Monday, September 07, 2015

British Met Office boss slams Greenie for exaggerating warming

It's not a sudden onrush of honesty.  He just doesn't want warming predictions to be falsified too soon.  He could well still be alive in 15 years time and he doesn't want to be laughed at

One of Britain’s top climate scientists has launched a blistering attack on actress Emma Thompson and the BBC, accusing them of ‘scaremongering’ over the speed of global warming – and risking a worsening of the refugee crisis.

Richard Betts, head of climate impacts research at the Met Office and a professor at Exeter University, launched his attack on Twitter about an interview Ms Thompson gave to Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis last Wednesday.

He followed it up with a longer critique – an extract of which this newspaper publishes today – on the website of HELIX, a prestigious EU-wide climate research programme which he also directs.

The actress, a Greenpeace activist who that morning had taken part in a protest against Shell’s plans to drill for oil in the Arctic, warned that if the drilling went ahead, the world would be a staggering 4C hotter by 2030.

She said: ‘If they take out of the Earth all the oil they want to take out, if you look at the science, our temperature will rise 4 degrees Celsius by 2030, and that’s not sustainable.’

Ms Maitlis did not challenge her.

In his first tweet, Prof Betts asked: ‘Who briefed Emma Thompson? Clearly not someone who actually knows about climate science.’

He added: ‘Has it occurred to scaremongers like Emma Thompson that exaggerating climate change could drive more migration unnecessarily? Irresponsible.’

Other scientists were equally critical. Dr Ed Hawkins, at Reading University, told this newspaper: ‘Climate change poses substantial risks to humans and ecosystems, but what Emma Thompson said about the timescales of predicted warming was inaccurate.’

In his blog post, Prof Betts points out that the authoritative UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change gives a ‘wide range of estimates of the speed of future warming’ – but none of them is anywhere near 4C by 2030.

He adds that under the highest scenario for future emissions, ‘the earliest time of reaching 4C above pre-industrial was around 2070, and the latest sometime after 2100’.

Ms Thompson hit back yesterday, saying: ‘I’d like to say to him [Richard Betts]: Are you insane, have you been to the Arctic, have you seen the state of the glaciers? I’ve talked to the experts... this is not scaremongering.’

A BBC spokeswoman said: ‘In a longer interview Emily would have pressed Thompson to justify her assertion.’ She refused to say whether the BBC would be correcting Ms Thompson’s statement.

Comment by Professor Richard Betts, Met Office head of climate impacts research:

In a recent BBC Newsnight item, the actress Emma Thompson spoke passionately and in no uncertain terms about 4C warming by the year 2030, and stated that ‘in a few years… whole swathes of the Earth will become uninhabitable’. These statements do not reflect what the science actually says.

Some might argue that the focus should be on worst-case catastrophic scenarios, leaving no room for doubt, in order to promote urgency in emissions cuts.

It’s certainly easy to see why this might be tempting, as global emissions have continued to rise despite clear indications that unchecked climate change poses large risks.

This seems to be the case in Emma Thompson’s recent BBC Newsnight item. Does this matter? What’s the harm in a bit of exaggeration if it’s in a good cause? To my mind, there are three reasons why it’s a problem.

Firstly, making wild predictions that don’t come true obviously harms your credibility. It’s the old ‘boy who cried wolf’ story – he made up the story of the wolf, so when it eventually did come, nobody believed him. There was a wolf, but only later on.

When the world has not become a barren wasteland within a few years, it will be easy for critics to say that the whole climate change problem has been exaggerated.

It has not been exaggerated – at least not by mainstream science – but that will be easily overlooked when harking back to these claims.

Secondly, if people come to believe that catastrophic impacts are only round the corner, this could lead to wrong decisions made in panic.

A lot is being done to make us more resilient to the climate change we’ve already set in motion – new flood defences, plans for reservoirs and water supplies, and so on. But these are expensive, and doing these too early could cost billions. And if people are scared into moving away from their homelands because they think it will be uninhabitable, this would only add to the existing refugee crisis, for no good reason.

Finally, even if the world does make major emissions cuts very soon, this will take time to filter through into tangible effects on global warming. There is already more warming in the pipeline which is unavoidable. Therefore anything projected for the next few years is already unavoidable.

If ‘whole swathes’ really will become uninhabitable ‘in a few years’, then there is absolutely nothing we can do about it, however urgently we cut emissions.

Whether Shell drills for Arctic oil or not, the changes for the next few years are already locked in. Emma Thompson’s apocalyptic vision is therefore one of despair, not something that can credibly be avoided through action, however drastic.

Fortunately, while Ms Thompson’s concerns are valid in the longer term, her timing isn’t supported by the science.

Higher levels of climate change and the associated risks are further off than she fears, and hence could still be avoided.

Whether we choose to attempt to do this or to try instead to live with the risks is a choice the world needs to make. There are no easy options, and such a choice is hugely important. It needs to be properly informed by sound science, communicated responsibly to the world.


Pesky Greenland: When all else fails, blame the sun

Warmists normally pooh-pooh the influence of the sun.  But Greenland is very important to Warmists.  It's one of the few bits of the Arctic that is not sea ice -- so it's the only bit that could raise sea-levels if its ice melted.  But it doesn't always melt when it "should".  So we see a lot of "post hoc" explanations below.  Such explanations are in principle of little value.  Good science is predictive.  You can explain anything after the event

The sun’s activity could be affecting a key ocean circulation mechanism that plays an important role in regulating Greenland’s climate, according to a new study. The phenomenon could be partially responsible for cool temperatures the island experienced in the late 20th century and potentially lead to increased melting of the Greenland ice sheet in the coming decades, the new research suggests.

Scientists have sought to understand why Greenland cooled during the 1970s through the early 1990s while most of the Northern Hemisphere experienced rising temperatures as a result of greenhouse warming.

The new study suggests high solar activity starting in the 1950s and continuing through the 1980s played a role in slowing down ocean circulation between the South Atlantic and the North Atlantic oceans. Combined with an influx of fresh water from melting glaciers, this slow-down halted warm water and air from reaching Greenland and cooled the island while temperatures rose across the rest of the Northern Hemisphere, according to the new study accepted for publication in Geophysical Research Letters, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

The new research also suggests weak solar activity, like the sun is currently experiencing, could slowly fire up the ocean circulation mechanism, increasing the amount of warm water and air flowing to Greenland.

Starting around 2025, temperatures in Greenland could increase more than anticipated and the island’s ice sheet could melt faster than projected, according to Takuro Kobashi, a climate scientist with the Department of Climate and Environmental Physics at the University of Bern in Switzerland and lead author of the new study.

This unexpected ice loss would compound projected sea-level rise expected to occur as a result of climate change, Kobashi said. The melting Greenland ice sheet accounted for one-third of the 3.2 millimeters (0.13 inches) rise in global sea level every year from 1992 to 2011.

“We need to really consider how solar activity will change in the future,” said Kobashi. “If solar activity becomes really low, as scientists expect, the Greenland ice sheet will melt faster than we expected from the climate model with just greenhouse gas [warming].”

The new study compared past solar activity with historical temperature records to figure out if the cooling Greenland experienced during the late 20th century was part of a long-term pattern.

The team used ice cores drilled from the Greenland ice sheet to reconstruct snow temperatures for the past 2,100 years. A relatively new technique, which measures argon and nitrogen gases trapped in the ice, allowed the scientists to measure small changes in temperature at 10- to 20-year increments.

The ice cores showed that for the past 2,000 years changes in Greenland temperatures have generally followed any temperature shifts occurring in the Northern Hemisphere. The new research found that the change in Greenland temperatures vacillated up and down around the average change in Northern Hemisphere temperatures over time. The vacillations coincided with changes in the sun’s energy output that occurred over multiple decades, according to the new study.

When the sun’s energy output increased, there was a bigger drop in Greenland’s temperature compared to the change in average temperature across the Northern Hemisphere. When the sun’s energy output decreased, there was a larger increase in Greenland’s temperature compared to the change in average temperature that occurred across the Northern Hemisphere.

Climate models showed that changes in solar activity could prompt shifts in ocean and air circulation in the North Atlantic that affect Greenland’s climate, according to the new study.

Water circulation in the Atlantic follows a steady pattern of movement, called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Warm water flows from the South Atlantic toward the North Atlantic, transferring heat toward Greenland. As the water cools, it sinks to the ocean floor and travels south toward the tropics, completing the circular pattern.

During a period of high solar activity, more energy from the sun reaches Earth and is transferred to tropical waters. When this warmer-than-usual water reaches the North Atlantic, it is not dense enough to sink. With nowhere to go, the water causes a traffic jam and the water circulation pattern slows down.

Changes in solar activity can also alter the atmospheric circulation pattern over the Atlantic, which in turn affects ocean circulation, but how this process works is still unknown, said Kobashi.

In the late 20th century, there also was a compounding problem. Large amounts of freshwater gushed into the North Atlantic as climate change caused increased melting of glaciers, icebergs, and the Greenland ice sheet. Freshwater, being more buoyant than salt water, entered the intersection where cool water drops to the ocean floor and travels south to the tropics. Climate models showed that the water in the intersection became less salty and less likely to sink. Models also showed that additional freshwater came from an increase in rainfall, according to the new study.

The traffic jam worsened and the water circulation pattern that transfers heat from the South Atlantic to the North Atlantic slowed. This slow-down caused the air above Greenland to cool and temperatures there to drop, according to the new study.

Because the oceans take a long time to heat up or cool down, the temperature changes in Greenland lagged 10 to 40 years behind the high solar activity, showing up from the 1970s through the early 1990s, according to the new study.

The new study suggests low solar activity could have the opposite effect and lead to warmer temperatures in Greenland in another decade. When there is less solar energy reaching the Earth, water reaching Greenland easily sinks and returns to the tropics along the ocean floor. The water circulation pattern speeds up, quickly funneling heat toward Greenland and warming the island.

The new study makes a good case that the solar maximum in the 1950s through the 1980s may have played a role in the cooling Greenland saw in the late 20th century, said Michael Mann, a climate  scientist with the Department of Meteorology at Penn State University in University Park, Pennsylvania, who was not involved in the new study.

Another recent study by Mann and his colleagues proposed that trapped greenhouse gases from fossil fuel burning caused warming across the Northern Hemisphere and triggered an increase in ice melt. This led to the slowdown in ocean circulation and a cooler Greenland.

Both studies suggest buoyant meltwater from melting glaciers would have interrupted the sinking of the AMOC and its return to the tropics along the bottom of the ocean. But the new research suggests solar activity is the main driver behind the changes to the ocean circulation pattern.

“I’m open-minded that the real answer is more complicated, and it may be a combination of the two hypotheses,” said Mann. “This article paves the way for a more in-depth look at what is going on. The challenge now will be teasing apart the two effects and trying to assess the relative importance of both of them.”

Kobashi contends that solar activity explains the change in ocean circulation and Greenland warming since 1995, which he says cannot be explained by increasing greenhouse gases alone.


The abrupt Northern Hemispheric (NH) warming at the end of the 20th century has been attributed to an enhanced greenhouse effect. Yet, Greenland and surrounding subpolar North Atlantic remained anomalously cold in 1970s- early 1990s. Here, we reconstructed robust Greenland temperature records (NGRIP and GISP2) over the past 2100 years using argon and nitrogen isotopes in air trapped within ice cores, and show that this cold anomaly was part of a recursive pattern of antiphase Greenland temperature responses to solar variability with a possible multidecadal lag. We hypothesize that high solar activity during the modern solar maximum (ca. 1950s-1980s) resulted in a cooling over Greenland and surrounding subpolar North Atlantic through the slow-down of Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) with atmospheric feedback processes.

Reference:  Modern solar maximum forced late 20th century Greenland cooling by T. Kobashi, J. E. Box, B. M. Vinther, K. Goto-Azuma, T. Blunier, J. W. C. White, T. Nakaegawa and C. S. Andresen published in Geophysical Research Letters DOI: 10.1002/2015GL064764


Some more adhocery: Guardian Says They Could Have Predicted The Hiatus Which They Also Say Never Happened

Steve Goddard is the clipping collector.  They are very damning


ScreenHunter_10319 Sep. 05 08.10


Scientists Discover There are 2.64 Trillion More Trees on Earth, Washington Post Whines About Deforestation

They often put out tree counts.  This shows how much faith we should put in such counts. Apparently there are too many salmon in the Pacific Ocean now as well.  Europe was down to less than 10% forest cover 200 years ago, now it is over 30% due to a combination of developing silviculture (tree farming) and substituting coal for wood as fuel in smelters and glassworks

Leave it to the Washington Post to spoil good news with climate alarmism.

Science and environment reporter Chris Mooney reported that a new study of trees concluded the world’s tree population was 7.6 times greater than previously estimated. The researchers calculate that there are more than 3 trillion trees on the planet, 2.64 trillion more than they’d thought there were.

To the average person that sounds like great news. However, Mooney and the scientists he consulted claimed this is not good news.

Mooney quoted Thomas Crowther, one of the study’s authors, who said, “We can now say that there’s less trees than at any point in human civilization.” Crowther is a postdoctoral researcher at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

The rest of the Post story and the scientists it quoted complained about the threat of climate change and deforestation. Mooney quoted one of the 38 co-authors of the study, but turned to three other individuals not involved in the research to provide commentary about it.

One of them, conservation biologist at the United Nations Foundation Thomas Lovejoy who is also a supporter of climate alarmist Al Gore -- speculated that the study, “does not say there’s more forest. It just says there’s more trees in the forest.” Lovejoy also suggested that the existence of an additional 2.64 trillion trees does not change the the current understanding of deforestation rates throughout the world.

The study was originally inspired by a request from Plant for the Planet, a youth organization which “leads the United Nations Environment Programme’s ‘Billion Tree Campaign.’” Plant for the Planet asked Crowther to provide a baseline number of trees so they would know how many more to plant in order to reach their one billion goal.


Unsettled science

Aerosols from Moderate Volcanos Now Blamed for Global Warming Hiatus

While looking for quotes on an upcoming post about Ocean Heat Content, I ran across the press release for a new paper (in press) by Neely et al, which blames the recent slowdown in global warming on smaller more moderate volcanos.

Many readers will recall the October 2011 article by Paul Voosen titled "Provoked scientists try to explain lag in global warming".  The article presented the different responses from a number of climate scientists, including John Barnes, Kevin Trenberth, Susan Solomon, Jean-Paul Vernier, Ben Santer, John Daniel, Judith Lean, James Hansen, Martin Wild, and Graeme Stephens, to the question, “Why, despite steadily accumulating greenhouse gases, did the rise of the planet’s temperature stall for the past decade?”  The different replies led Roger Pielke, Sr. to note at the end of his post "Candid Comments from Climate Scientists":

"These extracts from the Greenwire article illustrate why the climate system is not yet well understood. The science is NOT solved"

Judith Curry provided running commentary in her post "Candid Comments from Global Warming Scientists".  If you haven’t read it, it’s a worthwhile read.

Neely et al  2013  (in press) blames moderate volcanos. According to a press release from the University of Colorado Boulder:

"A team led by the University of Colorado Boulder looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010 now thinks the culprits are hiding in plain sight — dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide.

The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60 percent from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning, said lead study author Ryan Neely, who led the research as part of his CU-Boulder doctoral thesis. Small amounts of sulfur dioxide emissions from Earth’s surface eventually rise 12 to 20 miles into the stratospheric aerosol layer of the atmosphere, where chemical reactions create sulfuric acid and water particles that reflect sunlight back to space, cooling the planet."

The paper (in press) is Neely et al (2013) Recent anthropogenic increases in SO2 from Asia have minimal impact on stratospheric aerosol.

The abstract reads:

"Observations suggest that the optical depth of the stratospheric aerosol layer between 20 and 30 km has increased 4–10% per year since 2000, which is significant for Earth’s climate. Contributions to this increase both from moderate volcanic eruptions and from enhanced coal burning in Asia have been suggested. Current observations are insufficient to attribute the contribution of the different sources. Here we use a global climate model coupled to an aerosol microphysical model to partition the contribution of each. We employ model runs that include the increases in anthropogenic sulfur dioxide (SO2) over Asia and the moderate volcanic explosive injections of SO2 observed from 2000 to 2010. Comparison of the model results to observations reveals that moderate volcanic eruptions, rather than anthropogenic influences, are the primary source of the observed increases in stratospheric aerosol."

Bottom line: There’s still no consensus from climate scientists about the cause of the slowdown in the warming rate of global surface temperatures.

And of course, the sea surface temperature and ocean heat content reveal another reason: there hadn’t been a strong El Niño to release monumental volumes of warm water from below the surface of the tropical Pacific and shift up the sea surface temperatures of the Atlantic, Indian and West Pacific Oceans.  Refer to my essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” and my ebook Who Turned on the Heat?


Australian senators Keep Hammering the Great Wind Power Fraud

Following almost 6 months of solid graft, 8 hearings in 4 States and the ACT, dozens of witnesses and almost 500 submissions, the Senate Inquiry into the great wind power fraud delivered its ‘doorstop’ final report, which runs to some 350 pages – available here: Senate Report

The first 200 pages are filled with facts, clarity, common sense and compassion; the balance, labelled “Labor’s dissenting report”, was written by the wind industry’s parasites and spruikers – including the Clean Energy Council (these days a front for Infigen aka Babcock & Brown); theAustralian Wind Alliance; and Leigh Ewbank from the Enemies of the Earth.

Predictably, Labor’s dissenting report is filled with fantasy, fallacy and fiction – pumping up the ‘wonders’ of wind; completely ignoring the cost of the single greatest subsidy rort in the history of the Commonwealth; and treating the wind industry’s hundreds of unnecessary victims – of incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound – with the kind of malice, usually reserved for sworn and bitter foreign enemies.

And the wind industry’s stooge on the Inquiry, Anne Urquhart – is still out their fighting a faltering, rearguard action – long after the battle for wind power supremacy was lost – a bit like the tales of ragged, 80 year old Japanese soldiers that kept fighting the Imperial War, until they were dragged out of the jungle and into the 21st Century. Nevermind the facts, when delusion will do!

Among those Senators on the Committee – who pulled no punches in getting the truth out – were Liberal Senator from WA, Chris Back and STT Champion, Liberal Democratic Party Senator, David Leyonhjelm from NSW.

While the wind industry and its parasites have been praying to the Wind-Gods that the whole thing might just ‘blow over’, those Senators on the Inquiry – not in thrall of Infigen, Vestas & Co – are still in there fighting for a fair-go for rural communities, across the Country; and power consumers, everywhere.

Always pleased to disappoint the beleaguered and dwindling band of wind worshippers in this country, STT is delighted that Chris Back and David Leyonhjelm show no sign of letting up.



For more postings from me, see  DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC and AUSTRALIAN POLITICS. Home Pages are   here or   here or   here.  Email me (John Ray) here.  

Preserving the graphics:  Most graphics on this site are hotlinked from elsewhere.  But hotlinked graphics sometimes have only a short life -- as little as a week in some cases.  After that they no longer come up.  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 or here


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