Professor Tony Trewavas of Scientific Alliance Scotland has provided misleading accounts of aspects of climate science (Letters, 11 and 27 May).
In the first letter, he referred to “the naive view that sees climate temperature changes as solely the result of mankind’s activities”. No climate scientist holds such a view. Misrepresenting the views of opponents so as to give the illusion of refutation is known as a “straw-man” argument, and should have no place in serious discussions.
Prof Trewavas also maintains that no climate models predicted “the present 16-year stasis in climate temperature”. No, of course they didn’t. Climate models address long-term changes, not short-term variations that are heavily influenced by largely unpredictable natural factors. Nor has the Met Office stated that any putative “stasis” will “continue for at least another three to four years”, as he claims. There is actually no requirement to use climate models to explain recent global temperatures. All that is required is a recognition of the other natural factors involved in short-term global temperature change, particularly El Niño/La Niña episodes (that transfer heat to/from the atmosphere from/to the ocean), volcanic eruptions and solar variations.
When these other factors are taken into account – as, for example, in the paper Global temperature evolution 1979-2010, Foster and Rahmstorf, Environmental Research Letters, 2011 – then any apparent “stasis” disappears. Foster et al found, “the warming rate is steady over the whole time interval. In all adjusted series, the two hottest years are 2009 and 2010”.