Thursday, June 6, 2013

Increasing Desperation from the Climate Change Alarmists

I used to write and debate a lot about climate change but I haven't written about it in the last year or two.  Why?  Well, to borrow a hackneyed phrase from the man who has probably gained more financially from climate change alarmism than anyone else, Al Gore, "the science is settled."  The only problem for Gore is that it is settled on the opposite side of the argument to what Gore has spent his time promoting since his Vice-presidency.

There are very few scientists today who are prepared to state categorically that man is primarily responsible for global warming.  This is a marked change from 10, or even 5, years ago.  The reason for this sea change is pretty obvious - even as the global atmospheric carbon dioxide has continued to rise (passing through 400ppm earlier this year), average global temperature increases have stalled.  Since 1998 there has been no statistically significant increase in global temperatures.  Even the grandfather of AGW*, former Nasa scientist James Hansen, admits “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”

Of course, Hansen and others who have made their reputations (and in the case of Gore and many others, their fortunes) out of this end-of-times global hysteria aren't yet prepared to admit they are wrong, instead trying to explain away the global warming pause with fanciful theories such as China's smog (i.e. atmospheric carbon is apparently both the cause of the warming and the lack of it - as claimed in the Economist article linked above).

Some climate scientists such as the authors of this paper claim that Hansen et al have got the cause and effect wrong  - carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere follow temperature changes, not cause them.  Others such as Dr Syun-Ichi Akasofu of University of Alaska and Dr Murry Salby of Macquarie University state that global temperature patterns are entirely consistent with the recovery from the Little Ice Age around 1600 and long-term cyclical trends such as the multi-decadal oscillation. 

The politicians and crony capitalists like Gore who have prospered from the global warming business are not easily deterred, however.  President Obama has cynically joined the envangelical, suddenly discovering climate change in his second inauguration address and in Britain, energy secretary Ed Davey continues to push the party line in a vain attempt to justify some of the highest energy prices in the world that cause misery and deaths every winter.

The cause for rational debate is not helped by studies like this recently published by Cook et al, which attempts to bolster the hoary old argument that 97% of scientific papers on the subject endorse AGW.  As prominent sceptical commentator Anthony Watts shows here a straw poll of the scientists whose papers were categorised as pro-AGW say their work has been mis-represented by the study's authors.

The real scientific consensus is as follows:
  • Global temperatures have increased modestly (about 1 degree in total) since the mid-19th Century
  • Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are increasing on average around 3% per year, although the rate of change varies considerably by season (more in summer) and geographical location (more in highly vegetated areas and less in populated areas)
  • Mankind's carbon emissions roughly equate to the level of increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide but the increases are poorly correlated to seasonal (mankind's emissions are higher in winter) and geographical (more in populated areas) changes
  • There is an increasingly poor correlation between average global temperature and atmospheric carbon levels. 
All this means that mankind's carbon emissions are probably not primarily responsible for global warming, such as it is.

It seems to me the climate change lobby don't know when to concede defeat.  In years to come I am sure we will look back on the whole AGW scare as nothing more than a load of hot air. 

* Anthropogenic (i.e. human-caused) Global Warming


Dan Pangburn said...

Two papers on line, that you may find of interest, provide some eye-opening insight on possible cause of change to average global temperature. The papers are straight-forward calculations using readily available data.

The first one is 'Global warming made simple' at It shows, with simple thermal radiation calculations, how a tiny change in low altitude clouds could account for half of the average global temperature change in the 20th century, and what could have caused that tiny cloud change. (The other half of the temperature change is from natural ocean oscillation which is dominated by the PDO)

The second paper is 'Natural Climate change has been hiding in plain sight' at . This paper presents a simple equation that calculates average global temperatures since they have been accurately measured world wide (about 1895) with an accuracy of 90%, irrespective of whether the influence of CO2 is included or not. The equation uses a proxy which is the time-integral of sunspot numbers. A graph is included which shows the calculated trajectory overlaid on measurements.

A third paper, ‘The End of Global Warming’ at expands recent (since 1996) measurements and includes a graph showing the growing separation between the rising CO2 and not-rising average global temperature.

Kiwiwit said...

Thanks. Always nice to get a response from someone who quotes scientific research on the subject.