Friday, July 09, 2010

Feedbacks, feedbacks, feedbacks: A new hole in the IPCC climate models

The whole Warmist scare is based on feedbacks that supposedly will AMPLIFY the trivial warming we saw in the 20th century. The feedbacks proposed are little better than guesswork and are in any case just a cherrypick of possible feedbacks. The research below looks at an unmentioned feedback: A vegetation-climate feedback. And guess what? Including that feedback REDUCES the predicted temperature rise

Discussing: Jeong, S.-J., Ho, C.-H., Kim, K.-Y., Kim, J., Jeong, J.-H. and Park, T.-W. 2010. Potential impact of vegetation feedback on European heat waves in a 2 x CO2 climate. Climatic Change 99: 625-635.


The authors state that modeling studies in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) suggest that future heat waves over Europe will be more severe, longer lasting and more frequent than those of the recent past, due largely to an intensification of quasi-stationary anticyclone anomalies accompanying future warming, citing in support of this statement the publications of Meehl and Tebaldi (2004) and Della-Marta et al. (2007).

What was done

Jeong et al., as they describe it, "investigate the impact of vegetation-climate feedback on the changes in temperature and the frequency and duration of heat waves in Europe under the condition of doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration in a series of global climate model experiments," where land surface processes are calculated by the Community Land Model (version 3) described by Oleson et al. (2004), which includes a modified version of the Lund-Potsdam-Jena scheme for computing vegetation establishment and phenology for specified climate variables.

What was learned

The six scientists say their calculations indicate that "the projected warming of 4°C over most of Europe with static vegetation has been reduced by 1°C as the dynamic vegetation feedback effects are included," adding that "examination of the simulated surface energy fluxes suggests that additional greening in the presence of vegetation feedback effects enhances evapotranspiration and precipitation, thereby limiting the warming, particularly in the daily maximum temperature." In addition, they state that "the greening also tends to reduce the frequency and duration of heat waves."

What it means

Although Jeong et al.'s findings by no means constitute the final word on the subject of the ultimate climatic consequences of a doubling of the air's CO2 content, they indicate just how easily the incorporation of a new suite of knowledge, in even the best climate models of the day, can dramatically alter what the IPCC and other climate-alarmist organizations and individuals purport to be reality. The world of nature is so extremely complex that it is the height of arrogance -- or depth of ignorance -- to believe that the world's climate modelers are anywhere near being able to mathematically represent all that needs to be mathematically represented in a model of sufficient complexity to faithfully reproduce what actually happens in the real world of nature, and over the many orders of magnitude that they are reluctant to acknowledge are absolutely essential to obtain the answers we all seek, which are, of course, the correct answers, which are obviously still a long ways off.


‘Runaway climate change’ ‘unrealistic’, say scientists

Another disappointing feedback. The more we learn about them, the more pesky these feedbacks become

A new study is set to rock the boat again by calling into question one of the more frightening global warming scenarios: 'runaway climate change'. Under this scenario, rising temperatures speed up processes that catastrophically increase the rate of global warming – a positive feedback loop.

One of these processes is an increase in the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) production by plants and microorganisms in the soil caused by an increase in temperature. As CO2 is a greenhouse gas, it has been suggested this will further increase temperatures, leading to a further increase in CO2 production until the Earth is too hot for human life.

Using Fluxnet, a global network of more than 250 'flux towers' to sample CO2 concentrations, a team of researchers from the Max Planck Institute has found that, actually, temperature has a much smaller effect on CO2 release than previous studies claimed.

The researchers, led by Miguel Mahecha, found that the rate at which plants and microorganisms produce CO2 in ecosystems from tropical rainforests to savannah does not even double when the temperature increases by 10°C from one week to the next.

His colleague Markus Reichstein says: "Particularly alarmist scenarios for the feedback between global warming and ecosystem respiration (CO2 production) thus prove to be unrealistic."

Climate change sceptics might say the new study is yet another nail in the coffin of the IPCC report, which says: "Anthropogenic warming could lead to some effects that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the climate change."

But mainstream scientists will just be pleased that Fluxnet has given them real-world measurements upon which to base their computer models.


Dr Martin Hertzberg in Explosive Attack on Global Warming Theory

For two decades multi-talented former meteorologist and explosives and fire expert, Martin Hertzberg Ph.D has been a forthright critic of what he believes are "propagandists” who have cherry-picked climate data supportive of the views of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and certain international governments. His fiery condemnation of the theory has become popularised in Internet science blogs such as Climate Realists that have been quick to pounce on the growing controversy since the Climategate scandal.

Blasted for his views by environmentalists, the doctor of Physical Chemistry remains impervious; continuing to disparage those who support the IPCC. He fires back at alarmist claims about the possible future effects of increased greenhouse gases (GHG) in the atmosphere. Martin is convinced there is no such ‘back radiation effect’mechanism that may cause catastrophic runaway global warming; while the term, 'greenhouse gas' he says, also misleading.

Propaganda and Myths in the Climate Debate

The retired Navy meteorologist in a Canada Free Press article, further disputes the greenhouse gas theory and slates what he calls “global warming alarmists” who create “hysteria based on half-baked computer models that have never been verified and that are totally our of touch with reality."

Keenly aware of ad hominems, Hertzberg mocks the assertion that climate skeptics are right-wing advocates for the oil lobby by declaring, “I am a lifelong liberal Democrat, but I am also a scientist.”

In response to allegations that he a tool of the coal barons, Hertzberg responded that such a claim “would come as a great surprise to them, since I spent most of my career advocating for more stringent safety regulations in their mines.”

Key Issues Regard ‘Fudged Modeling’

Hertzberg is aligned with the so-called 'hard core' of greenhouse gas theory skepticism. Unlike noted 'soft' skeptics such as Richard Lindzen who do not concern themselves with debunking the GHG theory, Hertzberg attacks the very foundation of the orthodoxy by seeking to debunk the reliance on the application of the Stefan-Boltzman equations, which although otherwise valid for flat black body calculations, are over simplified for Earth’s complex three-dimensional climate.

Like a growing number of hardcore skeptics he insists our climate should be represented by 3-D and not the crude two-dimensional models beloved of the IPCC.

The former navy man says, “Even for those portions of Earth that are not covered with clouds, the assumption that the ocean surface, land surfaces, or ice and snow cover would all have blackbody emissivities of unity, is unreasonable.”

His studies have led him to the conclusion that the so-called back radiation effect of greenhouse gas theory is bogus. He writes, “It is implausible to expect that small changes in the concentration of any minor atmospheric constituent such as carbon dioxide, can significantly influence that radiative balance.”

Increased Awareness since ‘Café Scientifique’ Talk

In recent times Hertzberg has gone further on the offensive with forthright and outspoken articles such as in Summit Daily News and with his ‘Café Scientifique’ presentation at Frisco, Colorado (April 27, 2010). A series of seven videos on Youtube shows the “Café Scientifique” talk in full, which has helped to garner further interest in his work.

The former Stanford scientist expounds many compelling points including those made in his paper ‘Earths’ Radiative Equilibrium in the Solar Irradiance,’ where he observed the small fluctuations in 20th Century temperatures were of no more concern that “the larger, longer-term variations of Glacial Coolings and Interglacial Warmings.” In other words, of natural and uncontrollable origin.

A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon?

In May 2010 Hertzberg joined forces with two other scientists dismissive of GHG theory, Alan Siddons and Hans Schreuder to produce a seminal paper, “ A Greenhouse Effect on the Moon?” The ground-breaking joint paper makes strident claims that the calculations inputted to orthodox climate computer models are so fudged that if they were applied to Earth's moon they would also prove a greenhouse gas effect there-which is nonsense.

Like other skeptics the three strongly believe the Sun is our key climate driver and natural cycles dictate Earth's ever-changing climate.

Hertzberg attributes his healthy cynicism to three years in the U.S. Navy. Now retired at Copper Mountain, Colorado, this erudite exponent of skepticism towards man-made global warming has productively been engaged in raising greater public awareness of this most contentious of scientific issues.


Will global warming cause species extinctions?

Now that the VERY low temperatures of the Antarctic make large sea level rises an impossibility under even the most extreme model projections, Warmists have to find other bad effects of Warming. And extinctions of various sorts are sometimes proposed as one terrible result that we must avoid. 'And that's not to mention the 30% of species at risk of extinction.' says one Greenie site

Julian Simon had the measure of this particular sleight of hand 26 years ago (3). Take the upper end of a speculative range of values, and report it as if it were a fact. Not only that, decouple it further to suggest that the '30%' applies to all species, and not merely to a subset deemed at particular risk.

The ‘30%’ figure was promoted in the IPCC's 2007 Summary Report for Policy Makers, where it was the upper end of a range. For a summary of some of their scare stories from 2007, see (4), which has this:

'The report says that around 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the plant and animal species assessed are likely to be at increased risk of extinction if global average temperatures exceed 1.5 degree C to 2.5 degree C over late 20th century levels.'

So not only is this a speculation about the impact on a subset of species, it presumes a further speculation about temperatures. Both speculations are so flimsy that the whole phrase is worthless except as a piece of propaganda designed for the mass media.

The low levels of scientific and statistical competence in the mass media allow such things to pass unchallenged in the news, and of course the juxtaposition with talk of man-made CO2 invites the public to more misleading conclusions.

First of all, species have always died out, and one might argue pedantically that 100% are ‘at risk of extinction’ – it is part and parcel of evolution, and of the vulnerability of any lifeform. Why would this be worse under warming, given that conditions would be generally more favourable for life? Especially if ambient CO2 levels increase, since more CO2 would provide an appreciable surge in plant growth wherever there was no other constraint such as insufficient mineral availability.

Both the species estimates and the temperature projections are based on computer models. Computer models of these poorly understood and complex systems are merely vehicles for exploring conjectures in limited ways. In particular, they provide neither evidence nor data, merely speculations. Apparently the species extinction models referred to by the IPCC took no account of acclimatisation nor of the more favourable growing environment produced by increased ambient CO2 levels.

This is eerily reminiscent of the absurd doom-laden talk in the 1970s by the notorious scaremongerer Paul Ehrlich, who also took no account of human ingenuity and of the benefits of certain trends such as increased availability of energy supplies and other resources. His mental model of the world seems to view it as some kind of petri-dish, lacking in intelligent life.

As for the models used to support the 2007 assertions on extinctions, here is a recent expert opinion on them:

'The two researchers - Kathy Willis from the UK's Long-Term Ecology Laboratory of Oxford University's Centre for the Environment, and Shonil Bhagwat from Norway's University of Bergen - raise a warning flag about the older models, stating "their coarse spatial scales fail to capture topography or 'microclimatic buffering' and they often do not consider the full acclimation capacity of plants and animals," citing the analysis of Botkin et al. (2007) in this regard.'

This article concludes:

‘Clearly, the panic-evoking extinction-predicting paradigms of the past are rapidly giving way to the realization they bear little resemblance to reality. Earth's plant and animal species are not slip-sliding away - even slowly - into the netherworld of extinction that is preached from the pulpit of climate alarmism as being caused by CO2-induced global warming.’

The CO2 Science site (6) has a lot more useful stuff on species extinctions, as does the SPPI site (7).

The casual throwing around of scary but phoney numbers, and their replication through mass media in support of their cause, is all part of the modus operandi of the IPCC. Their touting of the '40%' fantasy fact about the Amazon being but one of many, and one which by itself could account for a great many species extinctions. Here it is refuted (8):

'The IPCC is under scrutiny for various data inaccuracies, including its claim -- based on a flawed World Wildlife Fund study -- that up to 40% of the Amazonian forests could react drastically and be replaced by savannas from even a slight reduction in rainfall. "Our results certainly do not indicate such extreme sensitivity to reductions in rainfall," said Sangram Ganguly, an author on the new study, from the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute affiliated with NASA Ames Research Center in California.
"The way that the WWF report calculated this 40% was totally wrong, while [the new] calculations are by far more reliable and correct," said Dr. Jose Marengo, a Brazilian National Institute for Space Research climate scientist and member of the IPCC.'

So, what are we to make of the '30%'? My inclination is to read it bearing in mind the above reservations about models, and taking due note of this statement (9):

'The attitude toward scientific fact reporting by environmental scientists may be best summarized by Stanford biology professor, Stephen Schneider’s statement, “We need to get loads of media coverage, so we have to offer up scary scenarios and make dramatic statements. Each of us has to decide on the right balance between effectiveness and honesty”.'

Along with some examples where honesty seemed to count for very little: 'In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish.'

—Paul Ehrlich, (Earth Day 1970) (10)

'Dr. S. Dillon Ripley, secretary of the Smithsonian Institute, believes that in 25 years, somewhere between 75 and 80 percent of all the species of living animals will be extinct.'
• Sen. Gaylord Nelson (Earth Day 1970) (11)

And perhaps, if you think the '30%' still has a shred of credibility, consider this 'data' pushed by the WWF in 1996, and roundly rebutted here (12):

'How does WWF arrive at the number 5O,OOO species extinctions per year? It can be no coincidence that this same number is the upper limit suggested by Edward O. Wilson of Harvard University. Wilson states that while only l.5 million species have been described, it is reasonable to believe that there are over 3O times that many, i.e. 5O million. Then a computer model, based on island biogeography theory, is used to generate the number 5O,OOO. There is no list of Latin names for these species. It is, in fact, a preposterous combination of extrapolation and pulling numbers from the air.'

This is all part of a long and ignoble tradition amongst political campaigners who wrap themselves in the sheep's clothing of concern for the environment (13):

'In the 45 years since the publication of Silent Spring, it is very obvious that many environmental scientists choose effectiveness in generating media attention over honesty. Today the ability to obtain government funding for environmental studies clouds their judgment even more.'

I referred to Julian Simon at the start of this post, and I expect to do so again in this series. But for now, I'll conclude with the title of his 1984 article (3), followed by an extract from it:

'Truth Almost Extinct in Tales of Imperiled Species.'

'... this pure conjecture about upper limit of present species extinction is increased and used by Mr. Myers and WWF scientist Thomas Lovejoy as the basis for the "projections" quoted in the fundraising letter and elsewhere. Mr. Lovejoy--by converting what was an estimated upper limit into a present best-estimate--says that government inaction is "likely to lead" to the extinction of between 14 and 20 percent of all species before the year 2000. This comes to about 40,000 species lost per year, or about one million from 1980 to 2000. In brief, this extinction rate is nothing but pure guesswork. The forecast is a thousand times greater than the present--yet it has been published in newspapers and understood as a scientific statement.'

Simon spotted their tricks back then. His insight was not enough to stop them at their game, neither back then nor now. We are faced with campaigners less concerned about the truth, than about the impact of their statements in the media, and upon their sources of funding.

SOURCE (See the original for references)

Our "feathered friends" are going to be OK

We hear over and over that climate change is now so rapid that ecosystems all over the world are in peril as they attempt to cope with changes to the environment. This view of “delicate” ecosystems is at odds with the reality of the long climate history of the Earth. The climate has warmed in the past, cooled in the past, and many of these changes were quite rapid. Delicate ecosystems would have disappeared long ago and the most robust systems would have survived.

Birds are particular well-suited to move as conditions change. Somewhere deep in their DNA is a memory of changes in the past and how to cope with those changes. Four articles have appeared recently reminding us that birds are fully capable of responding to change in climate.

Europeans have been observing bird behavior for centuries, and in the Volga-Kama region of the Tatarstan Republic of Russia, observations go back to 1811 AD. The Tatarstan skylarks migrate south for the winter and their return is a traditional harbinger of spring in Northern, Central, and Eastern Europe. A team of scientists from Tatarstan Republic and the United Kingdom examined the long record of return dates of the skylark and noticed that they have been arriving earlier and earlier over the past three decades (11 days earlier since the late 1970s). Askeyev et al. showed that the trend in bird behavior occurred when the March air temperatures in the region have increased by 3.7ºC. The climate changes, the birds respond. C’est la vie. We note that the birds don’t appear to be victims of changes in temperature – they’ve appropriately adapted their behavior to fit ever-changing conditions.

A similar story can be found in a recent article in the Journal of Ornithology in which attention was placed on climate change and the Great Reed Warbler in Poland. Dyrcz and Halupka collected breeding data on the birds over a study period extending from 1970 to 2007; the birds were studied near fish ponds in southwestern Poland that are part of the “Stawy Milickie” nature reserve. They noted that over the study period, the May to July (the months of egg laying) temperatures in the area had increased by 2.2ºC. As the temperatures warmed, the birds moved up egg laying by nearly two weeks. They note that “We did not detect any effect of ambient temperature on clutch size, length of laying period, nest losses and production of fledglings per nest.” They conclude “In summary, it seems that so far the Great Reed Warbler has adapted well to climate change by shifting the timing of breeding, but not changing other parameters of breeding biology. The studied population does not benefit from climate warming (as was found in Bavaria), but apparently does not suffer. Hence, the results of this study do not confirm the prediction…that long-distance migrants would suffer due to climate change.”

A similar study was carried out in eastern Poland dealing with four different varieties of sedentary birds, which because they do not migrate, they might be more vulnerable to changes in climate. Wesołowski and Cholewa studied the birds within Poland’s Bialowieza National Park (BNP) which provides nearly pristine conditions in terms of little anthropogenic alterations. They collected data on the various birds over the period 1975 to 2007, and they indeed found a significant warming during the spring of over 1ºC. The authors caution that “However, it must be stressed that the climate in the Bialowieza region seems to be fluctuating without a clear warming trend when investigated over a longer time period. Two warmer than average periods were discernible within a 215 year series (1780–1995), namely years 1820–1870 and the current time period from 1970 onwards.” They too found that the birds breed earlier as spring temperatures warm, and they state “As all the bird species studied in BNP were phonologically plastic and strongly responded to rising spring temperatures by breeding earlier, they were behaviourally and physiologically equipped to adjust phenotypically and are probably able to adjust to much stronger climate warming than observed at present.” Once again, the birds are found to be well-equipped to handle changes in climate.

A fourth recent study on birds and climate changed was conducted by three scientists from New York and their results appeared in Global Change Biology. Zuckerberg et al. state that “We used the New York State Breeding Bird Atlas, a statewide survey of 5332 25 km2 blocks surveyed in 1980–1985 and 2000–2005, to test several predictions that the birds of New York State are responding to climate change.” They noted that the New York area warmed over 1ºC between the two survey periods and accordingly, they predicted that the birds would have moved poleward and to higher elevations. The three scientists report “As expected, we found all bird species (n = 129) included in this analysis showed an average northward range shift in their mean latitude of 3.58 km.” However, they found “Counter to our predictions, and the results from other studies and models, we did not find a general pattern of species moving to higher elevations.”

All of these studies remind us that the birds have been around a very long time, they have experience massive changes in climate over the eons of their existence, they have learned how to adapt to warmer and colder conditions - they are not going to sit idly by and become victims of the global warming.


Another brain-dead Greenie idea from Australia's Leftist government. Now it seems that they aim to ban big fridges and other appliances

Got a big family and need a big fridge? No problems! Just buy two small ones. It will hit your pocket and will do nothing for the environment but it will keep the Green/Left happy!

JULIA Gillard will try to put her tarnished asylum seeker plan behind her by nailing down her final election plank - a new climate change policy. Ms Gillard, who failed to get the backing of East Timor's Parliament to build an asylum seeker detention centre in the impoverished country, will take her climate plan to Cabinet within days.

Key measures are being finalised, including plans for a national "energy savings initiative". The mandatory scheme will replace a patchwork of existing state-based schemes by about 2012. However, the policy could be bad news for the family hip pockets, with tighter restrictions expected on energy-sapping appliances such as clothes dryers and refrigerators, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Australia allows a number of appliances that are banned from the more greenhouse-conscious places such as Europe and Japan.

Power companies will go to the homes of customers to give energy efficiency advice, with Ms Gillard pledging to reduce "our carbon footprint as a country" by starting with co-operation between households and energy companies.

The plan is designed to provide a so-called "step-change" in national energy usage as a key aspect of the Government's international commitment to greenhouse gas reductions, which was signed at Copenhagen. Corporations are also likely to receive financial support to "retro-fit" old buildings with state-of-the-art technology.

Ms Gillard will want to refresh Labor's stance on the environment, especially in light of three damning reports into the Government's $275 million Green Loans scheme, and her predecessor, Kevin Rudd's decision to push back an emissions trading scheme to at least 2012.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here


No comments: