Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Arch Warmers Tacitly Acknowledge Any Human Effect on Climate is Lost in Noise

My thanks to Ned Nikolov, who has alerted me to a new paper by Ben Santer et al entitled "Identifying human influences on atmospheric temperature". The co-author list reads like a who’s who of the senior echelon of the IPCC warmers: Susan Solomon, Tom Wigley, Julie Arblaster and Peter Stott, to name a few among them.

So what do the climate Cluesos have to tell us this time? Have they now successfully identified a human influence on the climate system? The Fun thing about the title is that it is immediately contradicted by the abstract, in which we find this telling passage:

"We use simulation output from 20 climate models participating in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. This multimodel archive provides estimates of the signal pattern in response to combined anthropogenic and natural external forcing (the finger- print) and the noise of internally generated variability. Using these estimates, we calculate signal-to-noise (S/N) ratios to quantify the strength of the fingerprint in the observations relative to fingerprint strength in natural climate noise."

Watch the pea, very, very carefully.

First of all, notice the interesting new twist on the use of “finger-print“. Previously, this non-scientific term has been employed to refer to the non-appearing tropical tropospheric ‘hotspot’ as the ‘finger-print of anthropogenic global warming’. But now, apparently, it refers to “combined anthropogenic and natural external forcing”. So this term, ‘finger-print‘ implying as it does a unique and specifically human identity, now refers to a putative human influence and solar/cosmic influence lumped together. What kind of ‘fingerprint’ is that?

The main bone of contention in the climate debate is the question of whether the late 20th century warming was predominantly caused by the more active than average Sun, some longer term modes of internal variability, or by increasing human emission of carbon dioxide. Now the ‘Team’ is trying to conflate the solar influence with human influence and contrast these two entirely different factors with internal natural variability, which they call ‘noise’.

Do they think no-one will notice this less than adroit reframing of the climate question which now leaves the main issue wide open? Following this conflation of natural and human influence, will they really continue to tell us that they are still of the opinion that it is ‘very likely’ that human emission of carbon dioxide is responsible for more than half of the (gentle and beneficial) warming of the Earth’s atmosphere (and oceans) since around 1979? Speaking of the oceans, you’ll notice that they don’t speak of the oceans. The title and abstract refers only to the atmosphere. This is a tacit admission by omission – back radiation can’t heat oceans. But something did. That would be the Sun then. At the end of the abstract we get this:

"On average, the models analyzed underestimate the observed cooling of the lower stratosphere and overestimate the warming of the troposphere. Although the precise causes of such differences are unclear, model biases in lower stratospheric temperature trends are likely to be reduced by more realistic treatment of stratospheric ozone depletion and volcanic aerosol forcing."

Once again, we see that the Sun has been elbowed out of consideration, it’s all about volcanoes and atmospheric ‘greenhouse gases’. On the upside, there is now top-tier acknowledgement that the models have overestimated tropospheric warming.


Empty theory from NOAA

Comes up with equally empty conclusion:  "some species will be positively affected by climate change while other species will be negatively affected".  And grass is green and sky is blue

NOAA scientists continue to develop and improve the approaches used to understand the effect of climate change on marine fisheries along the U.S. east coast. Their latest study projects that one common coastal species found in the southeast U.S., gray snapper, will shift northwards in response to warming coastal waters.

In a study published online December 20 in the journal PLOS ONE, researchers from the Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) and the University of North Florida developed projections of gray snapper distribution under several climate change scenarios. Gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus) is an important fishery species along the southeast U.S. coast.

Associated with tropical reefs, mangroves and estuaries, gray snapper is found from Florida through the Gulf of Mexico and along the coast of Brazil. Juvenile gray snapper have been reported as far north as Massachusetts, but adults are rarely found north of Florida, leading researchers to look at estuarine habitats as a key piece of the puzzle.

"Temperature is a major factor shaping the distribution of marine species given its influence on biological processes," said Jon Hare, lead author of the new study and director of the NEFSC’s Narragansett Laboratory in R.I. "Many fish species are expected to shift poleward or northward as a result of climate change, but we don’t fully understand the mechanics of how temperature interacts with a species life history, especially differences between juvenile and adult stages."

Hare and NOAA colleague Mark Wuenschel, a fishery biologist at the Center’s Woods Hole Laboratory, worked with Matt Kimball of the University of North Florida to project the range limits of gray snapper, also known as mangrove snapper, using coupled thermal tolerance-climate change models. Kimball also works at the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve in Florida.

Gray snapper was chosen for this study given previous temperature and physiological studies by all three authors, providing a foundation upon which to build. Hare and colleagues believe their approach applies more broadly to other fishery species that use estuarine areas during their life history. Those include a large number of commercially and recreationally important species such as summer flounder, black sea bass, weakfish and pink shrimp.

Unlike earlier studies on climate change and its impact on species like Atlantic croaker, Hare and colleagues developed a model based on a specific hypothesis that is supported by laboratory experiments and field observations. Their new study is based on laboratory research that determined the lower thermal limit, the temperature at which a fish can no longer survive. This limit is expressed as cumulative degree days below 17°C (about 63°F). The team then equated these limits to estuarine water temperatures. Prior research has shown that estuarine temperatures are closely related to air temperatures, so the team then linked the thermal limits to air temperature. Projections of coastwide air temperature were then extracted from global climate models and used to project changes in the distribution of thermal limits for juvenile gray snapper.

The researchers made climate projections for winter water and temperatures for 12 estuaries from Biscayne Bay in south Florida to northern New Jersey. Data collected in previous studies from the Guana-Tolomato-Matanzas National Estuarine Research Reserve nearJacksonville, Florida, along with temperature data from the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserves in New Jersey, provided valuable background information.

The results indicate that gray snapper distribution will spread northward along the coast into the future. The magnitude of this spread is dependent on the magnitude of climate change: more CO2 emissions resulted in greater northward spread.

The uncertainty in the study’s projections was also examined by the researchers, who looked at multiple global climate models and the uncertainty in each model’s estimates of lower thermal limit. Surprisingly, biological uncertainty was the largest factor, supporting calls for more research to understand and characterize the biological effects of climate change on marine fisheries.

This latest study by Hare, Wuenschel, and Kimball joins a growing number of studies that predict climate change is going to affect marine fish distribution and abundance, creating challenges for scientists, managers, and fishers in the future.

"Further, this works supports the conclusion that along the U.S. east coast, some species will be positively affected by climate change while other species will be negatively affected." Hare said. "There will be winners and losers."

"In the past we have assumed that ecosystems were variable but not changing. Now we understand that they are both variable and changing," said Hare. "That complicates the big picture since each species and each ecosystem is different."

"The challenge facing scientists, managers, and fishers alike is identifying the potential effects of climate change and developing a response that will increase the long-term sustainability of resources," Hare said.


Rupert Murdoch goes to war with environmentalists on Twitter as he claims fossil fuels 'are making the world greener'

Rupert Murdoch has taken to Twitter to attack environmentalists claiming that rising levels of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels have been good for the planet.

The media mogul based his statements on an article which reported that 30 years of satellite images have shown that the Earth is actually getting greener.

Murdoch, a frequent and outspoken critic of renewable energy, tweeted today: 'World growing greener with increased carbon.

'Thirty years of satellite evidence. Forests growing faster and thicker.'

He then referenced an article by Matt Ridley in the Wall Street Journal on January 5.

Earlier in the day, the tycoon had posted: 'Why not switch from useless renewable energy investments to real job creating infrastructure projects. Many great possibilities waiting.'

The WSJ article contends that over 30 years, the world has become a greener place going against the arguments of environmentalists that our planet is at risk from deforestation harming our fragile ecosystem.

Ridley writes: 'The inescapable if unfashionable conclusion is that the human use of fossil fuels has been causing the greening of the planet...'

The conclusion is drawn from data collected since the Eighties by NASA scientist Compton Tucker who tracked global vegetation using satellite sensors.

The researcher discovered that forests were getting larger across the world - from the spruces of Canada to the Amazon rainforests.

The reason is given that if people burn fossil fuels then there is more carbon dioxide for plants to consume which in turn, makes them grow faster.


Trapped in an icy prison: 1,000 ships stranded in frozen ocean as China is gripped by extreme cold snap

Three decades is enough to show a trend, according to Warmists

Temperatures in China have plunged to their lowest in almost three decades, cold enough to freeze coastal waters and trap 1,000 ships in ice, official media said at the weekend.

Since late November the country has shivered at an average of minus 3.8 degrees Celsius, 1.3 degrees colder than the previous average, and the chilliest in 28 years, state news agency Xinhua said on Saturday, citing the China Meteorological Administration.

Bitter cold has even frozen the sea in Laizhou Bay on the coast of Shandong province in the east, stranding nearly 1,000 ships, the China Daily newspaper reported.

Zheng Dong, chief meteorologist at the Yantai Marine Environment Monitoring Center under the State Oceanic Administration, told the paper that the area under ice in Laizhou Bay was 291 square km this week.

Transport around the country has been severely disrupted.

Over 140 flights from the state capital airport in central Hunan province were delayed, while heavy snowfall forced the closure of some sections of the Beijing-Hong Kong-Macau Expressway, the China Daily said.

Temperatures in the northeast fell even further, reaching a 43-year low of minus 15.3 degrees Celsius, about 3.7 degrees below the previous recorded average.

One truck driver in southeastern Jiangxi province, caught in a 5 km (3.1 miles) queue caused by a pileup that happened after heavy snowfall, told China Daily the snow and extreme cold had caught him unawares.

'I didn't expect such a situation, so I've brought no warm coats or food. All I can do now is wait,' trucker Yao Xuefeng told the paper.


BOOK SUMMARY of Hot Talk, Cold Science by S. Fred Singer

According to proponents of the Global Climate Treaty, a consensus within the scientific community supports the view that human-caused global warming is occurring and that it threatens human health and well-being. Nothing could be further from the truth. Far from viewing the existence of global warming as “settled,” most atmospheric scientists and climate specialists hold that the global warming issue should be considered “unfinished business” requiring much further research.

In HOT TALK, COLD SCIENCE: Global Warming’s Unfinished Debate, astrophysicist S. Fred Singer probes the literature on climate change and lays out the scientific case against the likelihood of an imminent, catastrophic global warming. Theoretical computer models to the contrary, man-made global warming has not been documented. But even if it were to occur, the evidence suggests that it would largely be benign and may even improve human well-being, Singer argues.

Rather than embark on economically destructive policies to solve a problem that to the best of our knowledge does not exist, Singer urges policymakers to adopt a “no regrets” policy of continued research and unimpeded economic growth. We would then have more scientific knowledge, technology, and economic resources with which to confront climate warming, if we ever discover that it is occurring and poses a real threat. But prematurely mandating severe reductions of greenhouse gas emissions would make us—and developing countries, especially—poorer and less able to cope with any future problems.

No Scientific Consensus of Warming

That there is no scientific consensus of a global-warming threat is indicated by surveys of active scientists. A November 1991 Gallup poll of 400 members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical Union found that only 19 percent of those polled believed that human-induced global warming has occurred.

That same year, Greenpeace International surveyed 400 scientists who had worked on the 1990 report of the influential U.N. Intergovernment Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) or had published related articles. Asked whether current policies might instigate a runaway greenhouse effect, only 13 percent of the 113 respondents said it was “probable” and 32 percent “possible.” But 47 percent said “probably not”—far from a consensus.

In recent years, research on global climate change has led even more scientists to doubt that global warming is upon us or that it would soon bring disaster (Science, May 16, 1997). Yet these doubts are characteristically downplayed in IPCC reports. While the body of the IPCC’s 800-page, 1996 report, The Science of Climate Change, mentioned some doubts (albeit cryptically), the report’s much-publicized, politically approved Summary for Policymakers did not. This gave the false impression that all 2000-plus scientists who contributed to (or had their work cited in) the report alsosupported the view that man-made global warming was occurring or posed a credible threat. The IPCC report even indicated that the scientists who reviewed and commented on earlier drafts endorsed the report—whether their comments on the drafts were positive or negative.

Man-Made Global Warming Not in Evidence

The announced purpose of the Global Climate Treaty is to avoid “dangerous interference with the climate system.” However, this goal is entirely arbitrary because we have no scientific guidance for determining what constitutes a “dangerous interference.” Nor do we have evidence that human activity has had much effect on world climate.

While it is true that global temperatures have risen about 0.5 degree Celsius in the last century, most of this warming occurred before 1940, while most of the human-caused CO2 emissions occurred after 1940. Further, we simply do not know whether climate variability depends on carbon dioxide concentrations. Scientists are only now beginning to study the role of other potential factors in global climate change, such as the interaction between the atmosphere and oceans, variations in solar radiation, and the cooling effects of volcanic emissions and sulfate aerosols.

By and large, General Circulation Models (GCMs) have not yet considered these factors, which may explain why computer models cannot account for observed temperatures. Many models indicate that global warming has arrived and will intensify unless we reduce greenhouse gas emissions like CO2. However, weather satellite and balloon-borne radiosonde data indicate that global temperatures have fallen slightly since 1980. (But neither the weather satellite data nor the discrepancy between them and the GCMs are mentioned in the IPCC Policymakers’ Summary.)

While surface temperatures show slight increases—notably smaller than those predicted by the models—this appears to be due to the urban heat island (UHI) effect, stemming from population increases near weather stations. After correcting for the UHI effect, the years around 1940 emerge as the warmest years of the century in both the U.S. and Europe.

The gap between the satellite observations and existing theory is large enough to cast serious doubt on all computer-model predictions of future warming. Whatever the cause of the gap, we cannot rely on GCM forecasts of future warming. (GCMs are not even consistent with each other; their temperature forecasts vary by some 300 percent.) Until GCMs become validated by actual climate observations, they should not be used as the basis for policy.

Would Global Warming Be a Threat?

Given the incessant talk about the purported catastrophes a global warming might cause—severe storms, coastal flooding, increases in mosquito-carried diseases—it sounds strange to hear about benefits from a global warming. Nevertheless, the scientific literature supports the view that increases in CO2 concentration and global temperatures, were they to materialize, might actually improve human well-being. Some benefits include a CO2-enriched biosphere more conducive to plant growth, longer frost-free growing seasons, greater water efficiency for plants, and more available farmland at higher latitudes.

A reduction in severe storms would be another likely benefit if global warming were to occur. Since a global warming would probably mostly warm the latitudes farther north and south, the temperature gradient between the equator and the poles would fall, thereby reducing the severity of storms. (Contrary to anecdotal reports, theory and observations indicate that severe storms, both tropical and extratropical, have not increased in the past 50 years. In fact, North Atlantic hurricanes have noticeably declined in frequency and in intensity.)

Rising sea levels, another alleged consequence of a global warming, may also be a phantom problem. It seems likely that a global warming would lower, rather than raise sea levels, because more evaporation from the oceans would increase precipitation and thereby thicken the ice caps of Greenland and Antarctica. This possibility is supported by an observed inverse correlation between the rate of rise of the sea level and tropical sea surface temperature.

Ocean Fertilization and Economic Resilience

If increases in carbon dioxide concentrations do become a problem, a policy of ocean fertilization—to stimulate the growth of phytoplankton and speed up the natural absorption of CO2 into the ocean, as recently documented in field testing—seems more prudent (and cheaper) than energy rationing. Ocean fertilization would also likely bring an important side benefit: vast ocean deserts could be turned into thriving fisheries. Developing countries in particular would benefit from this less expensive policy by investing the saved wealth in strengthening the resilience of their economies, safeguarding against naturally occurring harmful climate events, and improving their health care systems.


Warmists have no facts so are reduced to collating opinions

Almost 200 million people could be forced to leave their homes by the end of the century because of sea level rises, researchers have warned.  Sea level rises are now feared to be significantly worse than forecast by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) just six years ago.  Melting of the polar ice sheets could be so severe that seas could rise a meter by 2100, a level that would be considered ‘catastrophic’.

The latest findings were made by a specially-selected team of 26 leading experts who concluded the risks were ‘potentially severe’ after being asked to assess what sea level rises can be expected.

It is most likely, they found, that there will be an increase of 29cm this century but they also concluded there is a one in 20 chance that it could exceed 84cm with a ‘conceivable risk’ it will be greater than a meter.

Projections from each of the experts were combined using the mathematical technique expert elicitation (EE) to provide a pooled estimate.

Flooding and the threat of inundation is likely, concluded the team, to force up to 187 million people to leave their homes.

The forecasts, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, are higher than the projections published by the IPCC in 2007 when it was estimated that sea levels would rise by as little as 18cm and as much as 59cm.

Professor Jonathan Bamber, of the University of Bristol, said: ‘This is the first study of its kind on ice sheet melting to use a formalized mathematical pooling of experts' opinions.




Preserving the graphics:  Graphics hotlinked to this site sometimes have only a short life and if I host graphics with blogspot, the graphics sometimes get shrunk down to illegibility.  From January 2011 on, therefore, I have posted a monthly copy of everything on this blog to a separate site where I can host text and graphics together -- which should make the graphics available even if they are no longer coming up on this site.  See  here and here


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