Deniers R Us – Göran Ahlgren

Posted on March 11, 2012


The Climate Denier Files.  Another one of a continuing series on climate change deniers, who they are and what they think.

Göran Ahlgren.

For those people who prefer to get their prostate cancers treated by climatologists and their climate opinions handed them by assistant-professors of Organic Chemistry, we have Göran Ahlgren, a Swedish medical doctor specializing in prostate cancer treatments.  He holds the position of General Secretary to the Stockholm Initiative, and has no refereed publications in climate science.

The Stockholm Initiative is a climate denial lobby group from Sweden, and, typically for such groups, has commissioned and engaged in no original science projects in any area, including climate science.  The SI does, however, operate a popular Swedish climate denial blog, containing an almost total absence of scientific discussion, to which Ahlgren has occasionally contributed.

Algren’s articles on the blog–heavy on political innuendo but referencing little actual science–rely upon the usual denier litany of vague scientific conspiracies and so on, but include, for example, the old, illogical, and oft-debunked assertion that “warming has stopped since 1998.”  That assertion could be thrown out as irrelevant by any climate scientist, even if it happened to be true, since climate science prefers to deal with longer periods in order to filter out short term climate fluctuations.

But since it’s an argument that the climate denial industry is fond of, let’s deal with it.

Professional climate deniers are experts at cutting and pasting their science in order to “prove” their preconceived conclusions and they have a very particular reason for wanting to start the clock of warming at 1998 rather than another year:  1998 was the year of the most intense El Niño on record.

Now, El Niño is a part of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate system, one of those short-term climate fluctuations I was talking about.  When El Niño manifests, it causes an overall rise in the Earth’s surface temperatures.  The companion feature of the same system, La Niña, when it appears, depresses average Earth surface temperatures.  (We are just now emerging from a La Niña system.)

The intense El Niño in 1998 caused the surface temperature records in that year to spike, with climate change and ENSO working together to produce the hottest year up to then in the modern temperature record.  However, contrary to climate denier claims, those records were equaled in 2005 and exceeded in 2010.

And the inference that “warming has stopped” was always expressly contrary to what we know about the Earth’s heat budget.  Two-thirds of the planet is covered by water and water acts like a battery storing heat.  It is, in fact, where most of the heat from global warming has accumulated.  Scientists have monitored and measured the oceans as they have heated up over recent decades; the evidence clearly shows that the Earth’s seas did not stop accumulating heat in 1998—or in any other year since.

Ahlgren holds a position with the climate denier lobby group Stockholm Initiative.

Signed the Copenhagen Climate Challenge.


Heat content graph courtesy of Skeptical Science: