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Climatologist Dr. Tim Ball On 97% Consensus: “Completely False And Was Deliberately Manufactured”!

By P Gosselin | No Tricks Zone | August 24, 2015

Canadian climate scientist Dr. Tim Ball recently published a new book on climate science: The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science. What follows later (below) is a short interview with Dr. Ball.

“Government propaganda” … “corrupt science”

In the book Ball writes that the failed predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), coupled with failed alarmist stories such as the complete loss of Arctic sea ice by 2013, are making the public increasingly skeptical of government propaganda about global warming. People were already skeptical because they knew weather forecasts, especially beyond forty-eight hours, were invariably wrong, and so today more people understand there is no substance to global warming claims and that it is based on corrupt science. Now they are asking: Who perpetrated the deception and could a small group of people deceive the world?

In his book The Deliberate Corruption of Climate Science Dr. Ball explains who did it and why.

Ball was among the earlier dissidents and as a result he became the target of media articles and false information promoted by a scurrilous website funded by a chairman of a large environmental foundation. He was a real threat because they couldn’t say he wasn’t qualified.

Dr. Ball has been the subject of three lawsuits from a lawyer operating in British Columbia. For the first one, he decided to avoid the expense of a challenge and so he withdrew what he had written. Then, within nine days, he received two more from the same lawyer suing for defamation because of harsh criticism he made of a climate scientist. At that point, he and his family decided they had to fight back.

As Ball carries on his legal battle he maintains that climate deception continues and that the public is paying a high price for completely unnecessary energy and economic policies based on the pseudoscience of the IPCC. Not to mention the social devastation of communities devastated by job losses.

“Their last effective chance”

Dr. Balls says the rhetoric and stream of misinformation increases as the perpetrators, now including the Pope, build up to their last effective chance to influence an increasingly skeptical world. When the Global Warming theme failed, they tried Climate Change. The Climate Change theme has failed, so now they are trying Climate Disruption as defined by President Obama’s science Czar, John Holdren—all to justify expensive government programs. The impetus for a global carbon tax and global governance represent the central theme of a climate conference scheduled for Paris in December 2015, the United Nations Climate Change Conference or COP21.

INTERVIEW

What follows are some questions that Dr. Ball kindly answered:

By what scientific reason do you think CO2’s role is far less?

Water vapor is 95% of the total greenhouse gases by volume, while CO2 is approximately 4%. The human portion is only 3.4% of the total CO2. They try to claim CO2 is more effective, but it’s a false claim called “climate sensitivity”. The number the IPCC use for sensitivity has constantly declined and will reach zero.

What factor has been the most responsible for the warming over the past 25 years?

The same factor as it has always been, changes in the sun. The IPCC dismiss the sun because they only look at variation in radiative output, but that is only one of three ways the Sun affects global climate.

What do you think the global temperature will do over the next few decades?

Decline. The major short-term control of global temperature is variation in the strength of the Sun’s magnetic field. As it varies it determines the amount of cosmic radiation reaching the Earth. The cosmic radiation creates clouds in the lower atmosphere and it, like a shutter in the greenhouse it determines the sunlight reaching the surface and therefore the temperature.

What do you think of the claimed “97% consensus”?

It is completely false and was deliberately manufactured by John Cook at the University of Queensland. There are more detailed analyses of the corruption but this is the best layman’s account. www.forbes.com/sites/alexepstein/.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how honest have the major climate institutes been with the public?

-10. If they knew what was wrong it is deliberate and criminal. If they didn’t know they are grossly incompetent. 

Other comments by Dr. Ball:

The biggest problem for the public is they can’t believe that an apparent majority of scientists seem to support the IPCC science. The simple answer is, very few are familiar with the science. They, like most of the public, assume other scientists would not distort, manipulate, or do anything other than proper science. When scientists find out, they are shocked, as exemplified in German meteorologist Klaus-Eckert Puls’s comment:

“Ten years ago I simply parroted what the IPCC told us. One day I started checking the facts and data—first I started with a sense of doubt but then I became outraged when I discovered that much of what the IPCC and the media were telling us was sheer nonsense and was not even supported by any scientific facts and measurements. To this day I still feel shame that as a scientist I made presentations of their science without first checking it.”

August 27, 2015 Posted by | Book Review, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Leave a comment

Global Warming: Truth or Dare?

By Denis G. Rancourt | Activist Teacher | February 2007

NOT THE GREATEST POTENTIAL THREAT TO HUMANITY

Global warming is often presented as the greatest potential threat to humankind and as the greatest environmental and ecological threat on the planet. It is also presented as a problem that could be solved or contained by determined international collaboration – by political will if it were present.

I argue: (1) that global warming (climate change, climate chaos, etc.) will not become humankind’s greatest threat until the sun has its next hiccup in a billion years or more (in the very unlikely scenario that we are still around), (2) that global warming is presently nowhere near being the planet’s most deadly environmental scourge, and (3) that government action and political will cannot measurably or significantly ameliorate global climate in the present world.

I also advance that there are strong societal, institutional, and psychological motivations for having constructed and for continuing to maintain the myth of a global warming dominant threat (global warming myth, for short). I describe these motivations in terms of the workings of the scientific profession and of the global corporate and finance network and its government shadows.

I argue that by far the most destructive force on the planet is power-driven financiers and profit-driven corporations and their cartels backed by military might; and that the global warming myth is a red herring that contributes to hiding this truth. In my opinion, activists who, using any justification, feed the global warming myth have effectively been co-opted, or at best neutralized.

ERODING THE VENEER

Since the global warming myth is presently the dominant environmental paradigm in the First World middle class mainstream, let us put it into the relevant perspective of planetary warming mechanisms.

One should first recognise that the atmospheric greenhouse effect is a well known natural phenomenon, mostly caused by atmospheric water vapour, that keeps our planet warm and habitable whereas (anthropogenic = human-made) global warming refers to a small extra greenhouse warming (0.5-1 C/33 C; 1-5 %) allegedly arising from an increase in atmospheric concentration of the minority greenhouse effect gas CO2 (carbon dioxide) – the later increase in turn possibly arising from fossil fuel burning (see below).

This means that the global greenhouse effect gives earthlings a needed and much appreciated base warming of 33 C (degrees Celsius), whereas the alleged “global warming” would contribute an extra 0.5 to 1 C of warming (a 1 to 5 % increase), on a planet that has seen a dozen or so ice ages since human kind has appeared.

The most often cited reconstructed global average temperature curves (themselves somewhat tenuous, see below) show increases in global mean temperature of approximately 0.5-1 C in the last 100 years. Let us compare this to the extremes of temperature to which humans routinely adapt. Humans have thrived in every possible ecological niche on the planet, from deserts to tropical forests to the North Polar Regions, since well before present technological advances. These environments show mean temperature differences of as much as 50 C or more. Many of these environments also show day to night and seasonal differences of as much as 20-50 C. A sudden 0.5-1 C increase in mean annual temperature (not spread over 100 years) would be imperceptible to any human and indeed could barely be detected using all of the methods of the modern scientific enterprise.

In addition, whereas there is evidence of negative consequences to populations from sustained regional cooling (e.g., Europe’s Little Ice Age, 1300-1850 AD) and whereas global ice ages (occurring every 40-100 thousand years or so) clearly have significantly affected human populations, there is no known case of a sustained warming alone having negatively impacted an entire population. If it were not for the global greenhouse effect, the planet would on average be 33 C colder and inhabitable. As a general rule, all life on Earth does better when it’s hotter: Compare ecological diversity and biotic density (or biomass) at the poles and at the equator.

Humans have already adapted to dramatically different regional climates occurring in every corner of the planet and the alleged future global changes are very small compared to these existing variations. There are more displaced refugees from wars and from economic aggression than there will ever be displaced inhabitants from rapid climate-induced habitat transformations. In both cases, the solution is to accommodate those losing their homes and communities, not to attempt to control planetary processes and unpredictable events.

IS THERE GLOBAL WARMING?

Before ‘climate chaos’ became cliché, many scientists advanced evidence for detected amounts of global average Earth surface temperature increases occurring in the post-industrial age. These reports, taken as a whole, were the main original catalysts towards constructing the global warming myth, so it is useful to critically examine their validity.

It was no easy task to arrive at the most cited original estimated rate of increase of the mean global surface temperature of 0.5 C in 100 years. As with any evaluation of a global spatio-temporal average, it involved elaborate and unreliable grid size dependent averages. In addition, it involved removal of outlying data, complex corrections for historical differences in measurement methods, measurement distributions, and measurement frequencies, and complex normalisations of different data sets – for example, land based and sea based measurements and the use of different temperature proxies that are in turn dependent on approximate calibration models. Even for modern thermometer readings in a given year, the very real problem of defining a robust and useful global spatio-temporal average Earth-surface temperature is not solved, and is itself an active area of research.

This means that determining an average of a quantity (Earth surface temperature) that is everywhere different and continuously changing with time at every point, using measurements at discrete times and places (weather stations), is virtually impossible; in that the resulting number is highly sensitive to the chosen extrapolation method(s) needed to calculate (or rather approximate) the average.

Averaging problems aside, many tenuous approximations must be made in order to arrive at any of the reported final global average temperature curves. For example, air temperature thermometers on ocean-going ships have been positioned at increasing heights as the sizes of ships have increased in recent history. Since temperature decreases with increasing altitude, this altitude effect must be corrected. The estimates are uncertain and can change the calculated global warming by as much as 0.5 C, thereby removing the originally reported effect entirely.

Similarly, surface ocean temperatures were first measured by drawing water up to the ship decks in cloth buckets and later in wooden buckets. Such buckets allow heat exchange in different amounts, thereby changing the measured temperature. This must be corrected by various estimates of sizes and types of buckets. These estimates are uncertain and can again change the resulting final calculated global warming value by an amount comparable to the 0.5 C value. There are a dozen or so similar corrections that must be applied, each one able to significantly alter the outcome.

In wanting to go further back in time, the technical problems are magnified. For example, when one uses a temperature proxy, such as the most popular tree ring proxy, instead of a physical thermometer, one has the significant problem of calibrating the proxy. With tree rings from a given preferred species of tree, there are all kinds of unavoidable artefacts related to wood density, wood water content, wood petrifaction processes, season duration effects, forest fire effects, extra-temperature biotic stress effects (such as recurring insect infestations), etc. Each proxy has its own calibration and preservation problems that are not fully understood.

The reported temperature curves should therefore be seen as tentative suggestions that the authors hope will catalyze more study and debate, not reliable results that one should use in guiding management practice or in deducing actual planetary trends. In addition, the original temperature or proxy data is usually not available to other research scientists who could critically examine the data treatment methods; nor are the data treatment methods spelled out in enough detail. Instead, the same massaged data is reproduced from report to report rather than re-examined.

The most recent thermometer measurements have their own special problems, not the least of which is urban warming, due to urban sprawl, which locally affects weather station mean temperatures and wind patterns: Temperatures locally change because local surroundings change. Most weather monitoring stations are located, for example, near airports which, in turn, are near expanding cities.

As a general rule in science, if an effect is barely detectable, requires dubious data treatment methods, and is sensitive to those data treatment methods and to other approximations, then it is not worth arguing over or interpreting and should not be used in further deductions or extrapolations. The same is true in attempting to establish causal relationships. This is in contrast to the precautionary principle which, in this context, would dictate that humans should reduce their fossil fuel burning because a resulting increase in atmospheric CO2 **might** cause serious environmental harm. I argue that we should stick to known consequences rather than potential ones – displacing people displaces people, clearing forests clears forests, etc. – and that we can apply universally accepted norms of human justice and respect for nature in limiting exploiters’ impulses.

WARMING, CLIMATE CHANGE, AND CLIMATE CHAOS

Global warming myth advocates emphasize that the alleged extra-CO2-driven warming does not occur uniformly, in that some regions are warmed more than others while other regions are cooled below their pre-warming averages. They claim that many regions therefore already suffer significant departures from their pre-warming average temperatures, by as much as 5 C, even though the overall global average increase is difficult to detect.

Whereas regional changes in average temperature (e.g., warmer poles and cooler tropics) are not in themselves bad, global warming myth advocates argue that such changes have significant negative ecological consequences. They argue that when regional climate changes occur, rather than simply causing geographical redistribution of ecosystems and niche creation, they instead cause permanent damage in the form of habitat loss and species loss.

Global warming myth advocates also argue that global warming drives increased climate chaos. That is, overall increases in extreme weather events, such as more frequent and more intense tropical hurricanes, more frequent and more intense heat waves, more frequent and more intense droughts and floods, etc.

The available data does not support these claims and does not allow one to conclude that we have entered into a period of greater climate chaos, let alone that any perceived increase in climate chaos would be caused by extra-CO2-driven planetary warming. Similarly, it is impossible to reliably establish (see below) that inferred regional warmings in the Polar Regions are caused by an extra-CO2-driven global greenhouse effect increase.

Weather is by its nature chaotic and unpredictable. Every year weather events occur and will always occur that have never occurred before in recorded history. A given July heat spell in North Bay, Ontario, will last longer than any other such heat spell that has also had more than three consecutive day-time highs of more than 35 C, for example. For the first time in recorded history, three selectively chosen Canadian northern towns of more than 50,000 inhabitants will not have snow at Christmas. One hundred year old trees will be uprooted by a hurricane in some locality in Northern Quebec in September, etc.

Regional weather (including regional air current patterns) is well known by climatologists to have measurable variations over a broad range of magnitudes and on every time scale, from decadal, to centennial, to millennial and beyond, as documented in climate and weather event records such as historical documents, tree rings, lake sediments, soil profiles, geological weathering patterns, etc. Climatologists have, for over one hundred years, studied these variations occurring on all continents and have always attempted to relate them to potential causal factors, with little success. Modern satellite observations and recent global circulation models have provided few significant advances, despite the hype.

Media sensationalism notwithstanding, none of the recent reports of weather events step outside of the statistical samples gathered by climatologists, as they have often informed us. Among other things, climatologists, environmental scientists, and statisticians have pointed out that: (1) North America has less frequent but more intense forest fires because foresters manage forests, (2) insurance companies pay out more natural catastrophe claims because there are more people living in more precarious areas with more expensive installations, (3) more people suffer the consequences of flooding because more people live in flood plains, (4) more urban elderly die in heat waves because they are older and live in isolation and in high rises, (5) water tables fall because of deforestation and watershed management practices, and so on.

GLACIERS AND PERMAFROST: PHENOMENON VERSUS CAUSE

Although weather is business as usual, there are significant changes occurring on the planet and some of these appear at first sight to be regional climate related.

For example, many high altitude glaciers are receding. Some glaciers are growing but it appears that more studied glaciers are receding than growing. The next question is why? There are no reports of average air temperature increases in the vicinities of these glaciers. To melt or sublimate ice one must supply a large amount of energy, far beyond what could be supplied by thermal conduction driven by an undetected temperature increase.

The required energy clearly comes from the sun, just as spring sunlight melts snow in temperate climates much more than the increase in air temperature ever could. More radiant energy must be deposited on the receding glaciers. Either there is more incident radiant energy or the glaciers are more able to absorb rather than reflect the incident radiation or both.

The causes of increased incident radiation can be one or a combination of the following: (1) there is more solar radiation because the sun itself is putting out more energy, the solar “constant” has increased, (2) more solar radiation directly comes through the atmosphere because the atmosphere is more transparent rather than reflective (e.g., less cloudy, less ozone), (3) more infra-red is sent back to the glaciers rather than escaping to outer space because the atmosphere is more greenhouse active (e.g., higher water vapour content), and (4) more ambient infra-red radiation is sent towards the glaciers via atmospheric greenhouse scattering because there is more ambient infra-red radiation originating from neighbouring ice-free cover that has become more incident-solar-radiation absorbent. The latter ice-free surfaces could have become more absorbent by changes in their surface properties (i.e., surface coverings). For example, deforested soil is more incident radiation absorbent than a forest cover, bare rock is much more absorbent than snow-covered rock, etc.

The glaciers themselves could have become more absorbent for incident radiation by various mechanisms. For example, mineral or organic or pollution atmospheric dust loads (e.g., fossil fuel burning soot) could have increased leading to dust delivery to the glaciers. Such microscopic deposited dust in turn makes a glacier surface more radiation absorbent. The type of snow that can cover a glacier will also affect its radiation (light) absorption and reflection properties and snow type (granularity, dendrite structure, etc.) is in turn dependent on several atmospheric properties. Volcanic activity, large scale forest or grassland fires, dominant wind patterns, large scale changes in soil humidity and other conditions arising from changes in agricultural practices, can all significantly alter atmospheric dust loads and the latter are known to affect regional scale solar radiation budgets.

We see therefore that receding glaciers are not even most directly a sign of global warming and that the actual mechanism(s) can include a host of other causes. Indeed, paleoclimatologists studying global climate and ice age cycles believe the opposite causal direction: Radiative loading and water cycle factors change snow and ice cover which in turn change global radiation balance (planetary surface albedo) which then provides a positive feedback for further warming (resulting from increased radiative loading) or cooling (resulting from decreased radiative loading). Indeed, the accepted theory of ice age cycles is based on solar radiation forcing arising from cyclical Sun-Earth orbital variations.

As another example, let us accept, for the sake of argument; that Polar Region warming is occurring beyond statistical variations of the last 100 years, say; that permafrost (permanently frozen subsoil) is less extensive; and that polar ocean ice coverages are less prominent. The next question is why? Ocean currents have not dramatically changed, nor have measured sea level air temperatures.

These changes can again be due to solar radiative effects, along the same lines as explained above for receding glaciers. For ocean glaciers the above discussion of mechanisms for receding high altitude glaciers applies exactly whereas minor modifications are needed for receding permafrost.

In the case of permafrost, the seasonal duration of direct solar radiation loading to the soil is probably the dominant factor. This duration is inversely related to the duration of soil snow and ice cover which in turn can be controlled by the same factors discussed above that control high altitude glacier recession.

In conclusion, all the main easily observable and most cited regional warming effects are probably driven by radiative mechanisms having nothing to do with (i.e., not being caused by) global warming or increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration. More likely causal factors include: soot from coal-powered plants, mineral, soil, and organic matter dust from changes in agricultural practices, fires from changes in water and land management practices, increased high-altitude and polar atmospheric transparency, changes in the solar constant, etc.

This is not to say that these local and regional warming phenomena are not important and do not affect ecosystems and people’s lives. But then if we want to help these people (mostly Polar Region and high altitude aboriginal people) then we need only help them! For example, we could ask what help they most need rather than continuing to pollute their environment and destroy their lands by resource exploitation. If we want to stop destroying habitat, we could stop destroying habitat.

SCIENCE IS NOT THE ANSWER

Environmental scientists and government agencies get funding to study and monitor problems that do not threaten corporate and financial interests. It is therefore no surprise that they would attack continental-scale devastation from resource extraction via the CO2 back door. The main drawback with this strategy is that you cannot control a hungry monster by asking it not to shit as much.

Somewhere First World middle-classers will need to abandon the lies that we live in democracies, that the corporate profit motive guarantees environmental protection, that servicing manufactured debt advances society, that corporate agribusiness is the best way to feed people, that making a mess everywhere to serve share holders is the best way to generate well being, and that exploiting others is a good way to help them, not to mention that war is an acceptable method to bring justice and freedom to enslaved populations.

The planet will continue to change, adapt and evolve, with or without us. Recurring episodes of increased volcanic activity will continue to alter our climate. Ice ages will continue to come and go. Meteorites will continue to impact our planetary home. Disease and insect outbursts, wild fires, floods, and earthquakes will continue to wash over us as we adapt and respond. The sun will continue to vary its output and will eventually burn out. The atmosphere will continue to change as it always has under the influence of life and of geology. We can’t control these things. We can barely perceive them correctly. But we can take control of how we treat each other.

The best we can do for the environment and for the planet is to learn not to let undemocratic power structures run our lives. The best we can do is to reject exploitation and domination and to embrace cooperation and solidarity. The best we can do is to not trust subservient scientists and to become active agents for change beyond head-in-the-sand personal lifestyle choices.

We need to get political, beyond corporate-controlled shadow governments and co-opted political parties. We need to take charge more than we need to recycle. Concentrated power and capital are not about to give up their practices or their imperative for profit. Resistance to the insane return-on-investments hydra that inhabits our planet is our main responsibility if we are concerned about future generations.

There are real environmental problems on the planet. Agriculture, especially large-scale corporate chemical fertilizer and pesticide-based agriculture, is the main human force that has transformed the planet. Resource extraction and use is a close second, including energy, minerals, building materials, etc. Toxic substance pollution vies for an important place, with everything from persistent organic pollutants, to heavy metals, to radioactive substances, to pharmaceutical metabolites, all the way to industrially prepared food products. The industrial food-animal cycle is another wonderful experiment in attempted mass suicide, not to mention its grotesque inanimality.

THE BEST WAY TO STOP IS TO STOP

All in all, the best way to not pollute and destroy the environment is to not pollute and destroy the environment. The best way to not exploit others is to not exploit others. I am not talking only about personal lifestyle choices, alternative information sources, and volunteer work. I am talking about taking back control from undemocratically run corporations and illegitimate concentrations of power, by all the effective means we can muster and as though our survival depended on it. I am talking about activism.

Global warming is strictly an imaginary problem of the First World middle class. Nobody else cares about global warming. Exploited factory workers in the Third World don’t care about global warming. Depleted uranium genetically mutilated children in Iraq don’t care about global warming. Devastated aboriginal populations the world over also can’t relate to global warming, except maybe as representing the only solidarity that we might volunteer.

If we want to help island dwellers threatened by a predicted sea level rise then let’s help those island dwellers. If we are worried about victims of weather events then let us help those victims. The poorest Hurricane Katrina victims are still waiting.

It’s not about limited resources. [“The amount of money spent on pet food in the US and Europe each year equals the additional amount needed to provide basic food and health care for all the people in poor countries, with a sizable amount left over.” (UN Human Development Report, 1999)] It’s about exploitation, oppression, racism, power, and greed. Economic, human, and animal justice brings economic sustainability which in turn is always based on renewable practices. Recognizing the basic rights of native people automatically moderates resource extraction and preserves natural habitats. Not permitting imperialist wars and interventions automatically quenches nation-scale exploitation. True democratic control over monetary policy goes a long way in removing debt-based extortion. Etc.

BACK TO SCIENCE: THE PROBLEM WITH CO2

Regarding planetary greenhouse warming, by far the most important greenhouse active atmospheric gas is water vapour – it is a major constituent of the atmosphere whereas CO2 is a trace atmospheric gas. This is well known and it is established, for example, that even doubling the present atmospheric CO2 concentration, to the unattainable value of 800 ppm (parts per million) say, without changing anything else in the atmosphere, would have little discernable effect on global temperature or climate.

All of the climate models that relate CO2 concentrations to climate effects do so by arbitrarily linking a model increase in CO2 to an induced and larger increase in atmospheric water vapour. In other words, all the climate models postulate a large and positive feedback between CO2 and water vapour.

Several scientists have argued that these models are computer realizations of the tail wagging the dog. Water vapour is the dominant greenhouse factor and the behaviour of water in the atmosphere is far more complex than that of CO2 (clouds, rain, snow, evaporation, etc.) yet CO2 is taken to drive the water cycle rather than water taken to drive CO2 dynamics; using a fictitious multiplicative feedback factor.

On the contrary, for example: Water is often the determining factor in vegetation growth. Vegetation growth in turn consumes CO2 and is the greatest active bound-carbon (C) pool on the planet. Therefore, it is more correct to say that water drives the carbon cycle. Atmospheric CO2 concentration is only a remote witness to all the natural and anthropogenic processes that consume and produce CO2.

There is no known mechanism whereby an increase in CO2 concentration could directly cause an increase in water vapour concentration in the amount required by climate computer models. On the other hand, there are many known mechanisms whereby water vapour concentration can be dramatically affected by various external agents. Some examples are as follows: (1) solar input drives convection and winds which in turn largely determine atmospheric evaporation loading, (2) deforestation and agriculture expose soils which are sources of mineral and organic dust which in turn can induce precipitation or can affect solar radiation balances, (3) solar winds of cosmic rays can induce high altitude cloud formation thereby reducing solar radiation penetration, etc.

Ice core data shows strong temporal correlations between average global temperature (as recorded by the water oxygen isotope proxy) and atmospheric CO2 (as recorded in trapped gas bubbles) yet these correlations do not show causal relations. CO2 increases may accompany temperature increases rather than causing them. Indeed, some high resolution studies have suggested that the temperature increases precede the CO2 increases. Interestingly, also, ice core data shows strong temporal correlations between inferred temperature and amount of dust preserved in the ice core. Finally, the older geological record shows several dramatic examples of where CO2 concentration and global average temperature were either unrelated or even anti-correlated.

Just as solar radiation intensity and inclination determines our seasons and the differences between day and night, so too solar radiation variations related to solar winds, magnetic shielding, and solar intensity cycles (e.g., sunspots) probably have a greater impact on the water cycle than changes in any greenhouse active trace gas.
There is of course much more wrong with state-of-the-art global circulation models (climate models) than the assumption and implementation of CO2-H2O feedback. Although these models are among the most elaborate predictive models of complex non-linear phenomena, they are nonetheless sweeping oversimplifications of the global climate system and its mechanistic intricacies.

IF IT WERE CO2 THEN COULD WE CONTROL IT?

Disregarding the above objections, if we take CO2 to be the pivotal quantity, then even this CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is not easy for scientists to understand. While the value of the CO2 concentration can be measured reliably and accurately and while it is increasing, possibly in response to fossil fuel burning, the measured increase is not proportional to the known increase in fossil fuel consumption. There is not a simple relation between fossil fuel burning and atmospheric CO2 in two key respects: (1) the temporal variations of burning and of atmospheric CO2 concentration do not follow each other – the curves do not match, they do not have the same shape, and (2) the net extra (post-industrial) amount of CO2 in the atmosphere cannot be reconciled with the amount of CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning.

Regarding the latter point, the resulting amount of CO2 in the atmosphere depends on many processes that either produce CO2 (that are sources) or consume CO2 (that are sinks). Growth of plants is a sink. Degradation of soil or sediment organic matter is a source. Burying and preserving sedimentary or soil organic matter from oxidation is a sink. Breathing is a form of combustion and is a source. Photosynthesis is a sink. Fossil fuels are preserved organic matter not yet degraded by oxidation (or combustion). Deforestation is a net source since forests are larger repositories of bound carbon than are agricultural or grazing lands. The weathering of rocks and the erosion of mountains is a source, as is mining. Etc. As it turns out, when all the known sources and sinks are added up, scientists are not able to account for half of the CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning.

In other words, there is a “missing sink” that is taking up approximately half of the CO2 produced by fossil fuel burning; that would otherwise end up in the atmosphere. This is a massive amount that scientists simply cannot account for. Clearly, the complex source and sink mechanisms of the bio and geospheres are far from completely understood, as are the myriad of feedback mechanisms that can dramatically either slow or intensify the rates of sinking and sourcing.

The point here is that CO2 concentration itself, even if we stubbornly cling to it as a holly grail of climate mediation, most probably cannot be controlled by controlling anthropogenic CO2 emissions. There are more unknown and unforeseeable CO2 evolution feedback mechanisms then there are climate research institutes on the planet.

Even among human activities, there are many practices that can potentially affect atmospheric CO2 fluxes more than direct mitigation of fossil fuel burning. These include: distribution-of-wealth practices; world investment, trading and lending practices; democratic versus corporate control over the media, over marketing and over the mental environment in general; military intervention and intimidation practices; and so on. Each of the above areas of societal behaviour and organization can be shown to significantly alter or moderate global CO2 fluxes between the atmosphere and other compartments.

Excluding direct human activities (land and water use, etc.), there are major natural factors that affect CO2 atmospheric loading. These are only partially understood and include: geological weathering, ocean sedimentation, land plant growth, soil evolution, sediment diagenesis, ecological niche invasion, volcanic activity, continental subduction, and many others. Indeed, there is no accepted model that quantitatively explains atmospheric CO2 concentration, given our limited knowledge of these factors.

The atmosphere is one of the smallest pools or compartments for carbon (as CO2) and it responds quickly to any flux changes with the other compartments. These flux routes are varied and largely unknown, as are the mechanisms that control flux magnitudes. To believe that we could control atmospheric CO2 concentration by controlling only the flux from anthropogenic fossil fuel burning is naive. Burning mitigation or carbon sequestration practices could easily have no effect or opposite effects, even if significant societal efforts were dedicated to such efforts.

THERE ARE TRILLIONS TO BE MADE

What is more naïve than believing that humankind could control atmospheric CO2 levels by direct interventions, however, is the belief that the financial and corporate interests that benefit from fossil fuel burning and still have gargantuan profits to be made from the remaining fossil fuels of increasing value could in this world be convinced by law or agreement to voluntarily reduce production and to not exercise their clout in creating demand for the resource that they control.

Fossil fuel is the main economic commodity on the planet. Cheap fossil fuel equals cheap transportation equals globalized trade and globalized exploitation of labour and of natural resources. Cheap fossil fuel drives the automobile industry, the largest manufactured goods growth area in the developing world. Cheap fossil fuel is the raw material of the petro-chemical industry, including fertilizers, and drives agri-business. Cheap fossil fuel allows rapid military deployments. The entire planetary web of corporate and finance exploitation is presently reliant on fossil fuels. To think that governments of media-created stand-ins could negotiate restraints on a remote side effect (CO2) of the present day exercise of power, without ever addressing the real issues, is to be delusional. Optimism of the will is needed but let us start with pessimism of the intellect. Let us be realistic.

In this world, before renewable sources become the new basis of global economic extortion, oil exploration will be extended to every sensitive ecosystem on the globe and the world’s massive coal reserves will be liquefied and gasified. There are enough coal reserves to keep the wheels of corporate exploitation turning for another 1000 years or so at the present rate. This will happen unless citizens force democratic control over the major planetary economic instruments – private banking cartels, multinational corporations, and their government extensions that are the World Bank and the IMF. In this sense, anti-globalization activists are at the forefront of environmental activism.

Even if CO2 emissions could be controlled in actual practice, this would not impact CO2 concentration in a predictable way, and CO2 in turn does not control global climate. People, corporations, financial webs, and ecosystems all adapt to climate change. A global corporate and finance machine of profit and interest extraction based on renewable energy resources (that it would control) would not be less devastating than the present system and would continue to cause irreparable damage.

Climate is not an effectual lever for controlling the corporate and finance madness that is destroying human communities and natural habitats. Indeed, it is the kind of lever that is guaranteed to be ineffectual: It avoids the root causes, it does not challenge the relevant power structures, it entices us into collaboration, it seduces us into personal consumption responsibility as a substitute for effective political action, it turns our attention towards learning about atmospheric chemistry rather than about the relevant major human-controlled planetary forces, and it gives us something we relate to (the weather) rather than sensitizing us to real world problems. The global warming myth isolates us from the people of the Third World and from all exploited people outside of our class, rather than creating meaningful occasions for empathy and solidarity.

WHY GLOBAL WARMING? SCIENCE IS A BANDWAGON

Precisely because it is ineffectual… and deflects our attention away from the necessary confrontations with established power.

If you accept my critique that the global warming threat is a myth then the next question is why are so many resources being spent to keep the myth alive? Why is it so important to keep global warming at the forefront of our mental environment? Why have scientists and First World environmentalists bought into it with such conviction and dedication? Why are mainstream politicians allowed by their bosses to use it in their platforms?

Scientists are simple beings. In general, they have not studied politics or sociology or human history. They have had to specialize and to confine their methods and questions to those that are specific to their chosen fields. Outside of their disciplines, they construct a world view largely from the same sources as most middle class citizens; the mainstream media and popular culture. Their main comparison points are colleagues just like themselves that they meet at specialized conferences and in staff lounges.

At the same time, scientists, like the rest of working people, often search for a sense of doing something meaningful at work. They look for ways that their work might have broader societal implications, even though it is most often very specialized and has narrow applications. Ecologists and environmental scientists like to consider that they might help society to better treat the environment.

Science is a social construction and scientists must be seen by their peers as contributing “positively” to their fields and must mainly cooperate in order to get along and get ahead. This has the effect of creating an impetus for scientific consensus. Contrary positions are rarely deep or long lived and a lot of mileage is extracted from going along and echoing the dominant paradigms or opinions. Once something becomes popular, a scientist can repeat it without new supporting evidence comfortably and without awakening the ire of reviewers. Such statements are made in the introductions of scientific articles in order to motivate the specialized work or are made in giving broader (and more tenuous) interpretations or are made in the conclusions of papers to suggest possible implications of the specialized work.

Global warming has now become just such a popular theme among ecologists and environmental scientists. As a result, whereas specialized researchers in climate change itself continue to debate global warming and its many facets and continue to critique each others’ methods, data, and conclusions, most articles in scientific journals that mention global warming do so gratuitously – in a non-critical, superficial and self-serving way. Observers of science must therefore be careful in simply counting opinions expressed in the introductions and conclusions of scientific articles.

In addition, there are the international commissions mandated to sort out the scientific literature on topics that could have public relevance. A main relevant example is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). These bodies are mostly composed of scientists but have political missions.

The board members typically study thousands of scientific papers written by climate change experts and others. These papers use different methods and report different types of data and sometimes come to contradictory conclusions. Most published papers, however, report inconclusive results and tenuous extrapolations, given the difficulty of the area of study. The authors of the original publications are usually careful and often do not overstate their conclusions. They also often qualify their interpretations and spell out the limits of their work and the most tenuous parts of their arguments.

Faced with this massive array of inconclusive or tentative or contradictory and incomplete results, the international (or national) commission must prepare a report that will be useful to governments and policy makers. They must attempt to identify the dominant or most likely trends, while keeping in mind that scientific truth cannot be established by a democratic vote or a popularity contest.

Having then identified the main trends and having extensively documented the pitfalls and limits of the reviewed papers, the international commission must also write an executive summary, for executives that want definitive statements. The executive summary is the only part of the report that has a chance of being read by the top decision makers and it is probably the only part of the report from which the media will cite. Few of the players who will read only the executive summary have the knowledge to appreciate its careful language and all the sacrifices of content and accuracy that have been made to produce it.

The international commission’s report then becomes a milestone that the commission itself, for political reasons of perceived legitimacy, cannot easily contradict in future reports. There is also a tendency for most scientists to accept the commission report’s main conclusions or proposed trends.

THE ENVIRONMENTALISTS

The environmental activists, on their side, are trying to reduce negative human impact on the natural world by whatever means they can. Many of them are astute political activists but more of them are simply environmentally responsible citizens who are mainly concerned with personal lifestyle choices to minimize personal ecological footprints. Environmentalists generally see global warming as a bonanza in public opinion outreach that has the potential to transform a majority of citizens into bicycle-riding anti-air-conditioning energy saving zealots that will also be sensitized to other and deeper issues.

Environmentalists also have an urgent sense that humankind is destroying the planet (which is true) and therefore do not have too hard a time believing that fossil fuel burning could directly cause the globe to burn up in a violent last tempest of floods and hurricanes that would destroy the last natural habitats and make civilization as we would like it virtually impossible. Besides, it makes sense, CO2 is a greenhouse effect gas and it is a product of organic matter combustion.

The main arguments I hear from environmentalists are: (1) that even if we are not attacking a root cause, forcing all to burn less fossil fuels will slow down humankind’s otherwise unimpeded destruction of the planet and (2) concentrating on this issue has much educational value and will help sensitize members of the public who may then later go a further step.

I don’t agree with either of the latter positions.

Finance-driven exploitation is creative and nimble and will always maximize short-term gain by whatever method it can get away with, whether limited (on paper) in its CO2 emissions or not, and all such exploitations of humans and of nature are always destructive beyond what should be tolerated in a democratic society.

On the “global warming issue as education” front, I again argue the opposite: That promoting the global warming myth trains people to accept unverified, remote, and abstract dangers in the place of true problems that they can discover for themselves by becoming directly engaged in their workplace and by doing their own research and observations. It trains people to think lifestyle choices (in relation to CO2 emission) rather than to think activism in the sense of exerting an influence to change societal structures. The first involves finding a comfort zone consistent with one’s values whereas the latter involves accepting confrontation and risk in order to challenge power structures. The first is needed for welfare, as are community, friendship, etc., while the second is needed to create sanity and justice in an insane world.

In that sense, the global warming myth is a powerful tool of co-optation that has even eroded one of the most fertile grounds of political activism: the environmental movement.

I find that those who defend the global warming myth most strenuously are also those who cling most to the notion that the best way to solve these problems is to somehow (“through awareness and education”) get everyone (or the majority) to minimize their footprints and consume responsibly. They usually also argue that corporate bosses and bank managers are people too and that we just need to reach out to them. They are allergic even to the notion of organized confrontation.

MAINSTREAM MIND F#?K

The beliefs of mainstream environmentalists are beliefs of the First World liberal middle class. As such, the global warming myth fits right in.

The global warming myth, as propagated by the mainstream media, also works wonders on the general population: A global problem that we can solve by just changing our light bulbs to the energy saving kind or by voting for the Democrats or by trusting our scientists to come up with a carbon sequestration plan or by going nuclear for our electricity…

The media are allowed to talk global warming because it does not threaten power in any significant way. Indeed, it deflects attention away from real world issues. It’s perfect. The scientists can debate it. The environmental activists are largely neutralized. Everyone thinks it’s about CO2. The economists can work out the carbon credits. The politicians can talk environment without actually saying anything. Those who want to do something can change their consumer habits. The others can just ignore it and continue chatting about the weather.

The fact that the global warming myth has now attained this degree of media promotion and entertainment industry integration means not only that the issue is not threatening to power but that it has also come to be understood by power to be quite useful. In this regard, the global warming myth has joined the other useful media-supported myths that include: increasing crime rates, the terrorist threat, the American dream, that we live in a democracy, that greed and selfishness are unavoidable overriding consequences of human nature, that we all attain the economic status that fits our talents and efforts, that we help developing and Third World countries (that would be worse off without us), etc.

I hope that this essay will convert a few myth consumers into temporarily disoriented environmentalists who will eventually become dedicated and effective social justice activists. The global warming myth will then have been useful for something of value.

Denis G. Rancourt is a professor of physics and an environmental science researcher at the University of Ottawa. His scientific research has been concentrated in the areas of spectroscopic and diffraction measurement methods, magnetism, reactive environmental nanoparticles, aquatic sediments and nutrients, and boreal forest lakes. Many related articles are collected and posted at ACTIVIST CLIMATE GUY.

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April 10, 2015 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , | 2 Comments

AGW has most of the characteristics of an “urban legend”

By Roy W. Spencer, Ph. D. | Watts Up With That? | October 24, 2009

About.com describes an “urban legend” as an apocryphal (of questionable authenticity), secondhand story, told as true and just plausible enough to be believed, about some horrific…series of events….it’s likely to be framed as a cautionary tale. Whether factual or not, an urban legend is meant to be believed. In lieu of evidence, however, the teller of an urban legend is apt to rely on skillful storytelling and reference to putatively trustworthy sources.

I contend that the belief in human-caused global warming as a dangerous event, either now or in the future, has most of the characteristics of an urban legend. Like other urban legends, it is based upon an element of truth. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas whose concentration in the atmosphere is increasing, and since greenhouse gases warm the lower atmosphere, more CO2 can be expected, at least theoretically, to result in some level of warming.

But skillful storytelling has elevated the danger from a theoretical one to one of near-certainty. The actual scientific basis for the plausible hypothesis that humans could be responsible for most recent warming is contained in the cautious scientific language of many scientific papers. Unfortunately, most of the uncertainties and caveats are then minimized with artfully designed prose contained in the Summary for Policymakers (SP) portion of the report of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This Summary was clearly meant to instill maximum alarm from a minimum amount of direct evidence.

Next, politicians seized upon the SP, further simplifying and extrapolating its claims to the level of a “climate crisis”. Other politicians embellished the tale even more by claiming they “saw” global warming in Greenland as if it was a sighting of Sasquatch, or that they felt it when they fly in airplanes.

Just as the tales of marauding colonies of alligators living in New York City sewers are based upon some kernel of truth, so too is the science behind anthropogenic global warming. But there is a big difference between reports of people finding pet alligators that have escaped their owners, versus city workers having their limbs torn off by roving colonies of subterranean monsters.

In the case of global warming, the “putatively trustworthy sources” would be the consensus of the world’s scientists. The scientific consensus, after all, says that global warming is… is what? Is happening? Is severe? Is man-made? Is going to burn the Earth up if we do not act? It turns out that those who claim consensus either do not explicitly state what that consensus is about, or they make up something that supports their preconceived notions.

If the consensus is that the presence of humans on Earth has some influence on the climate system, then I would have to even include myself in that consensus. After all, the same thing can be said of the presence of trees on Earth, and hopefully we have at least the same rights as trees do. But too often the consensus is some vague, fill-in-the-blank, implied assumption where the definition of “climate change” includes the phrase “humans are evil”.

It is a peculiar development that scientific truth is now decided through voting. A relatively recent survey of climate scientists who do climate research found that 97.4% agreed that humans have a “significant” effect on climate. But the way the survey question was phrased borders on meaninglessness. To a scientist, “significant” often means non-zero. The survey results would have been quite different if the question was, “Do you believe that natural cycles in the climate system have been sufficiently researched to exclude them as a potential cause of most of our recent warming?”

And it is also a good bet that 100% of those scientists surveyed were funded by the government only after they submitted research proposals which implicitly or explicitly stated they believed in anthropogenic global warming to begin with. If you submit a research proposal to look for alternative explanations for global warming (say, natural climate cycles), it is virtually guaranteed you will not get funded. Is it any wonder that scientists who are required to accept the current scientific orthodoxy in order to receive continued funding, then later agree with that orthodoxy when surveyed? Well, duh.

In my experience, the public has the mistaken impression that a lot of climate research has gone into the search for alternative explanations for warming. They are astounded when I tell them that virtually no research has been performed into the possibility that warming is just part of a natural cycle generated within the climate system itself.

Too often the consensus is implied to be that global warming is so serious that we must do something now in the form of public policy to avert global catastrophe. What? You don’t believe that there are alligators in New York City sewer system? How can you be so unconcerned about the welfare of city workers that have to risk their lives by going down there every day? What are you, some kind of Holocaust-denying, Neanderthal flat-Earther?

It makes complete sense that in this modern era of scientific advances and inventions that we would so readily embrace a compelling tale of global catastrophe resulting from our own excesses. It’s not a new genre of storytelling, of course, as there were many B-movies in the 1950s whose horror themes were influenced by scientists’ development of the atomic bomb.

Our modern equivalent is the 2004 movie, “Day After Tomorrow”, in which all kinds of physically impossible climatic events occur in a matter of days. In one scene, super-cold stratospheric air descends to the Earth’s surface, instantly freezing everything in its path. The meteorological truth, however, is just the opposite. If you were to bring stratospheric air down to the surface, heating by compression would make it warmer than the surrounding air, not colder.

I’m sure it is just coincidence that “Day After Tomorrow” was directed by Roland Emmerich, who also directed the 2006 movie “Independence Day,” in which an alien invasion nearly exterminates humanity. After all, what’s the difference? Aliens purposely killing off humans, or humans accidentally killing off humans? Either way, we all die.

But a global warming catastrophe is so much more believable. After all, climate change does happen, right? So why not claim that ALL climate change is now the result of human activity? And while we are at it, let’s re-write climate history so that we get rid of the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice age, with a new ingenious hockey stick-shaped reconstruction of past temperatures that makes it look like climate never changed until the 20th Century? How cool would that be?

The IPCC thought it was way cool… until it was debunked, after which it was quietly downgraded in the IPCC reports from the poster child for anthropogenic global warming, to one possible interpretation of past climate.

And let’s even go further and suppose that the climate system is so precariously balanced that our injection of a little bit of that evil plant food, carbon dioxide, pushes our world over the edge, past all kinds of imaginary tipping points, with the Greenland ice sheet melting away, and swarms of earthquakes being the price of our indiscretions.

In December, hundreds of bureaucrats from around the world will once again assemble, this time in Copenhagen, in their attempts to forge a new international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. And as has been the case with every other UN meeting of its type, the participants simply assume that the urban legend is true. Indeed, these politicians and governmental representatives need it to be true. Their careers and political power now depend upon it. And the fact that they hold their meetings in all of the best tourist destinations in the world, enjoying the finest exotic foods, suggests that they do not expect to ever have to be personally inconvenienced by whatever restrictions they try to impose on the rest of humanity.

If you present these people with evidence that the global warming crisis might well be a false alarm, you are rewarded with hostility and insults, rather than expressions of relief. The same can be said for most lay believers of the urban legend. I say “most” because I once encountered a true believer who said he hoped my research into the possibility that climate change is mostly natural will eventually be proved correct.

Unfortunately, just as we are irresistibly drawn to disasters – either real ones on the evening news, or ones we pay to watch in movie theaters – the urban legend of a climate crisis will persist, being believed by those whose politics and worldviews depend upon it. Only when they finally realize what a new treaty will cost them in loss of freedoms and standard of living will those who oppose our continuing use of carbon-based energy begin to lose their religion.

April 6, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

LA Times’ Tony Barboza gets caught fear mongering the IPCC report

Facts that don’t agree with claims

By Anthony Watts | Watts Up With That? | April 1, 2014

This sentence…

“One of the panel’s most striking new conclusions is that rising temperatures are already depressing crop yields, including those of corn and wheat.”

… is in this LA Times story by babout the latest IPCC report which has so much gloom and doom in it, one of the lead authors, Dr. Richard Tol, asked his name to be taken off of it for that very reason.

Problem is, the agricultural data doesn’t match the LATimes/IPCC claim, see for yourself:

wheat-corn-soybeans-yield-trend

Source: USDA data at http://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/ plotted by Dr. Roy Spencer.

World-wheat-corn-rice_trends

Not only is the LATimes/IPCC claim about agriculture false for the world, but also the USA:

US_ag-trends

Source: USDA Data here compiled by Dr. Mark J. Perry at the Carpe Diem blog.

In fact, U.S. Corn Yields Have Increased Six Times Since the 1930s and Are Estimated to Double By 2030 according to Perry.

Note that temperatures in the US Corn belt aren’t rising, but models are, and as we know, the IPCC prefers model output over reality.USHCN_corn_belt_temperatures

Source: USHCN data from NOAA, CMIP5 model data plotted by Dr. Roy Spencer

Why is it that checking such simple facts are left to bloggers and independent thinkers like Roy Spencer, instead of “professional” journalists like ?

Maybe he’s just too lazy to check facts like this? Or, is it belief mixed with incompetence?

April 1, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Malthusian Ideology, Phony Scarcity, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lewis and Crok: Climate less sensitive to CO2 than models suggest

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | March 5, 2014

Nic Lewis and Marcel Crok have published a new report on climate sensitivity.

The title of the report is “A sensitive matter: How the IPCC buried evidence showing good news about global warming.”  The report is published by the GWPF. The long version of the report is found [here]; a short version is found [here].

From the press release issued by the GWPF:

A new report published by the Global Warming Policy Foundation shows that the best observational evidence indicates our climate is considerably less sensitive to greenhouse gases than climate models are estimating.

The clues for this and the relevant scientific papers are all referred to in the recently published Fifth Assessment report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). However, this important conclusion was not drawn in the full IPCC report – it is only mentioned as a possibility – and is ignored in the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers (SPM).

For over thirty years climate scientists have presented a range for climate sensitivity (ECS) that has hardly changed. It was 1.5-4.5°C in 1979 and this range is still the same today in AR5. The new report suggests that the inclusion of recent evidence, reflected in AR5, justifies a lower observationally-based temperature range of 1.25–3.0°C, with a best estimate of 1.75°C, for a doubling of CO2. By contrast, the climate models used for projections in AR5 indicate a range of 2-4.5°C, with an average of 3.2°C.

This is one of the key findings of the new report Oversensitive: how the IPCC hid the good news on global warming, written by independent UK climate scientist Nic Lewis and Dutch science writer Marcel Crok. Lewis and Crok were both expert reviewers of the IPCC report, and Lewis was an author of two relevant papers cited in it.

In recent years it has become possible to make good empirical estimates of climate sensitivity from observational data such as temperature and ocean heat records. These estimates, published in leading scientific journals, point to climate sensitivity per doubling of CO2 most likely being under 2°C for long-term warming, with a best estimate of only 1.3-1.4°C for warming over a seventy year period.

“The observational evidence strongly suggest that climate models display too much sensitivity to carbon dioxide concentrations and in almost all cases exaggerate the likely path of global warming,” says Nic Lewis.

These lower, observationally-based estimates for both long-term climate sensitivity and the seventy-year response suggest that considerably less global warming and sea level rise is to be expected in the 21st century than most climate model projections currently imply.

“We estimate that on the IPCC’s second highest emissions scenario warming would still be around the international target of 2°C in 2081-2100,” Lewis says.

I was asked to review this article prior to publication, and then was subsequently asked to write the foreword.  The text of my foreword:

The sensitivity of our climate to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide is at the heart of the scientific debate on anthropogenic climate change, and also the public debate on the appropriate policy response to increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Climate sensitivity and estimates of its uncertainty are key inputs into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses and estimates of the social cost of carbon.

The complexity and nuances of the issue of climate sensitivity to increasing carbon dioxide are not easily discerned from reading the Summary for Policy Makers of the assessment reports undertaken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Further, the more detailed discussion of climate sensitivity in the text of the fullWorking Group I reports lacks context or an explanation that is easily understood by anyone not actively reading the published literature.

This report by Nic Lewis andMarcel Crok addresses this gap between the IPCC assessments and the primary scientific literature, providing an overview of the different methods for estimating climate sensitivity and a historical perspective on IPCC’s assessments of climate sensitivity. The report also provides an independent assessment of the different methods for estimating climate sensitivity and a critique of the IPCC AR4 and AR5 assessments of climate sensitivity.

It emphasizes the point that evidence for low climate sensitivity is piling up. I find this report to be a useful contribution to scientific debate on this topic, as well as an important contribution to the public dialogue and debate on the subject of climate change policy.

I agreed to review this report and write this Foreword since I hold both authors of this report in high regard. I have followed with interest Nic Lewis’ emergence as an independent climate scientist and his success in publishing papers in major peer-reviewed journals on the topic of climate sensitivity, and I have endeavored to support and publicize his research. I have interacted with Marcel Crok over the years and appreciate his insightful analyses, most recently as a participant in climatedialogue.org.

The collaboration of these two authors in writing this report has resulted in a technically sound, well-organized and readily comprehensible report on the scientific issues surrounding climate sensitivity and the deliberations of the IPCC on this topic.

While writing this Foreword, I considered the very few options available for publishing a report such as this paper by Lewis and Crok. I am appreciative of the GWPF for publishing and publicizing this report. Public accountability of governmental and intergovernmental climate science and policy analysis is enhanced by independent assessments of their conclusions and arguments.

JC comments:  I did think twice about writing a foreword for a GWPF publication.  I try to stay away from organizations with political perspectives on global warming.  That said, GWPF has done some commendable things, notably pushing for inquiries into the Climategate affair.  And there really are very few options for publishing a report like this.

I think it is important to put forward alternative assessments of the key elements of the climate change debate — alternative to reports issued by the IPCC, the UK MetOffice, and the RS/NAS.

March 6, 2014 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

John Holdren’s Epic Fail

White House science adviser attacks Roger Pielke Jr. for his Senate testimony, Pielke responds with a skillful counterstrike

Watts Up With That? | March 1, 2014

From http://1.usa.gov/1mRYomm (PDF) I have converted the text for presentation here with Dr. Pielke’s response.

Dr. Roger Pielke responds:

I’m flattered that the White House has posted up an attack on me. Here is my response:

http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2014/03/john-holdrens-epic-fail.html

Please share far and wide.

Holdren’s letter is first, followed by Pielke’s response below.

============================================================

Drought and Global Climate Change: An Analysis of Statements by Roger Pielke Jr

By John P. Holdren – February 28, 2014

Introduction

In the question and answer period following my February 25 testimony on the Administration’s Climate Action Plan before the Oversight Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Environment and Public Works, Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) suggested that I had misled the American people with comments I made to reporters on February 13, linking recent severe droughts in the American West to global climate change. To support this proposition, Senator Sessions quoted from testimony before the Environment and Public Works Committee the previous July by Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr., a University of Colorado political scientist. Specifically, the Senator read the following passages from Dr. Pielke’s written testimony:

It is misleading, and just plain incorrect, to claim that disasters associated with hurricanes, tornadoes, floods or droughts have increased on climate timescales either in the United States or globally.

Drought has “for the most part, become shorter, less, frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century”. Globally, “there has been little change in drought over the past 60 years.”

Footnotes in the testimony attribute the two statements in quotation marks within the second passage to the US Climate Change Science Program’s 2008 report on extremes in North America and a 2012 paper by Sheffield et al. in the journal Nature, respectively.

I replied that the indicated comments by Dr. Pielke, and similar ones attributed by Senator Sessions to Dr. Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, were not representative of main- stream views on this topic in the climate-science community; and I promised to provide for the record a more complete response with relevant scientific references.

Dr. Pielke also commented directly, in a number of tweets on February 14 and thereafter, on my February 13 statements to reporters about the California drought, and he elaborated on the tweets for a blog post on The Daily Caller site (also on February 14). In what follows, I will address the relevant statements in those venues, as well. He argued there, specifically, that my statements on drought “directly contradicted scientific reports”, and in support of that assertion, he offered the same statements from his July testimony that were quoted by Senator Sessions (see above). He also added this:

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that there is “not enough evidence at present to suggest more than low confidence in a global-scale observed trend in drought.”

In the rest of this response, I will show, first, that the indicated quote from the US Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) about U.S. droughts is missing a crucial adjacent sentence in the CCSP report, which supports my position about drought in the American West. I will also show that Dr. Pielke’s statements about global drought trends, while irrelevant to my comments about drought in California and the Colorado River Basin, are seriously misleading, as well, concerning what is actually in the UN Panel’s latest report and what is in the current scientific literature.

Drought trends in the American West

My comments to reporters on February 13, to which Dr. Pielke referred in his February 14 tweet and to which Senator Sessions referred in the February 25 hearing, were provided just ahead of President Obama’s visit to the drought-stricken California Central Valley and were explicitly about the drought situation in California and elsewhere in the West.

That being so, any reference to the CCSP 2008 report in this context should include not just the sentence highlighted in Dr. Pielke’s testimony but also the sentence that follows immediately in the relevant passage from that document and which relates specifically to the American West. Here are the two sentences in their entirety (http://downloads.globalchange.gov/sap/sap3- 3/Brochure-CCSP-3-3.pdf):

Similarly, long-term trends (1925-2003) of hydrologic droughts based on model derived soil moisture and runoff show that droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U.S. over the last century (Andreadis and Lettenmaier, 2006). The main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends (Groisman et al., 2004; Andreadis and Lettenmaier, 2006).

Linking Drought to Climate Change

In my recent comments about observed and projected increases in drought in the American West, I mentioned four relatively well understood mechanisms by which climate change can play a role in drought. (I have always been careful to note that, scientifically, we cannot say that climate change caused a particular drought, but only that it is expected to increase the frequency, intensity, and duration of drought in some regions―and that such changes are being observed.)

The four mechanisms are:

1. In a warming world, a larger fraction of total precipitation falls in downpours, which means a larger fraction is lost to storm runoff (as opposed to being absorbed in soil).

2. In mountain regions that are warming, as most are, a larger fraction of precipitation falls as rain rather than as snow, which means lower stream flows in spring and summer.

3. What snowpack there is melts earlier in a warming world, further reducing flows later in the year.

4. Where temperatures are higher, losses of water from soil and reservoirs due to evaporation are likewise higher than they would otherwise be.

Regarding the first mechanism, the 2013 report of the IPCC’s Working Group I, The Science Basis (http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_TS_FINAL.pdf, p 110), deems it “likely” (probability greater than 66%) that an increase in heavy precipitation events is already detectable in observational records since 1950 for more land areas than not, and that further changes in this direction are “likely over many land areas” in the early 21st century and “very likely over most of the mid-latitude land masses” by the late 21st century The second, third, and fourth mechanisms reflect elementary physics and are hardly subject to dispute (but see also additional references provided at the end of this comment).

As I have also noted in recent public comments, additional mechanisms have been identified by which changes in atmospheric circulation patterns that may be a result of global warming could be affecting droughts in the American West. There are some measurements and some analyses

suggesting that these mechanisms are operating, but the evidence is less than conclusive, and some respectable analysts attribute the indicated circulation changes to natural variability. The uncertainty about these mechanisms should not be allowed to become a distraction obscuring the more robust understandings about climate change and regional drought summarized above.

Global Drought Patterns

Drought is by nature a regional phenomenon. In a world that is warming on the average, there will be more evaporation and therefore more precipitation; that is, a warming world will also get wetter, on the average. In speaking of global trends in drought, then, the meaningful questions are (a) whether the frequency, intensity, and duration of droughts are changing in most or all of the regions historically prone to drought and (b) whether the total area prone to drought is changing.

Any careful reading of the 2013 IPCC report and other recent scientific literature about on the subject reveals that droughts have been worsening in some regions in recent decades while lessening in other regions, and that the IPCC’s “low confidence” about a global trend relates mainly to the question of total area prone to drought and a lack of sufficient measurements to settle it. Here is the key passage from the Technical Summary from IPCC WGI’s 2013 report (http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_TS_FINAL.pdf, p 112):

Compelling arguments both for and against significant increases in the land area affected by drought and/or dryness since the mid-20th century have resulted in a low confidence assessment of observed and attributable large-scale trends. This is due primarily to a lack and quality of direct observations, dependencies of inferred trends on the index choice, geographical inconsistencies in the trends and difficulties in distinguishing decadal scale variability from long term trends.

The table that accompanies the above passage from the IPCC’s report―captioned “Extreme weather and climate events: global-scale assessment of recent observed changes, human contribution to the changes, and projected further changes for the early (2016-2035) and late (2081-2100) 21st century”―has the following entries for “Increases in intensity and/or duration of drought”: under changes observed since 1950, “low confidence on a global scale, likely changes in some regions” [emphasis added]; and under projected changes for the late 21st century, “likely (medium confidence) on a regional to global scale”.

Dr. Pielke’s citation of a 2012 paper from Nature by Sheffield et al., entitled “Little change in global drought over the past 60 years”, is likewise misleading. That paper’s abstract begins as follows:

Drought is expected to increase in frequency and severity in the future as a result of climate change, mainly as a consequence of decreases in regional precipitation but also because of increasing evaporation driven by global warming1-3. Previous assessments of historic changes in drought over the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries indicate that this may already be happening globally. In particular, calculations of the Palmer Drought Severity Index (PDSI) show a decrease in moisture globally since the 1970s with a commensurate increase in the area of drought that is attributed, in part, to global warming4-5.

The paper goes on to argue that the PDSI, which has been relied upon for drought characteriza- tion since the 1960s, is too simple a measure and may (the authors’ word) have led to over- estimation of global drought trends in previous climate-change assessments―including the IPCC’s previous (2007) assessment, which found that “More intense and longer droughts have been observed over wider areas since the 1970s, particularly in the tropics and subtropics.”

The authors argue for use of a more complex index of drought, which, however, requires more data and more sophisticated models to apply. Their application of it with the available data shows a smaller global drought trend than calculated using the usual PDSI, but they conclude that better data are needed. The conclusion of the Sheffield et al. paper has proven controversial, with some critics pointing to the inadequacy of existing observations to support the more complex index and others arguing that a more rigorous application of the new approach leads to results similar to those previously obtained using the PDSI.

A measure of the differences of view on the topic is available in a paper entitled “Increasing drought under global warming in observations and models”, published in Nature Climate Change at about the same time as Sheffield et al. by a leading drought expert at the National Center for Climate Research, Dr. Aiguo Dai. Dr. Dai’s abstract begins and ends as follows:

Historical records of precipitation, streamflow, and drought indices all show increased aridity since 1950 over many land areas1,2. Analyses of model-simulated soil moisture3, 4, drought indices1,5,6, and precipitation minus evaporation7 suggest increased risk of drought in the twenty-first century. … I conclude that the observed global aridity changes up to 2010 are consistent with model predictions, which suggest severe and widespread droughts in the next 30-90 years over many land areas resulting from either decreased precipitation and/or increased evaporation.

The disagreement between the Sheffield et al. and Dai camps appears to have been responsible for the IPCC’s downgrading to “low confidence”, in its 2013 report, the assessment of an upward trend in global drought in its 2007 Fourth Assessment and its 2012 Special Report on Extreme Events (http://www.ipcc-wg2.gov/SREX/) .

Interestingly, a number of senior parties to the debate―including Drs. Sheffield and Dai―have recently collaborated on a co-authored paper, published in the January 2014 issue of Nature Climate Change, entitled “Global warming and changes in drought”. In this new paper, the authors identify the reasons for their previous disagreements; agree on the need for additional data to better separate natural variability from human-caused trends; and agree on the following closing paragraph (quoted here in full):

Changes in the global water cycle in response to the warming over the twenty-first century will not be uniform. The contrast in precipitation between wet and dry regions and between wet and dry seasons will probably increase, although there may be regional exceptions.

Climate change is adding heat to the climate system and on land much of that heat goes into drying. A natural drought should therefore set in quicker, become more intense, and may last longer. Droughts may be more extensive as a result. Indeed, human-induced warming effects accumulate on land during periods of drought because the ‘air conditioning effects’ of water are absent. Climate change may not manufacture droughts, but it could exacerbate them and it will probably expand their domain in the subtropical dry zone.

Additional References (with particularly relevant direct quotes in italics)

Christopher R. Schwalm et al., Reduction of carbon uptake during turn of the century drought in western North America, Nature Geoscience, vol. 5, August 2012, pp 551-556.

The severity and incidence of climatic extremes, including drought, have increased as a result of climate warming. … The turn of the century drought in western North America was the most severe drought over the past 800 years, significantly reducing the modest carbon sink normally present in this region. Projections indicate that drought events of this length and severity will be commonplace through the end of the twenty-first century.

Gregory T. Pederson et al., The unusual nature of recent snowpack declines in the North American Cordillera, Science, vol. 333, 15 July 2011, pp 332-335.

Over the past millennium, late 20th century snowpack reductions are almost unprecedented in magnitude across the northern Rocky Mountains and in their north-south synchrony across the cordillera. Both the snowpack declines and their synchrony result from unparalleled springtime warming that is due to positive reinforcement of the anthropogenic warming by decadal variability. The increasing role of warming on large-scale snowpack variability and trends foreshadows fundamental impacts on streamflow and water supplies across the western United States.

Gregory T. Pederson et al., Regional patterns and proximal causes of the recent snowpack decline in the Rocky Mountains, US, Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 40, 16 May 2013, pp 1811-1816.

The post-1980 synchronous snow decline reduced snow cover at low to middle elevations by

~20% and partly explains earlier and reduced streamflow and both longer and more active fire seasons. Climatologies of Rocky Mountain snowpack are shown to be seasonally and regionally complex, with Pacific decadal variability positively reinforcing the anthropogenic warming trend.

Michael Wehner et al., Projections of future drought in the continental United States and Mexico, Journal of Hydrometeorology, vol. 12, December 2011, pp 1359-1377.

All models, regardless of their ability to simulate the base-period drought statistics, project significant future increases in drought frequency, severity, and extent over the course of the 21st century under the SRES A1B emissions scenario. Using all 19 models, the average state in the last decade of the twenty-first century is projected under the SRES A1B forcing scenario to be conditions currently considered severe drought (PDSI<-3) over much of the continental United States and extreme drought (PDSI<-4) over much of Mexico.

D. R. Cayan et al., Future dryness in the southwest US and the hydrology of the early 21st century drought, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, vol. 107, December 14, 2010, pp 21271-21276.

Although the recent drought may have significant contributions from natural variability, it is notable that hydrological changes in the region over the last 50 years cannot be fully explained by natural variability, and instead show the signature of anthropogenic climate change.

E. P. Maurer et al., Detection, attribution, and sensitivity of trends toward earlier streamflow in the Sierra Nevada, Journal of Geophysical Research, vol. 112, 2007, doi:10.1029/2006JD08088.

The warming experienced in recent decades has caused measurable shifts toward earlier streamflow timing in California. Under future warming, further shifts in streamflow timing are projected for the rivers draining the western Sierra Nevada, including the four considered in this study. These shifts and their projected increases through the end of the 21st century will have dramatic impacts on California’s managed water system.

H. G. Hidalgo et al., Detection and attribution of streamflow timing changes to climate change in the western United States, Journal of Climate, vol. 22, issue 13, 2009, pp 3838-3855, doi: 10.1175/2009JCLI2740.1.

The advance in streamflow timing in the western United States appears to arise, to some measure, from anthropogenic warming. Thus the observed changes appear to be the early phase of changes expected under climate change. This finding presages grave consequences for the water supply, water management, and ecology of the region. In particular, more winter and spring flooding and drier summers are expected as well as less winter snow (more rain) and earlier snowmelt.

==============================================================

John Holdren’s Epic Fail

By Roger Pielke, Jr. – 3/01/2014

Last week in a Congressional hearing, John Holdren, the president’s science advisor, characterized me as being outside the “scientific mainstream” with respect to my views on extreme events and climate change. Specifically, Holdren was responding directly to views that I provided in Senate testimony that I gave last July (and here in PDF).

To accuse an academic of holding views that lie outside the scientific mainstream is the sort of delegitimizing talk that is of course common on blogs in the climate wars. But it is rare for political appointee in any capacity — the president’s science advisor no less — to accuse an individual academic of holding views are are not simply wrong, but in fact scientifically illegitimate. Very strong stuff.

Given the seriousness of Holdren’s charges and the possibility of negative professional repercussions via email I asked him to elaborate on his characterization, to which he replied quite quickly that he would do so in the form of a promised follow-up to the Senate subcommittee.

Here is what I sent him:

Dear John-

I hope this note finds you well. I am writing in response to your characterization of me before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight yesterday, in which you said that my views lie “outside the scientific mainstream.”

This is a very serious charge to make in Congressional testimony about a colleague’s work, even more so when it comes from the science advisor to the president.

The context of your comments about me was an exchange that you had with Senator Sessions over my recent testimony to the full EPW Committee on the subject of extreme events. You no doubt have seen my testimony (having characterized it yesterday) and which is available here:

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/2013.20.pdf

Your characterization of my views as lying “outside the scientific mainstream” is odd because the views that I expressed in my testimony are entirely consonant with those of the IPCC (2012, 2013) and those of the US government’s USGCRP.  Indeed, much of my testimony involved reviewing the recent findings of IPCC SREX and AR5 WG1. My scientific views are also supported by dozens of peer reviewed papers which I have authored and which have been cited thousands of times, including by all three working groups of the IPCC. My views are thus nothing if not at the center of the “scientific mainstream.”

I am writing to request from you the professional courtesy of clarifying your statement. If you do indeed believe that my views are “outside the scientific mainstream” could you substantiate that claim with evidence related specifically to my testimony which you characterized pejoratively? Alternatively, if you misspoke, I’d request that you set the record straight to the committee.

I welcome your response at your earliest opportunity.

Today he has shared with me a 6-page single space response which he provided to the Senate subcommittee titled “Critique of Pielke Jr. Statements on Drought.” Here I take a look at Holdren’s response.

In a nutshell, Holdren’s response is sloppy and reflects extremely poorly on him. Far from showing that I am outside the scientific mainstream, Holdren’s follow-up casts doubt on whether he has even read my Senate testimony. Holdren’s justification for seeking to use his position as a political appointee to delegitimize me personally reflects poorly on his position and office, and his response simply reinforces that view.

His response, (which you can see here in full in PDF) focuses entirely on drought — whereas my testimony focused on hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and drought. But before he gets to drought, Holdren gets off to a bad start in his response when he shifts the focus away from my testimony and to some article in a website called “The Daily Caller” (which is apparently some minor conservative or Tea Party website, and the article appears to be this one).

Holdren writes:

Dr. Pielke also commented directly, in a number of tweets on February 14 and thereafter, on my February 13 statements to reporters about the California drought, and he elaborated on the tweets for a blog post on The Daily Caller site (also on February 14). In what follows, I will address the relevant statements in those venues, as well. He argued there, specifically, that my statements on drought “directly contradicted scientific reports”, and in support of that assertion, he offered the same statements from his July testimony that were quoted by Senator Sessions.

Let me be quite clear — I did not write anything for “The Daily Caller” nor did I speak or otherwise communicate to anyone there. The quote that Holdren attributes to me – “directly contradicted scientific reports” — is actually written by “The Daily Caller.” Why that blog has any relevance to my standing in the “scientific mainstream” eludes me, but whatever. This sort of sloppiness is inexcusable.

Leaving the silly misdirection aside — common on blogs but unbecoming of the science advisor to the most powerful man on the planet — let’s next take a look at Holdren’s substantive complaints about my recent Senate testimony.

As a starting point, let me reproduce in its entirety the section of my Senate testimony (here in PDF) which discussed drought.

Drought 

What the IPCC SREX (2012) says:

  • “There is medium confidence that since the 1950s some regions of the world have  experienced a trend to more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia.”
  • For the US the CCSP (2008)20 says: “droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.”21

What the data says:

8. Drought has “for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.”22


Figure 8.
Figure 2.6 from CCSP (2008) has this caption: “The area (in percent) of area in severe to extreme drought as measured by the Palmer Drought Severity Index for the United States (red) from 1900 to present and for North America (blue) from 1950 to present.”

Note: Writing in Nature Senevirnate (2012) argues with respect to global trends that, “there is no necessary correlation between temperature changes and long-term drought variations, which should warn us against using any simplifications regarding their relationship.”23

Footnotes:

20 CCSP, 2008: Weather and Climate Extremes in a Changing Climate. Regions of Focus: North America, Hawaii, Caribbean, and U.S. Pacific Islands. A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research. [Thomas R. Karl, Gerald A. Meehl, Christopher D. Miller, Susan J. Hassol, Anne M. Waple, and William L. Murray (eds.)]. Department of Commerce, NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, Washington, D.C., USA, 164 pp.

21 CCSP (2008) notes that “the main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends.”

22 This quote comes from the US Climate Change Science Program’s 2008 report on extremes in North America.

23 http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v491/n7424/full/491338a.htm

Let’s now look at Holdren’s critique which he claims places me “outside the scientific mainstream.”

Holdren Complaint #1:  ”I will show, first, that the indicated quote [RP: This one: ““droughts have, for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.”21”] from the US Climate  Change Science Program (CCSP) about U.S. droughts is missing a crucial adjacent sentence in  the CCSP report, which supports my position about drought in the American West. . . That being so, any reference to the CCSP 2008 report in this context should include not just the sentence highlighted in Dr. Pielke’s testimony but also the sentence that follows immediately in the relevant passage from that document and which relates specifically to the American West.”

What is that sentence is question from the CCSP 2008 report that Holdren thinks I should have included in my testimony? He says it is this one:

“The main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends.”

Readers (not even careful readers) can easily see Footnote 21 from my testimony, which states:

CCSP (2008) notes that “the main exception is the Southwest and parts of the interior of the West, where increased temperature has led to rising drought trends.”

Um, hello? Is this really coming from the president’s science advisor?

Holdren is flat-out wrong to accuse me of omitting a key statement from my testimony. Again, remarkable, inexcusable sloppiness.

Holdren’s reply next includes a section on drought and climate change which offers no critique of my testimony, and which needs no response from me.

Holdren Complaint #2: Holdren implies that I neglected to note the IPCC’s reference to the fact that drought is a regional phenomena: “Any careful reading of the 2013 IPCC report and other recent scientific literature about on the subject reveals that droughts have been worsening in some regions in recent decades while lessening in other regions.”

Again, even a cursory reading of what I quoted from the IPCC shows that Holdren’s complaint does not stand up. Here is the full quote that I included in my testimony from the IPCC on drought:

“There is medium confidence that since the 1950s some regions of the world have experienced a trend to more intense and longer droughts, in particular in southern Europe and West Africa, but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia.”

Again, hello? Seriously?

Holdren Complaint #3: Near as I can tell Holdren is upset that I cited a paper from Nature that he does not like, writing, “Dr. Pielke’s citation of a 2012 paper from Nature by Sheffield et al., entitled “Little change in global drought over the past 60 years”, is likewise misleading.”

He points to a January 2014 paper in Nature Climate Change as offering a rebuttal to Sheffield et al. (2012).

The first point to note in response is that my citing of a paper which appears in Nature does not provide evidence of my being “outside the scientific mainstream” no matter how much Holdren disagrees with the paper. Academics in the “scientific mainstream” cite peer-reviewed papers, sometimes even those in Nature. Second, my testimony was delivered in July, 2013 and the paper he cites as a rebuttal was submitted in August, 2013 and only published in early 2014. I can hardly be faulted for not citing a paper which had not yet appeared.  Third, that 2014 paper that Holdren likes better actually supports the IPCC conclusions on drought and my characterization of them in my Senate testimony.The authors write:

How is drought changing as the climate changes? Several recent papers in the scientific literature have focused on this question but the answer remains blurred.

The bottom line here is that this is an extremely poor showing by the president’s science advisor. It is fine for experts to openly disagree. But when a political appointee uses his position not just to disagree on science or policy but to seek to delegitimize a colleague, he has gone too far.

March 2, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , | Comments Off on John Holdren’s Epic Fail

CRISES IN CLIMATOLOGY

By Donald C. Morton | Watts Up With That? | February 17, 2014

Herzberg Program in Astronomy and Astrophysics, National Research Council of Canada

ABSTRACT

The Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released in September 2013 continues the pattern of previous ones raising alarm about a warming earth due to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. This paper identifies six problems with this conclusion – the mismatch of the model predictions with the temperature observations, the assumption of positive feedback, possible solar effects, the use of a global temperature, chaos in climate, and the rejection of any skepticism.

THIS IS AN ASTROPHYSICIST’S VIEW OF CURRENT CLIMATOLOGY. I WELCOME CRITICAL COMMENTS.

1. INTRODUCTION

Many climatologists have been telling us that the environment of the earth is in serious danger of overheating caused by the human generation of greenhouse gases since the Industrial Revolution. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is mainly to blame, but methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O) and certain chlorofluorocarbons also contribute.

“As expected, the main message is still the same: the evidence is very clear that the world is warming, and that human activities are the main cause. Natural changes and fluctuations do occur but they are relatively small.” – John Shepard in the United Kingdom, 2013 Sep 27 for the Royal Society.

“We can no longer ignore the facts: Global warming is unequivocal, it is caused by us and its consequences will be profound. But that doesn’t mean we can’t solve it.” -Andrew Weaver in Canada, 2013 Sep 28 in the Globe and Mail.

“We know without a doubt that gases we are adding to the air have caused a planetary energy imbalance and global warming, already 0.8 degrees Celsius since pre-industrial times. This warming is driving an increase in extreme weather from heat waves to droughts and wild fires and stronger storms . . .” – James Hansen in United States, 2013 Dec 6 CNN broadcast.

Are these views valid? In the past eminent scientists have been wrong. Lord Kelvin, unaware of nuclear fusion, concluded that the sun’s gravitational energy could keep it shining at its present brightness for only 107 years. Sir Arthur Eddington correctly suggested a nuclear source for the sun, but rejected Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar’s theory of degenerate matter to explain white dwarfs. In 1983 Chandrasekhar received the Nobel Prize in Physics for his insight.

My own expertise is in physics and astrophysics with experience in radiative transfer, not climatology, but looking at the discipline from outside I see some serious problems. I presume most climate scientists are aware of these inconsistencies, but they remain in the Reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), including the 5th one released on 2013 Sep 27. Politicians and government officials guiding public policy consult these reports and treat them as reliable.

2. THEORY, MODELS AND OBSERVATIONS

A necessary test of any theory or model is how well it predicts new experiments or observations not used in its development. It is not sufficient just to represent the data used to produce the theory or model, particularly in the case of climate models where many physical processes too complicated to code explicitly are represented by adjustable parameters. As John von Neumann once stated “With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.” Four parameters will not produce all the details of an elephant, but the principle is clear. The models must have independent checks.

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Fig. 1. Global Average Temperature Anomaly (°C) upper, and CO2 concentration (ppm) lower graphs from http://www.climate.gov/maps-data by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The extension of the CO2 data to earlier years is from the ice core data of the Antarctic Law Dome ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/antarctica/law/law_co2.txt.

The upper plot in Fig. 1 shows how global temperatures have varied since 1880 with a decrease to 1910, a rise until 1945, a plateau to 1977, a rise of about 0.6 ºC until 1998 and then essentially constant for the next 16 years. Meanwhile, the concentration of CO2 in our atmosphere has steadily increased. Fig. 2 from the 5th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2013) shows that the observed temperatures follow the lower envelope of the predictions of the climate models.

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Fig. 2. Model Predictions and Temperature Observations from IPCC Report 2013. RCP 4.5 (Representative Concentration Pathway 4.5) labels a set of models for a modest rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gases corresponding to an increase of 4.5 Wm2 (1.3%) in total solar irradiance.

Already in 2009 climatologists worried about the change in slope of the temperature curve. At that time Knight et al. (2009) asked the rhetorical question “Do global temperature trends over the last decade falsify climate predictions?” Their response was “Near-zero and even negative trends are common for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.”

Now some climate scientists are saying that 16 years is too short a time to assess a change in climate, but then the rise from 1978 to 1998, which was attributed to anthropogenic CO2, also could be spurious. Other researchers are actively looking into phenomena omitted from the models to explain the discrepancy. These include

1) a strong natural South Pacific El Nino warming event in 1998 so the plateau did not begin until 2001,

2) an overestimate of the greenhouse effect in some models,

3) inadequate inclusion of clouds and other aerosols in the models, and

4) a deep ocean reservoir for the missing heat.

Extra warming due to the 1978 El Nino seems plausible, but there have been others that could have caused some of the earlier warming and there are also cooling La Nina events. All proposed causes of the plateau must have their effects on the warming also incorporated into the models to make predictions that then can be tested during the following decade or two of temperature evolution.

3. THE FEEDBACK PARAMETER

There is no controversy about the basic physics that adding CO2 to our atmosphere absorbs solar energy resulting in a little extra warming on top of the dominant effect of water vapor. The CO2 spectral absorption is saturated so is proportional to the logarithm of the concentration. The estimated effect accounts for only about half the temperature rise of 0.8 ºC since the Industrial Revolution. Without justification the model makers ignored possible natural causes and assumed the rise was caused primarily by anthropogenic CO2 with reflections by clouds and other aerosols approximately cancelling absorption by the other gases noted above. Consequently they postulated a positive feedback due to hotter air holding more water vapor, which increased the absorption of radiation and the backwarming. The computer simulations represented this process and many other effects by adjustable parameters chosen to match the observations. As stated on p. 9-9 of IPCC2013, “The complexity of each process representation is constrained by observations, computational resources, and current knowledge.” Models that did not show a temperature rise would have been omitted from any ensemble so the observed rise effectively determined the feedback parameter.

Now that the temperature has stopped increasing we see that this parameter is not valid. It even could be negative. CO2 absorption without the presumed feedback will still happen but its effect will not be alarming. The modest warming possibly could be a net benefit with increased crop production and fewer deaths due to cold weather.

4. THE SUN

The total solar irradiance, the flux integrated over all wavelengths, is a basic input to all climate models. Fortunately our sun is a stable star with minimal change in this output. Since the beginning of satellite measures of the whole spectrum in 1978 the variation has been about 0.1% over the 11-year activity cycle with occasional excursions up to 0.3%. The associated change in tropospheric temperature is about 0.1 ºC.

Larger variations could explain historical warm and cold intervals such as the Medieval Warm Period (approx. 950 – 1250) and the Little Ice Age (approx. 1430 – 1850) but remain as speculations. The sun is a ball of gas in hydrostatic equilibrium. Any reduction in the nuclear energy source initially would be compensated by a gravitational contraction on a time scale of a few minutes. Complicating this basic picture are the variable magnetic field and the mass motions that generate it. Li et al. (2003) included these effects in a simple model and found luminosity variations of 0.1%, consistent with the measurements.

However, the sun can influence the earth in many other ways that the IPCC Report does not consider, in part because the mechanisms are not well understood. The ultraviolet irradiance changes much more with solar activity, ~ 10% at 200 nm in the band that forms ozone in the stratosphere and between 5% and 2% in the ozone absorption bands between 240 and 320 nm according to DeLand & Cebula (2012). Their graphs also show that these fluxes during the most recent solar minimum were lower than the previous two reducing the formation of ozone in the stratosphere and its absorption of the near UV spectrum. How this absorption can couple into the lower atmosphere is under current investigation, e. g. Haigh et al. (2010).

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Fig. 3 – Monthly averages of the 10.7 cm solar radio flux measured by the National Research Council of Canada and adjusted to the mean earth-sun distance. A solar flux unit = 104 Jansky = 10-22 Wm-2 Hz-1. The maximum just past is unusually weak and the preceding minimum exceptionally broad. Graph courtesy of Dr. Ken Tapping of NRC.

Decreasing solar activity also lowers the strength of the heliosphere magnetic shield permitting more galactic cosmic rays to reach the earth. Experiments by Kirkby et al. (2011) and Svensmark et al. (2013) have shown that these cosmic rays can seed the formation of clouds, which then reflect more sunlight and reduce the temperature, though the magnitude of the effect remains uncertain. Morton (2014) has described how the abundances cosmogenic isotopes 10Be and 14C in ice cores and tree rings indicate past solar activity and its anticorrelation with temperature.

Of particular interest is the recent reduction in solar activity. Fig. 3 shows the 10.7 cm solar radio flux measured by the National Research Council of Canada since 1947 (Tapping 2013) and Fig. 4 the corresponding sunspot count. Careful calibration of the radio flux permits reliable comparisons

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Fig. 4. Monthly sunspot numbers for the past 60 years by the Royal Observatory of Belgium at http://sidc.oma.be/sunspot-index-graphics/sidc_graphics.php.

over six solar cycles even when there are no sunspots. The last minimum was unusually broad and the present maximum exceptionally weak. The sun has entered a phase of low activity. Fig. 5 shows that previous times of very low activity were the Dalton Minimum from about 1800 to 1820 and the Maunder Minimum from about 1645 to 1715 when very few spots were seen. Since these minima occurred during the Little Ice Age when glaciers were advancing in both Northern and Southern Hemispheres, it is possible that we are entering another cooling period. Without a physical understanding of the cause of such cool periods, we cannot be more specific. Temperatures as cold as the Little Ice Age may not happen, but there must be some cooling to compensate the heating that is present from the increasing CO2 absorption.

Regrettably the IPCC reports scarcely mention these solar effects and the uncertainties they add to any prediction.

5. THE AVERAGE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE

Long-term temperature measurements at a given location provide an obvious test of climate change. Such data exist for many places for more than a hundred years and for a few places for much longer. With these data climatologists calculate the temperature anomaly – the deviation from a many-year average such as 1961 to 1990, each day of the year at the times a measurement is recorded. Then they average over days, nights, seasons, continents and oceans to obtain the mean global temperature anomaly for each month or year as in Fig. 1. Unfortunately many parts of the world are poorly sampled and the oceans, which cover 71% of the earth’s surface, even less so. Thus many measurements must be extrapolated to include larger areas with different climates. Corrections are needed when a site’s measurements are interrupted or terminated or a new station is established as well as for urban heat if the meteorological station is in a city and altitude if the station is significantly higher than sea level.

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Fig. 5. This plot from the U. S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Agency shows sunspot numbers since their first observation with telescopes in 1610. Systematic counting began soon after the discovery of the 11-year cycle in 1843. Later searching of old records provided the earlier numbers.

The IPCC Reports refer to four sources of data for the temperature anomaly from the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research and the European Centre for Medium-range Weather Forcasting in the United Kingdom and the Goddard Institute for Space Science and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in the United States. For a given month they can differ by several tenths of a degree, but all show the same long-term trends of Fig. 1, a rise from 1978 to 1998 and a plateau from 1998 to the present.

These patterns continue to be a challenge for researchers to understand. Some climatologists like to put a straight line through all the data from 1978 to the present and conclude that the world is continuing to warm, just a little more slowly, but surely if these curves have any connection to reality, changes in slope mean something. Are they evidence of the chaotic nature of climate with abrupt shifts from one state to another?

Essex, McKitrick and Andresen (2007) and Essex and McKitrick (2007) in their popular book have criticized the use of these mean temperature data for the earth. First temperature is an intensive thermodynamic variable relevant to a particular location in equilibrium with the measuring device. Any average with other locations or times of day or seasons has no physical meaning. Other types of averages might be more appropriate such as the second, fourth or inverse power of the absolute temperature, each of which would give a different trend with time. Furthermore it is temperature differences between two places that drive the dynamics. Climatologists have not explained what this single number for global temperature actually means. Essex and McKitrick note that it “is not a temperature. Nor is it even a proper statistic or index. It is a sequence of different statistics grafted together with ad hoc models.”

This questionable use of a global temperature along with the problems of modeling a chaotic system discussed below raise basic concerns about the validity of the test with observations in Section 2. Since climatologists and the IPCC insist on using this temperature number and the models in their predictions of global warming, it still is appropriate to hold them to comparisons with the observations they consider relevant.

6. CHAOS

Essex and McKitrick (2007) have provided a helpful introduction to this problem. Thanks to the pioneering investigations into the equations for convection and the associated turbulence by meteorologist Edward Lorenz, scientists have come to realize that many dynamical systems are fundamentally chaotic. The situation often is described as the butterfly effect because a small change in initial conditions such as the flap of a butterfly wing can have large effects in later results.

Convection and turbulence in the air are central phenomenon in determining weather and so must have their effect on climate too. The IPCC on p. 1-25 of the 2013 Report recognizes this with the statement “There are fundamental limits to just how precisely annual temperatures can be projected, because of the chaotic nature of the climate system.” but then makes predictions with confidence. Meteorologists modeling weather find that their predictions become unstable after a week or two, and they have the advantage of refining their models by comparing predictions with observations.

Why do the climate models in the IPCC reports not show these instabilities? Have they been selectively tuned to avoid them or are the chaotic physical processes not properly included? Why should we think that long-term climate predictions are possible when they are not for weather?

7. THE APPEAL TO CONSENSUS AND THE SILENCING OF SKEPTICISM

Frequently we hear that we must accept that the earth is warming at an alarming rate due to anthropogenic CO2 because 90+% climatologists believe it. However, science is not a consensus discipline. It depends on skeptics questioning every hypothesis, every theory and every model until all rational challenges are satisfied. Any endeavor that must prove itself by appealing to consensus or demeaning skeptics is not science. Why do some proponents of climate alarm dismiss critics by implying they are like Holocaust deniers? Presumably most climatologists disapprove of these unscientific tactics, but too few speak out against them.

8. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS

At least six serious problems confront the climate predictions presented in the last IPCC Report. The models do not predict the observed temperature plateau since 1998, the models adopted a feedback parameter based on the unjustified assumption that the warming prior to 1998 was primarily caused by anthopogenic CO2, the IPCC ignored possible affects of reduced solar activity during the past decade, the temperature anomaly has no physical significance, the models attempt to predict the future of a chaotic system, and there is an appeal to consensus to establish climate science.

Temperatures could start to rise again as we continue to add CO2 to the atmosphere or they could fall as suggested by the present weak solar activity. Many climatologists are trying to address the issues described here to give us a better understanding of the physical processes involved and the reliability of the predictions. One outstanding issue is the location of all the anthropogenic CO2. According to Table 6.1 in the 2013 Report, half goes into the atmosphere and a quarter into the oceans with the remaining quarter assigned to some undefined sequestering as biomass on the land.

Meanwhile what policies should a responsible citizen be advocating? We risk serious consequences from either a major change in climate or an economic recession from efforts to reduce the CO2 output. My personal view is to use this temperature plateau as a time to reassess all the relevant issues. Are there other environmental effects that are equally or more important than global warming? Are some policies like subsidizing biofuels counterproductive? Are large farms of windmills, solar cells or collecting mirrors effective investments when we are unable to store energy? How reliable is the claim that extreme weather events are more frequent because of the global warming? Is it time to admit that we do not understand climate well enough to know how to direct it?

References

DeLand, M. T., & Cebula, R. P. (2012) Solar UV variations during the decline of Cycle 23. J. Atmosph. Solar-Terrestr. Phys., 77, 225.

Essex, C., & McKitrick, R. (2007) Taken by storm: the troubled science, policy and politics of global warming, Key Porter Books. Rev. ed. Toronto, ON, Canada.

Essex, C., McKitrick, R., & Andresen, B. (2007) Does a Global temperature Exist? J. Non-Equilib. Thermodyn. 32, 1.

Haigh. J. D., et al. (2010). An influence of solar spectral variations on radiative forcing of climate. Nature 467, 696.

IPCC (2013), Climate Change 2013: The Physicsal Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, http://www.ipcc.ch

Li, L. H., Basu, S., Sofia, S., Robinson, F.J., Demarque, P., & Guenther, D.B. (2003). Global

parameter and helioseismic tests of solar variability models. Astrophys. J., 591, 1284.

Kirkby, J. et al. (2011). Role of sulphuric acid, ammonia and galactic cosmic rays in atmospheric

aerosol nucleation. Nature, 476, 429.

Knight, J., et al. (2009). Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 90 (8), Special Suppl. pp. S22, S23.

Morton, D. C. (2014). An Astronomer’s view of Climate Change. J. Roy. Astron. Soc. Canada, 108, 27. http://arXiv.org/abs/1401.8235.

Svensmark, H., Enghoff, M.B., & Pedersen, J.O.P. (2013). Response of cloud condensation nuclei (> 50 nm) to changes in ion-nucleation. Phys. Lett. A, 377, 2343.

Tapping, K.F. (2013). The 10.7 cm radio flux (F10.7). Space Weather, 11, 394.

February 17, 2014 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , | Comments Off on CRISES IN CLIMATOLOGY

Climate Change and the Magnificent Achievements of Eco-Propaganda

By James F. Tracy | Global Research | January 31, 2014

Today a good deal of what qualifies as propaganda is much more subtle than overt. When an entire civilization or way of life is to be significantly altered the tried-and-true method of “repeating a lie until it becomes truth” needs to be done over a period of many years and in a multitude of varying ways to take hold and change the very assumptions and beliefs of a people.

This process is especially vital for reaching a given society’s more elite demographic—the opinion leaders who perceive themselves as “smarter than the average bear” and thus impervious to simple appeals and indoctrination.

A case in point is the agenda backed by powerful global elites and recognizable under names such as “climate change” and “sustainability.” The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report, released on September 27, 2013, came replete with an assemblage of legitimizing features along these lines (“scientific,” “scholarly,” “authoritative,” “peer reviewed,”). Also termed the “Climate Bible,” journalists and policymakers alike regard it as “authoritative” and “the gold standard” of climate science. The public is told that the official body’s findings are now clearer than ever: “human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”[1]

Among the most vociferous agitators for the IPCC’s climate change orthodoxy are the foundation-funded, tax-exempt, progressive-left media that sit alongside the bevy of similarly tax-exempt, foundation-funded environmental organizations that together uphold and publicize the theory of CO2-based anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change (ACC).[2] Self-professed as “independent,” “investigative,” even “educational,” the so-called “alternative media” turn a blind eye to seriously scrutinizing the highly questionable IPCC’s “scientific” review of the climatological literature and its implications for the array of ambitious programs and policies stealthily introduced throughout the industrialized world, many of which are seldom subject to popular plebiscite. Think “smart grid” and “smart growth.”

Logical questions from such apparently independent organs might include, “How does the IPCC produce its findings?” and “Who benefits?” Instead, there is an almost knee-jerk response on behalf of progressive-left editors and readerships to trust and support the UN group’s purportedly objective and meticulous review of the peer-reviewed climatological literature.

Between August and December 2013 such progressive outlets published dozens of articles and commentaries whole-heartedly touting the IPCC report. For example, Truthout.org posted 25 articles, Alternet.org ran 40, MotherJones.com circulated 38, and DemocracyNow.org featured 11.

These were often presented with bleak headlines accenting the urgent appeals found in the IPCC publicity. For example, “International Scientists Warn Climate Deniers Are Enabling Earth’s Suicide” (Truthout, 9/13/13), “6 Scary Conclusions in the UN’s New Climate Report” (Mother Jones, 9/27/13), “Greenhouse Gas in Atmosphere Hits New Record: UN,” (Alternet, 11/1/13), and “’Africa is Being Pushed Closer to the Fire’: Africans Say Continent Can’t Wait for Climate Action” (Democracy Now! 11/22/13).

Uncritical advocacy of the IPCC’s anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming extended beyond headlines to media criticism. In December, for example, the progressive Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) observed that corporate controlled network newscasts routinely failed to link “extreme weather” to “global warming.” “In the first nine months of 2013,” FAIR observes,

there were 450 segments of 200 words or more that covered extreme weather: flooding, forest fires, tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes and heat waves. But of that total, just a tiny fraction–16 segments, or 4 percent of the total–so much as mentioned the words “climate change,” “global warming” or “greenhouse gases.[3]

What is left unmentioned is that fact that all of these “extreme weather” incidents have one common denominator that FAIR and corporate and progressive media alike consistently overlook: the sun. As University of Winnipeg climatologist Dr. Tim Ball explains (here at 35:00), the IPCC’s “terms of reference” through which the body proceeds to generate its findings exclude the sun and its many demonstrable atmospheric effects as factors in the warming and cooling of the earth’s climate. It is thus no wonder that at best fringe or nonexistent causes of “climate change”–such as minuscule alterations in atmospheric gases–are pointed to with great alarm by the IPCC and its proponents.

Despite far more unambiguous and compelling scientific explanations the notion that “carbon emissions” are the foremost cause of natural climactic events has become something of a religion, and this is especially the case on the progressive-left, where adherents mechanically accept the curious agenda and its ostensibly “scientific” basis while vehemently condemning non-believers as “climate deniers.”

As Canadian journalist Donna LaFramboise has documented in her important 2011 exposé, the IPCC’s scholarly personnel is in fact heavily weighted toward what are often third-or-fourth-rate scientific talent whose eco-political stances are strictly in accord with the IPCC’s “research” agenda pushing anthropogenic climate change. IPCC authors often include climatology graduate students and even environmental activists from organizations such as Greenpeace and the World Wildlife Fund—indeed, figures with little-if-any scientific training but with clear agendas to promote.

LaFramboise further found that one third of the literature reviewed and cited by the IPCC in its 2007 report was–contrary to IPCC chief publicist Ragendra Pachauri’s pronouncements–not even peer-reviewed, and in many cases included citations of promotional literature devised and distributed by environmental activist organizations.

These unethical and compromising relationships are not difficult to explain if one is to recognize the IPCC for what it in fact is—a powerful political organization with the overarching objective of manufacturing consent and achieving transnational policy harmonization around the largely discursive construct of anthropogenic carbon-centric climate change.

The fact that the IPCC is capable of forthrightly carrying out one of the greatest scientific frauds in human history, setting long range governmental policies while enlisting allegedly intellectual sophisticates and “progressive” news media as its most devoted foot soldiers, is no small-scale feat. It is, rather, an immense achievement in modern propaganda and thought control that only hints at the powerful forces behind a much more far-reaching agenda.

Notes

[1] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, “Human Influence on Climate Clear: IPCC Says,” Geneva Switzerland: World Meteorological Organization. The notion of “a 97% consensus” has itself become a common mantra for climate change fear mongering and grounds for labeling someone a “climate denier.” Yet there is limited evidence of any such consensus concerning ACC among climatologists. The oft-cited 2009 American Geophysical Union survey alleging a 98% consensus among scientists on ACC cannot sustain even modest scrutiny. See Larry Bell, “That Scientific Global Warming Consensus … Not!” Forbes.com, July 7, 2012. Another study held up as “proof” of scientific consensus, “Expert Credibility in Climate Change,” asserts only carefully qualified claims along these lines. “A broad analysis of the climate scientist community itself,” the authors point out, “the distribution of credibility of dissenting researchers relative to agreeing researchers, and the level of agreement among top climate experts has not been conducted and would inform future ACC discussions.” The brief paper assesses “an extensive data set of 1,372 climate researchers” to conclude that the scientific expertise and prominence of those who accept the IPCC’s ACC tenets surpass those who remain “unconvinced.” This begs the question, To what degree are the requisites of foundation funding related to espousing IPCC/ACC opinion? William R. L. Anderegg, James W. Prall, Jacob Harold, and Stephen H. Schneider, “Expert Credibility in Climate Change,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2010.

[2] James F. Tracy, “The Forces Behind Carbon-Centric Environmentalism,” Global Research, November 12, 2013.

[3] “TV News and Extreme Weather: Don’t Mention Climate Change,” Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, December 18, 2013. It might be added that corporate media and progressive-left counterparts uniformly fail to consider other possible causes of such unusual weather events, such as geoengineering and similar “environmental modification techniques” acknowledged by the US military and undertaken in many industrialized countries. See, for example, Michel Chossudovsky, “Climate Change, Geoengineering, and Environmental Modification Techniques,” Global Research, November 24, 2013.

January 31, 2014 Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , | 9 Comments

Senate EPW Hearing on the President’s Climate Action Plan

By Judith Curry | Climate Etc. | January 16, 2014

The hearing is now concluded, I’m on a plane flying back to Atlanta.

The testimony from each of the witnesses is now online [here].  The link for my testimony is [here].

The content of my verbal remarks is below:

I would like to thank the Committee for the opportunity to present testimony this morning. I am Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I have devoted 30 years to conducting research on topics including climate of the Arctic, the role of clouds and aerosols in the climate system, and the climate dynamics of extreme weather events.

The premise of the President’s Climate Action Plan is that there is an overwhelming judgment of science that anthropogenic global warming is already producing devastating impacts. Anthropogenic greenhouse warming is a theory whose basic mechanism is well understood, but whose magnitude is highly uncertain. Multiple lines of evidence presented in the recent IPCC 5th assessment report suggest that the case for anthropogenic warming is now weaker than in 2007, when the 4th assessment report was published.

My written testimony documented the following evidence:

  • For the past 16 years, there has been no significant increase in surface temperature. There is a growing discrepancy between observations and climate model projections. Observations since 2011 have fallen below the 90% envelope of climate model projections
  • The IPCC does not have a convincing or confident explanation for this hiatus in warming.
  • There is growing evidence of decreased climate sensitivity to atmospheric carbon dioxideconcentrations
  • Based on expert judgment in light of this evidence, the IPCC 5th assessment report lowered its surface temperature projection relative to the model projections for the period 2016-2036.

The growing evidence that climate models are too sensitive to CO2 has implications for the attribution of late 20th century warming and projections of 21st century climate change. Sensitivity of the climate to carbon dioxide, and the level of uncertainty in its value, is a key input into the economic models that drive cost-benefit analyses, including estimates of the social cost of carbon.

If the recent warming hiatus is caused by natural variability, then this raises the question as to what extent the warming between 1975 and 2000 can also be explained by natural climate variability. In a recent journal publication, I provided a rationale for projecting that the hiatus in warming could extend to the 2030’s. By contrast, according to climate model projections, the probability of the hiatus extending beyond 20 years is vanishing small.  If the hiatus does extend beyond 20 years, then a very substantial reconsideration will be needed of the 20th century attribution and the 21st century projections of climate change.

Attempts to modify the climate through reducing CO2 emissions may turn out to be futile. The stagnation in greenhouse warming observed over the past 15+ years demonstrates that CO2 is not a control knob that can fine tune climate variability on decadal and multi-decadal time scales. Even if CO2 mitigation strategies are successfully implemented and climate model projections are correct, an impact on the climate would not be expected for a number of decades. Further, solar variability, volcanic eruptions and natural internal climate variability will continue to be sources of unpredictable climate surprises.

As a result of the hiatus in warming, there is growing appreciation for the importance of natural climate variability on multi-decadal timescales.  Further, the IPCC AR5 and Special Report on Extreme Events published in 2012, find little evidence that supports an increase in most extreme weather events that can be attributed to humans.

The perception that humans are causing an increase in extreme weather events is a primary motivation for the President’s Climate Change Plan.  However, in the U.S., most types of weather extremes were worse in the 1930’s and even in the 1950’s than in the current climate, while the weather was overall more benign in the 1970’s. The extremes of the 1930’s and 1950’s are not attributable to greenhouse warming and are associated with natural climate variability (and in the case of the dustbowl drought and heat waves, also to land use practices). This sense that extreme weather events are now more frequent and intense is symptomatic of pre-1970 ‘weather amnesia’.

The frequency and intensity of extreme weather events is heavily influenced by natural climate variability. Whether or not anthropogenic climate change is exacerbating extreme weather events, vulnerability to extreme weather events will continue to increase owing to increasing population and concentration of wealth in vulnerable regions. Regions that find solutions to current problems of climate variability and extreme weather events and address challenges associated with an increasing population are likely to be well prepared to cope with any additional stresses from climate change.

Nevertheless, the premise of dangerous anthropogenic climate change is the foundation for a far-reaching plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and reduce vulnerability to extreme weather events. Elements of this Plan may be argued as important for associated energy policy reasons, economics, and/or public health and safety. However, claiming an overwhelming scientific justification for the Plan based upon anthropogenic global warming does a disservice both to climate science and to the policy process.

Good judgment requires recognizing that climate change is characterized by conditions of deep uncertainty. Robust policy options that can be justified by associated policy reasons whether or not anthropogenic climate change is dangerous avoids the hubris of pretending to know what will happen with the 21st century climate.

This concludes my testimony.

JC comments:   The hearing was very long; not so much because of questioning of the witnesses, but there was much pontification by the committee members (much more of this than on the House Subcommittees, it seems).

Several things struck me.  All of the members seem pretty well educated on the topic of climate change.  I cannot say the same of the administrators on the first panel.

Most of the members were there for Panel 1; only a few remained for Panel 2.

I’m fairly happy with my written testimony, but was surprised that my verbal testimony went over the time limit (have never gone over before).  The questions were fairly light weight.

Andrew Dessler did a pretty good job particularly on the verbal testimony and answering questions.

All in all, a very interesting experience, but stressful since you need to pretty much drop everything to prepare your testimony (and I have a pile of things that need to be finished before tomorrow).

So does any of this matter? We’ll see.  I felt that my previous testimony to the House Committee did have an impact.

January 18, 2014 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Unminced Words By Climate Scientist Hans von Storch

“Scientists Too Quick To Claim Last Word”

No Trick Zone | November 18, 2013

The Resonator, the research podcast of the German Helmholtz Research Group conducted a long interview (1 hr 40 min!) with climate scientist Hans von Storch director of the GKSS Research Center. In the interview von Storch was asked about his views on a wide variety of climate science related issues.

Overall the interview saw a Hans von Storch who spoke frankly and openly. Some of the remarks he made raised my eye brows. In general von Storch, best described as a non-alarmist warmist, views the climate debate as being dominated by the more extreme positions from both sides, with voices in the middle getting drowned out. He levels a fair amount of criticism at the climate science community, but does so without naming any persons in particular.

Due to the sheer length of the interview, I will only look at the points that I found interesting and relevant as skeptic.

Scientists too quick to accept dramatic scenarios

At the 15-minute mark von Storch describes a science that is so politicized with both sides are trying to make it black and white, and a debate that has been overly shrill. Some scientists, he says, have tended to accept dramatic scenarios and consequences even when there’s little evidence behind them. He also talks of a group of scientists who fancy themselves as the ultimate authority and who have the last word. All the exaggerations and projections of doom, gloom and disaster have led to an overall discrediting of the field.

“Science and Nature are pretty bad journals”

At the 29-minute mark von Storch says he sees himself as someone who needs a lot of time before he is convinced of anything. I was surprised to hear him call both Science and Nature “pretty bad journals” when it comes to the quality of their articles. Hans von Storch cites an article published by Science claiming that the climate was going to tip in the year 2047, calling the report “a real doozy“. He says that science journals must remain sufficiently critical and not let themselves get caught up with the zeitgeist. Von Storch admits that he has not always been popular among the community.

Overall von Storch doesn’t blame the media much for the hysteria, implying that the hysteria stems more from scientists communicating poorly. The media are only interpreting what the scientists are spewing. Projections of snowless winters, for example, were hardly helpful in lending credibility to climate science.

Scientists dramatizing for attention and prestige

At the 37-minute mark von Storch believes some scientists succumbed to drama in order to get attention and prestige, and says that the such are only damaging the credibility of climate science.

Models too CO2-centric

At the 40-minute mark von Storch discusses possible reasons why the warming has stalled and thinks other explanations need to be examined, such as solar activity and aerosols. He finds climate models too CO2-centric in general. Here he appeals for more patience to let the science unfold.

At the 45 minute mark he fires harsh criticism at scientists who promote a society governed by an elite technocracy, calling the idea “stupidity”. He calls the proposals made by a group of scientists in favor of appointing future councils to represent the interests of future generations “peculiar”.

At the 59-minute mark, on whether storms are becoming more frequent and severe, von Storch says he doesn’t think this is the case and that the disasters are more about the over-development of coastal areas.

Hockey stick was “something dumb” – an attempt to steer politics

On the hockey stick chart, at the 63 minute mark, von Storch has some blunt words on how it was possible to for it to become the icon that it became. He recalls having examined the chart himself and found it deficient.

“I believe it was something dumb by scientists who wanted to steer politics.”

He thinks the climate science community were too quick to call it the last word. Hans von Storch sees critique of the hockey stick and confirmed and that’s why it no longer appears in the IPCC reports. Scientists, von Storch reminds us, should not be so quick to claim absolute truth.

Also, von Storch believes that the oceans could be warming up, but that there is very little data out there to confirm it.

November 23, 2013 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , | Comments Off on Unminced Words By Climate Scientist Hans von Storch

A Sea Change for Climate Science?

By David Stockwell | Quadrant Online | November 1, 2013

As CO2 climate models falter and even the IPCC backs off its estimates, it just may be that a radical shift in thinking is looming. Wouldn’t it be funny if it was the sun all along?

Remember Thomas Kuhn and his paradigm shift?  According to his Structure of Scientific Revolutions, theories change only when anomalous observations stress the ”dominant paradigm” to the point that it becomes untenable. Until then, failure of a result to conform to the prevailing paradigm is not seen as refuting the dominant theory, but explained away as a mistake of the researchers, errors in the data, within the range of uncertainty, and so on. Only at the point of crisis does science become open to a new paradigm.  So, does Kuhn inform the current climate debate, help identify important information or an alternative paradigm?

Climate models can be seen as encapsulating the dominant theory, even though they are composed of many different theories regarding land, the ocean and atmosphere.  Despite their differences they are also similar in many ways, sharing terminology such as the ‘radiative kernel’. Lets agree, for the purpose of argument, that the dominant AGW paradigm is of global temperature’s high sensitivity to CO2 doubling, resulting in an increase of around 3°C, which appears to be about the central estimate of the climate models. 

Does the 15-year ‘pause’ in global temperatures stress this theory? Certainly to some, the stress has already reached a ‘crisis’; while to others the divergence can be explained away by natural variation, uncertainty, and errors in the data.

Do failed models and their predictions of increasing extreme events, like hurricanes, droughts and floods, stress the climate models?  Possibly not.  From a physical perspective, these phenomena lie at the boundaries of the theory. Hurricanes, droughts and floods are ‘higher order’ statistics — extremes not climate averages. Surface temperature is only a part of the greater global climate system. Because anomalous behavior at the margins can be discarded without sacrificing the main theory, their power to confirm or reject the dominant paradigm is somewhat limited.

Ocean heat content, however, is in a unique position.  The world’s oceans store over 90% of the heat in the climate system. Arguably, therefore, increases in ocean heat determine overall global warming. Ocean heat represents the physical bulk of the global heat store, and so should carry the most weight in our assessment of the status of AGW. Observations of ocean heat uptake represent the crucial experiment  — observations capable of decisively dismantling a theory despite its widespread acceptance in the scientific community. The ARGO project to monitor ocean heat with thousands of drifting buoys is the crucial experiment of the AGW stable.

A number of climate bloggers have remarked on the very low rate of ocean heat uptake (here, and here, and here), much lower than predicted by the models (here, here, and here).  The last link is about Nic Lewis, a coauthor on Otto et al. 2013, who feels that recent findings of low climate sensitivity, many based on ocean heat content, have led a number of prominent IPCC authors to abandon the higher estimates of climate sensitivity. That may not be a ‘catastrophe’ for the dominant AGW paradigm, but it is certainly a lurch by insiders towards the lower ends of risk and urgency. … continue reading at Quadrant Online

 

November 1, 2013 Posted by | Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 1 Comment

Thom Hartmann’s ‘Last Hours’ video negated by IPCC AR5

By Anthony Watts | Watts Up With That? | October 13, 2013

From The End is Near department comes this video documentary from lefty talk radio guy Thom Hartmann that claims we are on the verge of a “mass extinction” due to climate change. Only one problem; the IPCC says “no” to his scenario. Ooops.

From the YouTube description, bold mine:

“Last Hours” is the first in a series of short films that explore the perils of climate change and the solutions to avert climate disaster. Each subsequent film will highlight fact-based challenges facing the human race, and offer solutions to ameliorate these crises. The initial short film series will culminate in a feature film to be presented prior to COP21, the 2015 UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris.

An asset for the climate change movement, “Last Hours” will be disseminated globally to awaken modern culture worldwide about the various dangers associated with climate change.

“Last Hours” describes a science-based climate scenario where a tipping point to runaway climate change is triggered by massive releases of frozen methane. Methane, a powerful greenhouse gas, has already started to percolate into the open seas and atmosphere from methane hydrate deposits beneath melting arctic ice, from the warming northern-hemisphere tundra, and from worldwide continental-shelf undersea methane clathrate pools.

Burning fossil fuels release carbon that, principally through greenhouse effect, heat the atmosphere and the seas. This is happening most rapidly at the polar extremes, and this heating has already begun the process of releasing methane. If we do not begin to significantly curtail the use of carbon-based fossil fuels, this freed methane threatens to radically accelerate the speed of global warming, potentially producing a disaster beyond the ability of the human species to adapt.

This first video is designed to awaken people to the fact that the earth has experienced five major extinctions in the deep geologic past — times when more than half of all life on earth vanished — and that we are now entering a sixth extinction. Industrial civilization with its production of greenhouse gases has the ability to trigger a mass extinction; in the extreme, it could threaten not just human civilization, but the very existence of human life on this planet.

The world community and global citizens urgently need to chart a path forward that greatly reduces green house gas emissions. To take action and follow the pathway to solutions to the climate crisis, you can explore this website and you can also sign-up for future updates. Thank you.

It’s the old “methane emergency” meme again.

But here’s the problem.

Apparently Thom never got the memo from the IPCC AR5. Note the third and fourth items in Table 12.4 from the IPCC:

IPCC_catastrophe_table

Definitions for this table can be found in the section “TFE.5: Irreversibility and Abrupt Change” in the draft report. They say:

Abrupt climate change is defined in AR5 as a large-scale change in the climate system that takes place over a few decades or less, persists (or is anticipated to persist) for at least a few decades, and causes substantial disruptions in human and natural systems.”

But alas, IPCC says Clathrate methane release is very unlikely, and they have high confidence in that assessment. Permafrost doesn’t seem to be much of a problem either, as it doesn’t seem to have the potential for abrupt climate change.

Looks like Thom Hartmann will have to rework his video.

October 13, 2013 Posted by | Deception, Nuclear Power, Science and Pseudo-Science | , , , , , | 1 Comment