Posts Tagged ‘Greenhouse gas’

Man-made global warming is just presumption

December 18, 2013

Presumptions, presumptions everywhere but no evidence to be seen.

  1. There is a presumption among the global warming orthodoxy – but no evidence – that increasing carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere causes significant warming of the Earth’s surface.
  2. There is a presumption that carbon dioxide emissions from human activities (primarily by the increase in fossil fuel combustion since the 1950’s) is the primary cause of the increase of concentration in the atmosphere. This presumption is based on the assumption that the oceans and the forests absorb just as much carbon dioxide as they emit. This balance is an assumption and is based on the argument that pre-industrial concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were largely constant. The actual emissions from the forests and the oceans are each an order of magnitude greater than man-made emissions of carbon dioxide. The margin of error in the estimates of amounts of carbon dioxide emitted (and absorbed) by the oceans and the forests is greater than the emissions from fossil fuel combustion. The emissions due to volcanic activity are not well understood just as the rate at which  carbonate sediments are laid down by the oceans is unknown (which in turn affects the concentration of what is dissolved in the oceans and therefore how much gets absorbed by the oceans from the atmosphere). Carbon dioxide released or absorbed by tectonic activity is unknown. There is a presumption based on some limited evidence that approximately 40% of what is released by fossil combustion is accumulating as atmospheric concentration. There is no presumption, however, that increasing carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere must lead to an increased absorption rate.
  3. Fossil fuel combustion and man-made carbon dioxide emissions as well as the atmospheric concentration have been increasing at least since about 1950. For the last 17 years this increase has continued but global temperatures have not increased. For the last 10 years the global temperature has shown a slight decline. It is therefore presumed that the original presumption still holds and that the extra heat is presumed to be hidden in a variety of places  (the deep oceans for example) other than at the Earth’s surface. There is no presumption that these observations are fundamentally in conflict with the original presumption.
  4. It is entirely logical that warming of the earth will cause the ice caps to melt and sea levels to rise just as global cooling will cause the ice sheets to expand and the sea levels to fall. It is presumed by the “establishment” that observed short-term reductions of ice extent are not due to natural variation but are proof that man-made global warming prevails. But when ice extent increases – as is happening currently – it is presumed to be due to natural variability and not relevant to the underlying trend due to man-made global warming.
  5. It is postulated by the establishment that extreme weather events are more likely to occur due to man-made global warming (and are not due to natural variability). But when extreme weather events show a decline – as they are doing currently – then any such decline is presumed to be due to natural variability.
  6. A preponderance of “cold records” being broken – rather than “heat records” is presumed to be proof of man-made global warming causing extreme weather events.

Presumptions do not a science make – especially when the evidence available increasingly conflicts with the presumptions.

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Global warming hiatus confirmed – now the Pacific is to “blame”

August 28, 2013

Speculation is rife as to why there has been no global warming for the last 17 or 18 years. Some of this speculation is by those who believe the science is settled and is merely to try and “save” the discredited climate models used by the IPCC. Others – the real scientists – actually use it as an opportunity to investigate something that is not very well understood at all.

The lack of warming has been “blamed” on a variety of reasons. Some have blamed mysterious heat storage in the deep ocean where the heat has actually been transported from and through colder temperatures to higher temperatures! Others say that aerosols and soot in the atmosphere – due to pollution – have distorted the warming trend by hiding the sun. Some few point out that the models really don’t know how to treat clouds and moisture in the atmosphere and what actually drives cloud formation is still an unknown unknown. And there are those – like me – who put it down to natural variation which in turn is ultimately driven – via many still unknown mechanisms – by the Sun.

The El Nino-Southern Oscillation, has a major impact on global climate and is usually acknowledged but a new paper in Nature now suggests that the lack of warming is due to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation that lasts for a much longer period of time (15 – 30 years).  There may well be some influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and no doubt it should be investigated further. But it does first need an acknowledgement that there is something to be investigated. As the authors begin “Despite the continued increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the annual-mean global temperature has not risen in the twenty-first century, challenging the prevailing view that anthropogenic forcing causes climate warming”.

Yu Kosaka & Shang-Ping Xie, Recent global-warming hiatus tied to equatorial Pacific surface cooling, Nature Letter (2013),

doi:10.1038/nature12534

Despite the continued increase in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, the annual-mean global temperature has not risen in the twenty-first century, challenging the prevailing view that anthropogenic forcing causes climate warming. Various mechanisms have been proposed for this hiatus in global warming, but their relative importance has not been quantified, hampering observational estimates of climate sensitivity. Here we show that accounting for recent cooling in the eastern equatorial Pacific reconciles climate simulations and observations. We present a novel method of uncovering mechanisms for global temperature change by prescribing, in addition to radiative forcing, the observed history of sea surface temperature over the central to eastern tropical Pacific in a climate model. Although the surface temperature prescription is limited to only 8.2% of the global surface, our model reproduces the annual-mean global temperature remarkably well with correlation coefficient r = 0.97 for 1970–2012 (which includes the current hiatus and a period of accelerated global warming). Moreover, our simulation captures major seasonal and regional characteristics of the hiatus, including the intensified Walker circulation, the winter cooling in northwestern North America and the prolonged drought in the southern USA. Our results show that the current hiatus is part of natural climate variability, tied specifically to a La-Niña-like decadal cooling. Although similar decadal hiatus events may occur in the future, the multi-decadal warming trend is very likely to continue with greenhouse gas increase.

Disconnect between man-made CO2 and atmospheric levels of CO2

April 28, 2013

The evidence grows that

  1. Temperature drives carbon dioxide, and 
  2. man made carbon dioxide is a minor contributor to carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere

Atmospheric verification of anthropogenic CO2emission trendsRoger J. Francey et al, Nature Climate Change 3, 520–524 (2013) doi:10.1038/nclimate1817

The Hockey Schtick reports:

A recent paper published in Nature Climate Change finds a disconnect between man-made CO2 and atmospheric levels of CO2, demonstrating that despite a sharp 25% increase in man-made CO2 emissions since 2003, the growth rate in atmospheric CO2 has slowed sharply since 2002/2003. The data shows that while the growth rate of man-made emissions was relatively stable from 1990-2003, the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 surged up to the record El Nino of 1997-1998. Conversely, growth in man-made emissions surged ~25% from 2003-2011, but the growth rate of atmospheric CO2 has flatlined since 1999 along with global temperatures. The data demonstrates temperature drives CO2 levels due to ocean outgassing, man-made CO2 does not drive temperature, and that man is not the primary cause of the rise in CO2 levels.

Climate forcing: Missing water must be hiding in the deep ocean

April 19, 2013

Clive Best points out that NASA data shows quite clearly that water vapour in the atmosphere has been decreasing quite significantly especially since about 1998 while carbon dioxide has continued rising. All the wonderful climate models (settled science after all) take it for granted that increased water vapour in the atmosphere is a key forcing caused by increasing carbon dioxode.

I wonder where the water went?

Presumably hiding along with all the missing heat in the deep oceans!

And causing the sea level to increase no doubt.

The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of water in the atmosphere and it is a travesty that we can’t.

H2O decreasing while CO2 rises !

Posted on April 18, 2013 by Clive Best

Dire predictions of global warming all  rely on positive feedback from  water vapor. The argument goes that as surface temperatures rise so  more water will evaporate from the oceans thereby amplifying temperatures because H2O itself is a strong GHG.  Climate models all assume net amplification factors of between 1.5 and 6. But in the real world has the water content of the atmosphere actually been increasing as predicted?

NASA have just released their latest NVAP-M  survey of global  water content derived from satellite data and radio-sondes over the period from 1988 to 2009. This new data is explicitly intended for climate studies . So lets take a look at the comparison between actual NVAP-M atmospheric H2O levels and those of CO2 as measured at Mauna Loa. I have extracted all the daily measurement NVAP-M data and then calculated the global average. Figure 1 shows the running 30 day average of all the daily data recorde between 1988 and 2009 inclusive. The 365 day (yearly) running average is also shown. Plotted on the right hand scale are the Mauna Loa CO2 concentration data in red over the same period.

Fig1: Total precipitative H2O (running 30 day average) compared to Mauna Loa CO2 data in red. The central black curve is a running 365 day average.

Fig1: Total precipitative H2O (running 30 day average) compared to Mauna Loa CO2 data in red. The central black curve is a running 365 day average.

There is indeed some correlation in the data from 1988 until 1998, but thereafter the two trends diverge dramatically. Total atmospheric water content actually falls despite a relentless slow rise in CO2. This fall in atmospheric H2O also coincides with the observed and now widely accepted stalling of global temperatures over the last 16 years. All climate models (that I am aware of) predict exactly the opposite, so something is clearly amiss with theory. Is it not now time for “consensus” climate scientists perhaps to have a rethink ?

more to follow…

  1. My thanks to Ken Gregory for help with the  data. The conversion from NetCDF was a bit of a nightmare !
  2. NASA NVAP-M data is available here. Thanks to NASA Water Vapor Project-Measures (NVAP-M) team.

Anthony Watts in a comment does point out that sensor degradation or failure would need to be eliminated. (But I wonder why sensor integrity would not have been checked by NASA before the data was published as data)

Are global warmists preparing exit strategies?

March 28, 2013

Are global warmists preparing their arguments so that they can have exit strategies ready for when they have to abandon the global warming religion?

The purpose of an exit strategy is – as a minimum – to save face and minimise losses. In the best case it ends an engagement while realising potential benefits and protecting past gains. This is common enough in – and a necessary part of  – business and military planning. Politicians – at least the skilled ones – always have exit strategies in place when they choose to follow a particular “path of principle”. It is less likely that ideologues or religious leaders have prepared exits from dogmatic positions. However even they do have to change their colours from time to time. (Fanatics of course are not permitted exit strategies. They are expected to fall on their swords and die for their cause).

To escape from a discredited or outdated or bankrupt “faith-based” dogma usually requires some strong, visible reason for leaving a dogmatic position. A divine “revelation” is best though “new data” or  just “seeing the light” are also acceptable. This provides both a new faith as a destination and a reason for leaving the current position. A good exit strategy will also include a high profile “conversion” from one faith to another such that much credit can accrue, first for an”honourable” mea culpa for having followed the wrong path and then for the “principled and difficult” shift to the new path! Damage control may also require that the new converts repudiate their former “brothers of the faith”. In fact it is often “converts” who become the most fanatical about their new “religion”. The success of an exit strategy can be judged by how much baggage or stigma the ideologue or politician can avoid after the conversion.

James Hansen has been one of the most vocal and active proponents of the global warming hypothesis that it is caused by man-made emissions of carbon dioxide. He has been seen as one of the high priests of the global warming religion and qualifies as an ideologue:

Hansen is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to avoid dangerous climate change. In recent years, Hansen has become an activist for action to mitigate the effects of climate change, which on a few occasions has led to his arrest.

But he has a new (open access)  paper which makes me wonder whether he is preparing a position for the execution of an exit strategy when it becomes necessary.  He now admits that less of human made CO2 is entering the atmosphere than it should but that it is due to the increased use of coal which has increased aerosol particulates. He argues that this short term masking by aerosols of global warming will eventually have to appear and his doomsday messages have not changed. But he is adjusting his arguments quite fundamentally to account for the real life observations which he can no longer ignore. The “fertlisation of the biosphere” to account for man-made carbon dioxide not entering the atmosphere sounds a lot like back-pedalling to me. That the biosphere feeds on and relishes carbon dioxide is obvious. It does not much care  where it comes from.

James Hansen et al 2013 Environ. Res. Lett. 8 011006 doi:10.1088/1748-9326/8/1/011006

Climate forcing growth rates: doubling down on our Faustian bargain

As The Hockey Schtick reports some of the contents are startling – coming from Hansen:

  • the effect [forcing] of man-made greenhouse gas emissions has fallen below IPCC projections, despite an increase in man-made CO2 emissions exceeding IPCC projections
  • the growth rate of the greenhouse gas forcing has “remained below the peak values reached in the 1970s and early 1980s, has been relatively stable for about 20 years, and is falling below IPCC (2001) scenarios (figure 5).”
  • the airborne fraction of CO2 [the ratio of observed atmospheric CO2 increase to fossil fuel CO2 emissions] has decreased over the past 50 years [figure 3], especially after the year 2000
  • Hansen believes the explanation for this conundrum is CO2 fertilization of the biosphere from “the surge of fossil fuel use, mainly coal.”
  • “the surge of fossil fuel emissions, especially from coal burning, along with the increasing atmospheric CO2 level is ‘fertilizing’ the biosphere, and thus limiting the growth of atmospheric CO2.”
  • “the rate of global warming seems to be less this decade than it has been during the prior quarter century”

From the paper:

The simple Keeling airborne fraction, clearly, is not increasing (figure 3). Thus the net ocean plus terrestrial sink for carbon emissions has increased by a factor of 3–4 since 1958, accommodating the emissions increase by that factor.

Figure 3.

Figure 3. Fossil fuel CO2 emissions (left scale) and airborne fraction, i.e., the ratio of observed atmospheric CO2 increase to fossil fuel CO2 emissions. Final three points are 5-, 3- and 1-year means.

Remarkably, and we will argue importantly, the airborne fraction has declined since 2000 (figure 3) during a period without any large volcanic eruptions. The 7-year running mean of the airborne fraction had remained close to 60% up to 2000, except for the period affected by Pinatubo. The airborne fraction is affected by factors other than the efficiency of carbon sinks, most notably by changes in the rate of fossil fuel emissions (Gloor et al 2010). However, it is the dependence of the airborne fraction on fossil fuel emission rate that makes the post-2000 downturn of the airborne fraction particularly striking. The change of emission rate in 2000 from 1.5% yr-1 to 3.1% yr-1 (figure 1), other things being equal, would have caused a sharp increase of the airborne fraction (the simple reason being that a rapid source increase provides less time for carbon to be moved downward out of the ocean’s upper layers). ……

…… We suggest that the surge of fossil fuel use, mainly coal, since 2000 is a basic cause of the large increase of carbon uptake by the combined terrestrial and ocean carbon sinks. One mechanism by which fossil fuel emissions increase carbon uptake is by fertilizing the biosphere via provision of nutrients essential for tissue building, especially nitrogen, which plays a critical role in controlling net primary productivity and is limited in many ecosystems (Gruber and Galloway 2008). Modeling (e.g., Thornton et al 2009) and field studies (Magnani et al 2007) confirm a major role of nitrogen deposition, working in concert with CO2 fertilization, in causing a large increase in net primary productivity of temperate and boreal forests. Sulfate aerosols from coal burning also might increase carbon uptake by increasing the proportion of diffuse insolation, as noted above for Pinatubo aerosols, even though the total solar radiation reaching the surface is reduced.

The paper concludes

The principal implication of our present analysis probably relates to the Faustian bargain. Increased short-term masking of greenhouse gas warming by fossil fuel particulate and nitrogen pollution represents a ‘doubling down’ of the Faustian bargain, an increase in the stakes. The more we allow the Faustian debt to build, the more unmanageable the eventual consequences will be. Yet globally there are plans to build more than 1000 coal-fired power plants (Yang and Cui 2012) and plans to develop some of the dirtiest oil sources on the planet (EIA 2011). These plans should be vigorously resisted. We are already in a deep hole—it is time to stop digging.

Climate sensitivities are not what they have been made out to be

March 27, 2013

A far from settled science! In fact – Climate Science may well be a discipline but it is a long, long way from being a science.

But the bottom line is that when “the observed trends are pushing down, whereas the models are pushing up” and “the mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now. it is time to stop fudging the models and to start examining the assumptions in the models again.

An important article and a “Must Read” even if I would take exception to their uncritical and naive acceptance of the effect of  carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

The Economist:

OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”

Temperatures fluctuate over short periods, but this lack of new warming is a surprise. Ed Hawkins, of the University of Reading, in Britain, points out that surface temperatures since 2005 are already at the low end of the range of projections derived from 20 climate models (see chart 1). If they remain flat, they will fall outside the models’ range within a few years.

The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now. It does not mean global warming is a delusion. Flat though they are, temperatures in the first decade of the 21st century remain almost 1°C above their level in the first decade of the 20th. But the puzzle does need explaining.

The mismatch might mean that—for some unexplained reason—there has been a temporary lag between more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures in 2000-10. Or it might be that the 1990s, when temperatures were rising fast, was the anomalous period. Or, as an increasing body of research is suggesting, it may be that the climate is responding to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in ways that had not been properly understood before. This possibility, if true, could have profound significance both for climate science and for environmental and social policy. ……..

………… So what does all this amount to? The scientists are cautious about interpreting their findings. As Dr Knutti puts it, “the bottom line is that there are several lines of evidence, where the observed trends are pushing down, whereas the models are pushing up, so my personal view is that the overall assessment hasn’t changed much.”

Economist article

Kyoto protocol fails in all ways: Goals not achieved and for something utterly unnecessary

January 1, 2013

A failure of something utterly unnecessary ought to be a success. But the damage caused by the pursuit of meaningless goals for unsound reasons has been immense.

The Kyoto protocol was adopted in 1997 and came into effect in 2005.  “The controversial and ineffective Kyoto Protocol’s first stage comes to an end today, leaving the world with 58 per cent more greenhouse gases than in 1990, as opposed to the five per cent reduction its signatories sought”. 

It has been a solution addressing the wrong problem.

Kyoto Protocol aimed for 5% cut in carbon emissions — instead, we got a 58% increase

But in spite of this increase global temperatures have flattened out and may even have decreased slightly.

Global warming stopped 16 years ago

And all that has been achieved is that electricity prices have increased to pay for the massive subsidies for chasing a mirage. The financial crisis was not caused by the Kyoto Protocol but the crisis has certainly been prolonged and the recovery has been delayed by unnecessarily high electrical prices.

Floods and Global Warming is fashion not science

February 18, 2011

There is the attempt to link current weather to long term climate, to use computer models to achieve the evidence, and to alarm the public and policy makers that climate change is real and here.

Roger Pielke Jr. points out:

Nature published two papers yesterday that discuss increasing precipitation trends and a 2000 flood in the UK.  I have been asked by many people whether these papers mean that we can now attribute some fraction of the global trend in disaster losses to greenhouse gas emissions, or even recent disasters such as in Pakistan and Australia. I hate to pour cold water on a really good media frenzy, but the answer is “no.”  Neither paper actually discusses global trends in disasters (one doesn’t even discuss floods) or even individual events beyond a single flood event in the UK in 2000.  But still, can’t we just connect the dots?  Isn’t it just obvious?  And only deniers deny the obvious, right? ….

In short, the new studies are interesting and add to our knowledge.  But they do not change the state of knowledge related to trends in global disasters and how they might be related to greenhouse gases.  But even so, I expect that many will still want to connect the dots between greenhouse gas emissions and recent floods.  Connecting the dots is fun, but it is not science.

And Andrew Revkin goes to town in his New York Times blog about how uncertainties and caveats disappear when a political corner is being fought:

….. In scientific literature you rarely see statements so streamlined and definitive. For climate science, this is the equivalent of a smoking gun. News indeed. Add in the extreme floods last year (a period not included in the study) and you have more relevance, although Roger Pielke Jr. this morning notes the importance of distinguishing between analysis of certain kinds of extreme precipitation events and disastrous flooding.

The problem is that the Nature paper is not definitive at all, as you’ll see below.

None of this detracts from the importance of this work, or the overall picture of an increasingly human-influenced climate, with impacts on the frequency of gullywashers.

But this does raise big questions about the standards scientists and journals use in summarizing complex work and the justifiable need for journalists — and readers — to explore such work as if it has a “handle with care” sign attached.

This is not about “ false balance.” This is about responsible reporting.

A previous instance occurred in 2006, when a paper in Science on frog die-offs in Costa Rica included this firm and sobering statement:

Here we show that a recent mass extinction associated with pathogen outbreaks is tied to global warming.

Things were far more complicated, of course, as you can read in my 2008 piece on Vanishing Frogs, Climate and the Front Page.

Carbon dioxide rip-off has cost Australia $5.5 billion – so far

February 14, 2011

With easy money like this floating around and waiting to be siphoned off it is not difficult to see why the global warming fraud continues! And of course these $5.5 billion are small change compared to the amounts that have been scammed in Europe.

And to make it worse, carbon dioxide emissions are a little less than insignificant for global temperatures.

The Sydney Morning Herald:

Billions blown on carbon schemes

SUCCESSIVE federal governments have spent more than $5.5 billion over the past decade on climate change programs that are delivering only small reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at unusually high costs for taxpayers and the economy.

An analysis by the Herald of government schemes designed to cut emissions by direct spending or regulatory intervention reveals they have cost an average of $168 for each tonne of carbon dioxide abated. ……

The analysis of 17 programs with a total cost of $5.62 billion shows many of the schemes are at odds with the goal of tackling climate change at the lowest cost to the economy. ………

The weighted average cost of the 17 programs was $168 a tonne. They will deliver about 25 million tonnes of carbon abatement in 2020 – less than 10 per cent of that needed to meet the government’s target of reducing emissions in 2020 by 5 per cent on 2000 levels.

The worst offenders have included Labor’s rebates for rooftop solar panels, which cost $300 or more for every tonne of carbon abated, and the Howard government’s remote renewable power generation scheme, which paid up to $340 for each tonne.

Read the article.


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