Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Ah, those UN IPCC Climate "Models"

Jim Peden writes:

We received an email asking why we didn't believe the UN IPCC models predicting world climate meltdown in a few years were good models. We sent back a list of items the UN Climate Yo-Yos deliberately omit from their models. And the sketch above, just in case he still didn't get it.

Jim is in fine form. He also writes:

Crystal ball: Found one on Ebay, only $99. I'll be a climate "forecaster" within the week.

The British Antarctic survey reports

For a pro-Warmist group, these guys have some surprising spurts of honesty. I guess that they are actually interested in reality. Some excerpts below:

Why should we study Antarctic climate?

The Antarctic region is an important regulator of global climate. The Southern Ocean is a significant sink for both heat and carbon dioxide, acting as a buffer against human-induced climate change. The sea ice that forms around the continent each winter controls the exchange of energy between the Sun and the Earth, and its partition between atmosphere and ocean. As sea ice forms, brine rejected from the ice increases the density of the upper ocean. These waters then sink and form the deep ocean currents that carry heat around the globe.

Changes in global climate can have impacts on the Antarctic environment. The Southern Ocean supports a unique ecosystem that is well adapted to present climate conditions. Changes in ocean temperatures, currents and sea ice will impact on this ecosystem, possibly changing the ocean's capacity to absorb carbon dioxide. Warming of the atmosphere and ocean around Antarctica may lead to increased loss of mass from the Antarctic ice sheets and hence a rise in global sea level. In order to make soundly-based predictions of how the global environment may change over the coming decades and centuries, we need to understand the role played by the Antarctic in the Earth system.

How has Antarctic climate varied over the past 50 years?

Few continuous observations of Antarctic climate are available before the International Geophysical Year of 1957-58. Since this time, surface temperatures have remained fairly stable over much of Antarctica, although individual station records show a high level of year-to-year variability, which could mask any underlying long term-trend. The majority of stations in East Antarctica, including the two long-term records from the high plateau of East Antarctica (South Pole and Vostok) show no statistically-significant warming or cooling trends. By contrast, large and statistically-significant warming trends are seen at stations in the Antarctic Peninsula. Over the past 50 years, the west coast of the Peninsula has been one of the most rapidly-warming parts of the planet. Here, annual mean temperatures have risen by nearly 3øC, with the largest warming occurring in the winter season. This is approximately 10 times the mean rate of global warming [Hence not caused by it], as reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The east coast of the Peninsula has warmed more slowly and here the largest warming has taken place in summer and autumn.

Significant warming has also been observed in the Southern Ocean. Upper ocean temperatures to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula have increased by over 1øC since 19554. Within the circumpolar Southern Ocean, it is now well-established that the waters of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) are warming more rapidly than the global ocean as a whole. A comparison of temperature measurements from the 1990s with data from earlier decades shows a large-scale warming of around 0.2øC in the ACC waters at around 700-1100 m depth21.

Analysis of weather balloon data collected over the past 30 years has shown that the Antarctic atmosphere has warmed below 8 km and cooled above this height. This pattern of warming in the troposphere and cooling in the stratosphere is seen globally and is the expected signature of increases in greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. However, the 30-year warming at 5 km over the Antarctic during winter (0.75øC) is over three times the average rate of warming at this level for the globe as a whole5.

Reliable year-round measurements of Antarctic sea ice extent are only available from the 1970s, when satellite observations first became available. Unlike in the Arctic, where there has been a significant decline in observed sea ice extent over this period, there has been a small but statistically-significant increase in the overall extent of Antarctic sea ice. However, there are strong geographical variations at a regional scale. Sea ice cover has declined substantially in the seas to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula while it has increased in other parts of the Antarctic

Subtle but important changes have occurred in the atmospheric circulation around Antarctica. Since the early 1960s, atmospheric pressure has dropped over Antarctica and risen in the mid-latitudes of the Southern Hemisphere, a pattern of variability known as the Southern Hemisphere Annular Mode (SAM)7. These changes have resulted in a strengthening of the westerly winds that blow over the Southern Ocean around Antarctica. Stronger westerlies will impact on ocean currents, upwelling and mixing, but the consequences of such changes have yet to be fully understood.

Has human activity caused the recent changes?

Climate can vary as a result of changes in forcing factors that affect the way energy is exchanged between the sun, the earth and space. These forcings can be of natural origin (e.g. volcanic dust in the atmosphere, variations in solar output and variations in the Earth's orbit about the sun) or a result of human activity (e.g. increases in "greenhouse" gases such as carbon dioxide). Additionally, complex interactions between atmosphere, oceans and sea ice can cause climate variability, particularly on a regional scale, over a timescale of years to decades. Attributing observed changes in climate to particular changes in forcing (or to natural variability) is a difficult process that can only be accomplished by bringing together reliable observations of past and present climate with the results of experiments carried out with sophisticated models of the climate system. Attribution of Antarctic climate change is particularly difficult because of the relatively small number of instrumental climate records available from this region and the short length of the records.

As part of the work undertaken for the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC13, about 20 different climate models were run with historical changes to natural and anthropogenic forcing factors to simulate the climate of the 20th century. The simulated changes in Antarctic surface temperatures over the second half of the 20th century vary greatly from model to model with no single model reproducing exactly the observed pattern of change. However, when results from all models are averaged, the resulting pattern of change bears some resemblance to that observed, with greatest warming in the Peninsula region and little change elsewhere. This result suggests that some of the observed change may have an anthropogenic origin, but the lack of a clear and consistent response to changed forcing between models also suggests that much of the observed change in temperatures may be due to natural variability. The IPCC model experiments fail to reproduce some of the observed features, notably the rapid warming of the lower atmosphere. These differences between modelled and observed changes could be used to argue against attributing change to anthropogenic forcing but some caution is called for as the models used may not adequately represent all of the complex processes that determine temperatures in the polar regions.

More here


A lot of people have pointed out lately how far the results behind IPCC pronouncements deviate from basic forecasting principles and it would now seem that such criticisms have penetrated even some very bony skulls. Roger Pielke Sr. comments below. See the original for links. "Real Climate" are the chief blogospheric defenders of Warmism

Real Climate's Agreement That The IPCC Multi-Decadal Projections Are Actually Sensitivity Model Runs

In the peer reviewed literature, I have emphasized that the IPCC multi-decadal global climate runs, while they refer them as "projections" and also "scenarios" are actually model sensitivity studies since all of the important climate forcings and feedbacks are not included; e.g. see:

Pielke, R.A., 1998: Climate prediction as an initial value problem. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 79, 2743-2746.

Pielke Sr., R.A., 2002: Overlooked issues in the U.S. National Climate and IPCC assessments. Climatic Change, 52, 1-11.

A summary of the types of climate models is given in the weblog: What Are Climate Models? What Do They Do?. Now, from an unlikely source (Real Climate) have come the statements:
"A scenario only illustrates the climatic effect of the specified forcing - this is why it is called a scenario, not a forecast. To be sure, the first IPCC report did talk about "prediction" - in many respects the first report was not nearly as sophisticated as the more recent ones, including in its terminology. "

"One should not mix up a scenario with a forecast - I cannot easily compare a scenario for the effects of greenhouse gases alone with observed data, because I cannot easily isolate the effect of the greenhouse gases in these data, given that other forcings are also at play in the real world."

Real Climate states that the scenarios can
"... become obsolete, and... cannot be verified or falsified by observed data, because the observed data have become dominated by other effects not included in the scenario."

This is the definition of a sensitivity experiment! In other words, policymakers are being given global and regional multi-decadal model results by the IPCC which are not predictions but sensitivity model runs since a variety of important first order climate forcings and feedbacks are not included in the models! [e.g. as reported in Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. ]. Real Climate now has finally reported to us this serious limitation to the interpretation of the results from climate models.


One prophecy of doom that HAS come true

Pesky though: It is an ANTI-Greenie prophecy.

Sometimes, even pessimists find themselves admitting their predictions have been too sanguine. Four years ago, Dennis Avery warned that, as Western governments fell head over heels for biofuels, passing laws forcing consumers to buy them, "U.S. farmers, who should be exporting food to densely populated Asian countries with rising incomes, will instead turn their corn into ethanol . . . without benefit to the environment."

As growers worldwide cashed in on the sudden appetite for biofuels, he predicted in 2006, there would erupt a "clash between food and forests." Farmers would clear new swaths of land for fuel crops, predicted Mr. Avery, president of the Center for Global Food Issues, affiliated with Washington's Hudson Institute. That message made the former senior agricultural analyst for the U.S. State department unpopular among farmers, who liked the sound of a new market for grain.

He takes no pleasure in knowing his prophecies have come to pass. After all, even he didn't realize things would happen as quickly as they have. "I knew it would be bad. But I would never have believed it would get this bad this quickly," he says. "It's appalling."

In barely a half-decade, biofuels have turned from the darling of environmentalists and policymakers - confident that petrol made from corn, soybeans or other plants would not just relieve us of our dependency on volatile Arab oil, but reduce CO2 emissions in the process - to the target of blame for massive economic upheaval and environmental destruction.

The UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food recently labeled biofuels a "crime against humanity," for burning crops that could be used to fight hunger, as fuel. "The farms have been put to biofuel production creating a shortage of food and therefore creating a problem of high prices," said Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, president of the African Union this week. As he spoke, violent demonstrations over rising food costs in Haiti had killed five people and wounded 40 more, mirroring similar riots in Mexico, Egypt and Cameroon. Other countries are banning grain exports to ration scarce supplies.

It hasn't helped that green groups now say the promise of lower carbon emissions has not materialized -- or at least the reductions (corn-based ethanol is said to produce between zero and 30% less CO2 than good old fashioned fossil fuels) don't justify the devastating ripple effects -- while the powerful push for more plant energy has led to a rapid rise in environmentally-stressful fertilizer usage, and worldwide deforestation.

"It seems almost a necessary consequence, when you take land out of production for growing food, then you take it for producing fuel, then that's going to have an impact on the price of grains and commodities, and that's going to increase. . . farmers moving onto more marginal lands creating deforestation" says Greenpeace agricultural campaigner, Josh Brandon. "I think it's becoming pretty clear across NGOs and in Europe as well as in North America that biofuels, generally, are becoming more of an environmental problem than a solution."....

But with North American governments invested so heavily, backing off biofuels now could be painful. Both Washington and Ottawa relished ethanol's ability to win political points with the farm lobby, dodging WTO rules blocking subsidies for feed (both nations tax ethanol imports). But the political field is tilting. Cattle, turkey, chicken and pork producer associations, squeezed by feed prices, are demanding Congress abandon ethanol subsidies. The USDA's latest planning report suggests that, for the first time in memory, there may not be enough American feed available for the country's record number of pigs and hogs in the coming year, possibly leading to culls that could only hurt the biofuel image, fairly or not.

"I would think the killing of little pigs will have an impact," Mr. Avery says. "The cries of anguish from the [UN] World Food Program will ultimately have an impact." And unless biofuel producers can reverse the mounting backlash, it won't be long before North America's urban voters notice that, with environmentalists, world bodies and foreign governments leaving the fold, the only group seemingly left standing up for biofuels appears to be the industry itself.

More here

Warmists reverse the burden of proof

In Stalin's Russia any dissenter from the Party Line was guilty. Innocence had to be proved. It's a standard tyrant's trick. During the reign of Oliver Cromwell in England, witchhunters did not have to prove that their victims were guilty. The accused witches had to prove their innocence. That's what Al Gore has done to science: He and his friends have flipped innocence and guilt from normal science to Stalinist science.

In Al Gore's America, any "global warming denier" is guilty until proven innocent. He or she must have been bought off by Big Oil. Skeptics, no matter how well-qualified, must prove the negative about really silly alarmist hogwash. And whenever some prediction is falsified, the warm mongers have an explanation: it's just a temporary glitch in the data. Oh, yes, we were wrong about 1998, but just wait till 2050! The excuses are endless.

Stalin twisted scientific biology over four decades in the Soviet Union. His favorite fake-scientist, Trofim Lysenko, used all the powers of the police state to enforce his batty belief that the bleeding disaster of Soviet agriculture could be fixed just by making plants grow bigger. It's the old idea that giraffes have long necks because their ancestors stretched their necks out more and more, to nibble at higher leaves on the trees. It's nonsense, as horse breeders have known for ages. You can't make a great race horse just by making their ancestors run fast. You have to do selective breeding.

But breeding takes time, and Stalin was in a hurry. So he fell for the Lysenko fraud, and flipped the burden of proof: Any Soviet biologist who disagreed with Lysenko was shot. This went on for forty years, and caused endless suffering as one harvest after the next crashed. People died by the millions, in part because biological science was fundamentally corrupted.

Putting the burden of proof on the doubters is a perversion of normal, healthy science. It's as if Jeremiah Wright demanded that all white folks must prove to him that they're not blue-eyed devils. If politically correct ideas are true by default, the Al Gores can prove anything.

In normal science the burden of proof is on the proposer. Albert Einstein had to prove in his historic 1905 paper that there was a fundamental flaw in classical physics. The distinctive predictions of Relativity Theory had to be verified for decades afterwards. Some are still being tested today. His predecessor Max Planck remarked that he encountered so much skepticism that he had to wait for the older generation of physicists to die off before his work was accepted. Darwin said the same thing.

A healthy scientific community is extremely skeptical. It needs to see more and more evidence, over and over and over again, before it adopts some wild-eyed new idea. It takes all the time it needs; good science is very patient. Einstein himself was a complete skeptic about quantum mechanics, and never accepted it over the last forty years of his life. He had a perfect right to question it, as long as he had rational arguments, and he did. (He was wrong on QM, but he was right on Relativity.)

"Catastrophic global warming," caused by human beings, is a really wild-eyed idea, given the fact that animals have survived on earth for half a billion years, with thousands of massive volcanic explosions, giant meteors hitting the earth, drifting continents, and great biomass changes that would have perturbed the climate, if the hypothesis were true. Just imagine the amount of C02 that must have been released with the Cambrian explosion of animal life. If the earth really saw superfast global ups and downs in temperature, no animals could have survived those 500 million years. The Ice Ages drove animals and people south, but they were not superfast, global events, or you and I would not be here today. Animals and plants are able adapt to temperature changes. Polar bears grow layers of fat and long, dense fur. Camels can stay cool in the desert.

In biology, "catastrophism" has been treated with intense skepticism since Charles Darwin in the mid-19th century. Except today, when biological catastrophism is the in thing. Why would that be, do you suppose?

How have Al Gore and the fraudsters pulled it off? It's really simple. They just flipped the burden of proof and put it on the "deniers" --- the skeptics, who don't believe the computer models. With the Left in control of the media, you can do it. So now it's prove to me you're not a witch! Because there is no decisive evidence. There are 21 computer models that "prove" global warming over the next century. By the time 2050 rolls around, most of the modelers will be dead. To answer the biggest con trick in the history of science, you just have to address a single question to True Believers: What's your evidence for this barmy idea? (Not: Here's my evidence against it. That's not how it works).

And the answer is: There are no facts robust enough, consistent enough, and verified enough to support the mass hysteria. The climate system is hypercomplex, nonlinear and poorly understood. The media spinners are immensely ignorant about real science, and just care about the next scare headline. There's a lot of wild speculation and a mob of self-serving politicians, bureaucrats and media types who stand to gain a ton of power and money by suckering millions of taxpayers. Al Gore just started a 300 million dollar PR campaign to convince everybody. When was the last time you saw 300 million bucks being spent to promote a scientific hypothesis that was already proven? We're not spending millions to prove the existence of gravity. The uproar and money involved in this fraud is in direct proportion to the lack of solid facts.

The last ten years have seen global cooling, not warming. Temperatures over the last hundred years look like the stock market: ups and downs, a very slow rise of a fraction of a degree until the late 1990s, then a drop for the last ten years, with so much cooling in the last year as to cancel out a century of warming. Why? Nobody really knows, but Mr. Sun is the logical suspect. Look it up. But don't get caught in the trap of proving the negative. In normal, healthy science, the skeptics ask questions. It is the proponents who carry the burden of proof.

Now can we talk about 9/11? That's a fact. But Al Gore doesn't think it's a big deal, compared to his favorite science fiction story. Al Gore just wants power, fame, money, and the US Presidency. Well, three out of four ain't bad. Oliver Cromwell and his witchhunters would have understood perfectly.


Report from Australia: Rainwater tanks 'full of lead and aluminium'

Pesky for the Greenies. Greenies love tanks. It gives them a feeling of independence and gives them a rationale for opposing dams. So if they all get lead poisoning, why should I care? They deserve it. I favour much safer tested, filtered, chlorinated and reticulated water from dams. It's just a great pity that Greenie opposition to dams has created a shortage of such water in many places. The study below does not in fact tell half the story. The bacterial load from birdshit and other droppings in tank water is not mentioned at all!

RAINWATER tanks have been found to be commonly contaminated with lead and other heavy metals, a study to be presented this week has found. The joint Melbourne Monash University and CSIRO research found the use of lead in roofs to join surfaces and channel away water elevated the risks, pushing the lead content in tank water as high as 50 times Australia's drinking water guidelines. But even across a broader range of roof types and tanks, one-third of those surveyed contained lead concentrations in the water exceeding safe drinking levels by up to 35 times. "Concentrations of aluminium, cadmium, iron and zinc were also found at levels exceeding acceptable health and esthetic levels," the study reports.

Australians have increasingly embraced rainwater tanks, pushing the share of homes with water tanks to nearly 20 per cent last year from 15 per cent three years earlier. Of the remainder, 60 per cent of homes are considering installing rainwater tanks, amid escalating water restrictions because of the drought, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

But while most homes with tanks install them to save water, the second most common reason for buying them is to service properties that are not connected to mains water. In South Australia, almost half of households use some water from tanks, and more than a fifth use them as their main source of drinking water.

Study co-author Grace Mitchell said some people also simply preferred the taste of rainwater, or considered it more natural. "It is more natural in the sense that it's not treated but in some cases that's not a good thing," she said. The Monash University senior research fellow said the surprisingly large incidence of contamination reinforced the need for people to stick with drinking mains water, or to get their tank water tested for heavy metals.



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