Friday, September 14, 2007


(Article mentioned here yesterday. Following is an email to Benny Peiser from John McLean [])

As the author of the article in question I'd like to point out that subsequent to the writing of that paper I have found that 2 more reviewers of the pivotal 9th chapter had a vested interest in the IPCC's findings. One of was from an IPCC technical support group and the other was responsible for the "Frequently Asked Questions" in the report. (Yes, we can puzzle over who might have been frequently asking those questions!) That brings the numbers to 62 reviewers in total for chapter 9, 8 of whom of were government representatives, 23 with a vested interest and just 21 who appear to be impartial. The total explicit support for the IPCC's claim came from just 4 reviewers, one incidentally being a government representative. Overwhelming endorsement? Not exactly...

But what of the peer review process? In this case it is more like the review of a literature survey and is limited to either suggesting additional or alternative references, or commenting on whether the conclusions presented are in accordance with the cited references. As I said in the paper, the IPCC has for years ben highly influential in the directions of research into climate science an inevitable this research results in papers, so it is no surprise that most papers follow the accepted line. The consequent shortage of contrary papers places significant limits on the ability of the reviewers to point to alternative papers and it's a point emphasized by a response that I quote "There are many more papers in support of the statement than against it."

Pesky Southern hemisphere data ignored yet again

Post below lifted from Newsbusters. See the original for links

NewsBusters reported Sunday that the media's fascination with record low ice in the Arctic ignored history while relying on satellite data that's only been around since 1979.

At the same time, the press have totally boycotted news from the Southern Hemisphere where ice and snow levels are currently at their highest since data have been collected. Pretty convenient wouldn't you agree? Meteorologist Joe D'Aleo wrote at IceCap Tuesday:
While the news focus has been on the lowest ice extent since satellite monitoring began in 1979 for the Arctic, the Southern Hemisphere (Antarctica) has quietly set a new record for most ice extent since 1979.

Yet, that's not all the media are hiding from you about this region:
While the Antarctic Peninsula area has warmed in recent years and ice near it diminished during the Southern Hemisphere summer, the interior of Antarctica has been colder and ice elsewhere has been more extensive and longer lasting, which explains the increase in total extent. This dichotomy was shown in this World Climate Report blog posted recently with a similar tale told in this paper by Ohio State Researcher David Bromwich, who agreed "It's hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now". Indeed, according the NASA GISS data, the South Pole winter (June/July/August) has cooled about 1 degree F since 1957 and the coldest year was 2004.

As such, this is yet another instance of media deciding what is and isn't newsworthy. How disgraceful.

The "consensus" myth again

A new analysis of peer-reviewed literature reveals that more than 500 scientists have published evidence refuting at least one element of current man-made global warming scares. More than 300 of the scientists found evidence that 1) a natural moderate 1,500-year climate cycle has produced more than a dozen global warmings similar to ours since the last Ice Age and/or that 2) our Modern Warming is linked strongly to variations in the sun's irradiance. "This data and the list of scientists make a mockery of recent claims that a scientific consensus blames humans as the primary cause of global temperature increases since 1850," said Hudson Institute Senior Fellow Dennis Avery.

Other researchers found evidence that 3) sea levels are failing to rise importantly; 4) that our storms and droughts are becoming fewer and milder with this warming as they did during previous global warmings; 5) that human deaths will be reduced with warming because cold kills twice as many people as heat; and 6) that corals, trees, birds, mammals, and butterflies are adapting well to the routine reality of changing climate.

Despite being published in such journals such as Science, Nature and Geophysical Review Letters, these scientists have gotten little media attention. "Not all of these researchers would describe themselves as global warming skeptics," said Avery, "but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see."

The names were compiled by Avery and climate physicist S. Fred Singer, the co-authors of the new book "Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years", mainly from the peer-reviewed studies cited in their book. The researchers' specialties include tree rings, sea levels, stalagmites, lichens, pollen, plankton, insects, public health, Chinese history and astrophysics.

"We have had a Greenhouse Theory with no evidence to support it-except a moderate warming turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events," said co-author Singer. "On the other hand, we have compelling evidence of a real-world climate cycle averaging 1470 years (plus or minus 500) running through the last million years of history. The climate cycle has above all been moderate, and the trees, bears, birds, and humans have quietly adapted."

"Two thousand years of published human histories say that the warm periods were good for people," says Avery. "It was the harsh, unstable Dark Ages and Little Ice Age that brought bigger storms, untimely frost, widespread famine and plagues of disease." "There may have been a consensus of guesses among climate model-builders," says Singer. "However, the models only reflect the warming, not its cause." He noted that about 70 percent of the earth's post-1850 warming came before 1940, and thus was probably not caused by human-emitted greenhouse gases. The net post-1940 warming totals only a tiny 0.2 degrees C.

The historic evidence of the natural cycle includes the 5000-year record of Nile floods, 1st-century Roman wine production in Britain, and thousands of museum paintings that portrayed sunnier skies during the Medieval Warming and more cloudiness during the Little Ice Age. The physical evidence comes from oxygen isotopes, beryllium ions, tiny sea and pollen fossils, and ancient tree rings. The evidence recovered from ice cores, sea and lake sediments, cave stalagmites and glaciers has been analyzed by electron microscopes, satellites, and computers. Temperatures during the Medieval Warming Period on California's Whitewing Mountain must have been 3.2 degrees warmer than today, says Constance Millar of the U.S. Forest Service, based on her study of seven species of relict trees that grew above today's tree line.

Singer emphasized, "Humans have known since the invention of the telescope that the earth's climate variations were linked to the sunspot cycle, but we had not understood how. Recent experiments have demonstrated that more or fewer cosmic rays hitting the earth create more or fewer of the low, cooling clouds that deflect solar heat back into space-amplifying small variations in the intensity of the sun.

Avery and Singer noted that there are hundreds of additional peer-reviewed studies that have found cycle evidence, and that they will publish additional researchers' names and studies. They also noted that their book was funded by Wallace O. Sellers, a Hudson board member, without any corporate contributions.


NATURAL CLIMATE CHANGE IGNORED: Playing with models preferred to reality

By Prof. Akasofu, the former director of the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska

Climate change reared its head again last week at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Sydney, where participating heads of state struggled to reach a consensus on how to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). The political squabbling, global warming true believers will say, stands in stark contrast to the scientific consensus that the greenhouse effect, a product of increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, is causing dramatic climate change.

There's just one problem with this view: There's a lot less to that "scientific consensus" than meets the eye. When millennial climate change patterns are mentioned, many people point to the "2,500 scientists from 130 countries" who have agreed that global warming is caused by the greenhouse effect. Yet not even the International Panel of Climate Change to which these people refer presents definitive scientific proof that the present warming is mostly caused by the greenhouse effect. It is simply an assumption that has morphed into a fact.

Since the physics behind CO2's greenhouse effect has long been well known, the IPCC made the assumption that post-1900 warming was caused by it. They assembled a large number of scientists, mostly meteorologists and physicists (but, interestingly, not many climatologists), and tried to prove their hypothesis using supercomputer models. They have continued to work in this way despite important new evidence from ice-core data showing that temperature rises tend to precede CO2 increases by about 1,000 years.

With all of the media attention that this assumption now enjoys, natural temperature changes have been mostly forgotten. Yet in reality they persist; they're simply not being studied. This is the single greatest failing of the IPCC.

Meanwhile, a tree-ring study that was conducted to estimate historical temperatures was published in 1999. It showed that over the years, global temperatures had decreased gradually between the years 1000 and 1900, at which time they suddenly began to increase. Its graph was nicknamed "the hockey stick" because of its shape and it has been prominently displayed in the summary of the IPCC's 2001 report. After glancing at this figure, many policy makers, environmental advocacy groups and scientists around the world were convinced that the greenhouse effect began after 1900.

But the hockey-stick graph was later discredited. Two Canadian statisticians found that the authors of the graph made a statistical error in dealing with the tree-ring data. After correcting the error, the two researchers could not reproduce the sharp upturn of the curve -- even though they were using the very same data.

In understanding the present warming trend, it is absolutely essential to learn more about climate change in the distant past -- or at least during the last 1,000 years. But many scientists, particularly younger ones, prefer to work only with data collected after 1975, when satellite data became available. With only 30 years worth of data, their results are little more than climatological snapshots of what is really a slow, long-term process. The latest accurate satellite images of sea ice distribution in the Arctic Ocean today can be obtained by clicking on a computer screen; but it is impossible to obtain such quality data for periods before 1975.

It is for this reason that only a minority of scientists are studying natural climate change, including multi-decadal oscillations and centurial climate change, which is the true realm of climatology. These areas have not been priorities for the IPCC. They should be. During winter, England's Thames River would once freeze solid. This occurred on and off between 1400 and 1800 during a period called the "Little Ice Age" when temperatures dropped by as much as 1.5 degrees Celsius, which came after the medieval warm period around 1000.

The anomaly of the Little Ice Age corrected itself, of course, through something called rebounding. The rebounding rate is estimated at 0.5 degrees Celsius per century. Since our present warming rate is roughly 0.6 degrees Celsius per century, the greenhouse effect caused by CO2 may represent only a 0.1 degree Celsius increase in temperature over the course of a century.

There is no doubt that global warming is in progress. But much of it can be attributed to the rebounding effect from the Little Ice Age. Recovering from a cool period is, of course, warming -- but it is nothing to panic about. Ice core data from the Greenland ice sheet show many periodic warming and cooling periods during the last 10,000 years. The present warming phase is far from the warmest.

Scientists have no clear knowledge of the cause of the Little Ice Age and of the subsequent rebound; or of the Big Ice Age; or of a warm period when the Arctic Ocean had no ice; or of the medieval warming period. In fact, IPCC scientists do not understand the causes of the rapid increase of temperature from 1910 to 1945; or the decrease from 1945 to 1975, when CO2 levels were rising.

Without understanding these recent changes, it is premature for the IPCC to jump to the conclusion that CO2 is the main cause of the last 30 years of global warming. Many people claim scientists proved the greenhouse effect with models run on supercomputers. But a supercomputer is not a crystal ball. Scientists merely enter observed (or expected) CO2 amounts into a computer and, using an algorithm, a projection emerges.

No computer can accurately represent such a gigantic system as the Earth with all its unknown processes, such as the causes of the medieval warm period and the Little Ice Age. Therefore, no supercomputer, no matter how powerful, is able to prove definitively a simplistic hypothesis that says the greenhouse effect is responsible for warming.

Most people, including scientists who specialize in climatology, are not aware of this weakness. In fact, the whole science of climate change based on supercomputers and algorithmic models is still in its infancy. A supercomputer cannot provide an approximate estimate of the temperature in 2050 or 2100 because scientists are not able to instruct it with all the unknown processes that may be at play. Any conclusions drawn from such results -- which may be seen as nothing more than an academic exercise -- cannot and should not serve as hard facts on which to base major international policies.

The booming Far East is home to a series of economies which have become the factories of the developed world. This arrangement provides economic benefits but also makes it impractical for Asian nations to reduce their CO2 output. In fact, many political leaders in China have declared it hypocritical for the Western world to make such a demand.

A truly environmentally friendly policy would invest in innovation -- in order to increase energy efficiency -- and not try to stifle whole economies by attempting to do away with CO2 based on faulty science and wild assumptions. It would be better for Asian countries such as China, India and South Korea to invest in researching nuclear fusion as a future energy source.

In the meantime, the integrity of climatology as a respectable science has to be rehabilitated by bringing it back from its present confused state and separating it entirely from politics. Only then can real progress be made in predicting future climate patterns. At the same time, environmental advocacy groups should return to their original goal of protecting the environment from those things over which humanity truly does have control.



Despite the growing political commitment to tackling global warming, individual energy use and carbon emissions in the leading industrial countries have actually increased in recent years, the new head of a major energy advisory group said Monday. Nobuo Tanaka, the first non-European chosen to lead the International Energy Agency, said during an interview that Europe, Canada, Australia and particularly the United States had to do much more to increase energy efficiency if they wanted to have any credibility when calling on India and China to act. "The leading industrial countries are not on a path to sustainable energy future," said Tanaka, a Japanese economist and diplomat who became the IEA's executive director Sept. 1. "There was a big effort to increase efficiency during the 1980s because of the oil price shocks," he said. "But these efforts subsided over the 1990s."

The statistics were released in Berlin as energy and environmental ministers from 20 countries met to prepare for the United Nations climate talks in Bali, Indonesia, in December. They should shift some of the spotlight away from India and China, which along with the United States are among the world's biggest producers of CO2 emissions. The IEA serves as an advisory body for the big energy consuming nations - industrial countries belonging to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris.

According to Tanaka, from 1990 to 2004, energy consumption by households increased to 26 percent from 23 percent of total energy consumption, while services increased by one percentage point to 14 percent. Passenger transport jumped to a 26 percent share, from 23 percent, and freight transport by one percentage point to 11 percent.



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film. It is a rather confused paper -- acknowledging yet failing to account fully for the damping effect of the oceans, for instance -- but it is nonetheless valuable to climate atheists. The concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years (See the first sentence of the paper) really is invaluable. And the basic fact presented in the paper -- that solar output has in general been on the downturn in recent years -- is also amusing to see. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 and a very detailed critique here for more on the Lockwood paper

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