Posts Tagged ‘carbon dioxide’

Solar and ocean cycles – without any CO2 influence – are sufficient to explain climate changes

December 7, 2013
  1. The de Vries solar cycle together with the AMO/PDO are sufficient to explain the main climate variations of the last 1000 years
  2. It is unnecessary to invoke carbon dioxide and its effects to explain the climate cycles
  3. The 21st century will see an underlying cooling due to the de Vries cycle and then modulated by the AMO/PDO. 

The 200-210 year de Vries solar cycle (also known as the Suess cycle)  has been postulated for some time (here and here for example)  as being one of the main natural cycles governing our climate.  The effect of the de Vries cycle can be traced back through the glacial record through many millenia and even through geologic ages. Many solar effects work on climate through ocean cycles. The Atlantic/Pacific Oscillations are well known as  drivers of climate and can be traced back through at least about 1500 years. The Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) has a period of about 66 years while the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) has a slightly shorter cycle of 60 years.

The entire hypothesis that carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere and therefore human emissions of carbon dioxide are responsible for “global warming” is based on the argument that nothing else can explain the warming witnessed during the 20th century. Yet this is not just conjecture it is a fantasy based on ignoring the effect of the natural cycles that are known to exist. In fact there is no need to invoke carbon dioxide concentration to explain the ups and down of climate. German researchers have now shown that just the de Vries Cycle together with the AMO and the PDO are quite sufficient. The period in the 1970’s and 1980’s often used as the foundation for “global warming” theory can be quite sufficiently explained by the AMO/PDO.

Just as we had about 100 years of an underlying warming due to the de Vries cycle in the 20th century, we are in for an underlying cooling through the 21st century in response to the de Vries solar cycle. This underlying trend will be modulated by the ups and downs of the AMO and the PDO. Carbon dioxide concentrations are largely irrelevant. 

The following is from an article at NoTricksZone:

German Scientists Show Climate Driven By Natural Cycles – Global Temperature To Drop To 1870 Levels By 2100!

by Prof. H. Luedecke and C.O. Weiss (Original German version here).

We reported recently about our spectral analysis work of European temperatures [1] which shows that during the last centuries all climate changes were caused by periodic (i.e. natural) processes. Non-periodic processes like a warming through the monotonic increase of CO2 in the atmosphere could cause at most 0.1° to 0.2° warming for a doubling of the CO2 content, as it is expected for 2100.

Fig. 1 (Fig. 6 of [1] ) shows the measured temperatures (blue) and the temperatures reconstructed using the 6 strongest frequency components (red) of the Fourier spectrum, indicating that the temperature history is determined by periodic processes only.

On sees from Fig. 1 that two cycles of periods 200+ years and ~65 years dominate the climate changes, the 200+ year cycle causing the largest part of the temperature increase since 1870.

EIKE_2

Fig. 1: Construction of temperatures using the 6 strongest Fourier components (red), European temperatures from instrumental measurements (blue). It is apparent that only a 200+ year cycle and a ~65 year cycle play a significant role.

The ~65 year cycle is the well-known, much studied, and well understood “Atlantic/Pacific oscillation” (AMO/PDO).  It can be traced back for 1400 years. The AMO/PDO has no external forcing it is “intrinsic dynamics”, an “oscillator”.

Although the spectral analysis of the historical instrumental temperature measurements [1] show a strong 200+ year period, it cannot be inferred with certainty from these measurements, since only 240 years of measurement data are available. However, the temperatures obtained from the Spannagel stalagmite show this periodicity as the strongest climate variation by far since about 1100 AD.

……….

Summary

The analysis of solar activity proves the existence and the strength of the 200+ year periodicity which we found from historical temperature measurements, as well as from the Spannagel stalagmite data. This 200+ year cycle is apparently the one known as “de Vries cycle”.

This solar “de Vries cycle together with the AMO/PDO determine practically completely the global climate of the past  (Fig. 1) and the coming time. A significant influence of CO2 on the climate thus has to be excluded. This latter is not surprising in view of the small amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and its weak infrared absorption cross section (also in view of the various proves of NEGATIVE water feedback).

The present “stagnation” of global temperature (Fig. 5) is essentially due to the AMO/PDO: the solar de Vries cycle is presently at its maximum. Around this maximum it changes negligibly. The AMO/PDO is presently beyond its maximum, corresponding to the small decrease of global temperature. Its next minimum will be 2035. The temperature can expected to be then similar to the last AMO/PDO minimum of 1940. Due to the de Vries cycle, the global temperature will drop until 2100 to a value corresponding to the “little ice age” of 1870.

It accounts for the long temperature rise since 1870. One may note, that the stronger temperature increase from the 1970s to the 1990s, which is “officially” argued to prove warming by CO2, is essentially due to the AMO/PDO cycle.

[1] H.Luedecke, A. Hempelmann, C.O. Weiss; Clim. Past.  9  (2013) p 447

[2] F. Steinhilber, J. Beer; Journ. Geophys. Res.: Space Physics  118  (2013) p 1861

UN Climate Conference over – Fortunately nothing was achieved!

November 24, 2013

The UN Climate Conference in Warsaw is over.  We are told that agreement was reached on a compromise. The countries agreed not to make commitments but instead that they would all make “contributions”. To make sure that agreement was reached these contributions are not legally binding. Moreover each nation is only required to specify its “contribution” by the first quarter of 2015 –  if it feels able to. The method of measurement or monitoring the contribution is left to each nation!

The agreement is that each nation may do as it pleases.

Developing countries “believe” in global warming only because they think they can get money from the developed world if they seem to do so. There has been no global warming for 17 years. The supposed link between carbon dioxide and global temperature is well and truly broken. Nobody with any sense believes any longer that any measures taken by any or all countries to cut carbon dioxide emissions can have any impact on our climate. But the UN and political correctness continues with this fiction. Developed countries are no longer prepared to allow the political correctness of global warming and carbon dioxide emissions to lose even more jobs than have already been lost. The vested interests in this fiction and the carbon industry that has sprung up in the last 2 decades are well entrenched – from academia to “green” politicians to lobbyists to “green activists” and to the various industries tied to trying to get rid of fossil fuels. Yet, coal consumption globally has increased by over 80% in the last 10 years and global temperatures have actually declined.

But still some 10,000 bureaucrats and politicians and another 5,000 workers in academia and about twice as many lobbyists and environmentalists travel from one UN conference to the next and achieve nothing but merely plan for the next conference. It seems success is measured by making no commitments whatsoever except to have another conference.

THE UN COP19 conference in Warsaw has ended. Fortunately nothing was achieved. The conferences are now on life-support and being kept alive for nothing other than to keep the conference supporters in jobs. It is time to pull the plug and let these conferences die.

USA Today: 

Avoiding a last-minute breakdown, annual United Nations climate talks limped forward Saturday with a modest set of decisions meant to pave the way for a new pact to fight global warming.

More than 190 countries agreed in Warsaw to start preparing “contributions” for the new deal, which is supposed to be adopted in 2015. That term was adopted after China and India objected to the word “commitments” in a standoff with the U.S. and other developed countries.

The fast-growing economies say they are still developing countries and shouldn’t have to take on as strict commitments to cut carbon emissions as industrialized nations.

The conference also advanced a program to reduce deforestation and established a “loss and damage” mechanism to help island states and other vulnerable countries under threat from rising seas, extreme weather and other climate impacts.

The wording was vague enough to make developed countries feel comfortable that they weren’t going to be held liable for climate catastrophes in the developing world.

U.S. and other rich countries also resisted demands to put down firm commitments on how they plan to fulfill a pledge to scale up climate financing to developing countries to $100 billion by 2020.

It looks like everybody succeeded very well in making no commitments of any substance and they have all agreed to have another conference.

Execution rather than euthanasia is called for.

Volcanic CO2 Levels Are Staggering

November 18, 2013

The carbon balance of the earth is far less understood – or quantified – than “climate scientists” would have us believe. The two largest sources and sinks (forests and the oceans) are generally assumed to be largely in balance. Volcanoes are estimated to produce a very small amount of carbon dioxide. Carbon in rocks brought up from the deep mantle by tectonic activities are assumed to be in balance with the return of sediments and rocks into the deep mantle by subduction. These assumed balances of the big numbers means that the relatively small numbers for emissions from fossil fuel combustion and changing land use then become dominant in explaining the observed increase of carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. But these assumptions include many uncertainties:

Carbon dioxide emission sources (GT CO2/year)

  • Transpiration 440
  • Release from oceans 330
  • Fossil fuel combustion 26
  • Changing land use 6
  • Volcanoes and weathering 1

Carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere by about 15 GT CO2/ year. The accuracy of the amounts of carbon dioxide emitted by transpiration and by the oceans is no better than about 2 – 3% and that error band (+/- 20GT/year)  is itself almost as large as the total amount of emissions from fossil fuels.

But it now appears that even the carbon dioxide emissions from volcanoes have been grossly underestimated. Not only have the emissions from erupting volcanoes been underestimated but it also seems that many volcanoes emit carbon dioxide almost continuously and invisibly (a diffuse degassing).

Volcanic CO2 Levels Are Staggering 

Robin Wylie, University College London   |   October 15, 2013

…. Until the end of the 20th century, the academic consensus was that this volcanic output was tiny — a fiery speck against the colossal anthropogenic footprint. Recently, though, volcanologists have begun to reveal a hidden side to our leaking planet.

Exactly how much CO2 passes through the magmatic vents in our crust might be one of the most important questions that Earth science can answer. Volcanoes may have been overtaken in the carbon stakes, but in order to properly assess the consequences of human pollution, we need the reference point of the natural background. And we’re getting there; the last twenty years have seen huge steps in our understanding of how, and how much COleaves the deep Earth. But at the same time, a disturbing pattern has been emerging.

In 1992, it was thought that volcanic degassing released something like 100 million tons of COeach year. Around the turn of the millennium, this figure was getting closer to 200. The most recent estimate, released this February, comes from a team led by Mike Burton, of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology – and it’s just shy of 600 million tons. It caps a staggering trend: A six-fold increase in just two decades. ……

….. As scientific progress is widening our perspective, the daunting outline of how little we really know about volcanoes is beginning to loom large. ….

…. We now know that the CO2 released during volcanic eruptions is almost insignificant compared with what happens after the camera crews get bored. The emissions that really matter are concealed. The silent, silvery plumes which are currently winding their way skyward above the 150 or so active volcanoes on our planet also carry with them the bulk of its carbon dioxide. Their coughing fits might catch the eye — but in between tantrums, the steady breathing of volcanoes quietly sheds upwards of a quarter of a billion tons of CO2 every year. 

We think. Scientists’ best estimates, however, are based on an assumption. It might surprise you to learn that, well into the new century, of the 150 smokers I mentioned, almost 80 percent are still as mysterious, in terms of the quantity of CO2 they emit, as they were a generation ago: We’ve only actually measured 33.

If the 117 unsampled peaks follow a similar trend, then the research community’s current projection might stand. But looking through such a small window, there’s no way of knowing if what we have seen until now is typical or not. It’s like shining a light on a darkened globe: randomly, you might hit Australia, and think you’d seen it all – while on the edge of your beam, unnoticed, would be Asia. Our planet’s isolated volcanic frontiers could easily be hiding a monster or two; and with a bit of exploration, our estimate of volcanic CO2 output could rise even higher.

You’d think that would be enough. That might be my fault — I tend to save the weird stuff until the end. Recently, an enigmatic source of volcanic carbon has come to light that isn’t involved with lava — or even craters. It now seems that not only is there CO2 we can’t get to, there’s some we can’t even see.

Carbon dioxide is always invisible, but its presence can be inferred in volcanic plumes — betrayed by the billowing clouds of water vapour released alongside it. Without the water, though, it’s a different story. The new poster-child of planetary degassing is diffuse CO2 — invisible emanations which can occur across vast areas surrounding the main vents of a volcano, rising through the bulk of the mountains. This transparent haze is only just beginning to receive proper attention, and as such we have very little idea of how much it might contribute to the global output.

Even more incredibly, it even seems that some volcanoes which are considered inactive, in terms of their potential to ooze new land, can still make some serious additions to the atmosphere through diffuse COrelease. Residual magma beneath dormant craters, though it might never reach the surface, can still ‘erupt’ gases from a distance. Amazingly, from what little scientists have measured, it looks like this process might give off as much as half the CO2 put out by fully active volcanoes.

If these additional ‘carbon-active’ volcanoes are included, the number of degassing peaks skyrockets to more than 500. Of which we’ve measured a grand total of nine percent.

Related: Deep Carbon Emissions from Volcanoes

 

Broken link between carbon dioxide and global warming could be causing a paradigm shift in climate change theory

November 1, 2013

Dr. David Stockwell writing in Quadrant suggests that a paradigm shift in global warming theory may be underway.

Remember Thomas Kuhn and his paradigm shift?  According to his Structure of Scientific Revolutions, theories change only when anomalous observations stress the ”dominant paradigm” to the point that it becomes untenable. Until then, failure of a result to conform to the prevailing paradigm is not seen as refuting the dominant theory, but explained away as a mistake of the researchers, errors in the data, within the range of uncertainty, and so on. Only at the point of crisis does science become open to a new paradigm.  So, does Kuhn inform the current climate debate, help identify important information or an alternative paradigm?

The link between carbon dioxide concentrations and global warming effects is not based on any direct evidence. It is based on the absorption spectrum of the gas and then on assumptions about the “forcing” caused by the trace amounts of the gas in the atmosphere on other parameters such as clouds. This assumed impact is “confirmed” by correlations between global temperature (or temperature proxies) and carbon dioxide concentration and the assumption that anthropogenic effects (fossil fuel combustion)  dominate the undoubted increase of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.  It is said that there is no better correlation but that is not true. Ocean cycles have been shown to have a much stronger correlation. But this assumed link is now looking decidedly shaky as long-ignored parameters (solar effects and the oceans) are also taken into account. Carbon dioxide concentrations have been increasing steadily but global temperatures have remained still for the last 17 – 18 years. In fact over the last 10 years global temperatures have shown a slight decline. Climate models have used the assumed carbon dioxide effect as input. But the predictions they have made about antarctic ice extent, sea level, hurricanes and stormy weather and hot spots in the troposphere have all proved wrong. Real global temperatures are increasingly diverging from these model results. The increase of information is increasing the uncertainty which is very odd.

Climate models can be seen as encapsulating the dominant theory, even though they are composed of many different theories regarding land, the ocean and atmosphere.  Despite their differences they are also similar in many ways, sharing terminology such as the ‘radiative kernel’.  Lets agree, for the purpose of argument, that the dominant AGW paradigm is of global temperature’s high sensitivity to  CO2 doubling, resulting in an increase of around 3°C, which appears to be about the central estimate of the climate models.

Does the 15-year ‘pause’ in global temperatures stress this theory? Certainly to some, the stress has already reached a ‘crisis’; while to others the divergence can be explained away by natural variation, uncertainty, and errors in the data. 

Do failed models and their predictions of increasing extreme events, like hurricanes, droughts and floods, stress the climate models?  Possibly not.  From a physical perspective, these phenomena lie at the boundaries of the theory.  Hurricanes, droughts and floods are ‘higher order’ statistics — extremes not climate averages. Surface temperature is only a part of the greater global climate system. Because anomalous behavior at the margins can be discarded without sacrificing the main theory, their power to confirm or reject the dominant paradigm is somewhat limited. 

Ocean heat content, however, is in a unique position.  The world’s oceans store over 90% of the heat in the climate system.  Arguably, therefore, increases in ocean heat determine overall global warming.  Ocean heat represents the physical bulk of the global heat store, and so should carry the most weight in our assessment of the status of AGW. Observations of ocean heat uptake represent the crucial experiment  — observations capable of decisively dismantling a theory despite its widespread acceptance in the scientific community.  The ARGO project to monitor ocean heat with thousands of drifting buoys is the crucial experiment of the AGW stable. 

A number of climate bloggers have remarked on the very low rate of ocean heat uptake (here, and here, and here), much lower than predicted by the models (herehere, and here).  The last link is about Nic Lewis, a coauthor on Otto et al. 2013, who feels that recent findings of low climate sensitivity, many based on ocean heat content, have led a number of prominent IPCC authors to abandon the higher estimates of climate sensitivity. That may not be a ‘catastrophe’ for the dominant AGW paradigm, but it is certainly a lurch by insiders towards the lower ends of risk and urgency. 

The IPCC panel preparing the AR5 report may not have been devastated when they changed the likely range of climate sensitivity, which had stood at 4.5–2°C since 1990. The lower extimate has now been dropped from 2°C to 1.5°C. What has not been appreciated is that increasing the range of uncertainty is impossible in a period of Kuhnian ‘normal science’, where new information always decreases uncertainty. 

The ‘blow-out’ in the range of likely climate sensitivity can only mean one thing: We are no longer in a period of ‘normal’ science, but entering a period of ‘paradigm shift’. ….

…..

Dr. Stockwell concludes:

Climate skeptics don’t want to say we told you so but, well, we told you so. Even though we do not yet have an accepted theory of solar influence, there are 25 unique models in the AR5-sponsored CIMP5 archive, most with a climate sensitivity untenable on observations from the last decade. 

Take out Occam’s razor and cull them – deep and hard.

Dr David Stockwell, Adjunct Researcher, Central Queensland University

Biofuels produce twice as much carbon dioxide per kWh as natural gas

October 31, 2013

Of course, carbon dioxide is proving to be of much less importance to global warming than the alarmists would have us believe. Sharply increasing carbon dioxide concentrations have had no impact on global temperatures for the last 17 – 18 years and the supposed link between man-made carbon dioxide emissions and global temperatures is looking very shaky.

It has been another “feel-good” assumption that burning wood, peat, bioethanol and biofuels in general are “carbon neutral”. But that is just wishful thinking. “… only about half as much CO2 per kWh is released when using natural gas rather than wood”.

“Both this and the original method used models of the forest. Models are by definition simplifications. The simplifications a researcher makes will vary according to the issues at hand, the questions being asked. You realise how much earlier analyses have oversimplified things when more refined models yield completely different answers.” 

ScienceNordic reports that scientists from the Cicero Centre for Climate Research and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology used a new method for quantifying the contributions of bioenergy to global warming as compared to fossil energy such as oil and gas.

But further research now indicates that the real climate effect of wood burning is less advantageous.

“By refining their method I determined that the emission of one kg of CO2 from biomass is the equivalent of about 1.25 to 1.5 kg fossil CO2.  So it’s much higher and less climate friendly,” says Bjart Holtsmark, a researcher at Statistics Norway.

In other words, if Holtsmark’s calculations are correct, the climate impact of using slow-growing forest wood for fuel is greater than the burning of fossil fuel, given a 100-year time frame.

Holtsmark says that the original method failed to account for how logging leaves behind dead tree parts. When trees are cut, a considerable amount of tree “waste” remains in the forest to rot and oxidise – and emit CO2.

“This aspect of the carbon balance sheet for bioenergy needs to be included,” he says. “The usual practice in forestry is to take out the trunks, while leaving the branches, treetops, stumps and roots. But the trunk only comprises half the tree’s living biomass.”

He explains that even if the branches and tops are taken out with the trunks, the stumps and roots will be left behind to oxidise into CO2. …… 

…. Holtsmark also asserts that the combustion of timber releases more carbon dioxide per kWh of heat energy than oil and gas.

“For example, only about half as much CO2 per kWh is released when using natural gas rather than wood. When this is taken into account, the picture for bioenergy from slow growing forests becomes even less advantageous.”

IPCC = International Promotion of Global Warming

September 28, 2013

It is quite wrong to think of the IPCC as some august body looking objectively at Climate Change and what causes climate to change. They only operate as a PR agent – under the cloak of consensus science – for the Global warming hypothesis. Global cooling hypotheses or – in fact – any hypotheses other than carbon dioxide being the controller of global temperature are given short shrift. Even real observations and all global cooling trends are ignored. Global warming models take precedence over real data. The Sun is ignored. Climate sensitivities is apparently too new a topic to be considered.

They do not just cherry pick data; they just ignore it when they represent inconvenient truths. The last 17 years with no global warming are merely dismissed as being for too short a period. But then the IPCC has only been in operation for 25 years. The IPCC has not looked up from its computer models to realise that for most of its life it has seen no global warming.

If the IPCC was really looking at climate change and not just promoting the idea of global warming they might have shown some interest in the climate trend-break which seems to have occurred about 15 years ago. But a trend-break would be heretical. Their dismissal yesterday of the last 15 – 18 years was disgraceful. How, after such real observations, they are more certain than ever that global warming continues and that carbon dioxide is the culprit, is not rational and can only be “wishful thinking” (to put the best interpretation on it).

(data below generated using woodfortrees interactive database)

Global temperatures since 1850

Global temperatures since 1850

And how their certainty about carbon dioxide being the prime culprit can be increased with the reality of temperatures declining in the last 15 or so years  boggles rationality. Except of course that their certainty is based on climate models and cannot be bothered by real observations.

CO2 and global temperatures 1998-2013

CO2 and global temperatures 1998-2013

IPCC still cooking it’s books to cover-up the inconvenient truths

September 27, 2013

The 95% probability/certainty of global warming being due to human activity is based on a show of hands and not on any evidence or statistical analysis of data. What it actually says is that 95% of all global warming believers, believe.

Late last night the IPCC delegates in Stockholm were still messing around preparing their 30 page political summary of their AR5 report to be released today.

The political summary of AR5 is primarily a CYA effort to protect the posteriors of the policy makers (mainly political figures, bureaucrats and activists) in the face of a long row of broken models and broken hypotheses. The IPCC has forgotten that natural variability is a euphemism for unknown mechanisms which cannot be calculated or predicted. It is going to be interesting to see just how the summary report will cover-up, deny or ignore the long string of inconvenient facts:

  • Global temperatures have not risen for 17-18 years while CO2 has kept on increasing. 
  • Global temperatures have been declining for the last 11 years. 
  • None of the IPCC’s computer models have predicted the warming hiatus or the cooling over the last decade.
  • Global wildfires are lower than normal. 
  • Rainfall patterns (and the Indian monsoon) continue within the bounds of known natural variability. 
  • Food and grain production is at an all-time high. 
  • Flood frequency and flood levels have not been at unprecedented levels. Just more people live in flood-plains today than before. 
  • CO2 in the atmosphere reached the magic level of 400 ppm (albeit for just a few hours) and nothing happened.
  • How much of the CO2 concentration increase is due to carbon dioxide from fossil fuel. combustion is unclear but fossil fuel emissions are only 5% of global carbon dioxide emissions. 
  • The absorption and release of carbon dioxide by the oceans is unknown and the error margin is greater than the total amount released by fossil fuels.
  • CO2 absorption mechanisms do not care where the CO2 being absorbed came from.
  • The sensitivity of global temperature to CO2 concentration has been grossly exaggerated by the computer models.
  • Carbon dioxide concentration is more likely to follow global temperature (due to subsequent changes in emission and absorption rates) than to lead it.
  • Sea ice levels are increasing at both poles with the Antarctic at record high levels.
  • Polar bear populations are thriving and increasing.
  • Sea levels are continuing to rise at just the historical levels due to the recovery from the last glacial and are not accelerating due to industrialisation or the use of fossil fuels.
  • Oceans are still strongly alkaline and any increase in acidity is within known natural variability.
  • Coral reefs have shown themselves to be self-healing when damaged and are not showing any signs of ocean acidification.
  • Climate models have grossly underestimated solar effects because the mechanisms are unknown.
  • Sunspot activity in SC24 is well down from SC 23 and is not unlike the period of the dalton minimum during SC5 and SC6.
  • Clouds and moisture in the atmosphere have a much bigger impact on global warming and cooling than CO2 in the atmosphere.
  • Cloud formation is linked to sunspot activity and cosmic rays.
  • Global warming and cooling follow solar effects via the oceans in long decadal cycles.
  • The number of hurricanes and tornadoes are at historically low levels.
  • Heat released from the earth’s interior by tectonic and volcanic activity is not known.
  • A Little Ice Age is more likely than further Global Warming and a global cooling cycle lasting 20-30 years may have begun.
  • This interglacial is due (within c. 1000 years) to come to an end.

There is more we don’t know that we don’t know about the climate than the IPCC would like to admit. And for policy makers, activists and bureaucrats who have followed misguided policies for the last 25 years it is no longer possible to admit that they have been making “certain” predictions in an ocean of uncertainty. They have replaced scientific objectivity by “consensus science” where the validity of a hypothesis is based on how many believe and not on evidence. The 95% probability/certainty of global warming being due to human activity being touted by the IPCC is based on a show of hands of believers, and not on any evidence or statistical analysis of data.

Simple truths are becoming highly inconvenient for the IPCC

September 21, 2013

The simple truths are

  1. Global temperatures exhibit no warming for the last 17-18 years, and
  2. Carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere have increased continuously during the same period  noting that man made carbon dioxide emissions constitute about (at most) 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

The tag of “Denier” is now shifting to the Global Warmists who are denying that there is a hiatus in “global warming”. And to those who deny that the causal link between carbon dioxide concentration and global warming – which itself is highly speculative – is now clearly broken.

The Global Warming brigade are now putting pressure on the IPCC and “learned” journals to conceal, cover up, explain away and generally deny these two simple truths for the upcoming release (in parts) of the AR5 report. It is a full-court denialist press to try and ensure that AR5 is not treated as scrap even before it is released.

The reality of global temperatures is increasingly diverging from increasingly discredited climate models. In fact the reality of global temperature measurements since about 1978 would not provide any convincing evidence that any concern regarding “global warming” was justified.

Climate Models versus Reality

Not only are temperatures not increasing as the models  – and their religious adherents – would like but atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have continued to increase unabated.

Global temparature and carbon dioxide – last 17 years

The two simple truths lead to two simple – but inescapable – conclusions

  1. There is no evidence that “global warming” is an irreversible phenomenon. There is no evidence either that global warming or global cooling are anything other than “natural” variations of climate.
  2. Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is not strongly indicated – if at all – as anything but a very small component of the very many which affect global temperature. The man made contribution to global carbon dioxide emissions itself  is about 5% of all carbon dioxide emissions.

Integrated Assessment Climate models tell us “very little”

August 24, 2013

Mathematical models are used – and used successfully – everyday in Engineering, Science, Medicine and Business. Their usefulness is determined – and some are extremely useful – by knowing their limitations and acknowledging that they only represent an approximation of real complex systems.  Actual measurements always override the model results and whenever reality does not agree with model predictions it is usually mandatory to adjust the model. Where the adjustments can only be made by using “fudge factors” it is usually necessary to revisit the simplifying assumptions used to formulate the model in the first place.

But this is not how Climate Modelling Works. Reality or actual measurements are not allowed to disturb the model or its results for the far future. Fudge factors galore are introduced to patch over the differences when they appear. The adjustments to the model are just sufficient to cover the observed difference to reality but such that the long-term “result” is maintained.

The assumption that carbon dioxide has a significant role to play in global warming is itself hypothetical. Climate models start with that as an assumption. They don’t address whether there is a link between the two. Some level of warming is assumed to be the consequence of a doubling the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere. For the last 17 years global temperature has stood still while carbon dioxide concentration has increased dramatically. There is actually more evidence to hypothesise that there is no link (or a very weak link) between carbon dioxide and global warming than that there is. Nevertheless all climate models start with the built-in assumption that the link exists. And then use the results of the model as proof that the link exists! They are not just cyclical arguments – they are incestuous – or do I mean cannibalistic.

It is bad enough that economic models, developed to count the cost of carbon dioxide are first based on some hypothetical magnitude of the link between carbon dioxide emission and global warming as their starting point. But it gets worse. These “integrated assessment” models then themselves are strewn with new assumptions and further cyclical logic as to how the costs ensue.

A new paper by Prof. Robert Pindyck for the National Bureau of Economic Research takes a less than admiring look at the Integrated Assessment Climate models and their uselessness.

Robert S. PindyckClimate Change Policy: What Do the Models Tell Us?, NBER Working Paper No. 19244
Issued in July 2013

(A pdf of the full paper is here: Climate-Change-Policy-What-Do-the-Models-Tell-Us)

Abstract: Very little. A plethora of integrated assessment models (IAMs) have been constructed and used to estimate the social cost of carbon (SCC) and evaluate alternative abatement policies. These models have crucial flaws that make them close to useless as tools for policy analysis: certain inputs (e.g. the discount rate) are arbitrary, but have huge effects on the SCC estimates the models produce; the models’ descriptions of the impact of climate change are completely ad hoc, with no theoretical or empirical foundation; and the models can tell us nothing about the most important driver of the SCC, the possibility of a catastrophic climate outcome. IAM-based analyses of climate policy create a perception of knowledge and precision, but that perception is illusory and misleading.

Even though his assumptions about “climate sensitivity” are somewhat optimistic, he is more concerned with the assumptions made to try and develop the “damage” function to enable the cost to be estimated:

When assessing climate sensitivity, we at least have scientific results to rely on, and can argue coherently about the probability distribution that is most consistent with those results. When it comes to the damage function, however, we know almost nothing, so developers of IAMs [Integrated Assessment Models] can do little more than make up functional forms and corresponding parameter values. And that is pretty much what they have done. …..  

But remember that neither of these loss functions is based on any economic (or other) theory. Nor are the loss functions that appear in other IAMs. They are just arbitrary functions, made up to describe how GDP goes down when T goes up.

…. Theory can’t help us, Nor is data available that could be used to estimate or even roughly calibrate the parameters. As a result, the choice of values for these parameters is essentially guesswork. The usual approach is to select values such that L(T ) for T in the range of 2◦C to 4◦C is consistent with common wisdom regarding the damages that are likely to occur for small to moderate increases in temperature.

…… For example, Nordhaus (2008) points out (page 51) that the 2007 IPCC report states that “global mean losses could be 1–5% GDP for 4◦C of warming.” But where did the IPCC get those numbers? From its own survey of several IAMs. Yes, it’s a bit circular. 

The bottom line here is that the damage functions used in most IAMs are completely made up, with no theoretical or empirical foundation. That might not matter much if we are looking at temperature increases of 2 or 3◦C, because there is a rough consensus (perhaps completely wrong) that damages will be small at those levels of warming. The problem is that these damage functions tell us nothing about what to expect if temperature increases are larger, e.g., 5◦C or more.19 Putting T = 5 or T = 7 into eqn. (3) or (4) is a completely meaningless exercise. And yet that is exactly what is being done when IAMs are used to analyze climate policy.

And he concludes:

I have argued that IAMs are of little or no value for evaluating alternative climate change policies and estimating the SCC. On the contrary, an IAM-based analysis suggests a level of knowledge and precision that is nonexistent, and allows the modeler to obtain almost any desired result because key inputs can be chosen arbitrarily. 

As I have explained, the physical mechanisms that determine climate sensitivity involve crucial feedback loops, and the parameter values that determine the strength of those feedback loops are largely unknown. When it comes to the impact of climate change, we know even less. IAM damage functions are completely made up, with no theoretical or empirical foundation. They simply reflect common beliefs (which might be wrong) regarding the impact of 2◦C or 3◦C of warming, and can tell us nothing about what might happen if the temperature increases by 5◦C or more. And yet those damage functions are taken seriously when IAMs are used to analyze climate policy. Finally, IAMs tell us nothing about the likelihood and nature of catastrophic outcomes, but it is just such outcomes that matter most for climate change policy. Probably the best we can do at this point is come up with plausible estimates for probabilities and possible impacts of catastrophic outcomes. Doing otherwise is to delude ourselves.

….

“But measuring rainfall is very tricky,” – Kerry Emanuel

August 19, 2013

It’s the tail wagging the dog, or the cart before the horse as the IPCC prepares to publish its report.

It’s the brave new world of Global warming – though global temperatures have been still or have declined slightly over the last 17 years. But it is 95% certain – says the IPCC –  that carbon dioxide is the cause and the world has warmed by 0.8 °C since the 1950’s. But that 95% is plucked from the air. But they are certain – from their models that the world will warm by upto 4°C in the next 100 years — and that carbon dioxide is the cause! We know the cause but we don’t know the effects!

The local effects are elusive.

“But measuring rainfall is very tricky,” said Kerry Emanuel

Reuters: 

Experts surer of manmade global warming but local predictions elusive

Climate scientists are surer than ever that human activity is causing global warming, according to leaked drafts of a major U.N. report, but they are finding it harder than expected to predict the impact in specific regions in coming decades. ….

…. Drafts seen by Reuters of the study by the U.N. panel of experts, due to be published next month, say it is at least 95 percent likely that human activities – chiefly the burning of fossil fuels – are the main cause of warming since the 1950s.

But they will merely ignore the real observation that global temperatures have not increased for at least 17 years.

“We have got quite a bit more certain that climate change … is largely manmade,” said Reto Knutti, a professor at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. “We’re less certain than many would hope about the local impacts.”

And gauging how warming would affect nature, from crops to fish stocks, was also proving hard since it goes far beyond physics. “You can’t write an equation for a tree,” he said.

How exactly the certainty increased when temperatures did not go up while carbon dioxide concentration continued to increase is of no consequence – apparently. How certainty increases when the models are diverging more and more from reality is another mystery.

The IPCC report, the first of three to be released in 2013 and 2014, will face intense scrutiny, particularly after the panel admitted a mistake in the 2007 study which wrongly predicted that all Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035. Experts say the error far overestimated the melt and might have been based on a misreading of 2350.

The new study will state with greater confidence than in 2007 that rising manmade greenhouse gas emissions have already meant more heatwaves. But it is likely to play down some tentative findings from 2007, such as that human activities have contributed to more droughts. ….

Drew Shindell, a NASA climate scientist, said the relative lack of progress in regional predictions was the main disappointment of climate science since 2007.

“I talk to people in regional power planning. They ask: ‘What’s the temperature going to be in this region in the next 20-30 years, because that’s where our power grid is?'” he said.

“We can’t really tell. It’s a shame,” said Shindell. Like the other scientists interviewed, he was speaking about climate science in general since the last IPCC report, not about the details of the latest drafts.

WARMING SLOWING

The panel will try to explain why global temperatures, while still increasing, have risen more slowly since about 1998 even though greenhouse gas concentrations have hit repeated record highs in that time, led by industrial emissions by China and other emerging nations.

An IPCC draft says there is “medium confidence” that the slowing of the rise is “due in roughly equal measure” to natural variations in the weather and to other factors affecting energy reaching the Earth’s surface.

Scientists believe causes could include: greater-than-expected quantities of ash from volcanoes, which dims sunlight; a decline in heat from the sun during a current 11-year solar cycle; more heat being absorbed by the deep oceans; or the possibility that the climate may be less sensitive than expected to a build-up of carbon dioxide.

“It might be down to minor contributions that all add up,” said Gabriele Hegerl, a professor at Edinburgh University. Or maybe, scientists say, the latest decade is just a blip.

Or maybe the Anthropogenic Global Warming meme is just plain wrong.

The main scenarios in the draft, using more complex computer models than in 2007 and taking account of more factors, show that temperatures could rise anywhere from a fraction of 1 degree Celsius (1.8 Fahrenheit) to almost 5C (9F) this century, a wider range at both ends than in 2007.

The low end, however, is because the IPCC has added what diplomats say is an improbable scenario for radical government action – not considered in 2007 – that would require cuts in global greenhouse gases to zero by about 2070.

Temperatures have already risen by 0.8C (1.4F) since the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century.

Experts say that the big advance in the report, due for a final edit by governments and scientists in Stockholm from September 23-26, is simply greater confidence about the science of global warming, rather than revolutionary new findings.

SEA LEVELS

“Overall our understanding has strengthened,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a professor at Princeton University, pointing to areas including sea level rise.

An IPCC draft projects seas will rise by between 29 and 82 cm (11.4 to 32.3 inches) by the late 21st century – above the estimates of 18 to 59 cm in the last report, which did not fully account for changes in Antarctica and Greenland.

The report slightly tones down past tentative findings that more intense tropical cyclone are linked to human activities. Warmer air can contain more moisture, however, making downpours more likely in future.

“There is widespread agreement among hurricane scientists that rainfall associated with hurricanes will increase noticeably with global warming,” said Kerry Emanuel, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

“But measuring rainfall is very tricky,” he said.


%d bloggers like this: