This blog started 28th September 2008 as a quick communication tool for exchanging information, comments, thoughts, admonitions, compliments etc… related to http://meteo.lcd.lu , the Global Warming Sceptic pages and environmental policy subjects.
Prof. Judith Curry (GeorgiaTech) has a very interesting comment in here outstanding blog Climate Etc.
A journalists asked her “What are the most controversial points in climate science related to AGW (anthropogenic global warming)?”
Prof. Curry gives two very simple, easy understandable answers:
1. Has the warming since 1950 been dominated by human causes?
2. How much will the planer warm during the 21th century?
The IPCC continues to ignore the importance of natural causes for climate change (and global warming), putting as an act of faith that nearly all changes are caused by human activity. Some dubious graphs appeared in the AR’s and others showed that only when climate models take account of green house gas emissions (actually of atmospheric CO2 mixing ratio), observations and models become compatible:
(“Climate Change Attribution” by Robert A. Rohde)
This figure ignores the fudge factors (=parameters) introduced in the models until their result becomes similar to the observations. This technique is more related to curve fitting than to an understanding of all the physical causes of the observed temperature variation.
The insufficient understanding of the natural causes of climate change remains the major obstacle for believing the IPCC so-called “consensus”. We are still largely ignorant about the magnitude (and possibly even the sign) of the influence of factors as cloud cover, solar variation (total irradiance, UV changes, possible amplification of small natural changes). What we are sure is that the climate models overstate enormously the observed global temperature increase during the last 15 to 18 years (read this comment by Fyfe et al.):
This figure (link) documents clearly that climate models should not be used as a basis for political decisions: the green curve represents the global temperature anomaly according to Hadcrut4 (land and ocean based weather stations) and UAH (satellite data) up to 2013. It is remarkable how far the different models deviate from one another: the enormity of the differences makes the suggestion that the average ( the black line) somehow represents the “truth” absolutely questionable. Are our political deciders aware of this?
The researchers of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) (mainly John Christy and Roy Spencer) are one of the two crews that analyze the MSU (Microwave Sounding Unit) data delivered by about 16 successive or simultaneous satellites orbiting the earth since December 1978 (the other group is the RSS crew). The UAH people now have published version 6.0 of their dataset, which differs in many points from the previous version 5.6, as explained by Dr. Roy Spencer in this report.
The report contains an interesting figure which gives the decadal temperature trends (in °C/decade) for different global regions, and also making a distinction between land and ocean regions.
We see that the Antarctic has not warmed at all, and the global oceans (which might represent the best estimate for global warming) by about o.o8 °C/decade, which extrapolated would mean a warming of about 0.8°C at 2080; clearly nothing to be afraid of!
The Arctic oceans show the greatest trend (about 0.27 °C/decade), and it should be noted that the new reanalysis has cut the previous trend nearly in half!
Also interesting are the new data for the North and South hemisphere oceans (points Nhemis_O and Shemis_O): both trends are astonishingly close (approx. 0.9 and 0.75 °C/decade).
This figure does not inform on the global temperature hiatus seen since about 1998; we have to wait before the UAH people will publish the relevant data.
I continue the discussion on natural disasters using the handy graphing feature of the em-dat website of the UCL (Université Catholique de Louvain).
First the graph of floods (the left axis shows the yearly numbers):
If we look for the total number of deaths caused by these floods, there clearly is a case for optimism (left axis = deaths in thousands):
The post 2000 casualties are not higher than those of 1960, where the reported number of floods was much lower!
The droughts statistics show much more variability:
Here one can not see a spectacular rise, but a lot of inter-annual variability. The exceptional high peak corresponds to 1981, the last maximum from the right to the year 2000. Since that year, the global number of droughts is decreasing (which does not signify that several regions, as parts of California, do not suffer from an ongoing severe drought).
The number of deaths are astonishing small, and show no tendency:
What is the conclusion of this little exercise? It is not correct to state that natural catastrophes of floods and droughts are continuously increasing thanks to an ongoing global warming. This litany is dear to many environmentalists and politicians, whose agenda is impervious to real data.
Discussions on climate change always come to the argument that natural disasters like flood, drought, heatwaves etc. are on the rise, due to (anthropogenic) climate change. It is often difficult to have correct numbers at hand, so the Belgian EM-DAT (the International Disaster Database, a work of the Université Catholique de Louvain, UCL)) is a tremendous help to deliver correct data. EM-DAT considers natural as well as technological disasters. The former are those that will be of interest here.
As the discussion on climate mostly considers the global impact, let us just look how floods, droughts, heat- and cold-waves have changed since 1960. The Annual Disaster Statistical Review 2013 begins its summary with: “In 2013, 330 natural triggered disasters were registered. This was both less than the average annual disaster frequency observed from 2013 to 2012 (388) and represented a decreased in associated human impacts of disasters which were, in 2013, at their lowest level since 16 years.”
I added to fig.1 of this report the trend line (in red) which shows an average decrease of 5.3 occurrences per year since 2000.
Climatological disasters (extreme temperatures, drought and wildfires) went down from a percentage of 15.5 per year (2003-2012) to 10% in 2013.
I will continue these comments in the next days, time permitting. Meanwhile, go to this excellent website (http://www.emdat.be) and look for yourself at the trends under the “Disaster Trends” label.
In my previous blog “Climate modelling nonsense” I urged the hopefully existent visitor to read the excellent article of Serge Galam “Global Warming: the Sacrificial Temptation” which is available at arXiv and was published in 2007.
Firstly, Serge Galam is a physicist, with 2 PhD’s received in 1975 and 1981 at the universities Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris and the university of Tel Aviv. After some time spent in New York and the French CNRS, he joined the CREA of the famous Ecole Polytechnique. CREA stands for “Centre de Recherche en Epistémiologie Appliquée”, which means that Serge Galam has moved over to more philosophical problems, and may now correctly be called a philosopher. He firmly opposes the scientists who becoming politicized have abandoned the scientific method (in his book “Les Scientifiques ont perdu le Nord”, Plon, 2008) and remains very skeptical about man-made global warming or climate change.
So for those of you who never have time to read an article from start to end, let me just give here seven of what I find the most remarkable sentences in the cited article.
1. The debate about global warming has taken emotional tones driven by passion and irrationality while it should be a scientific debate.
2. In the past of human history, the identification of a single responsible of all the difficulties and hardships of a society has always produced huge human destructions.
3. The unanimity exhibited everywhere is indeed obtained by the exclusion of any person who dares to cast a doubt about the man guilt truth.
4. … science has nothing to do with neither unanimity nor the number of voters.
5. It is not the duty of the sceptics to have to brig a proof of whatever it is about which they are sceptical… Rather, it is up to the scientists making the new assertion who must bring the corresponding proog, in this case of human guilt.
6. In case the current climate changes have natural causes, focusing our entire efforts on a drastic reduction of anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions, implying a suppression of advanced technologies, could leave us defenceless in the face of a newly hostile nature.
7. Most caution should be taken to prevent opportunistic politicians, more and more numerous, to subscribe to the proposed temptation of a sacrifice frame in order to reinforce their power by canalizing these archaic fears that are reemerging.
What a marvelous last sentence! The German physicist Dr. Gert Weber from the Max Planck Institut gave in 1993 in his book “Der Treibhauseffekt” a similar conclusion: “Heute werden auf eine Weise Forschungsgelder verteilt und Berichte geschrieben, dass sich daraus eine positive Rückkopplungsschleife bildet, die allen Beteiligten Gewinne abwirft. Die Wissenschaftler bekommen mehr Forschungsgelder, die Medien neue Empörungsgeschichten…, den Politikern erschliesst sich ihr Stimmenpotential.”
This said, I wish you happy, sunny and warm Eastern holidays!
I’m restructuring my workplace at home, by moving from one room to another, that was heavily modified and recabled. In doing this, one has to glance to all these many collected items and articles, and decide: trash it or keep it? These heroic decisions are sometimes made more easy, when one stumbles on one of these very outstanding articles, that shine like a beacon amid the stormy waves of platitudes, nonsense and boring pomposity.
John Reid’s “Climate Modelling Nonsense” published by Quadrant Online in 2009 is such a gem.
John Reid is a PhD physicist from Tasmania, who worked in atmospheric physics and fluid dynamic modelling: so this guy really knows about what he writes! Let me cite some of the most memorable sentences of his article:
1. “(Climatologist) do not seek to invalidate their models; they only seek supporting evidence”
2. “Water vapour positive feedback is only an assumption: but, importantly for the modellers, it is an assumption which makes the models work.”
3. “…climate prediction, as it is carried out by those organizations which come under the aegis of the IPCC, is not science. It is a superstition, similar to astrology or homeopathy.”
4. “Over the last few years, with remarkable rapidity, AGW theory has gone from a scientific curiosity to a politically correct catechism… it seems to fulfill a human need for sacrifice…It is the ancient myth about guilt and sin and redemption in a new guise”.
This last point rings bells with me (I have been educated in a catholic environment, where these notions of guilt, sin and redemption were ubiquitous). The great French philosopher Serge Galam has written an article “Global Warming: The Sacrificial Temptation” which is a must-read, and further dwells down into this problem of human psychology, which makes an honest and intelligent climate debate so difficult.
I was a bit excited to watch this rare event of a regrettably not total, but nevertheless heavy partial solar eclipse. In 1999 we had a total eclipse in parts of Luxembourg, and I made some measurements and wrote a small comment on the meteorological impacts. So today I built up a telescope with a small projection screen and a datalogger with T/H sensor and an old pyranometer (which had its output amplified by an instrumentation amplifier I assembled a couple of years ago). The following picture shows this material, and also gives an impression of the heavy fog covering the whole valley of the river Sauer where Diekirch is located.
The next picture is a close-up on the datalogger (a vintage faithful German 12bit Mikromec logger from 1990), with the instrumentation amplifier and the Kip and Zonen gray pyranometer; the Rotronic T/H sensor lies below the table, visible at the lower border of the picture. The white sensor at the rear is our Solarlight UVA sensor.
Alas, the fog was very persistent, so that the sun became visible only during the last part of the eclipse.
The next close-up shows the big sunspot AR2303 close to the moon’s border:
So despite the disappointing viewing conditions, we nevertheless had at least the beautiful view of a big and nearly circular sunspot close to the vanishing moon shadow.
The last figure shows the variations of air temperature and solar irradiance during the eclipse; at the moment of maximum cover the solar disc was still completely invisible, but nevertheless the dip in solar irradiance is clearly visible:
Air temperature also goes down by about 0.5 °C with a possible small delay. This is similar to the observations made in 1999 (see 3rd figure).
added 21 March 2015:
Here is the graph of German solar electricity production; the sharp dip of 7 GW was filled by conventional fossil producers. As great parts of the country were covered by fog, the ramp up was not so spectacular as feared (it took a bit more than an hour from trough to peak), and the electrical grid remained stable (graph from here). Be careful with the left axis: the numbers do not seem correct, as DW gives those inserted in the graph.:
The HTW (Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft, Berlin) has published (prior to the eclipse) an interesting study with several simulations of the effect on German solar electricity production.
The GWPF (the Global Warming Policy Foundation) has a very interesting new report (they call it a “briefing”) answering a report by the Royal Society on climate change (A short guide to climate science). The RS report falls squarely into the usual “consensus” category, and suggest the human driver (and guilt) behind nearly all changes observed.
The list of contributors to the “Small Print” paper is impressive:
Prof Robert Carter
Prof Vincent Courtillot
Prof Freeman Dyson
Prof Christopher Essex
Dr Indur Goklany
Prof Will Happer
Prof Richard Lindzen
Prof Ross McKitrick
Prof Ian Plimer
Dr Matt Ridley
Sir Alan Rudge
Prof Nir Shaviv
Prof Fritz Vahrenholt
So this briefing should not simply be brushed away, but makes a careful reading mandatory. The style is easy, giving clear and no-frills answers titled “The fuller picture” to 20 important questions (the questions that are always asked…).
For instance, the Royal Society is impervious to the failing of climate models during the last 15-18 years. The”Small Print” briefing correctly explains that “The Royal Society guide claims that models fail to explain recent warming unless they incorporate anthropogenic forcing. This assertion depends on the readily falsifiable claim that models correctly replicate natural variability. Models fail on natural variability, therefore the Royal Society’s claim fails in the real world”.
Now that the preparations for the Paris climate conference are slowly coming into steam, everybody should ask the politicians and green climate warriors what they know about natural climate swings… A good question would be “if you are so ignorant about natural causes for climate change, how can you plan horribly expensive policies to mitigate a natural behavior, instead of planning adaptive measures when and where they are needed”.
Please read this briefing!
The German national television ZDF broadcasted a (mostly!) remarkable two part series (Part 1, Part II) on the impact of climate change on human history and development. Part I starts with the Neanderthals and ends with the beginning of the Roman Empire. Part II (which I prefer) starts with the warm Roman period and ends with the modern warm period. What is remarkable is that over the whole series, the authors insist that the recurring great climate changes are due to natural phenomena, mostly Milankovitch cycles with their changing solar irradiance and volcanic activity. For instance it is said that “die Sonne ist der Hauptakteur”, or “jede Klimaveränderung wird vom Weltall aus gesteuert”. A recurrent leitmotiv is that warmer (and more humid) periods are good for development, colder are bad.
The most interesting second part tells the stories of the last 3 warm periods (Roman, Medieval and today) and shows how a warmer climate fostered cultural, scientific and political development. And vastly increasing populations are not described as a parasitic illness destroying the planet, but as a welcome and “natural” development thriving in good climatic conditions.
Why did I start with the quantifier “mostly” ? Because the excellence of the 2 times 43 minutes is spoiled by the last 60 seconds, where Mark Maslin (University College London) closes with this sentence: “We are at a point where we can decide how the future climate will be.” This is blatant silliness, probably forced upon the professor to include at least a sentence seen to be politically correct and Zeitgeist aware. This last conclusion is the more silly, as all previous examples clearly have shown that the changes of the climate were not caused by human activity. And today, never mind our technological achievements, we are still unable to change the tilt of the axis of the globe, modify solar activity or put a lid on volcanoes to avoid their eruptions.
Nevertheless, this broadcast makes me more optimistic: could it be that the fashionable hysteria regarding an anthropogenic climate change is loosing steam, and starting to go the way typical for all fads and Zeitgeist exaggerations, i.e. dissolving into oblivion?
Read also the excellent comments of Pierre Gosselin in his blog.