Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Global warming realist primer

Global warming realist primer:
This is designed as answering every potential question from the general public who only know the bare minimum amount about global warming as presented by the media and politicians, in ways which are both accurate but simple enough for even a primary school child to follow, using mainly accepted UN IPCC figures

Q How much has the temperature risen?

According to the IPCC, around 0.7C since 1850, on an average temperature of 13.8C, 33C above that of space.

How much has CO2 risen?

In the same period it has gone up around 50% from 260 to 395ppm

What is the point the temperature rise could become a problem?

According to the IPCC a rise of 2C is the point where the known benefits (eg increased food production and fewer deaths from cold) become overtaken by the possible problems.

So why is there or will there be a problem?

The current belief is that the original amount of CO2 at 260ppm is responsible for 1C of the total 33C above space. CO2 reduces exponentially in its greenhouse effect, and means whatever point it starts from it adds 1C per doubling. So on these figures it would take a rise to around 1000ppm before it reached 2C.

Of course if this was the only consequence then even rising as fast as it has, it could hardly be considered a problem. But the IPCC projection was a rise of far more for a doubling, from anything from 1.7 to 6C, due to positive amplifying feedback. This comprised mainly evaporation of seawater causing a greater amount of water vapour in the atmosphere, and reduced ice absorbing more heat in the open water. But as this was theoretical and entirely based on computer models, it needed two things to confirm it, an identical planet with stable CO2 as a control, which is obviously not possible, and the passage of time and subsequent observation. So with a rise now of half that amount of CO2 on a rising trend since the last little ice age, around 0.4C of the total has been attributed to the CO2 being added, clearly demonstrating no additional warming from feedback.

As there is and was no delay expected with the feedback, besides a slight holding of warmth by the oceans, that alone is not enough to explain any more than a negligible amount, and at any case was not part of the original expectations.

So why is there still a problem at all?

The main reason is stated by Prof. Chris Folland, of the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, who stated "The data doesn't matter. We're not basing our recommendations on the data. We're basing them on the climate models."
Of course going solely on the observations normally the science would have moved along and the odds for an unforseen delay (bearing in mind the water vapour evaporates evenly when heated whatever the release of heat) saving it for later were so great that there simply was no feedback and the threat had gone. In fact the real world supported that when the overall temperature stopped rising in 1997 while CO2 rose steadily. So although the CO2 may well have continued adding an amount consistent with the equation with no feedback either way (or slightly negative, as water vapour can also increase cloud cover, which has a cooling effect as it creates shade during the day) there is no mathematical evidence for any more.

If CO2 is rising and the temperature is not, what else could have caused the temperature to rise when it did?

The most recent research shows if you combine the multidecadal ocean oscillations, which create a roughly 30 year alternate warm-cool phase due to the tilt and wobble of the earth, plus total solar output it gives a very good fit with the temperature line, while the 45 degree rise of CO2 is nothing like it. Furthermore the most recent and largest analysis of climate data by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2013 found no likely man made warming.

To further complicate the issue many studies have also shown the CO2 comes just after the warming as it is released by the oceans as the temperature rises, much like fizzy drinks go flat faster as they heat up. It was also considered a possible positive feedback on top, but observations have shown its absence as described. As the models put what is called a high CO2 sensitivity in, meaning they expected a high level of feedback, the 1990 IPCC model had temperatures predicted way above the actual result for 2010, and has not risen since so currently diverging further each year.

But isn't the science settled?

The agreement on the greenhouse effect with CO2 amounting to 1C of the total is generally but not universally accepted. The view that adding more CO2 will cause an increase is also generally accepted. But beyond that scientists have a full variety of opinions, both before the temperature slowed down and since. There are thousands of equally qualified scientists including those in Jerusalem and many other top universities such as Ole Humlum in Norway who are confirming more and more of the sceptic's questions and challenges to be likely to be correct, including the influences of the sun and CO2 lag, plus many admit sensitivity is far too complex to be predictable at all so beyond their ability to measure reliably, especially the effect on cloud cover and where the water vapour would go. The CO2 lag also greatly challenges the man made element, especially as from all the CO2 emitted only around 4% is man made anyhow, which does make me wonder how creating or stopping that amount being added would make enough difference to be noticed.

But isn't it better to use the precautionary principle just in case it does happen?

This is not a scientific question but an economic one, as global warming is an observation and not normal for scientific observations for nature to become a cause of political policy, unless something is actually discovered to be dangerous per se like smoking. Unlike smoking however, which is 100% harmful, global warming of any type is beneficial to many people and up to 2C is going to save energy for heating and food production as well as reducing wars over resources as it did during Roman times. But we do know the exact cost of every measure in attempts to slow it down, a combination of fines and reducing fossil fuel usage. These have now been in place in growing numbers for over 20 years and the CO2 increase has not changed at all. So we have spent (and arguably lost) all this money and had absolutely no effect in return. We do know 3000 people now die in Britain annually of hypothermia as the energy prices have risen so much, and many people in the third world have died of starvation as food crops have been sequestred for biofuel, but we are not aware of a single death directly from the rise in temperatures, except a few people who died in heatwaves (although they always will regardless) but unlike hypothermia which kills everyone equally high temperatures within the normal range will only kill people who were dying already by a few days sooner. Also in budgeting accounts you plan for a point you will be aware of, and 2050-2100 is not possible to account for as it is impossible to know what the effects would be. Also if there is (as observed directly) no apparent feedback, then by the time CO2 rose to the point where it would cause a rise over 2C it's far more likely the technology would have improved so much before then we'd have both stopped using fossil fuel anyhow and found far better ways to deal with scientific issues in general than taxing and banning things.

What about the Arctic ice melting?

Climate scientists always warn against short term and local conditions being confused with climate, which works over decades rather than months, and worldwide rather than locally. So like the Australian droughts of 2008, where the government warned this would become permanent, nature balanced as it nearly always will, with major floods soon after. Just like that, the Arctic is warming slightly while at the south it is cooling slightly, and as the Antarctic holds 90% of the world's ice and growing, the overall is increasing, but the media don't appear to mention that very much. So of course the effects can't happen without causes, and in order for the total ice to decrease long term the temperature would need to increase long term, which it hasn't, and neither has the ice decreased.

So why do both scientists and politicians continue to legislate for and describe exactly the same issues they did 20 years ago?

That is the 64,000 dollar question. Normally science moves on in the face of new evidence, and up till now it always has. But today the media and more so the politicians (but not the scientists) have not changed one millimetre from their original positions, but the experts are divided between those shouting even louder (despite the temperature calming down) and those packing their bags ready to go home. There is a growing number of respectable universities as described before turning out new studies almost weekly, finding more and more about solar, cloud and oceanic influences, and the actual figures on temperature and associated changes are speaking for themselves with no need for a human mouthpiece. It is only the lack of outside reporting which means although all these studies are published online, many free and all with summaries available only the ones supporting the old view tend to be reported. Until this is changed then of course everyone won't react as it's very unlikely many are even aware they aren't still expecting a 6C rise by 2100 as claimed by activist groups such as Greenpeace and metres of sea level rise while it's only rising around 7 inches a century as it did last century. Also the almost religious reliance on models means many scientists prefer to stick to their own work (despite the fact the sensitivity was introduced manually and therefore guaranteed to occur within their fantasy world whatever happened outside), and wait steadfastly for the real world to catch up as they are so certain (so they claim) the models are right they are now saying we must wait another 10 or 20 years before they can be proved wrong.

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