Saturday, October 18, 2008

An open letter from The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley to Senator John McCain about Climate Science and Policy

An open letter from The Viscount Monckton of Brenchley to Senator John McCain about Climate Science and Policy
From American Thinker, Oct 18, 2008

Some excerpted highlights include:
Sir, every one of the reasons that you have advanced for alarm and consequent panic action has been demonstrated to be hollow and without any scientific foundation or merit. Yet, if your proposal to close down three-fifths of the economy of the United States is to be justifiable, then not only the false scientific propositions but also the false policy propositions that you have advanced must be shown to be true.

A recent survey (Schulte, 2008) of 539 peer-reviewed scientific papers published since January 2004 and selected at random using the search term "global climate change" reveals that not a single paper provides any evidence whatsoever that "time is short" or that "the dangers are great". The notion of imminent, catastrophic climate change is a fiction that is almost wholly absent in the scientific literature. Indeed, the only papers that predict catastrophe are written by a tiny clique of closely-connected, extravagantly-funded, politically-biased scientists with unhealthily close political and financial connections to certain alarmist politicians in the party that you nominally oppose.

....there is no rational basis for your declared intention that your great nation should inflict upon her own working people and upon the starving masses of the Third World the extravagantly-pointless, climatically-irrelevant, strategically-fatal economic wounds that the arrogant advocates of atmospheric alarmism admit they aim to achieve

In 2001 the UN's climate panel made a maladroit and disfiguring attempt [IPCC, 2001] to heighten the baseless alarm that underlies all of its reports by denying that the Middle Ages were warmer than the present. However, three eminent statisticians working at the instigation of your own House of Representatives produced the definitive report [Wegman et al., 2005], confirming the peer-reviewed research of McIntyre & McKitrick (2003, 2005) establishing that the UN's graph had been doctored so as falsely to deny the reality of the mediaeval warm period, to whose existence hundreds of peer-reviewed papers from all parts of the globe attest.

At both Poles, it was warmer only half a century ago than it is today. For temperatures in the Arctic, see Soon et al. (2004). For the Antarctic, see Doran et al. (2002).

During the Maunder Minimum, a period of more than half a century ending in 1700 when there were no sunspots on the surface of our Sun, a Little Ice Age occurred all over the world (Hathaway, 2004). In 1700 there began a recovery in solar activity that has continued ever since, culminating in the 70-year Solar Grand Maximum that seems recently to have ended. During the Grand Maximum, the Sun was more active, and for longer, than during almost any previous similar period in the past 11,400 years (Solanki et al., 2005; and see Usoskin et al., 2003; and Hathaway, 2004). A symposium of the International Astronomical Union [2004] concluded that it is the Sun that was chiefly responsible for the warming of the late 20th century.

From 1700-1998, temperature rose at a near-uniform rate of about 1 °F per century [Akasofu, 2008]. In 1998, "global warming" stopped, and it has not resumed since: indeed, in the past seven years, temperature has been falling at a rate equivalent to as much as 0.7 °F per decade [Hadley Center for Forecasting, 2008; US National Climatic Data Center, 2008].

The correct question, posed by Akasofu [2008], is this: Since the world has been warming at a uniform rate in parallel with the recovery of solar activity during the 300 years following the Maunder Minimum, and since humankind could not have had any significant influence over global temperature until perhaps 50 years ago, if then, is there any evidence whatsoever that the observed anthropogenic increase in carbon dioxide concentration over the past half-century has had any appreciable influence, at all, on global temperature?

Despite rapidly-rising carbon dioxide concentrations, there has been no new record year for global temperature in the ten years since 1998; and, in the United States, there has been no new record year for national temperature since 1934 - a record set almost three-quarters of a century ago, and well before humankind could have had any significant influence on temperature.

As to your second statement, the "worst" greenhouse gas - the one which, through its sheer quantity in the atmosphere, accounts for two-thirds of the 100 Watts per square meter of greenhouse-gas radiative forcing reported by Kiehl & Trenberth (2007, op. cit.) - is water vapor. Carbon dioxide accounts for little more than a quarter.

Two-thirds of the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere is naturally present

Let me summarize the irremediably shaky basis for the UN's alarmist case. It is not based on physical theory. It is not based on real-world observation. It is based on computer modeling, in which - astonishingly - the models are told at the outset the values for the very quantity (temperature response to increased carbon dioxide concentration) that they are expected to find.

.....would be even more absurd than trying to claim 90% confidence for a proposition that depends absolutely for its validity upon parameters that cannot be measured and can only be guessed: and a proposition that is demonstrated to be false with each successive year during which no further "global warming" takes place. It is regrettable that anyone should seek to make policy, as you have done, on such a manifestly unsound basis.

The "central facts" about "rising" sea levels are as follows.
Sea level has been rising since the end of the last Ice Age 10,000 years ago. It is 400 feet higher now than it was then. The rate of increase has averaged 4 feet per century. Yet in the 20th century, when we are told that "global warming" began to have a major impact on global temperature and hence on sea level, sea level rose by just 8 inches.

The oceans are not getting warmer (except in certain regions, such as the Antarctic Peninsula, where there is evidence of undersea volcanic activity).

Now a definitive study based on readings from 6000 bathythermographs, shows that the oceans have indeed been cooling since at least 2003, in line with the atmospheric cooling noted in the observed temperature record.

The facts about "reduced snowpack"
there has been no reduction in overall snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere in the 30 years since satellites were first able to measure its extent.
Your advisors needed to go no further than the Rutgers University Snow and Ice Lab, which has monitored snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere in the vital winter months for 30 years. During that time, there has been no trend in winter snow cover. There has been no decline at all, either in any individual winter month or at all. Indeed, new records for the extent of Northern-Hemisphere winter snow cover were established in 2001-2 and again in 2007-8, the winter immediately before your speech.

The facts about "receding glaciers"
.....more than 160,000 glaciers in the world [IPCC, 2001].
Professor Bhat reports that most of the glaciers have been receding at a uniform rate since 1880 at the latest. Some of them had begun receding even before this date.
Given that glacial recession began long before humankind could have had any appreciable effect on global temperature, and given that the rate of recession has remained uniform, on what basis can it be said, as you have implied, that it is anthropogenic "global warming" that is causing the glaciers to recede?

In the very cold winter of 2007/8, during which the biggest January-to-January fall in global temperatures since records began in 1880 was recorded, several glaciers in Greenland began to re-advance.

The facts about "melting polar ice sheets"
There are four great polar ice sheets: the East and West Antarctic ice sheets; the Greenland ice sheet; and the Arctic ice-cap.
The East Antarctic ice sheet is on a high plateau at high latitude. Since most of Antarctica has cooled over the past 50 years (Doran et al., 2002), so much so that environmental damage caused by cold has occurred in some of the Antarctic glens, there is no danger of this ice sheet disappearing, and there are no satellite images revealing that it has done so, is doing so, or is about to do so.

Greenland ice sheet increased by 2 inches per year - a total of 1 ft 8 in - during the decade 1993-2003.

Severe storms:
It has long been settled science that a warmer climate would reduce the frequency and intensity of severe storms outside the tropics.
However, it is now known that warmer weather reduces the temperature differential between the Equator and the Poles; and that wind-shear tends to dampen the intensity of the worst hurricanes.
Two prominent dissenters - notably Emanual (2008) - have resiled in recent weeks from their previously-published opinions to the effect that the intensity of hurricanes might be expected to increase with warmer worldwide weather.
thirdly, for the past ten years there has been no "global warming", so that, even if there had been "a higher incidence of extreme-weather events", which there has not, "global warming" (whether natural or anthropogenic) cannot possibly have been the cause.

NASA’s Spencer Tells Congress Global Warming Is Not a Crisis

Written By: Roy Spencer, Ph.D.
Published In: Environment & Climate News > October 2008
Publication date: 10/09/2008
Publisher: The Heartland Institute

Roy Spencer, Ph.D., U.S. Science Team Leader for the National Aeronautic and Space Administration’s collection of satellite temperature data and a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville’s Earth System Science Center, on July 22 told the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee why the scientific data lead him to conclude global warming is not a crisis.

An abbreviated version of Spencer’s testimony is published below. Spencer will expand on this testimony at the 2009 International Conference on Climate Change, scheduled for March 8-10 in New York City.

Regarding the currently popular theory that mankind is responsible for global warming, I am very pleased to deliver good news from the front lines of climate change research. Our latest research results, which I am about to describe, could have an enormous impact on policy decisions regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite decades of persistent uncertainty over how sensitive the climate system is to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, we now have new satellite evidence which strongly suggests that the climate system is much less sensitive than is claimed by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Another way of saying this is that the real climate system appears to be dominated by “negative feedbacks”—instead of the “positive feedbacks” which are displayed by all 20 computerized climate models utilized by the IPCC. (Feedback parameters larger than 3.3 Watts per square meter per degree Kelvin (Wm-2K-1) indicate negative feedback, while feedback parameters smaller than 3.3 indicate positive feedback.)

If true, an insensitive climate system would mean that we have little to worry about in the way of manmade global warming and associated climate change. And, as we will see, it would also mean that the warming we have experienced in the last 100 years is mostly natural. Of course, if climate change is mostly natural then it is largely out of our control, and is likely to end—if it has not ended already, since satellite-measured global temperatures have not warmed for at least seven years now.

Climate Sensitivity Overestimated

The support for my claim of low climate sensitivity (net negative feedback) for our climate system is twofold. First, we have a new research article in-press in the Journal of Climate which uses a simple climate model to show that previous estimates of the sensitivity of the climate system from satellite data were biased toward the high side by the neglect of natural cloud variability. It turns out that the failure to account for natural, chaotic cloud variability generated internal to the climate system will always lead to the illusion of a climate system which appears more sensitive than it really is.

The second line of evidence in support of an insensitive climate system comes from the satellite data themselves. While our work in-press established the existence of an observational bias in estimates of climate sensitivity, it did not address just how large that bias might be.

But in the last several weeks, we have stumbled upon clear and convincing observational evidence of particularly strong negative feedback (low climate sensitivity) from our latest and best satellite instruments. That evidence includes our development of two new methods for extracting the feedback signal from either observational or climate model data, a goal which has been called the “holy grail” of climate research.

Based upon global oceanic climate variations measured by a variety of NASA and NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] satellites during the period 2000 through 2005 we have found a signature of climate sensitivity so low that it would reduce future global warming projections to below 1 deg. C by the year 2100. ... [T]hat estimate from satellite data is much less sensitive (a larger diagnosed feedback) than even the least sensitive of the 20 climate models which the IPCC summarizes in its report. It is also consistent with our previously published analysis of feedbacks associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations.

IPCC Ignored Alternative Explanations

One necessary result of low climate sensitivity is that the radiative forcing from greenhouse gas emissions in the last century is not nearly enough to explain the upward trend of 0.7 deg. C in the last 100 years. This raises the question of whether there are natural processes at work which have caused most of that warming.

On this issue, it can be shown with a simple climate model that small cloud fluctuations assumed to occur with two modes of natural climate variability—the El Niño/La Niña phenomenon (Southern Oscillation), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation—can explain 70 percent of the warming trend since 1900, as well as the nature of that trend: warming until the 1940s, no warming until the 1970s, and resumed warming since then.

While this is not necessarily being presented as the only explanation for most of the warming in the last century, it does illustrate that there are potential explanations for recent warming other that just manmade greenhouse gas emissions. Significantly, this is an issue on which the IPCC has remained almost entirely silent. There has been virtually no published work on the possible role of internal climate variations in the warming of the last century.

Policy Implications

While it will take some time for the research community to digest this new information, it must be mentioned that new research contradicting the latest IPCC report is entirely consistent with the normal course of scientific progress. I predict that in the coming years, there will be a growing realization among the global warming research community that most of the climate change we have observed is natural, and that mankind’s role is relatively minor.

I hope that the Committee realizes that, if true, these new results mean that humanity will be largely spared the negative consequences of human-induced climate change. This would be good news that should be celebrated—not attacked and maligned.

And given that virtually no research into possible natural explanations for global warming has been performed, it is time for scientific objectivity and integrity to be restored to the field of global warming research. This Committee could, at a minimum, make a statement that encourages that goal.

For more information ...

Video of the testimony of NASA’s Dr. Roy Spencer before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on July 22, 2008:

Text of the complete testimony of NASA’s Dr. Roy Spencer before the U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on July 22, 2008:

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Push for Sunspots

Interesting NASA and NOAA missed on sunspot prediction and were coming under scrutiny.
Now we see them making qualitative comments:
"This is the third time in as many weeks that a new-cycle sunspot has interrupted the year's remarkable run of blank suns. The accelerating pace of new-cycle sunspot production is an encouraging sign that, while solar activity remains very low, the sunspot cycle is unfolding more or less normally."

Science, "encouraging sign". What is meant by encouraging? Science wants data. Politicians wan "encouraging".

Then to show the political science
"sunspot cycle is unfolding more or less normally."

Yet, they predicted the initial low as early as May 2006. Missing by two years is "normal".

Saturday, October 4, 2008

60 years Cooling - Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera,

Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico predicted that in about ten years the Earth will enter a “little ice age” which will last from 60 to 80 years and may be caused by the decrease in solar activity.

Velasco Herrera described as erroneous the predictions of the IPCC. The models and forecasts of the IPCC “is incorrect because only are based on mathematical models and presented results at scenarios that do not include, for example, solar activity,” said the specialist also in image processing and signs and prevention of natural disasters.

The phenomenon of climate change, he added, should include other kinds of factors, both internal, such as volcanoes and the very human activity, and external, such as solar activity.

“In this century glaciers are growing”, as seen in the Andes, Perito Moreno, Logan, the highest mountain in Canada, and with Franz-Josef Glacier, New Zealand, said Velasco Herrera.

According to Victor Manuel Velasco, the ice age could arrive as early as two years. In another lecture he gave at the beginning of last December, the same expert had said that the cooling would arrive within 30 or 40 years. And in early July, Velasco Herrera said that satellite data indicate that this period of global cooling could even have already begun, since 2005.

Could the sun have an effect?

There's a growing number of scientists who feel the sun is the main driving force behind the Earth's constantly changing climate. But is that really the cause?