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Why Global Warming Alarmism Isn't Science

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  • John Reece
    replied
    Climate Science Is Not Settled

    Just one more thing, hopefully...

    Excerpts from an article in The Wall Street Journal:
    Climate Science Is Not Settled ― emphases added.

    By STEVEN E. KOONIN

    Sept. 19, 2014 12:19 p.m. ET

    We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy, writes leading scientist Steven E. Koonin

    The idea that "Climate science is settled" runs through today's popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.

    My training as a computational physicist—together with a 40-year career of scientific research, advising and management in academia, government and the private sector—has afforded me an extended, up-close perspective on climate science. Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists have given me an even better sense of what we know, and don't know, about climate. I have come to appreciate the daunting scientific challenge of answering the questions that policy makers and the public are asking.

    The crucial scientific question for policy isn't whether the climate is changing. That is a settled matter: The climate has always changed and always will. Geological and historical records show the occurrence of major climate shifts, sometimes over only a few decades. We know, for instance, that during the 20th century the Earth's global average surface temperature rose 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit.

    Nor is the crucial question whether humans are influencing the climate. That is no hoax: There is little doubt in the scientific community that continually growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due largely to carbon-dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels, are influencing the climate. There is also little doubt that the carbon dioxide will persist in the atmosphere for several centuries. The impact today of human activity appears to be comparable to the intrinsic, natural variability of the climate system itself.

    Rather, the crucial, unsettled scientific question for policy is, "How will the climate change over the next century under both natural and human influences?" Answers to that question at the global and regional levels, as well as to equally complex questions of how ecosystems and human activities will be affected, should inform our choices about energy and infrastructure.

    But—here's the catch—those questions are the hardest ones to answer. They challenge, in a fundamental way, what science can tell us about future climates.

    Even though human influences could have serious consequences for the climate, they are physically small in relation to the climate system as a whole. For example, human additions to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the middle of the 21st century are expected to directly shift the atmosphere's natural greenhouse effect by only 1% to 2%. Since the climate system is highly variable on its own, that smallness sets a very high bar for confidently projecting the consequences of human influences.

    A second challenge to "knowing" future climate is today's poor understanding of the oceans. The oceans, which change over decades and centuries, hold most of the climate's heat and strongly influence the atmosphere. Unfortunately, precise, comprehensive observations of the oceans are available only for the past few decades; the reliable record is still far too short to adequately understand how the oceans will change and how that will affect climate.

    A third fundamental challenge arises from feedbacks that can dramatically amplify or mute the climate's response to human and natural influences. One important feedback, which is thought to approximately double the direct heating effect of carbon dioxide, involves water vapor, clouds and temperature.

    But feedbacks are uncertain. They depend on the details of processes such as evaporation and the flow of radiation through clouds. They cannot be determined confidently from the basic laws of physics and chemistry, so they must be verified by precise, detailed observations that are, in many cases, not yet available.

    Beyond these observational challenges are those posed by the complex computer models used to project future climate. These massive programs attempt to describe the dynamics and interactions of the various components of the Earth system—the atmosphere, the oceans, the land, the ice and the biosphere of living things. While some parts of the models rely on well-tested physical laws, other parts involve technically informed estimation. Computer modeling of complex systems is as much an art as a science.

    For instance, global climate models describe the Earth on a grid that is currently limited by computer capabilities to a resolution of no finer than 60 miles. (The distance from New York City to Washington, D.C., is thus covered by only four grid cells.) But processes such as cloud formation, turbulence and rain all happen on much smaller scales. These critical processes then appear in the model only through adjustable assumptions that specify, for example, how the average cloud cover depends on a grid box's average temperature and humidity. In a given model, dozens of such assumptions must be adjusted ("tuned," in the jargon of modelers) to reproduce both current observations and imperfectly known historical records.

    We often hear that there is a "scientific consensus" about climate change. But as far as the computer models go, there isn't a useful consensus at the level of detail relevant to assessing human influences. Since 1990, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has periodically surveyed the state of climate science. Each successive report from that endeavor, with contributions from thousands of scientists around the world, has come to be seen as the definitive assessment of climate science at the time of its issue.

    There is little doubt in the scientific community that continually growing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, due largely to carbon-dioxide emissions from the conventional use of fossil fuels, are influencing the climate.

    For the latest IPCC report (September 2013), its Working Group I, which focuses on physical science, uses an ensemble of some 55 different models. Although most of these models are tuned to reproduce the gross features of the Earth's climate, the marked differences in their details and projections reflect all of the limitations that I have described. For example:

    The models differ in their descriptions of the past century's global average surface temperature by more than three times the entire warming recorded during that time. Such mismatches are also present in many other basic climate factors, including rainfall, which is fundamental to the atmosphere's energy balance. As a result, the models give widely varying descriptions of the climate's inner workings. Since they disagree so markedly, no more than one of them can be right.

    Although the Earth's average surface temperature rose sharply by 0.9 degree Fahrenheit during the last quarter of the 20th century, it has increased much more slowly for the past 16 years, even as the human contribution to atmospheric carbon dioxide has risen by some 25%. This surprising fact demonstrates directly that natural influences and variability are powerful enough to counteract the present warming influence exerted by human activity.

    Yet the models famously fail to capture this slowing in the temperature rise. Several dozen different explanations for this failure have been offered, with ocean variability most likely playing a major role. But the whole episode continues to highlight the limits of our modeling.

    The models roughly describe the shrinking extent of Arctic sea ice observed over the past two decades, but they fail to describe the comparable growth of Antarctic sea ice, which is now at a record high.

    The models predict that the lower atmosphere in the tropics will absorb much of the heat of the warming atmosphere. But that "hot spot" has not been confidently observed, casting doubt on our understanding of the crucial feedback of water vapor on temperature.

    Even though the human influence on climate was much smaller in the past, the models do not account for the fact that the rate of global sea-level rise 70 years ago was as large as what we observe today—about one foot per century.

    A crucial measure of our knowledge of feedbacks is climate sensitivity—that is, the warming induced by a hypothetical doubling of carbon-dioxide concentration. Today's best estimate of the sensitivity (between 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit and 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) is no different, and no more certain, than it was 30 years ago. And this is despite an heroic research effort costing billions of dollars.

    These and many other open questions are in fact described in the IPCC research reports, although a detailed and knowledgeable reading is sometimes required to discern them. They are not "minor" issues to be "cleaned up" by further research. Rather, they are deficiencies that erode confidence in the computer projections. Work to resolve these shortcomings in climate models should be among the top priorities for climate research.

    Yet a public official reading only the IPCC's "Summary for Policy Makers" would gain little sense of the extent or implications of these deficiencies. These are fundamental challenges to our understanding of human impacts on the climate, and they should not be dismissed with the mantra that "climate science is settled."

    While the past two decades have seen progress in climate science, the field is not yet mature enough to usefully answer the difficult and important questions being asked of it. This decidedly unsettled state highlights what should be obvious: Understanding climate, at the level of detail relevant to human influences, is a very, very difficult problem.

    [....]

    See full article here.

    Dr. Koonin was undersecretary for science in the Energy Department during President Barack Obama's first term and is currently director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. His previous positions include professor of theoretical physics and provost at Caltech, as well as chief scientist of BP, where his work focused on renewable and low-carbon energy
    Last edited by John Reece; 09-20-2014, 03:52 PM.

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  • Sparko
    replied
    Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
    Anybody could have googled around using that info.
    Sure. But that is not OUR Job. It is yours. You need to back up your claims and quotes with sources. You have been told this many times now.

    Leave a comment:


  • Truthseeker
    replied
    Originally posted by John Reece
    We did have enough information ("GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association") to indicate a solar energy lobby/propaganda source.
    Anybody could have googled around using that info.




    The first item in my link to Spencer's post provides more realistic information:
    1. There is no way with current technology to get beyond 15%-20% renewable energy in the next 20 years or so….and even that will be exceedingly expensive. No matter
    how much you care about where your energy originates, physics and economics trump emotions.
    Trump stupidity or shortsightness! Anyway, note the stress (bolding) I placed on a certain word in the quotation above.

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  • John Reece
    replied
    Originally posted by sylas View Post
    Earth is heating up.
    Not lately, not alarmingly, and not without precedent in pre-industrial-age history.

    Originally posted by sylas View Post
    The primary cause of this in the present is human induced changes in the atmosphere.
    That is an hypothesis that cannot be substantiated via solid science.

    In a 496 page well-documented meticulous history of the Hockey Stick saga ― The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science (Stacy International, 2011) ― A. W. Montford presents a figure that was published in the IPCC First Assessment Report (FAR) in 1990 that represented the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age from before 1000 AD to the mid 1900s. The graph pictured the temperature during the Medieval Warm Period to be much higher than the temperature during the 1900s. Montford has a footnote re the graph that says "We should note in passing that the caption to the original FAR graph was unequivocal that it was a representation of global temperatures."

    Here is what the text of the IPCC 1990 FAR said (emphases added):
    We conclude that despite great limitations in the quantity and quality of the available temperature data, the evidence points consistently to a real but irregular warming over the last century. A global warming of larger size has almost certainly occurred at least once since the end of the last glaciation without any appreciable increase in greenhouse gases. Because we do not understand the reasons for these past warming events, it is not yet possible to attribute a specific proportion of the recent, smaller warming to an increase in greenhouse gases.

    Hubert H. Lamb, the founder of the Climate Research Center at Great Britain's University of East Anglia was the first to document changes in the world's past 1000 years. According to Lamb ― in Climate, History and the Future (London: Methuen, 1977), page 156 ― by late Roman times, particularly in the fourth century A.D., it may have been warmer than now.

    Lamb, op. cit., beginning on page 46, presents documentation of "a sharp maximum of warmth" in central Europe and the U.S.A "between A.D. 1100 and 1300."

    In "The Little Ice Age," Origins 10 (1983): 61-65, Richard D. Tkachuch of the Geosciences Research Institute presents evidence that "suggests an average local temperature at the time of Norse occupation of Greenland 2-4 degrees C. higher than at present. .... The Vikings named Newfoundland "Vineland." Grape vines are one of the key temperature proxies for the warnings and cooling of the past 1200 years. Tkachuch writes:
    ... It is interesting to note that at the present time the climate is still unfavorable for wine production in these areas. ... In this warm time, vineyards are found 780 meters above sea level in Germany. Today they are 560 meters. If one assumes a 0.6 to 0.7 degrees C. change/100 meter vertical excursion, these data imply that the average mean temperature was 1.0 to 1.4 degrees C. higher than at the present. (op. cit, pages 51-65)

    In Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years, authors S. Fred Singer and Dennis T Avery, in a section (beginning on page 48) titled "Medieval Warming around the Globe" say:
    It has been asserted that the Medieval Warming was only a regional phenomenon, and therefore different from the current warming trend. The assertion is untrue. Since it is a point of contention let's summarize the evidence of the Medieval Warming's global reach.

    The authors present 3 pages of documentation of Medieval Warming from the Mediterranean region to Asia ― noting especially the extensive and varied documentations of warming in China ― to Southwest Asia to North America.
    Last edited by John Reece; 09-19-2014, 10:45 AM.

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  • Sparko
    replied
    Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
    The solar power information was in an email from "Tomorrow In Review." The email did not give links to the sources of the information.

    What exactly is that you doubt? Maybe you should start a new thread.
    so basically you just accept an email with no sources? And then post it here as fact?


    and you wonder why I have doubts?

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  • Truthseeker
    replied
    Originally posted by Sparko View Post
    I seriously doubt that. And will you please start giving links to your claims and quotes? It has become a real problem with you. If you can't cite your sources better, then don't bother making the claims.
    The solar power information was in an email from "Tomorrow In Review." The email did not give links to the sources of the information.

    What exactly is that you doubt? Maybe you should start a new thread.

    Leave a comment:


  • Sparko
    replied
    Originally posted by Truthseeker View Post
    Solar power is finally starting to make a sizeable contribution to the energy industry. In the first quarter of this year 74% of all new power-generating capacity was solar (GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association). I would not be greatly surprised to see a huge drop in anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 volume by 2020.
    I seriously doubt that. And will you please start giving links to your claims and quotes? It has become a real problem with you. If you can't cite your sources better, then don't bother making the claims.

    Leave a comment:


  • Truthseeker
    replied
    Originally posted by John Reece View Post
    (80% reduction cited as a government-mandated goal) in the use of affordable-for-ordinary-people sources of energy.
    Solar power is finally starting to make a sizeable contribution to the energy industry. In the first quarter of this year 74% of all new power-generating capacity was solar (GTM Research and Solar Energy Industries Association). I would not be greatly surprised to see a huge drop in anthropogenic atmospheric CO2 volume by 2020.

    Leave a comment:


  • John Reece
    replied
    Originally posted by sylas View Post
    The article cited in the OP is wrong. The inference of global warming, and the human causes for that, are solidly science.
    The article does not deny the solid science.

    The solid science does not distinguish the amount of warming that is due to human activity from the warming that is due to natural climate variations that are, and always have been, perennial ― including ocean-related phenomena such as the North Atlantic Oscillation, the Arctic Sea Ice Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the El Niño-Southern Ocean Cycle, not to mention sun-climate variations.

    No solid science has yet been presented to distinguish natural from man-made warming, except in terms of its timing.

    If I be not mistaken, most of the warming since 1850 came before 1940, prior to the recent increase in CO2 emissions produced by human activity.

    It is logical to assume that human activity has exacerbated current warming to some degree; however, solid science does not indicate that human activity ― as only one of many factors known to affect the climate ― is an existential threat warranting massive reductions (80% reduction cited as a government-mandated goal) in the use of affordable-for-ordinary-people sources of energy.

    From the OP:
    The catastrophic anthropogenic global warming theory is based entirely on models, which are programmed by their creators to predict disaster. But we know for a fact that the models are wrong, because they disagree with reality. When the facts collide with a theory, the facts win.

    That is not contrary to solid science, but is rather related to "fudge factors" in the climate models. See here and (three pages) here.
    Last edited by John Reece; 09-16-2014, 04:15 PM.

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  • John Reece
    replied
    Global Warming Alarmists Caught Doctoring '97-Percent Consensus' Claims

    The last post contained a comment that 'even that laughable 97 percent figure was arrived at via highly tendentious means some have described as “doctoring.”' The following article from Forbes expands on that.

    Concluding paragraphs:
    Misleading the public about consensus opinion regarding global warming, of course, is precisely what the Cook paper sought to accomplish. This is a tried and true ruse perfected by global warming alarmists. Global warming alarmists use their own biased, subjective judgment to misclassify published papers according to criteria that is largely irrelevant to the central issues in the global warming debate. Then, by carefully parsing the language of their survey questions and their published results, the alarmists encourage the media and fellow global warming alarmists to cite these biased, subjective, totally irrelevant surveys as conclusive evidence for the lie that nearly all scientists believe humans are creating a global warming crisis.

    These biased, misleading, and totally irrelevant “surveys” form the best “evidence” global warming alarmists can muster in the global warming debate. And this truly shows how embarrassingly feeble their alarmist theory really is.

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  • John Reece
    replied
    Global Warming Alarmists Are Getting Desperate

    Just to carry on with the official TWeb designation of this thread as a repository of news regarding global warming alarmism, here is an item that I do not think has been included in the list heretofore.

    From Forbes:

    Excerpt:
    Moreover, even that laughable 97 percent figure was arrived at via highly tendentious means some have described as “doctoring.” Yet even 100 percent metaphysical certainty on the statement “humans are causing some amount of global warming” doesn’t actually tell us what U.S. energy policy should be. Sorry, alarmists, but you aren’t going to drown out the realists any more than the Atlantic Ocean is going to drown Miami.

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  • mossrose
    replied
    Originally posted by RumTumTugger View Post
    that glare was meant for seer right mossy?
    I forget. But it wasn't for John.

    Leave a comment:


  • RumTumTugger
    replied
    Originally posted by mossrose View Post
    that glare was meant for seer right mossy?

    Leave a comment:


  • mossrose
    replied
    Moderated By: mossy

    We are allowing John to post "climate alarmist" links in this thread. He is free to post other climate-related issues in the appropriate fora as he wishes. If people want to respond to any of his posts, they are welcome to do so. If you have any issues with this, please take them up in the padded room, or pm me and I will set you straight.

    ***If you wish to take issue with this notice DO NOT do so in this thread.***
    Contact the forum moderator or an administrator in Private Message or email instead. If you feel you must publicly complain or whine, please take it to the Padded Room unless told otherwise.

    Last edited by mossrose; 09-11-2014, 08:34 PM.

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  • Leonhard
    replied
    I wouldn't mind John Reece posting a lot of news articles as long as he had one dump thread like Truthseeker had to put it all in. As it is, he's opening three times as many threads with basically the same format and content (Global Warming Dissent News).

    At any rate I'm sorry to hear of your health problems John. I'll pray for you.

    Leave a comment:

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