Tuesday, August 27, 2013
A Tale of Two Climate Hockey Sticks
By S. Fred Singer
The false “hockey stick” graph with which (in 2001) the UN climate panel claimed that current surface temperatures are “unprecedented” in a millennium is at odds with hundreds of scientific papers and with their own previous position. There is nothing unusual about today’s temperatures; the world was warmer in the Middle Ages. However, the "hockey stick” graph showing a rapid increase in 20th century CO2 concentration is genuine.
The Third Assessment Report (2001) of the UN-sponsored IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) espouses a temperature history over the last thousand years that resembles a "hockey stick" (HS). The ‘shank’ is the smooth decline of temperature from 1000 to 1900AD, followed by an apparent sharp rise in the 20th century (forming the ‘blade’ of a hockey stick). IPCC-AR3 promoted this rise as definitive evidence of human influence on climate; emission of carbon dioxide was supposed to cause the 20th century warming. But this temperature history is fake; it is contradicted by much other evidence.
Top figure from IPCC-AR1 (1990) Bottom figure from IPCC-AR3 (2001)—does away with MWP and LIA
By “fake” I mean it is ‘not real.’ Please note that I do not use the term “faked.” I prefer to believe that Dr. Michael Mann, creator of the hockey stick, simply made several scientific errors when he derived this notorious graph of global surface temperature from his analysis of ‘proxy’ data (tree rings, corals, lake sediments, etc) of the past millennium. Canadian scientists Steven McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, as well as statistics expert Edward Wegman (of George Mason University in Virginia), demonstrated that Mann’s data and statistical methods are both faulty; yet he has not withdrawn his HS paper—though Nature was compelled to publish a belated and inadequate Corrigendum by Mann. Quietly, however, he has co-published temperature graphs that show a distinct Medieval Warm Period (MWP) 1000 years ago and a Little Ice Age (LIA), mostly around 1400-1800 AD.
1000 years of atmospheric CO2 and isotopic composition at the South Pole
Note the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period in the CO2 record (top graph). There is a slight peaking (maximum delta C-13) in the isotopic composition at the Little Ice Age (bottom graph), where presumably CO2 absorption by ocean would be enhanced.
Carbon dioxide data, mainly from sampling Antarctic ice cores over the last thousand years, also show a shape that (superficially) resembles a hockey stick; but this one is real. Yet there is no relation between the two graphs—or between temperature and carbon dioxide—as the following discussion will show. I fear that my comparison of the two graphs may cause great unhappiness for extreme alarmists as well as for extreme skeptics of global warming.
The Temperature Record
If one looks at the best temperature data over the last thousand years, they overwhelmingly support the existence of an oscillation on a time scale of 1000-1500 years—with a temperature maximum, the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), followed by the well documented Little Ice Age (LIA). These temperature swings are missing from Mann’s HS graph—which the IPCC unwisely featured, six times, in its 3rd Assessment Report of 2001. It is telling that IPCC’s 4th Report of 2007 and the forthcoming 5th Report no longer display the hockey stick–curve of Michael Mann.
A more detailed examination of thermometer data of the 20th century shows a major warming between 1910 and 1940, a slight cooling between 1940 and 1975, and a disputed temperature history of the last two decades of the century. It is interesting and worth noting that Mann’s HS graph stops just before 1980—even though the use of proxy data would indicate an absence of warming from 1980 to 2000. The leaked ‘Climategate’ e-mails between IPCC scientists, including Mann himself, suggest that “hiding the decline” in tree-ring temperature reconstructions, which should have been showing the same warming as the thermometers, was the reason why Mann stopped his analysis in 1980—and why his post-1980 proxy temperatures have never been revealed.
(An email from Professor Phil Jones at the University of East Anglia to Mann and his co-authors said: “I’ve just completed Mike’s [Mann] Nature trick [sic] of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (i.e. from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith’s [Briffa] to hide the decline.”)
The CO2 Record since 1000AD
Turning now to the CO2 data (assembled by Tom Quirk in Australia and kindly transmitted by Prof. Will Happer of Princeton Univ.): They show a remarkable hockey-stick shape—which, however, is real. The concentrations of atmospheric CO2 were preserved in air bubbles trapped in snow that turned into ice; the time record has been obtained from different samplings of Antarctic ice cores. It is supplemented and confirmed by a corresponding decrease in the isotope ratio of C-13/C-12. The sharp decrease of C-13 in the 20th century indicates that its source is most likely biogenic; fossil fuels from ancient plant material and biota would fit this specification.
1. A quick look at the CO2 curve shows a slight increase during the MWP and a slight decrease during the LIA. These excursions are readily interpreted as a (net) reduced uptake of CO2 when the ocean is warm and increased uptake when the ocean is cold. (We recall that roughly half of the CO2 emitted into the atmosphere during fossil-fuel burning and cement manufacture is absorbed into the ocean and that CO2 solubility depends inversely on ocean temperature—the well-known ‘champagne effect’.)
A more detailed interpretation of the CO2 curve leads to these additional conclusions:
2. Various skeptics have suggested that CO2 levels were higher during the 19th century than they are today. There is nothing wrong per se with these old measurements—though they were performed by old-fashioned chemical methods rather than current infrared techniques. It just means that the data obtained were contaminated and were not representative of global concentrations of free-atmosphere CO2. Antarctic is reasonably free of contamination.
3. It is often claimed by skeptics that the human contribution to atmospheric CO2 (from fossil-fuel burning) is tiny—less than a percent. The data clearly show that the contribution is 400 minus 280 parts per million (ppm)—roughly 30% of the current concentration.
4. Extreme skeptics have often claimed that George Callender, the British pioneer of the global-warming story during the early 20th century, was hiding some higher CO2 values from ice cores that approached present values. This does not seem to be the case.
5. From time to time, skeptics have claimed that the CO2 increase was mainly due to global warming, which caused the release of dissolved CO2 from the ocean surface into the atmosphere. (A recent adherent of this hypothesis is Prof. Murry Salby in Australia.) However, the evidence appears to go against such an inverted causal relation. While this process may have been true during the ice ages, the isotope evidence seems to indicate that the human contribution from fossil-fuel burning clearly dominates during the last 100 years.
6. Finally, note that the temperature ‘blade’ starts around 1910, while CO2 starts its sharp upward climb around 1780AD.
Upon reflection on these temperature and CO2 data of the last thousand years, I conclude that the evidence presented here will cause unhappiness for both extreme alarmists and extreme skeptics. Maybe that’s a good thing.
However, it still leaves open the question of climate sensitivity (CS), i.e., the actual influence of CO2 on global temperature. CS has been steadily decreasing, from 3°C (for CO2 doubling) in the initial IPCC report. I believe confidently that the real CS values may be much lower—although not quite zero. I base it on what Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the IPCC, has delicately called the 17-year “pause” in global warming of the near-surface, and on the near-absence of tropical atmospheric warming, as seen by weather satellites since 1978.
The scientific puzzle is why IPCC climate models predict large values for CS while the observations show only small ones.
Climate Deception: How The “Hottest” Temperature Game Is Played To Offset Prediction Failures
Global temperature is not doing what the “official” Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicted. Proponents of the claim humans are the cause of warming and the cooperative media react by trying to deflect, divert and perpetuate fear. They exploit people’s lack of knowledge and understanding.
A January 2013 ABC News headline that said, “2012 Was 9th Warmest Year on Record, Says NASA” is a classic example of how the public are deliberately misled. It is deliberate because it distorts, is out of context, and exploits manipulation of statistics or as Disraeli summarized, “Lies, damn lies and statistics.”
The deception begins with the headline but is expanded in the article. The challenge is to know what is actually being said. Initially, you need a translator, but can develop sufficient propaganda detectors once the methods are identified. There are guidelines that work in most circumstances:
Don’t believe anything you read; Question everything; Be especially suspicious of numbers; Know the source and political bias; If you’re affected by the story get at least three other sources; Remember all government information and data is biased; Be especially wary of stories that cite authorities.
The opening paragraph to the ABC story says,
“The year 2012 was the ninth warmest globally since record keeping began in 1880, said climate scientists today from NASA. NOAA, crunching the numbers slightly differently, said 2012 was the tenth warmest year, and both agencies said a warming pattern has continued since the middle of the 20th century.”
The implied threat is the temperature continues its inexorable trend up. The record is 133 years long and with a general warming trend. When would you expect to find the warmest years? Figure 1 provides a hint.
Why are they drawing attention to this by focussing on the “ninth warmest”? Because for the last 15 years the trend has leveled and declined slightly in contradiction to their forecast. Figure 2 shows what is actually happening.
The IPCC claim with over 90 percent certainty that Figure 2 is not supposed to happen. Here is the actual data;
Notice how the shift caused a change in terminology to divert attention from the fact that CO2 was no longer causing increasing warming. CO2 levels continue to rise, but temperatures don’t follow. It completely contradicts their predictions, which is why they want to divert attention.
How meaningful is the temperature increase? What is the accuracy of the measure? IPCC says there was a “trend of 0.6 [0.4 to 0.8]°C (1901-2000)” , that is for most of the period in the news story. Notice the error range is ±0.2°C or ± 33%. It is a meaningless record.
The story cites NOAA and NASA in the standard appeal to authority. However, it’s offset by the observation that they are “crunching the numbers slightly differently” to explain why they disagree between 9th and 10th on the list. How can that be? Aren’t they using the same data? All agencies produce different average temperatures because they select different stations and “adjust” them differently. NASA GISS consistently produces the higher readings, and were most active politically when James Hansen was in charge. They both use the grossly inadequate surface station data.
Although the article limits its claim by acknowledging it is only the 9th warmest in the official record, most people believe it is the 9th warmest ever. It is a misconception deliberately created by political activists like Al Gore and not openly refuted by governments. It is like Gore’s claim that CO2 levels are the highest ever when they are actually the lowest in 300 million years.
So, how long and complete is the official record? A comprehensive study was produced by D’Aleo and Watts “Surface Temperature Records: Policy-Driven Deception?” detailing what was done. Two graphs from NASA GISS show the general pattern.
Figure 4 (Source NASA GISS)
There are fewer than 1000 stations with records of 100 years and most of them are severely compromised by growth of urban areas. Equally important, is the decline in the number of stations they consider suitable, especially after 1990. This pattern also partly explains why the current readings are high (Figure 5). Temperature increases as the number of stations used are reduced.
Number of stations plotted against temperature.
Figure 5 -- Number of stations plotted against temperature.
Although they condition the terminology “hottest” with “on record” most people assume it is “ever”. This implication was deliberate. The IPCC rewrote history by eliminating the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) that was warmer than today. Weather agencies, increased the slope of temperature by lowering the old record – New Zealand is a good example (Figure 6).
Global temperatures are not following “official” predictions, so those who used global warming for a political agenda try to defend the indefensible. This proves it is political because scientific method requires you admit your science is wrong, determine why, and if possible make adjustments.
Gov’t-Created Calendar for Teachers Includes 'National Pollution Prevention Week'
Sept. 17-23 is "National Pollution Prevention Week," and if you didn’t know that, it’s a good thing the government is here to remind you. The event appears on a teachers' calendar offered at Kids.gov, the U.S. government's official web portal for children.
The recommended activities for National Pollution Prevention Week include a few coloring books, which teach children, ages preschool-to-grade-three, to think like little environmental activists. "Sometimes pollution happens when oil tankers break up at sea," reads one of the pages in an "Auntie Pollution" coloring book offered at Kids.gov.
Auntie Pollution (get it?) is a grandmotherly scold who approves of clean air and water and disapproves of sewage treatment plants and fossil fuels.
"Is the sewer plant in your city adequate?" reads the caption on another page that shows Auntie Pollution frowning at pollution from sewage leaks and smokestacks.
On another page, Auntie Pollution suggests that children should enjoy a day at the beach by picking up litter.
The Kids.gov website also offers an EPA coloring book for young children: "In lots of places, houses are crowded together," says one page. "There is still too much dirty air and water," reads another. And: "There is too much traffic." "And too much noise."
"But things are getting better," says a later page. "We can preserve our unspoiled land," says another. "And someday the earth will be a nicer place."
It's Not Gridlock That is Blocking a Carbon Tax, It's Science and Economics
This is an open letter to William D. Ruckelshaus, Lee M. Thomas, William K. Reilly and Christine Todd Whitman.
You, the former directors of the EPA who were appointed by Republican presidents, recently wrote an op-ed in the New York Times titled, A Republican Case for Climate Action. In this opinion piece, the four of you write of your conviction that action can no longer be delayed on the climate, and that the only reason we don't have a chance to pass a carbon tax is because of partisan gridlock. With all due respect to your years of service to our nation, I wish to remind you all of one inconvenient truth: you are political appointees. You are experts in neither science nor economics - your only expertise is in the political arena.
Your opinions, therefore, are formed neither in a scientific nor an economic framework. Let me be blunt: not one of you has ever actually pursued any rigorous scientific or economic course of academic study. Your educational backgrounds are wholly unrelated to the relevant fields when discussing climate science and carbon taxing schemes.
In your NYT op-ed, you write,
"There is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts: our world continues to warm, with the last decade the hottest in modern records, and the deep ocean warming faster than the earth’s atmosphere. Sea level is rising. Arctic Sea ice is melting years faster than projected.
The costs of inaction are undeniable. The lines of scientific evidence grow only stronger and more numerous. And the window of time remaining to act is growing smaller: delay could mean that warming becomes “locked in.”
A market-based approach, like a carbon tax, would be the best path to reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, but that is unachievable in the current political gridlock in Washington. Dealing with this political reality, President Obama’s June climate action plan lays out achievable actions that would deliver real progress. He will use his executive powers to require reductions in the amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the nation’s power plants and spur increased investment in clean energy technology, which is inarguably the path we must follow to ensure a strong economy along with a livable climate."
Given your lack of background in the rigors of scientific study, it is inconceivable that the four of you can claim any knowledge of what debate exists in the scientific community. There is strong evidence that the warming trend to which you refer either has stopped or was, at least in part, manufactured by prominent scientists who earn enormous federal grants to come up with data supporting the theory of anthropogenic global warming.
Your claims that sea levels are rising and Arctic sea ice is "melting years faster than projected" are so full of holes that it causes one to wonder if you've ever read a peer-reviewed scientific study. And calling a new tax on energy a "market-based approach" ignores the enormous effects on our economy such a scheme would cause.
Conservatives do not oppose carbon taxes because they are anti-science or do not care about the environment. Quite the contrary, in fact. Conservatives oppose carbon taxes for two very strong reasons that you would do well not to dismiss so blithely:
1. Any carbon tax would have a far-reaching and compounding negative impact on our economy, and is regressive in nature - carbon taxes disproportionately hurt the poor in a wide variety of ways; and
2. The science, despite what Al Gore may have told you, is far from conclusive. Consensus is irrelevant to the scientific process. The scientific process, when properly utilized, fits a theory to the facts as observed - NOT the other way around.
In closing, you all would do well to listen to all the voices in your party, as well as all the voices in the fields of science and economics, before casting judgment on Conservatives who oppose such an economically inhumane policy.
Al Gore’s mind
The Washington Post’s interview with Al Gore, Jr. provides a window into the mind and plans of the titular leader of the environmental movement in a way that is rare in the mainstream media.
Critics could question why interviewer Ezra Klein failed to ask the former Vice President obvious questions about the failure of the earth to warm for the past fifteen years as he and his cronies have predicted. Given that psychologists warn that directly attacking someone’s delusion can often result in dangerous results, it is possible that Klein’s reticence could be explained away.
More likely though is that Klein was either unaware or dismissive of the data that led even the climate experts brought to the U.S. Senate by Barbara Boxer (D-CA) to testify about the ravages of global warming to remain silent when asked if they could defend President Obama’s claim that, “we also know that the climate is warming faster than anybody anticipated five or 10 years ago.”
But Gore was not confronted by this inconvenient truth by Klein, who instead let the Pied Piper of environmental destruction off the hook by not forcing him to deal with the record ice flows in Antarctica and the collapse of the scientific consensus built around Michael Mann’s failed hockey stick computer model that predicted rapidly increasing temperatures over the past decade.
Where the Klein interview is most instructive is that Gore hints at the international game plan for making Congress and the will of the American people irrelevant in stopping the environmental movement. Below is the direct question and response.
“Ezra Klein: But to play the pessimist again, wouldn’t carbon prices in other countries give us a competitive advantage the longer we resist them at home? It seems that if India is taxing fossil fuels and we’re not, that’s a slight edge for us. It’s easy to imagine it becoming a kind of protectionist, save-our-manufacturing-sector issue.
Al Gore: It’s certainly something that can’t be dismissed out of hand. But remember the World Trade Organization rules explicitly allow the recapture of carbon taxes at the border, much in the manner of a value-added tax. The U.S. is in danger if it did not change of being subjected to those recapture provisions.”
And that is the economic plan that environmentalists are setting up through world bodies like the WTO and the United Nations to overcome the U.S. sovereignty issue – force a carbon tax onto America by having world organizations impose one at the borders when our manufacturers export goods.
This international war to impose their vision on the world through international bodies that don’t have to worry about messy little things like the consent of the governed is at the heart of modern environmental policy.
Obama’s EPA is in the process of imposing environmental standards that threaten the stability of our nation’s electricity grid. Standards that never could pass Congress, but which have been deemed legal due to the open ended mandate provided the EPA in legislation like the Clean Air Act.
The Klein interview with Al Gore, Jr. reveals a smart dedicated man determined to save a planet that ten year climate data shows doesn’t need saving. A man determined to accomplish what he believes is his life mission, who truly believes that the end justifies the means. It reveals that Al Gore, Jr. is indeed a formidable person to America as we know it, and not just some corpulent, hypocritical buffoon as often portrayed by cartoonists.
At a time when America’s economic renaissance hinges upon the low cost North American energy sources of coal, natural gas and oil, pay attention to what Al Gore says, because he will lead the charge against this renewal and his movement is committed to ending our nation’s economic hegemony.
Up to our ears in ‘climate change’ snake oil
Al Gore and his traveling medicine show is back in town with his new, improved snake oil, guaranteed to grow hair, improve digestion, promote regularity and kill roaches, rats and bedbugs. Al and his wagon rumbled into town on the eve of “a major forthcoming report” from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is a panel of scientists affiliated with the United Nations. Their report is expected to buck up the spirits of the tycoons of the snake-oil industry.
A snake-oil salesman’s lot, like a policeman’s, is not a happy one. There’s always a skeptic or two (or three) standing at the back of the wagon, eager to scoff and jeer. The global-warming scam would have been right up Gilbert and Sullivan’s street. Would Al and the U.N. deceive us? No! Never! What! Never? Weeeell, hardly ever.
The New York Times, a faithful shill for Al’s snake-oil elixir, following the wagon from town to town, got an advance copy of the U.N. report and gives out with the “good” news: It’s a “near certainty” that humans are responsible for the rising temperatures of recent decades, and warns that by the end of the century all the little people — small children, midgets and others whose growth was stunted by drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes at an early age — will be up to their belly buttons in salt water. The seas will rise by more than three feet.
The inconvenient truth Al and the junk scientists have to deal with is that temperatures aren’t rising, but falling. In fact, since the early 1990s we’ve had global cooling. It got so embarrassing Al and the junk scientists started calling it “climate change.” Some days it rains, some days it doesn’t and some days it’s a little of both. That’s real change. The U.N. panel concedes that global warming has in fact given way to global cooling, but attributes this to “short-term factors.” The minions of the compliant media, ever eager to blow hard about the coming end of the world, when women and minorities will suffer most, will rattle and twitter about the U.N. climate report with their usual tingle and flutter.
President Obama tried the other day to elbow Al aside to lead with his assertion that hurricanes are getting worse and that only he has the power to put them in their place. Hurricanes are actually getting not worse, but fewer. Only three major hurricanes have made landfall so far in Mr. Obama’s presidency. Grover Cleveland, who was president between 1885 and 1889, entertained 26 major hurricanes during his presidency, and that was before global warning was invented.
We were scheduled to see an enormous melting of polar ice by now, but even the ice won’t co-operate. The U.S. Navy forecasts twice as much mid-September ice this year as it measured in 2012.
The only way to deal with the inconvenient truth is to bellow and bawl the convenient whopper louder than ever. In an interview this week with a blogger for The Washington Post, Ezra Klein greeted Al with a shower of sanitized softballs, and Al knocked some of them halfway back to the pitcher’s mound. Al is exhausted dealing with the skeptics, whom he calls “denialists,” as in denying the Holocaust. The denialists, he says, are “like a family with an alcoholic father who flies into a rage every time a subject is mentioned and so everybody avoids the elephant in the room to keep the peace.”
Al, who is a decent sort who tried to be a good ol’ boy when he went back home to visit the family tobacco farm, says the denialists remind him of racists, warmongers, homophobes and other congenital undesirables, but he thinks it won’t be long until they’re permanently silenced. “We’re winning the conversation,” he says.
On the contrary, what frustrates Al and the snake-oil industry is that the skeptics can no longer be shut out of the conversation. “We can expect the climate crisis industry to grow increasingly shrill, and increasingly hostile toward anyone who questions their authority,” Kenneth P. Green, a former member of the U.N. panel, predicted three years ago. Another former panelist, Dr. Kimimori Itoh, a Japanese physical chemist, calls the phenomenon “the worst scientific scandal in history. When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists.”
That’s too bad, because when science and scientists one day discover a genuine crisis, nobody will listen. We’re up to our ears already in snake oil.
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.
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