Monday, May 16, 2011

Former “alarmist” scientist says Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) based in false science

David Evans is a scientist. He has also worked in the heart of the AGW machine. He consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) from 1999 to 2005, and part-time 2008 to 2010, modeling Australia's carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products. He has six university degrees, including a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. The other day he said:
The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic.

And with that he begins a demolition of the theories, premises and methods by which the AGW scare has been foisted on the public.

The politics:
The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.

He makes clear he understands that CO2 is indeed a “greenhouse gas”, and makes the point that if all else was equal then yes, more CO2 in the air should and would mean a warmer planet. But that’s where the current “science” goes off the tracks.It is built on an assumption that is false.

The science:
But the issue is not whether carbon dioxide warms the planet, but how much.
Most scientists, on both sides, also agree on how much a given increase in the level of carbon dioxide raises the planet's temperature, if just the extra carbon dioxide is considered. These calculations come from laboratory experiments; the basic physics have been well known for a century.

The disagreement comes about what happens next.

The planet reacts to that extra carbon dioxide, which changes everything. Most critically, the extra warmth causes more water to evaporate from the oceans. But does the water hang around and increase the height of moist air in the atmosphere, or does it simply create more clouds and rain? Back in 1980, when the carbon dioxide theory started, no one knew. The alarmists guessed that it would increase the height of moist air around the planet, which would warm the planet even further, because the moist air is also a greenhouse gas.

But it didn’t increase the height of the moist air around the planet as subsequent studies have shown since that time. However, that theory or premise became the heart of the modeling that was done by the alarmist crowd.

The modeling:
This is the core idea of every official climate model: For each bit of warming due to carbon dioxide, they claim it ends up causing three bits of warming due to the extra moist air. The climate models amplify the carbon dioxide warming by a factor of three - so two-thirds of their projected warming is due to extra moist air (and other factors); only one-third is due to extra carbon dioxide.

That's the core of the issue. All the disagreements and misunderstandings spring from this. The alarmist case is based on this guess about moisture in the atmosphere, and there is simply no evidence for the amplification that is at the core of their alarmism.

What did they find when they tried to prove this theory?

Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, '80s and '90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.

This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s.

Evans is not the first to come to these conclusions. Earlier this year, in a post I highlighted, Richard Lindzen said the very same thing.
For warming since 1979, there is a further problem. The dominant role of cumulus convection in the tropics requires that temperature approximately follow what is called a moist adiabatic profile. This requires that warming in the tropical upper troposphere be 2-3 times greater than at the surface. Indeed, all models do show this, but the data doesn't and this means that something is wrong with the data. It is well known that above about 2 km altitude, the tropical temperatures are pretty homogeneous in the horizontal so that sampling is not a problem. Below two km (roughly the height of what is referred to as the trade wind inversion), there is much more horizontal variability, and, therefore, there is a profound sampling problem. Under the circumstances, it is reasonable to conclude that the problem resides in the surface data, and that the actual trend at the surface is about 60% too large. Even the claimed trend is larger than what models would have projected but for the inclusion of an arbitrary fudge factor due to aerosol cooling. The discrepancy was reported by Lindzen (2007) and by Douglass et al (2007). Inevitably in climate science, when data conflicts with models, a small coterie of scientists can be counted upon to modify the data.

Evans reaches the natural conclusion - the same conclusion Lindzen reached:
At this point, official "climate science" stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory - that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.

And why will it continue? Again, follow the money:
We are now at an extraordinary juncture. Official climate science, which is funded and directed entirely by government, promotes a theory that is based on a guess about moist air that is now a known falsehood. Governments gleefully accept their advice, because the only ways to curb emissions are to impose taxes and extend government control over all energy use. And to curb emissions on a world scale might even lead to world government - how exciting for the political class!

Indeed. How extraordinarily unexciting for the proletariat who will be the ones stuck with the bill if these governments ever succeed in finding a way to pass the taxes they hope to impose and extend even more government's control over energy.

While you're listening to the CEOs of American oil companies being grilled by Congress today, remember all of this. They're going to try to punish an industry that is vital to our economy and national security, and much of the desire to do that is based on this false "science" that has been ginned up by government itself as an excuse to control more of our energy sector, raise untold revenues for its use and to pick winners and losers. All based on something which is, according to Evans and other scientists, now demonstrably false.




Carbon-14 record for last 1,100 years (inverted scale). Solar activity events labeled. Source: NOTE: "BP" means Before the Present

A reader recently pointed out a fascinating temperature comparison-between 1700 AD and today. He marked two sections of the world's oldest temperature record-Central England Yearly Average Temperature 1660-2008: The first section showed our famous recent temperature surge from 1976-1998. He also marked a similar strong temperature surge from AD 1688-1738.

The killer in the comparison is that the temperature surge after 1688 was followed by a sudden plunge into one of the coldest periods in the entire Little Ice Age. The cold of 1739-40 was called The Great Frost, and it devastated Europe from Italy to Iceland.

The linkage? The Great Frost followed a period of very few sunspots-The Maunder Minimum (1645-1715). Today, we know that fewer sunspots predict colder temperatures, and the modern world has just undergone a similar dearth of sunspots, from 2007 to 2011.

During the Maunder period, Europe's glaciers were much larger than today; it was the Little Ice Age, after all. But the glaciers didn't advance during the sunspot dearth. The winters of the 1730s were actually fairly warm. But during and after the winter of 1739, glaciers advanced strongly through France and Germany, and north into Sweden, Norway and Iceland and didn't retreat for the next 50 years.

Ireland suffered the most severely. In the depths of the winter of 1739-40, winds and terrible cold intensified. Rivers, lakes, and waterfalls froze and fish died in the first few weeks of the Great Frost. Coal dealers found their coal piles and unloading docks frozen solid. Mill-wheels froze, so the millers and bakers could produce no bread.

Ireland's crucial potato crop-normally left in the ground until needed for food-froze underground. The tubers were ruined for food, and useless as seed for the following year. The following spring came drought, and the winds remained fierce. The winter wheat and barley sown the previous fall died in the fields. Sheep and cattle died in the pastures. The fall of 1740 saw a small harvest, but the dairy cattle had been so starved that few of them bore calves. Milk production plummeted as the cows' milk dried up.

That winter, blizzards ranged along the coast, and great chunks of ice sweeping down the River Liffey sank vessels in the harbor. Dublin wheat prices rose to all-time highs.

Meanwhile dysentery, smallpox, and typhus were ravaging a weakened population. Farm workers had seldom gone to town when they had food on their tables; now they wandered in seeking food or relief assistance-and died in great numbers.

The climate disaster finally ended in the summer of 1741. An estimated 400,000 people had died. Desperation gripped the people following both the Great Frost and a warmer bad-weather famine from 1726 to 1730. The harsh variability of the Little Ice Age was being felt full force. Thousands of Irish families began immigrating to America. The emigration of Ulster Presbyterians, for example, peaked between 1740 and 1760. Ministers took whole congregations to the Carolinas and Virginia, where they found like-minded people and cheap farmland.

Usually, there's about a ten-year lag between sunspot changes and their impact on earth's temperatures. The sunspots began predicting lower temperatures about 2000, for instance, and the cooling trend began eight years later in 2007. Now the sunspot minimum that just ended is predicting quite serious cold, perhaps about 2020.

Don't throw away your electric blankets-and make sure that greenhouse emissions limits don't steal the electricity to heat them.


Surprise! Heavy Snow Is Associated With Cold

One of the big global warming lies for 2011 is that the heavy snow of recent years is due to unusual warmth. In fact, it is exactly the opposite.

The animation below cycles between 2011 temperature anomalies, snowpack percentage of average, and a combination of the two. It is abundantly clear that excess snowpack is associated with cold weather, and snowpack deficiency is associated with warm weather.

Any honest person with half a brain already knew this though.


They really do want to send us back to the caves

Half of Renewable Energy is Wood, Charcoal, and Animal Dung

The IPCC recently released the Summary of a report about renewable energy. Both Pielke Jr. and Donna Laframboise have mentioned it, and once the final report comes out at the end of the month I'm sure we'll hear more about it. However, in looking over the report I was stunned to find out what the IPCC considers as renewable energy (RE).

This story at Scientific American covers it very well. I recommend reading it.

Here's the problem. The IPCC has different categories of renewable energy. They include solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, ocean, and biomass. Biomass is by far the largest category, it constitutes 79% of all renewable energy. Biomass is broken down into two groups: modern and traditional. Modern biomass is the smaller group at 38%. That means that the IPCC considers the largest single source of renewable energy in the world to be traditional biomass.

Why is this a problem? Look at their definition of traditional biomass:

"Traditional biomass is defined by the International Energy Agency (IEA) as biomass consumption in the residential sector in developing countries and refers to the often-unsustainable use of wood, charcoal, agricultural residues, and animal dung for cooking and heating. All other biomass use is defined as modern".

Traditional biomass means cooking on wood stoves, it means difficult wood collection (done mostly by women), it means smoke inhalation and deforestation. Basically, traditional biomass is another way of saying abject poverty. It means no access to energy at all. Calling traditional biomass renewable energy is more than a stretch.

It is bad enough that they are considering a lack of access to energy to actually be renewable energy, but what is even worse is that they consider it half of world's total amount of renewable energy!

I mentioned this to a colleague, and he told me it was even worse yet. Burning wood and charcoal creates black carbon. This aerosol is considered to have a warming impact on the atmosphere. Isn't one of the primary goals of renewable energy to combat climate change? After all, the report itself says (pg. 3):

"As well as having a large potential to mitigate climate change, RE can provide wider benefits. RE may, if implemented properly, contribute to social and economic development, energy access, asecure energy supply, and reducing negative impacts on the environment and health [9.2, 9.3]."

They claim that renewable energy can mitigate climate change and reduce negative impacts on the environment and health. However, their largest since source of renewable energy, traditional biomass, contributes to climate change by releasing black carbon, and has significantly negative impacts on both the environment, through deforestation, and on health, through smoke inhalation.

Including traditional biomass in a report on renewable energy cannot be defended. How can anyone now support renewable energy when it is defined as burning animal dung to heat your home or cook your food? Removing traditional biomass from the list of renewable energies may cut the UN's number in half, but leaving it in place renders the report useless. As the UN defines it currently, supporting renewable energy means supporting abject poverty.


Conservatives were the key in making Warmism unfashionable

Sad that scientists were not up to the job but good that somebody did it. The article below is written from a Warmist viewpoint but the facts are there in it

So Why Was it Such a Big Deal?

Remember Climate-Gate? Wherein a still-unknown hacker swiped a cache of emails from the server of one of the world's premier climate research facilities, revealing scientists to have not-so-great correspondence etiquette in the process? If not, don't sweat it: You're in good company. See, despite the gallons of proverbial ink spilled over the affair in climate, green, and hardline conservative circles, a forthcoming study reveals that three-quarters of the nation has no idea it ever occurred. But that doesn't mean it didn't have a seriously damaging effect on the American climate discourse.

In the course of investigating a recent piece for Slate on how climate skeptics can "convert" to believe in the science, I spoke with Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, the Director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication. He has a working paper on Climate-Gate pending publication, and it focuses on the impact the event had on American belief in climate change.

"That paper shows that Climate-Gate did have a significant impact on public opinion," he tells me. "We found that, first of all, 75% of the public didn't even know about it."

I had to ask him to repeat himself: Was that did, or didn't? After all, an event that only one in four Americans knows about is rarely considered hugely controversial on the national stae. It certainly wouldn't seem worthy of a '-Gate' suffix. Yet it appeared so ubiquitous: The cable news coverage was dreadful and never-ending, the climate skeptic politicians and pundits were opportunistically declaring global warming a hoax, and the trolls were never noisier on the comment boards.

And indeed, therein lies the impact:

"But of the 25% that did hear about it, about half, 12-13%, said that it caused them to disbelieve that climate change was happening, to distrust the scientists... that scientists were involved in a conspiracy, essentially. So it did have a significant impact," Leiserowitz says.

It appears that the biggest impact of Climate-Gate was essentially to turn doubters into disbelievers. Those whose political and ideological beliefs had already made them wary of climate change found their smoking gun in the hacked emails (even though in reality they were anything but). The noisiest core of climate skeptics grew, and Climate-Gate gave them a specific event to rally around and take to the blogosphere to decry. It was a political event more than a scientific one -- that much has been painfully obvious since the beginning.

As such, Leiserowitz notes that "the other important point about [Climate-Gate] is that it wasn't universally spread. That in other words, people who lost trust in the science and the scientists were very much concentrated among Republicans, conservatives, and in particular, people we've identified with very strong individualistic worldviews or values -- which is actually more powerful a predictor than being a conservative or Republican."

Again, this is unsurprising -- the people that were turned into full-blown "dismissive" climate skeptics, as Leiserowitz calls them (read more about the various kinds of climate skepticism here) were largely who you'd expect to: the Tea Party, the stereotypical Fox News aficionado, the right-wing radio listener.

Which is also how Climate-Gate managed to prove hugely influential for an event that only 25% of Americans were aware of: Like resistance to health care reform, or the stimulus spending package, 'Climate Gate' became a key plank of the Tea Party right's ideology. Thus, any conservative politician hoping to capitalize on the anger amongst those Republicans, libertarians, and 'individualists' had to convince them that Climate-Gate had closed the case on global warming.

And so, as of last year, those 26% of Americans (the number of 'nay-saying' climate skeptics at last count) who doubt climate change is real were having an out-sized influence on the policy debate -- even though about half [down to 48% at last count] Americans still recognize that warming is at least in part caused by man.


Britain as dotty as ever -- even under a Conservative government

But 15 years is a long time in politics -- so saying what they will do by 2027 means little

Cabinet ministers have agreed a far-reaching, legally binding "green deal" that will commit the UK to two decades of drastic cuts in carbon emissions. The package will require sweeping changes to domestic life, transport and business and will place Britain at the forefront of the global battle against climate change.

The deal was hammered out after tense arguments between ministers who had disagreed over whether the ambitious plans to switch to more green energy were affordable. The row had pitted the energy secretary, Chris Huhne, who strongly backed the plans, against the chancellor, George Osborne, and the business secretary, Vince Cable, who were concerned about the cost and potential impact on the economy.

However, after the intervention of David Cameron, Huhne is now expected to tell parliament that agreement has been struck to back the plans in full up to 2027. He will tell MPs that the government will accept the recommendations of the independent committee on climate change for a new carbon budget. The deal puts the UK ahead of any other state in terms of the legal commitments it is making in the battle to curb greenhouse gases.

With the Treasury and Cable's business department sceptical, green groups had feared that ministers would refuse to back the committee and were accusing them of reneging on Cameron's promise to lead the "greenest government ever". But with Clegg and the Liberal Democrats desperate to boast a success on one of their key policies, supporters of a deal won the day. A government source told the Observer: "This is a victory for the cause of enlightenment over the dark forces at the Treasury."

Another senior government figure said: "This country is now the world leader in cutting carbon emissions. We are the only nation with legally binding commitments past 2020."

This point was also stressed by David Kennedy, chief executive of the committee. "We have moved into uncharted territory and are going to be watched carefully by other countries. No one else has a target like this."

The new budget puts the government on target to meet a reduction by 2050 of 80% of carbon emissions compared with 1990 levels. The committee has said that to reach this carbon emissions should be cut by 60% by 2030.

Ministers believe that major companies involved in developing offshore wind technology - such as Siemens, Vestas and General Electric - will now be keener to invest in Britain, knowing it is committed to a huge expansion in renewable energy. It is also hoped that the commitment to renewable energy - the committee says 40% of the UK's power should come from wind, wave and tide sources by 2030 - will stimulate new industries.

These would include the development of tidal power plants, wave generators and carbon capture and storage technology - which would extract carbon dioxide from coal and oil plants and pump it into underground chambers. All three technologies, if developed in Britain, could be major currency earners.

The committee's report says the new carbon deal will require that heat pumps will have had to be installed in 2.6m homes by 2025. It also says that by the same date 31% of new cars, and 14% of those on the road overall, will be electric. Experts say a total of œ16bn of investment will be needed every year to meet the commitment. Some of this money will be raised through increases in electricity prices.

However, failure to act now and decarbonise electricity generation would mean the UK would have to pay even more to replace power plants in future. "If we have to pay more in future that will slow economic growth, so we need to act now," said Kennedy.

The decision to back the carbon budget comes a year after Cameron announced that his government would be the greenest on record, a claim that last week led the heads of 15 green campaign groups to write to the prime minister to tell him he was in danger of losing his way on environmental policy.

The letter said the coalition should promote a green economy with "urgency and resolve" if it was to honour its promise. The groups include Greenpeace, Friends of the Earth and the RSPB.

Tuesday's expected announcement is certain to be welcomed by green groups though they will fear further backtracking in years to come. Huhne recently announced plans to invite green lobby groups in to scrutinise policy in order to hold ministers to their promises. They have been impressed with parts of the government's programme, including progress on establishment of a green investment bank.



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