Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #329

Brought to You by www.SEPP.org, The Science and Environmental Policy Project

By Ken Haapala, President

McKitrick-Christy Hypothesis Test: Last week’s TWTW discussed a test on the ability of climate models (a mean of the models used) to describe a 60 year-warming of slivers a layer of the atmosphere as measured by instruments in weather balloons. The area of the atmosphere of interest is the tropical troposphere at 200 to 300 millibar, about 30,000 to 40,000 feet (9100 to 12200m). Three different radiosonde data sets are used. For the averages from the models they use all 102 model runs in the CMIP5 archive.

The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) consisting of 20 climate modeling groups, world-wide was convened in 2008 to prepare for the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5) of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

“CMIP5 will notably provide a multi-model context for 1) assessing the mechanisms responsible for model differences in poorly understood feedbacks associated with the carbon cycle and with clouds, 2) examining climate predictability and exploring the ability of models to predict climate on decadal time scales, and, more generally, 3) determining why similarly forced models produce a range of responses.”

In a September 17 post on Judith Curry’s web site, Ross McKitrick summarized the McKitrick-Christy paper and their findings. For some reason the post omitted the actual values in discussing the discrepancy between observed and models. This was later corrected by McKitrick in the comments section. The trend numbers are:


“0.33 +/- 0.13 C/decade in the models and 0.17 +/- 0.06 C/decade in the observations. With a break term included they are, respectively, 0.39 +/- 0.17 C/decade (models) and 0.14 +/- 0.12 C/decade (observed).”

It is clear that the “improved” CMIP5 fail the hypothesis by significantly overestimating a warming trend in the atmosphere, over the tropics, where the modelers have insisted that the warming would be most pronounced. Further, the hypothesis test is backed up by similar findings for the entire bulk atmosphere above the tropics using 39 years of satellite observations of temperature trends. The IPCC and its followers have no basis for relying on CMIP5 models for their reports on the influence of greenhouse gases on temperatures and for making recommendations.

It is important to note that these trends are calculated by using regression analysis across the data, which produces a linear trend and may include factors other than greenhouse gases. Decades of experimentation across numerous laboratories showed the relationship between carbon dioxide (CO2) and temperatures is logarithmic. If plotted on a graph with temperatures on the vertical axis and CO2 concentration on the horizonal axis, at the current CO2 concentrations, the curve would be approaching a horizontal line, where a significant change in CO2 concentration is needed to produce a meaningful change in temperatures.

The 1979 Charney Report asserted that the CO2-caused warming would be amplified by water vapor, while the 1979 Jason Report asserted amplified warming would come from enhanced absorption by weak CO2 bands in the 8-12-micron region. Both reports were speculative, having no hard evidence. Over 39 years of satellite temperature trends do not indicate a water vapor amplification of CO2-caused warming or an enhanced warming by weak CO2 bands. The latter would only broaden absorption by CO2 slightly, not amplify it.

SEPP continues to seek evidence consistent with atmospheric temperature trends that indicates a CO2-caused warming will be amplified by another means. Of course, climate models that fail basic tests are not evidence. Interestingly, McKitrick begins his discussion on the Curry website discussing a recent book that attempts to resurrect the Santer “distinct human fingerprint.”

As discussed by historian Bernie Lewin, this “fingerprint” was “detected” by Santer in a conference in Madrid in November 1995 by the IPCC science working group. The “fingerprint” was to appear in a future work by Santer, breaking IPCC rules that a work must be published to be considered.

Further, McKitrick states, Santer truncated the data to fit his claim, rather than adjusting the claim to fit the data. A 2007 paper by David Douglass, John Christy, Benjamin Pearson and Fred Singer demonstrated the mismatch between models and observations in the tropical troposphere, which the new book attempts to refute.

It should be noted that McKitrick & Christy received no funding for their paper. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, https://cmip.llnl.gov/cmip5/., and https://enthusiasmscepticismscience.wordpress.com/2015/11/21/remembering-madrid-95-a-meeting-that-changed-the-world-2/


Quote of the Week: “In a similar way, I calculate that a reduction in the amount of CO2 by half, or a gain to twice the amount, would cause a temperature change of – 1.5 degrees C, or + 1.6 degrees C, respectively.” ― Svante Arrhenius (1906)

Number of the Week: 94


Founder of Climate Science? According to archived pages at NASA’s Earth Observatory, Chemist Svante Arrhenius was the first to investigate the effect that doubling atmospheric carbon dioxide would have on global climate. He did so in a paper presented in 1895 at the Stockholm Physical Society. He made extensive calculations on the temperature effects of increasing and decreasing carbon dioxide trying to explain ice ages. He claimed that:

“temperature of the Arctic regions would rise about 8 degrees or 9 degrees Celsius, if the carbonic acid [CO2] increased 2.5 to 3 times its present value. In order to get the temperature of the ice age between the 40th and 50th parallels, the carbonic acid in the air should sink to 0.62 to 0.55 of present value (lowering the temperature 4 degrees to 5 degrees Celsius).”

The difficulty of explaining Ice Ages, particularly what triggers a melting in the Northern Hemisphere, is still with us and was discussed in last week’s TWTW. We still do not understand the issue Arrhenius was addressing, but by laboratory experiments and observations better understand the influence of CO2 on atmospheric temperatures.

Unfortunately, the 1895 of Arrhenius is commonly cited in claims by those who maintain that climate science is well understood, such as the EPA and the National Academy of Sciences. They reference the 1895 work, but do not reference the 1906 revision, which lowered the estimates by Arrhenius on the influence of CO2 on temperatures. The 1906 work was published in German, and was translated in 2014 by Friends of Science, a non-profit based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

The 1906 work is quoted above. As a result, the much-quoted claim that Arrhenius said doubling CO2 would cause a change of 5ºC can be permanently set aside. The latter work of Arrhenius is at the low end of the rage of possibilities the IPCC has been declaring for over 25 years. One can speculate whether the 1906 version had been understood, would the US have spent over $40 billion on what government reports call “climate science.”

SEPP Chairman Tom Sheahen worked on experiments at the National Bureau of Standards (Now NIST) on the influences of atmospheric gases on radiant energy. On reviewing the 1906 work of Arrhenius, he stated that apparently Arrhenius didn’t know that the CO2 and the H2O absorption bands overlap in the infrared region around 15 microns. Evidently, by the early 20th century, nobody had done a careful study of the infrared absorption by H2O. Yet, a doubling of H2O happens almost daily in many places. To us, the paper is only of historical interest. The field of infrared measurements has advanced a thousand-fold since Arrhenius’ days.

It is saddening to realize that we are experiencing an extensive political movement, claiming to be scientific, demanding expensive policy changes, that is built on ignorance of pertinent scientific advances over the last 100 years. That is why the link to the Arrhenius paper is under Challenging the Orthodoxy, also see https://www.friendsofscience.org/


Another Point of View: The generally established center for measuring the atmospheric concentration of CO2 is the Mauna Loa Observatory, Hawaii. Craig Idso of CO2 Science reported a study on temperature change at Mauna Loa and five other isolated CO2 observatories. Researchers Liu, X. and Chen, J reported there is no doubt that CO2 has been increasing, but there appears to be no statistical relationship between CO2 and temperatures at these isolated observatories. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Hard Science Needed? EPA Veteran Alan Carlin correctly notes that few commentators on either side of the issue on the influence of CO2 on world temperatures insist on mathematically rigorous tests, such as those used in econometrics, of the major hypotheses that are involved.. Such rigorous testing must be done if one faces the task of litigating the EPA finding that Greenhouse Gases endanger human health and welfare, or any number of issues under the Clean Air Act.

Yet, those advocating the fear of carbon dioxide use econometric models, sometimes to a ridiculous degree, to claim harm from burning fossil fuels. Yet, their tests for CO2-caused warming are extremely weak. One must note that once respectable scientific journals have become so politicized on the issue of CO2-caused warming, that it is virtually impossible for skeptics of CO2-caused warming to have their work published in major journals. But, now some avenues for publishing are opening.

For CO2-caused global warming skeptics who use these avenues, publications in less than premier journals do not aid advancement in academic settings or the ability to obtain research grants. That may be one reason skeptics tend to be older and even retired.

However, the papers by McKitrick and Christy and by Liu and Chen (cited above) use statistical methods to show the poor relationship between models and observations and between CO2 and temperatures at isolated observatories, respectively.

In the comments section of the post on Curry’s website, McKitrick states that it is doubtful the IPCC will consider the McKitrick-Christy paper in the upcoming Assessment Report Six, it might be too late. However, a more interesting question is: Will the Department of Energy consider such papers and tests of hypotheses in preparing its new global climate model, E3SM? See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Defending the Orthodoxy.


Refrigerator in Your Pocket? Manhattan Institute Fellow Mark Mills is undertaking a new series on changing use of electricity, particularly the energy costs of processing and moving data. The infrastructure needed for data can be massive. Mills states: “that the 10 biggest datacenters in the world have more square footage collectively than do the top 10 skyscrapers.” Mills asserts that a single smartphone requires as much electricity to run as a refrigerator, when all the back-up is taken into consideration.

Greenpeace is involved in a publicity campaign attempting to “shame” data centers to subsidize wind and solar. This is not helpful to the public at all. One of the biggest costs of electricity to the grid is making it reliable, within tight tolerances. The costs are borne by the transmission companies and passed on to all customers.

The grid has been described by engineers to be a robust, well designed and reliable machine. The only thing reliable about wind and solar power are that they will fail. They are defective. Only a fool or zealot would put defective parts into a reliable machine. It will be interesting to read how Mills develops this series of essays. Also, it will be interesting to see how California develops its goal of going 100% renewable by 2045. See links under Questioning the Orthodoxy.


Number of the Week: 94. On Thursday, September 27, 2018, SEPP Chairman Emeritus S. Fred Singer will be celebrating his 94th birthday.



1. Colorado’s Fracking Fright

Proposition 112 would prohibit almost all new oil and gas production.

Editorial, WSJ, Sep 20, 2018


SUMMARY: The editorial states:

“California normally gets all the attention on the front lines of environmental activism. Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a bill to “decarbonize” all electricity production by 2045. But in real-world implications for the rest of the country, Colorado also deserves attention. A measure heading for the fall ballot would shut down nearly all oil and gas production in one of the top energy-producing states.


“Colorado’s current rules on energy production prohibit oil and gas operations within 500 feet of a home or 1,000 feet of a school or hospital. But an environmental group called Colorado Rising has collected enough signatures for a proposal on the November ballot to expand these buffer zones and effectively create bans in nearly all of the state.


“Proposition 112 would restrict new energy development within a 2,500-foot radius of any building, playground, amphitheater, park, body of water or “any other additional vulnerable areas designated by the state or local government.” The restrictions rule out 85% of all non-federal land in the state, according to the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission. In the five counties that produce 90% to 95% of Colorado’s oil and gas, 94% of non-federal land would be off-limits. The implications of such a ban would be national. Colorado ranks fifth among the states in production of natural gas and seventh for oil.


“In the first year the restrictions would take $201 million to $258 million out of state and local tax revenue. As energy production dwindled, that loss could rise to $1.1 billion annually by 2030, according to a Common Sense Policy Roundtable analysis reviewed by faculty from the Colorado School of Mines. The ban could kill up to 147,800 jobs and reduce state GDP by perhaps $218 billion between 2018 and 2030.


After stating that candidates for governor from both major parties oppose the proposition, the editorial continues:


“Score one for the reality check of having to face voters in a general election. In 2014 [Democrat candidate] Mr. Polis financed campaigns for ballot initiatives to expand buffer zones and allow more local restrictions on energy production. Prop. 112’s restrictions go further.


“Colorado isn’t California yet. In 2016 environmentalists failed to get enough signatures to put a similarly draconian measure on the ballot. Also that year, the Colorado Supreme Court overturned a Fort Collins fracking moratorium and a ban in Longmont.


“Colorado Rising claims this new effort was ‘started by local people and grassroots groups across the state.’ That’s false modesty. Spokeswoman Anne Lee Foster admitted that Food and Water Watch and 350.org, both national green groups, had given nearly $250,000 to the effort. The Sierra Club, Greenpeace, the Center for Biological Diversity and Earth Guardians have endorsed Prop. 112.


“If this proposition passes in Colorado, the same de facto bans on energy production will migrate to other states.”


2. Weary of Power Outages, Puerto Ricans Find Solace in Solar

From families to factories, demand rises for renewable energy separate from the unreliable electric grid

By Erin Ailworth and Arian Campo-Flores, WSJ, Sep 21, 2018


[SEPP Comment: The sad state of affairs in Puerto Rico where citizens and businesses are turning to erratic solar power because it is more reliable than the state-run utilities.]

SUMMARY: The article begins:

“Rafael Guzmán and Leinaí Romero spent more than four months without power after Hurricane Maria struck last September, relying on a generator to run a refrigerator, two fans and cellphone chargers. When the married couple learned in April they were having a baby, they made a pledge: ‘We aren’t going through that again.’


“They installed 16 solar panels on the roof of their home in Caguas, south of San Juan, and a battery that charges during the day and allows them to run appliances and a TV at night, said Mr. Guzmán, a 29-year-old accountant.


“With a financing plan to cover the $21,000 price tag, their monthly payment of $220 is about the same as their average electric bill before the switch.


“Residents and businesses in Puerto Rico increasingly are investing in renewable-energy technologies, mainly solar, to guard against power outages from the island’s still-rickety electric grid. Solar panel and battery makers like Tesla Inc., Sunrun Inc. and Sonnen are pushing into the market. As Puerto Rico seeks to wean itself off imported fuels to generate power, it is emerging as a proving ground for renewable energy.


“There has been ‘exponential growth for the solar and storage industries in Puerto Rico,’ said Adam Gentner, Sonnen’s director of business development and Latin American expansion.


“The renewable-energy push comes as the U.S. territory’s debt-ridden public power utility, the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, or Prepa, grapples with its future. Last year’s hurricanes devastated the system. All of Prepa’s nearly 1.6 million customers lost power after Hurricane Maria, and only last month did the utility announce it had restored power to all of Puerto Rico.


“Even before that, the island’s electric grid was vulnerable to disruptions. Its power plants are nearly 30 years older than the U.S. average and prone to outages at a rate of 12 times the national average, according to the federal Energy Information Administration.


“Puerto Rico depends on imported fuels, mainly petroleum, which alone accounted for nearly half of its electricity production in the fiscal year ended June 2017, with natural gas and coal accounting for most of the remainder, according to the EIA. About 2% of the island’s power came from renewable resources, including solar and wind.


“Political and business leaders say the island must boost the role of renewable energy, in part to increase the system’s reliability. In July, Puerto Rico Industrial Development Co., an economic development agency, put out a request for proposals for some of its industrial sites that house large companies like Honeywell International Inc. and Baxter International Inc. It aims to equip the facilities with microgrids—local power systems that can disconnect from the main grid and function autonomously—that include renewable sources.


“Homeowners and small- and medium-size businesses are setting up solar systems to supply backup power in the event of an outage. and reduce dependence on the grid. Since Maria, demand for batteries—which allow customers to store solar-generated power—has soared, said Alejandro Uriarte, chief executive of New Energy Consultants & Contractors LLC, a solar installation company in San Juan.”


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