Wednesday, March 14, 2007

When the truth really **is** inconvenient

THE GREAT GLOBAL WARMING SWINDLE is a wonderfully concise presentation of the issues around global warning -- the errors in the warmists' science; the claim that all warming is 'man-made' warming, and all scientists are in agreement; some possible explanations for natural causes; the politics behind the warmists' hysteria.

It's presented as the antidote to Al Bore's slick slideshow, and it sure as hell works.

Let's have a look at some of warmists' errors as highlighted in the film:
  • There has been no warming since 1998.
  • CO2 is not a pollutant -- indeed, it is what makes plants grow.
  • Most warming in the last 120 years took place before 1940 -- that is, before modern industrialisation took place before, and certainly well before the vast bulk of human CO2 emissions began (see pic above).
  • There is contrary evidence from 1940-75, when human CO2 production really began in earnest, and temperatures went down
  • There is no evidence that advanced global warming would be detrimental -- indeed there is much evidence that it would be beneficial.
  • There is no evidence that the upper atmosphere is warming, which is where the warmists' models say it shoud be.
  • There is no evidence, none at all, that global warming is man-made, and certainly not with the mechanism for warming that is frequently cited by the warmists.
CO2 is not even the primary greenhouse gas. That prize goes to water vapour, which contributes a massive 95% of beneficial warming, which reponds more to the sun and cosmic rays than to any human infuence. CO2 only makes up 3.5% of earth's greenhouse gases, and just a tiny 3% of that CO2 is attiributable to humans. The rest is all nature's work: Volcanoes. Rotting leaves. Animals. Add that up and human-induced greenhouse warming is an almost negligible 0.12% of all warming.

And the earth needs to warm, it needs its greenhouse gases; without it we'd all be dead.

The earth has been warmer, much warmier than it is at present -- in the Mediaeval Warm Period for example, when all those cathedrals were built; and right back too in the Holocene era when it was several degrees warmer -- and the polar bears didn't die then either.

In fact, temperature trends for the past 15,000 years include 10 large swings, including the Mediaeval Warm Period. These shifts were up to “20 times greater than the warming in the past century.”

The warmists say that CO2 causes warming. If that's so, there's no evidence in the history. Never in recorded history has a rise in CO2 preceded warming. For good reasons, mainly to do with the oceans, it has always and everywhere followed warming, with a time lag of some eight-hundred years (see below left). There is no evidence that fundamental relationship has changed, despite the slick sleight-of-hand performed by Al Bore's slides.

And what of the claim that global warming exacerbates extreme weather events? Not so, says Richard Lindzen, who points out that the primary driver of weather events is the temperature gradient between the hot mid latidudes and the freezing poles. And what do you think happens if this difference is made smaller? You'll forgive me if I don't offer the person who answers correctly a chocolate fish.

Anybody who actually looks at the science and still takes the warmist hysteria seriously is really not seeing the forest, and may be looking too hard at the wrong trees, argues the film.

WHAT MAKES THE PLANET warm? The sun.

So what does the film suggest is making the planet get warmer? Yep. The sun. Sun activity provides a way better 'fit' with the temperature record says the film's scientists, and without that nasty eight-hundred year time lag that Al Bore glosses over. Note that it' s not incumbent upon skeptics to explain the cause of the recorded warming -- that is, the observed rise in the temperature record from 1975 to 1998. Nonetheless, the film makers offer a compelling answer.

MARCUS HAS MORE ON the film here. For a reasoned summary of objections to the film, Frogblog has the team at Real Climate, and former IPCC assessment committee co-chairman James Houghton doing his bit for his science (in two parts, here and here). Careful of the spin. For example, you will note that Houghton's story about Paul Reiter fails to tell the whole truth. It is not what Reiter himself reports, and indeed not what he reported in the film. Reiter wasn't upset that "his expert work on malaria failed to get recognition in the relevant IPCC chapter," as Houghton claims.

In fact, he was apoplectic because the chapter summary to which he had contributed was dead against the science; that it was written behind his back by non-experts, and released in a high-profile press conference to which he wasn't invited, and he had to resort to legal action to get his name removed from what he called "a sham." His later non-inclusion from the IPCC panel (despite nomination as a lead author by the US Government) in favour of non-experts speaks more of an attempt to manufacture a consensus than it does about science -- as Christopher Monckton describes it, "the panel vetoed his appointment because they knew he disagreed with the alarmist view that they were determined to purvey."

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Luke H said...

Uh, PC? Some of your facts are wrong. Try reading the Wikipedia article rather than getting all your ideas from a documentary.

I will summarise a few of the more glaring errors - there are many other more subtle errors which are misinterpretations rather than direct errors.

"There has been no warming since 1998."

WRONG. After necessarily averaging out yearly variations, a graph using five-year averages shows the temperature still increasing drastically.

"just a tiny 3% of ... CO2 is attributable to humans"

WRONG.
Pre-industrial CO2: 280 parts per million (ppm).
1960 CO2: 315 ppm.
2007 CO2: 380 ppm.
Human CO2 increase: 36%

(Movie): Human CO2 emissions are dwarfed by volanco CO2 emissions.

WRONG. Volcanic CO2 emissions are 1% of human emissions.

The warmists say that CO2 causes warming. If that's so, there's no evidence [in history]."

WRONG. Ignoring history for the moment, CO2 causes warming because it is a greenhouse gas. This is easy to prove from quantum mechanics alone: CO2 absorbs photos in such as way as to decrease the escape of terrestrial thermal infrared radiation.

"There is no evidence ... that global warming is man-made, and certainly not with the mechanism for warming that is frequently cited by the warmists."

WRONG. Mainstream scientific opinion: "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic [human] greenhouse gas concentrations"

Anyway, that'll do for now ...

3/15/2007 01:24:00 am  
Anonymous Falafulu Fisi said...

Luke H said...
WRONG. After necessarily averaging out yearly variations, a graph using five-year averages shows the temperature still increasing drastically.

Can you tell me why 5-year averages and say not 4, 2, 1, 0, 6, 7 or anything running averages? Is the 5-year running averages a golden number or a rule of thump? That is where you got YOUR facts wrong.

To choose 5-year running averages just simply because it is a nice number is where the problems lies since most climate scientists don't know the proper method to use.

The time-series data is run thru a process (algorithm) that does (auto) regression on its own plus a running moving average at simultaneously. The algorithm selects the best regression coefficient and the best moving average length or order that best fit the data (meaning , the model order with very little error between prediction and the actual data).

If you run that data using the ARMA
algorithm then you get the trend down, and the order of the moving average that best fit the historical signal (time-series) is not 5.

3/15/2007 02:25:00 am  
Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

Ah Wikipedia,

The Oracle that is able to be edited by anyone. Including 20-something college students masquerading as professors...

http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=2928756&page=1

3/15/2007 04:41:00 am  
Anonymous Robert Winefield said...

"Mainstream scientific opinion"

You know, I've heard that claim from both sides. Now I want to see the peer reviewed papers in the SCIENTIFIC literature that show this. I want citations that I can actually go out and read!

Why? Because when scientists are getting death threats for the positions they hold, I start to wonder if their opposition (who have been curiously lax in condemning the death threats) actually has an argument.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/03/11/ngreen211.xml

3/15/2007 04:50:00 am  
Anonymous Sean said...

Exactly right Robert, as I remind my students, wikipedia is not an academic source. As Luke seems to rely almost exclusively upon it, I really can not take his posts (or blog) seriously.

Sean.

3/15/2007 11:32:00 am  
Blogger PC said...

You say some of my facts are wrong, Luke? As Robert suggests, perhaps you shouldn't rely so much on Wikipedia, and perhaps listen to some of those scientists in the documentary and elsewhere. What you yourself declare as correct is either incorrect according to many scientists, or at the very least highly uncertain.

1. You say: ""There has been no warming since 1998 -- WRONG."

Well, perhaps you might like to argue that with Professor Bob Carter, a paleoclimate researcher at James Cook University, and the figures of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Says Carter: "In truth, however, the biggest part of the problem is neither environmental nor scientific, but a self-created political fiasco. Consider the simple fact, drawn from the official temperature records of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, that for the years 1998-2005 global average temperature did not increase (there was actually a slight decrease, though not at a rate that differs significantly from zero).

Yes, you did read that right. And also, yes, this eight-year period of temperature stasis did coincide with society's continued power station and SUV-inspired pumping of yet more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. "


You can see the graph of 'Global average temperatures since 1998' produced by the Climate Research Unit, UKhere.

2. "just a tiny 3% of ... CO2 is attributable to humans - WRONG."

Well, rather than your simple 'back of the envelope' suggestion, perhaps you might like to argue with Dr Augie Auer, former professor of atmospheric science at the University of Wyoming:
"Water vapour is, by far & away, the most dominant and naturally-produced of all greenhouse gases, contributing to a massive 95% of the beneficial warming process. Within the remaining 5%, there isn’t much clout available for carbon dioxide; it only contributes a meagre 3.5% or so. And when this input is subdivided into naturally produced & anthropogenically sourced, just under 97% comes from Nature, just over 3% from mankind. This means that the human contribution of CO2 to the Earth’s greenhouse warming process is an inconsequential 0.12%. Even if CO2 doubled in the atmosphere due to man’s activity, its impact on greenhouse processes would remain miniscule.
Furthermore, the efficiency of CO2 as a greenhouse gas does not increase with concentration, as the Al Gores of the world tell us. Its effectiveness obeys the law of diminishing returns. Only the first 150ppm or so is all that is needed for the planet’s greenhouse effect to operate near maximum. Additional carbon dioxide only serves as a spent force."


3. "The warmists say that CO2 causes warming. If that's so, there's no evidence [in history] - WRONG. Ignoring history for the moment, CO2 causes warming because it is a greenhouse gas. This is easy to prove from quantum mechanics alone..."

Crikey, what rationalism. Ignore history if you like, ignore the temperature record, and presumably ignore too Augie's point above, that "Water vapour is, by far & away, the most dominant and naturally-produced of all greenhouse gases, contributing to a massive 95% of the beneficial warming process. Within the remaining 5%, there isn’t much clout available for carbon dioxide ... Its effectiveness obeys the law of diminishing returns. Only the first 150ppm or so is all that is needed for the planet’s greenhouse effect to operate near maximum. Additional carbon dioxide only serves as a spent force."

4. ""There is no evidence ... that global warming is man-made, and certainly not with the mechanism for warming that is frequently cited by the warmists." - WRONG. Mainstream scientific opinion [says]..."

Actually "Mainstream scientific opinion" doesn't say what you've said; the Summary for Policymakers (written by bureaucrats and politicians) says that, based on science that is yet to be officially released.

Based on that same science, Christopher Monckton says, "The panic is officially over."

Based on that same science, Dr Vincent Gray notes the only warming since mid-century occurred from 1978 to 1998 (and only on the surface, not in the troposphere), and "the actual warming involved over this short period of 1978 to 1998 was 0.53ºC. The above statement [the one quoted by you, Luke] considers that it is "very likely" that most of this 0.53ºC was caused by anthropogenic (human-induced) greenhouse gas increases. “Most” of this would be between 0.3ºC and 0.5ºC, the amount that the statement considers to be due to human influence."

Also based on that same science, Ross McCittrick and the authors of the Independent Summary for Policymakers have a whole chapter on this question, 'Atributing the Causes of Climate Change.' They conclude at end of that discussion that "Due to the uncertainties involved, attribution of climate change to human cause is ultimately a judgment call."

That's enough for now? Yes, I think it probably is. Forget Wikipedia, and go and argue with those scientists.

3/15/2007 11:45:00 am  
Anonymous Phil (Pacific Empire) said...

Sean: Exactly right Robert, as I remind my students, wikipedia is not an academic source. As Luke seems to rely almost exclusively upon it, I really can not take his posts (or blog) seriously.

Why not? Try finding at least one post on our blog. where we get our facts wrong, or solely use wikipedia. Luke and I have multiple academic degrees between us and we are well aware what constitutes an acceptable academic source. Wikipedia is always a good starting point for research, as almost everything on it is verifiable and cites external sources.

Either justify your claim or retract it. Just because you disagree with one comment by Luke is no reason to attack the credibility of our whole blog.

3/15/2007 02:15:00 pm  
Anonymous Sean said...

Phil,

1)What am I to retract? I have offered nothing other than my own personal assessment. I simply said that I am personally unimpressed with the small sampling I have tried thus fare. I have correctly and accurately stated the content of my own opinion.

2) I refuse to play the "appeal to authority" game.

3) Why should I actively look for factual errors on your blog, when it appears that look is prepared to post them over here?

4) Phil, no one likes a bully.

5)I have just examined your blog more closely. It lacks enough insight for me to personally bother with. But, if others find it useful, good on them and good on you!

Sean.

3/15/2007 03:22:00 pm  
Anonymous Phil (Pacific Empire) said...

Sean:
1) It may be an accurate assessment of your own opinion. It is very far indeed from an accurate assessment of reality to claim that Luke "seems to rely almost exclusively on Wikipedia". That's utterly false.
2) I'm not claiming to be an authority. Luke and I both know that Wikipedia is not considered an an acceptable source for academic work (nothwithstanding that some of my assigned textbooks quote from it). You're implying that we don't know that.
3) Because you've groundlessly accused us of posting facutal errors on it.
4) Who's the bully? I'm just defending myself from a personal attack on my credibility.
5) Indeeed, many people find it useful. I'm sorry that you don't.

3/15/2007 04:07:00 pm  
Anonymous Luke H said...

I've written an article summarising my response to this article, including:

*A demonstration that there has been NO CHANGE in the warming trend since 1998

* A demonstration that a 5-year average is no different (Falafulu)

*Dr Augie Auer's statements about the perecentage effect of H2) compared to CO2 is incorrect

*The statement "Only the first 150ppm or so is all that is needed for the planet’s greenhouse effect to operate near maximum" is apparently a falsehood.

Also, my article has proper academic references rather than Wikipedia (Shaun, Robert).

3/15/2007 09:52:00 pm  
Blogger pgray said...

Guys, That water vapour makes up a portion of the gaseous heat trapping reservoir seems irrelevant. It condenses and falls, carrying its heat load with it. If it falls on an icecap, it is snow and helps add to the volume of global ice. There have been many studies that suggest that the Greenland ice cap is dwindling faster than modelled by the warmists of a few years ago. The northern multiyear ice has nearly disappeared. The Antarctic is losing vast chunks of ice, notably state sized chunks of the Ross Ice Shelf.
Whatever the cause, the loss of these ice masses will certainly limit their capacity to cool the surrounding waters. Their thaw will open more dark water to the sun and absorb more heat, thus accelerating the trend. The loss of the ice will increase sea level. Some say that that increase could approach 200 feet. These events did not occur during the medieval warming. The Holocene period lacked human metropolitan areas along the world's coastlines. It is therefore far less important. Rather than argue the data, what avenues do you suggest we take to deal with an event that could cause massive forced migration, privation, wars and starvation, should it occur. Just a though. pgray

11/22/2009 03:49:00 pm  
Blogger pgray said...

Guys, It seems irrelevent to discuss the heat trapping ability of water vapor. It condenses and falls, taking its heat with it. If it falls on an icecap, it adds to it. If it does not, it eventually returns to the sea. the ice reflects the sun's rays. The dark waters absorb more of the sun's heat. The world icecaps are receding. The Greenland cap is declining faster than the warmist models in use in 2007 predicted. The northern polar multiyear ice is significantly less than at any time in the human experience. The Northwest passage is navigable. State sized chunks of Antarctic ice are breaking off, notably from the Ross Ice Shelf. The glaciers on Kilamanjaro and the Mountains of the Moon are gone. Some say that the loss of the remaining ice may raise sea level by 200 feet, resulting in massive forced migration, war and widespread starvation. These events did not occur in the medieval warming. Whether they occurred during the Holocene is immaterial, as there were no metropolitan areas on the world's coastline. How do you propose to respond to this threat?

11/22/2009 04:27:00 pm  

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