that the emissions from burning fossil fuels have been increasing for at least the past 50 years. The decreases in rainfall should therefore be observable in the data. The first thing that the authors should have done was to verify their predictions by examining the long district rainfall records published by the South African Weather Service. This is what they would have found.

(The data) shows a steady increase in rainfall during the period of record. From this information alone it is clear that there are fundamental errors in the climate computer model used by Engelbrecht.

                (Click on link at end of this article to see charts)

Fraudulent claims

The rainfall in the Kruger National Park also shows no decrease during the period of record. This exposes the fraudulent claims that the wildlife in our national park are at risk due to climate change. I will return to this in a later memo.

Now we can go one step further. I carried out comprehensive analyses that are described in my 474 page technical report Climate change and its consequences -- an African perspective. I demonstrated that there was a 9% increase in South African rainfall during the period from 1921 to the end of the century. My report has 51 tables, 33 figures and 218 references.

The Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office was once an esteemed institution. At the Bali conference it produced a document titled “New science for managing climate risks.” In a section titled Water – drought and flooding, it produced a table postulating percentage changes in the flow of the major rivers of the world as a result of climate change. It claimed that there would be a 30.6% increase in the flow in the Congo River, while there would be a 34.9% decrease in the flow in the Zambezi River. How is this possible when these two rivers have adjacent headwater catchments?

Pure alarmist nonsense

This is pure alarmist nonsense. Once again these uninformed climatologists failed to calibrate their models with real-world data.

Publications like this distributed at an international conference on climate change are thoroughly unprofessional and misleading. This table does not contain information on a single river in Europe or North America. The obvious reason is that these fallacies could be easily checked by hydrologists in these continents. The Hadley Centre relied on the assumption that there are no intelligent hydrologists in the river catchments listed in their table.

Unscientific opportunism

The uninhabited Marion Island is located in the cold seas between South Africa and the Antarctic. A manned South African weather station is in operation on the island. In an article published in the South African Journal of Science, a climatologist discussed the influence of global warming on the single glacier on the island. He produced two photographs. One taken in 1966 showed a glacier prominently in the foreground. The other taken in 2005 showed that the glacier had disappeared. It was claimed that this was due to global warming.

However, a closer examination shows that the latter photograph was an enlargement of the barren background of the 1966 photograph. No subsequent apology was offered.

Other conscientious climatologists have also published papers on the climate of Marion Island. Now their conclusions are marred by this single example of unscientific opportunism.

I love my country and its people. I am not prepared to remain silent while a small group of intellectually challenged individuals are intent on forcing South Africa to its knees.

Kind regards,
Will Alexander

See entire letter and memo:
Thanks to Hans Schreuder for this link

Professor Dr. William J.R. Alexander, Emeritus of the Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Pretoria in South Africa and a former member of the United Nations Scientific and Technical Committee
on Natural Disasters

Will Alexander






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