The Week That Was: September 23, 2017 Brought to You by www.SEPP.org
By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
Quote of the Week. “Long run is a misleading guide to current affairs. In the long run, we are all dead.”— John Maynard Keynes, the British Economist who earlier predicted that the extreme punitive demands of the Treaty of Versailles, the primary treaty ending World War I, would lead to disaster.
A Concession? A work published in Nature Geoscience by noted British climate modelers led by Richard Miller has stirred considerable interest. Though some of the authors participate in the UN Intergovernmental Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), they made a concession that their models overestimate global warming. Many of those skeptical about the claim that global warming / climate change is controlled by carbon dioxide considered this to be a major event. Others are not too sure, and consider it may be a tactical ploy.
The disparity between models and atmospheric observations has been recognized by many critics of the IPCC process. The reports of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) are an example. The greenhouse effect occurs in the atmosphere, yet the atmospheric is not warming as estimated by climate modelers. Largely, the efforts of the critics have been suppressed. The proponents of the IPCC, and its goals, have successfully smothered criticism in the Western press.
Roy Spencer and John Christy co-discovered the method of estimating atmospheric temperatures from data collected and published their seminal work in the early 1990s. Yet, they have had difficulty publishing in Western scientific journals since. Small errors in calculations, such as orbital drift, have been discovered and overblown. These errors are less than the disparity between model forecasts and atmospheric observations, but IPCC proponents, including those controlling Western scientific publications do not publish the work of Spencer and Christy.
The journal of the Korean Meteorological Society publishes Spencer’s work. The organization is to be thanked for upholding the principles of free scientific inquiry. Spencer’s comments on the new paper are particularly appropriate. He doubts that he and Christy would have been permitted to publish such a paper and states:
“The realization by the authors that the climate models have produced too much warming since about 2000 has been out there for at least 5 years. It has been no secret, and Christy and I have been lambasted as “deniers” for repeatedly pointing it out.”
Spencer writes that the climate establishment may be trying to address the growing disparity between models and observations for some time, and suggests:
“The resulting new paper is part of a grand scheme that Population Bomb author Paul Ehrlich perfected decades ago. I believe the new narrative taking shape is this: ‘yes, we were wrong, but only in the timing of the coming global warming disaster. It is still going to happen… but now we have time to fix it, before it really, really is too late.’”
Those who have observed complex negotiation strategies would not be surprised by such tactics. The new paper may be a ploy, a throw-away, attempting to quell serious questioning of the greenhouse gas theory exemplified in the IPCC models. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy – NIPCC, Challenging the Orthodoxy, and Problems in the Orthodoxy.
Other Comments on the Miller, et al. Paper: David Whitehouse of the UK Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF) brings up that the period “record temperatures” of the past three years of surface temperatures appears to be ending. The recent temperatures were driven by a strong El Niño, which is ending. It is foolish to base long-term temperature projections on such short-term weather events. Further the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) may be shifting, leading to a cooler period, at least in Europe. He writes:
“Nobody has any real idea what global surface temperatures will do in the near future.”
“In short, assumptions made about important details of climate science that were accepted a decade ago are becoming increasingly frayed. Let us hope that a new era of scientific reality will replace the far-too-simple messages previously proclaimed to the public.”
Comments by others are not as generous. Believing the unrealistic claims of certainty by the IPCC and its adherents including, the foolish economic projections of Nicholas Stern, the UK Parliament passed Climate Change Act of 2008. This action forced the UK on a path of reducing greenhouse gases in 2050 to 80% below what they were in 1990. Appropriate targets and policies are under the specially created Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change.
Some citizens and politicians are beginning to realize that they are trapped between meeting these legal standards and vanishing promises that wind and solar can deliver reliable, inexpensive electricity, especially for heating and transportation. Even the headlines in The Times suggest that the Miller article may be a ploy to deflect criticism of the promoters of drastic global warming:
“We were wrong — worst effects of climate change can be avoided, say experts
“Scientists admit that world is warming more slowly than predicted”
Martin Livermore of the UK Scientific Alliance suggests the Miller paper may be a ploy to revive the Paris agreement, which President Trump announced he is abandoning. Livermore begins his analysis by citing the paper’s summary:
“’Hence, limiting warming to 1.5°C is not yet a geophysical impossibility, but is likely to require delivery on strengthened pledges for 2030 followed by challengingly deep and rapid mitigation. Strengthening near-term emissions reductions would hedge against a high climate response or subsequent reduction rates proving economically, technically or politically unfeasible.’”
Livermore asserts that the BBC followed the message with the headline Paris climate aim is “still achievable.” He concludes his analysis with:
“No matter how low the price of wind-generated electricity, no matter how sophisticated electric cars become, no matter how quickly we convert domestic heating to electricity, a secure energy supply given the current state of technology will be very significantly higher [in cost] than at present. It need not be like this if the best minds on both sides of the ideological divide can work together to develop better solutions.”
The citizens of the US can be thankful the country is not shackled to the 2009 Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, which the Senate did not pass. But, it still has the EPA endangerment finding, for which the justification became weaker. See links under Problems in the Orthodoxy and The Political Games Continue.
The Russian Model: In his February 2, 2016, written testimony to the U.S. House Committee on Science, Space & Technology, UAH scientist John Christy demonstrates that the general climate models used by the IPCC, and depended upon by other groups, overestimate the warming of the lower troposphere by 2.5 to 3 times. It is in the lower troposphere that the greenhouse gas effect takes place. There is no logical reason to assume that models that cannot track temperatures in the near-term will be successful in the long-term. If the purpose of the effort is to describe a need for government policy in controlling carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions, then the IPCC models are extremely poor for policy purposes.
The paper by Miller, et al. discussed above suggests a minor correction. A minor correction is insufficient. A major correction in the IPCC process, the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), and the EPA finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare is needed. Fortunately, in his testimony, Christy provides guidance in the type of change that is needed. On page 12 Christy demonstrates that only one model describes what is occurring in the troposphere – the INM-CM4 model by the Institute of Numerical Mathematics of Russian Academy of Sciences.
It is important to note that in personal correspondence, Christy stated that for most models, including the Russian model, his findings are based on one available run. Fred Singer has demonstrated that, for most climate models, one run is not definitive and a minimum of ten runs are needed to estimate the actual trends projected in the models.
In discussing his views of the Miller paper, Patrick Michaels links to the 2010 paper describing the INM-CM4 model. In “Simulating present-day climate with the INMCM4.0 coupled model of the atmospheric and oceanic general circulations”, authors E. M. Volodin, N. A. Dianski, and A. V. Gusev describe that they modified the INM-CM3.0 climate model for the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5), used in preparing the fifth assessment report (AR-5, 2013) of the IPCC.
Appropriately, the authors recognized the importance of natural climate change, stating:
“Among the most significant manifestations of variations in the Earth’s climate system are phenomena such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), the North Atlantic Oscillation, and the Arctic Oscillation. These phenomena significantly affect the current states of the atmosphere and the ocean and can change their intensity and recurrence against the background of climate changes.”
Physicist David Legates sent TWTW subsequent papers published by these authors. The 2012 paper results from simulation of climate changes covering in the late 19th, the 20th, and the early part of the 21st centuries. The abstract of the 2012 paper states:
“Like the previous INMCM3 version, this model has a low sensitivity of 4.0K to a quadrupling of CO2 concentrations.” [Boldface added.]
The latest estimate by the IPCC is a sensitivity of 3.0K with a doubling of CO2 concentrations. But, the important point is that there is some excellent work being done to model climate that is not being shackled by preconceived notions of needing to “prove” that CO2 concentrations “control” the earth’s climate and that by eliminating CO2 and greenhouse gas emissions, man can eliminate climate change. The IPCC has access to this work and largely ignores it. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.
Offshore Wind vs. Nuclear: As discussed in last week’s TWTW, an auction in the UK of commitments to provide electricity from offshore wind produced a spate of articles on how cheap wind power is becoming. As usual, those promoting wind and solar, including the Guardian newspaper gloss over details such as what happens when weather is not perfect for their devices. Writing in Energy Matters, Roger Andrews did a brief analysis on the claim that offshore wind power in the UK is less costly than nuclear, without getting into the bad deal the UK government did for the Hinkley nuclear plant.
Using January, a good wind month, for a basis, Andrews estimated that battery storage would increase the cost of wind by about 10 times. He writes:
“What it does tell us is that adding even a comparatively small amount of battery storage to a wind (or solar) project could kill it economically, which is probably what motivated the Guardian to make the comment about putting limits on how much “we” have to pay for “reliable baseload supplies”. And in the clean, green, environmentally-conscious, demand-managed, smart-meter-monitored, grid-interconnected, one-hundred-percent renewable world of the future the Guardian envisions we won’t need reliable baseload supplies anyway.”
Now, if we can only discover a low-cost way to store wind. See links under Alternative, Green (“Clean”) Solar and Wind
The Hurricane Waltz: Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico, a territory of the US, knocking out grid-based electrical power to all the 3.4 million habitants. However, Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean islands, have experienced similar devastation in the past. Over the past week it was very interesting to watch Joe Bastardi of WeatherBELL Analytics explain how Hurricane Jose was guiding Hurricane Maria from moving west and north, possibly making landfall on the eastern seaboard. The multitude of factors involved in determining the intensity and track of hurricanes make any claims of great predictability absurd.
In addressing some of the claims that Puerto Rico is an example how global warming has made this season worse (as compared to last season which was claimed the “hottest year ever”), Paul Homewood referenced the graph of Tropical Cyclone Tracks from NOAA’s National Hurricane Center. The maze of tracks on the graph is very interesting. The data are from 1949 in the Pacific and from 1851 in the Atlantic.
The graft shows that tropical cyclones have gone well up the Davis Strait, between Greenland and Baffin Island in northern Canada. One the east side of Greenland, tropical cyclones have passed over Iceland and gone into the Greenland Sea, well above the Arctic Circle. One can imagine how the Climate Chorus would react if a tropical cyclone would go into the Greenland Sea today! See links Changing Weather and Changing Weather – Commentary.
Sea Level Rise: Geophysicist Dennis Hadke compared the claim of drastic sea level rise with what is actually occurring in ten coastal cities with long and reliable records of rise (from tidal gages). He calculates linear fits, regression lines, for each of the ten cities. Not, surprisingly for TWTW readers have finds:
“There has been no dramatic and consistent sea-level rise in the past century, and projections
show no dramatic rise is likely to occur in the coming century.
“There is no correlation between CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere and sea-level rise.”
The work of Hadke concurs with retired NASA meteorologist Thomas Wysmuller discussed in the January 28 TWTW. Wysmuller explored the correlation between CO2 and sea level rise and found no measurable linkage between Sea Level and CO2. As Wysmuller stated:
“For the past 2,000 years, Sea Level rise was unchangingly linear, increasing between 1 & 1.5 mm/yr. The maximum rise is about 6 inches per century. This has continued for the past 135 years, even though CO2 concentrations have increased by 38%.”
Of particular interest for TWTW was Hadke’s estimates for St Petersburg, FL. Sea level rise in the Tampa Bay region was covered in the January 21 and the January 28 TWTWs. In August 2015, the Tampa Bay Climate Science Advisory Panel (CSAP) reported that:
“Based upon a thorough assessment of scientific data and literature on SLR, the CSAP concludes that the Tampa Bay region may experience SLR somewhere between 6 inches to 2.5 feet in 2050 and between 1 to 7 feet in 2100.”
The 1-foot rise is from extrapolation of readings from local tidal gages. The 7-foot rise is from NOAA high estimates from IPCC and USGCRP reports.
Using a record dating back to 1947, Hadke finds “projected sea-level rise is only 10.7 inches over the next 100 years.” [The records for the Tampa Bay region are longer than for St. Petersburg alone.]
The reports of the IPCC, USGCRP, and, recently, NOAA cannot be relied upon as “the best science available.” See links under Changing Seas.
Number of the Week: 99.998%. Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has informed the Commonwealth Government that: “AEMO, like every system operator in the world, targets a defined market reliability standard (NEM: 99.998%) and cannot promise or deliver 100% supply reliability”
To accomplish this goal, the AEMO needs a large increase in a reserve of reliable, dispatchable, electricity. Some politicians seem to willfully ignore the need for reliable electricity, and promote wind and solar. As physicist Howard Hayden has commented:
“Power from wind varies dramatically with wind speed, as anybody can tell by merely looking at the power curves from any turbine manufacturer on the planet. If the wind speed increases from 10 mph to 20 mph, the power increases by a cool factor of eight. If the wind speed drops from 20 mph to 10 mph, the power it produces drops by 87.5%. Such variations are at odds with the necessity of keeping the grid voltage constant within a few percent, and the frequency constant within 0.03%. In the electricity business, stability is the key ingredient”
Not experienced in physical issues, some politicians might readily endorse schemes where the instability is hidden; their failure to perceive the fatal limitation of wind power is one such example.
1. Climate Change Hype Doesn’t Help
The bigger issue than global warming is that more people are choosing to live in coastal areas.
By Ryan Maue, WSJ, Sep 17, 2017
The research meteorologist assumes a consensus to which not all meteorologists agree when he writes:
”Although a clear scientific consensus has emerged over the past decade that climate change influences hurricanes in the long run, its effect upon any individual storm is unclear. Anyone trying to score political points after a natural disaster should take a deep breath and review the science first.
“As a meteorologist with access to the best weather-forecast model data available, I watched each hurricane’s landfall with particular interest. Harvey and Irma broke the record 12-year major hurricane landfall drought on the U.S. coastline. Since Wilma in October 2005, 31 major hurricanes had swirled in the North Atlantic but all failed to reach the U.S. with a Category 3 or higher intensity.
“Even as we worked to divine exactly where the hurricanes would land, a media narrative began to form linking the devastating storms to climate change.”
Maue gives specific examples then continues:
“How to put these two hurricanes into proper context? An informative website from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, synthesizes reams of research literature on the links between hurricanes and global warming. Over the next century, climate models generally indicate fewer but stronger storms—between 2% and 11% greater average storm intensity—with substantially increased rain rates. Against the background of slow sea-level rise, explosive coastal population growth will overwhelmingly exacerbate any hurricane’s damages. In the aggregate, the global-warming signal may just now be emerging out of our noisy observational records, and we may not know certainly for several decades. These conclusions are hardly controversial in the climate-science community.
“My own research, cited in a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, found that during the past half-century tropical storms and hurricanes have not shown an upward trend in frequency or accumulated energy. Instead they remain naturally variable from year-to-year. The global prevalence of the most intense storms (Category 4 and 5) has not shown a significant upward trend either. Historical observations of extreme cyclones in the 1980s, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, are in sore need of reanalysis.
“By focusing on whether climate change caused a hurricane, journalists fail to appreciate the complexity of extreme weather events. While most details are still hazy with the best climate modeling tools, the bigger issue than global warming is that more people are choosing to live in coastal areas, where hurricanes certainly will be most destructive.
“The nascent field of “attribution science” attempts to explain how climate change may affect characteristics of a given hurricane using models in “what if” mode. Such research requires a faithful reproduction of events and predictions of the future constrained by subjective choices within computer models. This research also takes time—which means other scientists must examine the evidence with patience and judiciousness not usually seen on Twitter or cable news.
“Still, the scientific community already knows plenty about hurricanes and climate change—knowledge it has accumulated over two decades through peer-reviewed research, academic conferences and voluminous national and international assessments. Yet climate scientists all too often speculate during interviews rather than refer to IPCC reports or their cousins from the U.S. National Climate Assessment. Some climate scientists have peddled tenuous theories with no contemporaneous research evidence. Advocacy groups package these talking points for easy consumption by journalists, who eagerly repeat them.
“The historical record books contain dozens of devastating hurricane landfalls over the past century, any of which, if repeated, would be catastrophic regardless of additional climate-change effects. To prepare for the next hurricane, the U.S. needs the best weather forecasts, evacuation plans and leadership. These plans should be built on sound science, not speculation, overselling or exaggeration. Hurricane science in this political climate already has enough spin.”
2. Let’s Get Rational About Disaster Risk
An unfortunate truth is that American influencers have one thing in common: a beach house in Florida.
By Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., WSJ, Sep 15, 2017
After coitizing those who claim that the flooding of Houston was not caused by not having proper zoning, and using the flooding in Florida as an example of why zoning fails in areas with poor drainage, the columnist states:
“What’s really missing in all such places isn’t zoning regulation but proper risk pricing through insurance. This problem many of us once believed could be solved through sensible reform of the federal flood-insurance program plus the development of a global reinsurance industry, some of it based on promising so-called catastrophe bonds.
“Now we wonder if it can even be ameliorated. Anyone whose labors take him among America’s distinguished elder statesmen, especially those in the Boston-New York-Washington corridor, discovers that our most influential citizens all have one thing in common: a house in Florida. An unfortunate truth is that the value of their Florida coastal property would plummet if they were made to bear the cost of their life-style choices. A lot of ritzy communities would shrink drastically.
“Sun and fun would still attract visitors, but property owners and businesses would face a new set of incentives. Either build a lot sturdier and higher up. Or build cheap and disposable, and expect to shoulder the cost of totally rebuilding every decade or two. Faced with skyrocketing insurance rates, entire communities would have to dissolve themselves or tax their residents heavily to invest in damage-mitigation measures.
“Let’s admit this ain’t going to happen. No disaster was more foretold than Hurricane Katrina or the subsequent storms that have afflicted the Gulf and Atlantic coasts. Yet the urge in Washington to rationalize risk signals proved shallow and short-lived. In a sentence that would get a columnist today accused of blaming-the-victim heartlessness, law professors Omri Ben-Shahar and Kyle Logue, in the Stanford Law Review, last year wrote: “We call weather-related catastrophes ‘natural disasters,’ but the losses due to severe weather are the result of a combination of natural forces and often imprudent, shortsighted human decisions induced . . . by questionable government policies.”
“After the televised tragedies of 9/11 and Katrina, a Lloyd’s of London insurance executive wondered, ‘If government hands out checks, do people need insurance?’ He might further have asked: With government assuming the risk, why would businesses and homesteaders ever think twice about building in the path of future hurricanes?”
After discussing the concept of Federal assistance beginning with the great Mississippi flood of 1928, the author suggests:
“But maybe we could start being honest with ourselves. Let’s see in the budget of the U.S. government a realistic estimate of the now-unrecorded contingent liability that we taxpayers have assumed on behalf of hurricane-prone communities—or, for that matter, the earthquake risks that we hardly ever talk about.
“At the time of Katrina, Robert Litan of the Brookings Institution and Ed Liddy, then of Allstate , led just such a call. Their proposal was the despair of those of us who knew a competitive, private insurance market would do a superior job of sending proper risk signals. But it increasingly seems better than nothing—nothing being ever-bigger ad hoc federal expenditures to rebuild what natural disasters knock down, without serious examination of the taxpayer equities involved.
“Just maybe, once we have formalized these estimates and shocked ourselves at the risk we not only expose ourselves to as taxpayers, but the risk to life and limb we expose our fellow citizens to by encouraging them to build in dangerous places, our country might begin to rationalize its risk-taking with respect to predictable natural hazards.”