Monday, 22 July 2013

Global Warming Empirical Evidence appears missing

I can’t remember what made me look into the Global Warming evidence a few years ago. 

It may have been the increasingly strident voices dismissing any issues raised about the IPCC’s position – a very unscientific attitude which makes sceptical me think they have something to hide.

Or it could have been hearing on the radio that the historic ice-core evidence didn’t show any carbon-dioxide increase prior to a warming event. In fact, 600 years later seems to be the norm.

Or maybe just curiosity when I was at a loose end.

My first foray quickly found where Anthony Watts was logging the health of weather stations – mainly in North America. He’d raised various physical issues (like lack of maintenance) and pointed out that human activity (e.g. a town’s suburb being built in what used to be a bare prairie) raised localised temperatures. These are now known as “Urban Heat Islands”.  For example, an Antarctic station 30 years ago just had a few huts which were habited only during the Antarctic summer.  Now they have many huts, a tarmac landing strip, and are inhabited all year round – hence creating an “urban heat island” around the original weather station.  So of course it will show warming – and needs to be normalised i.e. reduced to ensure you’re comparing like with like.

Then, when tidying my bookshelves, I came across the 1975 “Ice-ball Earth” theory that we were heading for a global freeze. This didn’t happen. So I investigated the other weather scare I know about – the Antarctic ‘Ozone Hole’ of the 80s.  Nowadays, NASA has loaded data from their weather satellites which permanently monitor the changes in the Ozone Layer. To me, it appeared that the ‘Hole’ was within normal variability. 

This has led me to investigate what evidence the IPCC have, and to be pedantic in distinguishing observational evidence from theory. So, when anyone says the Earth’s Global Mean Temperature is still increasing, I ask (a) how they have calculated it and (b) how they’ve subsequently tested it.  For (a), my impression is that the temperature is calculated from the sun’s output (how is that measured, or is it assumed constant?) and a value for how much the earth is reflecting back to outer-space (how is this calculated, and  how are man’s changes accounted for?).  For (b), it seems they have been continually adjusting the models to match actual reading – but how, before satellites, can you have one reading of global temperature or is it an aggregate? Or even in the last 35 years, with made-to-order weather satellites?

{ There’s a free OU course and a Met Office website which give the basic theory.  See also this article, & How to Calculate Greenhouse Effect. (Data from NOAA (US) at For discussion of the sun's history see here.}
I assume that the carbon-dioxide evidence has been dismissed as ‘We’re coming out of the Little Ice Age 1500-1850, and CO2 is having an accelerating effect’ – rather than a causal effect.  But it’s not expressed clearly, if at all. And was that a global cooling, or just northern Europe & the Arctic? And why did the earth exit the mini-ice-age?
Then there’s the climatologists who believe the sun is the main driver of Earth’s temperature including:-
Piers Corbyn MSc (astrophysics), ARCS, FRAS, FRMetS  – derives unusually accurate weather predictions from sunspot activity
Tim Ball – Climatology Ph.D, formerly University of Winnipeg Explanation of Sun's effect

Prof Don J. Easterbrook, Western Washington University correctly predicted back in 2000 that the Earth was entering a cooling phase see here

Nicola Scaffetta  suggests that natural cycles driven by the orbits of planets around the sun affect changes luminosity, sunspots and electromagnetism, which are then amplified on Earth’s climate.

Dr. Jean-Louis Pinault... in the coming decades ... predicts: "...firstly allowing to account for long-term climate variability, and secondly to reproduce with high accuracy global warming observed during the second half of the 20th century, then the stagnation of the average temperature of the planet, precursor of the beginning of a slow cooling that will continue for several centuries." Dr. Pinault is suggestting a mechanism whereby small solar constant variations have an amplified effect on Earth's surface temperature with the present ocean masses

Or was the temperature increase caused by CFSs as a report from University of Waterloo, Canada claims? In which case, we’ve already cracked it!
At the moment, there’s news stories about an irreversible “tipping point” derived from computer models which predict continual global warming year-on-year. Along with reports of no warming for 101 or 152 years.  While I understand, and can quite happily quote “granularity co-incidence” as a reason for ignoring individual bits of data; they should have sufficient data for many different time-slots that can be checked e.g. 1940 to 1970 was cooling also. None of this gives me any confidence in what they’re saying.

Add to this, that the Global Warming theory was postulated in early 80s, prior to knowledge and understanding of El Nino, the north-south ocean currents, etc.  There is just so much that isn’t understood about the wind and the rain and the clouds,…

So maybe, just maybe, climatologists made a global, international fuss too soon; and Bjorn Lomberg was right in 2001 (The Skeptical Environmentalist) that there are more important things we should be spending our money on.  In his case, feeding starving people.  For me, it’s stopping the degradation of nature and removing the carbon-taxes which British folk can’t afford. 

Above all else, the IPCC lobby is getting ever more strident.  Disappearing Polar Bears are used as an icon despite their numbers increasing since hunting was banned. (Using false examples is another non-scientific action.)  Folk with proper scientific scepticism are being called “deniers” which associates them with holocaust-deniers.

How very different they are to the nuclear physicists looking for the Boson particle – “If we can’t find it, that’ll be a really exciting result” they say, thinking of the prospect of ditching very many years of work.  They’re real scientists.

For further interesting information & news see below:-

Judith Curry (Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, USA) hosts Climate Etc. which provides a forum for climate researchers, academics and technical experts from other fields, citizen scientists, and the interested public to engage in a discussion on topics related to climate science and the science-policy interface.

Nigel Lawson set up the Global Warming Policy Foundation in 2009 as an all-party and non-party think tank and a registered educational charity which, while open-minded on the contested science of global warming, is deeply concerned about the costs and other implications of many of the policies currently being advocated.

Other reputable anthropogenic climate change sceptics:-

1 The paper Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998-2008 [PDF] by a team led by Robert Kaufmann at the Department of Geography at Boston University – Temperature has not significantly increased because Global Warming has been couteracted by Chinese sulphur emissions cooling the atmosphere and the sun radiating less heat.  Climatologists Judith Curry and David Whitehouse at the GWPF are unimpressed.

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