Archive for March, 2010

Guest post on R. Pielke’s blog “ClimateScience”

March 31, 2010

Prof. Roger Pielke sr. (CIRES,  University of Colorado in Boulder) asked me to write a short guest comment on the Massen/Beck CO2 paper. I added two figures with a good example of recent CO2 data showing the importance of a CO2 versus wind speed plot.

The link is here.

The cloud pushers (“Die Wolkenschieber”)

March 31, 2010

The left-leaning weekly German magazine Der Spiegel has in its 29 Mar 2010 edition (no.13) a large 10 page article “Die Wolkenschieber” on climategate, hockey stick, Phil Jones, IPCC….  The tone is skeptical, what is something of a revolution in the German media world, where climategate was poorly treated until now. A noticeable exception are the skeptical journalists Maxeiner and Miersch from “Die Welt”, which fight since many years a caustic and humourous battle against climate hysteria. “Der Spiegel” is noticed more for embracing (in typically German Weltangst manner) gruesome scenarios and continuous remorse over the modern human’s environmental footprint.

The article has nothing really new to say, but there are some gems. For instance this result of a public poll of 1000 people who were asked “Do you personally fear climate change?”. In 2006, 62% said yes, in 2010 only 42% do.

This clearly shows that climate fear has passed its zenith, and that environmental groups wanting to lock people in Umwelt-angst should change the subject (would’nt biodiversity be a good follower?).

The authors tell us that the Bundesforschungsministerium (ministry for research) has granted 250 million Euros for German climate science alone in 2010;  these extravagant amounts validate the comment of  Dr. Sonia Boemer-Christiansen (editor of Energy & Environment:

“Some university research units have almost become wholly-owned subsidiaries of Government Departments. Their survival, and the livelihoods of their employees, depends on delivering what policy makers think they want.”

Concerning sea-level rise, the authors write that most experts think that the 4AR IPCC estimation of 18 to 59 cm for 2100 are too low. Does “most experts” mean Stefan Rahmstorf from the PIK ?
The hurricane scare is well laid out. Trenberth’s correlation between hurricanes power index and global warming has not survived the skeptics (prominently Chris Landsea) enquiries. Also the arbitrary 2°C warming limit for avoiding a planetary catastrophe is presented as an exercise to hand out a single number for the politicians, even if that number has no scientific merit.

Hans von Storch is cited several times ( the authors call him “Storch”, may be the “von” is too much to swallow for a left leaning writer…); the article closes with von Storch saying ” Angst machen gilt nicht” (there is no need for panic). How true, and how sad that the German media did not follow this simple advice over so many years.

I recommend the lecture of this article. For copyright reasons I can not give a link, but you may buy the full edition (3.80 EUR) as an e-paper (PDF format) here.

Update 05Apr10: Full English test here (thanks to Marcel S.,  see comment)

Modelling UHI

March 20, 2010

Dr. Roy Spencer from UHA has a very interesting article on how UHI could contaminate the GHCN (Global Historic Data Net) temperature series that form the basis for  GISS and HADCrut3 . From his graph showing the decadal trend versus population density I extracted the following 4 data couples (first column = population density, last column = temperature trend in °C/decade).

pop        dT

10       0.093
50       0.135
200    0.190
980    0.215

Dr. Spencer gives a logarithmic fit of the form dT = a + b*log(pop). The problem with this type of fit is that log(0) is minus infinite, and as such can not give a mathematical plausible answer to the question: what would have the warming if population density had been zero?

I tried another model, based on a fractional power of population density:  dT = a + b* pop^c
For a comparison, here are the 2 fits with their R2 score (R2 = percentage of variance explained by the model):

Clearly the power model gives a much better R2 score (it is a tremendous result!): the model explains more than 97% of the observed variability!

Four data points are not too many for such an analysis, so please take these results with a grain of salt. The power model suggests that true US temperature change would have been a warming of -2.4174 + 2.45104 = 0.033   °C/decade for the period 1973-2009 if there had been no UHI ( i.e. pop = 0).

Conclusion: no UHI, no warming!

See also this excellent article in The Blackboard here.

myclimate indulgences

March 19, 2010

Yesterday I stumbled on a brand new point of sale of our greatest national electricity provider ENOVOS; at the entrance was a small exhibit with a few brochures, among those prominently one about the myclimate carbon offset fund.
The text in the leaflet is typical in the line of “make them a bad conscience, they will pay more easily”:

“Quotidiennement, chacun de nous génère des émissions de CO2 qui ont un impact négatif sur notre climat….La plupart du temps nous provoquons ces émissions de façon inconsciente…” Approximate translation: “All of us cause daily emissions of CO2, which have a negative impact on climate… Most of the time we do this unconsciously”.
Here one starts with the hypothesis that our CO2 emissions have a negative impact on climate: what is that impact, how “negative” is it, how do our emissions compare to natural sources etc… A thousand questions come to mind, but myclimate makes a quick and definitive statement, and prepares the culpability feeling with the next sentence: we may be unconscious, but we are sinners nevertheless. The wording is subtle, the aim is clear. As in the 15th century, we may buy our salvation by spending on carbon offsets.

The monk Johannes Tetzel is reported having preached: “Sobald der Gülden im Becken klingt / im huy die Seel im Himmel springt”. There is no big difference with the writings and suggestions of myclimate.
A. Bauer has written in the paper “Die Weltwoche” (12May09) a well researched article “Windige Geschäfte mit heisser Luft” (in German), concentrating for the major part on the Swiss myclimate organization. He gives a telling example of the efficiency of the indulgence money spent: myclimate has for instance one big project Qory Q’oncha in Peru:  traditional wood burning fire-places should be replaced by more efficient ovens. This seems to be a reasonable object; but the shock comes when one analyzes what part of the original money finds its way to the Indians:  starting with 5.18 Mill. CHF (Swiss franks) a meager 0.16 Mill. CHF reaches its destination:

85% of the original sums are spent in administrative  and intermediate players costs!
Another problem is that the new ovens are massively rejected by the local people on different grounds, and acceptance rate is less than 50%.

The Luxembourg branch of myclimate ( is a partnership of 3 organizations:
1.  “EnergyAgence“, an umbrella holding the Luxembourg government, Enovos and the SEO, a company operating a big pumped storage facility in Vianden, Luxembourg.
2. Enovos (again!)
3. The public research center CRPHT (Centre de Recherche Public Henri Tudor).

As the government is a partner of Enovos and provides a big part of the financing of the CRPHT, it is clear that the myclimate indulgences have all the official backings. The arguments pushing us to pay for our sins are classic: the web page of parrots on it’s page on climate change the usual 4AR IPCC stuff, ignoring any  recent findings and non-consensus research (and no comment on the many past  scandals) and concluding with the now classic year 2100 bright-red globe.

I have a very uneasy feeling on this. The indulgence-train seems running at full steam, and everybody except the poor citizen finds its reward in power, good-feeling and money.
Let me conclude with a picture by Hans Holbein the Younger showing the indulgence business in the 15th century:

Is history really repeating? If yes, remember Martin Luther!

Per capita CO2 emissions and what’s needed for +1ppm ?

March 14, 2010

Prof. Ross McKitrick from Guelph University has published with Mark Strazicic and Junsoo Lee an interesting paper on the flat trend of per capita CO2 emissions from fossil fuels: Stationarity of Global per capita CO2 Emissions (2007). He shows an essential flat trend line during the last 30 years, and suggests, that what developing countries emit more will be compensated by higher energy efficiency in the more developed ones, which will be rejoined in the near future by the first. He concludes that most of the IPCC emission scenarios in the SRES are way too pessimistic, and that the scenarios with the lowest emission rates should be considered as the most probable.
I remade some graphs showing the situation, and using the data from CDIAC:

This first graph shows the yearly CO2 emissions (in GtC;  1GtC = (1/3.67) GtCO2) in blue and the yearly per capita emissions in red (in tC), from 1959 to 2006. Contrary to the much hyped exponential increase emissions rose nearly in a linear manner, at about 0.106 GtC per year or 1 GtC per decade. The next graph shows that indeed per capita emissions are more or less stable since 1975 (the trend is even slightly negative) at 1.15 tC per year.


Now a recurrent question is: what is the influence of these emissions on the atmospheric CO2 concentration (more correct: the CO2 mixing ratio)?

This graph shows that despite natural variations the atmospheric CO2 concentration increases linearly with the yearly emissions; 1 GtC additional emitted carbon would push up CO2 levels by about 13 ppm.
Or the other way around: to push up CO2 concentration by 1 ppm, the world has to emit an additional 1/13 GtC = 0.077 GtC = 77 MtC = 77 000 000 tC

A world population reaching 9.2 billion in 2050 (and possibly culminating at that number) would emit 9.2*1.15 = 10.6 GtC per year, compared to a calculated 6.5*1.15 = 7.5 GtC in 2006. This would push up atmospheric CO2 levels by (10.6 – 7.5)*13 = 40 ppm, reaching 420 ppm.

Compared to the 380 ppm concentration of 2006 the 420 ppm would correspond to a supplementary GHG forcing of 5.36*ln(420/380) = 0.54 Wm-2 or a probable warming of  0.25*0.54 = 0.13 °C; the factor 0.25 being the non-feedback gain G defined by dT0 = G*dQ, where dT0 and dQ are the increases in temperature and forcing. (see for instance the Lindzen & Choi paper: On the determination of climate feedbacks from the ERBE data, 2009). Lindzen/Choi suggest a negative feedback f = -1.1, so the warming would be dT = dT0/(1-f) = 0.13/2 = 0.07 °C.  If we stick to the non-feedback projection, the warming would be a meager 0.13 °C!

The IPCC extravagant warming increases are possible only by hypothesing big positive feedbacks, contrary to what observational data suggest.

These simple, even naive projections suggest that strict and brutal  emission reduction policies are pointless in respect to anthropogenic global warming.


update 14Mar10  18:43 UTC:

I found the 2009 data on Wikipedia (CDIAC stops at 2006):

global emissions by all countries: 7.74 GtC
world population:                                 6.8 billion
per capita emission:                            1.13 tC per year

So these data do not invalidate the 1.15 tC found above.

Sorry, these Wikipedia data are 2006 CDIAC !

I found the 2008 world emissions (probably without LULC etc…) on SCRIBD;  the per capita number is 1.11,  so the impressive positive trend from 2002 to 2006 seems broken. Assuming a constant per capita 1.15 tC does not err on the “wrong” size!

Germany NOT warming since 1750!

March 13, 2010

chefio has an interesting article (really an eye-opener) on temperature anomalies in Germany since 1750: using only freely available unadjusted (!) NOAA/GHCN data one finds this (I made the graph done from a table of all german thermometers available given by chefio):

The blue trend line shows a cooling of approx. 0.25 °C, and the red trend line says that the change rate of the yearly anomaly is flat! This should be quite a shock to many german (and luxembourg) environmentalists !

Well, Germany is not the World; but I remember well that “Am deutschen Wesen soll die Welt genesen”; so despite having had one of the most important  industrialization in the world,  this human impact does not show up as a warming! Really shocking! Quick, let’s do some good felt homogenizing to correct this inconvenience.

Cycles and trends in solar irradiance and climate

March 12, 2010

Judith Lean, a contributing author to IPCC’s 4AR, has written an interesting paper (freely available at Wiley Interscience here). She says very clearly that the usual dismissal of Sun-Climate associations can not be accepted anymore (do you remember that this dismissal was sort of a mantra of the IPCC consensus?).  She gives an interesting picture showing the different contribution to TSI from the bright faculaes (+)  and the dark sunspots (-); the balance is (actually, but not known for historic data) a domination of the brightening effect in respect to the darkening:

She presents a astonishing good model fitting the measured 2oth century temperature increase (as given from HADCrut) by a linear combination of the effects of TSI, volcanic activity, ENSO and anthropogenic warming.

This latter contribution is not a measured one, but a calculated forcing from emission of GHG’s and CFC’s, aerosol, land use and albedo changes. This implies that this influence might not give the same increase in forcing than predicted from the past (for instance, higher CO2 emissions might well have a diminishing effect). Nevertheless, her model follows nicely the CRU temperature curve, including the recent no-warming decade.

She limits the solar influence to 0.1°C (of the 0.6°C last century warming) and stresses that there is no trend in the TSI corresponding to the last 3 minima; this is in striking contrast to N. Scafetta (see next figure showing an increasing trend in minimum_ TSI, from a presentation of  Scafetta (77MB)). Scafetta suggests a plausible 70% solar influence on the 20th century warming.

It should be noted that Lean does not include enhanced effects due to much higher UV variations during a solar cycle.

Lean makes an interesting comment on the  influence of TSI variations  in regions vulnerable to the hydrological cycle, which react strongly to these changes (as more drought in Western USA and Equatorial East Africa). If her model remains valid for the future, this implies that anthropogenic warming will negate a good part of the solar influence, for the good or for the worse.


update 15 Mar 2010:

read this new booklet by N. Scafetta:  “Climate change and its causes”