“Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.” Adam Smith
The Week That Was January 23, 2010 Brought to you by SEPP (http://www.sepp.org/)
This week we witnessed a further expansion of Climategate. The Sunday Times reported how a 1999 telephone call with a reporter in which one person speculated that the Himalayan Glaciers will melt by 2035 resulted in an article in New Scientist, which was picked up in a publicity brochure by the World Wildlife Fund. This, in turn, became the scientific basis for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to declare in its 2007 Assessment Report that it is likely (up to a 90% probability) that the Himalayan Glaciers will disappear by 2035.
Glacier experts have stated the claim to be wrong and that it represents ignorance of the physical science. The glacier experts have been ignored just as those who declare that the IPCC report demonstrates ignorance of the physical evidence of past warming and cooling periods. Of course, in general, US media glosses over the significance of this great misrepresentation of physical science. The media also ignores the extensive, recent research on the Himalayan Glaciers produced by glacial expert V.K. Riana. [Professor Cliff Ollier kindly provided SEPP a review of the research which he wrote for the Australian Government. Excerpts are given below.]
The disappearance of measuring stations in calculating global surface temperatures continues. According to reports, the Canadian government operates 1,400 stations, with more than 100 above the Arctic Circle. Yet, as brought out last week in the John Coleman television special [see TWTW Jan 16, 2010] the number of stations used in the database for calculating global surface temperatures shrank – from 600 to 35, with only one above the Arctic Circle.
After the mysterious disappearance of cold climate Russian stations, without explanation, and the Climategate emails, the irregularities in the science behind IPCC pronouncements are compounding. We should not be surprised that those pushing for an international agreement for controlling carbon dioxide emissions are experiencing difficulty reaching such an agreement.
SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #4-2010( Jan 23, 2010)
By S. Fred Singer, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
[Note: This is the sixth of a series of mini-editorials on the “junk science” influencing the global warming issue. Other topics will include the UN Environmental Program, and some individuals heavily involved in these matters.]
Junkscience: Climategate Distortion of Temperature Data
We discuss here in some detail the way in which warming trends were introduced into the IPCC Report –when in fact they did not exist or were extremely small. We focus on the period 1979 to 1997. There was cooling up to 1976; in 1998 there was a super-El-Nino and no subsequent warming. Our discussion is in three parts:
(1) a ‘bottoms-up’ approach;
(2) the ‘top-down’ approach; and next week I shall discuss
(3) the treatment of sea surface temperatures (SST).
(1) Bottoms-Up Distortion of Temperature Data
The Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (CRU-UEA), under the direction of Dr. Philip Jones, collected data from weather stations from around the world. These are almost all land-based stations, showing a high concentration in the United States and Western Europe and a lower concentration elsewhere — with many parts of the globe hardly covered by reliable stations.
There are a variety of problems with such data, and the investigators were aware of most of them. Many stations produce useless data, either because of inadequate maintenance, or because of their location. Anthony Watts (in his WUWT blog) has shown that even stations in the USA were badly placed and subject to local warming influences that were not adequately corrected.
The surface of the earth is then divided into grid boxes, usually five degrees by five degrees. When there are several stations in a grid box, the investigators would choose those they considered most reliable – which in many cases meant urban stations, or stations at airports, that are well maintained. However, because of their location, they generally are subject to ‘urban heat-island’ (UHI) effects, a local warming that increases with population and urban growth over time and suggests a temperature trend of a global nature. The investigators tried various ways to eliminate such local UHI trends, but were not very successful.
The problem was greatly exacerbated by the closing of over half the world’s weather stations between 1970 and 2000 (see NIPCC Summary, Fig 12 – which in most cases removed rural stations but also stations from higher latitudes and altitudes that tended to show a lower warming trend or no warming trend at all. It should be obvious therefore that this drastic change in the sampling population would introduce a fictitious warming trend which is an artifact of the change.
E. Michael Smith and Joseph D’Aleo have documented in some detail how such artificial temperature trends could be produced even when there was no global trend. [See American Thinker ]
(2) The Top-Down (TD) Approach
In many ways, the ‘Top-Down’ (TD) approach to derive the Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) is to be preferred over ‘bottom-up’ (deriving GMST by collecting data from weather stations and sea surface readings). The TD approach relies primarily on the data from weather satellites, the only truly global measuring system, using a single microwave sounding (MSU) instrument and therefore independent of the vagaries of individual weather stations and their thermometers.
There are of course certain disadvantages: The MSU cannot measure temperatures at different levels of the atmosphere but derives instead a ‘weighted mean ‘ of the vertical temperature profile; the times of observation are fixed by the orbit of the satellite; a change of satellite, and MSU instrument, requires an overlap in operating time to permit a recalibration. Nevertheless, by comparing different view angles, one can change the weight factors and obtain a temperature value for ‘Lower Troposphere.’ The University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) group has shown good agreement of UAH results with those of radiosondes from weather balloons.
As early as 1997, I noticed a disparity between temperature trends of satellites and surface trends, esp. in the tropics. (See Fig 9 in Hot Talk, Cold Science, 1997) The troposphere trends (between 1979 and 1995) were close to zero or even slightly negative, while surface trends showed a warming of about 0.05 deg per decade. This disparity is just the reverse of what one would expect from GH models [see IPCC-SAR] – namely a positive (warming) troposphere trend up to twice as large as the surface trend.
In addition, I noticed that the proxy data to which I had access showed no surface warming (tree-ring data of Jacoby et al (Fig 16 in HTCS) and ice core data of Dahl-Jensen et al]. I tried very hard to obtain more proxy data but was not successful. For example, I noticed that Michael Mann’s infamous hockeystick graph did not extend beyond 1979 and suspected that his proxy temperatures diverged from the instrumented surface results. Yet when I wrote to Mann about post-1980 proxy data, I received only a brusque negative reply. Thanks to ‘Climategate’ we now know, what I had then suspected, i.e., that Mann and Jones were engaged in a scheme to “hide the decline [in post-1979 proxy temperatures]”
To sum up: Both the satellite results and the proxy data tell us that the claimed rise of surface temperature between 1979 and 1997, shown by IPCC, is probably much smaller or even non-existent.
ARTICLES: [For the numbered articles below please see the attached pdf.]
1. Interviews with Fred Singer
William Westmiller of the LA Public Policy Examiner did a series of three interviews with Fred Singer. The final one is “Climate Change 101: Does the IPCC have it all wrong?
2. World misled over Himalayan glacier meltdown
By Jonathan Leake and Chris Hastings, Sunday Times, Jan 17, 2010 [H/t Keith Hudson]
3. Himalayan Glaciers – Behavior and Climate Change
Himalayan Glaciers – A State-of-Art Review of Glacial Studies, Glacial Retreat and Climate Change, V.K. Raina, November 2009
Reviewed by Professor Cliff Ollier, School of Earth and Environment, University of West Australia for the Australian Government
Provided to SEPP by Professor Ollier
4. UN Bases Climate-change Forecast on Decade-old Speculation
By Rebecca Terrell, New American, Jan 19, 2010-
5. UN climate chief admits mistake on Himalayan glaciers warming
By Jeremy Page, Times Online, Jan 21, 2010 [H/t Thomas Burch]
6. The mystery of the missing thermometers. Why did the number of Canadian weather stations used in the global database shrink from 600 to 35 – only one above the Arctic Circle? Environment Canada states the government operates 1,400 stations with more than 100 above the Arctic Circle.
Scientists using selective temperature data, skeptics say
By Richard Foot, The National Post, Jan 20, 2010 [H/t Steve Malloy, Junkscience] LINK TO ARTICLE
7. An appeal to reason and decency in discussing the differences between alarmists and skeptics: The True Impact of Climategate and Glaciergate
The Scientific Alliance, Jan 22, 2010 [H/t Laurie Henrikson]
8. On Global Warming, Let’s Not Rush Into Panic Measures
Lord Donoughue, House of Lords, Jan 14, 2010
NEWS YOU CAN USE:
Investor’s Business Daily, Jan 20, 2010
In dismissing the IPCC’s errors on the Himalayan glaciers, Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, wrote in an email: “What is happening now is comparable with the Titanic sinking more slowly than expected.”
[SEPP Comment Could this Titanic be the IPCC?]
UN Climate report hurt by errors on glaciers
Associated Press, CBS News, Jan 21, 2010 [H/t Charles Schafer]
“However, the lead author of the relevant IPCC chapter, Murari Lal, rejected the notion that the IPCC had screwed up. ‘The IPCC authors did exactly what was expected from them,’ he said.”
“Never were truer words spoken. The IPCC’s task has always been not objectively to examine science but to make the case for man-made climate change by any means available.”
IPCC meltdown: Now the question is whether Rajendra Pachauri should resign
By Peter Foster, Financial Post, Jan 19, 2010 [H/t Bill Edelstein]
IBD Editorials, Jan 22, 2010
For the New York Times gloss-over of the significance of the failed procedures used in the IPCC and exaggeration of glacial melting please see the below. Oddly the article ignores the rigorous study recently completed by V.K. Raina.
U.N. Panel’s Glacier Warning Is Criticized as Exaggerated.
By Elisabeth Rosenthal, NYT, Jan 18, 2010
IBD Editorials, Jan 19, 2010
For a summary of Climategate as at applies to the US please see the article referenced below. From one of the famous emails by Tom Wigley: “Please keep this in confidence. I do not want it to get back to Singer or any of the Douglass et al. co-authors.”
Climategate: The Truth Hurts When It Hits You in the Head
Dexter Wright, American Thinker, Jan 18, 2010
Emissions targets set for delay
By Roger Harrabin, Environmental analyst, BBC New, Jan 20, 2010
The January 13, 2010 issue of Science magazine contained an article claiming 2009 was the hottest year on record in the Southern Hemisphere.
This claim is contested by Roger Pielke, Sr. and by satellite evidence provided by John Christy.
Reality Check On Science Magazine’s Claim That 2009 Was the Hottest Year on Record in Southern Hemisphere
By Roger Pielke, Sr., Climate Science, Jan 20, 2010
For an overview of the issues that are developing as the US EPA proceeds with its tremendous power grab by declaring a scientific determination that carbon dioxide is harmful to human health please see:
The Mass. v. EPA regulatory cascade: If EPA does not poach legislative power, what will it cost?
By Marlo Lewis, OpenMarket.org, Jan 21, 2010
Last week’s TWTW referred to articles addressing issues regarding wind power in Germany – does it result in reduction of carbon dioxide emissions? In this four part series, Kent Hawkins develops a simple calculator (model) to estimate if carbon dioxide emissions are reduced, assuming wind power replaces power generated by either Open Cycle Gas Turbines (OCGT) or Combined Cycle Gas Turbines (CCGT) that are the most apparent candidates to provide fast back-up to wind power when the wind disappears. (For the US and many countries increased hydroelectric as a back-up is not an option either due to physical limitations or political limitations.)
Part IV is referenced but the series is best read in order from Part I to Part IV.
Wind Integration: Incremental Emissions from Back-Up Generation Cycling (Part IV – Further Reflections)
By Kent Hawkins, Master Resource org, Dec 16, 2009
White House Needs New Look At Energy
By Michael Economides, IBD Jan, 20, 2010
BELOW THE BOTTOM LINE
According to this study, reaching the 20 percent threshold for wind by 2024 in the eastern electric grid for the United States would require 225,000 megawatts of wind generation capacity in the region, about a 10-fold increase from current levels. This implies there are 22,000 megawatts of wind generation in the eastern grid. The calculations likely assume the Great Plains are part of the eastern grid. A major issue not mentioned is the crossing the Appalachian Mountains with transmission lines that most likely will be bitterly fought.
U.S. says wind could power 20 percent of eastern grid
Report from Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory [H/t Marty Mangiino]
By Tom Doggett, Reuters Business & Financial News, Jan 20, 2010
Get ready for seven-foot sea level rise as climate change melts ice sheets.
The IPCC’s 2007 report missed out the melting of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets which would be the key drivers in dramatic sea level rises. From Yale Environment 360, part of the Guardian Environment Network [H/t Icecap]
By Rob Young and Orrin Pilkey, Yale Environment 360, Guardian.UK
[SEPP Comment: When the product you are selling is failing in the market, sell harder.]
For the electricity requirements of its new supercomputers, will NACR rely on wind generation?
NACR’s dirty little secret
By Anthony Watts, Watts Up With That? Jan 16, 2010
See Watts Up With That website