On Monday, October 26th, the Cooler Heads Coalition hosted Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Video of Dr. Lindzen’s presentation, “Deconstructing Global Warming”
Yesterday the Cooler Heads Coalition hosted Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Video of Dr. Lindzen’s presentation, “Deconstructing Global Warming,” will be available shortly, but his power point presentation is online now.
11 03 2008
Yesterday, in response to the thread on “3 of 4 global metrics show nearly flat temperature anomaly in the last decade” I got a short note from MIT’s Richard Lindzen along with a graph. I asked if I could post it, and he graciously agreed:
Look at the attached. There has been no warming since 1997 and no
statistically significant warming since 1995. Why bother with the
arguments about an El Nino anomaly in 1998? (Incidentally, the red
fuzz represents the error ‘bars’.)
Richard S. Lindzen
Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences
MIT Cambridge, MA 02139 USA
The man has a point.
I appreciate the note, Dr. Lindzen.
Warming Link to New Ice Age Shaky
While alarmist scientists and the journalists who write for them, Pentagon futurists, and Hollywood disaster movie-makers are all happy to present the possibility of global warming triggering another ice age, the science behind the assertion is less than solid.
The possibility is based on the idea that global warming will cause a freshening of the waters in the North Atlantic, so causing the Gulf Stream to weaken or even shut down. This would mean warmer waters would not be present in the North Atlantic, causing a drastic lowering of temperatures in the areas that rely on the Gulf Stream to maintain a temperate climate (temperate Great Britain is on the same latitudes as inhospitable Labrador in Canada).
Yet the models on which climate alarmists rely for their catastrophic scenarios do not agree on the effects of global temperature rise on the Gulf Stream. Researchers R. Bleck and S. Sun, writing in the journal Global and Planetary Change, tell how they revisited their model of the meridional overturning circulation (MOC). In view of evidence presented in IPCC (2001), the researchers had expected the Atlantic MOC to weaken in response to a doubling of atmospheric CO2. They found that the Atlantic overturning stream function appears to be stable, concluding that, It is insensitive to global warming resulting from gradual CO2 doubling.
News for the alarmists is worse from their favorite model, that from the UKs Hadley Centre, which proved no more capable of predicting past climate than a table of random numbers when used for the flawed National Assessment on Climate Change. Wu et al. report in Geophysical Research Letters that their examination of thermohaline circulation (THC) was expected to show a weakening of the stream. However, as they write, they do not find a decreasing trend of the North Atlantic THC. Instead, Accompanying the freshening trend, the THC unexpectedly shows an upward trend, rather than a downward trend. In other words, according to the Hadley Centre model, global warming may well strengthen the Gulf Stream.
Lindzen Summarizes Current State of Climate Science
Writing in Ottawas Hill Times (Feb. 23), Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at MIT, summarizes the current state of global warming science and cautions against incorrect interpretations of what reviews such as that from the National Academy of Sciences (2001) were trying to do.
He writes, [I]t is quite wrong to say that our NAS study endorsed the credibility of the IPCC assessment report. We were asked to evaluate the IPCC “Summary for Policymakers” (SPM), the only part of the IPCC reports that is ever read or quoted by the media and politicians. The SPM, which is seen as endorsing Kyoto, is commonly presented as the consensus of thousands of the world’s foremost climate scientists. In fact, it is no such thing. Largely for that reason, the NAS panel concluded that the SPM does not provide suitable guidance for the U.S. government.
The full IPCC report, most of which is written by scientists about specific scientific topics in their areas of expertise, is an admirable description of research activities in climate science. It is not, however, directed at policy. The SPM is, of course, but it is also a very different document. It represents a consensus of government representatives, rather than of scientists. As a consequence, the SPM has a strong tendency to disguise uncertainty, and conjures up some scary scenarios for which there is no evidence.
Similarly, in the case of our NAS report, far too much attention was paid to the hastily prepared summary rather than to the body of the report. The summary claimed that greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth’s atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise. Yet, the full text noted that 20 years was too short a period for estimating long term trends, a crucial point that the summary neglected to mention. Our primary conclusion was that despite some knowledge and agreement, the science is by no means settled.
Return of Malthus
In an inversion of the way Malthusian arguments usually run, a team of Swedish geologists has said that constraints on fossil fuel resources mean that there is not enough oil and gas available to fuel the doomsday scenarios of greenhouse gas production envisaged by the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Geologists Anders Sivertsson, Kjell Aleklett and Colin Campbell of Uppsala University say there is not enough oil and gas left for even the most conservative of the 40 IPCC scenarios to come to pass. Their research suggests that the combined reserves of oil and gas amount to barely 3500 billion barrels of oil, which is considerably below the 5000 billion barrels assumed by the “best-case” IPCC scenario. The “worst-case” assumes 18,000 billion barrels, a level Aleklett calls “completely unrealistic.”
Nebojsa Nakicenovic of the IPCC team counters that their scenarios included a much broader and more internationally accepted range of estimates than the “conservative” Swedes put forward and told New Scientist (Oct. 3) that coal could be used to make up the difference. Aleklett conceded that coal could fill the gap, and both agreed that its use in such an eventuality would be “disastrous.”
Lindzen Meets the Mayors
In response to steps taken by the Mayors of Newton and Worcester, Mass., to mitigate the effects of climate change on their townships, Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, published an open letter in The Washington Times on October 9.
He concluded, “Capping CO2 emissions per unit electricity generated will have a negligible impact at best on CO2 levels. It certainly will, however, increase the cost of electricity, and place those states pursuing such a path at a distinct competitive disadvantage. Why would any elected official want that, even at the admittedly severe risk of appearing politically incorrect?
“It is important to understand that the impact of CO2 on the Earth’s heat budget is nonlinear. What this means is that although CO2 has only increased about 30 percent over its pre-industrial level, the impact on the heat budget of the Earth due to the increases in CO2 and other man-influenced greenhouse substances has already reached about 75 percent of what one expects from a doubling of CO2. “Assuming that all of the very irregular change in temperature over the past 120 years or so-about 1 degree F-is due to added greenhouse gases-a very implausible assumption-the temperature rise seen so far is much less (by a factor of 2-to-3) than models predict.
“If we are, nonetheless, to believe the model predictions, the argument goes roughly as follows: The models are correct, but some unknown process has canceled the impact of increasing greenhouse gases, and that process will henceforth cease. Do we really want to put the welfare of the nation, much less any one community, at risk for such an argument? I for one would hope for greater prudence from my elected officials.”
RIP: Global Warming Theory
Three scientific studies that have recently appeared may well spell the beginning of the end of global warming theory:
1) Water Vapor Feedback
The biggest uncertainty in climate science is how feedbacks affect the climate. Global warming theory posits that a rise in atmospheric CO2 will only cause a slight warming of the atmosphere, on the order of about 1 degree centigrade. This small amount of warming, according to standard global warming theory, speeds up evaporation, increasing the amount of water vapor, the main greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. This positive feedback is where most of the predicted warming comes from.
A new study in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (March 2000) shows that the reverse is true. The authors find a negative water vapor feedback effect that is powerful enough to offset all other positive feedbacks. Using detailed daily observations of cloud cover from satellites in the tropics and comparing them to sea surface temperatures, the researchers found that there is an “iris effect” in which higher temperatures reduce the warming effect of clouds.
According to a NASA press release about the study, “Clouds play a critical and complicated role in regulating the temperature of the Earth. Thick, bright, watery clouds like cumulus shield the atmosphere from incoming solar radiation by reflecting much of it back into space. Thin, icy cirrus clouds are poor sunshields but very efficient insulators that trap energy rising from the Earths warmed surface. A decrease in cirrus cloud area would have a cooling effect by allowing more heat energy, or infrared radiation, to leave the planet.”
The researchers found that a one degree centigrade rise in ocean surface temperature decreased the ratio of cirrus cloud area to cumulus cloud area by 17 to 27 percent, allowing more heat to escape.
In an interview with Tech Central Station (March 5, 2001, www.techcentralstation.com), Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, the lead author, said that the climate models used in the IPCC have the cloud physics wrong. “We found that there were terrible errors about clouds in all the models, and that that will make it impossible to predict the climate sensitivity because the sensitivity of the models depends primarily on water vapor and clouds. Moreover, if clouds are wrong, theres no way you can get water vapor right. Theyre both intimately tied to each other.” Lindzen argues that due to this new finding he doesnt expect “much more than a degree warming and probably a lot less by 2100.”
2) Black Carbon
The IPCC had to explain in its 1995 Second Assessment Report why its previous predictions of global temperature change were nearly 3 times larger than observed. It concluded that emissions of sulfate aerosols from the burning of coal were offsetting the warming that should be caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Sulfate aerosols, according to this explanation, reflect incoming solar radiation back to space, cooling the planet.
Its Third Assessment Report takes the sulfate aerosol idea even further. It claims that the earth might warm even faster than previously thought. It comes to this conclusion, in part, by assuming that sulfate aerosol emissions will be eliminated by government regulation, giving carbon dioxide free reign.
Sulfate aerosols, then, are a key component of catastrophic global warming scenarios. Without them, the IPCC cannot explain why the earth is not warming according to their forecasts, nor can they reasonably claim that global warming will lead to catastrophes of biblical proportions.
A study in Nature (February 8, 2001) eliminates sulfate aerosols as an explanation to correct the models. The author, Mark Jacobson, with the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Stanford University, takes a look at how black carbon aerosols affect the earths climate. Unlike other aerosols that reflect solar radiation, black carbon, or soot, absorbs solar radiation, thereby forcing atmospheric temperatures upward.
Until now the warming influence of black carbon was thought to be minor, leading researchers to ignore it. Jacobson, however, finds, “a higher positive forcing from black carbon than previously thought, suggesting that the warming effect from black carbon may nearly balance the net cooling effect of other anthropogenic aerosol constituents.”
There you have it. Black carbon offsets the cooling effect of other aerosols, meaning we are back at square one. We still dont know why the earth has failed to warm like the climate models say it should have warmed. Indeed, all of the prognostications of the IPCC and the pro-global warming, anti-energy activists are wrong if the Nature study is right.
3) Natural Cycles
The IPCCs hockey stick graph has also come under criticism in Science (February 23, 2001). The graph, a temperature record derived from tree rings dating to 1000 AD, shows that global temperatures have remained steady or decreased during the last millennium. Only the industrial age has experienced an anomalous warming, which constitutes the blade of the hockey stick.
This particular temperature record does not show the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) or the Little Ice Age (LIA), two naturally occurring events where the range of global temperature change exceeded that of the 20th century. The hockey stick relegates the MWP to a regional rather than a global phenomenon.
Wallace Broecker, at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, argues that the MWP and the LIA were indeed global phenomena and that “The post-1860 natural warming was the most recent in a series of similar warmings spaced at roughly 1500-year intervals throughout the present interglacial, the Holocene.” He reviews several scientific studies that confirm his arguments.
The claim by the IPCC that the 20th century is the warmest in the last 1000 years just doesnt hold up under scrutiny. The MWP was warmer and, according to the seminal work by Hubert H. Lamb, Climate History and the Modern World, civilization thrived under the warmer climate.
With these three studies, it may be time to bid global warming theory a warm farewell.
“Lindzen Trashes IPCC”
Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a lead author of the IPCC Third Assessment Report, delivered a scathing critique of the IPCC process at a briefing sponsored by the Cooler Heads Coalition on May 1 on Capitol Hill.
What are some of the problems with the IPCC process according to Lindzen? It uses summaries to misrepresent what scientists say; uses language that means different things to scientists and laymen; exploits public ignorance over quantitative matters; exploits what scientists can agree on while ignoring disagreements to support the global warming agenda; and exaggerates scientific accuracy and certainty and the authority of undistinguished scientists.
The “most egregious” problem with the report, said Lindzen, “is that it is presented as a consensus that involves hundreds, perhaps thousands, of scientists and none of them were asked if they agreed with anything in the report except for the one or two pages they worked on.”
Most press accounts characterize the IPCC report as a consensus of 2,000 of the worlds leading climate scientists. The emphasis isnt on getting qualified scientists, said Lindzen, but on getting representatives from 100 countries, only a handful of which do significant research. “It is no small matter,” said Lindzen, “that routine weather service functionaries from New Zealand to Tanzania are referred to as the worlds leading climate scientists. It should come as no surprise that they will be determinedly supportive of the process.”
Perhaps his most devastating critique is of the IPCCs use of statistics. Its infamous hockey stick graph, for instance, shows that global temperatures have been stable or going down in the last 1000 years and that only in the industrial age has there been an anomalous warming of the planet. But if you look at the margin of error in that graph, “You can no longer maintain that statement,” said Lindzen.
Indeed, the margins of error used in the IPCC report are much smaller than traditionally used by scientists. This means that the IPCC is publicizing data that is much less likely to be correct than scientists normally use. The IPCC is playing a statistical shell game that isnt scientifically valid.
In his own Hill briefing a week later, Robert Watson, chairman of the IPCC, admitted that Dr. Lindzen had “trashed the IPCC” at the Cooler Heads briefing.
On Friday, the White House released its National Security Strategy, which lists climate change alongside international terrorism and Russian aggression as the preeminent threats today facing the United States. This assessment mirrors the tone struck by President Obama during his State of the Union, when he said that “no challenge—no challenge—poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.”
Thus, both the National Security Strategy and the State of the Union Address elevate the threat of AGW, such that it exists on par with the direst perils facing America. And yet, for the third weekend in a row since the State of the Union, and only days removed from the roll-out of the National Security Strategy, the four Sunday political talkies failed to field a question about climate change (see chart).
Of course, all four shows dealt squarely with ISIS and the Ukraine, which are co-equal threats with climate change, per the White House. For example, NBC Meet the Press host Chuck Todd scored the sole interview with Secretary of State John Kerry, who wears on his sleeve his belief that climate change is among America’s clearest and most present dangers. The host is no dummy; he’s perfectly aware that Kerry would love nothing more than wax lyrical about the putative threat posed by global warming. Nonetheless, Todd grilled Kerry about the Middle East and Eastern Europe, and he even asked him whether he would rule out another run for President in 2016, but he didn’t ask Kerry a single question about climate change.
Other weekend notes: [click to continue…]
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) has published a study by 13 scientists that provides “clear evidence for a discernible human influence on the thermal structure of the atmosphere.”
The study, led by Benjamin Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, reports that, over the 34-year satellite temperature record, the troposphere (middle atmosphere) has warmed while the lower stratosphere (the atmospheric layer above the troposphere) has cooled. This is the vertical pattern or “fingerprint” predicted by greenhouse theory.*
Climate models run with only known internal climate variability (such as the El Niño/Southern Oscillation ocean cycle) and natural “forcings” (such as changes in solar irradiance and volcanic aerosol emissions ) do not produce this pattern. Models produce the “fingerprint” only when they are also “forced” with anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions.
In layman terms, human-caused global warming is real. OMG!
Why, you might wonder, is cooling of the lower stratosphere evidence of man-made global warming? Greenhouse gases warm the planet by blocking outgoing infrared radiation that would otherwise escape to outer space. As greenhouse gas concentrations increase in the troposphere, less outgoing heat energy reaches the lower stratosphere.
Is this a momentous discovery? No, it’s a yawn.
Back in the early 2000s, prominent climate “skeptic” Patrick Michaels explained to me that surface and tropospheric warming combined with stratospheric cooling were strong evidence of anthropogenic climate change. He said: “The Sun doesn’t only shine in Irkutsk” (i.e. in the high northern latitudes where most of the Earth’s surface warming has occurred).
His point? The Sun also shines on the stratosphere. If changes in solar irradiance were the primary cause of global warming, the stratosphere should be warming too. Instead, it’s cooling.
After savoring Pat’s Irkutsk quip for a few moments, I accepted the implication and moved on. Apparently, the Santer team and PNAS still consider it big news.
The PNAS paper is, I suspect, a desperate attempt to divert public attention from the crisis in “consensus” science due to the modeling fraternity’s failure to anticipate a 16-year pause in global warming. Publishing another study ‘proving’ the reality of climate change amounts to ignoring the elephant in the room.
Try as they might to change the subject, however, the elephant is conspicuous in their “clear evidence” that climate change is real.
Here is the vertical profile (“fingerprint”) of changes in atmospheric heat projected by the latest climate models:
Here is the observed pattern based on the Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) dataset:
Note what’s different: The tropical troposphere warms much faster in the models than in the observations. [click to continue…]
Months ago, indefatigable watchdog Anthony Watts called out Organizing for Action (OFA) for declaring, in a Tweet issued in President Obama’s name, that “Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: Climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.”
OFA was invoking a study in Environmental Research Letters by John Cook and colleagues, who supposedly found that 97% of climate scientists accept the “consensus” position on climate change. Cook manages Skeptical Science, a Web site dedicated to debunking climate “skeptics.”
As Watts and others, such as Andrew Montford of the Global Warming Policy Foundation, point out, Cook et al. did not attempt to estimate the number or percentage of climate scientists who agree or disagree that climate change is “dangerous.”*
But what about Cook et al.’s widely reported finding that 97% of climate scientists believe most of the 0.7°C warming since 1950 is due to the buildup of anthropogenic greenhouse gases? Does the Cook team actually demonstrate overwhelming agreement with that core “consensus” position of the International Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)?
Not by a long shot, argue University of Delaware climatologist David Legates and three colleagues in Climate “Consensus” and Misinformation. In fact, less than 1% of the 11,944 science papers (actually, just the abstracts) surveyed by the Cook researchers express agreement with the so-called consensus. [click to continue…]
Last week the Research Council of Norway announced the results of a new assessment of the climate system’s “sensitivity” taking into account the leveling off of global temperatures during the decade from 2000 to 2010. The study projects that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations over pre-industrial levels will increase global temperatures by between 1.2°C and 2.9°C, with 1.9°C being the most likely outcome. That is considerably cooler than the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) estimate of 2°C to 4.5°C, with 3°C as the most probable outcome.
Climate sensitivity is an estimate of how much warming results from a given increase in CO2 concentrations. Estimates typically project the amount of warming from a doubling of CO2 concentrations over the pre-industrial (year 1750) level of 280 parts per million (ppm). At the current rate of increase (about 2 ppm/yr), a doubling to 560 ppm is expected by mid-century.
Climate alarm depends on several gloomy assumptions — about how fast emissions will increase, how fast atmospheric concentrations will rise, how much global temperatures will rise, how warming will affect ice sheet dynamics and sea-level rise, how warming will affect weather patterns, how the latter will affect agriculture and other economic activities, and how all climate change impacts will affect public health and welfare. But the chief assumption is the range of projected warming from a doubling of CO2 concentrations — the sensitivity estimate.
When the reseachers at the Center for International Climate and Environmental Research – Oslo (CICERO) applied their computer “model and statistics to analyse temperature readings from the air and ocean for the period ending in 2000, they found that climate sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentration will most likely be 3.7°C, which is somewhat higher than the IPCC prognosis.” However, “when they entered temperatures and other data from the decade 2000-2010 into the model, climate sensitivity was greatly reduced to a ‘mere’ 1.9°C.”
Referring to the IPCC AR4 warming forecasts, project manager Terje Berntsen, a geoscience professor at the University of Oslo, commented: “The Earth’s mean temperature rose sharply during the 1990s. This may have caused us to overestimate climate sensitivity.”
No single study can make a dent on the self-anointed “scientific consensus.” But the Norwegian study is one among several recent studies that call into question the IPCC sensitivity assumptions. Cato Institute climatologist Patrick Michaels recently summarized a partial list of such studies in Forbes magazine: [click to continue…]