Return of the Hockey Stick

The story of the Modern Warming Spike (AKA the Hockey Stick) and its Rise and Fall is recounted in a previous post, reprinted later on. The news today is about a fresh initiative to reassert the discredited analysis using a new temperature reconstruction combining proxies stored by the PAGES2K network.

In a recent post Marcel Crok described his initiation into the climate wars as a young science journalist and discovering that two Canadians (Ross McKitrick and Steve McIntyre) had proved false Michael Mann’s modern warming spike. As he says correctly:

The arguments of the critics were not difficult to refute and the work of the two Canadians stands firmly to this day. I was intrigued by the quite aggressive and also defensive reaction of the climate scientists. Up to this day the criticism of the Canadians has never been fully addressed by the climate science community or the IPCC. Wasn’t this about the progress of science?

Just in time for the Year without a Summer in North America, we have a coordinated blitz of articles claiming present day warming never happened before. Just a sample from yesterday:

  • New climate studies bust sceptics’ ‘Little Ice Age’ theory Newshub17:13
  • Global warming is happening at a speed and scale ‘unprecedented’ in the last 2,000 years Daily Mail17:10
  • Trees tell us: this heating is different Stuff.co.nz17:04
  • Global warming dwarfs climate variations of past 2,000 years Thomson Reuters Foundation News16:50
  • 2,000 years of records show it’s getting hotter, faster The Conversation (AU)15:59
  • Climate is warming faster than it has in 2,000 years USA Today EU15:52
  • Causes of multidecadal climate changes ScienceDaily15:51
  • 20th-century warming ‘unmatched’ in 2,000 years AFP15:41
  • Unlike Modern Climate Change, the Biggest Swings in Recorded History Were Just Regional Patterns Discover Magazine15:07
  • Global extent of climate change is ‘unparalleled’ in past 2,000 years Carbon Brief14:18
  • Recent warming ‘unmatched in the past 2000 years’ Cosmos14:11
  • Climate is warming faster than it has in the last 2,000 years ScienceDaily13:50
  • New global warming study definitively proves climate deniers wrong The Independent13:49
  • Earth warmed faster in the last few decades than the previous 1,900 years, study says Los Angeles Times13:48
  • Global warming ‘unparalleled’ in 2,000 years BBC13:33
  • Recent climate change trends ‘unprecedented’ in the last 2,000 years CNET13:30
  • Global warming dwarfs climate variations of past 2,000 years – study Reuters13:29
  • The climate is warming faster than it has in the last 2,000 years BrightSurf.com13:29
  • Modern Climate Change Is the Only Worldwide Warming Event of the Past 2,000 Years Smithsonian Magazine13:18

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The claims arise from new analyses of the proxy datasets in PAGES (Past Global Changes) project called PAGES2K.  The most balanced of the above articles is the last one from Smithsonian. New research finds that previous periods of warming and cooling driven by natural causes were regional shifts in temperature rather than global events  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

First the Hype: 

“They’ve shown that not only is the warming that we’ve experienced in the last few decades larger in magnitude than the kinds of changes we’ve seen due to natural factors in the past, [but] it’s affecting almost the entire planet in the same way at the same time,” St. George says. “That’s really different than earlier prolonged climate changes due to natural factors which sometimes affected a large part of the planet but nothing close to 100 percent. The current warming that we’re going through is almost everywhere, and that’s what really makes it distinct from earlier climatic events due to natural causes.”

Then the Realism:

Kevin Anchukaitis, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Arizona not involved in the research, says the idea that the Medieval period and Little Ice Age weren’t eras of truly global change has been discussed in previous studies, and the authors’ recent conclusions support that earlier work. “They were broad warm and cold periods, within which different regions of the globe had their coldest or warmest periods at different times. For the Little Ice Age, we know this is linked to volcanism,” Anchukaitis says.

Despite the fact that more data is available to paleoclimatologists than ever before, Anchukaitis believes that significantly more work needs to be done if scientists are to gather a truly global picture of past climate. “To make progress in understanding the climate of the [past 2,000 years], we should move beyond applying a smorgasbord of different statistical methods,” he says via email. Instead, scientists need a renewed effort to gather paleoclimate records from places and times that are underrepresented in compilations like PAGES 2k.

“The proxy network is largely Northern Hemisphere tree-rings, tropical records (corals) decline rapidly by 1600, and there are relatively few Southern Hemisphere records outside of the Antarctic ice cores,” Anchukaitis says. “So claims about global spatial patterns prior to about 1600, particularly for the tropics and southern hemisphere, must be viewed cautiously.”

My Comment:  There is no such thing as a global climate.  Climates are regional, local and even micro in their distinctive patterns of temperature and precipitation.  Analyses of the Koppen climate zones show that boundaries are shifting very little over the last 100 years, and that warming and cooling remains highly variable over the earth’s surface.  [See Data vs. Models #4: Climates Changing]

Moreover, the paleoproxies remain problematic and subject to both manipulation and biased interpretation.  Steve McIntyre has extensive critques of PAGES at his blog Climate Audit.  For example in Sept. 2015 he discussed The Ocean2K “Hockey Stick”, a study with very similar claims:

Today, the Earth is warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years,” said Michael Evans, second author of the study and an associate professor in the University of Maryland’s Department of Geology and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center (ESSIC). “This study truly highlights the profound effects we are having on our climate today.”

McIntyre observed: 

One of the reasons for the strange lack of interest in this newest proxy “Hockey Stick” was that the proxy data didn’t actually show “the climate was warming about 20 times faster than it cooled during the past 1,800 years”. The OCEAN2K reconstruction (see Figure 1 below) had a shape that anyone would be hard-pressed to describe as a “Hockey Stick”. It showed a small decrease over the past two millennia with the most recent value having a tiny uptick from its predecessor, but, whatever image one might choose to describe its shape, “Hockey Stick” is not one of them.

Previous Post:  The Rise and Fall of the Modern Warming Spike

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The first graph appeared in the IPCC 1990 First Assessment Report (FAR) credited to H.H.Lamb, first director of CRU-UEA. The second graph was featured in 2001 IPCC Third Assessment Report (TAR) the famous hockey stick credited to M. Mann.

A previous post Rise and Fall of CAGW described the process that began with Hansen’s flashy Senate testimony in 1988, later supported by Santer’s flashy paper in 1996. This post traces a second iteration that ensued following Michael Mann’s production of the infamous Climate Hockey Stick graph in 1998. The image at the top comes from the 2001 IPCC TAR (Third Assessment Report) signifying the immediate embrace of this alarmist tool by consensus climatists.  The message of the graph was to assert a spike in modern warming unprecedented in the last 1000 years.  This claim of a “Modern Warming Spike” required a flat temperature profile throughout the Middle Ages (since 1000 AD).

The background to the process steps (image below) from Ross Pomeroy’s paper is provided followed by text and references for the rise and fall of the theory intended to erase Medieval Warming comparable to the present day. Sources of material are listed at the end and  included here with my bolds.

How Theories Advance and Collapse

Seeing how disarray defines psychology, it makes perfect sense that the field’s leading theories are vulnerable to collapse. Having watched this process play out a number of times, a clear pattern has emerged. Let’s call it the “Six Stages of a Failed Psychological or Sociological Theory.”

Stage 1: The Flashy Finding. An intriguing report is published with subject matter that lends itself to water cooler conversation, say, for example, that sticking a pen in your mouth to force a smile makes things seem funnier. Media outlets provide gushing coverage.

Stage 1 Modern Warming Spike Theory

fig2-20

Figure 2.20: Millennial Northern Hemisphere (NH) temperature reconstruction (blue) and instrumental data (red) from AD 1000 to 1999, adapted from Mann et al. (1999). Smoother version of NH series (black), linear trend from AD 1000 to 1850 (purple-dashed) and two standard error limits (grey shaded) are shown. Source: IPCC Third Assessment Report

Since the IPCC believes that the warming from 1975 to 1998 was mainly man-made, but not the warming in earlier centuries, it would like to be able to demonstrate that recent warming is ‘unprecedented’. But it isn’t. Temperatures in many parts of the world appear to be lower than they were in the Medieval Warm Period (MWP, c. 900-1400), and also in the earlier Roman Warm Period (c. 200 BC – 600 AD). During the MWP the Vikings tilled now-frozen farms in Greenland and were buried there in ground that is now permafrost (archaeology.org). Hundreds of peer-reviewed articles show that the MWP was a global phenomenon (Idso & Singer, 2009, 69-94; wattsupwiththat.com; co2science.org), and was not confined to parts of the northern hemisphere, as the IPCC likes to assert.

Those wanting to “get rid of” the MWP run into the problem that it shows up strongly in the data. Shortly after Deming’s article appeared, a group led by Shaopeng Huang of the University of Michigan completed a major analysis of over 6,000 borehole records from every continent around the world. Their study went back 20,000 years. The portion covering the last millennium is shown in Figure 4.

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The similarity to the IPCC’s 1995 graph is obvious. The world experienced a “warm” interval in the medieval era that dwarfs 20th century changes. The present-day climate appears to be simply a recovery from the cold years of the “Little Ice Age.”

Huang and coauthors published their findings in Geophysical Research Letters 6 in 1997. The next year, Nature published the first Mann hockey stick paper, commonly called “MBH98.”7 Mann et al. followed up in 1999 with a paper in GRL (“MBH99”) extending their results from AD1400 back to AD1000.8 In early 2000 the IPCC released the first draft of the TAR. The hockey stick was the only paleoclimate reconstruction shown in the Summary, and was the only one in the whole report to be singled out for repeated presentation. The borehole data received a brief mention in Chapter 2 but the Huang et al. graph was not shown. A small graph of borehole data taken from another study and based on a smaller sample was shown, but it only showed a post-1500 segment, which, conveniently, trended upwards.

fig2-19

Figure 2.19: Reconstructed global ground temperature estimate from borehole data over the past five centuries, relative to present day. Shaded areas represent ± two standard errors about the mean history (Pollack et al., 1998). Superimposed is a smoothed (five-year running average) of the global surface air temperature instrumental record since 1860 (Jones and Briffa, 1992). Source: IPCC Third Assessment Report WG 1

Stage 2: The Fawning Replications. Other psychologists, usually in the early stages of their careers, leap to replicate the finding. Most of their studies corroborate the effect. Those that don’t are not published, perhaps because the researchers don’t want to step on any toes, or because journal editors would prefer not to publish negative findings.

Stage 2 Modern Warming Spike Theory

As the hockey stick began to appear in the scientific literature, it emerged that 1998 was the warmest year in Phil Jones’s 150-year record of thermometer data. The length of the hockey stick blade just grew. Those in charge of publicizing the work of climate scientists and making the case for man-made climate change were understandably excited. Controversial science swiftly morphed into a propaganda tool.

The World Meteorological Organization put the hockey stick on the cover of its 1999 report on climate change. Then IPCC chiefs decided to give it pride of place in their 2001 IPCC report. Moreover, based on the hockey stick, they stated that “it is likely that the 1990s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year during the past thousand years”. That attracted attention — and trouble. The doubts expressed in that paper title about “uncertainties and limitations” were melting away.

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1999 WMO statement on the Climate.

An article in the Guardian (here) describes the struggle leading to victory for the Hockey Stick.

Emails exchanged in September 1999 reveal intense disagreement about whether Mann’s hockey stick should go into the IPCC summary for policymakers – the only bit of the report that usually gets read outside the scientific community – or whether other reconstructions using tree ring data alone should get priority. One of the main tree-ring constructions was by Briffa. The emails also expose major tensions between a desire for scrupulous honesty about uncertainties, and the desire for a simple story to tell the policymakers. The IPCC’s core job is to present a “consensus” on the science, but in this critical case there was no easy consensus.

The tensions were summed up in an email sent on 22 September 1999 by Met Office scientist Chris Folland, in which he alerted key researchers that a diagram of temperature change over the past thousand years “is a clear favourite for the policy makers’ summary”

But there were two competing graphs – Mann’s hockey stick and another, by Jones, Briffa and others. Mann’s graph was clearly the more compelling image of man-made climate change. The other “dilutes the message rather significantly,” said Folland. “We want the truth. Mike [Mann] thinks it lies nearer his result.” Folland noted that “this is probably the most important issue to resolve in chapter 2 at present.”

Mann, Jones and Briffa eventually settled their differences. And the hockey stick was given pride of place in the IPCC report. Folland says: “My recollection is that the final version [of the IPCC summary], which contains the hockey stick, satisfied Keith and everyone else in the end — after the usual vigorous scientific debate.” And after the three came under attack from climate sceptics, all reference to these past spats disappeared from the emails as they faced a common foe.

Stage 3: A Consensus Forms. The finding is now taken for granted, regularly appearing in pop psychology stories and books penned by writers like Malcolm Gladwell or Jonah Lehrer. Millions of people read about it and “armchair” explain it to their friends and family.

Stage 3 Modern Warming Spike Theory

In its 2001 Third Assessment Report, the IPCC used the iconic ‘hockey stick’ graph to try and show that modern warming was indeed ‘unprecedented’. The graph was produced by Michael Mann (now at Penn State University in the US), Ray Bradley and Malcolm Hughes (MBH), and published in Nature and Geophysical Research Letters in 1998 and 1999. At that time, the standard view was that the Medieval Warm Period and subsequent Little Ice Age (c. 1400-1850) were global events. But some climatologists saw the MWP as an embarrassment and spoke of the need to ‘get rid of it’. MBH’s temperature reconstruction did exactly that: it showed 900 years of gradually declining temperatures followed by a dramatic increase in the 20th century. The hockey stick played a central role in mobilizing political and public opinion in favour of drastic action to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

Al Gore with a version of the Hockey Stick graph in the 2006 movie An Inconvenient Truth

“As soon as the IPCC Report came out, the hockey stick version of climate history became canonical. Suddenly it was the “consensus” view, and for the next few years it seemed that anyone publicly questioning the result was in for a ferocious reception.” Ross McKitrick.What is the ‘Hockey Stick’ Debate About?  

Stage 4: The Rebuttal. After a few decades, a new generation of researchers look to make a splash by questioning prevailing wisdom. One team produces a more methodologically-sound study that debunks the initial finding. Media outlets blare the “counterintuitive” discovery.

Stage 4 Modern Warming Spike Theory

The hockey stick was based on historical temperature proxies (mainly tree rings), with the 20th-century instrumental temperature record tacked on the end. Incredibly, although the MBH articles were peer reviewed, nobody tried to replicate and verify the work, even though it overturned well-established views on climate history. It was only several years later that Steve McIntyre, a Canadian mathematician and retired mining consultant, began to investigate the matter. Mann did his best to obstruct him; he refused to release his computer code, saying that ‘giving them the algorithm would be giving in to the intimidation tactics that these people are engaged in’.

McIntyre, with the help of economist Ross McKitrick, went on to write several articles in 2003 and 2005, exposing the flaws in the hockey-stick reconstruction. They showed that the shape of the graph was determined mainly by suspect bristlecone/foxtail tree-ring data, and that Mann’s computer algorithm was so biased that it could produce hockey sticks even out of random noise; in short, Mann’s statistical methods ‘mined’ for hockey-stick signals in the proxy data, which were then assigned exaggerated weight in the reconstruction – thereby giving a whole new meaning to the term ‘Man(n)-made warming’!

In 2006 McIntyre & McKitrick’s criticisms were upheld by two expert committees in the US – the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) panel and a congressional panel headed by statistician Edward Wegman. Wegman pointed out that the palaeoclimate field is dominated by ‘a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis’, and that ‘the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their own public positions without losing credibility’.

McKitrick wrote in 2005:

Since our work has begun to appear we have enjoyed the satisfaction of knowing we are winning over the expert community, one at a time. Physicist Richard Muller of Berkeley studied our work last year and wrote an article about it:

“[The findings] hit me like a bombshell, and I suspect it is having the same effect on many others. Suddenly the hockey stick, the poster-child of the global warming community, turns out to be an artifact of poor mathematics.”

In an article in the Dutch science magazine Natuurwetenschap & Techniek, Dr. Rob van Dorland of the Dutch National Meteorological Agency commented “It is strange that the climate reconstruction of Mann passed both peer review rounds of the IPCC without anyone ever really having checked it. I think this issue will be on the agenda of the next IPCC meeting in Peking this May.”

In February 2005 the German television channel Das Erste interviewed climatologist Ulrich Cubasch, who revealed that he too had been unable to replicate the hockey stick (emphasis added):

He [Climatologist Ulrich Cubasch] discussed with his coworkers – and many of his professional colleagues – the objections, and sought to work them through… Bit by bit, it became clear also to his colleagues: the two Canadians were right. …Between 1400 and 1600, the temperature shift was considerably higher than, for example, in the previous century. With that, the core conclusion, and that also of the IPCC 2001 Report, was completely undermined.

Recently Steve MacIntyre and I received an email from Dr. Hendrik Tennekes, retired director of the Royal Meteorological Institute of the Netherlands. He wrote to convey comments he wished to be communicated publicly: “The IPCC review process is fatally flawed. The behavior of Michael Mann is a disgrace to the profession.”

The original MBH graph compared to a corrected version produced by MacIntyre and McKitrick after undoing Mann’s errors.

Stage 5: Proper Replications Pour In. Research groups attempt to replicate the initial research with the skepticism and precise methodology that should’ve been used in the first place. As such, the vast majority fail to find any effect.

Stage 5 Modern Warming Spike Theory

The IPCC dealt with the devastating rebuttal by hiding the hockey stick within a spaghetti graph of various paleo proxies to diffuse the issue, while still claiming unprecedented modern warming.

In the IPCC’s 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, the hockey stick was included in a ‘spaghetti diagram’ alongside six other temperature reconstructions, which showed greater variability in the past but still no pronounced MWP. These ‘independent’ studies are the work of Mann’s colleagues and make use of the same flawed proxies as well as dubious statistical techniques (Montford, 2010, 266-308). The data were carefully cherry-picked to exclude tree-ring series that showed a prominent MWP (climateaudit.files.wordpress.com). Palaeoclimatologist Rosanne D’Arrigo actually told the NAS panel that cherry-picking was necessary if you wanted to make cherry pie (i.e. hockey sticks). And Jan Esper has stated: ‘The ability to pick and choose which samples to use is an advantage unique to dendroclimatology’ – a statement that would make any reputable scientist shudder (Montford, 236, 288-9).

Sixteen of the articles cited in AR4 failed to meet the IPCC’s own publication deadlines for cited references; all of them were written by IPCC contributing authors in support of the AGW cause. The most notable case is a paper by Eugene Wahl and Caspar Ammann. The authors of chapter 6 desperately needed this paper to counter McIntyre & McKitrick’s criticisms of the hockey stick, as the authors claimed to have validated Mann’s results. The leaked emails show that members of the Team pressurized Climatic Change editor Stephen Schneider to ensure that the paper was processed quickly enough to meet IPCC deadlines, though this was not entirely successful. Wahl and Ammann referred to arguments in another unpublished paper they had written, which was not even submitted until well after the first paper had gone forward for IPCC review. Jones advised the authors to be dishonest: ‘try and change the Received date! Don’t give those skeptics something to amuse themselves with’ (1189722851). Both papers finally appeared in September 2007. The authors conceded that the hockey stick failed a key test for statistical significance, but claimed it passed another test and promised to provide details in their Supplementary Information. When this was finally made available a year later, it became clear that torturous statistical manipulations were required to enable the test to be passed (Montford, 2010, 201-19, 338-42, 424-6; bishophill.squarespace.com). The shenanigans involved in the Wahl & Ammann saga are quite breathtaking.

But the credibility of the hockey stick claims was attacked repeatedly:

Stage 6: The Theory Lives On as a Zombie. Despite being debunked, the theory lingers on in published scientific studies, popular books, outdated webpages, and common “wisdom.” Adherents in academia cling on in a state of denial – their egos depend upon it.

Stage 6 Modern Warming Spike Theory

There are still hardcore alarmist blogs that defend the hockey stick graph, but IPCC itself has dropped it without explicitly disowning it.

About 1000 years ago, large parts of the world experienced a prominent warm phase which in many cases reached a similar temperature level as today or even exceeded present-day warmth. While this Medieval Warm Period (MWP) has been documented in numerous case studies from around the globe, climate models still fail to reproduce this historical warm phase. The problem is openly conceded in the most recent IPCC report from 2013 (AR5, Working Group 1) where in chapter 5.3.5. the IPCC scientists admit (pdf here):

“Continental-scale surface temperature reconstructions show, with high confidence, multi-decadal periods during the Medieval Climate Anomaly (950 to 1250) that were in some regions as warm as in the mid-20th century and in others as warm as in the late 20th century.”  pg.386

“The timing of warm and cold periods is mostly consistent across reconstructions (in some cases this is because they use similar proxy compilations) but the magnitude of the changes is clearly sensitive to the statistical method and to the target domain (land or land and sea; the full hemisphere or only the extra-tropics; Figure 5.7a). Even accounting for these uncertainties, almost all reconstructions agree that each 30-year (50-year) period from 1200 to 1899 was very likely colder in the NH than the 1983–2012 (1963–2012) instrumental temperature NH reconstructions covering part or all of the first millennium suggest that some earlier 50-year periods might have been as warm as the 1963–2012 mean instrumental temperature, but the higher temperature of the last 30 years appear to be at least likely the warmest 30-year period in all reconstructions (Table 5.4). However, the confidence in this finding is lower prior to 1200, because the evidence is less reliable and there are fewer independent lines of evidence. There are fewer proxy records, thus yielding less independence among the reconstructions while making them more susceptible to errors in individual proxy records. The published uncertainty ranges do not include all sources of error (Section 5.3.5.2), and some proxy records and uncertainty estimates do not fully represent variations on time scales as short as the 30 years considered in Table 5.4. Considering these caveats, there is medium confidence that the last 30 years were likely the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years.” Pg.410

Meanwhile a multitude of studies confirm that medieval warming was widespread and not limited to regions in the Northern Hemisphere, as Mann and others have claimed. For example the  MWP Mapping Project  led by Dr. Sebastian Luening, Prof. Dr. Fritz Vahrenholt (authors of ‘The neglected sun‘).

red: MWP warming
blue: MWP cooling (very rare)
yellow: MWP more arid
green: MWP more humid
grey: no trend or data ambiguous

Most of western North America and Africa were experiencing drought conditions during the MWP (except some areas in Southwest Africa). In contrast, Australia and the Carribean was more humid. Globally, 99% of all paleoclimatic temperature studies compiled in the map so far show a prominent warming during the MWP. This includes Antarctica and the Arctic.

Conclusion:

“Regarding the Hockey Stick of IPCC 2001 evidence now indicates, in my view, that an IPCC Lead Author working with a small cohort of scientists, misrepresented the temperature record of the past 1000 years by (a) promoting his own result as the best estimate, (b) neglecting studies that contradicted his, and (c) amputating another’s result so as to eliminate conflicting data and limit any serious attempt to expose the real uncertainties of these data.” – John Christy, Examining the Process concerning Climate Change Assessments,  Testimony 31 March 2011

Resources:

A BRIEF RETROSPECTIVE ON THE HOCKEY STICK Ross McKitrick 2014

Presentation to the National Academy of Sciences Expert Panel, “Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Past 1,000-2,000 Years   Stephen Mcintyre and Ross McKitrick  2006

Climategate and the Inquiries,Ken Gregory

Climategate and the Corruption of Climate Science David Pratt

IPCC TAR and the hockey stick Judith Curry 2014

Global Warming Bombshell Richard Mueller 2004

When the IPCC ‘disappeared’ the Medieval Warm Period Frank Lansner 2010

Footnote:

Todays temperatures are cooler than the Medieval Warming Period, which was preceded by an even warmer Roman Warm Period, which followed an even warmer Minoan Warm Period.  We are in an Interglacial age about 11,500 years old, and the overall trend is cooling.

Figure 37. Holocene global temperature change reconstruction. a. Red curve, global average temperature reconstruction from Marcott et al., 2013, figure 1. The averaging method does not correct for proxy drop out which produces an artificially enhanced terminal spike, while the Monte Carlo smoothing eliminates most variability information. b. Black curve, global average temperature reconstruction from Marcott et al., 2013, using proxy published dates, and differencing average. Temperature anomaly was rescaled to match biological, glaciological, and marine sedimentary evidence, indicating the Holocene Climate Optimum was about 1.2°C warmer than LIA. c. Purple curve, Earth’s axis obliquity is shown to display a similar trend to Holocene temperatures. Source: Marcott et al., 2013.
Source:Judith Curry Nature Unbound III: Holocene climate variability (Part A)

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NYT Does More Weird Science: Heat Waves

Ronald Bailey writes at Reason The New York Times Says Heat Waves Are Getting Worse. The National Climate Assessment Disagrees.  Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

Americans east of the Rockies are sweltering as daytime temperatures soar toward 100 degrees or more. It is now customary for journalists covering big weather events to speculate on how man-made climate change may be affecting them, and the current heat wave is no exception. Take this headline in The New York Times: “Heat Waves in the Age of Climate Change: Longer, More Frequent and More Dangerous.”

As evidence, the Times cites the U.S. Global Change Research Program, reporting that “since the 1960s the average number of heat waves—defined as two or more consecutive days where daily lows exceeded historical July and August temperatures—in 50 major American cities has tripled.” That is indeed what the numbers show. But it seems odd to highlight the trend in daily low temperatures rather than daily high temperatures.

As it happens, chapter six of 2017’s Fourth National Climate Assessment reports that heat waves measured as high daily temperatures are becoming less common in the contiguous U.S., not more frequent.

Here, from the report, are the “observed changes in the coldest and warmest daily temperatures (°F) of the year for each National Climate Assessment region in the contiguous United States.” The “changes,” it explains, “are the difference between the average for present-day (1986–2016) and the average for the first half of the last century (1901–1960).”

And here is the Heat Wave Magnitude Index, which shows the maximum magnitude of a year’s heat waves. (The report defines a heat wave as a period of at least three consecutive days where the maximum temperature is above the appropriate threshold.)

The maps below, from the Fourth Assessment, illustrate the trends in the warmest (generally daytime) and coldest (generally nighttime) temperatures in the contiguous U.S.:


According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, climate models tend to significantly underestimate the decrease in the diurnal temperature range—that is, the difference between minimum and maximum daily temperatures—over the last 50 years. The panel’s latest report notes that there is “medium confidence” that “the length and frequency of warm spells, including heat waves, has increased since the middle of the 20th century” around the world. Medium confidence means there is about a 50 percent chance of the finding being correct. (The report does deem it “likely that heatwave frequency has increased during this period in large parts of Europe, Asia and Australia.”)

Big tip of the hat to the University of Colorado’s invaluable Roger Pielke Jr.

Footnote: Since June 2019 was only the 24th warmest in the US, alarmists will be playing catch up this summer.  A previous post explains how to mine the data to produce the bias you want from the billions of measurements recorded. Clear Thinking about Heat Records

No Causation Without Correlation (FF↔GMT)

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Previous posts addressed the claim that fossil fuels are driving global warming. This post updates that analysis with the latest (2018) numbers from BP Statistics and compares World Fossil Fuel Consumption (WFFC) with three estimates of Global Mean Temperature (GMT). More on both these variables below.

WFFC

2018 statistics are now available from BP for international consumption of Primary Energy sources. 2019 Statistical Review of World Energy. 

The reporting categories are:
Oil
Natural Gas
Coal
Nuclear
Hydro
Renewables (other than hydro)

This analysis combines the first three, Oil, Gas, and Coal for total fossil fuel consumption world wide. The chart below shows the patterns for WFFC compared to world consumption of Primary Energy from 1965 through 2018.

The graph shows that Primary Energy consumption has grown continuously for more than 5 decades. Over that period oil, gas and coal (sometimes termed “Thermal”) averaged 89% of PE consumed, ranging from 94% in 1965 to 85% in 2018.  MToe is millions of tons of oil equivalents.

Global Mean Temperatures

Everyone acknowledges that GMT is a fiction since temperature is an intrinsic property of objects, and varies dramatically over time and over the surface of the earth. No place on earth determines “average” temperature for the globe. Yet for the purpose of detecting change in temperature, major climate data sets estimate GMT and report anomalies from it.

UAH record consists of satellite era global temperature estimates for the lower troposphere, a layer of air from 0 to 4km above the surface. HadSST estimates sea surface temperatures from oceans covering 71% of the planet. HADCRUT combines HadSST estimates with records from land stations whose elevations range up to 6km above sea level.

Both GISS LOTI (land and ocean) and HADCRUT4 (land and ocean) use 14.0 Celsius as the climate normal, so I will add that number back into the anomalies. This is done not claiming any validity other than to achieve a reasonable measure of magnitude regarding the observed fluctuations.

No doubt global sea surface temperatures are typically higher than 14C, more like 17 or 18C, and of course warmer in the tropics and colder at higher latitudes. Likewise, the lapse rate in the atmosphere means that air temperatures both from satellites and elevated land stations will range colder than 14C. Still, that climate normal is a generally accepted indicator of GMT.

Correlations of GMT and WFFC

The next graph compares WFFC to GMT estimates over the 5+ decades from 1965 to 2018 from HADCRUT4, which includes HadSST3.

Over the last five decades the increase in fossil fuel consumption is dramatic and monotonic, steadily increasing by 234% from 3.5B to 11.7B oil equivalent tons.  Meanwhile the GMT record from Hadcrut shows multiple ups and downs with an accumulated rise of 0.74C over 53 years, 5% of the starting value.

The second graph compares WFFC to GMT estimates from UAH6, and HadSST3 for the satellite era from 1979 to 2018, a period of 39 years.

In the satellite era WFFC has increased at a compounded rate of nearly 2% per year, for a total increase of 91% since 1979. At the same time, SST warming amounted to 0.42C, or 3% of the starting value.  UAH warming was 0.44C, or 3% up from 1979.  The temperature compounded rate of change is 0.1% per year, an order of magnitude less.  Even more obvious is the 1998 El Nino peak and flat GMT since.

Summary

The climate alarmist/activist claim is straight forward: Burning fossil fuels makes measured temperatures warmer. The Paris Accord further asserts that by reducing human use of fossil fuels, further warming can be prevented.  Those claims do not bear up under scrutiny.

It is enough for simple minds to see that two time series are both rising and to think that one must be causing the other. But both scientific and legal methods assert causation only when the two variables are both strongly and consistently aligned. The above shows a weak and inconsistent linkage between WFFC and GMT.

Going further back in history shows even weaker correlation between fossil fuels consumption and global temperature estimates:

wfc-vs-sat

Figure 5.1. Comparative dynamics of the World Fuel Consumption (WFC) and Global Surface Air Temperature Anomaly (ΔT), 1861-2000. The thin dashed line represents annual ΔT, the bold line—its 13-year smoothing, and the line constructed from rectangles—WFC (in millions of tons of nominal fuel) (Klyashtorin and Lyubushin, 2003). Source: Frolov et al. 2009

In legal terms, as long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for the set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. The more likely explanation is that global temperatures vary due to oceanic and solar cycles. The proof is clearly and thoroughly set forward in the post Quantifying Natural Climate Change.

Background context for today’s post is at Claim: Fossil Fuels Cause Global Warming.

Climate Hype is a Cover Up

Back in 2015 in the run up to Paris COP, French mathematicians published a thorough critique of the raison d’etre of the whole crusade. They said:

Fighting Global Warming is Absurd, Costly and Pointless.

  • Absurd because of no reliable evidence that anything unusual is happening in our climate.
  • Costly because trillions of dollars are wasted on immature, inefficient technologies that serve only to make cheap, reliable energy expensive and intermittent.
  • Pointless because we do not control the weather anyway.

The prestigious Société de Calcul Mathématique (Society for Mathematical Calculation) issued a detailed 195-page White Paper presenting a blistering point-by-point critique of the key dogmas of global warming. The synopsis with links to the entire document is at COP Briefing for Realists

Even without attending to their documentation, you can tell they are right because all the media climate hype is concentrated against those three points.

Finding: Nothing unusual is happening with our weather and climate.
Hype: Every metric or weather event is “unprecedented,” or “worse than we thought.”

Finding: Proposed solutions will cost many trillions of dollars for little effect or benefit.
Hype: Zero carbon will lead the world to do the right thing.  Anyway, the planet must be saved at any cost.

Finding: Nature operates without caring what humans do or think.
Hype: Any destructive natural event is a result of humans burning fossil fuels.

How the Media Throws Up Flak to Defend False Suppositions

The Absurd Media:  Climate is Dangerous Today, Yesterday It was Ideal.

Billions of dollars have been spent researching any and all negative effects from a warming world: Everything from Acne to Zika virus.  A recent Climate Report repeats the usual litany of calamities to be feared and avoided by submitting to IPCC demands. The evidence does not support these claims. An example:

 It is scientifically established that human activities produce GHG emissions, which accumulate in the atmosphere and the oceans, resulting in warming of Earth’s surface and the oceans, acidification of the oceans, increased variability of climate, with a higher incidence of extreme weather events, and other changes in the climate.

Moreover, leading experts believe that there is already more than enough excess heat in the climate system to do severe damage and that 2C of warming would have very significant adverse effects, including resulting in multi-meter sea level rise.

Experts have observed an increased incidence of climate-related extreme weather events, including increased frequency and intensity of extreme heat and heavy precipitation events and more severe droughts and associated heatwaves. Experts have also observed an increased incidence of large forest fires; and reduced snowpack affecting water resources in the western U.S. The most recent National Climate Assessment projects these climate impacts will continue to worsen in the future as global temperatures increase.

Alarming Weather and Wildfires

But: Weather is not more extreme.
And Wildfires were worse in the past.
But: Sea Level Rise is not accelerating.
Litany of Changes

Seven of the ten hottest years on record have occurred within the last decade; wildfires are at an all-time high, while Arctic Sea ice is rapidly diminishing.

We are seeing one-in-a-thousand-year floods with astonishing frequency.

When it rains really hard, it’s harder than ever.

We’re seeing glaciers melting, sea level rising.

The length and the intensity of heatwaves has gone up dramatically.

Plants and trees are flowering earlier in the year. Birds are moving polewards.

We’re seeing more intense storms.

But: Arctic Ice has not declined since 2007.

But: All of these are within the range of past variability.

In fact our climate is remarkably stable, compared to the range of daily temperatures during a year where I live.

And many aspects follow quasi-60 year cycles.

The Impractical Media:  Money is No Object in Saving the Planet.

Here it is blithely assumed that the court can rule the seas to stop rising, heat waves to cease, and Arctic ice to grow (though why we would want that is debatable).  All this will be achieved by leaving fossil fuels in the ground and powering civilization with windmills and solar panels.  While admitting that our way of life depends on fossil fuels, they ignore the inadequacy of renewable energy sources at their present immaturity.

An Example:
The choice between incurring manageable costs now and the incalculable, perhaps even
irreparable, burden Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children will face if Defendants fail to
rapidly transition to a non-fossil fuel economy is clear. While the full costs of the climate
damages that would result from maintaining a fossil fuel-based economy may be
incalculable, there is already ample evidence concerning the lower bound of such costs,
and with these minimum estimates, it is already clear that the cost of transitioning to a
low/no carbon economy are far less than the benefits of such a transition. No rational
calculus could come to an alternative conclusion. Defendants must act with all deliberate
speed and immediately cease the subsidization of fossil fuels and any new fossil fuel
projects, and implement policies to rapidly transition the U.S. economy away from fossil
fuels.

But CO2 relation to Temperature is Inconsistent.

But: The planet is greener because of rising CO2.

But: Modern nations (G20) depend on fossil fuels for nearly 90% of their energy.

But: Renewables are not ready for prime time.

People need to know that adding renewables to an electrical grid presents both technical and economic challenges.  Experience shows that adding intermittent power more than 10% of the baseload makes precarious the reliability of the supply.  South Australia is demonstrating this with a series of blackouts when the grid cannot be balanced.  Germany got to a higher % by dumping its excess renewable generation onto neighboring countries until the EU finally woke up and stopped them. Texas got up to 29% by dumping onto neighboring states, and some like Georgia are having problems.

But more dangerous is the way renewables destroy the economics of electrical power.  Seasoned energy analyst Gail Tverberg writes:

In fact, I have come to the rather astounding conclusion that even if wind turbines and solar PV could be built at zero cost, it would not make sense to continue to add them to the electric grid in the absence of very much better and cheaper electricity storage than we have today. There are too many costs outside building the devices themselves. It is these secondary costs that are problematic. Also, the presence of intermittent electricity disrupts competitive prices, leading to electricity prices that are far too low for other electricity providers, including those providing electricity using nuclear or natural gas. The tiny contribution of wind and solar to grid electricity cannot make up for the loss of more traditional electricity sources due to low prices.

These issues are discussed in more detail in the post Climateers Tilting at Windmills

The Irrational Media:  Whatever Happens in Nature is Our Fault.

An Example:

Other potential examples include agricultural losses. Whether or not insurance
reimburses farmers for their crops, there can be food shortages that lead to higher food
prices (that will be borne by consumers, that is, Youth Plaintiffs and Affected Children).
There is a further risk that as our climate and land use pattern changes, disease vectors
may also move (e.g., diseases formerly only in tropical climates move northward).36 This
could lead to material increases in public health costs

But: Actual climate zones are local and regional in scope, and they show little boundary change.

But: Ice cores show that it was warmer in the past, not due to humans.

The hype is produced by computer programs designed to frighten and distract children and the uninformed.  For example, there was mention above of “multi-meter” sea level rise.  It is all done with computer models.  For example, below is San Francisco.  More at USCS Warnings of Coastal Floodings

sf-ca-past-projected

In addition, there is no mention that GCMs projections are running about twice as hot as observations.

Omitted is the fact GCMs correctly replicate tropospheric temperature observations only when CO2 warming is turned off.

Figure 5. Simplification of IPCC AR5 shown above in Fig. 4. The colored lines represent the range of results for the models and observations. The trends here represent trends at different levels of the tropical atmosphere from the surface up to 50,000 ft. The gray lines are the bounds for the range of observations, the blue for the range of IPCC model results without extra GHGs and the red for IPCC model results with extra GHGs.The key point displayed is the lack of overlap between the GHG model results (red) and the observations (gray). The nonGHG model runs (blue) overlap the observations almost completely.

In the effort to proclaim scientific certainty, neither the media nor IPCC discuss the lack of warming since the 1998 El Nino, despite two additional El Ninos in 2010 and 2016.

Further they exclude comparisons between fossil fuel consumption and temperature changes. The legal methodology for discerning causation regarding work environments or medicine side effects insists that the correlation be strong and consistent over time, and there be no confounding additional factors. As long as there is another equally or more likely explanation for a set of facts, the claimed causation is unproven. Such is the null hypothesis in legal terms: Things happen for many reasons unless you can prove one reason is dominant.

Finally, advocates and IPCC are picking on the wrong molecule. The climate is controlled not by CO2 but by H20. Oceans make climate through the massive movement of energy involved in water’s phase changes from solid to liquid to gas and back again. From those heat transfers come all that we call weather and climate: Clouds, Snow, Rain, Winds, and Storms.

Esteemed climate scientist Richard Lindzen ended a very fine recent presentation with this description of the climate system:

I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.

Footnote:

Say what you want about the liberal arts, but they’ve found a cure for common sense.

By Robert Curry writes at American Thinker Making Sense of Common Sense. Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

As we all know, acquiring common sense can be a matter of life and death. I’m thinking, for example, of the teenage boy who swallowed a garden slug on a dare, became paralyzed, and died recently. Because children lack common sense, parents must do what they have always done, trying to instill common sense in their children while at the same time using their own common sense to encompass the growing child.

Becoming a person of common sense has always been a life-defining challenge, but acquiring common sense has gotten a lot more difficult for young people in our time, especially if they have spent some time in our institutions of higher learning. My witty friend Robert Godwin has this to say about that: “Say what you want about the liberal arts, but they’ve found a cure for common sense.”

When I headed off to college, my high school teacher who was my mentor offered me two commonsense rules to follow: “Take care to stay well, and choose professors, not courses.” Because of my high regard for him, I took his words to heart. Later, when I saw the problems my fellow students brought on themselves by not getting enough sleep and generally being careless about their health, I understood the practical wisdom of what he had told me. And the second rule helped me more quickly understand the value of navigating my way through college by who was teaching the course rather than by the course title.

For years, I handed on the same commonsense wisdom to young folks I knew when they headed off to college. But I have not offered that advice for some years now. Here is what I tell them now: “They are going to try to knock common sense out of you; don’t let them.”

Post script: From the comments below, Otto was pushing for info regarding volcanoes and the Holocene Climate Optimum. I responded thus:

Otto, I don’t see volcanoes causing the HTM (Holocene Thermal Maximum).
The HTM ended at different times in different parts of the world, but it had ended everywhere by 4,000 BP (BP here means the number of years before 2000) and the world began to cool. Your link refers to the Santorini eruption ending the Minoan warming as well as that civilization.

From Renssen et al. 2012:
“The Holocene Thermal Maximum (HTM) was a relatively warm climatic phase between 11 and 5 ka BP, as indicated by numerous proxy records (Kaufman et al., 2004; Jansen et al., 2007, 2008; Wanner et al., 2008; Miller et al., 2010a; Bartlein et al., 2011). The relatively warm conditions during the HTM are commonly associated with the orbitally-forced summer insolation maximum (Wanner et al., 2008; Bartlein et al., 2011). However, proxy records suggest that both the timing and magnitude of maximum warming varied substantially between different regions across the globe, suggesting involvement of additional forcings and feedbacks (Jansen et al., 2007; Bartlein et al., 2011). One important additional factor affecting the early Holocene climate is the remnant Laurentide Ice sheet (LIS).
https://dial.uclouvain.be/pr/boreal/object/boreal%3A112248/datastream/PDF_01/view

From this we learn three things:

Climate warms and cools without any help from humans.

Warming is good and cooling is bad.

The hypothetical warming from CO2 would be a good thing.

It’s just common sense, after all.

We are Ignored, then Dissed, then Debated, then We Win.

Global Warming Debate Soho Forum May 8, 2019

The post title is a reference to a quote from Mahatma Gandhi who said, when facing overwhelming odds opposed by an entrenched establishment in India:

Watch: Skeptical scientist wins rare New York City climate debate against warmist scientist – Audience flips from warmist views to skeptical after debate (H/T John Ray at his blog Greenie Watch)Excerpts in italics with my bolds.

The Soho Forum, Published on May 6, 2019

Resolution: There is little or no rigorous evidence that rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are causing dangerous global warming and threatening life on the planet.

For the affirmative:

Craig Idso is the founder, former president, and currently chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. The Center was founded in 1998 as a non-profit public charity dedicated to discovering and disseminating scientific information pertaining to the effects of atmospheric carbon dioxide enrichment on climate and the biosphere.

Dr. Idso’s research has appeared many times in peer-reviewed journals, and is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Many Benefits of Atmospheric CO2 Enrichment (Vales Lake Publishing, LLC, 2011), CO2, Global Warming and Coral Reefs (Vales Lake Publishing, LLC, 2009).

Dr. Idso also serves as an adjunct scholar for the Cato Institute and as a policy advisor for the CO2Coalition, the Heartland Institute and the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow.

For the negative:

Jeffrey Bennett is an astrophysicist and educator. He has focused his career on math and science literacy. He is the lead author of bestselling college textbooks in astronomy, astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics, and of critically acclaimed books for the general public on topics including Einstein’s theory of relativity, the search for extraterrestrial life, and the importance of math to our everyday lives.

Other career highlights include serving two years as a Visiting Senior Scientist at NASA Headquarters, proposing and helping to develop the Voyage Scale Model Solar System that resides on the National Mall in Washington, DC, and creating the freeTotality app that has helped tens of thousands of people learn how to view a total solar eclipse.

His book A Global Warming Primeris posted freely online at http://www.globalwarmingprimer.com.

Moderator: “We have the final vote. The yes vote on the resolution that there is no evidence that’s causing dangerous global warming: It began at 24% (of the skeptical yes vote supporting that position) and it went up to 46% (after the debate). So [skeptical argument] gained 22% points. That’s the number to beat (46%).

The no resolution (warmist position) started at 29%. It went up to 41% or up 11 points.” The winner of the debate is skeptical scientist Dr. Craig Idso with his resolution asserting that “There is little or no rigorous evidence that rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are causing dangerous global warming and threatening life on the planet.”

Flashback 2007: Scientific Smackdown: Skeptics Voted The Clear Winners Against Global Warming Believers in Heated NYC Debate – RealClimate.org’s Gavin Schmidt appeared so demoralized that he mused that debates equally split between believers of a climate ‘crisis’ and scientific skeptics are probably not “worthwhile” to ever agree to again.

When did global warming start?

Here is the answer provided by Steve Maley on Quora. The response is in italics with my bolds and images.

Fig. 10. The 105 year time series of filtered monthly average temperatures (ºC) for the Des Moines, IA station plotted a) versus time in months (years also added) b) first derivative of temperature (ºC mo-1) versus temperature (ºC) c), and d) as power spectra, with the ordinate displaying the relative magnitude or power of the Fourier and wavelet coefficients, respectively, and the abscissa displaying the period of each cycle in years. In addition, the 95% confidence level against the white noise background continuum is shown by the dashed line.

Global Warming began in Muncie, Indiana on June 17, 1953 at 2:30 in the afternoon. It was a Tuesday.

Up until that time, weather was “average” all the time.

That is, except for the Dust Bowl, the Little Ice Age, Medieval Warm Period, etc.

Up until then, people had ideal, sustainable lifestyles. 90% of men spent all day in the fields looking at the backsides of two mules. Their spare time was spent chopping wood in hopes they could make it through another winter.

Women stayed at home and had babies. They had to have 8–10 because 2 or 3 of them wouldn’t live to see their 10th birthday.

Farm to Table was a thing. Since nobody had any money, it was a choice between raising your own food or starving.

Yes, it was an idyllic lifestyle. Damn fossil fuels screwed it all up.

How? By changing the atmosphere. Gases other than CO2 used to be 99.97% of the air we breathe. Now it’s 99.96%.

The horror.

CO2 Exonerated

 

Vijay Jayaraj makes the case for carbon emissions in relation to the question: Will My Carbon Footprint Benefit or Harm the Environment? May 28, 2019 at Cornwall Alliance. Excerpts in italics with my bolds and images. (Follow the title link to the article for many supporting reference links)

My cousin in California is excited about buying a Tesla. “It is environmentally friendly” he says. Maybe you agree. My friends in India, too, are excited about buying electric cars. They think doing so will help them prevent global warming.

But the evidence suggests otherwise.

Almost every environmental policy now makes reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, the only way to “go green.” Advocates have even persuaded school children to strike against fossil fuels.

But as a climate scientist, I’ve researched the pros and cons of CO2. What have I found? That our CO2 emissions will actually benefit the planet, not harm it.

Why? Here are four reasons.

Realism Not Denialism

To begin, climate change is real. The current warming trend began in the 18th century, after the Little Ice Age.

But forecasts of future warming based on faulty computer models aren’t credible. In addition, current global temperature is not unprecedented. It poses no imminent danger to ecosystems.

CO2 does contribute to warming. But the theory that it is the dominant cause is mistaken.

The scientific community is divided on how strongly CO2 can influence global temperature. But the sun and oceans play major roles. They probably far outweigh CO2.

So, call me a “climate realist,” not a “climate denier.” That is a misleading term, used to discredit those who question their hypothesis.

2.  No Damage So Far, and None Coming

CO2 emissions from human activity were almost nonexistent before the Industrial Revolution in the 18th century. If CO2 is the primary driver of warming, there should have been no comparable warming before then. But numerous warming events did occur.

Two happened in the past 2000 years—the Roman Warm Period (around the 1st century A.D.) and the Medieval Warm Period (around the 10th century). Neither significantly damaged human civilization. The only global-scale climate-related damage came from the Little Ice Age of the 17th century.

So we have no reason to believe rising temperatures will cause severe global-scale problems in the future.

3.  CO2 Emissions Have Benefited Us, Not Harmed Us

CO2 emissions haven’t caused global harm. Instead, they have benefited us, directly and indirectly.

The direct but smaller benefit is increased agricultural productivity. Plants grow better with more CO2. Hundreds of scientific studies demonstrate this. Greenhouse operators capitalize on it. They pump CO2 into greenhouses to make their plants grow faster and larger.

If anything, the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration levels has helped our planet grow greener. Rising temperatures lengthen growing seasons. They enable plants to grow in places where previously it was too cold. Improved photosynthesis enables them to resist diseases and pests better and bear more fruit to feed animals and people.

The indirect but larger benefit of CO2 emissions came from the use of fossil fuels to raise billions of people out of abject poverty. CO2 emissions are the unavoidable byproduct of the combustion of fossil fuels, not pollution.

So think twice before you equate CO2 emission reduction with going green. That is the opposite of the truth.

4.  While CO2 Can’t Cause Dangerous Warming, It Might Help Save Us from Cooling

Even if you contest the benefits of CO2 emissions, they cannot cause dramatic global warming. Even climate alarmists admit this. Why? Because, despite exponential increase in atmospheric CO2, no significant increase in global temperature occurred in the past 19 years. If rapid warming occurs, it is unlikely to be from CO2 emissions.

In fact, we face a possible cooling because of low solar activity. If that kicks in, whatever warming effect CO2 emissions do have will reduce the risk of a repeat of the devastation the Little Ice Age triggered.

For plant growth today and in the future, I give a green “thumbs up” to CO2 emissions. They are the real way to “go green.” Moreover, fossil fuels have immense potential to reduce poverty in developing countries. That will be more beneficial than any reduction of global warming that might come from reduced CO2 emissions.

See also CO2 Unbound

Climate Change NOT as Advertised

Just before the Trudeau government imposed its Carbon Tax, it did a PR release advertising all the bad things we are doing to the planet, changing the temperature and weather by burning fossil fuels. Several skeptics pushed back (see links at end). This post is a synopsis of a complete rebuttal from Friends of Science. The whole document is interestingly written and presented, with only a few of many telling points highlighted here.

Climate Change Your Mind. Responding to the Canadian government’s “Canada’s Changing Climate Report” CCCR2019  Excerpts in italics with my bolds and headers

Federal Government says: Both past and future warming in Canada is, on average, about double the magnitude of global warming.

Friends of Science say: CCCR2019 used a reference frame that began in a cooler solar minimum and ended in a higher temperature El Nino period.

The CCCR2019 report uses 1948 as a reference point, a time when temperatures dropped significantly. Referring to this low period as a starting point gives a skewed comparison. In addition the referenced period from 1986 to 2005 ends with an El Nino year, where naturally-caused high temperatures were recorded. This gives a false impression that Canada is ‘warming faster than the rest of the world.’

Moreover, in the above graph all five major datasets show that since 2002, temperatures have Flatlined. This is despite a significant rise in carbon dioxide (CO2), shown by the upper squiggly line in the graph. The squiggles represent the seasonal rise in carbon dioxide during winter, when the great plains and forests are covered by snow, and the uptake of carbon dioxide by plants through spring and summer.

Federal Government says: Canada’s climate has warmed and will warm further in the future, driven by human influence.

Friends of Science say: CO2 Influence is not Seen in Canadian Temperature Records.

Canada has a seasonal range from cold to warm temperatures of 50°Celsius in the near land surface air temperature record. Using the recorded daily temperature minimums (TMIN) and maximums (TMAX) from 1900 to 2013 results in the red and blue colored graph above. A black line in the middle range shows the global temperature anomaly, indicating a tiny rise. At the bottom of the scale in the blue, it is clear there is a reduction in minimum temperatures (meaning overall it is less cold during coldest periods) of about 5°Celsius, but this is at the coldest end of the scale. There is no corresponding rise in the temperature maximum (which would mean hotter during the hottest times), which one is led to believe from the CCCR2019 report.

If carbon dioxide (CO2) was causing warming, it should have been visible in an increasing daytime maximum high, but there is no evidence of it.

Federal Government says: The effects of widespread warming are evident in many parts of Canada and are projected to intensify in the future.

Friends of Science say: Climate Models do not Reflect Observations.

If we are to rely on climate models for setting policy, we should expect that the models closely match observations. As you can see above, based on 102 model runs for the IPCC, the models project significant warming; the reality is that both satellite data and thousands of weather balloon records show that global warming has flatlined despite a significant rise in carbon dioxide emissions from human industry. The models did not predict this ‘hiatus. The theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming says carbon dioxide from human emissions drives warming – that is the impetus for the efforts to implement carbon taxes or invent ways to restrict or mitigate carbon dioxide emissions. The theory is flawed, as you can see above.

Federal Government says: Because of climate change, Canadians must face a ‘new reality’ that events such as spring flooding will be happening more and more frequently.

Friends of Science say: No evidence supports claiming seasonal or urban flooding is unusual.

As Dr. Madhav Khandekar, former WMO regional expert, past Environment Canada research scientist of 40 years, past IPCC expert reviewer, peer-reviewer and author of more than 150 peer-reviewed papers says that seasonal flooding in Canada is typically a combination of early warm temperatures over heavy snowpack and ice jams on rivers. If there are warm temperatures while the snowpack is still firm, the water rapidly pools and there is no open land to absorb the run-off. The flood waters often back-up, exacerbated by ice jams on rivers. This is a common occurrence throughout history, and little seems to be done by residents or municipalities to prepare for this reality. Since so many homes are on potential flood plains in Canada, shouldn’t building standards reflect this fact and municipalities require that new homes be elevated to mitigate potential damage?

CCCR2019 highlights the catastrophic southern Alberta/City of Calgary flood of 2013 as ‘probably’ caused by Anthropogenic Global Warming. This claim ignores the evidence that Calgary had eight of its worst floods prior to 1933. Had the CCCR2019 panel looked at the Calgary Public Library website or visited the Glenbow Museum, they could have seen the evidence for themselves.

Federal Government says: Coastal flooding is expected to increase in many areas of Canada due to local sea level rise.

Friends of Science say: Canadian coastlines are challenged by subsidence or erosion, not related to human-caused global warming.

Natural Resources Canada map shows regional uplift or subsidence.

However much of Canada is quite stable. In fact, due to the melting of the ice age glaciers, much of Canada’s land is in the process of isostatic rebound – a subtle, slow rise as the earth rebounds from the tremendous pressure of the kilometers of ice that once overlay our country.

CCCR2019 presumes that sea level rise from melting Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets will cause sea level rise issues to certain coastal areas in Canada, but this is not a foregone conclusion. Even if large masses of Greenland were to melt, the interior of Greenland is shaped as a bowl that would retain much of the meltwater.

As CCCR2019 notes, many northern regions of Canada are facing challenges due to permafrost melt and some communities face eroding coastlines. This may be seen as sea level rise, but it is due to subsidence or erosion, neither of which are related to human-caused global warming. In previous generations, northern residents were nomads, their ancestors simply moved camp to the most advantageous place for fishing, hunting or seasonal camping. Rather than proposing greenhouse gas emission targets, perhaps a more practical thing would be to design housing for northern communities that can be relocated. As more and more permafrost melts, more carbon dioxide and more methane will be released, however, a carbon tax will not stop that from happening. These are natural cycles. We must adapt.

Summary

Who  are you going to trust: Federal Government or Friends of Science?  Consider the evidence.

Footnote:

See also Climate Hearsay

About Canadian Warming: Just the Facts

 

2019 Update: Climate Reductionism

19170447-global_warming_1.530x298
With all the fuss about the “Green New Deal” and attempts to blame recent cold waves on rising CO2, it is wise to remember the logic of the alarmist argument.  It boils down to two suppositions:

Rising atmospheric CO2 makes the planet warmer.

Rising emissions from humans burning fossil fuels makes atmospheric CO2 higher.

The second assertion is challenged in a post: Who to Blame for Rising CO2?

This post addresses the first claim.  Remember also that all of the so-called “lines of evidence” for global warming do not distinguish between human and natural causes.  Typically the evidence cited falls into these categories:

Global temperature rise
Warming oceans
Shrinking ice sheets
Glacial retreat
Decreased snow cover
Sea level rise
Declining Arctic sea ice
Extreme events

However, all of these are equivocal, involving signal and noise issues. Note also that all of them are alleged impacts from the first one.  And in any case, the fact of any changes does not in itself prove human causation.  That attribution rests solely on unvalidated climate models.  Below is a discussion of the reductionist mental process by which climate complexity and natural forces are systematically excluded to reach the pre-determined conclusion.

Original Post:  Climate Reductionism


Reductionists are those who take one theory or phenomenon to be reducible to some other theory or phenomenon. For example, a reductionist regarding mathematics might take any given mathematical theory to be reducible to logic or set theory. Or, a reductionist about biological entities like cells might take such entities to be reducible to collections of physico-chemical entities like atoms and molecules.
Definition from The Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Some of you may have seen this recent article: Divided Colorado: A Sister And Brother Disagree On Climate Change

The reporter describes a familiar story to many of us.  A single skeptic (the brother) is holding out against his sister and rest of the family who accept global warming/climate change. And of course, after putting some of their interchanges into the text, the reporter then sides against the brother by taking the word of a climate expert. From the article:

“CO2 absorbs infrared heat in certain wavelengths and those measurements were made first time — published — when Abraham Lincoln was president of the United States,” says Scott Denning, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University. “Since that time, those measurements have been repeated by better and better instruments around the world.”

CO2, or carbon dioxide, has increased over time, scientists say, because of human activity. It’s a greenhouse gas that’s contributing to global warming.

“We know precisely how the molecule wiggles and waggles, and what the quantum interactions between the electrons are that cause everyone one of these little absorption lines,” he says. “And there’s just no wiggle room around it — CO2 absorbs heat, heat warms things up, so adding CO2 to the atmosphere will warm the climate.”

Denning says that most of the CO2 we see added to the atmosphere comes from humans — mostly through burning coal, oil and gas, which, as he puts it, is “indirectly caused by us.”

When looking at the scientific community, Denning says it’s united, as far as he knows.

earth-science-climatic-change-Climate-System-3-114-g001

A Case Study of Climate Reductionism

Denning’s comments, supported by several presentations at his website demonstrate how some scientists (all those known to Denning) engage in a classic form of reductionism.

The full complexity of earth’s climate includes many processes, some poorly understood, but known to have effects orders of magnitude greater than the potential of CO2 warming. The case for global warming alarm rests on simplifying away everything but the predetermined notion that humans are warming the planet. It goes like this:

Our Complex Climate

Earth’s climate is probably the most complicated natural phenomenon ever studied. Not only are there many processes, but they also interact and influence each other over various timescales, causing lagged effects and multiple cycling. This diagram illustrates some of the climate elements and interactions between them.

Flows and Feedbacks for Climate Models

The Many Climate Dimensions

Further, measuring changes in the climate goes far beyond temperature as a metric. Global climate indices, like the European dataset include 12 climate dimensions with 74 tracking measures. The set of climate dimensions include:

  • Sunshine
  • Pressure
  • Humidity
  • Cloudiness
  • Wind
  • Rain
  • Snow
  • Drought
  • Temperature
  • Heat
  • Cold

And in addition there are compound measures combining temperature and precipitation. While temperature is important, climate is much more than that.  With this reduction, all other dimensions are swept aside, and climate change is simplified down to global warming as seen in temperature measurements.

Climate Thermodynamics: Weather is the Climate System at work.

Another distortion is the notion that weather is bad or good, depending on humans finding it favorable. In fact, all that we call weather are the ocean and atmosphere acting to resolve differences in temperatures, humidities and pressures. It is the natural result of a rotating, irregular planetary surface mostly covered with water and illuminated mostly at its equator.

The sun warms the surface, but the heat escapes very quickly by convection so the build-up of heat near the surface is limited. In an incompressible atmosphere, it would *all* escape, and you’d get no surface warming. But because air is compressible, and because gases warm up when they’re compressed and cool down when allowed to expand, air circulating vertically by convection will warm and cool at a certain rate due to the changing atmospheric pressure.

Climate science has been obsessed with only a part of the system, namely the atmosphere and radiation, in order to focus attention on the non-condensing IR active gases. The climate is framed as a 3D atmosphere above a 2D surface. That narrow scope leaves out the powerful non-radiative heat transfer mechanisms that dominate the lower troposphere, and the vast reservoir of thermal energy deep in the oceans.

As Dr. Robert E Stevenson writes, it could have been different:

“As an oceanographer, I’d been around the world, once or twice, and I was rather convinced that I knew the factors that influenced the Earth’s climate. The oceans, by virtue of their enormous density and heat-storage capacity, are the dominant influence on our climate. It is the heat budget and the energy that flows into and out of the oceans that basically determines the mean temperature of the global atmosphere. These interactions, plus evaporation, are quite capable of canceling the slight effect of man-produced CO2.”

The troposphere is dominated by powerful heat transfer mechanisms: conduction, convection and evaporation, as well as physical kinetic movements.  All this is ignored in order to focus on radiative heat transfer, a bit player except at the top of the atmosphere.

There’s More than the Atmosphere

Once the world of climate is greatly reduced down to radiation of infrared frequencies, yet another set of blinders is applied. The most important source of radiation is of course the sun. Solar radiation in the short wave (SW) range is what we see and what heats up the earth’s surface, particularly the oceans. In addition solar radiation includes infrared, some absorbed in the atmosphere and some at the surface. The ocean is also a major source of heat into the atmosphere since its thermal capacity is 1000 times what the air can hold. The heat transfer from ocean to air is both by way of evaporation (latent heat) and also by direct contact at the sea surface (conduction).

Yet conventional climate science dismisses the sun as a climate factor saying that its climate input is unvarying. That ignores significant fluctuations in parts of the light range, for example ultraviolet, and also solar effects such as magnetic fields and cosmic rays. Also disregarded is solar energy varying due to cloud fluctuations. The ocean is also dismissed as a source of climate change despite obvious ocean warming and cooling cycles ranging from weeks to centuries. The problem is such oscillations are not well understood or predictable, so can not be easily modeled.

With the sun and the earth’s surface and ocean dismissed, the only consideration left is the atmosphere.

The Gorilla Greenhouse Gas

Thus climate has been reduced down to heat radiation passing through the atmosphere comprised of gases. One of the biggest reductions then comes from focusing on CO2 rather than H20. Of all the gases that are IR-active, water is the most prevalent and covers more of the spectrum.

The diagram below gives you the sense of proportion.

The Role of CO2

We come now to the role of CO2 in “trapping heat” and making the world warmer. The theory is that CO2 acts like a blanket by absorbing and re-radiating heat that would otherwise escape into space. By delaying the cooling while solar energy comes in constantly, CO2 is presumed to cause a buildup of heat resulting in warmer temperatures.

How the Atmosphere Processes Heat

There are 3 ways that heat (Infrared or IR radiation) passes from the surface to space.

1) A small amount of the radiation leaves directly, because all gases in our air are transparent to IR of 10-14 microns (sometimes called the “atmospheric window.” This pathway moves at the speed of light, so no delay of cooling occurs.

2) Some radiation is absorbed and re-emitted by IR active gases up to the tropopause. Calculations of the free mean path for CO2 show that energy passes from surface to tropopause in less than 5 milliseconds. This is almost speed of light, so delay is negligible. H2O is so variable across the globe that its total effects are not measurable. In arid places, like deserts, we see that CO2 by itself does not prevent the loss of the day’s heat after sundown.

3) The bulk gases of the atmosphere, O2 and N2, are warmed by conduction and convection from the surface. They also gain energy by collisions with IR active gases, some of that IR coming from the surface, and some absorbed directly from the sun. Latent heat from water is also added to the bulk gases. O2 and N2 are slow to shed this heat, and indeed must pass it back to IR active gases at the top of the troposphere for radiation into space.

In a parcel of air each molecule of CO2 is surrounded by 2500 other molecules, mostly O2 and N2. In the lower atmosphere, the air is dense and CO2 molecules energized by IR lose it to surrounding gases, slightly warming the entire parcel. Higher in the atmosphere, the air is thinner, and CO2 molecules can emit IR into space. Surrounding gases resupply CO2 with the energy it lost, which leads to further heat loss into space.

This third pathway has a significant delay of cooling, and is the reason for our mild surface temperature, averaging about 15C. Yes, earth’s atmosphere produces a buildup of heat at the surface. The bulk gases, O2 and N2, trap heat near the surface, while IR active gases, mainly H20 and CO2, provide the radiative cooling at the top of the atmosphere. Near the top of the atmosphere you will find the -18C temperature.

Sources of CO2

Note the size of the human emissions next to the red arrow.

A final reduction comes down to how much of the CO2 in the atmosphere is there because of us. Alarmists/activists say any increase in CO2 is 100% man-made, and would be more were it not for natural CO2 sinks, namely the ocean and biosphere. The claim overlooks the fact that those sinks are also sources of CO2 and the flux from the land and sea is an order of magnitude higher than estimates of human emissions. In fact, our few Gigatons of carbon are lost within the error range of estimating natural emissions. Insects produce far more CO2 than humans do by all our activity, including domestic animals.

Why Climate Reductionism is Dangerous

Reducing the climate in this fashion reaches its logical conclusion in the Activist notion of the “450 Scenario.”  Since Cancun, IPCC is asserting that global warming is capped at 2C by keeping CO2 concentration below 450 ppm. From Summary for Policymakers (SPM) AR5

Emissions scenarios leading to CO2-equivalent concentrations in 2100 of about 450 ppm or lower are likely to maintain warming below 2°C over the 21st century relative to pre-industrial levels. These scenarios are characterized by 40 to 70% global anthropogenic GHG emissions reductions by 2050 compared to 2010, and emissions levels near zero or below in 2100.

Thus is born the “450 Scenario” by which governments can be focused upon reducing human emissions without any reference to temperature measurements, which are troublesome and inconvenient. Almost everything in the climate world has been erased, and “Fighting Climate Change” is now code to mean accounting for fossil fuel emissions.

Conclusion

All propagandists begin with a kernel of truth, in this case the fact everything acting in the world has an effect on everything else. Edward Lorenz brought this insight to bear on the climate system in a ground breaking paper he presented in 1972 entitled: “Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil Set Off a Tornado in Texas?”  Everything does matter and has an effect. Obviously humans impact on the climate in places where we build cities and dams, clear forests and operate farms. And obviously we add some CO2 when we burn fossil fuels.

But it is wrong to ignore the major dominant climate realities in order to exaggerate a small peripheral factor for the sake of an agenda. It is wrong to claim that IR active gases somehow “trap” heat in the air when they immediately emit any energy absorbed, if not already lost colliding with another molecule. No, it is the bulk gases, N2 and O2, making up the mass of the atmosphere, together with the ocean delaying the cooling and giving us the mild and remarkably stable temperatures that we enjoy. And CO2 does its job by radiating the heat into space.

Since we do little to cause it, we can’t fix it by changing what we do. The climate will not stop changing because we put a price on carbon. And the sun will rise despite the cock going on strike to protest global warming.

Footnote: For a deeper understanding of the atmospheric physics relating to CO2 and climate, I have done a guide and synopsis of Murry Salby’s latest textbook on the subject:  Fearless Physics from Dr. Salby

Scare of the Day: Ocean Heat Content

What is Argo? Argo is a global array of 3,800 free-drifting profiling floats that measures thetemperature and salinity of the upper 2000 m of the ocean. This allows, for the first time, continuous monitoring of the temperature, salinity, and velocity of the upper ocean, with all data being relayed and made publicly available within hours after collection. Positions of the floats that have delivered data within the last 30 days :

Scientists deploy an Argo float. For over a decade, more than 3000 floats have provided near-global data coverage for the upper 2000 m of the ocean.

Here is a sample of yesterday’s coordinated reports from CCN- Climate Crisis Network captured by my news aggregator, listed by the most recent first. Note the worldwide scope and editorial poetic license on the titles.

Ocean warming accelerating to record temperatures, scientists warn Engineering and Technology Magazine
Scalding seas? Oceans boil to hottest temp on record USA Today EU
World’s oceans heating up at quickening pace: study Egypt Independent
Ocean warming ‘accelerating’ The London Economic
Oceans warming faster than we thought: Study AniNews.in
Ocean temperatures rising faster than thought in ‘delayed response’ to global warming, scientists say The Japan Times
Oceans warming much faster than previously thought: Study The Hindu Business Line
The Oceans Are Warming Faster Than We Thought, a New Study Says TIME
Oceans Warming Even Faster Than Previously Thought Eurasia Review
The Ocean Is Warming Much Faster Than We Thought, According To A New Study BuzzFeed
Pacific: New research proves ocean warming is accelerating ABC Online – Radio Australia
We’re Boiling the Ocean Faster Than We Thought New York Magazine
Oceans warming faster than expected SBS
Ocean temperatures are rising far faster than previously thought, report says TVNZ
Ocean Temps Rising Faster Than Scientists Thought: Report HuffPost (US)
World’s oceans are heating up at a quickening pace Bangkok Post
The Warming of the World’s Oceans Is Set to Increase Dramatically Over the Next 60 Years Pacific Standard
New Climate Change Report Says Ocean Warming Is Far Worse Than Expected Fortune
Oceans Are Warming Faster Than Expected, Research Says Geek.com
World’s oceans are heating up at a quickening pace: study AFP
Oceans Warming Faster Than Predicted, Scientists Say gCaptain

So the message to the world is very clear: Ocean Heat Content is rising out of control, Be Very Afraid!
The trigger for all of this concern comes from this paper How fast are the oceans warming? by Lijing Cheng, John Abraham, Zeke Hausfather, Kevin E. Trenberth. Science 11 Jan 2019 Excerpts from paper in italics with my bolds.

Climate change from human activities mainly results from the energy imbalance in Earth’s climate system caused by rising concentrations of heat-trapping gases. About 93% of the energy imbalance accumulates in the ocean as increased ocean heat content (OHC). The ocean record of this imbalance is much less affected by internal variability and is thus better suited for detecting and attributing human influences (1) than more commonly used surface temperature records. Recent observation-based estimates show rapid warming of Earth’s oceans over the past few decades (see the figure) (1, 2). This warming has contributed to increases in rainfall intensity, rising sea levels, the destruction of coral reefs, declining ocean oxygen levels, and declines in ice sheets; glaciers; and ice caps in the polar regions (3, 4). Recent estimates of observed warming resemble those seen in models, indicating that models reliably project changes in OHC.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), published in 2013 (4), featured five different time series of historical global OHC for the upper 700 m of the ocean. These time series are based on different choices for data processing (see the supplementary materials). Interpretation of the results is complicated by the fact that there are large differences among the series. Furthermore, the OHC changes that they showed were smaller than those projected by most climate models in the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5) (5) over the period from 1971 to 2010 (see the figure).

Since then, the research community has made substantial progress in improving long-term OHC records and has identified several sources of uncertainty in prior measurements and analyses (2, 6–8). In AR5, all OHC time series were corrected for biases in expendable bathythermograph (XBT) data that had not been accounted for in the previous report (AR4). But these correction methods relied on very different assumptions of the error sources and led to substantial differences among correction schemes. Since AR5, the main factors influencing the errors have been identified (2), helping to better account for systematic errors in XBT data and their analysis.

Multiple lines of evidence from four independent groups thus now suggest a stronger observed OHC warming. Although climate model results (see the supplementary materials) have been criticized during debates about a “hiatus” or “slowdown” of global mean surface temperature, it is increasingly clear that the pause in surface warming was at least in part due to the redistribution of heat within the climate system from Earth surface into the ocean interiors (13). The recent OHC warming estimates (2, 6, 10, 11) are quite similar to the average of CMIP5 models, both for the late 1950s until present and during the 1971–2010 period highlighted in AR5 (see the figure). The ensemble average of the models has a linear ocean warming trend of 0.39 ± 0.07 W m−2 for the upper 2000 m from 1971–2010 compared with recent observations ranging from 0.36 to 0.39 W m−2 (see the figure).

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: “The recent OHC warming estimates are quite similar to the average of CMIP5 models.”

What They are Not Telling You

The Sea Surface Temperature (SST) record is a mature dataset, not without issues from changing measurement technologies, but providing a lengthy set of observations making up 71% of the surface temperature history.  Sussing out temperatures at various depths in the ocean is a whole nother kettle of fish.

The Ocean Heat Content data is sparse, both in time and space.

The Ocean is vast, 360 million square kilometers with an average depth of 3700 meters, and we have 3900 Argo floats operating for 10 years. In addition we have some sensors arrayed at depths in the North Atlantic. As the text above admits, there are lots of holes in the data, and only a short history of the recently available reliable data. Other publications by some of the same authors admit: Large discrepancies are found in the percentage of basinal ocean heating related to the global ocean, with the largest differences in the Pacific and Southern Ocean. Meanwhile, we find a large discrepancy of ocean heat storage in different layers, especially within 300–700 m in the Pacific and Southern Oceans. Source: Consensuses and discrepancies of basin-scale ocean heat content changes in different ocean analyses, Gongjie Wang, Lijing Cheng, John Abraham.

Modelers Make OHC Reconstructions by Adding Guesstimates to Observations

Again climate science alarms are raised after “reanalysis” of the data. No one should be surprised that after computer manipulations and data processing, the “reanalyzed” data has changed and now favors warming and confirms the climate models. The Argo data record by itself is too short to make any such claim. In previous studies, scientists were more circumspect and refrained from “jumping the shark.” Apparently, with the Paris Accord on the ropes in 2019, caution and nuance has been thrown to the wind, as witnessed by the recent SR15 horror show, and now this.

Methodological Problems Bedevil These Reconstructions

One of the studies cited in support of revising OHC upward is the study Quantification of ocean heat uptake from changes in atmospheric O2 and CO2 composition, L. Resplandy et al. Published in Nature 31 October 2018.  From the Media Release:

The world’s oceans have absorbed far more heat than we realized, shortening our timeline to stop the causes of global warming, and foreboding some of the worst case scenarios put forth by climate experts, according to new findings.

A novel study by researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego and Princeton University, published on Wednesday in Nature, implies that officials have underestimated the amount of heat retained by Earth’s oceans.

Between 1991 and 2016, oceans warmed an average 60 percent more than estimates by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) originally calculated, the study claims. That amount equalled 13 zettajoules, or eight times the world’s annual energy consumption.

Something didn’t look right to climate statistician Nic Lewis so he deconstructed the study, finding several methodological mistakes along the way. He explained and communicated with the authors in a series of 4 posts at Climate Etc. Nov. 6 through 23, 2018.

Nic Lewis, Nov. 6 (here):

The findings of the Resplandy et al paper were peer reviewed and published in the world’s premier scientific journal and were given wide coverage in the English-speaking media. Despite this, a quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results. Just a few hours of analysis and calculations, based only on published information, was sufficient to uncover apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations.

Moreover, even if the paper’s results had been correct, they would not have justified its findings regarding an increase to 2.0°C in the lower bound of the equilibrium climate sensitivity range and a 25% reduction in the carbon budget for 2°C global warming.

Because of the wide dissemination of the paper’s results, it is extremely important that these errors are acknowledged by the authors without delay and then corrected.

Authors Respond:

On November 14, 2018 this paper’s authors announced key errors to the two week-old study that made claims about the amount of heat that Earth’s oceans have absorbed. The errors stem from “incorrectly treating systematic errors in the O2 measurements and the use of a constant land O2:C exchange ratio of 1.1,” co-author Ralph Keeling said in an update from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, which is affiliated with the study. More simply, the team’s findings are too uncertain to conclusively support their statement that Earth’s oceans have absorbed 60 percent more heat than previously thought. Keeling claims the errors “do not invalidate the study’s methodology or the new insights into ocean biogeochemistry on which it is based.”

Subsequent posts by Lewis found other differences between the stated method and the analysis actually applied, adding to the uncertainty of the study and its finding. Lewis is not done yet, and the paper has not been reissued. Unfortunately, it has not been retracted and is still cited in reference to unsupported claims of runaway ocean heat content.

Meanwhile, other measurements, such as those in North Atlantic and Indian Ocean show slight cooling rather than warming, with researchers suspecting natural cyclical activity.

Summary

So anxious are alarmists/activists to cry wolf that they are running the computers flat out to manipulate and extrapolate from precious but incomplete limited data to confirm their suppositions.  All to keep alive a deflating narrative that the public increasingly finds offensive.

Footnote:

Oceanographers know that deep ocean temperatures can vary on centennial up to millennial time scales, so if some heat goes into the depths, it is not at all clear when it would come out.

Beware getting sucked into any model, climate or otherwise.

More at Putting Climate Models in Their Place