Sunday, August 19, 2007


New research from Stephen Schwartz of Brookhaven National Lab concludes that the Earth's climate is only about one-third as sensitive to carbon dioxide as the IPCC assumes. Schwartz's study is "in press" at the Journal of Geophysical Research and you can download a preprint of the study here.

According to Schwartz's results, which are based on the empirical relationship between trends in surface temperature and ocean heat content, doubling the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere would result in a 1.1oC increase in average temperature (0.1 to 2.1oC, two standard deviation uncertainty range). Schwartz's result is 63% lower than the IPCC's estimate of 3oC for a doubling of CO2 (2.0 to 4.5oC, 2SD range).

Right now we're about 41% above the estimated pre-industrial CO2 level of 270 ppm. At the current rate of increase of about 0.55% per year, CO2 will double around 2070. Based on Schwartz's results, we should expect about a 0.6oC additional increase in temperature between now and 2070 due to this additional CO2. That doesn't seem particularly alarming. A couple of other interesting implications of Schwartz's results:

* Aerosols have a relatively small effect on temperature. A doubling of CO2 has an estimated climate "forcing" of 2.7 watts per square centimeter (W/cm2). In contrast, actual aerosol concentrations during the 20th Century had a forcing of -0.3 W/cm2 with a large uncertainty range that could mean either net cooling or net warming from aerosols.

* The response time, or "time constant", of the climate to greenhouse gas forcing is relatively small -- only five years. In other words, there's hardly any additional warming "in the pipeline" from previous greenhouse gas emissions. This is in contrast to the IPCC, which predicts that the Earth's average temperature will rise an additional 0.6oC during the 21st Century even if greenhouse gas concentrations stopped increasing.

Schwartz is careful to include the appropriate caveats to his results. But he also shows that his estimates are consistent with much of the previous literature on the subject. His study also has the virtue of relying largely on empirical measurements of actual climate behavior during the 20th Century, rather than on climate models.

Stephen Schwartz is a pretty mainstream climate scientist. Yet along with dozens of other studies in the scientific literature, his new study belies Al Gore's claim that there is no legitimate scholarly alternative to climate catastrophism. Indeed, if Schwartz's results are correct, that alone would be enough to overturn in one fell swoop the IPCC's scientific "consensus", the environmentalists' climate hysteria, and the political pretext for the energy-restriction policies that have become so popular with the world's environmental regulators, elected officials, and corporations. The question is, will anyone in the mainstream media notice?


Weakening Gulf Stream story debunked again

In the north Atlantic, warm surface waters flow northward and eastward from the Florida Strait, and the northward flows return as southward-flowing deep water. This meridional overturning circulation (MOC) transports huge quantities of heat from low to high northern latitudes. Global climate models have suggested that the flux of water transported might be decreased by global warming, which could have an important effect on climate, particularly that of Europe.

However, there has not been a sufficiently long or detailed observational record to evaluate whether significant weakening has occurred (see the Perspective by Church). Cunningham et al. (p. 935) and Kanzow et al. (p. 938) now provide annual records of the strength of the MOC using an array of moored instruments deployed across the Atlantic basin at a latitude of 26.5 degrees N. The strength of the MOC varied by more than a factor of 8 during a 1-year period from a low of 4.0 sverdrups (1 Sv equals 1 million cubic meters per second) to a high of 34.9 Sv, with an average flow of 18.7 ¤ 5.6 Sv. Fluctuations of the different transport components of the MOC largely compensate each other, which means that robust estimates of the flow can be made over intra-annual periods.

Thus, an earlier claim that the MOC has decreased by 8 Sv during the past decade, made on the basis of only a few instantaneous measurements during that period, was premature and reflected short-term natural variability.



In retrospect, you knew there would be trouble when you put the people responsible for the Space Shuttle program in charge of tracking U.S. temperatures. So perhaps it shouldn't have come as a big surprise when it was revealed that NASA committed a bit of an oopsie regarding data constantly used by the mainstream media and other global warming proponents.

If you follow the global warming debate, you "know" that nine of the ten warmest years recorded in the U.S. lower 48 since 1880 have occurred since 1995, with the very hottest being 1998. But whaddya know! Those figures are wrong. Data from NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) now show the hottest year since 1880 was 1934. Nineteen-ninety-eight dropped to second, while the third hottest year was way back in 1921. Indeed, four of the 10 hottest years were in the 1930s, while only three were in the past decade. The real 15 hottest years are spread over seven decades. Eight occurred before the chief "greenhouse gas," atmospheric carbon dioxide, began its sharp rise; seven occurred afterwards.

Rush Limbaugh was incorrect in saying the new figures are "just more evidence" that "this whole global warming thing is a scientific hoax." Conversely, global warming hotheads are also wrong in insisting the revelation belongs in a game of Trivial Pursuit. The GISS, which is directed by global warming guru James Hansen, is saying likewise. They're wrong, in part because of the importance of the data and in part because of what might be labeled a cover-up.

In pooh-poohing the revision, the GISS ignores the tremendous emotional impact it's had in practically claiming each year is hotter than the one before. Instead it observes (correctly) since the U.S. accounts for merely two percent of global land surface, a relatively small adjustment in its figures doesn't meaningfully impact the global picture.

But, notes Canadian mathematician Stephen McIntyre, who exposed the false figures, "The Hansen error ... has a significant impact on the GISS estimate of U.S. temperature history ..." (Emphasis added.) Is this important because we're a major world power or that we produce the best fried chicken? No, it's important because we have a far more sophisticated system of temperature monitoring than countries with far larger land masses. Hence, data from each of these nations affect the global model more than the American data.

"Many of the stations in China, Indonesia, Brazil and elsewhere are in urban areas," observes McIntyre. This can produce hotter temperatures, yet some of the major trackers of the data from these countries, including the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration, make no attempt to adjust for monitor placement errors. In any event, for some reason "the U.S. history has a rather minimal (warming) trend if any since the 1930s, while the ROW [rest of the world] has a very pronounced trend since the 1930s."

Thus if the U.S. model, by far the most accurate one, became the model, it would be a gut punch to those claiming we must take drastic, horrifically expense measures right now to ameliorate warming. Therefore, for the GISS to say this "only" affects the U.S. data is rather like a used car salesman insisting, "This automobile defect is trivial; it only affects steering and braking."

Then there's the issue of how the revised data came about and came to light. McIntyre discovered an error in GISS records for the years 2000 through 2006. In simplest terms, they hadn't been adjusted to compensate for the location or time of day where the data was gathered. Nobody at GISS ever correlated those newer figures with the older ones until McIntyre did, even though later Hansen admitted it was "easy to fix."

McIntyre published the data on his own website and got the agency to admit it was wrong and post new figures. Yet the GISS did absolutely nothing to alert scientists or the public to the new figures. This though it has published five global warming press releases so far this year, each one alarming. It took the blogosphere and radio talk show hosts to publicize the new figures even as the mainstream media initially ignored it.

Ultimately the greatest importance of all of this is that it strongly appears to substantiate the intuitive belief that, with scientist-politician Hansen at the helm the GISS, whose data are far more important to modeling global temperatures to and hence global warming policy to than it lets on, is not a neutral collector and disseminator of statistics but rather a politicized mouthpiece.



In an intriguing Climate Change report in Science, Wentz et al. (2007) note that the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, as well as various climate modeling analyses, predict an increase in precipitation on the order of 1 to 3% per øC of surface global warming. Hence, they decided to see what has happened in the real world in this regard over the last 19 years (1987-2006) of supposedly unprecedented global warming, when data from the Global Historical Climatology Network and satellite measurements of the lower troposphere have indicated a global temperature rise on the order of 0.20øC per decade.

Using satellite observations obtained from the Special Sensor Microwave Imager (SSM/I), the four Remote Sensing Systems scientists derived precipitation trends for the world's oceans over this period; and using data obtained from the Global Precipitation Climatology Project that were acquired from both satellite and rain gauge measurements, they derived precipitation trends for the earth's continents.

Appropriately combining the results of these two endeavors, they then derived a real-world increase in precipitation on the order of 7% per øC of surface global warming, which is somewhere between 2.3 and 7 times larger than what is predicted by state-of-the-art climate models. How was this horrendous discrepancy to be resolved? Based on theoretical considerations, Wentz et al. concluded that the only way to bring the two results into harmony with each other was for there to have been a 19-year decline in global wind speeds. But when looking at the past 19 years of SSM/I wind retrievals, they found just the opposite, i.e., an increase in global wind speeds.

In quantitative terms, in fact, the two results were about as opposite as they could possibly be, as they report that "when averaged over the tropics from 30øS to 30øN, the winds increased by 0.04 m s-1 (0.6%) decade-1, and over all oceans the increase was 0.08 m s-1 (1.0%) decade-1," while global coupled ocean-atmosphere models or GCMs, in their words, "predict that the 1987-to-2006 warming should have been accompanied by a decrease in winds on the order of 0.8% decade-1."

In discussing these embarrassing results, Wentz et al. correctly state that "the reason for the discrepancy between the observational data and the GCMs is not clear." They also rightly state that this dramatic difference between the real world of nature and the virtual world of climate modeling "has enormous impact," concluding that the questions raised by the discrepancy "are far from being settled."

We agree. And until these "enormous impact questions" are settled, we wonder how anyone could conceivably think of acting upon the global energy policy prescriptions of the likes of Al Gore and James Hansen, who speak and write as if there was little more to do in the realm of climate-change prediction than a bit of fine-tuning.


Australian Federal Parliamentary report derides 'Global Warming'

There has been quite a media blackout on this so I am pleased to have finally found a lead-in to the report

The Australian Federal Parliament's Standing Committee on Science and Innovation recently completed a report entitled Between a Rock and a Hard Place, on the subject of "Geosequestration of Carbon Dioxide". However, four members of that committee have issued a "Dissenting Report" which devastates the Committee's major premise-that mankind causes global warming.

The dissenting MPs are former CSIRO scientist Dr. Dennis Jensen, Hon Jackie Kelly, Hon Danna Vale and Mr. David Tollner. Their report was compiled with the assistance of a number of leading scientists, including climate scientist Dr. John Christy, former lead author of the IPCC. It is a must read for anyone concerned with the subject.

They state at the very outset that, "We disagree with the report's unequivocal support for the hypothesis that global warming is caused by man-so-called anthropogenic global warming (AGW). We are concerned that the Committee's report strays well outside its terms of reference. In fact, the committee did not take any evidence relating to anthropogenic global warming."

Some of the chief points of their refutation include:

* Global warming is observed on other planets or moons, including Mars, Jupiter, Triton, Pluto, Neptune and others. Did man cause this?

* That the so-called "overwhelming consensus" embodied in the IPCC report has nothing to do with science, nor does such a consensus even exist. It is in fact drawn from its "Summary for Policymakers" which was written by politicians, not by scientists, and its supposed "90% certainty" is backed up by nothing in the report, but is merely a "consensus opinion arrived at by IPCC bureaucrats"; and, in any case, so-called "democratic consensus" is entirely opposed to scientific method. "Consensus", for instance, once held that the earth was at the centre of the universe, and that it was flat.

* That the "Stern Review" upon which the Committee based its majority report, was drafted by a man who "acknowledges that he had zero understanding of the issue less than one year before the Stern Review . It is staggering that someone with essentially no scientific knowledge on greenhouse effect, within less than one year, had acquired the scientific knowledge to state that the 'scientific evidence is now overwhelming'."

"Indeed, if one paragraph clearly illustrates the one sided nature of this report," the dissenters say, "it is paragraph 5.59. Here, we have a captain of industry (Rupert Murdoch), who, by his own admission is not a scientist, quoted regarding his view on anthropogenic global warming and the need to take action", citing Murdoch's claims that "climate change poses clear catastrophic threats."

There is much more, on glaciers, rising sea levels, Australia's rainfall patterns, etc., and the report is extensively footnoted. It may be accessed here



The Lockwood paper was designed to rebut Durkin's "Great Global Warming Swindle" film but it is in fact an absolute gift to climate atheists. What the paper says was of course all well-known already but the concession from a Greenie source that fluctuations in the output of the sun have driven climate change for all but the last 20 years really is invaluable. And the one fact that the paper documents so well -- that solar output is on the downturn -- is also hilarious, given its source. Surely even a crazed Greenie mind must see that the sun's influence has not stopped and that reduced solar output will soon start COOLING the earth! Unprecedented July 2007 cold weather throughout the Southern hemisphere might even be the first sign that the cooling is happening. And the fact that warming plateaued in 1998 is also a good sign that we are moving into a cooling phase. As is so often the case, the Greenies have got the danger exactly backwards. See my post of 7.14.07 for more detail on the Lockwood paper

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