Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #300

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

Fears of Global Warming: Last week’s TWTW brought up the well tested fact that all gases absorb radiant energy in certain bands of the electromagnet spectrum, including nitrogen, N2, which accounts for more than 77% of the atmosphere. Some gases absorb more energy than other gases, and in different bands. If adding carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere causes significant warming of the surface, it would be by a warming of the atmosphere from CO2 absorbing significant energy in the long-wave, infrared portion of the electromagnet spectrum, which is the range of electromagnet energy reflected by the earth into space.

The same concept applies to water vapor, the dominant so-called greenhouse gas. According to the 1979 Charney Report, published by the National Academy of Sciences, it is a further increase in warming by an increase in water vapor that provides the bulk of the increase in temperatures of the surface that has provoked fear of carbon dioxide-caused warming. This week’s TWTW will focus on two alternative explanations on why the fear of CO2-caused warming is poorly substantiated. One paper is by Howard Hayden, emeritus Professor of Physics, and the second by the late William Gray, the pioneer of hurricane forecasting, as finished by some of his many students. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.

Quote of the Week. See that the imagination of nature is far, far greater than the imagination of man – Richard Feynman

Number of the Week: Minus 88℉ (minus 67℃)

Energy Dissipation: In his monthly newsletter, The Energy Advocate, Professor Hayden devotes the January issue to Power Dissipation, an electrical engineering concept, and then applies the concept of dissipation to energy (heat) involved by adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. In so doing, he addresses the widely accepted, but erroneous, concept that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 will add about 4 watts of power to every square meter of the surface of the earth, thereby making the surface warmer. Unfortunately, this concept is promoted by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its followers such as the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). Hayden was prompted to write this essay by a debate he had with Scott Denning, a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University, at the University. Denning is to be thanked for his willingness to debate the topic, which few advocates are willing to do.

Hayden’s main points include that CO2 is not a source of energy, but merely a possible means of delaying the dissipation of solar energy absorbed by the globe, including the atmosphere and the earth, back into space. To understand the dissipation, one must understand the absorption. Incoming solar radiation is absorbed by the atmosphere and by the surface, then dissipated back into space. Part of the dissipation is delayed, making the global inhabitable because it keeps the temperature range very limited.

A key issue is that the atmosphere partially absorbs the flow of energy, both incoming from the sun, and outgoing from the earth. The greenhouse effect, by all gases, occurs in the atmosphere. As Hayden states, most of it occurs at an elevation above one kilometer (3300 feet), recognizing that surface temperatures do not reflect greenhouse effect. Thus, almost all of the greenhouse effect can be measured by bulk atmospheric temperatures measurements, between the surface and 15 km (50,000 ft.), as done by John Christy of UAH).

[Editorial Comment: Increasing surface temperatures may be an indirect indication of a greenhouse effect, but are not a solid measurement of the greenhouse effect. Attempting to eliminate other influences, both human and natural, is extremely difficult, and has not been accomplished. Tuning global climate models to surface temperatures is an erroneous exercise, if the purpose is to estimate the greenhouse effect.

Atmospheric temperatures have issues regarding natural variation as well, such as the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and volcanic activity. But these are much simpler to eliminate, as John Christy and others have done. As data continues to be compiled such elimination becomes more practicable. Recognizing that the greenhouse effect is in the atmosphere, not on the surface, renders frivolous the claim that the “missing heat” is in the ocean.]

Hayden focuses on the absorption of outgoing infrared radiation (IR) by greenhouse gases by pointing out four important variables in determining the extent of the absorption:

Hayden focuses on the absorption of outgoing infrared radiation (IR) by greenhouse gases by pointing four important variables in determining the extent of the absorption:

1) the intensity of the IR;

2) the wavelength of the IR;

3) the cross-sectional area of the molecules for absorbing that wavelength; and

4) the number of molecules per unit volume.

With the last variable, atmospheric pressure is important. Thus, calculations made based on pressure at the surface do not apply for higher elevations. As Hayden states, there is a great difference in calculating an effect at the sea level as compared with one at the elevation of Mount Everest.

In closing, Hayden addresses the small corrections to atmospheric temperature data produced by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), made in response to small errors in calculations of satellite orbits. Then, he compares these corrections with what NASA-GISS [Goddard Institute for Space Studies] has done since 2001 to historic surface data. NASA-GISS has warmed all surface data since 1970 by up to 0.2℃ and cooled all surface data prior to 1970, cooling the data prior to 1900 by as much as 0.4℃. These changes give a false net warming trend of 0.6℃. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Honoring William Gray: Before he died in 2016, hurricane prediction pioneer William Gray asked a few of his students to complete his working paper on “Flaws in Applying Greenhouse Warming to Climate Variability.” The students have done so, and Anthony Watts posted a summary on his web site, WUWT, with a link to the full paper. The few excerpts given below illustrate the value of this work: [See the paper for the figures]

“What is in dispute is whether these periods of warming are the result of changes to the earth’s energy balance due to a) human addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, b) natural variability of the climate system, or c) a combination of both factors.”

“The idea that the earth’s climate can be altered by addition of greenhouse gases is known as the greenhouse theory and is depicted in Fig. 1. Of most concern is the addition of

carbon dioxide (CO2) to the earth’s atmosphere as a result of the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation. This theory has been the subject of debate since its introduction by Joseph Fourier in 1824.”

“Climate sensitivity is complex and involves much more than the state of radiation balance and greenhouse gases. The globe’s climate system is in a close state of energy balance. A global radiative average imbalance of 1 Wm-2 (or 0.3%) of the difference between the continuous solar radiation impinging on the earth and infrared energy being fluxed to space can bring about significant climate changes if this small energy imbalance were to persist over a period from a few months to a year or two. The critical argument that is made by many in the Global Climate Modeling (GCM) community is that an increase in CO2 warming leads to an increase in atmospheric water vapor resulting in more warming from the absorption of outgoing infrared radiation (IR) by the water vapor. Water vapor is the most potent greenhouse gas present in the atmosphere in large quantities. Its variability (i.e., global cloudiness) is not handled adequately in GCMs in my view.”

“…it is my hypothesis that there is a negative feedback between CO2 warming and water vapor. CO2 warming ultimately results in less water vapor (not more) in the upper troposphere. The GCMs therefore predict unrealistic warming of global temperature. I hypothesize that the earth’s energy balance is regulated by precipitation (primarily via deep cumulonimbus (Cb) convection) and that this precipitation counteracts warming due to CO2.” [Boldface added]

“4. GCM water vapor feedback and projected warming


“A major premise of the GCMs has been their application of the National Academy of Science (NAS) 1979 study – often referred to as the Charney Report (Charney et al. 1979)–which hypothesized that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 would bring about a general warming of the globe’s mean temperature of between 1.5 – 4.5°C (or an average of ~ 3.0°C). These large warming values were based on the report’s assumption that the relative humidity (RH) of the atmosphere remains quasi-constant as the globe’s temperature increases. This assumption was made without any type of cumulus convective cloud model and was based solely on the Clausius-Clapeyron (CC) equation and the assumption that the RH of the air will remain constant during any future CO2 -induced temperature changes. If RH remains constant as atmospheric temperature increases, then the water vapor content in the atmosphere must rise exponentially. With constant RH, the water vapor content of the atmosphere rises by about 50% if atmospheric temperature is increased by 5°C with RH held constant. Upper tropospheric water vapor increases act to raise the atmosphere’s radiation emission level to a higher and thus colder level. This reduces the amount of outgoing IR energy which can escape to space by decreasing σT [to the fourth power].


“Many climate models, such as the early NASA-GISS (Hansen 1988) model, have even gone further than what the CC equation would specify for water vapor feedback. Hansen’s early GISS model assumed that for increases of CO2 , upper tropospheric RH would not stay constant but actually increase. The upper tropospheric water vapor which Hansen’s model assumed for a doubling of CO2 in his early model led to a predicted increase water vapor in the upper troposphere of nearly 50 percent. This caused his model to specify a tropical upper tropospheric atmospheric warming for a doubling of CO​2 of as much as 7°C (Figs 4-5).


“Not only were Hansen’s unrealistically large values of upper tropospheric moisture and temperature increases (for a doubling of CO2 ) not challenged by his fellow modelers at the time, but they were instead closely emulated by several other prominent GCMs including NOAA-GFDL (Fig. 6). These model predictions of large upper-level tropospheric moisture increases have persisted in the current generation of GCM forecasts from the recently-released Coupled Model Intercomparison Project 5 (CMIP5). These models significantly overestimate globally-averaged tropospheric and lower stratospheric (0-50000 feet) temperature trends since 1979 (Fig. 7). “

Gray’s Figure 5 is important in understanding a bit of political history:

“Fig 5. North-South vertical cross-section showing Hansen’s early GCM’s change in temperature (°C) that would accompany a doubling of CO2.”

This figure is very similar to what Benjamin Santer and the IPCC called the “distinct human fingerprint.”

Gray addresses the issue which many have claimed: If it is not CO2, what is it? Gray states that oceans hold the key to understanding climate variability. He asserts:

It is my hypothesis that it is variations in the global ocean’s Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) (Delworth et al. 2007) that are the primary driver of climate change over the last few thousand years. These changes are manifested in alterations of the rate of deep water formation of the Atlantic Thermohaline Circulation (THC) (Grossmann and Klotzbach 2009) and the Surrounding Antarctica Subsidence (SAS) regions. Figure 11 shows how the MOC is a combination of the high latitude deep water formation of the Atlantic THC and the Antarctic SAS region. These changes in rates of deep water formation are driven by upper ocean salinity variations on various multi-decadal to multi-century time scales. Figure 12 shows typical Atlantic Ocean current differences when the Atlantic THC is strong (on average greater rate of deep water formation) and when it is weak (on average lower rate of deep water formation). The sea surface temperature realization of THC fluctuations is frequently referred to as the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) (Goldenberg et al. 2001).” [Boldface added]

For those who are interested in details of natural variability and how adding CO2 may influence climate, Bill Gray’s essay is well worth the time. His discussion of an increase in the water cycle resulting in an increase in outgoing radiation from the upper atmosphere is important. As he realized, part of the essay is based on speculation because necessary evidence is not available. However, Gray gives evidence supporting his hypotheses, something CO2-caused global warming theorists often fail to do.

Others skeptical of CO2-caused dire warming may disagree with various points. Gray asserts:

“Solar variations, sunspots, volcanic eruptions and cosmic ray changes are energy-wise too small to play a significant role in the large energy changes that occur during important multi-decadal and multi-century temperature changes. It is the earth’s internal fluctuations which are the most important cause of climate and temperature change. These internal fluctuations are driven primarily by deep multi-decadal and multi-century ocean circulation changes of which naturally varying upper-ocean salinity content is hypothesized to be the primary driving mechanism.

See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Surface Temperatures, Again? NOAA and NASA-GISS made a joint announcement that 2017 was the second warmest year for the globe since 1880 (or third, based on slightly different calculations). How they calculate global temperatures for the 19th century when there were few instruments measuring temperature outside of the US and Western Europe remains a mystery. Yet, these organizations provide a dramatic video of changing regional temperatures covering the globe since 1880, including Africa and Antarctica.

As linked in the January 6 TWTW, using satellite measurements of the atmosphere, UAH calculated that 2017 was the third warmest year, after 2016 and 1998 – there was no statistical difference between 2016 and 1998.

The NASA web site claims: “NASA uses the unique vantage point of space to better understand Earth as an interconnected system.” If so, why does it rely on surface temperature measurements that are far from comprehensive and have known biases? See links under Defending the Orthodoxy and Measurement Issues – Surface.


NYC Defending the Climate: The City of New York has filed litigation against various oil companies for Public Nuisance, Private Nuisance, and Trespass. The Public Nuisance is for their … “production, marketing, and sale of massive quantities of fossil fuels, and promotion of pervasive use of these fossil fuels, have caused, created, assisted in the creation of, maintained, and/or contributed to the current and threatened climate change impacts…”

The Private Nuisance is for the “Defendants’ production, marketing, and sale of massive quantities of fossil fuels, and their promotion of pervasive use of these fossil fuels, have caused, created, assisted in the creation of, maintained, and/or contributed to the current and threatened climate change impacts on the City described above. These impacts are indivisible injuries, and include harms to City property from sea level rise, increased flooding, higher temperatures, increased costs to protect the City’s water supply, and increases in the frequency and intensity of precipitation.”

The Trespass is for the defendant’s conduct, which “… was substantially certain to result in the invasion of property owned by the City, without permission or right of entry, by way of increased heat, sea level rise, storm surge flooding, and flooding from increased intensity and frequency of precipitation.”

As Russell Cook notified SEPP, in its arguments the City stated:

“Between 1998 and 2014, Exxon paid millions of dollars to organizations to promote disinformation on climate change. During the early- to mid-1990s, Exxon directed some of this funding to Dr. Fred Seitz, Dr. Fred Singer, and/or Seitz and Singer’s Science and Environmental Policy Project (“SEPP”) in order to launch repeated attacks on mainstream climate science and IPCC conclusions, even as Exxon scientists participated in the IPCC process. Dr. Seitz and Dr. Singer were not climate scientists. Dr. Seitz, Dr. Singer, and SEPP had previously been paid by the tobacco industry to create doubt in the public mind about the hazards of smoking.

“An Exxon-funded scientist, Dr. Fred Seitz, who formerly had worked for R.J. Reynolds and founded organizations to deny tobacco science, published a Wall Street Journal op-ed that falsely claimed that Dr. Santer had violated IPCC protocol in changing a draft version of the report—a claim subsequently refuted by the IPCC chairman. Nonetheless, Dr. Seitz and another scientist funded by Exxon, Dr. Fred Singer (who also had been a tobacco denier, infamous for attacking EPA’s draft secondhand smoke rule as “junk science”), launched a dizzying array of attacks on Dr. Santer that to this day remain alive and well on the web.”

“Senior Fraser Institute Fellow Dr. Ross McKitrick and a co-author then published a supposed refutation of Dr. Mann’s “hockey stick” graph. Dr. McKitrick was an economist, not a scientist, and his co-author was a mining company executive. In 2003, the McIntyre and McKitrick paper was rushed into print, without peer review and, in a departure from the standard scientific practice, without offering Dr. Mann and his co-authors an opportunity to respond prior to publication. The McIntyre and McKitrick paper was subsequently debunked, but the smear of Dr. Mann’s work remains available on the web today and continues to be cited by climate deniers. Exxon’s promotion by deception thus lives on.

“One of Defendants’ most frequently used denialists has been an aerospace engineer named Dr. Wei Hock Soon. Between 2001 and 2012, various fossil fuel interests, including Exxon and the API, paid Dr. Soon over $1.2 million. Dr. Soon was the lead author of a 2003 article that argued that the climate had not changed significantly.

Of course, the statements regarding payments to SEPP, Chairman Emeritus Fred Singer, and the late Fredrick Seitz are unsubstantiated. Payments by tobacco companies are myth, never been established.

Accusations are not evidence, but all too popular by those trying to smother disagreement with their views. To them, facts are not important, only shrillness.

Ross McKitrick responded to these false claims. Wall Street Journal columnist Holman Jenkins summed up key parts. Among other issues, most of the world’s oil is controlled by governments or government controlled companies. Continuing his argument, what is the next step – sue Russia, Saudi Arabia, China, Venezuela? Sue all fossil fuel companies and users, especially those producing reliable electricity? Sue the sun and the orbit of the planet for causing 120 meters (400 feet) of sea level rise over the past 18,000 years, thus causing trespass onto NYC? See Article # 1 and links under Defending the Orthodoxy and Litigation Issues.


Number of the Week: Minus 88℉ (minus 67℃). According to Accuweather, the temperature around Yakutia, the capital city of the Sakha Republic, Russia, in eastern Siberia, population of 270,000, about 450 kilometers (280 mi) south of the Arctic Circle went to Minus 88°F (minus 67°C) this week. Apparently, schools were cancelled. No mention if CO2-caused climate change was blamed. See links under Changing Weather.



1. Climate Change Is the Liberal Non-Agenda

For New York’s Bill de Blasio, suing big oil is a placeholder for the purpose he hasn’t found.

By Holman Jenkins, WSJ, Jan 19, 2018


SUMMARY: Prior to concluding that the action is little more than “smoke and mirrors, the Columnist writes:

“Fulfilling every stereotype of the phoney-baloney politician, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio last week sued the oil industry.

“His argument, that oil companies cause a public nuisance in the form of greenhouse gases, has already been rejected by the U.S. Supreme Court. The five companies he wishes to blame for rising seas and unpleasant storms account for a tiny share of global CO2 output. Most of the world’s energy reserves are government-owned. The oil performed exactly as advertised. The public got exactly the benefit it expected. Where is the fraud?

“’The City . . . does not seek to restrain Defendants from engaging in their business operations,’ the lawsuit says. The city isn’t trying to stop climate change but to share in the booty. If New York and other locales that have launched or contemplated such lawsuits want to tax energy, why don’t they just tax energy?

“Never mind. Not 10 members of Congress or most other elected officials could, within an order of magnitude, describe the CO2 component of the atmosphere. They couldn’t explain the misnamed greenhouse effect or what climate sensitivity is.

“And for good reason: Learning anything about the subject would be a waste of their time when their positions were long ago pre-determined by which party they belong to and who their constituents are.

“Those who find the Donald Trump Show some awful tragedy rather than a satirical extravaganza perhaps suffer a mistaken belief that he interrupted a political discourse that was operating on a high level.

“Mr. de Blasio is an unusually lanky case in point. “It’s up to the fossil fuel companies whose greed put us in this position to shoulder the cost of making New York safer and more resilient,” he explained. So residents can go on enjoying their energy-rich, fossil fuel-enabled lifestyles, he didn’t add.

“As a New York Times headline put it, ‘Battling Climate Change from the Back Seat of an S.U.V.’

“The Sierra Club’s Michael Brune, with unintended irony, said, ‘This is what climate leadership looks like.’

“Uh huh. This is exactly what climate leadership looks like nowadays. Under a whole range of likely future climate scenarios, the cost-benefit trade-off of meaningful action has become an impossible sell to voters and even in terms of payoff for distant generations.

“But a meme is a terrible thing to waste. Keep the climate panic fluffed in the minds of receptive voters to promote careers like Mr. de Blasio’s, or to extract political rents for the green-energy impresarios who increasingly nestle in both parties.

“Why don’t people like Mr. de Blasio put their effort into building support for something useful like a carbon tax, which could be sanely applied whatever the truth of climate change?

“Because there is no upside for anybody—I mean anybody. For one thing, a carbon tax that set off a genuine competition for low-carbon solutions would not necessarily benefit today’s promoters of electric cars, wind farms, solar power or carbon sequestration. Better to get subsidies directly from politicians for their activities than take the chance that these solutions fail in the marketplace as efficient ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.



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