Wednesday, 25 April 2018

Very good depiction of why climate change isn't settled science at

"The scientific uncertainties associated with climate prediction are the basis of most of the arguments about the significance of climate change(25), and as well are the basis of much of the polarized public opinion on the political aspects of the matter. Perhaps the most fundamental of the uncertainties can be illustrated by reference to a simple ‘thought experiment’ as follows.
Imagine a plume of smoke rising from a cigarette into some sort of flue. The stream of smoke is smooth enough for a start, but suddenly breaks into random turbulent eddies whose behaviour is inherently unpredictable."
A detailed description follows of building climate models and attempting to match model-results to actuals.

Below I've picked out some interesting quotes:-

" Even within the climate establishment, there are undoubtedly many researchers who worry that their scientific endeavours are guided more by political requirements than by scientific necessity."

"What has happened to the scepticism that is supposedly the lifeblood of scientific enquiry?
The answer probably gets back to the uncertainty of it all. The chances of proving — ‘proving’ in the hard scientific sense of requiring both observational support and replication — that the projected change of climate over the next century will be large enough to be disastrous are virtually nil. The same uncertainty ensures that the chances of a climate sceptic, or anyone else for that matter, proving the disaster theory to be oversold are also virtually nil. To that extent there is a level playing field for the two sides of the argument. "
"Climate science is an example of what Canadian educator Sue McGregor calls ‘post-normal science’ in which “the facts are uncertain, values are in dispute, stakes are high and decisions are urgent”. In such circumstances it is virtually impossible to avoid sub-conscious cherry picking of data to suit the popular theory of the time. Even Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein were not immune from the problem(17). In their case they were of sufficient genius (and were sufficiently lucky!) for their theories ultimately to trump the inaccuracy of the observations they had selected. Other scientists are rarely so prescient or so lucky."
"ome of the sceptics are extremely productive as far as critical analysis of climate science is concerned. Names like Judith Curry (Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology), Steve McIntyre (a Canadian geologist-statistician) and blogger Willis Eschenbach come to mind. These three in particular provide a balance and maturity in public discussion that puts many players in the global warming movement to shame, and as a consequence their out-reach to the scientifically-inclined general public is highly effective. Their output, together with that of other sceptics on the web, is well on the way to becoming a practical and stringent substitute for peer review.

Before his retirement Professor Lennart Bengtsson was the director of the European Centre for Medium Range Forecasting, a large numerical modelling facility based in the UK which is perhaps the world’s premier institution concerned with global meteorological forecasts up to one year ahead. Modelling on this time scale involves much the same techniques as in the longer-term climate forecasting. In 2014, only three weeks after his appointment as a member of the Advisory Board to the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), he was forced to resign(20)."

"There are many examples where the transition from paid employment in climate research to retirement has been accompanied by a significant change of heart away from acknowledging the seriousness of global warming. It seems that scientists too are conscious of the need to eat, and like everyone else must consider the consequences of public dissent from the views of the powers-that-be. One example was Dr Brian Tucker."

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Prof. Linzen listed the following topics which are often exploited by the panic brigade to win our attention:-
  • ·         ‘the  97%’,
  • ·         ‘warmest years on record’,
  • ·         extreme weather ,
  • ·         sea level rise,
  • ·         Arctic sea ice,
  • ·         polar bears,
  • ·         ocean acidification,
  • ·         coral reefs,
  • ·         ‘global warming as the cause of everything’.
& says:-
‘The accumulation of false and/or misleading claims is often referred to as the ‘overwhelming evidence’ for forthcoming catastrophe. Without these claims, one might legitimately ask whether there is any evidence at all.'

He ends:-
I haven’t spent much time on the details of the science, but there is one thing that should spark skepticism in any intelligent reader. The system we are looking at consists in two turbulent fluids interacting with each other. They are on a rotating planet that is differentially heated by the sun. A vital constituent of the atmospheric component is water in the liquid, solid and vapor phases, and the changes in phase have vast energetic ramifications. The energy budget of this system involves the absorption and reemission of about 200 watts per square meter. Doubling CO2 involves a 2% perturbation to this budget. So do minor changes in clouds and other features, and such changes are common. In this complex multifactor system, what is the likelihood of the climate (which, itself, consists in many variables and not just globally averaged temperature anomaly) is controlled by this 2% perturbation in a single variable? Believing this is pretty close to believing in magic. Instead, you are told that it is believing in ‘science.’ Such a claim should be a tip-off that something is amiss. After all, science is a mode of inquiry rather than a belief structure.’

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Current Overview

Well, there's not been much progress on tieing down the science of climate. Microbes in the atmosphere maybe seeding clouds.  They definitely make a difference.

The Atlantic is moving into a cold phase which will, over several years, cause UK's weather to get colder, akin to the 1960s.
However, it's likely that the additional carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere (much less than was predicted) will raise night temperatures slightly.  And of course, the heat our towns and cities spew out also raises average temperature. (which I understand is included in the calculations)

The only certainty is that the average temperature has been increasing very slowly, with lots of ups and downs along the way, for over 250 years at a fairly steady rate.
For the past 50 years or so, carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been very slowly increasing. The night-time temperatures have also been increasing during this period.

We need to wait lots more years before having any certainty on how much, why and what the best policy response should be.

Basically, the universe is 'determined' in that each little step moves on in a determined way from the previous position.  Our physics is not yet sufficient to move from the little nano-steps to be able to predict the end result e.g. you can't take the properties of a water molecule and use them to predict how water flows downhill.
However, climate science does take carbon-dioxide molecular properties and make prediction of the Earth's future average temperature, thus ignoring the mathematics of complex systems.

Monday, 10 August 2015

Climate Theories should include Feedbacks from Life

My theory is that Life, the earth and its atmosphere have self-correcting dampening methods to prevent the acceleration of temperature due to increased Greenhouse Gases, bearing in mind that:-

(1) All the GHGs are part of the Biological Cycle.
(2 ) Water can turn into rain or ice, cooling the planet.
(3) No-one understands how clouds form.
(4) Microbes are everywhere, including the top of the atmosphere & inside clouds.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

You will have heard it said that 
climate change is real, man-made and dangerous.

My investigations have uncovered lots of uncertainties, over-hyping of hypotheses, invalid use of statistics, and incorrectly fusing microscopic mathematics (e.g. radiation physics) with larger scale mathematics (e.g. fluid dynamics & thermodynamics).  So my belief is that
climate change is real, within natural variability, and maybe partially man-made.

Even the UN target of not more than 2 degrees increase looks to be within natural variability.

Unlike the media, mainstream climate science (including IPCC) does not warn about runaway warming. Here is a link that talks about why irreversible runaway warming won't happen, and describes the often inapt use of the phrase “tipping point”:  by gavin schmidt @ 5 July 2006

So we should stop wasting money on reducing carbon-dioxide emissions in order to spend it on adapting to a warmer world.

Friday, 13 March 2015

Review of BBC4's 'Climate Change by Numbers', March 2015

Presented by three mathematicians - Dr Hannah Fry, Prof Norman Fenton (Statstiician) and Prof David Spiegelhalter - it hones in on just three key numbers that clarify all the important questions around climate change:-
·         0.85 degrees (the amount of warming the planet has undergone since 1880)
·         95 per cent (the degree of certainty climate scientists have that at least half the recent warming is man-made)
·         1 trillion tonnes (the total amount of carbon we can afford to burn - ever - in order to stay below 'dangerous levels' of climate change)

I studied Mathematical Physics very many years ago and had a career in computer engineering. I'm well aware that statistics and numerical computational solutions can give misleading answers, therefore require testing in the real world (which we can't do with climate) so was very interested to view this programme. 

It covered lots of uncertainties and issues that need working around. The history of how the differing techniques were developed illuminated the problems well.  This is good because far too often we get told simplified analogies about the science which numerate and educated people can be deeply suspicious of – like I am.

My review covers a few issues about the presentation for each number, and follows with a few more numbers that I would like investigated.
·         200-300% Amplification by water vapour of the carbon-dioxide heating
·         0.2% of the total Carbon Flux in the atmosphere
·         the average ammount that Minimum & Maximum Temperatures have increased

The First Number:- 0.85 degrees Centigrade Warming Since 1880
Question:-       Is 0.85 deg. Centigrade unusual?
Answer:-         No. The previous 170 years also warmed at about the same rate. (I applaud the presentation in explaining that, as we go back in time, the accuracy of known temperatures declines so that we have talk in approximations.) Unfortunately, noone knows why the warming of 300 years ago started, and continued in fits and starts. Thus there's no way to show that the same natural warming isn't happening now.

The Second Number – 95% Certainty that Human Carbon-Dioxide Emissions Contribute at least Half of Recent Warming
As a statistician, Prof. Fenton should have explained that just because 2 things happen at more or less the same time, (i.e. in his example, winning and football club wage bill; for climatology, carbon dioxide and temperature) doesn't mean one causes the other or even that they have the same cause.  In fact, in the case of carbon dioxide, it's a 'confounding' variable which is expected to increase due to warmth. As the oceans get hotter, carbon-dioxide is transferred to the atmosphere (and the sea holds correspondingly less carbon-dioxide, becoming more acidic).  Another number that would be really interesting to look at is the % of the carbon flux that is due to humans.  I understand it's tiny, ~0.04%
Prof Fenton's presentation used a Bayesian Statistics approach which showed that the computer models depended on human carbon dioxide emissions creating more than half of the recent warming. The impression given was that observational data from the real world supports this conclusion.  There was no investigations into how good the models were at modelling past temperatures, nor of the methods of model 'tuning' that take place.
A Computer Model output of the troposphere was shown indicating additional heat over the tropics is expected from human carbon dioxide warming but not from natural variability.  If observed for real, it would be decisive. However, it's not present in the real atmosphere!
… I'm really disappointed that it was unclear that the model results hadn't been checked against reality.

The Third Number – Total Amount of Carbon we can burn to stay below 'dangerous levels' of climate change

First, you have to show that it could be dangerous.  A really important number was omitted – an expected 200-300% amplification by water vapour of the basic carbon-dioxide heating.  This is unproven and is probably the most contentious thing in climate science because, without it there's no catastrophe.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Science Moves On. Even Climate Science

Science moves on.  Thus Al Gore's 2006 "Inconvenient Truth" is full of unmet expectations e.g.
·         Polar Bears are not dying out – their numbers have been increasing since the hunting ban
·         Both poles are not melting – the Antarctic ice is much the same as previously. (Ice-shelves  and sea-ice are always breaking up due to wind activity.  Depth and Extent of ice, particularly land-ice, is the important metric.)
·         1975 to 1998 warming is not the fastest ever, …
·         Temperatures are not the highest ever during human civilisation – Mediaeval Warm Period (~11---1250 AD), Roman Warm Period  and Minoan Warm Period were all at least as warm (within the error margins of times when people didn't have thermometers).
·    Extreme weather – IPCC says no connection found with Climate Change
And, whatever they say now, the vocal scientist supporters of the Dangerous Global Warming hypothesis were surprised by the 'pause' or 'hiatus' in warming (Quotes here)

Those scientists who'd kept their heads down and continued researching ocean currents, cloud formations, atmospheric circulation and ice formation /melting were now finding their research results more popular.

IPCC's AR5 report in 2013 accepted for the first time that the 1975-1998 warming could have been 50% natural due to a series of warm El Nino currents in the Pacific.

Supporters of the 'Climate Change – Earth's Energy Budget is being wrecked by human emissions of carbon-dioxide' theory (e.g. Michael Mann, Kenneth Trenberth, Naomi Oreskes) are 'finding' all the extra heat hidden in the deep oceans where it can't be measured reliably; & prophesying that there'll be a sudden huge release of heat in the future.

While some recent developments include:-
     (i)            Arctic warming happens from time to time without any help from human carbon-dioxide emissions
   (ii)            Atmospheric water vapour does not behave as simply as depicted in NASA's Runaway Warming hypothesis:-
a.       IPCC says cloud formation is very uncertain
b.      March 2015 Paper discussing a stabilizing feedback between atmosphere & ocean circulations, clouds and radiation . From the summary: "The major source of albedo variability and the principal mode of regulation are associated with the interannual variations of cloudiness. The small variability observed suggests a high degree of buffering by the albedo of clouds"

d.      Clouds have the biggest effect at the equator – January 2015 paper: Current Hiatus of Global Warming Tied to Equatorial Pacific Surface Cooling, Yu Kosaka, University of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan; and S. P. Xie.

See images below

Cloud Cover vs Surface Temperature

Carbon-dioxide Global Distribution

Reflected Sunlight Global Distribution

As with all science, Time Will Tell.  Eventually.