Thursday, March 11, 2010

An amusing email from a Warmist

The following scornful email was sent to Benny Peiser by retired palaeoclimatologist William Ruddiman []. I append to it Benny Peiser's reply. The thing that strikes one about the email is that he quite correctly notes a slight long term warming trend since the little ice age but fails to address the two principal points at issue: Whether or not mankind is the cause of the observed warming and whether the warming is great enough to be cause for alarm. The fact that the graphs of temperature change that you normally see are scaled in tenths of one degree probably tells you all you need to know about the latter question

Ruddiman is however an outlier among Warmists. He claims that the invention of farming 8,000 years ago caused global warming! Back to the jungles!

I am sorry to see your stream of posts about 'global cooling' coming to an end, no doubt because of the inconvenient rebound of global temperature in 2009. I had really been enjoying watching your global-coolers embarrass themselves. To mainstream scientists like me, the reasoning behind their arguments fall far below that of the average 7-year-old. If your readers doubt this, ask them to find the nearest available 7-year-old, show him or her a plot of global temperature for the last 100-150 years, and ask 6 questions:

1. Did the overall temperature trend in the last 125 years go down or up?
2. Were there times when the upward trend leveled out or went down?
3. Afterward, did temperatures warm to levels even higher than before?
4. Do the last 5 or so years show a small cooling trend?
5. Does this recent cooling trend differ in any obvious way from the earlier ones?
6. Do you think the upward warming trend is likely to resume in the future? (see below)

The answers to the first 5 questions are obvious: up, yes, yes, yes, and no. So question 6 is the key. It requires the child to look at the record of past temperature changes, think about the lessons learned (a tiny bit!, but more than your global coolers), and draw a simple conclusion.

So-- how did your nearest available 7-year-old respond? I doubt that he/she would find the recent cooling different in any obvious way from the range of several previous ones. If so, this 7-year-old judged that the long-term warming trend will resume and will likely reach even higher levels (as it seems to have begun to do in 2009). And if so, your nearest available child understands natural climatic variability far better than you.

Benny Peiser replies:

One of the problems with true believers is that they tend to misrepresent the actual position one takes. My own stance is well known and has been reported repeatedly on CCNet and other media outlets: "It is quite possible that global temperatures might start rising again in the foreseeable future. Admittedly, no one knows exactly if and when this will happen – and if, whether the renewed warming trend will be pronounced, moderate or insignificant. In all likelihood, we will not know for the next twenty or thirty years who will be right or wrong - the climate sceptics or the alarmists. Nevertheless, as long as the global warming standstill continues, more or less, and as long as the political deadlock between the West and the rest of the world lingers, international climate politics will remain firmly on ice."

Global warming benefits outweigh harms

Without the greenhouse effect to keep our world warm, the planet would have an average temperature of minus 18 degrees Celsius. Because we do have it, the temperature is a comfortable plus 15 degrees Celsius.

Other inconvenient facts ignored by the activists: Carbon dioxide is a non-polluting gas that is essential for plant photosynthesis. Higher concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere produce bigger crop harvests and larger and healthier forests--results environmentalists used to like.

There are legitimate reasons to restrict emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere. Recycling makes sense and protecting the environment is good for everyone. But we should not fool ourselves into thinking we can change the temperature of the Earth by doing these things.

The Missing Effects of Global Warming

For the past decade, according to highly accurate measurements taken from satellites, there has been no global warming. Even though atmospheric CO2 has continued to accumulate—up about 4 percent in the past 10 years—the global mean temperature has remained flat. That should raise obvious questions about CO2 being the cause of climate change.Orbiting satellites gather temperature readings around the globe, accurate to 0.1 degree Celsius. Warming in the upper atmosphere should occur before any surface warming effect, but NASA’s data show that has not been happening. Interestingly, in the 18 years those satellites have been recording global temperatures, they actually have shown a slight decrease in average temperatures. The images shown in Figure 6 reveal that the expected “fingerprint” of warming in the upper atmosphere is missing.

In spite of warnings of severe consequences from rising seas, droughts, severe weather, species extinction, and other disasters, the record shows little if any evidence of such effects. With scientific evidence being ignored, emotional arguments and anecdotal data are ruling the day. The media subjects us to one frightening image of environmental nightmares after another, linking each to global warming. Journalists and activist scientists use hurricanes, wildfires, and starving polar bears to appeal to our emotions, not our reason. They are far more concerned with anecdotal observations of such things as frozen sea ice inside the Arctic Circle than they are with understanding why it is happening and how frequently it has occurred in the past.

Real-World Observations

A report by a team of 40 scientists from a dozen countries, released in June 2009, found the following:

• “The average temperature history of Antarctica provides no evidence of twentieth century warming.”

• “The results of several research studies argue strongly against claims that CO2-induced global warming would cause catastrophic disintegration of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets.

• “The mean rate of global sea level rise has not accelerated over the recent past. The determinants of sea level are poorly understood due to considerable uncertainty associated with a number of basic parameters that are related to the water balance of the world’s oceans and the meltwater contribution of Greenland and Antarctica.”

• “[D]espite the supposedly “unprecedented” warming of the twentieth century, there has been no increase in the intensity or frequency of tropical cyclones globally or in any of the specific oceans.”

After warnings that 2007 would be the hottest year on record and a record year for hurricanes, we experienced, in 2008, the coolest year since 2001 and, by some measures, the most benign hurricane season in the Northern Hemisphere in three decades.

Even though recent changes in our atmosphere are all within the bounds of the Earth’s natural variability, a growing number of people seem willing to throw away trillions of dollars on fruitless solutions. It’s ridiculous to allow emotional appeals and anecdotal data to shape our conclusions and influence our expenditures when real science and technology are at our fingertips.

Based on the seasonal and geographic distribution of any projected warming, a good case can be made that today’s temperature is not as beneficial for humans as a warmer world temperature would be.


Reduced cloud cover did it not CO2

Steve Short [] posted this interesting analysis of the effect of albedo during the period 1983 -2001. It interesting that the conclusion of this article is that the warming during that period can be attributed to reduced albedo resulting from reduced cloud cover. Surprise that isn't it ? Completely natural

According to Pinker (2005), global surface solar irradiance increased by 0.16 W/m^2/year over the 18 year period 1983 – 2001 or 2.88 W/m^2 over the entire period. This was a period of claimed significant anthropogenic global warming. This change in surface solar irradiance over 1983 - 2001 is almost exactly 1.2% of the mean total surface solar irradiance of recent decades of 238.9 W/m^2 (K, T & F, 2009).

According to NASA, mean global cloud cover declined from about 0.677 (67.7%) in 1983 to about 0.644 (64.4%) in 2001 or a decline of 0.033 (3.3%). The 27 year mean global cloud cover 1983 – 2008 is about 0.664 (66.4%) (all NASA data)

The average Bond Albedo (A) of recent decades has been almost exactly 0.300, hence 1 – A = 0.700

It is possible to estimate the relationship between albedo and total cloud cover about the mean global cloud cover and it may be described by the simple relationship:

Albedo (A) = 0.250C + 0.134 where C = cloud cover. The 0.134 term presumably represents the surface SW reflection.

For example; A = 0.300 = 0.25 x 0.664 + 0.134

This means that in 1983; A = 0.25 x 0.677 + 0.134 = 0.303


in 2001; A = 0.25 x 0.644 + 0.134 = 0.295

Thus in 1983; 1 – A = 1 – 0.303 = 0.697

and in 2001; 1 – A = 1 – 0.295 = 0.705

Therefore, between 1983 and 2001, the known reduction in the Earth’s albedo A as measured by NASA would have increased solar irradiance by 200 x [(0.705 – 0.697)/(0.705 + 0.695)]% = 200 x (0.008/1.402)% = 1.1%

This estimate of 1.1% increase in solar irradiance from cloud cover reduction over the 18 year period 1983 – 2001 is very close to the 1.2% increase in solar irradiance measured by Pinker for the same period.

Within the precision of the available data and this exercise, it may therefore be concluded that it is highly likely that Pinker’s finding was due to an almost exactly functionally equivalent decrease in Earth’s Bond albedo over the same period, resulting from global cloud cover reduction. Hence surface warming over that period may be reasonably attributed to that effect.


Hansen pisses on cap 'n trade, backs nukes

Excerpt from a speech recently given in Australia by warming evangelist James Hansen of GISS. The speech should jar Warmist politicians. He's really pissing on them

Science has shown that preservation of stable climate and the remarkable life that our planet harbours require a rapid slowdown of fossil fuel emissions. Atmospheric carbon dioxide, now almost 390 parts per million, must be brought back to 350ppm or less. That is possible, with actions that make sense for other reasons.

But the actions require a change to business-as-usual. Change is opposed by those profiting from our fossil-fuel addiction. Change will happen only with courageous political leadership. Leaders must draw attention to the moral imperative. We cannot pretend that we do not understand the consequences for our children and grandchildren. We cannot leave them with a situation spiralling out of their control. We must set a new course.

Yet what course is proposed? Hokey cap-and-trade with offsets, aka an emissions trading scheme. Scheme is the right word, a scheme to continue business-as-usual behind a fig leaf. The Kyoto Protocol was a cap-and-trade approach. Global emissions shot up faster than ever after its adoption. It is impossible to cap all emissions as long as fossil fuels are the cheapest energy. There is zero chance India and China will accept a cap. And why should they? Their emissions, on a per capita basis, are 10 times less than those of Australia or the US.

Fossil fuels are not really the cheapest energy. They are cheap because they are subsidised, because they do not pay for damage they cause to human health via air and water pollution, nor their environmental damage and horrendous consequences for posterity.

An honest effective approach to energy and climate must place a steadily rising price on carbon emissions. It can only be effective if it is a simple flat fee on all carbon fuels, collected from fossil fuel companies on the first sale, at the mine, wellhead or port of entry.

The fee will cause energy costs to rise, for fossil fuels, not all energies. The public will allow this fee to rise to the levels needed only if the money collected is given to the public. They will need the money to adapt their lifestyles and reduce their carbon footprint. The money, all of it, should be given as a monthly "green cheque" and possibly in part as an income-tax reduction. Each legal adult resident would get an equal share, easily delivered electronically to bank accounts or debit cards, with half a share for children up to two children per family.

Sure, some people may waste their green cheque on booze or babes. Such people will soon be paying more in increased energy prices than they get in their green cheque. Others will make changes to keep their added energy cost low, coming out ahead.

There will be strong economic incentive for businesses to find products that help consumers reduce fossil fuel use. Every activity that uses energy will be affected. Agricultural products from nearby fields will be favoured, for example, as opposed to food flown in from half way around the world. Changes will happen as people compare the price tags.

The rising price on carbon will spur energy efficiency, renewable energy, nuclear power, all sources that produce little or no carbon dioxide. Bellyaching howls from coal moguls must be ignored. Let them invest their money in renewable energies and nuclear power.


The U.N. to investigate itself

The United Nations will today announce an independent review of errors made by its climate change advisory body in an attempt to restore its credibility. A team of the world’s leading scientists will investigate the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and ask why its supposedly rigorous procedures failed to detect at least three serious overstatements of the risk from global warming.

The review will be overseen by the InterAcademy Council, whose members are drawn from the world’s leading national science academies, including Britain’s [Warmist] Royal Society, the United States National Academy of Sciences and the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The review will be led by Robbert Dijkgraaf, co-chairman of the Interacademy Council and president of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has been asked to investigate the internal processes of the IPCC and will not consider the overarching question of whether it was right to claim that human activities were very likely to be causing global warming.

The review, which will be announced in New York by Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General, and Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC’s chairman, is expected to recommend stricter checking of sources and much more careful wording to reflect the uncertainties in many areas of climate science.

The IPCC’s most glaring error was a claim that all Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035. Most glaciologists believe it would take another 300 years for the glaciers to melt at the present rate. It also claimed that global warming could cut rain-fed North African crop production by up to 50 per cent by 2020. A senior IPCC contributor has since admitted that there is no evidence to support this claim. The Dutch Government has asked the IPCC to correct its claim that more than half the Netherlands is below sea level. The environment ministry said that only 26 per cent of the country was below sea level.

The allegations about climate scientists are believed to have contributed to a sharp rise in public scepticism about climate change. Last month an opinion poll found that the proportion of the population that believes climate change is an established fact and largely man-made has fallen from 41 per cent in November to 26 per cent.

The Met Office, which produces the global temperature record used by the IPCC in its reports, has proposed a separate review of its data after admitting that public confidence in its findings had been undermined. The Met Office relies on analysis by the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, which is under investigation over allegations that its director manipulated raw data and tried to hide it from critics.


Thomas Jefferson Noted Global Warming in 19th Century

Climate change crusaders insist that the earth is warming largely due to the emission of greenhouse gases by motor vehicles and factories.

But Thomas Jefferson wrote about global warming back in the early 19th century, before there were any emissions from cars, coal-fired power plants, and other developments of the Industrial Age.

In a letter to Philadelphia physician and professor Nathaniel Chapman dated Dec. 11, 1809, nine months after he left the presidency, Jefferson wrote: “The change which has taken place in our climate is one of those facts which all men of years are sensible of and yet none can prove by regular evidence. They can only appeal to each other’s general observation for the fact.

“I remember that when I was a small boy, say sixty years ago, snows were frequent and deep in every winter, to my knee very often, to my waist sometimes, and that they covered the earth long. And I remember while yet young to have heard from very old men that in their youth the winters had been still colder, with deeper and longer snows. In the year 1772, thirty-seven years ago, we had a snow two feet deep in the Champain parts of this state, and three feet in the counties next below the mountains . . .

“While I lived at Washington, I kept a Diary, and by recurring to that I observe that from the winter of 1802-03 to that of 1808-09 inclusive, the average fall of snow of the seven winters was only 14½ inches, and that the ground was covered but sixteen days in each winter on average of the whole. The maximum in any one winter during that period was 21 inches fall, and 34 days on the ground, the minimum was 4½ inches fall and two days on the ground . . .

“Williams in his history of Vermont has an essay on the change in the climate of Europe, Asia and Africa.”

It’s clear, then, that the earth was warming during Jefferson’s time. It’s also clear that the climate change could not be attributed to man’s activities.



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1 comment:

John A said...

re email sent to Benny Peiser
"He claims that the invention of farming 8,000 years ago caused global warming!"

What about the other four thousand years -
Global Warming Killed Species
A team of scientists has discovered that the drastic decline in Arctic musk ox populations that began roughly 12,000 years ago was due to a warming climate rather than to human hunting.

Hansen backs nuclear power? Sure... He just does not support building any more nuclear power plants.

But it is fun to see him shove a shiv in the back of his star pupil, All Gory. "Hokey cap-and-trade with offsets" indeed!