Thanks to Dr. Francis Manns for drawing my attention to the role of Volcanoes as a climate factor, particularly related to the onset of the Little Ice Age (LIA), 1400 to 1900 AD. I was aware that the temperature record since about 1850 can be explained by a steady rise of 0.5C per century rebound overlaid with a quasi-60 year cycle, most likely oceanic driven. See below Dr. Syun Akasofu 2009 diagram from his paper Two Natural Components of Recent Warming.
When I presented this diagram to my warmist friends, they would respond, “But you don’t know what caused the LIA or what ended it!” To which I would say, “True, but we know it wasn’t due to burning fossil fuels.” Now I find there is a body of evidence suggesting what caused the LIA and why the temperature rebound may be over. Part of it is a familiar observation that the LIA coincided with a period when the sun was lacking sunspots, the Maunder Minimum.
Not to be overlooked is the climatic role of volcano activity inducing deep cooling patterns such as the LIA. Jihong Cole-Dai explains in a paper published 2010 entitled Volcanoes and climate. Excerpt in italics with my bolds.
There has been strong interest in the role of volcanism during the climatic episodes of Medieval Warm Period (MWP,800–1200 AD) and Little Ice Age (LIA, 1400–1900AD), when direct human inﬂuence on the climate was negligible. Several studies attempted to determine the inﬂuence of solar forcing and volcanic forcing and came to different conclusions: Crowley and colleagues suggested that increased frequency of stratospheric eruptions in the seventeenth century and again in the early nineteenth century was responsible in large part for LIA. Shindell et al. concluded that LIA is the result of reduced solar irradiance, as seen in the Maunder Minimum of sunspots, during the time period. Ice core records show that the number of large volcanic eruptions between 800 and 1100 AD is possibly small (Figure 1), when compared with the eruption frequency during LIA. Several researchers have proposed that more frequent large eruptions during the thirteenth century(Figure 1) contributed to the climatic transition from MWP to LIA, perhaps as a part of the global shift from a warmer to a colder climate regime. This suggests that the volcanic impact may be particularly signiﬁcant during periods of climatic transitions.
How volcanoes impact on the atmosphere and climate
Alan Robock explains Climatic Impacts of Volcanic Eruptions in Chapter 53 of the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
The major component of volcanic eruptions is the matter that emerges as solid, lithic material or solidiﬁes into large particles, which are referred to as ash or tephra. These particles fall out of the atmosphere very rapidly, on timescales of minutes to a few days, and thus have no climatic impacts but are of great interest to volcanologists, as seen in the rest of this encyclopedia. When an eruption column still laden with these hot particles descends down the slopes of a volcano, this pyroclastic ﬂow can be deadly to those unlucky enough to be at the base of the volcano. The destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum after the AD 79 Vesuvius eruption is the most famous example.
Volcanic eruptions typically also emit gases, with H2O, N2, and CO2 being the most abundant. Over the lifetime of the Earth, these gases have been the main source of the Earth’s atmosphere and ocean after the primitive atmosphere of hydrogen and helium was lost to space. The water has condensed into the oceans, the CO2 has been changed by plants into O2 or formed carbonates, which sink to the ocean bottom, and some of the C has turned into fossil fuels. Of course, we eat plants and animals, which eat the plants, we drink the water, and we breathe the oxygen, so each of us is made of volcanic emissions. The atmosphere is now mainly composed of N2 (78%) and O2 (21%), both of which had sources in volcanic emissions.
Of these abundant gases, both H2O and CO2 are important greenhouse gases, but their atmospheric concentrations are so large (even for CO2 at only 400 ppm in 2013) that individual eruptions have a negligible effect on their concentrations and do not directly impact the greenhouse effect. Global annually averaged emissions of CO2 from volcanic eruptions since 1750 have been at least 100 times smaller than those from human activities. Rather the most important climatic effect of explosive volcanic eruptions is through their emission of sulfur species to the stratosphere, mainly in the form of SO2, but possibly sometimes as H2S. These sulfur species react with H2O to form H2SO4 on a timescale of weeks, and the resulting sulfate aerosols produce the dominant radiative effect from volcanic eruptions.
The major effect of a volcanic eruption on the climate system is the effect of the stratospheric cloud on solar radiation (Figure 53.1). Some of the radiation is scattered back to space, increasing the planetary albedo and cooling the Earth’s atmosphere system. The sulfate aerosol particles (typical effective radius of 0.5 mm, about the same size as the wavelength of visible light) also forward scatter much of the solar radiation, reducing the direct solar beam but increasing the brightness of the sky. After the 1991 Pinatubo eruption, the sky around the sun appeared more white than blue because of this. After the El Chicho´n eruption of 1982 and the Pinatubo eruption of 1991, the direct radiation was significantly reduced, but the diffuse radiation was enhanced by almost as much. Nevertheless, the volcanic aerosol clouds reduced the total radiation received at the surface.
Crowley et al 2008 go into the details in their paper Volcanism and the Little Ice Age. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Although solar variability has often been considered the primary agent for LIA cooling, the most comprehensive test of this explanation (Hegerl et al., 2003) points instead to volcanism being substantially more important, explaining as much as 40% of the decadal-scale variance during the LIA. Yet, one problem that has continually plagued climate researchers is that the paleo-volcanic record, reconstructed from Antarctic and Greenland ice cores, cannot be well calibrated against the instrumental record. This is because the primary instrumental volcano reconstruction used by the climate community is that of Sato et al. (1993), which is relatively poorly constrained by observations prior to 1960 (especially in the southern hemisphere).
Here, we report on a new study that has successfully calibrated the Antarctic sulfate record of volcanism from the 1991 eruptions of Pinatubo (Philippines) and Hudson (Chile) against satellite aerosol optical depth (AOD) data (AOD is a measure of stratospheric transparency to incoming solar radiation). A total of 22 cores yield an area-weighted sulfate accumulation rate of 10.5 kg/km2 , which translates into a conversion rate for AOD of 0.011 AOD/ kg/km2 sulfate. We validated our time series by comparing a canonical growth and decay curve for eruptions for Krakatau (1883), the 1902 Caribbean eruptions (primarily Santa Maria), and the 1912 eruption of Novarupta/Katmai (Alaska)
We therefore applied the methodology to part of the LIA record that had some of the largest temperature changes over the last millennium.
The ice core chronology of volcanoes is completely independent of the (primarily) tree ring based temperature reconstruction. The volcano reconstruction is deemed accurate to within 0 ± 1 years over this interval. There is a striking agreement between 16 eruptions and cooling events over the interval 1630-1850. Of particular note is the very large cooling in 1641-1642, due to the concatenation of sulfate plumes from two eruptions (one in Japan and one in the Philippines), and a string of eruptions starting in 1667 and culminating in a large tropical eruption in 1694 (tentatively attributed to Long Island, off New Guinea). This large tropical eruption (inferred from ice core sulfate peaks in both hemispheres) occurred almost exactly at the beginning of the coldest phase of the LIA in Europe and represents a strong argument against the implicit link of Late Maunder Minimum (1640-1710) cooling to solar irradiance changes.
Figure 1: Comparison of new ice core reconstruction with various instrumental-based reconstructions of stratospheric aerosol forcing. The asterisks refer to some modification to the instrumental data; for Sato et al. (1993) and the Lunar AOD, the asterisk refers to the background AOD being removed for the last 40 years. For Stothers (1996), it refers to the fact that instrumental observations for Krakatau (1883) and the 1902 Caribbean eruptions were only for the northern hemisphere. To obtain a global AOD for these estimates we used Stothers (1996) data for the northern hemisphere and our data for the southern hemisphere. The reconstruction for Agung eruption (1963) employed Stothers (1996) results from 90°N-30°S and the Antarctic ice core data for 30-90°S.
During the 18th century lull in eruptions, temperatures recovered somewhat but then cooled early in the 19th century. The sequence begins with a newly postulated unknown tropical eruption in midlate 1804, which deposited sulfate in both Greenland and Antarctica. Then, there are four well-documented eruptions—an unknown tropical eruption in 1809, Tambora (1815) and a second doublet tentatively attributed in part to Babuyan (Philippines) in 1831 and Cosiguina (Nicaragua) in 1835. These closely spaced eruptions are not only large but have a temporally extended effect on climate, due to the fact that they reoccur within the 10-year recovery timescale of the ocean mixed layer.
The ocean has not recovered from the first eruption so the second eruption drives the temperatures to an even lower state.
Implications for Contemporary Climate Science
In this context Dr. Francis Manns went looking for a volcanic signature in recent temperature records. His paper is Volcano and Enso Punctuation of North American Temperature: Regression Toward the Mean Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Abstract: Contrary to popular media and urban mythology the global warming we have experienced since the Little Ice Age is likely finished. A review of 10 temperature time series from US cities ranging from the hottest in Death Valley, CA, to possible the most isolated and remote at Key West, FL, show rebound from the Little Ice Age (which ended in the Alps by 1840) by 1870. The United States reached temperatures like modern temperatures (1950 – 2000) by about 1870, then declined precipitously principally caused by Krakatoa, and a series of other violent eruptions. Nine of these time series started when instrumental measurement was in its infancy and the world was cooled by volcanic dust and sulphate spewed into the atmosphere and distributed by the jet streams. These ten cities represent a sample of the millions of temperature measurements used in climate models. The average annual temperatures are useful because they account for seasonal fluctuations. In addition, time series from these cities are punctuated by El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO).
As should be expected, temperature at each city reacted differently to differing events. Several cities measured the effects of Krakatoa in 1883 while only Death Valley, CA and Berkeley CA sensed the minor new volcano Paricutin in Michoacán, Mexico. The Key West time series shows rapid rebound from the Little Ice Age as do Albany, NY, Harrisburg, PA, and Chicago. IL long before the petroleum-industrial revolution got into full swing. Recording at most sites started during a volcanic induced temperature minimum thus giving an impression of global warming to which industrial carbon dioxide is persuasively held responsible. Carbon dioxide, however, cannot be proven responsible for these temperatures. These and likely subsequent temperatures could be the result of regression to the normal equilibrium temperatures of the earth (for now). If one were to remove the volcanic punctuation and El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) input many would display very little alarming warming from 1815 to 2000. This review illustrates the weakness of linear regression as a measure of change. If there is a systemic reason for the global warming hypothesis, it is an anthropogenic error in both origin and termination. ENSO compliments and confirms the validity of NOAA temperature data. Temperatures since 2000 during the current hiatus are not available because NOAA has closed the public website.
The cooling effect is said to have lasted for 5 years after Krakatoa erupted – from 1883 to 1888. Examination of these charts, However, shows that, e.g., Krakatoa did not add to the cooling effect from earlier eruptions of Cosaguina in 1835 and Askja in 1875. The temperature charts all show rapid rebound to equilibrium temperature for the region affected in a year or two at most.
Fourteen major volcanic eruptions, however, were recorded between 1883 and 1918 (Robock, 2000, and this essay). Some erupted for days or weeks and some were cataclysmic and shorter. The sum of all these eruptions from Krakatoa onward effected temperatures early in the instrumental age. Judging from wasting glaciers in the Alps, abrupt retreat began about 1860).
1)Four of these time series (Albany, Harrisburg, Chicago and Key West) show recovery to the range of today’s temperatures by 1870 before the eruption of Askja in 1875. The temperature rebounded very quickly after the Little Ice Age in the northern hemisphere.
2)Volcanic eruptions and unrelated huge swings shown from ENSO largely rule global temperature. Volcanic history and the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) trump all other increments of temperature that may be hidden in the lists.
3)The sum of the eruptions from Krakatoa (1883) to Katla (1918) and Cerro Azul (1932) was a cold start for climate models.
4)It is beyond doubt that academic and bureau climate models use data that was gathered when volcanic activity had depressed global temperature. The cluster from Krakatoa to Katla (1883 -1918) were global.
5)Modern events, Mount Saint Helens and Pinatubo, moreover, were a fraction of the event intensity of the late 19th and early 20th centuries eruptions.
6) The demise of frequent violent volcanos has allowed the planet to regress toward a norm (for now).
These findings describe a natural process by which a series of volcanoes along with a period of quiet solar cycles ended the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), chilling the land and inducing deep oceanic cooling resulting in the Little Ice Age. With much less violent volcanic activity in the 20th century, coincidental with typically active solar cycles, a Modern Warm Period ensued with temperatures rebounding back to approximately the same as before the LIA.
This suggests that humans and the biosphere were enhanced by a warming process that has ended. The solar cycles are again going quiet and are forecast to continue that way. Presently, volcanic activity has been routine, showing no increase over the last 100 years. No one knows how long will last the current warm period, a benefit to us from the ocean recovering after the LIA. But future periods are as likely to be cooler than to be warmer compared to the present.
The title comes from a news event last week when President Trump reminded Prince Charles of a natural truism: Climate change goes both ways. A media freak out ensued, as shown by this example from Newsweek. Excerpt in italics with my bolds.
President Donald Trump said Wednesday he believes there has been a change in the weather due to climate change, but that “it changes both ways.”
The president then explained his views on the climate. “Don’t forget, it used to be called global warming, that wasn’t working, then it was called climate change, now it’s actually called extreme weather because with extreme weather you can’t miss,” the president said.
Environmental watchdog groups now advocate calling the phenomenon “climate catastrophe.”
It seemed to me that Trump is learning from his briefings with William Happer, and is finding the weak spots in the alarmist house of cards. It also reminded me of a previous post describing the complexity of tracking climate change. That essay is reprinted below because it reminds us that not only does climate change both ways, but also the warming and cooling can happen concurrently in some times and places.
Concurrent Climate Warming and Cooling
This post highlights recent interesting findings regarding past climate change in NH, Scotland in particular. The purpose of the research was to better understand how glaciers could be retreating during the Younger Dryas Stadia (YDS), one of the coldest periods in our Holocene epoch.
The lead researcher is Gordon Bromley, and the field work was done on site of the last ice fields on the highlands of Scotland. 14C dating was used to estimate time of glacial events such as vegetation colonizing these places. Bromely explains in article Shells found in Scotland rewrite our understanding of climate change at siliconrepublic. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
By analysing ancient shells found in Scotland, the team’s data challenges the idea that the period was an abrupt return to an ice age climate in the North Atlantic, by showing that the last glaciers there were actually decaying rapidly during that period.
The shells were found in glacial deposits, and one in particular was dated as being the first organic matter to colonise the newly ice-free landscape, helping to provide a minimum age for the glacial advance. While all of these shell species are still in existence in the North Atlantic, many are extinct in Scotland, where ocean temperatures are too warm.
This means that although winters in Britain and Ireland were extremely cold, summers were a lot warmer than previously thought, more in line with the seasonal climates of central Europe.
“There’s a lot of geologic evidence of these former glaciers, including deposits of rubble bulldozed up by the ice, but their age has not been well established,” said Dr Gordon Bromley, lead author of the study, from NUI Galway’s School of Geography and Archaeology.
“It has largely been assumed that these glaciers existed during the cold Younger Dryas period, since other climate records give the impression that it was a cold time.”
He continued: “This finding is controversial and, if we are correct, it helps rewrite our understanding of how abrupt climate change impacts our maritime region, both in the past and potentially into the future.”
The recent report is Interstadial Rise and Younger Dryas Demise of Scotland’s Last Ice Fields G. Bromley A. Putnam H. Borns Jr T. Lowell T. Sandford D. Barrell First published: 26 April 2018.(my bolds)
Establishing the atmospheric expression of abrupt climate change during the last glacial termination is key to understanding driving mechanisms. In this paper, we present a new 14C chronology of glacier behavior during late‐glacial time from the Scottish Highlands, located close to the overturning region of the North Atlantic Ocean. Our results indicate that the last pulse of glaciation culminated between ~12.8 and ~12.6 ka, during the earliest part of the Younger Dryas stadial and as much as a millennium earlier than several recent estimates. Comparison of our results with existing minimum‐limiting 14C data also suggests that the subsequent deglaciation of Scotland was rapid and occurred during full stadial conditions in the North Atlantic. We attribute this pattern of ice recession to enhanced summertime melting, despite severely cool winters, and propose that relatively warm summers are a fundamental characteristic of North Atlantic stadials.
Plain Language Summary
Geologic data reveal that Earth is capable of abrupt, high‐magnitude changes in both temperature and precipitation that can occur well within a human lifespan. Exactly what causes these potentially catastrophic climate‐change events, however, and their likelihood in the near future, remains frustratingly unclear due to uncertainty about how they are manifested on land and in the oceans. Our study sheds new light on the terrestrial impact of so‐called “stadial” events in the North Atlantic region, a key area in abrupt climate change. We reconstructed the behavior of Scotland’s last glaciers, which served as natural thermometers, to explore past changes in summertime temperature. Stadials have long been associated with extreme cooling of the North Atlantic and adjacent Europe and the most recent, the Younger Dryas stadial, is commonly invoked as an example of what might happen due to anthropogenic global warming. In contrast, our new glacial chronology suggests that the Younger Dryas was instead characterized by glacier retreat, which is indicative of climate warming. This finding is important because, rather than being defined by severe year‐round cooling, it indicates that abrupt climate change is instead characterized by extreme seasonality in the North Atlantic region, with cold winters yet anomalously warm summers.
The complete report is behind a paywall, but a 2014 paper by Bromley discusses the evidence and analysis in reaching these conclusions. Younger Dryas deglaciation of Scotland driven by warming summers Excerpts with my bolds.
Significance: As a principal component of global heat transport, the North Atlantic Ocean also is susceptible to rapid disruptions of meridional overturning circulation and thus widely invoked as a cause of abrupt climate variability in the Northern Hemisphere. We assess the impact of one such North Atlantic cold event—the Younger Dryas Stadial—on an adjacent ice mass and show that, rather than instigating a return to glacial conditions, this abrupt climate event was characterized by deglaciation. We suggest this pattern indicates summertime warming during the Younger Dryas, potentially as a function of enhanced seasonality in the North Atlantic.
Fig. 1. Surface temperature and heat transport in the North Atlantic Ocean. The relatively mild European climate is sustained by warm sea-surface temperatures and prevailing southwesterly airflow in the North Atlantic Ocean (NAO), with this ameliorating effect being strongest in maritime regions such as Scotland. Mean annual temperature (1979 to present) at 2 m above surface (image obtained using University of Maine Climate Reanalyzer, http://www.cci-reanalyzer.org). Locations of Rannoch Moor and the GISP2 ice core are indicated (yellow and red dots).
Thus the Scottish glacial record is ideal for reconstructing late glacial variability in North Atlantic temperature (Fig. 1). The last glacier resurgence in Scotland—the “Loch Lomond Advance” (LLA)—culminated in a ∼9,500-km2 ice cap centered over Rannoch Moor (Fig. 2A) and surrounded by smaller ice fields and cirque glaciers.
Fig. 2. Extent of the LLA ice cap in Scotland and glacial geomorphology of western Rannoch Moor. (A) Maximum extent of the ∼9,500 km2 LLA ice cap and larger satellite ice masses, indicating the central location of Rannoch Moor. Nunataks are not shown. (B) Glacial-geomorphic map of western Rannoch Moor. Distinct moraine ridges mark the northward active retreat of the glacier margin (indicated by arrow) across this sector of the moor, whereas chaotic moraines near Lochan Meall a’ Phuill (LMP) mark final stagnation of ice. Core sites are shown, including those (K1–K3) of previous investigations (14, 15).
When did the LLA itself occur? We consider two possible resolutions to the paradox of deglaciation during the YDS. First, declining precipitation over Scotland due to gradually increasing North Atlantic sea-ice extent has been invoked to explain the reported shrinkage of glaciers in the latter half of the YDS (18). However, this course of events conflicts with recent data depicting rapid, widespread imposition of winter sea-ice cover at the onset of the YDS (9), rather than progressive expansion throughout the stadial.
Furthermore, considering the gradual active retreat of LLA glaciers indicated by the geomorphic record, our chronology suggests that deglaciation began considerably earlier than the mid-YDS, when precipitation reportedly began to decline (18). Finally, our cores contain lacustrine sediments deposited throughout the latter part of the YDS, indicating that the water table was not substantially different from that of today. Indeed, some reconstructions suggest enhanced YDS precipitation in Scotland (24, 25), which is inconsistent with the explanation that precipitation starvation drove deglaciation (26).
We prefer an alternative scenario in which glacier recession was driven by summertime warming and snowline rise. We suggest that amplified seasonality, driven by greatly expanded winter sea ice, resulted in a relatively continental YDS climate for western Europe, both in winter and in summer. Although sea-ice formation prevented ocean–atmosphere heat transfer during the winter months (10), summertime melting of sea ice would have imposed an extensive freshwater cap on the ocean surface (27), resulting in a buoyancy-stratified North Atlantic. In the absence of deep vertical mixing, summertime heating would be concentrated at the ocean surface, thereby increasing both North Atlantic summer sea-surface temperatures (SSTs) and downwind air temperatures. Such a scenario is analogous to modern conditions in the Sea of Okhotsk (28) and the North Pacific Ocean (29), where buoyancy stratification maintains considerable seasonal contrasts in SSTs. Indeed, Haug et al. (30) reported higher summer SSTs in the North Pacific following the onset of stratification than previously under destratified conditions, despite the growing presence of northern ice sheets and an overall reduction in annual SST. A similar pattern is evident in a new SST record from the northeastern North Atlantic, which shows higher summer temperatures during stadial periods (e.g., Heinrich stadials 1 and 2) than during interstadials on account of amplified seasonality (30).
Our interpretation of the Rannoch Moor data, involving the summer (winter) heating (cooling) effects of a shallow North Atlantic mixed layer, reconciles full stadial conditions in the North Atlantic with YDS deglaciation in Scotland. This scenario might also account for the absence of YDS-age moraines at several higher-latitude locations (12, 36–38) and for evidence of mild summer temperatures in southern Greenland (11). Crucially, our chronology challenges the traditional view of renewed glaciation in the Northern Hemisphere during the YDS, particularly in the circum-North Atlantic, and highlights our as yet incomplete understanding of abrupt climate change.
Several things are illuminated by this study. For one thing, glaciers grow or recede because of multiple factors, not just air temperature. The study noted that glaciers require precipitation (snow) in order to grow, but also melt under warmer conditions. For background on the complexities of glacier dynamics see Glaciermania
Also, paleoclimatology relies on temperature proxies who respond to changes over multicentennial scales at best. C14 brings higher resolution to the table.
Finally, it is interesting to consider climate changing with respect to seasonality. Bromley et al. observe that during Younger Dryas, Scotland shifted from a moderate maritime climate to one with more seasonal extremes like that of inland continental regions. In that light, what should we expect from cooler SSTs in the North Atlantic?
Note also that our modern warming period has been marked by the opposite pattern. Many NH temperature records show slight summer cooling along with somewhat stronger warming in winter, the net being the modest (fearful?) warming in estimates of global annual temperatures.
I’m with Trump on this one: Climate shifts are not a matter of one-way warming, as we have been told.
John Droz makes some good points writing at Town Hall.Stop Fake Science. Approve the PCCS! Excerpts in italics with my bolds, images and header questions.
Shouldn’t We Get Independent Advice Before We Spend Trillions of Dollars?
Not to date myself, but in my day the “$64,000 Question” represented a lot of money!
Today I’m proposing to you a $64 Trillion question: “Should the United States conduct a full, independent expert scientific investigation into the models and studies that say we face a serious risk of manmade global warming, climate change and extreme weather disasters?”
That independent expert investigation is what’s being proposed by Dr. Will Happer, President Trump’s Senior Director for Emerging Technologies, in the National Security Council. Specifically, a brand new Presidential Committee on Climate Science (PCCS) will do this analysis. The decision about launching the PCCS will be made in the next few days. America’s support for President Trump is urgently needed.
(For the sake of brevity – and to use the most commonly employed term – when I say “global warming,” I mean all the climate changes that are supposedly caused by fossil fuel use and other human activities.)
$64 Trillion is actually at the lower end of estimates of what it will cost the USA over the next decade to replace all our fossil fuel use with (supposedly) green, renewable, sustainable wind, solar and biofuel energy – in order to (supposedly) stabilize Earth’s climate (which has never been stable).
Many say the obvious answer to this $64 Trillion question is YES, of course. However, many other parties are saying NO. What are the arguments against the PCCS, and do they hold water?
If the case for alarm is so convincing, what’s the problem?
1) It’s a waste of money to have this PCCS investigation. If the US was about to spend an enormous amount of money – such as $64 trillion or more – would you say an investigation costing one-billionth(!) of that monumental expenditure would be a waste of money? That’s what we are talking about here.
2) It’s a waste of time. President Trump has already stated that (without new facts confirming that we actually face imminent manmade climate chaos) he’s not going to do anything consequential about global warming. So since the USA is in a holding period on this issue, how is any time being wasted?
In fact, since the President is asking for an independent investigation, the end result could be that the PCCS would recommend that Mr. Trump take a different global warming policy position, and actually support action against fossil fuels. One would think those clamoring for exactly that would be ecstatic!
3) Human responsibility for climate change and extreme weather has already been scientifically resolved. That is simply not so. A genuine scientific assessment has four necessary components. It must be: a) comprehensive, b) objective, c) transparent, and d) empirical. There has never been a true scientific assessment of global warming claims, anywhere on the planet.
How about the many scientists who have valid questions about the evidence?
What about the position of 97% of the world’s scientists? That’s a good question, because we constantly hear that virtually the entire scientific community agrees that humans are causing climate catastrophes.
Fact one: there never has been a survey of the world’s 2+ million scientists on anything – certainly not on this vital issue, which is being used to demand the immediate end to all use of fossil fuels that today provide over 80% of all the energy the United States and entire world use.
Fact two: There may indeed be a majority of certain subsets of scientists who hold an opinion about global warming. However, many who support climate cataclysm claims receive government or other grants that would be terminated if they began to “question the science of global warming.” And not one of them has ever conducted a genuine, evidence-based scientific analysis of the global warming matter.
Fact three: Science is never determined by a vote. Do you think that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was accepted due to a poll? Or was it because his theory survived extensive scientific scrutiny?
What about the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s voluminous Assessment Reports?
Another good question. However, if we compare the reports to the four necessary requirements for Real Science, as practiced for centuries, they actually fail on at least three of the four criteria that I just presented a few paragraphs ago!
If the global warming cataclysm proponents’ scientific arguments were as unassailable as they say they are, then those scientists should relish this high-profile opportunity to publicly upstage the skeptics and prove to the world that “dangerous manmade climate change” is real.
On the other hand, those alarmist scientists might fail spectacularly. They might be shown to have no real-world evidence to back up their computer models and assertions. I submit that they are scared to death this would happen. That is why they oppose the PCCS so stridently.
How about our long history of coping with changes in climate and weather extremes?
4) Global Warming is a national security threat. This is another three-card-Monte trick being played on the technically-challenged public. Multiple studies have shown there is little correlation between extreme weather events (e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes, floods) and global warming. Moreover, our military – indeed our entire country and civilization – have been dealing with these problems for centuries, and today we have far better technologies to do so than ever before.
On the other hand, one of the key “solutions” to Global Warming (industrial wind energy), has a well-documented history of interfering with the missions and operational readiness of our military. Where is the outcry against that?
What’s wrong with asking questions about actions being promoted?
5) President Trump is acting irrationally regarding global warming. Surprisingly, President Trump, as a skeptic, is actually taking a more scientific position than many scientists who hold PhDs. Skepticism is the primary pillar of Real Science. So being labeled a “skeptic” is high praise to real scientists.
Unless we pay close attention, it may not be apparent that America’s Left is frequently in favor of exactly the opposite of what they are now saying. For example:
* The people who say they want more unity – are actually instigating divisiveness.
* The people who say they are protectors of the environment – are actually doing the most to ravage the environment, by demanding energy systems that require far more land, far more raw materials, and far more environmental damage than fossil fuels have ever caused.
* The people who say immediate, extraordinary, highly disruptive changes are needed to prevent global warming catastrophe – are promoting feeble, inadequate solutions: like wind and solar energy.
So when these same people clamor that they want President Trump to reverse his position on global warming (and the Paris Climate Accord – in reality they actually want President Trump to continue with his present climate policies and skepticism. Why is that?
Because they think that will give them political ammunition to use against him in the 2020 election.
Shouldn’t we try to separate private interests from the public good?
The bottom line is very simple. President Trump should be applauded for proposing the PCCS, and for being open-minded enough to reconsider global warming claims – before our nation accepts them as gospel … and rushes headlong into disrupting our energy, economy, living standards and lives … probably for no climate benefit whatsoever.
We citizens need to support him against the very vocal (and often very self-interested) people and organizations that strongly oppose the Presidential Committee on Climate Science. We need to take immediate action to support President Trump on this vitally important initiative.
Send him a quick note. Real, evidence-based climate science demands that we have this PCCS review. So does the future of our country and our children.
This dialogue framework was proposed for a debate between William Happer and David Karoly sponsored by The Best Schools. As you can see it reads like an high hurdle course for alarmists/activists. There are significant objections at every leap in connecting the beliefs.
Earth does better with more CO2. CO2 levels are increasing
Atmospheric transmission of radiation: Tyndall correctly recognized in 1861 that the most important greenhouse gas of the Earth’s atmosphere is water vapor. CO2 was a modest supporting actor, then as now.
Radiative cooling of the Earth: Clouds are one of the most potent factors controlling Earth’ s surface temperature.
The Schwarzschild equation: The observed intensity I of upwelling radiation comes from the radiation emitted by the surface and by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere above the surface. The rate of change of the intensity with altitude is given by the Schwarzschild equation.
Logarithmic forcing by CO2: The intensity for a doubling of CO2 concentrations from the present value of 400 ppm to 800 ppm makes little difference, and simply leads to a slight broadening of the width of the band.
Convection: Radiation, which we have discussed above, is an important part of the energy transfer budget of the earth, but not the only part.
Numerical Modeling: Predictions about what more CO2 will do to the Earth’s climate are based on numerical modeling of the fluid flows in the atmosphere and oceans. Including water vapor, clouds, and precipitation further complicates the modeling considerations outlined above. Climate model builders have a hard job.
Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity: If increasing CO2 causes very large warming, harm can indeed be done. But most studies suggest that warmings of up to 2 K will be good for the planet. More than a century after Arrhenius, and after the expenditure of many tens of billions of dollars on climate science, the official value of S still differs little from the guess that Arrhenius made in 1912: S = 4 K. Could it be that the climate establishment does not want to work itself out of a job?
Overestimate of S: Contrary to the predictions of most climate models, there has been very little warming of the Earth’s surface over the last two decades. If one assumes negligible feedback, where other properties of the atmosphere change little in response to additions of CO2, the doubling efficiency can be estimated to be about S = 1 K. The much larger doubling sensitivities claimed by the IPCC, which look increasingly dubious with each passing year, are due to “positive feedbacks.”
Benefits of CO2: More CO2 in the atmosphere will be good for life on planet earth. Few realize that the world has been in a CO2 famine for millions of years — a long time for us, but a passing moment in geological history.
More bogeymen: The earth has stubbornly refused to warm nearly as much as demanded by computer models. To cope with this threat to full employment, the climate establishment has invented a host of bogeymen, other supposed threats from more CO2. One of the bogeymen is that more CO2 will lead to, and already has led to, more extreme weather, But extreme weather is not increasing. We also hear that more CO2 will cause rising sea levels to flood coastal cities, large parts of Florida, tropical island paradises, etc.
Climate Science: Too much “climate research” money is pouring into very questionable efforts, like mitigation of the made-up horrors mentioned above. It reminds me of Gresham’s Law: “Bad money drives out good.”
The Earth is in no danger from increasing levels of CO2. More CO2 will be a major benefit to the biosphere and to humanity.
1. Observed global warming is beyond reasonable doubt
2. Increases in greenhouse gases are due to human activity
3. Most of the observed global warming since the mid-twentieth century is due to human activity
4. Global warming will continue over the twenty-first century
5. Many adverse impacts result from global warming
6. Substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions are needed to minimize dangerous global warming
The key points presented above are just a small fraction of the vast body of evidence that support the scientific conclusions on global warming accepted by all the scientific Academies and by all the governments around the world.
Science has established that it is virtually certain that increases of atmospheric CO2 due to burning of fossil fuels will cause climate change that will have substantial adverse impacts on humanity and on natural systems. Therefore, immediate stringent measures to suppress the burning of fossil fuels are both justified and necessary.
Dr. Karoly begins his Statement, not with evidence to support the title, “Climate change is harming nature and humanity,” but with a summary of what happened in the “21st Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in December of 2015.” What a mouthful!
As I pointed out in my Interview and Statement, there is no scientific evidence that global greenhouse gas emissions will have a harmful effect on climate. Quite the contrary, there is very good evidence that the modest increase in atmospheric CO2 since the start of the Industrial Age has already been good for the Earth and that more will be better.
Some climate scientists, including Dr. Karoly, are doing praiseworthy work. I especially admire high-quality, year-by-year measurements of properties of the atmosphere and oceans. But if they have doubts about climate hysteria, most practicing climate scientists keep these to themselves because of the ferocity of the attacks they know will come to those who question the party line.
In my Interview, I mentioned the attacks on me by Greenpeace. No wonder there is a consensus of climate scientists, or that few scientists from other fields are willing to question the established dogma! Even though creative scientists are not greatly impressed by them, claims of consensus work wonders with educated elites.
A brief discussion of those key points of Dr. Karoly’s Statement with which I disagree:
3. “The observed large-scale increase in surface temperature across the globe since the mid-twentieth century is primarily due to human activity, the increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and other impacts on the human climate system.” This statement is based on excessive faith in computer models.
4. “There will continue to be significant global warming over the 21st century with its magnitude depending on the emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities.” Again, this is a statement based on computer models. No one knows how the temperature of the Earth will change over the twenty-first century. It is just as likely that the Earth will cool, since whatever mechanism caused the Little Ice Age could act again and could overwhelm the small warming expected from increased CO2. In both my Statement and my Interview, I pointed out how much most models overestimated the warming of the Earth since the year 2000, when there was a hiatus or pause in warming, which may not be over yet.
5. “There are substantial adverse impacts on human and natural systems from global warming.” I disagree. I don’t know of a single adverse impact that can be confidently ascribed to more CO2. There are plenty of phony claims of damage, which quickly fall apart when scrutinized.
6. “Rapid, substantial, and sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are needed to slow global warming and stabilize global temperature at a level that would minimize dangerous human influence on the climate system.” I disagree. We are being exhorted to “reduce our carbon footprint,” although to Dr. Karoly’s credit, he does not use this silly slogan. To the extent that “carbon footprint” includes soot (small particles of elemental carbon), and CO, carbon monoxide molecules, I would be glad to be part of the crusade.
My Statement had 64 citations. I, too, cited many government reports, including those of the IPCC, but I also cited at least 16 peer-reviewed papers by independent scientific researchers. Dr. Karoly’s overwhelming focus on government reports looks like fully developed groupthink. Or maybe it is better described by the old Russian proverb:
Сила есть, ума не надо.
We have power, no need for intelligence.
Enormous imagination has gone into showing that increasing concentrations of CO2 will be catastrophic. Cities will be flooded by sea-level rises that are 10 or more times bigger than even the IPCC predicts. There will be mass extinctions of species; billions of people will die; “tipping points” will render the planet a desert.
If you wrote down all the ills attributed to global warming, you would fill up a very thick book. And all of this despite the fact that in the history of higher life forms on Earth (the Phanerozoic), CO2 levels were four or more times higher than today, but life nevertheless flourished at least as abundantly on land and in the sea as it does today. It’s an ill wind, indeed, that blows no good.
In summary, Dr. Karoly is a good scientist who means well. But he lives in an echo chamber of like-minded people who are convinced that they are saving the world.
Claims this week that climate scientists have “5-sigma” certainty for their findings are pure hype and extremely false adverrtising. Lubos Motl explains at his website Reference Frame “Five-sigma proof” of man-made climate change is complete nonsense Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Notorious climate fearmonger Gavin Schmidt tweeted the following:
40 years since:
– the Charney report
– Hasselmann’s paper on detection & attribution
– the satellite erahttps://rdcu.be/bowzn @NatureClimate
Put it together and what have you got?
Greater than 5σ detection of anthropogenic climate change.
He picks about 3 scientific teams and praises them for reaching the “gold standard” of science (which is how the journalists hype it) – a five-sigma proof of man-made global warming. The signal-to-noise ratio has reached some critical threshold, it’s those five sigma, so the man-made climate change is proven at the same level at which we needed e.g. the Higgs boson to be discovered by CERN’s particle physicists.
It sounds great except it’s complete nonsense. When we discover something at five sigma, it means something that clearly cannot be the case in climatology. When we discover new physics at five sigma, it means that we experimentally rule out a well-defined null hypothesis at the p-level of 99.9999% or so. Note that a “well-defined null hypothesis” is always needed to talk about “five sigma”.
In the case of the man-made climate change discussion, there is clearly no such “well-defined null hypothesis”. In particular, when Schmidt and others discuss the “signal-to-noise ratio”, they don’t really know what part of the observed data is “noise” and how strong it should be. The assumption must be that the “noise” is some natural variability of the climate. But we don’t really have any precise enough and canonical enough model of the natural variability. The natural variability is undoubtedly very complex and has contributions from lots of natural and statistical phenomena and their mixtures. Cloud variations, irregular seasons, solar variability, volcanoes, even earthquakes, annual ocean cycles, decadal ocean cycles, centennial ocean cycles, 1500-year ocean cycles, irregularities in tropical cyclones, plants’ albedo variations, residuals from a way to compute the average, butterfly wings in China, and tons of other things.
So we can’t really separate the measured data to the “signal” and “noise”. Even if we knew the relevant definition of the natural noise, we just don’t know how large it was before the industrialization began. The arguments about the “hockey stick graph” are the greatest tangible proof of this statement. Some papers show the variability in 1000-1900 AD as 5 times larger than others – so “5 signa” could very well be “1 sigma” or something else.
Just like before Schmidt’s tweet, it is perfectly possible that all the data we observe may be labeled “noise” and attributed to some natural causes. There may obviously be natural causes whose effect n the global mean temperature and other quantities is virtually indistinguishable from the effected expected from the man-made global warming.
If the people observed some amazing high-frequency correlation between the changes of CO2 and the temperature, a great agreement between these two functions of time could become strong evidence of the anthropogenic greenhouse effect. But it’s clearly impossible because we surely can’t measure the effect of the tiny seasonal variations of the CO2 concentration – these variations are just a few ppm while the observed changes, seasons, are hugely pronounced and affected mostly by other things than CO2 (especially by the Sun directly).
So the growth of the CO2 was almost monotonic – and in recent decades, almost precisely linear. Nature may also add lots of contributions that change almost monotonically or linearly for a few decades. So the summary is that Gavin Schmidt and his fellow fearmongers are trying to make the man-made climate science look like a hard science – perhaps even as particle physics – but it is not really possible for the climate science to be analogous to a hard science. The reason is that particle physics and hard sciences have nicely understood, unique, and unbelievably precise null hypotheses that may be supported by the data or refuted; while the climate science doesn’t have any very precise null hypotheses.
At most, the attribution of the climate change is as messy a problem as the attribution of the discrepancies between Hubble’s constant obtained from various sources. It’s just not possible to make any reliable enough attribution because the amount of parameters that we may adjust in our explanations is larger than the number of unequivalent values that are helpful for the attribution and that we may obtain from observations. In effect, the task to “attribute” is an underdetermined set of equations: the number of unknowns is larger than the number of known conditions or constraints that they obey (i.e. than the number of observed relevant data).
Gavin Schmidt and everyone else who tries to paint hysterical climatology as a hard science analogous to particle physics is simply lying. Particle physics is a hard science and “five sigma proofs” are possible in it, climatology is a soft science and “five sigma proofs” in it are just marketing scams, and cosmology is somewhere in between. We all hope that cosmology will return closer to particle physics but we can’t be sure.
Update March 1, 2019
Ross Mckitrick posted at Climate Etc. Critique of the new Santer et al. (2019) paper
H/T Philip Dean
“I will discuss four aspects of this study which I think weaken the conclusions considerably: (a) the difference between the existence of a signal and the magnitude of the effect; (b) the confounded nature of their experimental design; (c) the invalid design of the natural-only comparator; and (d) problems relating “sigma” boundaries to probabilities.”
“The authors’ conclusions depend critically on the assumption that their “natural” model variability estimate is a plausible representation of what 1979-2018 would have looked like without greenhouse gases. The authors note the importance of this assumption in their Supplement.”
“Thus, it seems to me that the lines in Figure 1 are based on comparing an artificially exaggerated resemblance between observations and tuned models versus an artificially worsened counterfactual. This is not a gold standard of proof.”
“I’ll just point out that if time series data have unit roots they are nonstationary and you can’t use them in an autoregression because the t-statistics follow a nonstandard distribution and Gaussian (or even Student’s t) tables will give seriously biased probability values.”
“I ran Phillips-Perron unit root tests and found that anthro is nonstationary, while Temp and natural are stationary. . . A possible remedy is to construct the model in first differences. . . The coefficient magnitudes remain comparable but—oh dear—the t-statistic on anthro has collapsed from 8.56 to 1.32, while those on natural and lagged temperature are now larger. “
“The fact that in my example the t-statistic on anthro falls to a low level does not “prove” that anthropogenic forcing has no effect on tropospheric temperatures. It does show that in the framework of my model the effects are not statistically significant.”
“In the same way, since I have reason to doubt the validity of the Santer et al. model I don’t accept their conclusions. They haven’t shown what they say they showed. In particular they have not identified a unique anthropogenic fingerprint, or provided a credible control for natural variability over the sample period. Nor have they justified the use of Gaussian p-values. Their claim to have attained a “gold standard” of proof are unwarranted, in part because statistical modeling can never do that, and in part because of the specific problems in their model.”
See also: The Limitations of Climate Science
The alarmist media are promoting a new scare this week: “OMG, the warmer it gets, the fewer clouds blocking the sunshine, still warmer it gets, ad infinitum.” That is the narrative beneath headlines like these from the usual suspects (in alphabetical order for Monday, Feb. 25, 2019)
A World Without Clouds Quanta Magazine11:08 Mon, 25 Feb
‘A World Without Clouds. Think About That a Minute’: New Study Details Possibility of Devastating Climate Feedback Loop Common Dreams17:11 Mon, 25 Feb
At High Enough CO2 Levels, Clouds Will Start to Physically Break Apart ScienceAlert01:40
Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Could Make Clouds Vanish Newsweek11:28 Mon, 25 Feb
Low-level clouds that cover the oceans could disappear as a result of rising CO2 Daily Mail18:17 Mon,
Carbon dioxide ‘could destroy clouds’ and turn our planet into a ‘Hothouse Earth’ Yahoo! UK & Ireland07:15
Climate change kills off clouds over the ocean in new simulation TechCrunch18:16 Mon, 25 Feb
Climate Change Could Make These Super-Common Clouds Extinct, Which Would Scorch the Planet Live Science17:32 Mon, 25 Feb
Climate Change Is Eliminating Clouds. Without Them, Earth Burns Futurism16:32 Mon, 25 Feb
Cloud break-up linked to high CO2 levels (Nature Geoscience) Nature Asia04:53
Cloud Loss Due To High Carbon Dioxide Levels Could Make Earth 14 Degrees Hotter, Climate Change … Tech Times09:42
Cloudy, with a chance of fewer clouds Cosmos11:08 Mon, 25 Feb
Clouds’ cooling effect could vanish in a warmer world Nature.com15:32 Mon, 25 Feb
Extreme CO2 levels could trigger clouds ‘tipping point’ and 8C of global warming Carbon Brief11:11 Mon, 25 Feb
Fluffy clouds may disappear by 2100, causing 8 degree warming i News06:12
Global warming imperils clouds that deter hothouse Earth GMA News02:46
Global warming imperils stratocumulus clouds that deter hothouse Earth: scientists The Japan Times14:30 Mon, 25 Feb
High CO2 levels can destabilize marine layer clouds Phys.org11:01 Mon, 25 Feb
If climate change makes the clouds disappear, we’re screwed Grist Magazine19:07 Mon, 25 Feb
If Carbon Dioxide Levels Get High Enough, They’ll Break Up Planet-Cooling Clouds IFLScience11:05 Mon, 25 Feb
I’ve Got to Admit I Didn’t See the Death of Clouds Coming Esquire14:39 Mon, 25 Feb
Striking study finds a climate tipping point in clouds Ars Technica18:16 Mon, 25 Feb
Study finds increasing carbon dioxide levels threaten marine stratus clouds Slashgear09:13
The loss of clouds could add another 8°C to global warming MIT Technology Review07:43
Very high carbon dioxide could suppress cooling clouds, climate change model warns The Washington Post11:12 Mon, 25 Feb
We Could Be On The Verge Of Killing Off Clouds And Returning To A ‘Hothouse Earth’ Forbes16:24 Mon, 25 Feb
Isn’t it impressive how Climate Crisis Central can blanket the world with a scary message, with enough variety in titles to disguise the robotic repetition? Yet just reading the headlines already suggests to anyone with critical intelligence what is false about this alarm. Let me list some of the obvious flaws before digging into this issue.
1. It’s a projection from a climate model, not a finding from observations.
2. It is based on highly uncertain supposed mechanisms.
3. It presupposes CO2 concentrations 3 times the present level.
4. The possible effect will occur after almost all readers will be dead of natural causes.
5. It claims a runaway warming “tipping point” which the earth has suppressed until now.
6. It contradicts the logic of a warmer world increasing the hydrology cycle with more clouds and precipitation.
7. It stokes fear of “hothouse earth” when presently we are slowly emerging from “severe icehouse earth.”
The above image comes from esteemed paleoclimatologist Christopher Scotese. It shows the range of earth’s climate history, and that we are presently slowly emerging from Severe Icehouse. It also shows that the world warms by rising temperatures at higher latitudes toward the poles, while the equator remains the same, thus reducing the gradient. Tossing around the word “Hothouse” is nonsensical in today’s situation. See also: Fact: Future Will be Flatter Not Hotter
As it happens, the first article in the list is the most informative: A World Without Clouds Excerpts in italics with my bolds
A state-of-the-art supercomputer simulation indicates that a feedback loop between global warming and cloud loss can push Earth’s climate past a disastrous tipping point in as little as a century.
Clouds currently cover about two-thirds of the planet at any moment. But computer simulations of clouds have begun to suggest that as the Earth warms, clouds become scarcer. With fewer white surfaces reflecting sunlight back to space, the Earth gets even warmer, leading to more cloud loss. This feedback loop causes warming to spiral out of control.
Climate physicists at the California Institute of Technology performed a state-of-the-art simulation of stratocumulus clouds, the low-lying, blankety kind that have by far the largest cooling effect on the planet. The simulation revealed a tipping point: a level of warming at which stratocumulus clouds break up altogether. The disappearance occurs when the concentration of CO2 in the simulated atmosphere reaches 1,200 parts per million — a level that fossil fuel burning could push us past in about a century, under “business-as-usual” emissions scenarios. In the simulation, when the tipping point is breached, Earth’s temperature soars 8 degrees Celsius, in addition to the 4 degrees of warming or more caused by the CO2 directly.
The huge range in the models’ predictions chiefly comes down to whether they see clouds blocking more or less sunlight in the future. As Marvel put it, “You can fairly confidently say that the model spread in climate sensitivity is basically just a model spread in what clouds are going to do.”
The problem is that, in computer simulations of the global climate, today’s supercomputers cannot resolve grid cells that are smaller than about 100 kilometers by 100 kilometers in area. But clouds are often no more than a few kilometers across. Physicists therefore have to simplify or “parameterize” clouds in their global models, assigning an overall level of cloudiness to each grid cell based on other properties, like temperature and humidity.
But clouds involve the interplay of so many mechanisms that it’s not obvious how best to parameterize them. The warming of the Earth and sky strengthens some mechanisms involved in cloud formation, while also fueling other forces that break clouds up. Global climate models that predict 2 degrees of warming in response to doubling CO2 generally also see little or no change in cloudiness. Models that project a rise of 4 or more degrees forecast fewer clouds in the coming decades.
But vastly more important and more challenging than high clouds are the low, thick, turbulent ones — especially the stratocumulus variety. Bright-white sheets of stratocumulus cover a quarter of the ocean, reflecting 30 to 70 percent of the sunlight that would otherwise be absorbed by the dark waves below.
Suppositions: First, when higher CO2 levels make Earth’s surface and sky hotter, the extra heat drives stronger turbulence inside the clouds. The turbulence mixes moist air near the top of the cloud, pushing it up and out through an important boundary layer that caps stratocumulus clouds, while drawing dry air in from above. Entrainment, as this is called, works to break up the cloud.
Secondly, as the greenhouse effect makes the upper atmosphere warmer and thus more humid, the cooling of the tops of stratocumulus clouds from above becomes less efficient. This cooling is essential, because it causes globs of cold, moist air at the top of the cloud to sink, making room for warm, moist air near Earth’s surface to rise into the cloud and become it. When cooling gets less effective, stratocumulus clouds grow thin.
On the Other Hand:
Joel Norris is one of the world experts in studying clouds in relation to climate, and he has published findings in partnerships with Martin Wild of ETH Zurich, where the global dimming and brightening database is located. See: Nature’s Sunscreen for background.
Norris provides an informative context in this pdf presentation Observed Cloud Cover Trends and Global Climate Change
He notes these Uncertainties in Feedbacks
• general theories do not exist for quantifying most individual climate feedbacks
• observations lack sufficient detail and comprehensiveness
• competing climate processes cannot be distinguished using observations
• global climate models have insufficient spatial resolution to simulate climate processes
From analyzing the data, Norris concludes that Total Cloud Cover has been Net Cooling:
• satellite radiation and surface cloud data have been combined to produce the first-ever multidecadal estimation of radiation variability due to clouds
• the role of clouds in the climate system is one of the biggest uncertainties in understanding future climate change
• upper-level cloud cover has decreased and outgoing LW radiation has increased over most of the global ocean
• low-level stratiform cloud cover and reflected SW radiation have increased over midlatitude oceans
• cloud changes since 1952 have had a net cooling effect on the Earth
See also: No GHG Warming Fingerprints in the Sky
The Greek word for “one tone” is monotonia, which is the root for both monotone and the closely-related word monotonous, which means “dull and tedious.” Monotone is a droning, unchanging tone. A continuous sound, especially someone’s voice, that doesn’t rise and fall in pitch, is a monotone. Nothing can put you to sleep quite as effectively as a teacher talking in a monotone.
Monotonic climate science was on full display this week as journalists, pundits and tweeters freaked out over a comment by the new US ambassador to Canada. Her offense: saying there were two sides on the climate issue and she respects them both.
The story from CBC: The new U.S. ambassador to Canada said Monday that she believes “both sides” of climate change science.
In an interview with Canada’s CBC News, Kelly Knight Craft said that she believes there is “accurate” science on “both sides” but did not specify what sides she was referring to.
“I believe there are sciences on both sides that are accurate,” Craft said. “Both sides have their own results from their studies, and I appreciate and respect both sides of the science.”
President Trump appointed Craft, a prominent GOP fundraiser, to the ambassadorship earlier this year.
Craft told CBC that even though Trump has pledged to pull the United States out of the Paris climate agreement, she thinks the U.S. can “absolutely” fight climate climate change.
“We all have the same goal, and that is to better our environment and to maintain the environment,” she said. “I feel like our administration has been on top of this regardless of whether or not they’d be pulling out.”
It is true Ambassador Craft had the look of a deer in the headlights. She is from Kentucky where one doesn’t encounter sanctimonious warmists as frequently as in Ottawa, and especially not ones determined to get a “gotcha” quote from her.
All the comments at alarmist websites are dissing her for thinking the issue could have two differing points of view. Going further, they repeatedly claim “science” does not have two sides, not now, not ever. And, of course, she offends them by saying she respects people on both sides of the matter. As an Ambassador, she sought common ground without going into the specifics of how the US is actually reducing its CO2 emissions while Canada has not.
The damage here goes beyond climate science to the degradation of all scientific disciplines. These smug journalists and their audiences know that on all kinds of issues reasonable people can disagree. But somehow they have been brainwashed with the notion that science is a catechism with only one right answer. That idea is false and a threat to modern civilization.
They hear only about Jim Hansen, Al Gore, Mike Mann and their ilk, and think their pronouncements are universally and eternally true. Many, many scientists see things differently. Hard as it is to go from simplicity to complexity, let us enlighten these folks to some of the other sides of climate science . First, meet Richard Muller who shares some concerns and not others. Below in italics is his answer to a question raised on Quora: What are some widely cited studies in the news that are false?
Answer by Richard Muller, Professor of Physics at UC Berkeley.
That 97% of all climate scientists accept that climate change is real, large, and a threat to the future of humanity. That 97% basically concur with the vast majority of claims made by Vice President Al Gore in his Nobel Peace Prize winning film, An Inconvenient Truth.
The question asked in typical surveys is neither of those. It is this: “Do you believe that humans are affecting climate?” My answer would be yes. Humans are responsible for about a 1 degree Celsius rise in the average temperature in the last 100 years. So I would be included as one of the 97% who believe.
Yet the observed changes that are scientifically established, in my vast survey of the science, are confined to temperature rise and the resulting small (4-inch) rise in sea level. (The huge “sea level rise” seen in Florida is actually subsidence of the land mass, and is not related to global warming.) There is no significant change in the rate of storms, or of violent storms, including hurricanes and volcanoes. The temperature variability is not increasing. There is no scientifically significant increase in floods or droughts. Even the widely reported warming of Alaska (“the canary in the mine”) doesn’t match the pattern of carbon dioxide increase–it may have an explanation in terms of changes in the northern Pacific and Atlantic currents. Moreover, the standard climate models have done a very poor job of predicting the temperature rise in Antarctica, so we must be cautious about the danger of confirmation bias.
My friend Will Happer believes that humans do affect the climate, particularly in cities where concrete and energy use cause what is called the “urban heat island effect.” So he would be included in the 97% who believe that humans affect climate, even though he is usually included among the more intense skeptics of the IPCC. He also feels that humans cause a small amount of global warming (he isn’t convinced it is as large as 1 degree), but he does not think it is heading towards a disaster; he has concluded that the increase in carbon dioxide is good for food production, and has helped mitigate global hunger. Yet he would be included in the 97%.
The problem is not with the survey, which asked a very general question. The problem is that many writers (and scientists!) look at that number and mischaracterize it. The 97% number is typically interpreted to mean that 97% accept the conclusions presented in An Inconvenient Truth by former Vice President Al Gore. That’s certainly not true; even many scientists who are deeply concerned by the small global warming (such as me) reject over 70% of the claims made by Mr. Gore in that movie (as did a judge in the UK; see the following link: Gore climate film’s nine ‘errors‘).
The pollsters aren’t to blame. Well, some of them are; they too can do a good poll and then misrepresent what it means. The real problem is that many people who fear global warming (include me) feel that it is necessary to exaggerate the meaning of the polls in order to get action from the public (don’t include me).
There is another way to misrepresent the results of the polls. Yes, 97% of those polled believe that there is human caused climate change. How did they reach that decision? Was it based on a careful reading of the IPCC report? Was it based on their knowledge of the potential systematic uncertainties inherent in the data? Or was it based on their fear that opponents to action are anti-science, so we scientists have to get together and support each other. There is a real danger in people with Ph.D.s joining a consensus that they haven’t vetted professionally.
I like to ask scientists who “believe” in global warming what they think of the data. Do they believe hurricanes are increasing? Almost never do I get the answer “Yes, I looked at that, and they are.” Of course they don’t say that, because if they did I would show them the actual data! Do they say, “I’ve looked at the temperature record, and I agree that the variability is going up”? No. Sometimes they will say, “There was a paper by Jim Hansen that showed the variability was increasing.” To which I reply, “I’ve written to Jim Hansen about that paper, and he agrees with me that it shows no such thing. He even expressed surprise that his paper has been so misinterpreted.”
A really good question would be: “Have you studied climate change enough that you would put your scientific credentials on the line that most of what is said in An Inconvenient Truth is based on accurate scientific results? My guess is that a large majority of the climate scientists would answer no to that question, and the true percentage of scientists who support the statement I made in the opening paragraph of this comment, that true percentage would be under 30%. That is an unscientific guestimate, based on my experience in asking many scientists about the claims of Al Gore.
Then esteemed climate scientist Richard Lindzen, in a short video introduces you to more sides to the climate change issue:
Science in general, and climate science in particular is not monotonic, but polyphonic. There are and have always been differing voices and tones in the search for objective truth. Only the illiterate think otherwise.
We are heading into winter this year at the bottom of a solar cycle, and ocean oscillations due for cooling phases. The folks at Climate Alarm Central (CAC) are well aware of this, and are working hard so people won’t realize that global cooling contradicts global warming. No indeed, contortionist papers and headlines are warning us all that CO2 not only causes hothouse earth, overrun with rats and other vermin. CO2 also causes ice ages when it feels like it.
For example, a recent article by alarmist Jason Samenow at Washington Post is Study: Freak summer weather and wild jet-stream patterns are on the rise because of global warming. Excerpts in italics with my bolds
In many ways, the summer of 2018 marked a turning point, when the effects of climate change — perhaps previously on the periphery of public consciousness — suddenly took center stage. Record high temperatures spread all over the Northern Hemisphere. Wildfires raged out of control. And devastating floods were frequent.
Michael Mann, climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, along with colleagues, has published a new study that connects these disruptive weather extremes with a fundamental change in how the jet stream is behaving during the summer. Linked to the warming climate, the study suggests this change in the atmosphere’s steering current is making these extremes occur more frequently, with greater intensity, and for longer periods of time.
The study projects this erratic jet-stream behavior will increase in the future, leading to more severe heat waves, droughts, fires and floods.
The jet stream is changing not only because the planet is warming up but also because the Arctic is warming faster than the mid-latitudes, the study says. The jet stream is driven by temperature contrasts, and these contrasts are shrinking. The result is a slower jet stream with more wavy peaks and troughs that Mann and his study co-authors ascribe to a process known as “quasi-resonant amplification.”
The altered jet-stream behavior is important because when it takes deep excursions to the south in the summer, it sets up a collision between cool air from the north and the summer’s torrid heat, often spurring excessive rain. But when the jet stream retreats to the north, bulging heat domes form underneath it, leading to record heat and dry spells.
The study, published Wednesday in Science Advances, finds that these quasi-resonant amplification events — in which the jet stream exhibits this extreme behavior during the summer — are predicted to increase by 50 percent this century if emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases continue unchecked.
Whereas previous work conducted by Mann and others had identified a signal for an increase in these events, this study for the first time examined how they may change in the future using climate model simulations.
“Looking at a large number of different computer models, we found interesting differences,” said Stefan Rahmstorf from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and a co-author of the study, in a news release. “Distinct climate models provide quite diverging forecasts for future climate resonance events. However, on average they show a clear increase in such events.”
Although model projections suggest these extreme jet-stream patterns will increase as the climate warms, the study concluded that their increase can be slowed if greenhouse gas emissions are reduced along with particulate pollution in developing countries. “[T]he future is still very much in our hands when it comes to dangerous and damaging summer weather extremes,” Mann said. “It’s simply a matter of our willpower to transition quickly from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”
Mann has been leading the charge to blame anticipated cooling on fossil fuels, his previous attempt claiming CO2 is causing a slowdown of AMOC (part of it being the Gulf Stream), resulting in global cooling, even an ice age. The same idea underlay the scary 2004 movie Day After Tomorrow.
Other scientists are more interested in the truth than in hype. An example is this AGU publication by D.A Smeed et al. The North Atlantic Ocean Is in a State of Reduced Overturning Excerpts in italics with my bolds.
Indices of subsurface temperature, sea surface height (SSH), latent heat flux (LHF), and sea surface temperature (SST). SST (purple) is plotted using the same scale as subsurface temperature (blue) in the upper panel. The upper panel shows 24 month filtered values of de‐seasonalized anomalies along with the non‐Ekman part of the AMOC. In the lower panel, we show three‐year running means of the indices going back to 1985 (1993 for the SSH index).
Changes in ocean heat transport and SST are expected to modify the net air‐sea heat flux. The changes in the total air‐sea flux (Figure S4, data obtained from the National Centers for Environmental Prediction‐National Center for Atmospheric Research reanalysis; Kalnay et al., 1996) are almost all due to the change in LHF. The third panel of Figure 3 shows the changes in LHF between the two periods. There is a strong signal with increased heat loss from the ocean over the Gulf Stream. That the area of increased heat loss coincides with the location of warming SST indicates that the changes in air‐sea fluxes are driven by the ocean.
Whilst the AMOC has only been continuously measured since 2004, the indices of SSH, heat content, SST, and LHF can be calculated farther back in time (Figure 3, bottom). Over this longer time period, all four indices are strongly correlated with one another (Table S5; correlations were calculated using the nonparametric method described in McCarthy et al., 2015). These data suggest that measurement of the AMOC at 26°N started close to a maximum in the overturning. Prior to 2007 the indices show variability on a time scale of 8 to 10 years and no trend is evident, but since 2014 all indices have had values lower than any other year since 1985.
Previous studies have shown that seasonal and interannual changes in the subtropical AMOC are forced primarily by changing wind stress mediated by Rossby waves (Zhao & Johns, 2014a, 2014b). There is growing evidence (Delworth et al., 2016; Jackson et al., 2016) that the longer‐term changes of the AMOC over the last decade are also associated with thermohaline forcing and that the changed circulation alters the pattern of ocean‐atmosphere heat exchange (Gulev et al., 2013). The role of ocean circulation in decadal climate variability has been challenged in recent years with authors suggesting that external, atmospheric‐driven changes could produce the observed variability in Atlantic SSTs (Clement et al., 2015). However, the direct observation of a weakened AMOC supports a role for ocean circulation in decadal Atlantic climate variability.
Our results show that the previously reported decline of the AMOC (Smeed et al., 2014) has been arrested, but the length of the observational record of the AMOC is still short relative to the time scales of important decadal variations that exist in the Atlantic. Understanding is therefore constantly evolving. What we identify as a changed state of the AMOC in this study may well prove to be part of a decadal oscillation superposed on a multidecadal cycle. Overlaying these oscillations is the impact of anthropogenic change that is predicted to weaken the AMOC over the next century. The continuation of measurements from the RAPID 26°N array and similar observations elsewhere in the Atlantic (Lozier et al., 2017; Meinen et al., 2013) will enable us to unravel and reveal the role of ocean circulation in the changing Atlantic climate in the coming decades.
Regarding the more recent attempt to link CO2 with jet stream meanderings, we have this paper providing a more reasonable assessment. Arctic amplification: does it impact the polar jet stream? by Valentin P. Meleshko et al. Excerpts below in italics with my bolds.
Analysis of observation and model simulations has revealed that northward temperature gradient decreases and jet flow weakens in the polar troposphere due to global climate warming. These interdependent phenomena are regarded as robust features of the climate system. An increase of planetary wave oscillation that is attributed to Arctic amplification (Francis and Vavrus, 2012; Francis and Vavrus, 2015) has not been confirmed from analysis of observation (Barnes, 2013; Screen and Simmonds, 2013) or in our analysis of model simulations of projected climate. However, we found that GPH variability associated with planetary wave oscillation increases in the background of weakening of zonal flow during the sea-ice-free summer. Enhancement of northward heat transport in the troposphere was shown to be the main factor responsible for decrease of northward temperature gradient and weakening of the jet stream in autumn and winter. Arctic amplification provides only minor contribution to the evolution of zonal flow and planetary wave oscillation.
It has been shown that northward heat transport is the major factor in decreasing the northward temperature gradient in the polar atmosphere and increasing the planetary-scale wave oscillation in the troposphere of the mid-latitudes. Arctic amplification does not show any essential impact on planetary-scale oscillation in the mid and upper troposphere, although it does cause a decrease of northward heat transport in the lower troposphere. These results confound the interpretation of the short observational record that has suggested a causal link between recent Arctic melting and extreme weather in the mid-latitudes.
There are two additional explanations of factors causing the wavy jet stream, AKA Polar Vortex. Dr Judah Cohen of AER has written extensively on the link between Autumn Siberian snow cover and the Arctic oscillation. See Snowing and Freezing in the Arctic for a more complete description of the mechanism.
Finally, a discussion with Piers Corbyn regarding the solar flux effect upon the jet stream at Is This Cold the New Normal?
Video transcript available at linked post.
This post is a reblog of the Manhattan Contrarian Quiz — Climate Tipping Points Edition
October 11, 2018/ by Francis Menton. Text in italics with my bolds.
On Monday the UN IPCC came out with its latest Special Report, this one supposedly addressed specifically to the allegedly dire consequences of allowing world temperatures to increase by more than an arbitrarily-selected threshold. Here is a copy of the “Summary for Policymakers,” and here is a copy of the accompanying press release. But I urge you not to peek at those until you have taken today’s very important Manhattan Contrarian Climate Tipping Points Quiz.
Many have noted that this latest Report seems to step up the level of hysteria and shrieking about the threat of climate change to a whole new level. The gist is, we are doomed, doomed, doomed unless mankind takes immediate drastic action to reduce and then eliminate carbon emissions, because otherwise we will shortly cross the dreaded climate “tipping point.” Crossing the tipping point means that climate change will thereafter accelerate out of control, there will be no further chance of saving the planet, and all hope must be abandoned. You can see that this is very serious, at least if you give any credence to this stuff. And yet, despite the hyperbole, this report seems to be getting much less attention than prior similar predictions of the impending climate apocalypse, even if no one in the mainstream press will apply the slightest amount of critical thinking as to whether any of this makes any sense at all. As an example, the big New York Times article on the Report did not appear until Tuesday, and in the print edition ran on page A8. I guess there were plenty of things more important than the approaching end of the world to fill up the front page.
So it’s time to take the Manhattan Contrarian Climate Tipping Points Quiz. The quiz consists of nine predictions of the impending climate “tipping point,” made at various points over the past few decades. For each prediction, I have deleted the name of the predictor, the year made and the year or years that were identified as the dreaded tipping point, but have included in brackets the number of years in the future that the tipping point was said to be at the time of the prediction in question. Your task is to identify which of the predictions is the one found in the current UN materials. For extra credit, see if you can identify any of the other predictions as to the person or organization uttering the prediction, the year made, and the year said to be the date of the tipping point.
Answers below the fold.
Prediction Number 1:
[Predictor] said that without “coherent financial incentives and disincentives” we have just 96 months to avert “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it.” . . . He confided last night: “We face the dual challenges of a world view and an economic system that seem to have enormous shortcomings, together with an environmental crisis – including that of climate change – which threatens to engulf us all.”
Prediction Number 2:
[U]nless drastic measures to reduce greenhouse gases are taken within the next 10 years, the world will reach a point of no return, [predictor] said. He sees the situation as “a true planetary emergency.” “If you accept the truth of that, then nothing else really matters that much,” [predictor] said in an interview with The Associated Press. “We have to organize quickly to come up with a coherent and really strong response, and that’s what I’m devoting myself to.”
Prediction Number 3:
[Predictor] . . . told author Bob Reiss in [year of prediction] that New York City would be underwater in 20 years. “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water,” [predictor] said. “And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.”
Prediction Number 4:
The year: [46 years after prediction]. Massive dikes around New Orleans, Miami, and New York are holding back rising sea water. Phoenix is baking in its third straight week of temperatures above 115 degrees. Decades of drought have laid waste to the once-fertile Midwestern farm belt. Hurricanes batter the Gulf Coast, and forest fires continue to black thousands of acres across the country. Science fiction? Hardly. These are the sobering global warming or “greenhouse effect” scenarios that many scientists believe may happen if we continue to pollute our environment. . . . [N]othing short of an immediate worldwide effort by governments, corporations and especially individual citizens will be needed to reverse the environmental crisis that now threatens the entire planet.
Prediction Number 5:
In [year of prediction], [predictor] told [publication] that [4 years after prediction] was “the last window of opportunity” to impose policies to restrict fossil fuel use. [Predictor] said it’s “the last chance we have to get anything approaching [numeric] degrees Centigrade,” adding that if “we don’t do it now, we are committing the world to a drastically different place.”
Prediction Number 6:
[W]arming of [numeric] deg C or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems,” said [predictor]. . . . [L]imiting global warming to [numeric]°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from [year] levels by [12 years from prediction], reaching ‘net zero’ around [32 years from prediction].
Prediction Number 7:
[Predictor] said in [year of prediction] that if “there’s no action before [5 years after prediction], that’s too late.” “What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment,” he said.
Prediction Number 8:
[Predictor] wrote in [publication] that within “as little as 10 years, the world will be faced with a choice: arable farming either continues to feed the world’s animals or it continues to feed the world’s people. It cannot do both.”
Prediction Number 9:
[Publication] reported in [year] that [predictor] says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the [year].”
Answers to Quiz:
Answer for Prediction Number 1: This famous prediction was made by the great climate scientist Prince Charles in July 2009. The 96 month (8 year) period of the prediction expired in July 2017. Does that mean that for a year plus we have already been in the state of “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse”?
Answer for Prediction Number 2: Again, this is a quite famous prediction, made by Al Gore at the January 2006 premier of his climate apocalypse movie “An Inconvenient Truth,” as reported at the time by CBS News. Thus, the period of the prediction expired in January 2016. I guess then that we have already reached the “point of no return” and the “true planetary emergency.” How does it feel?
Answer for Prediction Number 3: Another famous prediction, this one made in 1988 by James Hansen, then head of the branch of NASA known as GISS that collects (and fraudulently alters) world temperature data. This time the 20 year prediction period expired in 2008. Meanwhile, I went down the West Side Highway just a few days ago, and the water didn’t appear any closer to swamping it than it was back in 1988.
Answer for Prediction Number 4: This one comes from self-described all-around genius Jeremy Rifkin (“author of 20 bestselling books about the impact of scientific and technological changes on the economy, the workforce, society, and the environment.” and “advisor to the leadership of the European Union since 2000” — really, does that tell you all you need to know about what idiots the Europeans are?), and is found in an article in none other than the Poughkeepsie Journal (my hometown newspaper!) in 1989. OK, the date for the prediction (2035) hasn’t arrived yet. But, if we were going to need “massive dikes” to protect New York City by 2035, shouldn’t there be by now some evidence of the sea level going up?
Answer for Prediction Number 5: The predictor was then-head of the United Nations Foundation Timothy Wirth, and the year of prediction was 2012. That means that the date for the prediction was 2016 — or actually, in the phrasing of the prediction, the end of President Obama’s second term. The prediction appeared in ClimateWire. I guess we missed our “last chance” to save the world. Wirth is the same guy who, as a Congressman back in 1988, promoted the hearings featuring Hansen that many credit as the official launch of the global warming scare.
Answer for Prediction Number 6: Yes, this quote comes from the just-issued press release announcing the new UN Report. There were enough extraneous clues in there that probably many of you readers got it right. The number of degrees C that is said in this Report to be the brink of disaster is 1.5.
Answer for Prediction Number 7: The predictor is former UN IPCC head Rajendra Pachauri, and the year of prediction was 2007. That means that after 2012 it was “too late” to stop armageddon. Oh, well. Somehow we struggle on.
Answer for Prediction Number 8: This one comes from noted UK environmental writer George Monbiot, and appeared in the Guardian in 2002. So once again the year for the prediction was 2012. Do you recall the world making the choice somewhere 6 or so years ago between “feeding the world’s animals” and “feeding the world’s people.” I’m struggling to remember that. Perhaps I should go home and have a hamburger for dinner while I think it over.
Answer for Prediction Number 9: The prediction comes from 1989, and the year for the prediction (“entire nations . . . wiped off the face of the earth”) was 2000 — 18 years ago. The publication was the San Jose Mercury News, which attributed the prediction to UN “senior environmental official” Noel Brown. Somehow, even the Maldives seem to be doing fine here in 2018.
Here’s the incredible thing: Wouldn’t you think that making apocalyptic predictions like these that failed so completely would undermine the predictors’ reputations somehow — like maybe, they’d be considered laughingstocks? Not at all! All of these guys are still out there and going strong. OK, Pachauri was forced out of the IPCC, but over sexual harassment allegations, not failed climate predictions. He left the IPCC in 2015, which means that three years after his prediction above bombed, he was still there. Meanwhile, the IPCC had won the Nobel Peace Prize! Monbiot still writes climate doom articles for the Guardian. And you haven’t heard of Noel Brown? He retired from the UNDP, but has gone on to be President of the Friends of the United Nations.
Yes, ridiculous failed climate apocalypse predictions are the route to assured career success. The world is a funny place.
Update October 13, 2018
An interesting essay by Sean Gabb (H/T Greenie Watch) provides some additional predictions justifying our skepticism about environmentalists’ doomsday narrative. The Environmental Scam: One Quick and Easy Response Excerpt in italics: The entire article is informative.
Sean Gabb writes:
I now turn to the claims about global warming. I will not discuss the intricacies of how much carbon dioxide we are releasing, or what effect this may have on temperatures. I leave aside the persistent claims of scientific fraud and other corruption. As said, I am not qualified to comment on these or other matters. What I do note is that, in 2006, Al Gore
[p]atiently, and surely for the 10,000th time, [explained to The Guardian] what’s going wrong. The atmosphere is like a coat of varnish around the globe, he says. When it’s thin, as it should be, heat naturally escapes. But when it gets thicker, thanks to carbon dioxide emitted by us, it traps in the heat and the world gets warmer. “It’s cooking and wilting the most vulnerable parts of the eco-system, melting all the mountain glaciers, the north polar ice cap, parts of Antarctica, parts of Greenland.” That molten ice-water will raise sea-levels, flooding food-producing areas that all of us rely on. Eventually it will submerge whole cities, from San Francisco to Shanghai. The site of the Twin Towers will not be a memorial garden: it will be underwater.
… He agrees with the scientists who say we have 10 years to act, before we cross a point of no return.
In 2009, the Prince of Wales – advised by the “leading environmentalists Jonathon Porritt and Tony Juniper” – said we had 96 months to change our ways. After that, we faced “irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse, and all that goes with it.”
In 2005, George Monbiot wrote in The Guardian:
Winter is no longer the great grey longing of my childhood. The freezes this country suffered in 1982 and 1963 are – unless the Gulf Stream stops – unlikely to recur. Our summers will be long and warm. Across most of the upper northern hemisphere, climate change, so far, has been kind to us.
Ten years took us to 2016. Assuming my arithmetic is correct, 96 months take us to about now. If we have really reached the “point of no return,” why have these people not yet switched to telling us “I warned you: now it’s too late”? Instead, the apocalyptic warnings continue at top volume. Oh – and English weather remains as unpredictable today as it was in 2005. In March this year, there was an inch of snow in Deal.
The point of repeating these claims is that they were not random assertions, but appear to have been made on scientific advice – scientific advice that turned out to be wrong. Whether the scientists in question were lying, or whether they advised in good faith, is less important than that they were wrong. You do not need a degree in the natural sciences to notice when predictions are falsified. It is with this in mind that I take the present claims of plastic waste in the sea, and reject them out of hand. It may be that, this time, the claims are true. But the whole burden of proof is on those making them. The burden of proof comes with the barely-rebuttable presumption that we are being fed yet another diet of alarmist falsehoods.