Gore gets bitten again by another factual blunder

Gore again, this time it is about mosquitoes, malaria, and elevation. Some history checking by mosquito epidemiologist Paul Reiter reveals he’s wrong about Nairobi. Turns out that some species can live as high as 10,000 feet. Even as far back as 1927 in this letter to Time Magazine, people knew of mosquitoes at the snow line. A 1960 study shows mosquitoes in the California Sierra Nevada mountains and another shows mosquitoes in the mountains of Africa. Of course those aren’t malaria carrying anopheles mosquitoes, but I’ll point out that Gore was not specific about which mosquitoes were “climbing”.  And if there is indeed a mosquito borne malaria problem in Nairobi, there’s this contradictory evidence: In a presentation during the 8th International Conference on Urban Health, held in Nairobi 18–23 October 2009, it was stated that of nearly one thousand Nairobi residents tested, none were positive for malaria.

There has been a resurgence of malaria in Kenya though. It may have something to do with this: Kenyan scientists are embroiled in a deepening controversy over whether Kenya should lift a ban on the pesticide DDT in a bid to reduce deaths from malaria.

UPDATE: E.M. Smith writes in comments:

If you look at this page:

http://www.mosquitoes.org/anopheles.html

you will find a listing for the native Anopheles freeborni listed as a malaria vector and with habitat that ranges at least up to 6000 feet.

http://www.insectidentification.org/imgs/insects/snow-mosquito.jpg

Aedes communis -"snow mosquito" - One mosquito that lives in cold mountain climates - Image: USDA

From the  UK  Spectator by Paul Reiter

The inconvenient truth about malaria

Al Gore has made bold claims that climate change is aiding the spread of insect-borne diseases. The science does not support him, says Paul Reiter

Al Gore’s film, An Inconvenient Truth, was a masterpiece. Like an elder brother to all humanity, he patiently explained the familiar litany of disasters — droughts, floods, hurricanes, sea-level rise and the rest — spiced with heartrending personal stories: his baby son’s near-fatal accident, the agony of losing a sister to lung cancer. It was a science lecture crafted by Hollywood.

In his book — the version for adults, not the one for schoolchildren — he even included a colour photograph of a corpse, a young man, floating face downward, drowned by Hurricane Katrina. I wonder whether the dead boy’s family were consulted.

I am a scientist, not a climatologist, so I don’t dabble in climatology. My speciality is the epidemiology of mosquito-borne diseases. As the film began, I knew Mr Gore would get to mosquitoes: they’re a favourite with climate-change activists. When he got to them, it was all I feared.

In his serious voice, Mr Gore presented a nifty animation, a band of little mosquitoes fluttering their way up the slopes of a snow-capped mountain, and he repeated the old line: Nairobi used to be ‘above the mosquito line, the limit at which mosquitoes can survive, but now…’ Those little mosquitoes kept climbing.

The truth? Nairobi means ‘the place of cool waters’ in the Masai language. The town grew up around a camp, set up in 1899 during the construction of a railway, the famous ‘Lunatic Express’. There certainly was water there — and mosquitoes. From the start, the place was plagued with malaria, so much so that a few years later doctors tried to have the whole town moved to a healthier place. By 1927, the disease had become such a plague in the ‘White Highlands’ that £40,000 (equivalent to about £350,000 today) was earmarked for malaria control. The authorities understood the root of the problem: forest clearance had created the perfect breeding places for mosquitoes. The disease was present as high as 2,500m above sea level; the mosquitoes were observed at 3,000m. And Nairobi? 1,680m.

Read the rest of the story at the Spectator

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JonesII

I´ve seen some malaria mosquitoes around his beach property. Be careful Al baby!

Henry chance

As a psychologist, fear and pain contribute to changes in behavior. Gore can use drama and repetition to induce fear. Random anecdotes do not make for good data Al.

Jim

Al “The Liar” Gore. Or Al “The Liar for $$$” Gore. Man … how does he show his face???

Neil McEvoy

Malaria is a disease of poor countries, not of hot countries. North Korea has malaria, Australia does not. The USSR had malaria in the 1930s and so did England in the Little Ice Age, of all times.
Shut down economies in the name of CO2 reduction and more people will die from malaria.

Of course, the climbing habits of mosquitoes would be a curiosity at best if the Sierra Club types – the forerunners of the AGW cult – had not forced us to outlaw DDT. Thanks a lot, Rachel.

Alan The Other Brit

As a tennager in the early 1970’s I went on a high school backpacking trip in the California Sierra Nevada’s. We hiked above the tree line and I was plagued by mosquitos the whole trip. I remember being suprised that clouds of mosquitos followed me on to the small snow fields that remained at the higher altitudes. I was being so badly bitten that my science teacher (Mr. Guilow) gave me his hat-mounted mosquito net. My army surplus mosquito repellent was useless. We would sit in the smoke of the campfire to avoid being bitten at night, There were so many mosquitos that they added to the protien content the evening meals because it was impossible to keep them all out of the pot.

GP

Malaria, as carried by mosquitos, requires still water. So damp and marshy conditions are perfect. Tropical monssons followed by good sunshine levels even better, but not an absolute requirement.
Marshland areas just to the east of London (UK) were know to be a source of ‘ague’ (basically malaria it was later discovered) until the land started to be drained for development in the late 1800s early 1900s. The life expectancy in those areas was lower even than in the city. Those that lived there were recognised as people with weak constitutions – probably wrongly as it turned out.
It is disgraceful that ‘the media’ fail to offer well documented knowledge to challenge broadbrush statements from the likes of Gore. et al.

kadaka

The mosquito line? Is that similar to the flea and tick line, above which you won’t find any?
I had read the resurgence of malaria was (at least partially) attributed to an increasing drug resistance, namely one or more strains resistant to chloroquine. Other drug resistances will arise in time, as expected. Which will be attributed to global warming or whatever the cause du jour is, as dreaded.

rabidfox

Now we’re beginning to see why ‘Ol Bro Al won’t let anyone film his lectures.

Tim S.

“I am a scientist, not a climatologist…”
I love this distinction!

JackStraw

DDT is yet another example of how these [snip] continue to use fear and bogus data to implement schemes which have long term negative affects on humanity. But it’s ok because they feel good about themselves.
How stupid do you have to be to listen to anything Al Gore spews? He is a walking embarrassment.

J. Schmee

Slightly OT… but this is most important.
Did anyone see the Monbiot/Plimer debate from Auz yesterday?
I hate to say it, but Monbiot (who I’m not a fan of) absolutely destroyed the dissembling Plimer who’s pitiful: ”you’re a journalist’ quasi ad hominems, were brutal to watch.
Hostile environment be damned! ANYONE, let alone a skeptical scientist, absolutely must be able to wade into a debate, anytime/anywhere and quote one’s own literature chapter and verse!!!
Even worse… becuase of the total car crash that was Plimer re: Monbiot’s challenge on Keller’s (sic) paper – 1/13 questions Plimer had days to perpare for in advance – I now find myself questioning whether or not there actually has been non-statiscially significant warming since ’98.
Restitution anyone?

Oliver Cromwell died of malaria in the deep of LIA in medieval England.

Leon Brozyna

Gore gets bitten again by another factual blunder
or
Truth gets gored – again.
++++++++++++++++++++
Perhaps Mr. Gore can describe global warming with these lines from Ghostbusters:

Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!
Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…
Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave!
Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!

Henry chance

Algore surrendors:
Former US vice president and environmental activist Al Gore called Tuesday for world leaders to meet in Mexico City in July to complete a climate treaty under negotiation in Copenhagen.
“I do not believe that we can wait until next November or next December,” said Gore, a Nobel peace prize winner for his work on raising awareness of climate change. ”
November and December are cold. How about Tuscon in July? Except for the hookers, it has no chance of rain/snow hampering discussion.

Dan

If a for-profit company spokesman lies or makes inaccurate statements, he and the company are held liable. It’s called “truth in advertising.” I think it’s time we held public figures, government employees, and elected officials to the same standards. Maybe that can be a rallying cry of a new Tea Party reform push.

vigilantfish

Malaria is supposed to have killed around 500 men during the construction of the Rideau Canal between Ottawa and Kingston Ontario in the 19th century. Canada is hardly a tropical country, and malaria is not a tropical disease. Malaria was a major problem for Allied soldiers in Italy during WWII. Italy did not finally rid itself of malaria until the early 1970s, when the Communist government finally caved in to the evidence that prosperity, education, and medicine could not do the trick alone and it began a DDT spray program. “Malaria”, by the way, is an Italian word, and has two components “Mal” meaning “bad” and “Aria” meaning “air”. The name came from the 18th and 19th centuries, a period in which disease was thought to be caused by poisonous air (miasma) leading to such social reforms as building effective sewers and draining swamps near towns. These, of course, did help the cause, but in the case of malaria, we in developed countries can be thankful for the invention of DDT.

Rod Smith

Re: malaria is not just a disease of hot countries: The largest, and maybe the most aggressive mosquitos, I’ve seen were not in the tropics, but in Alaska.

John R. Walker

The resurgence of malaria in Africa has little to do with climate and has a lot to do with threats by the EU to ban agricultural and horticultural imports which may carry traces of DDT which the EU and USA saw fit to ban for reasons which look to stand about as much scrutiny as Al Gore’s lyrics… Some countries – e.g. Kenya which has a high value export business in cut flowers – agreed to implement a DDT ban while others chose not to…
There’s a high correlation between not using DDT and local increases in malaria. The numbers of deaths involved dwarf some better known genocides.
Quite a good summary in this article:
http://www.heartland.org/publications/environment%20climate/article/18963/Uganda_Defies_EU_Begins_DDT_Program_to_Fight_Malaria.html
The EU Commission appear to be experts in promoting bad science and appear to have zero conscience about the negative consequences on both local and global populations.

Thomas J. Arnold.

Remarkable little bug the mosquito, it don’t think much but it sure gets around.
Al Gore gets around alot, it sure don’t think much though.

Allen Cic

Wouldn’t you love to give Al Gore (and Obama) a simple science exam. Maybe something on the order of the tests in my General Science eighth grade classes. Or an Introductory Physical and Historical Geology exam. While we’re at it how about an exam in functional math. I’ll bet the blowhard couldn’t pass a freshman algebra, geometry, or trig exam. I think both Gore and Obama are scientific dunces. He deserves nothing but contempt for his self-serving stupidity.

Neil

@ Dan (10:38:15)
You’re absolutely right.
If politicians were held responsible for the effects of what they say and do – as the rest of us are – wouldn’t the world be a far better place?

maz2

“so if time runs out there is always the option of stopping the clock and reconvening to get it right.”
What does that mean? Instant replays? Do-overs?
The AGW Magicians/fakirs believe they can stop time?
Can these AGW fakirs also walk on fire?
The hubris.
…-
“Copenhagen climate conference: ministers plan new summit
World leaders could put off major decisions on global warming for another six months time amid a warning from Gordon Brown that at the Copenhagen climate conference is threatened wirth “deadlock”.”
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/copenhagen-climate-change-confe/6827121/Copenhagen-climate-conference-ministers-plan-new-summit.html

J. Schmee (10:32:04) :
Plimer didn’t do himself any favours and seemed evasive – if I didn’t know of him, I wouldn’t buy a used car from him based on that.
Monbiot is not my cup of tea but he did seem more credible – is Plimer usually like this? That holding up of his book looked like a promo push too – not a good look.

rbateman

There was malaria in the Klondike, turn of the century Gold Rush.

The Netherlands where declared Malaria free by the WHO in 1970 after the last endemic case in 1956 and Malaria was first seen in the Netherlands somewhere in the 17th century when it was known as “Zeeland koorts”. And it has a personal touch for me, my dad who is now 71 years old suffered from Malaria when he was a kid.
So Gorebull, what’s up next, the pine-beetle?

Officer Vic on San Francisco’s KSFO today demonstrated that Al Gore’s ‘poem’ is
reminiscent of a verse from Bob Dylan’s ‘A Hard Rain’s agonna Fall.’ Check it out.
[Reply: Link? ~dbs, mod.]

manfredkintop

Hmm…observed at 3000m. Told to us by a “scientist, not a climatologist”. Talk about an inconvenient truth. After his repeated instances of foot-in-mouth untruths, perhaps Al should stick to Hollywood fiction. He seems to be pretty good at making things up.

Cold in BC

His goreness should really check his mouth at the door. great article int he Investors Business Daily (sorry if it has been posted before) about Al’s inconvenient effects. http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article.aspx?id=515430
Cheers

Frank Mosher

I can attest to this. Hiked Momo Pass in Yosemite in July, hounded by mosquitoes entire way. Starting elevation 9,900 ft, and ending elevation over 11,000 ft. One dared not stop, but ate ” on the run”. I am eager to visit Alaska, but am very concerned about the mosquitoes, as i hear they are voracious. fm

Pat Moffitt

Six American presidents have contracted Malaria- although non of late. The CDC shows malaria was endemic to almost every State east of the Misissippi River until about 1940. Malaria is not a tropical disease. One of the arguments against siting our nation’s capitol in Washington was that it was a “malarial swamp” Yellow fever is also not a tropical disease and was a scourge in Philadelphia at the time of our Founding Fathers.

Karl Maki

There is also a problem in the accuracy of malaria reporting. In a recent study in Kenya, about two thirds of people who had been diagnosed and treated for malaria were found, in fact, to have never had the disease to begin with.
When patients present with a certain set of symptoms, they — and often the doctor — simply assume the cause.

MikeE
Vincent

Plato says,
” is Plimer usually like this?”
Pilmer is not fit for purpose, in my opinion. He has made factual errors in previous interviews, such as claiming that volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans. Coming from a geologist, that is really wierd. He is almost as big an embarrasment as Al Gore.

Vincent

History is being rewritten by the warmists. They tried, and are still trying, to remove the “putative” MWP, and they are recasting malaria as a disease of warmth when it is a historical fact that malaria has been prevalent in cold as well as warm climates.
In a recent interview, I witness Piers Corbyn snort derisively at a Russian WWF activist for making the blatantly false claim that malaria was unknown in Russia until the present.
Re: Pilmer. I cringed in an earlier interview when he claimed that CO2 levels were 1000 times higher in the geological past than they are at present. I don’t know where he got those figures from. Fortunately it was a solo interview, not a debate.

Jeff L

ALGore must have some mental issues. He appears to be a pathological liar / exxagerator. I would feel sorry for him …. if he wasn’t trying to drive the world’s economy off a cliff.
The good news is the more he talks, the more people realize he is incapable of telling the “truth”.

NickB.

J. Schmee (10:32:04) :
Haven’t seen it yet, but Ian made some pretty wild (unfounded?) scientific claims in his book alongside his political critique of CAGW theory. He had plenty of time to prepare, Monbiot had given him plenty of fair warning on what his complaints were… if he couldn’t hang it was his fault.
That said, I don’t see the warmistas abandoning anything every time Gore gets solidly debunked. Focus on the science, eventually good science will prevail and tell us something solid one way or the other

Allan M

As Prof. Reiter has pointed out elsewhere (evidence to the UK House of Lords Committee on Economic Affairs, 2005) the largest outbreak of malaria ever recorded was in the Soviet Union in the 1930’s. 10000 people died in the city of Archangel alone, almost on the Arctic Circle.
Why does this snargebrain never learn? Perhaps because, as a politician, he is never wrong (in his own estimation).

mathman

Ah, yes. I remember it well.
The year was 1962. I was on a trip and visited Crater Lake in Oregon.
The mosquitoes ate me alive.
Crater Lake, as you may know, is at high elevation. Although it was the middle of June, there was still snow on the ground under the trees.
I was quite surprised, as I had read that mosquitoes were found at low elevations.
The Gore claim is false, as are so many of his claims.

Espen

Malaria is not restricted to tropical areas at all – even a few places in Norway used to have it.

hotrod

If anyone doubts mosquitoes can thrive in high altitude environments I suggest they take a trip to “Mosquito pass” in Colorado.
Elevation = 13,185 ft , 4018 meters
39°16′53″N 106°11′10″W
http://www.colomar.com/ColoradoPlaces/mosquito_pass.html

It is called that for a very good reason! The mosquitoes in summer time are huge, and thick enough many people will not get out of their cars when they are anywhere near the melt water ponds where they breed.
Larry

Gore Making Claims of Melting Glaciers at La Paz, Bolivia. How can he say that it’s AGW? Anyone?
http://pathstoknowledge.net/2009/12/16/gore-making-claims-of-melting-glaciers-at-la-paz-bolivia/

The man is starting to make Dan Quayle look bright.

Janice The American Elder

A man was camping in Alaska, and discovered two mosquitoes had gotten into his tent. He heard them talking.
“Should we eat him here, or take him outside?”
“Eat him here. If we take him outside, the big ones will take him away from us.”

Mooloo

Posters making claims that Europe used to have malaria should note that there are various strains of the disease. The deadly one is mostly limited to warm places. (The others require repeated infection or other problems to be fatal.)
Europe was plagued by malaria in the past, true, but not like Africa. Not all “malaria” is equal.
That said, I don’t think Gore was worrying about which type of malaria either.

Vincent

Mooloo,
“Europe was plagued by malaria in the past, true, but not like Africa. Not all “malaria” is equal.”
Fine, but when warmists claim that malaria is moving to hitherto malaria free places because of global warming, what malaria are they talking about? If it’s European malaria then this is nothing to do with warming, and if its African malaria, they are simply misinformed – it isn’t moving to Europe, or any other high latitudes.

There are lots of mosquitoes at high altitude but not malaria mosquitoes. I have to wear a mosquito net at 11,000 ft near the lakes I hike to.

fFreddy

I’ve been to central Siberia … one place I remember in February was lower than -30C even without the windchill … went back in summer, and met the biggest damn mosquitoes I’ve ever seen … even worse than African ones …
Isn’t Paul Reiter the guy who had to threaten to sue the IPCC to get them to take his name off their report ?

Iren

“Pilmer is not fit for purpose, in my opinion. He has made factual errors in previous interviews, such as claiming that volcanoes emit more CO2 than humans. Coming from a geologist, that is really wierd. ”
——————–
Why would that be wrong? I understand that humans emission of CO2 account for only about 3% of total levels. One erupting volcano should easily be able to outdo that.

As several commentators have noted, human malaria is not and never has been restricted to the tropics. It does have a northern limit related to the minimum temperature needed for part of the malaria protozoan’s life cycle, 16 C (~60 F). In the 1800s in Europe, malaria extended north to 68 degrees of latitude, where it isn’t often 16 C, probably because the vector mosquito popuations built up in warm summers and some mozzies bit infected people when overwintering in their houses, and then passed on the disease the next spring.
If anyone wants to read an article on far north malaria, this Finnish study is quite interesting:
Endemic malaria: an ‘indoor’ disease in northern Europe. Historical data analysed by Lena Huldén, Larry Huldén &Kari Heliövaara.Malaria Journal 2005, 4:19
Humans are the reservoir of malaria and the only vectors of human malaria are mosquitoes in the genus Anopheles. These mosquitoes extend well to the north. I have Anopheles earlei in my backyard at 53 N in Alberta and like most Anopheles it is considered a competent malaria vector. The reason I don’t worry about malaria is because I’m not living in a place where a person with malaria is likely to get bitten by an Anopheles. The spread of malaria to new regions or the re-emergence of the disease in areas that once had malaria have everything to do with the relocation of people carrying the disease and the breakdown of public health systems through ignorance, stupidity (e.g. fear of insecticides), and social unrest. They have nothing whatsoever to do with Global Warming.