Sunday, March 08, 2009

Censored: The fact that available data contradict a vital Warmist assumption

Because the temperature rise across the entire 20th century was trivial (just over one half of one degree), the best bet is that the rise (if any) over the 21st century will be trivial too. Warmists avoid that obvious truth by postulating various "amplifying" factors that will make the 21st century rise much greater than that seen in the 20th century. And chief nominee as an amplifying factor is cloud cover and water vapour generally. Sadly for the Warmists, evidence is accumulating that those very factors have in fact a minimizing rather than an amplifying effect. The entire edifice of Warmism is built on the sand of an unproven theory which looks like being in fact the reverse of the truth

Garth Paltridge writes:

Back in March of 2008, three of us sent off a manuscript to the Journal of Climate. It was a straightforward paper reporting the trends of humidity in the middle and upper troposphere as they (the trends) appear at face value in the NCEP monthly-average reanalysis data. NCEP data on atmospheric behaviour over the last 50 years are readily available on the web and are something of a workhorse for much modern research on meteorology and climate. The paper did two things:

(1) It pointed out that, according to the NCEP data, the zonal-average tropical and mid-latitude humidities have decreased over the last 35 years at altitudes above the 850mb pressure level - that is, in the middle and upper troposphere, roughly above the top of the convective boundary layer. NCEP humidity information derives ultimately from the international network of balloon-borne radiosondes. And one must say immediately that radiosonde humidity data have more than their fair share of problems. So does the NCEP process of using an operational weather forecasting model to integrate the actual measurements into a meteorologically coherent set of data presented on a regular grid.

(2) It made the point (not an original point, but on the other hand one that is not widely known even among the cognoscenti) that water vapour feedback in the global warming story is very largely determined by the response of water vapour in the middle and upper troposphere. Total water vapour in the atmosphere may increase as the temperature of the surface rises, but if at the same time the mid- to upper-level concentration decreases then water vapour feedback will be negative. (There are hand-waving physical arguments that might explain how a decoupling such as that could occur).

Climate models (for various obscure reasons) tend to maintain constant relative humidity at each atmospheric level, and therefore have an increasing absolute humidity at each level as the surface and atmospheric temperatures increase. This behaviour in the upper levels of the models produces a positive feedback which more than doubles the temperature rise calculated to be the consequence of increasing atmospheric CO2.

The bottom line is that, if (repeat if) one could believe the NCEP data `as is', water vapour feedback over the last 35 years has been negative. And if the pattern were to continue into the future, one would expect water vapour feedback in the climate system to halve rather than double the temperature rise due to increasing CO2.

Satellite data from the HIRS instruments on the NOAA polar orbiting satellites tend (`sort of', only in the tropics, and only for part of the time) to support the climate model story. The `ifs and buts' of satellite information about upper tropospheric humidity are of the same order as that from balloon radiosondes.

Anyway, our paper concluded by suggesting that, in view of the extreme significance of upper-level humidity to the climate change story, the international radiosonde data on upper-level humidity should not be `written off' without a serious attempt at abstracting the best possible humidity signal from within the noise of instrumental and operational changes at each of the relevant radiosonde stations. After all, we are not exactly over-endowed with data on the matter. The attempt would be similar in principle to the current efforts at abstracting a believable global warming signal from the networks of surface-temperature observations.

Suffice it to say that after 3 or 4 months the paper was knocked back. This largely because of an unbelievably vitriolic, and indeed rather hysterical, review from someone who let slip that
"the only object I can see for this paper is for the authors to get something in the peer-reviewed literature which the ignorant can cite as supporting lower climate sensitivity than the standard IPCC range".

We argued a bit with the editor about why he took notice of such a review. We are not exactly novices in the research game, and can say with reasonable authority that when faced with such an emotive review the editor should simply have ignored it and sent the paper off to someone else. The argument didn't get far. In particular we couldn't get a guarantee that a re-submission would not involve the same reviewer. And in any event the conditions for re-submission effectively amounted to a requirement that we first prove the models and the satellites wrong.

A couple of weeks after the knock-back, and for unrelated reasons, two of us went to a small workshop on water vapour held at LDEO in New Jersey, whereat we told the tale. The audience was split as to whether the existence of the NCEP trends in humidity should be reported in the literature. Those `against' (among them a number of people from GISS) simply said that the radiosonde data were too `iffy' to report the trends publicly in a political climate where there are horrible people who might make sinful use of them. Those `for' simply said that scientific reportage shouldn't be constrained by the politically correct. The matter was dropped. I found after the event that the journal editor had come (I think specifically) to hear the talk. He didn't bother to introduce himself.

I guess the story doesn't amount to much. Perhaps it is significant only in that it shows how naive we were to imagine that climate scientists might welcome the challenge to examine properly and in detail even the smell of a possibility that global warming might not be as bad as it is made out to be. Silly us.

After some kerfuffle, the paper was accepted by "Theoretical and Applied Climatology" and appeared on February 26 on the journal's web site. (One can if so inclined, and if one has personal or institutional access to the journal, find it here). We presume it will be ignored.

Being paranoiac from way back, we wonder at the happy chance by which a one-page general-interest article appeared in `Science' on February 20. With some self-referencing, it extolled the virtue of the latest modelling research, and of new(?) satellite observations of short-term, large amplitude, water vapour variability, which (say the authors) strongly support model predictions of long-term positive water vapour feedback. Well, maybe. It would be easy enough to argue against that conclusion. The paranoia arises because of another issue. We know that at least one of the authors is well aware of the contrary story told by the raw balloon data. But there is no mention of it in their article.

More HERE (See the original for links)

Prince Charles: 100 months to save the world

The Prince is undoubtedly well-intentioned but he does talk to trees and other plants so is best regarded with indulgent amusement

The Prince of Wales is to issue a stark warning that nations have "less than 100 months to act" to save the planet from irreversible damage due to climate change. Prince Charles will say that the need to tackle global warming is more urgent than ever before and that, even in a global recession, the world must not lose sight of the "bigger picture". His warning will be delivered on Thursday in a keynote speech in Rio de Janeiro. Aides believe it will echo one he gave in Sao Paulo in 1991 at the start of the last recession, when he warned that caring for the world's long term welfare must not become a "luxury". The intervention will help to put the environment at the top of the political agenda ahead of the meeting of G20 leaders in London next month.

The Prince starts a ten-day tour of South America today during which he will be playing an elevated role as an international statesman working on behalf of the Government to support British interests on key issues. Senior sources have revealed that Gordon Brown's Government wants to make more use on the foreign stage of Prince Charles's experience, expertise and contacts, particularly on climate change. Government officials believe that the Prince's passion to protect the environment is hugely respected abroad and that he can play an increasing important role as he inevitably moves closer to becoming king. Some believe he is an "asset" that has been underused in the past and they want to use him more in a role of "soft diplomacy".

In Thursday's speech, the Prince will warn that a failure to act in the next eight years will have catastrophic effects for the planet. In the country that is home to the world's largest rainforest, Prince Charles will urge world unity to combat deforestation in the run-up to the UN conference on climate change in Copenhagen in December this year. He will say there is not necessarily a clash between the needs of big business and the environment. He will argue that being green can be good for businesses and can create jobs. The Prince will say that tackling deforestation in the 3.5 billion acres of rainforest on the planet is a key priority....

It is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), not the Prince himself, which chooses the location for his royal tours and South America is considered the ideal platform for his views. One Government source said: "The Prince's visit to South America is very much in tune with the priorities that we have. "Given both the Prince's position as a future head of state and his personal commitment to protecting the environment, we believe he can have a real impact abroad"


Where's global warming?

By Jeff Jacoby

SUPPOSE the climate landscape in recent weeks looked something like this: Half the country was experiencing its mildest winter in years, with no sign of snow in many Northern states. Most of the Great Lakes were ice-free. Not a single Canadian province had had a white Christmas. There was a new study discussing a mysterious surge in global temperatures - a warming trend more intense than computer models had predicted. Other scientists admitted that, because of a bug in satellite sensors, they had been vastly overestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice.

If all that were happening on the climate-change front, do you think you'd be hearing about it on the news? Seeing it on Page 1 of your daily paper? Would politicians be exclaiming that global warming was even more of a crisis than they'd thought? Would environmentalists be skewering global-warming "deniers" for clinging to their skepticism despite the growing case against it?

No doubt. But it isn't such hints of a planetary warming trend that have been piling up in profusion lately. Just the opposite. The United States has shivered through an unusually severe winter, with snow falling in such unlikely destinations as New Orleans, Las Vegas, Alabama, and Georgia. On Dec. 25, every Canadian province woke up to a white Christmas, something that hadn't happened in 37 years. Earlier this year, Europe was gripped by such a killing cold wave that trains were shut down in the French Riviera and chimpanzees in the Rome Zoo had to be plied with hot tea. Last week, satellite data showed three of the Great Lakes - Erie, Superior, and Huron - almost completely frozen over. In Washington, D.C., what was supposed to be a massive rally against global warming was upstaged by the heaviest snowfall of the season, which paralyzed the capital.

Meanwhile, the National Snow and Ice Data Center has acknowledged that due to a satellite sensor malfunction, it had been underestimating the extent of Arctic sea ice by 193,000 square miles - an area the size of Spain. In a new study, University of Wisconsin researchers Kyle Swanson and Anastasios Tsonis conclude that global warming could be going into a decades-long remission. The current global cooling "is nothing like anything we've seen since 1950," Swanson told Discovery News. Yes, global cooling: 2008 was the coolest year of the past decade - global temperatures have not exceeded the record high measured in 1998, notwithstanding the carbon-dioxide that human beings continue to pump into the atmosphere.

None of this proves conclusively that a period of planetary cooling is irrevocably underway, or that anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions are not the main driver of global temperatures, or that concerns about a hotter world are overblown. Individual weather episodes, it always bears repeating, are not the same as broad climate trends.

But considering how much attention would have been lavished on a comparable run of hot weather or on a warming trend that was plainly accelerating, shouldn't the recent cold phenomena and the absence of any global warming during the past 10 years be getting a little more notice? Isn't it possible that the most apocalyptic voices of global-warming alarmism might not be the only ones worth listening to?

There is no shame in conceding that science still has a long way to go before it fully understands the immense complexity of the Earth's ever-changing climate(s). It would be shameful not to concede it. The climate models on which so much global-warming alarmism rests "do not begin to describe the real world that we live in," says Freeman Dyson, the eminent physicist and futurist. "The real world is muddy and messy and full of things that we do not yet understand."

But for many people, the science of climate change is not nearly as important as the religion of climate change. When Al Gore insisted yet again at a conference last Thursday that there can be no debate about global warming, he was speaking not with the authority of a man of science, but with the closed-minded dogmatism of a religious zealot. Dogma and zealotry have their virtues, no doubt. But if we want to understand where global warming has gone, those aren't the tools we need.


Anti-CO2 Campaign Like An Atom Bomb On U.S. Economy

By atmospheric physicist S. Fred Singer -- Professor Emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia who also served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service.

The CO2 wars have begun. Presumably following White House directions, the EPA is ready to issue an "Endangerment Finding" on carbon dioxide, paving the way for regulations to control CO2 emissions. But with over one million "major stationary sources," a full-blown application of the Clean Air Act would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the US economy - all without any scientific justification. Hence there is speculation that the White House strategy is to use the threat of EPA regulation to force Congress to take action.

The CO2 wars have begun. Presumably following White House directions, the EPA is ready to issue an "Endangerment Finding" on carbon dioxide, paving the way for regulations to control CO2 emissions. But with over one million "major stationary sources," a full-blown application of the Clean Air Act would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the US economy - all without any scientific justification. Hence there is speculation that the White House strategy is to use the threat of EPA regulation to force Congress to take action.

Is this just a bluff - and how will Congress respond, in view of the financial meltdown, failure of emission-trading in Europe, and Chinese refusal to cut CO2 emissions? The answer seems to be: "Not this year!"

An endangerment finding that CO2 is detrimental to "health and human welfare" must be based on scientific facts - and they will certainly be disputed. Furthermore, in July 2008 the EPA issued an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and there have been many negative comments to which the EPA must respond - under threat of litigation.

So, proposed action by EPA is not a "done deal" and may only be an empty threat. Many in Congress understand these matters well - or should. With fossil fuels supplying over 85 percent of all energy in the US, there will be much hesitation before passing any CO2 legislation. Keep in mind also that the Senate once turned down Kyoto-like regulation by unanimous vote and recently defeated attempts to pass Cap & Trade bills to place national limits on CO2 emission - a costly method of rationing, even if emission permits can be traded.

Short of direct regulation by mandates, Cap & Trade is probably the worst possible scheme, involving not only reporting of emissions, monitoring, inspection, and punishment, but also special deals for favored industries and other parties. Some in Congress therefore like the idea of Cap & Trade, which does not sound like a tax but would cost even more. The White House estimate is $650 billion over an eight-year period. And of course, it would be an open invitation to lobby Congress for special favors: the "Lobbyists Full Employment Act of 2009."

One of the worst features of Cap & Trade is the idea of "soft caps," which would allow Congress to increase the yearly allowance if the price for permits seems too high. In essence, anyone who bought emission permits for future use could find his investment nullified by Act of Congress. This feature alone may scuttle the legislation.

Professional economists, in and out of the government, prefer a straight carbon tax to Cap & Trade: it is more transparent, easier to administrate, and less subject to abuse. But here too Congress can legislate exemptions - as it does for any other tax. For example, should fire departments and police departments pay a carbon tax on their fuel use? Should hospitals? Clergy? Department of Defense?

A carbon tax would of course represent a huge subsidy - not only to uneconomic biofuels, like corn-based ethanol, but also to nuclear energy. Environmental lobbies would object and soon argue for an all-encompassing energy tax - not just on fossil fuels. But of course, they would try to exempt biofuels, wind and solar.

Perhaps the only tax that makes sense is a tax on motor fuels, principally gasoline - even if one is not concerned about global warming. It would reduce the amount of driving, decrease oil use and imports, congestion and traffic deaths. It could be raised gradually, perhaps to the four-dollar level of last year, and kept there - independent of the price of crude oil. It could be made revenue-neutral and used to eliminate other regressive taxes.

But why reduce CO2 emission at all?

* CO2 is not a "pollutant." The best evidence we have from climate science shows that any warming from the emission of greenhouse gases is insignificant - contrary to claims by the UN-IPCC. See the NIPCC report, Nature Not Human Activity Rules the Climate, at

* The climate has not been warming since 1998 - in spite of steadily rising CO2 levels. But even if it were warming, reputable economists have shown that it would yield overall benefits. For details, see the NIPCC report.

* Finally, the level of CO2 is now largely controlled by emissions from China. But even if all nations were to cut emissions according to the Kyoto Protocol, CO2 levels would continue to rise, albeit at a slightly slower rate.

We conclude therefore that the drive to reduce CO2 emissions is not concern about climate. After all, there are no comparable efforts to limit the global emission of methane, a potent greenhouse gas; perhaps because methane comes from farming and cattle-raising, while CO2 is associated with energy production and industry, and therefore considered "bad."

Ultimately, ideology may be what's fueling the CO2 wars.


China ignores the hysterics

Comment below from a German pro-Warmist publication

It sounds like wishful thinking: The United States, under new President Barack Obama, forges an alliance with China to combat emissions. The world's two largest sources of carbon dioxide finally face the problem. The treaty crowns the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen at the end of 2009, when a successor agreement to the Kyoto Protocol -- which, as everyone knows, the United States never ratified -- will be adopted. Third World countries and emerging economies never had to do it, but in Copenhagen rising economic powers like China make a binding commitment to curb their emissions. It probably is wishful thinking. It has almost nothing to do with reality.

"Many Western industrialized nations want China to commit to reducing its CO2 emissions," says Dabo Guan of the Electricity Policy Research Group at the University of Cambridge in England. "But the country will not even be capable of doing so." Guan, a native of China, together with colleagues from Norway and the US, have published several studies on the issue, most recently in the academic journal Geophysical Research Letters (GRL). The scientists base their conclusions primarily on the latest data compiled by the International Energy Agency (IEA) and China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The outcome of their analyses is unsettling. Even with substantial increases in efficiency and the broad introduction of climate-friendly energy technologies, China's CO2 emissions, they claim, will almost double in the next two decades compared with 2002 levels.

China is already the world's fourth-largest economy. It will continue to expand at a steady pace even though the financial crisis has somewhat tempered its previously booming growth. There will be more city and road construction, infrastructure and transportation projects, as well as expanding industrial production. China opened 47 new airports between 1990 and 2002, and its highway network grew by 800,000 kilometers (500,000 miles) from 1981 to 2002. By 2030, China's population is expected to have grown from 1.3 to 1.5 billion people. More and more urban households will adopt a Western lifestyle by then, complete with air-conditioning, refrigerators, television sets, computers and other appliances.

This will steeply drive up energy demand in China. The IEA and NBS predict that to satisfy this demand, the country's power plants will have to supply more than 8,600 terawatts of electricity in 2030 -- about three times as much as in 2006.


The week in Warmism

By Christopher Booker, writing from Britain

How odd that, last Monday, none of our media global warming groupies should have bothered to report what was billed to be "the largest ever demonstration for civil disobedience over climate change". There was talk of hundreds of thousands of protestors converging on Washington to hear Jim Hansen, the scientist who talks of coal-fired power stations as "factories of death", call yet again for all coal plants to be closed. Perhaps the lack of coverage was due to the fact that, before Hansen arrived to address a forlorn group of several hundred hippies, Washington was blanketed in nearly a foot of snow.

It was generally another bad week for the warmists. The Met Office, which has been one of the chief pushers of the global warming scare for 20 years, had to admit that this has been "Britain's coldest winter for 13 years", despite its prediction last September that the winter would be "milder than average". This didn't of course stop it predicting that 2009 will be one of "the top-five warmest years on record".

US climate sceptics such as those on the Watts Up With That website, for whom the predictions of the UK Met Office have become a regular source of amusement, recalled its forecast that 2007 would be "the warmest year on record globally", just before global temperatures dived by nearly a full degree Celsius, cancelling out the entire net warming of the past 100 years.

Ever wilder wax the beleaguered warmists in their rhetoric. Our science minister Lord Drayson said last week he was "shocked" to find how many of the captains of industry he meets are "climate deniers". This was the same Lord Drayson who, as our defence procurement minister, assured Parliament in 2006 that Snatch Land Rovers afforded "the level of protection we need". The continuing death toll of soldiers in these unprotected vehicles approaches 40.

Even Drayson is outbid, however, by the groupies in The Guardian, who now suggest that people like Christopher Booker should no longer be compared to "Holocaust deniers" but consigned to even more outer darkness by branding them as climate "Creationists", the dirtiest word they know. Meanwhile at the University of the West of England in Bristol this weekend, a conference of "eco-psychologists", led by a professor, are solemnly exploring the notion that "climate change denial" should be classified as a form of "mental disorder".

I myself am off this weekend to New York, to join all the top "deniers", "creationists" and victims of psychic disorder at a conference organised by the Heartland Institute. It is an honour to be asked to speak alongside such luminaries as Professor Richard Lindzen of MIT, Dr Fred Singer, founder of the US satellite weather forecasting service, and the Czech President, Vaclav Klaus (not to mention those two revered climate bloggers, Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit and Anthony Watts). I shall report on this historic event next week.



For more postings from me, see DISSECTING LEFTISM, TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.


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