One of the signatories to the letter about global warming recently published in the Wall Street Journal is aerospace engineer Burt Rutan. A recent post on WUWT features his exchange with Brian Angliss at Scholars and Rogues. According to the post Rutan, in an email to Anthony Watts, stated “I usually ignore these diatribes.” If you read the post he refers to, it’s abundantly clear that it’s not a “diatribe.”
Rutan also states
You can easily tell if someone is a true environmentalist, i.e. an advocate for a healthy planet – he is one who is happy to hear the news that the arctic ice content has stabilized.
My main question is about a graph which Rutan presents, but before we get to that, Mr. Rutan, I have to ask because we’re all so eager to know: on what basis do you claim that arctic ice content has stabilized? I’ll happily point you to my basis for claiming that it has not, that in fact arctic ice content has destabilized. Do tell us, Mr. Rutan — we’re all ears.
But what really piqued my curiosity was Rutan’s “research” on global warming. It strikes me as a “gish gallop” of the worst global warming arguments. Perhaps Mr. Rutan and I can discuss them some day, but at the moment what I’m most curious about is this graph on page pg. 35 of his pdf report:
It’s Rutan’s basis for for arguing that the statement “May, 2010 was the hottest May on record” is unimportant.
It seems that what he has done is take the temperature change from December to May, then expressed that as a percentage. He seems to regard the fact that the December-May increase hasn’t itself increased, and/or was unexceptional in 2010, as some sort of refutation of the validity or importance of 2010 having the hottest May on record.
Me personally, I don’t regard the fact that 2010 had the hottest May on record as especially meaningful. I do regard the fact that this record was the continuation of a trend as meaningful — May has been getting hotter. As has January. And February, and March, and … you get the idea.
What puzzles me, what I find completely mystifying, is why Rutan would regard the December-May temperature change as a meaningful indicator.
After all, if we plot December temperature (in blue) and May temperature (in red), we can clearly see that both have increased over the last century and more:
Since all months of the year have gotten hotter, we would expect little change in the annual December-May difference. So please, please, tell us Mr. Rutan, why do you regard the December-May difference as meaningful? I’ll be honest with ya, this claim strikes me as irrelevant nonsense.
One more thing, Mr. Rutan — you express the December-May change as a percentage. Percentage of what?