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Archive for March, 2012

You’ve probably heard that Anthropogenic Global Warming is an incontrovertible scientific consensus and truth. In fact just the other day Michael Mann was on the telle box rattling on about how it will affect sea levels rise (I don’t know what else he talked about, but I think it involved defending his hockeystick graph). How can I take him seriously when global sea level rises are nearly entirely consistent going back 150 years or more, and the temperature wasn’t? How dare he say mean surface temperature is driving it when in the global cooling period in the 20th century it still rose at exactly the same rate – another invented “dire” consequence to make the topic more serious to us!

Allow me to tell you a story of science. Ignaz Semmelweis was an Hungarian physician who worked at Vienna General Hospital. They had two maternity clinics, First Clinic births were administered by medical students, Second Clinic births were administered by midwife students. Mortality rates of women giving birth due to puerperal fever in the First Clinic was about 10% per year, in the second clinic less than 4%. Women in labour would plead not to be administered to the First Clinic (of course this wasn’t possible as the wards actually operated on alternating days), many even resorted to giving birth on the streets. Even the women who gave birth on the streets had a far lower mortality rate than the First Clinic itself. This worried Semmelweis deeply.

Semmelweis became convinced that the clinics were identical except for the people working there. A close friend of his contracted a similar disease and died after a student accidently cut him whilst they were working with a cadaver. Semmelweis theorized that the women were being poisoned from the cadavers, and immediately had students in his clinic wash their hands when they had come from the morgue to the maternity ward. Because his views went completely against medical and scientific consensus, his students complained to his superiors that it was an unnecessary hardship. They cared more about their own convenience. And since Semmelweis couldn’t offer a coherent scientific basis for his theory, ultimately he lost his job (less than 2 years after he introduced the handwashing policy and despite its success). At age 42 he was put in mental institution, there he was beaten severely by guards and died two weeks later from an infection – probably the result of the beatings. Isn’t life great when we have a firm scientific consensus?

Physicist Ivar Giaever resigned from the American Physical Society (APS) with a letter that began: “I did not renew [my membership] because I cannot live with the [APS policy] statement: ‘The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.’ In the APS it is OK to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible?” He is a noble-prize winning well respected physicist. Both these serious and well respected scientists are giving us the same message: the conclusions have already been reached regardless of real world observational data.

In 1996 the IPCC released their Second Assessment Report on Global Warming. It consists of data collected and prepared by three working groups, two thousand experts were directly, or indirectly involved with the report. The working group that reported on the science of climate change consisted of 28 authors. Chapter 8 of the report mainly considered just two research papers – one by Ben Santer, the other by Lawrence Livermore. They had signed off on their finial draft in 1995 and submitted it. In parts it read:

“None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases.”

“While some of the pattern-base studies discussed here have claimed detection of a significant climate change, no study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed] to [man-made] causes. Nor has any study quantified the magnitude of a greenhouse gas effect or aerosol effect in the observed data – an issue of primary relevance to policy makers.”
“Any claims of positive detection and attribution of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced.”

“While none of these studies has specifically considered the attribution issue, they often draw some attribution conclusions, for which there is little justification.”

“When will an anthropogenic effect on climate be identified? It is not surprising that the best answer to this question is, `We do not know. “‘

After it had been signed-off and submitted, it was altered by none-other then Ben Santer – the same author who’s paper was reviewed in the chapter. I don’t need to tell you that that’s a conflict of interest. He would override the consensus view of the 28 that wrote the chapter, by removing the offensive passages listed above, and writing a new conclusion along the lines of:

“There is evidence of an emerging pattern of climate response to forcing by greenhouse gases and sulfate aerosols … from the geographical, seasonal and vertical patterns of temperature change. … These results point toward a human influence on global climate.”

“The body of statistical evidence in chapter 8, when examined in the context of our physical understanding of the climate system, now points to a discernible human influence on the global climate.”

It was presented as being consensus view, and it duped countless scientists into believing it.

In conclusion, the consensus isn’t that CO2 drives temperature. The consensus is that human influenced GHG’s are a primary driving factor in climate change. Even on that point, the consensus isn’t over exactly how much of the recent global warming can be attributed to GHG’s, despite what Al Gore et al. claim. Next entry we draw the climate mini-series to a close focusing on Inconvenient Truth. Stay Tuned!

When you hear the words “Climate Sceptic” what comes to mind? People who may as well be holocaust deniers? Well the holocaust was orchestrated by a certain politician, his name was Adolf Hitler. His political view was that Eugenics was essential for a prosperous future, and he took his belief in Eugenics to the extremes that led to Jews being starved, enslaved and ultimately gassed. Eugenics at the time was scientific consensus. Truthfully, the political and scientific environment of the time felicitated the actions. Hitler is seen as extreme, yet the extremities were already in place. The stolen generation here in Australia was also an exercise in Eugenics. Look at what damage can be done by politicising a “scientific consensus”.

Some people think that “Serious” and “Sceptic” are polar-opposites when it comes to Climate Change science – nothing can be further from the truth. Alarmists tell you sceptics disagree with the science – this is nonsense. Sceptics generally agree that Global Warming is occurring and also that the small increase in greenhouse gasses including methane and CO2 has likely contributed to it in a meagre capacity. Sceptics think that the primary driving force is not the greenhouse effect. Some well respected serious climate scientists are sceptics. Richard Lindzen is a well respected climatologist who has contributed to both the 1995 and 2001 IPCC papers on climate change and he feels the papers cover the science well, he only criticizes the conclusions in the “summary for policymakers”, which trivializes it into the political conspiracy (agenda) that we are all aware of.

Richard Lindzen was a part of the 2007 IQ2 Debate entitled “’Global Warming Is Not a Crisis”. He appeared alongside the late Michael Crichton and Philip Stott. The opponents were Brenda Ekwurzel, Gavin Schmidt and Richard C.J. Somerville. If you’re interested you can view the entire debate on Youtube, it is directly accessible from the michaelcrichton.net website. Lindzen begins by pointing out that the Earth is always rising or falling in global mean surface temperature, it is never steady.

Let’s now turn back the clock and discuss a similar conspiracy that happened with the original Viking probe. Remember, history repeats. Sending probes to Mars is very costly –only about half the ones NASA sent made it to the planet correctly. So clearly the programs are of important value and to be taken seriously. One of its key missions was to test the soil on Mars and look for life. To ensure it detected life and not chemistry, if it found life signs the probe would gather an identical sample of soil and bake it to kill any living microbes, before testing again. It was tested on Earth using desert soil and found to work flawlessly. Before launching the probe it was agreed that if these specific conditions were met it would constitute successful detection of life on Mars.

The probe did exactly as it was supposed to do, the results met the specific requirements to confirm the presence of living microbes. Levin was thrilled, until he learned that a decision was made to change the conclusion of the experiment to say the findings didn’t detect life. It isn’t even controversial! This is the scientific consensus! Gilbert Levin was a biologist, well he still is – he’s in his 80’s now, and my heart goes out to him. The conclusion of his experiment was cooked – just like what happened to the 1996 IPPC paper, Levin will maintain to the day he dies that “more likely than not” they detected life on Mars.

You cannot prove a negative. Levin couldn’t prove that the results observed weren’t from some completely unknown natural chemical process not involving life – of course he couldn’t. Just like I can’t prove to you that CO2 isn’t causing climate change on Earth, I can’t prove a negative, but as Lindzen would say the signature for increased GHG activity is in the stratosphere, and it’s cooling. Isn’t it interesting that facts like this can be totally ignored when you want to “cook” the conclusions you want?

Lindzen also points out a few important points: 1. Consensus in science is not by definition necessarily a good thing, there used to be scientific consensus on Eugenics. 2. The Earth’s climate is always changing – either heating or cooling, and 3. Science advances by falsification – that is, when a theory is subsided by a superior theory. 4. The science really that complicated or difficult.

Lindzen is critical of climate models which exaggerate feedback from water vapour without any experimental verification to back up the assumptions. He has released scientific papers attempting to investigate the possible feedback from water vapour. Climate scientists simply increase the feedback from water vapour until the models can marry the results of increasing CO2 by over 100ppmv with the observed climate trend. The feedback from water vapour is not observationally confirmed – it is arbitrarily chosen to produce the result they want. Obviously if the onus of proof is on the person trying to prove that CO2 drives climate change, this isn’t compelling evidence. Without some observational confirmation of a positive feedback from water vapour the simulation is meaningless.

The Medieval Warm Period is a thorn in the side of alarmists, and they mostly choose to ignore it. Yes, in 950-125AD approx, when the Vikings farmed on Greenland, where temperatures peaked about 1 degree higher than today and many of their graves are still under the permafrost. In the UK farms were atop hills and mountains that today cannot sustain crops. Alpine glaciers retreated, advanced and are now retreating again in the current warm period.

And then you have Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick Graph. The data was deliberately altered and fudged to support his conclusion. He used tree ring data to show the decline in global temperatures for 1000 years until a sharp rise in the 20th century. But the tree ring data never showed the 20th century increase, instead he substituted weather station data for it.

The models are the same. Doubling CO2 increases temperature by 1 degree, doubling again another 1 degree etc. You need to add much more each time to have the same effect. The fantasy of climate alarmists is that water vapour will provide a positive feedback, when this is entered into the simulations you can have CO2 increase the temperature by whatever you want. The fact remains though that it isn’t experimentally confirmed. If the water feedback is, however, negative then it means you need more than double CO2 to actually rise the temperature by 1 degree.

The warming trend is not a continual uprise as is imagined by alarmists. In fact for the past 14 years now – since 1998 – there hasn’t been any significant change. Really, statistically speaking, we’re where we were in 1995 – temperatures rose and fell again. Yes, records have been set in the late 00’s, but overall we’re not any warmer now. It is not accounted for by climate alarmists – they do defend their argument, usually blaming areoles, but their models do not account for the variation.

The Great red spot on Jupiter has existed for over 300 years, but its present decline in size is completely unprecedented and some scientists think it will disappear completely within our lifetimes. Unpredictable atmospheric behaviour can and does happen, it has little to do with the processes we understand best, and a lot to do with all the processes we know a lot about, but don’t understand so well.

Alarmists tell us about the warmest years to date (over the last 150 years) being 1998, 2005, etc. These however were not due to the global warming trend, a fact usually ignored/obscured by alarmists. 1998 was not the result of global warming, but rather of a particularly strong El Niño. Thus, obviously, it tells you nothing about trends.

When I first came to studying this issue I took it as serious science. Today I think it’s mostly political propaganda with very little science to back it up. Science is supposed to be repeatable. That’s why the neutrino experiment is being duplicated again, and again. We’re in a period of global warming. The proof comes from data from weather stations that go back 150 years, or so. But, the raw data itself is not used in these calculations, instead the data from the weather stations is adjusted (homogenised) to take into account variations in the way the temperature is measured, and when weather stations are moved. This is, of course, fine except that for many of the weather stations the raw data has been forever destroyed, meaning that any errors present when adjusting the data cannot be corrected. And we know for a fact that some climate scientists deliberately use misleading data as long as it agrees with their preconceived ideas about climate (from the climategate emails), so it’s possible that some of the weather station data is wilfully corrupted too.

The predictions of the amount of warming have been steadily falling for over 10 years, so have their dire consequences, so have sea level rise predictions (the rise in sea levels is almost completely consistent over the last 150 years, unlike climate), and to be truthful there have not been any advances for alarmists in the science behind it in the last 10 years, all the advances are only of advantage to us sceptics. Climate is always changing, either warming or cooling it is never completely stable.