Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Uncertainties around global warming

With rare exceptions, the press and politicians talk about global warming (ie the thing behind what they call climate change, as the warming's well, not that much) in certain terms. But read behind the headlines and the only few certainties, ie those based on actual events, indicate the opposite. I will present every element and people can make up their own minds. Remember, they aren't my figures, I've just taken the time to source them.

1) By far the biggest element (not normal to begun with the punchline, but it eclipses all the other details almost completely) is global warming has barely happened. The global warming the politicians are talking about is something they want to prevent, ie it hasn't actually happened, and using their own graphs, won't till around 2100. No scientific experiment exists which can't be observed to complete, in the 1990's when this graph was drawn it was physically impossible to know for anyone on the planet except a handful of newborn babies.

2) Before around 1995 current temperatures were depicted on a 10,000 year or so graph showing a cycle, with higher temperatures till 4000 years ago (they still are, which looks like stating the obvious), and then a peak 1000 and around 500 years ago, named the Roman and Medieval warm periods. In 1995 they vanished from new material although of course still existing in older books. At best, it shows their knowledge and ability to calculate past temperatures still leaves a lot to be desired. At worst (as evidenced by their hacked emails rather than inference) they simply altered them.

3) There are two previously little known but genuine cycles. The Milankovitch geological cycles which involve the wobble of the earth and variation in distance from the sun which have decadal and longer oscillations of ocean currents warming then cooling, and the solar cycles of sunspots and total radiation. Put the two together and the temperature graph looks very similar. Observation alone, step one of science, tells us all enough to move on to the next step, and they are a very close fit.

4) Red herrings are always an element in science, the stomach acid in ulcers or the coming ice age in the 70s. The element is something new and unknown happens, and scientists rush to try and explain it faster than their capacity to measure the causes. There is a hierarchy of climate measurements, from the simple and analogue of CO2, sea level and temperatures, to the less or almost impossible to currently measure glacier depth, cloud formation patterns, interaction between CO2 and atmospheric water vapour, and of course the literally hottest potato of all, world temperatures, past and present. They use a variety of methods, proxy for pre 1850, thermometer for 1850-1979, and a combination of thermometer and satellite since 1979. Sea levels are now also measured by satellites as well as bobs and land based gauges and oddly seem to read 2mm higher from the satellites than on the surface, which are clearly less able to double check at the scene, implying something is wrong there. Sew together the three eras of measurement, fill in the vast gaps where nothing's measured at all, and that gives you two figures, the accepted rough averages and the anomalies, which are the differences from an earlier point, intended to iron out the gaps and glitches.

But CO2 is not so hard to count although like the sea level it varies all day long from location to location so more of an anomaly than absolute figure. But it's officially up 50% from 1850-2013. Because, but only really since 1980 or so (oddly the same time satellites measured temperature) temperatures also went up rather sharply for 30 years or so, and as CO2 is supposed to add 1C per doubling at 260ppm then if it also evaporated the ocean, that water lodged at certain levels and didn't form more clouds it could amplify that amount manyfold, apparently (as it's never been observed in the real world before). But, had CO2 not been a red herring and remained stable, the consensus in the 70s was the fall since 1940 led most scientists to expect another ice age. Bear in mind CO2 had already risen sharply and steadily then, but the scientists still looked at the temperature first and literally appeared to assign no significance to the CO2 whatsoever. This is a logical indication of the CO2 indeed being a red herring as had they imagined its role as a deadly greenhouse gas (to quote president Obama, whose science degree is still in the post) they'd never have considered an ice age at all, especially as the added CO2 we were currently doing nothing to attempt to limit should have easily wiped out any natural cooling.

Then the temperature rose (remember those cycles, the two crucial points are 30 and 60 years) and suddenly they noticed the CO2, forgot the ice age and even though the rise was again around 30 years before it petered out, the CO2 is rising steadily and has now become the focus of the industry rather than the perceived current effects, while the future effects have finally been knocked on the head as their 20 year old estimate from the 90s was about to drop off the lowest point of their error bars.

5) Sea levels: Unlike the world temperature, we can record local sea levels and compare them pretty reliably, as regardless of the tides and other variations, over an entire year a tide gauge plus any beaches are possible to record faithfully for centuries. There are no known coastal areas more than a few inches from a century ago, some have not risen at all while the official rise was 7 inches in the 20th century. As sea level needs land ice and thermal expansion in equal measures, both require a fairly specific temperature rise to melt the ice and expand the sea, and can then measure each to calculate the rise per amount melted. Even if the far higher satellite measurements are to be relied upon (although the land based methods have remained at 1mm a year regardless) it still isn't possible to break 12 inches this century at the current rate of rise, which is not significant.

6) The atmospheric changes from the added CO2 need to have it located in the relevant bands (which can be investigated online with little effort), along with any additional water vapour which is the actual culprit, as CO2 alone is simply not capable of more than 1C per doubling. The actual results were unknown until NASA's two satellites Grace and Aqua began getting results, showing CO2 was displacing water vapour where it would have been required, weakening the effect, and water vapour itself was not increasing either. Needless to say the press made nothing of it although being the first readings of their kind, and contradicting what they expected, you would have thought whatever their findings they would have been of great significance.

7) Unknowns: It is very hard to currently measure ice thickness beyond a small percentage below the surface, and know the behaviour of added water vapour in either forming humidity or clouds, which do the exact opposite of each other, yet the industry while openly admitting this lack of information, do not let it spoil their predictions despite being a vital part of the picture, for global warming actually the most essential as no water vapour, no humidity, no positive feedback and no global warming. Those are not the only ostensibly unknowns but the two wild cards, plus of course the already mentioned gaps in temperature stations (around 75%) and even the convention of only measuring CO2 at one location in Mauna Loa which seems a little optimistic to me as a lay person at least.

8) "For the three day period, March 8th through 10th, the thermosphere absorbed 26 billion kWh of energy. Infrared radiation from CO2 and NO, the two most efficient coolants in the thermosphere, re-radiated 95% of that total back into space."

This was from NASA's own website in late April 2013. Did they just let something go they didn't want us to know?

9) Contrary studies: Despite its total exclusion by the collective media, the most comprehensive assessment of the collective temperature data was carried out in 2013 by the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, one of the best scientific institutions in the world. They found no man made signature apparent. It even included the Berkeley BEST figures used to affirm Michael Mann's original hockey stick (all they did was repeat the same thing so of course it would) and found it made no difference.

“…We show that although these anthropogenic forcings share a common stochastic trend, this trend is empirically independent of the stochastic trend in temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, greenhouse gas forcing, aerosols, solar irradiance and global temperature are not polynomially cointegrated. This implies that recent global warming is not statistically significantly related to anthropogenic forcing. On the other hand, we find that greenhouse gas forcing might have had a temporary effect on global temperature.”

“…our rejection of AGW is not absolute; it might be a false positive, and we cannot rule out the possibility that recent global warming has an anthropogenic footprint. However, this possibility is very small, and is not statistically significant at conventional levels.”

"In the past century, each of the two warm periods (1915–1945 and 1978–1998) and each of the two cool periods (1880–1915 and 1945–1977) resulted from cyclic changes of Pacific sea surface temperatures (the Pacific Decadal Oscillation). In 1999, the NE Pacific changed abruptly from its warm mode to its cool mode, bringing the 1978–1998 warming to a close. Projection of the pattern of cyclic warming and cooling over the past 500 years strongly suggests that the climate will continue to cool for the next several decades." Don Easterbrook

"Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 11–12 months behind changes in global sea surface temperature. Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging 9.5–10 months behind changes in global air surface temperature. Changes in global atmospheric CO2 are lagging about 9 months behind changes in global lower troposphere temperature. Changes in ocean temperatures explain a substantial part of the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 since January 1980. Changes in atmospheric CO2 are NOT tracking changes in human emissions"

Global and Planetary Change
Volume 100, January 2013, Pages 51–69

Ole Humlum, Kjell Stordahl, Jan-Erik Solheim

And from NASA itself a study by multiple contributors also this year found:
"One of the participants, Greg Kopp of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, pointed out that while the variations in luminosity over the 11-year solar cycle amount to only a tenth of a percent of the sun's total output, such a small fraction is still important. "Even typical short term variations of 0.1% in incident irradiance exceed all other energy sources (such as natural radioactivity in Earth's core) combined," he says.

Of particular importance is the sun's extreme ultraviolet (EUV) radiation, which peaks during the years around solar maximum. Within the relatively narrow band of EUV wavelengths, the sun’s output varies not by a minuscule 0.1%, but by whopping factors of 10 or more. This can strongly affect the chemistry and thermal structure of the upper atmosphere."

"One of the participants, Greg Kopp of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, pointed out that while the variations in luminosity over the 11-year solar cycle amount to only a tenth of a percent of the sun's total output, such a small fraction is still important. "Even typical short term variations of 0.1% in incident irradiance exceed all other energy sources (such as natural radioactivity in Earth's core) combined," he says.

There is also a growing series of studies confirming the rise in CO2 is after the temperature rises, which if correct (and each one is finding the same thing) means it can't be man made as well but released by the oceans as a result of rising temperature.

These studies are all from within the first four months of 2013, and given absolutely zero regard by the media, while those supporting the established view circle the globe within moments of release (sometimes before), and makes you wonder why?

10) Blatant errors: When you hear 70 million tons of Himalayan glacier are melting each year you expect it to be based on, well, measurements. When they finally did the measurements of the largest glaciers outside the polar regions they found they had lost precisely no ice at all. No apologies or questioning of the direct proof they had 'simply made it up', although clearly if they have clearly made something up once it may be typical where there are no actual measurements. And if you're going to make them up and make them the most extreme possible rather than moderate it also implies an agenda.
Saying others would melt by 2035, and then claim it was a misprint when it turned out to mean 2350 is something a student would never have got away with.
There are also a number of examples of both satellite and land based stations misreading so high, the US ones alone would be enough to account for the entire world temperature rise for that period. Unlike the massive adjustments I have pages of to show flat temperatures go uphill these were simple technical errors in place for years, and even once discovered they didn't correct the old material which used them despite doing it for the widely accepted Medieval Warm Period which wasn't claimed to be in error.
There are ten elements which even singly would cast doubt on other scientific measurements elsewhere, and if all ten are in place would make a reasonable person (the legal test) have at least reasonable doubts, if not reject it altogether on a balance of probabilities. Our entire world policy dictated by the UN and accepted by most countries to some extent is based solely on this infant and inexact branch of science. Prior to the 1970s when the Climate Research Unit was built at the University of East Anglia, funded in part by 'big oil' (Shell, BP and others) and activist groups such as Greenpeace, the area was called 'meteorology' and involved understanding weather patterns and their causes, with reference to history to predict current and short term future events. There was no reliance or requirement for reliance on climate data so the urgency to learn as much as possible as fast as possible, even without the benefit of satellites, was not required. Suddenly after James Hansen's presentation to US congress billions went into this area, suddenly every scientists became a climatologist and charities began working to collect money to deal with global warming. Of course we kept our other scientists, but looking at the sheer numbers of those issuing papers every single day which get considered by the UN demonstrates how many physics and geology graduates decided to specialise in what had become the biggest boom area since ducking witches.

To shift from an observational science no one depended on to one dictating world political policies, and extending the accepted 3-6 month maximum ability to see the future to a hundred years or more as if they'd suddenly built the equivalent of a hundred Hubble telescopes capable of refining their measurements in wide screen and high definition, which they did not. The very fact they suddenly discovered whatever proxy measurements they had used for a century or more had been adequate for the many thousands of years earlier, but overestimated the two warm periods since (while not affecting the earlier higher measurements 4-8000 years earlier) is a stroke of magic. Add together the entire spread of both uncertainties, total updates of an area of measurement (including backdating higher readings lower but not the other way round) meaning it was previously inadequate (including the rolling process of reducing the expected rise from a doubling of CO2 per decade or so, mainly as it is rising and the temperature barely is), plus with adjustments to raw data which virtually always make them higher rather than lower and we do not have a certainty about the present or even the past, let alone the future which twenty odd years later has been proved to be imagination.

That is the state of the science, would you rely on it if used for a medical procedure?

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