Viscount Ridley: Earth To Met Office: Check Your Climate Facts
The latest science suggests that our policy on global warming is hopelessly misguided
There is little doubt that the damage being done by climate-change policies currently exceeds the damage being done by climate change, and will for several decades yet. Hunger, rainforest destruction, excess cold-weather deaths and reduced economic growth are all exacerbated by the rush to biomass and wind. These dwarf any possible effects of worse weather, for which there is still no actual evidence anyway: recent droughts, floods and storms are within historic variability.
The harm done by policy falls disproportionately on the poor. Climate worriers claim that at some point this will reverse and the disease will become worse than the cure. An acceleration in temperature rise, they say, is overdue. The snag is, the best science now says otherwise. Whereas the politicians, activists and businessmen who make the most noise about — and money from — this issue are sticking to their guns, key scientists are backing away from predictions of rapid warming.
Yesterday saw the publication of a paper in a prestigious journal,Nature Geoscience, from a high-profile international team led by Oxford scientists. The contributors include 14 lead authors of the forthcoming Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientific report; two are lead authors of the crucial chapter 10: professors Myles Allen and Gabriele Hegerl.
So this study is about as authoritative as you can get. It uses the most robust method, of analysing the Earth’s heat budget over the past hundred years or so, to estimate a “transient climate response” — the amount of warming that, with rising emissions, the world is likely to experience by the time carbon dioxide levels have doubled since pre-industrial times.
The most likely estimate is 1.3C. Even if we reach doubled carbon dioxide in just 50 years, we can expect the world to be about two-thirds of a degree warmer than it is now, maybe a bit more if other greenhouse gases increase too. That is to say, up until my teenage children reach retirement age, they will have experienced further warming at about the same rate as I have experienced since I was at school.
At this rate, it will be the last decades of this century before global warming does net harm. As the economist Bjørn Lomborg recently summarised the economic consensus: “Economic models show that the overall impact of a moderate warming (1-2C) will be beneficial [so] global warming is a net benefit now and will likely stay so till about 2070.”
Now contrast the new result with the Met Office’s flagship climate model, the one that ministers and their advisers place most faith in. Called HadGEM2-ES, it expects a transient climate response of 2.5C, or almost double the best estimate that the Oxford team has just published. Indeed, the latter’s study concludes that it is more than 95 per cent certain that the response is below 2C, considerably short of the Met Office model’s estimate.
Why trust the new results rather than the Met Office model? The new study not only uses the most robust method, but joins several other observationally based studies from the past year that also find lower climate sensitivity than complex climate models exhibit.
Notice that this new understanding is consistent with what we have actually experienced: about 0.1C per decade over the past 50 years. The most remarkable thing about the recent milestone of 0.04 per cent carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (400 parts per million) is that it comes after 15 years of no net warming at all.
The new paper also fits the known physics of the greenhouse effect, which predicts a warming of 1.1C for a doubling of carbon dioxide. Only unverified assumptions by modellers about the added effects of water vapour and clouds have allowed politicians and activists to claim that a much higher number fits the laws of physics. Only now-disproven claims about how much the sulphur pollution in the air was masking the warming enabled them to reconcile their claims with the actual data.
It is true that the “transient climate response” is not the end of the story and that the gradual warming of the oceans means that there would be more warming in the pipeline even if we stopped increasing carbon dioxide levels after doubling them. But given the advance of nuclear and solar technology, there is now a good chance we will have decarbonised the economy before any net harm has been done.
In an insightful new book, The Age of Global Warming, Rupert Darwall makes the point that “in believing scientists and politicians can solve the problems of a far distant future, the tangible needs of the present are neglected”. The strong possibility that climate change will be slow and harmless must be taken seriously before we damage more lives, landscapes and livelihoods in its name.
New paper finds sea level rise has greatly DEcelerated over past 10,000 years
A paper published today in the Journal of Quaternary Science reconstructs sea level rise in New Jersey, USA over the past 10,000 years and "concludes that relative sea levels rose at an average rate of 4 mm per year from 10,000-6,000 years ago, 2 mm per year from 6,000 to 2,000 years ago, and 1.3 mm per year from 2,000 years ago to AD 1900." Thus, the paper finds a large deceleration in sea level rise over the past 10,000 years, to a rate in 1900 essentially the same as during the past seven years. According to the 2012 NOAA Sea Level Budget, global sea levels rose at only 1.1 - 1.3 mm/year from 2005-2012, which is less than half of the rate claimed by the IPCC [3.1 mm/yr] and is equivalent to less than 5 inches per century. Contrary to alarmist claims, sea level rise decelerated over the 20th century, has also decelerated since 2005, and there is no evidence of any human influence on sea levels.
Influence of tidal-range change and sediment compaction on Holocene relative sea-level change in New Jersey, USA
BENJAMIN P. HORTON et al
We investigated the effect of tidal-range change and sediment compaction on reconstructions of Holocene relative sea level (RSL) in New Jersey, USA. We updated a published sea-level database to generate 50 sea-level index points and ten limiting dates that define continuously rising RSL in New Jersey during the Holocene. There is scatter among the index points, particularly those older than 7 ka. A numerical model estimated that paleotidal range was relatively constant during the mid and late Holocene, but rapidly increased between 9 and 8 ka, leading to an underestimation of RSL by ∼0.5 m. We adjusted the sea-level index points using the paleotidal model prior to assessing the influence of compaction on organic samples with clastic deposits above and below (an intercalated sea-level index point). We found a significant relationship (p = 0.01) with the thickness of the overburden (r = 0.85). We altered the altitude of intercalated index points using this simple stratigraphic relationship, which reduced vertical scatter in sea-level reconstructions. We conclude that RSL rose at an average rate of 4 mm a−1 from 10 ka to 6 ka, 2 mm a−1 from 6 ka to 2 ka, and 1.3 mm a−1 from 2 ka to AD 1900.
Global Warming “Consensus”: A Cook Cooks the Books
“Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree:#climate change is real, man-made and dangerous,” President Barack Obama tweeted last Thursday, May 16.
The president was cheering on the media-drawn bandwagon for the latest round of global warming “consensus” puffery. John Cook, an Australian blogger/global warming activist, has President Obama and all the usual climate alarmists in academia, the media, and the Big Green NGOs twitterpated over his latest “research,” which purports to prove that the scientific world is virtually unanimous in declaring that anthropogenic global warming (AGW) — that is, human-caused global warming — is a dire and imminent existential threat.
Certainly “97% of scientists” is an impressive-sounding claim. But is it accurate? As we shall see, this supposed near unanimity of science evaporates like H2O over a Bunsen burner as soon as it is subjected to scrutiny.
“Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature” by John Cook and his team at the Global Change Institute, was published in Environmental Research Letters. Many of the headlines pointing to this study in newspapers, television news broadcasts, and Internet websites led with the same 97 percent claim, same as President Obama. Some of them were a bit more careful than others to qualify that figure based on what the study said, but it would still take a careful reader to recognize that they weren’t saying the same thing as the occupant of the White House.
The story by Rik Myslewski of the British newspaper The Register is a typical example. The Register’s main headline read: “Climate scientists agree: Humans cause global warming.” But sub-headline immediately beneath says: “Of those who have an opinion, over 97% say we're to blame.”
The crucial point here is the qualifying clause, “of those who have an opinion.” In other words, even the highly questionable Cook study doesn’t actually claim, as President Obama does, that “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree.” In fact, when examined closely, one finds that the study says only one-third of the authors of the published research papers they examined expressed an opinion that the Cook team interpreted as either an implicit or explicit endorsement of AGW.
So now its 97 percent of one-third of selected scientists in a sampling of research papers. That’s a far cry from the 97 percent of all scientists claimed by President Obama and many of the media stories. And, as we will show below, even this admitted dramatically lower consensus claimed by the study is fraught with problems and falls apart further under examination.
The Consensus Con Game
The Cook study has already been taken apart and refuted in a number of blogs and articles. One of the critical scientists to take an early look at Cook’s suspicious claims was Dutch chemist and science journalist Marcel Crok, who points out many of the problems — here — concerning the Cook study’s misleading selection, categorizations, and descriptions of alleged endorsers of AGW.
A major reason for the supposed importance of the Cook study is that it claims to be based on surveying abstracts of “over 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers,” published in the period 1991-2011, which would be an impressive sampling. But it turns out not to be so striking after all. Firstly, even most of the climate catastrophe skeptics readily concede that human production of CO2, along with other human activities, may have some impact on global temperatures. The question is how significant is the human contribution.
Only 65 (!) Abstracts in Cook Study of 12,000 Strongly Endorse AGW!
On that question there is a wide divergence of opinion in the realist/skeptic community — just as there is also a similarly wide divergence among the AGW believer scientists. Blogger Brandon Shollenberger appears to have been the first to have uncovered the Big Secret of the Cook charade: When stripped down to the bare truth, the actual number of studies in the Cook sampling that can be said to endorse the position that human activity is responsible for most of the experienced global warming is — get ready for this (drum roll …) — sixty-five. Yes, 65, or around half a percent, not 97 percent! And this miniscule number of strong endorsers is actually less than the number of skeptical scientific papers included in the Cook study.
CONSERVATIVES SAY EPA FAVORS GREENS IN FEE DISPUTE
Conservatives are hoping to throw another piece of kindling on the scandals currently burning the Obama administration by asserting that the EPA denies requests to waive fees for conservative groups while routinely waiving the costs for liberal groups like the Sierra Club.
The evidence so far relies solely on EPA’s denial of 14 of 15 of a Competitive Enterprise Institute senior fellow’s fee-waiver requests for documents.
In contrast, groups such as the Natural Resources Defense Council and Earthjustice had fees waived in 75 out of 82 cases, according to GOP lawmakers. The trend, lawmakers said, showed nearly all waiver requests by state and local governments were also denied since January 2012. EPA denies any unfair treatment.
Mother Nature's Message to Mankind in Oklahoma
By Alan Caruba
After a tornado tore through Moore, Oklahoma in 1999, people returned and rebuilt their homes and other structures destroyed by it.
Many of the homes, instead of including a basement, were rebuilt on concrete slabs that offer no protection when high winds tear them loose. The elementary school was believed to be strong enough to protect students, but it wasn’t. No lessons were learned from that tornado, although meteorological systems have been put in place to provide some warning.
I did not have to wait for the usual pronouncements from various environmental organizations and individual “experts” that the tornadoes that struck Oklahoma were the result of “global warming” or “climate change”, but tornadoes are a product of weather systems all around the world and have occurred for the millennia of Earth’s existence.
Typical of the way Greens exploit every dramatic weather event, Solon.com, a liberal website, posted an article by David Sirota repeating all the usual environmental lies. “Was the severe weather system culminating in yesterday’s Oklahoma City intensified—or even created—by climate change? That question will almost certainly be batted back and forth in the media over the next few days. After all, there is plenty of scientific evidence that climate change intensifies weather in general, but there remain legitimate questions about how—and even if—it intensifies tornadoes in specific.” This is the worst kind of balderdash; utterly without merit.
Sirota then went on to blame “sequestration” for increasing the impact, citing “an 8.2 percent cut to the National Weather Service”, claiming falsely that there was no way it “could maintain around-the-clock operations at its 122 forecasting offices” and saying it means that its employees “are going to be overworked, they’re going to be tired, they’re going to miss warnings.”
This is the naked politicization of a human tragedy. Sequestration had nothing more to do with the deaths of some twenty children in Moore than the insane killing of children at Sandy Hook school in Connecticut that led to immediate calls for more gun control laws. This is typical of liberals for whom everything is about politics and power.
Sequestration, an idea put forth by President Obama and adopted by Congress as a process so idiotic and drastic that it was believed it would never be allowed to occur. It cuts the rate of federal spending, but not the amount of spending. As with the air controllers and meat inspectors, there have not been, nor will be, massive government employee layoffs. As Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) points out, one result was the curtailment of White House tours, but shortly after it was initiated, the Obama administration was still able to find millions to send to Egypt on top of the two billion it sends annually.
The government has responded to tornadoes and other weather-related events with an alphabet soup of agencies, from NASA and NOAA to FEMA. The National Weather Service (NWS) does its best to track and warn against tornadoes. According to Tuesday's The Wall Street Journal, “The National Weather Service estimates that 80% of tornadoes are ‘weak’—EF1 or less—and less than 1% are violent, meaning EF5 or higher.” Such tornadoes are rare. “If the storm is upgraded, it would be only the 59th EF5 since 1950—and the second in Moore…”
On a page from NOAA’s National Severe Storms Laboratory offering “Tornado Basics”, it asks and answers the question “How do tornadoes form?” It answers by saying “The truth is that we don’t fully understand. The most destructive and deadly tornadoes occur from supercells, which are rotating thunderstorms with a well-defined radar circulation call a mesocyclone.”
Greens love computer models to justify their absurd claims, but the Severe Storms Laboratory says that tornado development “is related to the temperature differences across the edge of downdraft air wrapping around the mesocyclone. Mathematical modeling studies of tornado formation also indicate that it can happen without such temperature patterns, and, in fact, very little temperature variation was observed near some of the most destructive tornadoes in history.” Computer modeling is a poor substitute for Mother Nature.
What is known is that about 1,200 tornadoes annually and they generally occur in a stretch of the Midwest known as “tornado alley.” The worst of them do tremendous physical damage and kill people; which begs the question of why people moved back to Moore and rebuilt despite the 1999 tornado.
The real question is why people believe that humans have anything to do with the weather or the climate? Why does anyone believe that carbon dioxide (CO2) has anything to do with weather events or trends? The answer is that Al Gore, James Hensen, and a raft of other climate charlatans, along with countless Green organizations, have been lying to Americans and others around the world.
Since founding The National Anxiety Center in 1990 as a clearinghouse for information about Green fear-mongering, I have been a guest on countless radio shows. I tell listeners that Mother Nature has a message for mankind. It is “Get out of the way. Here comes a tornado, a flood, a hurricane, a blizzard, a wild fire.”
After the dead are totaled and a cost is estimated, there will still be tornadoes in Oklahoma and the rest of tornado alley. The primary lesson to be learned is that Mother Nature is infinitely more powerful than anything humans are alleged to do to affect it in any way because we have zero effect on it.
The other lesson is that America and other nations have wasted billions of dollars on idiotic “renewable energy” such as solar and wind projects that provide unreliable, costly alternatives to the energy on which a nation’s prosperity depends.
The opposition to “fossil fuels” and nuclear energy that Green organizations generate is an attack on human activity, along with their opposition to beneficial chemicals that can, for example, eliminate malaria and other diseases that afflict mankind demonstrates their core belief that it is humans that are responsible for harming the Earth. They are not.
To be Green is to seek to control and reduce humankind through an extensive matrix of lies.
Tornadoes are a “force majeure.” As Wikipedia explains, is “a common clause in contracts that essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties, such as war, strike, riot, crime, or an event described by the legal term, ‘act of God.”
The Moore, Oklahoma tornado was a force majeure.
Australia: Vegetation clearing restrictions eased in Qld. One in the eye for Greenies
CONTROVERSIAL vegetation clearing laws which passed in parliament last night are bound to increase the rate of clearing, conservationists warn.
The Bill also included emergency amendments to allow drought-stricken cattle to graze in suitable National Parks by the end of this week.
It comes after Federal Environment Minister Tony Burke opposed the State's plans to temporarily open up the parks to graziers.
The amendments, winding back the previous Labor government's laws, marked a sad day for conservationists but were lauded by farmers.
A small group of protesters gathered outside Parliament House yesterday.
WWF director Nick Heath said it was disgraceful that Premier Campbell Newman would go back on a pre-election promise. "'This is one of the most damaging environmental rollbacks in Australia's history," Mr Heath said.
"These amendments have stripped away protections for up to 2 million ha of bushland which is home to vulnerable native plants and animals, including koalas, cassowaries and quolls," he said.
"The green light for bulldozing of bushland will lead to an increased extinction risk for wildlife, cause soil erosion, water pollution and release millions of tonnes of carbon dioxide.
But Natural Resources Minister Andrew Cripps denied the changes would lead to widescale clearing, saying it would allow farmers who had been "punished" by the former government through layers of red tape.
"It is very concerning for land owners to be told when they have made such an investment that their plans have been thrown into disarray by a government for political reasons," he said.
"It is a nonsense to suggest that the clearing of vegetation is undertaken indiscriminately or without a reasoned expectation that the farm business will expand as a result."
For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.
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