Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #374

The Week That Was: August 31, 2019, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org

By Ken Haapala, The Science and Environmental Policy Project

Quote of the Week: What I cannot create, I do not understand. – Richard Feynman

Number of the Week: 6,000 times more accuracy needed!

Nothing New in AGW: David Whitehead briefly reviews several new studies which demonstrate where and how Global Climate Models are failing. The first one listed, in Science Mag, discusses how humans have been changing the face of the Earth for up to 10,000 years. There is a large project underway, ArchaeoGLOBE, which is gathering data and various areas of the globe, to include change of land use from agriculture be it animal husbandry or farming. Archaeologists have discovered that humans have modified corn for some 10,000 years.

The ArchaeoGLOBE Project was based on a questionnaire to more than 200 archaeologists with 10 distinct time points from 10,000 years ago to 1850. Data were collected for four land use categories: foraging, hunting, gathering and fishing. Such work might provide valuable information on how humans affected different regions of the globe, and what tools were used. Also, the study dispels the common notion than human impact on climate did not start until about 1850, so human impact on nature and climate is nothing new.

Another study Whitehead discusses is the importance of phosphate for the flourishing of aquatic life. Dissolved inorganic phosphate influences the growth, abundance and diversity of phytoplankton. Phosphorus is commonly regarded as the ultimate limiting nutrient, rather than other limiting nutrients such as nitrogen. The importance of phosphate became clear in the US in the 1960s and 1970s when excess phosphate and nitrogen from detergents and other chemicals caused major algae blooms in rivers and freshwater lakes. The EPA monitors water quality for these nutrients.

Phosphate is important for the carbon cycle, for which Whitehouse discusses another study, this one on the horizontal and vertical circulation of the carbon-rich waters of the subpolar Southern Ocean. For example, the Weddell Gyre, a major circulation off the continent of Antarctica, east of the Antarctic Peninsula, is within the Antarctic Circumpolar Current and transports an enormous amount of carbon-containing phytoplankton away from the region. The global climate models do models do not correctly describe this carbon cycle.

The popular press continues with the fad of late August, proclaiming fires in the Amazon are destroying the “lungs of the world.” The claim is based on the misconception that the vegetation in the Amazon converts more carbon dioxide (CO2) and water to glucose (food) and oxygen than any other area.

If there is any region that deserves such a label, it would be the upper several meters of the oceans and fresh-water bodies, where sunlight penetrates. Here, algae, phytoplankton, and cyanobacteria flourish by using photosynthesis. But it is unlikely that the popular press and environmental groups will make such a correction. After all, “save the Amazon” is a far better rallying cry (slogan) than “save the pond scum.” See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Questioning the Orthodoxy, and Communicating Better to the Public – Exaggerate, or be Vague?


Clouds – Unknown to Models?: For years Richard Lindzen has been stating that the global climate models fail to treat clouds well. His statements contradict claims by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its followers, such as the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which assert that the science is well-established, and the projections / predictions of the models are reliable. Indeed, a critical portion of the EPA’s finding that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare is based on the reliability of the global climate models and their long-term projections / predictions.

On the website No Tricks Zone, Kenneth Richard had a remarkable post on the uncertainty in the global climate models created by the inability to understand the influence of clouds in the climate system. From the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP). From its website:

“The International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) was established in 1982 as part of the World Climate Research Program (WCRP) to collect weather satellite radiance measurements and to analyze them to infer the global distribution of clouds, their properties, and their diurnal, seasonal and interannual variations. The resulting datasets and analysis products are being used to study the role of clouds in climate, both their effects on radiative energy exchanges and their role in the global water cycle.

“The ISCCP cloud datasets provide our first systematic global view of cloud behavior of the space and time scales of the weather yet covering a long enough time period to encompass several El Niño – La Niña cycles…”

Under Cloud Climatology with the subheading Computer Climate Models the website states:

“Because there are so many possibilities for change, climatologists must know how clouds over the entire Earth will respond. Determining that response calls for computer models of the global climate that can explore changing conditions. Climate models are sets of mathematical equations that describe the properties of Earth’s atmosphere at discrete places and times, along with the ways such properties can change. The challenge for climate models is to account for the most important physical processes, including cloud microphysics and cloud dynamics, and their complex interactions accurately enough to carry climatic predictions tens of years into the future. When contemporary models are given information about Earth’s present condition — the size, shape and topography of the continents; the composition of the atmosphere; the amount of sunlight striking the globe — they create artificial climates that mathematically resemble the real one: their temperatures and winds are accurate to within about 5%, but their clouds and rainfall are only accurate to within about 25-35%. Such models can also accurately forecast the temperatures and winds of the weather many days ahead when given information about current conditions.

TWTW wonders what is meant by saying temperatures are accurate to within about 5%. Earth’s temperature is about 288 K, or which +/- 5 percent is about +/- 14 K (= +/- 14 ºC), whereas changes in worldwide temperature averages are in the 1 ºC range. The website continues:

“Unfortunately, such a margin of error is much too large for making a reliable forecast about climate changes, such as the global warming will result from increasing abundances of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. A doubling in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), predicted to take place in the next 50 to 100 years, is expected to change the radiation balance at the surface by only about 2 percent. Yet according to current climate models, such a small change could raise global mean surface temperatures by between 2-5°C (4-9°F), with potentially dramatic consequences. If a 2 percent change is that important, then a climate model to be useful must be accurate to something like 0.25%. Thus, today’s models must be improved by about a hundredfold in accuracy, a very challenging task. To develop a much better understanding of clouds, radiation and precipitation, as well as many other climate processes, we need much better observations.” [Boldface added]

The website is a joint effort by ISCCP, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (NASA-GISS) and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. Even if one accepts the claim that models

“… create artificial climates that mathematically resemble the real one: their temperatures and winds are accurate to within about 5%,”

is correct, the use of models to support the EPA’s Endangerment Finding is contradicted by major government entities involved in modeling. A one-hundred-fold improvement in accuracy is needed before the models are suitable for long-term projections / predictions.

As explained below, TWTW strongly disagrees with the estimates of error in temperatures. But the key point is that the modelers realize that their models are not sufficiently accurate to be used as the UN-IPCC, USGCRP, and EPA use them. See links under Problems in the Orthodoxy.


The Greenhouse Effect – NCAR Models: NCAR is an organization sponsored by the National Science Foundation and managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. It has a total staff of about 1300 with about 80% at NCAR and 20% at UCAR. In 2018 its budget was $227 million, $166.6 million for NCAR and $50.4 million for UCAR and its community programs. 115 colleges and universities participate in governing UCAR.

The principal modeling effort is the CESM Large Ensemble Project with simulations performed with the nominal 1-degree latitude/longitude version of the Community Earth System Model version 1 (CESM1) with CAM5.2 as its atmospheric component. The surface simulations cover from 1920 to 2100 and with 40 major computer runs. According to the website:

“The Large Ensemble Project also includes a set of multi-century control simulations with the atmosphere, slab-ocean, and fully-coupled versions of CESM1 under pre-industrial (1850) radiative forcing conditions (2600 years, 900 years and 1800 years in length, respectively).”

It is not clear what sources of data have been used for these multi-year runs. But the results of the 40 runs of the Community Earth System Model give a wide range of possible climates. The website states:

“With only a single model run, scientists are limited in what they can conclude when an observation doesn’t match up with a model’s projection. For example, if the Arctic sea ice extent were to expand, even though the model projected a decline, what would that mean? Is the physics underlying the model wrong? Or does the model incorrectly capture the natural variability? In other words, if you ran the model more times, with slightly different starting conditions, would one of the model runs correctly project the growth in sea ice?

“The Large Ensemble helps answer that question. Armed with 40 different simulations, scientists can characterize the range of historic natural variability. With this information, they can determine if observations fit within the envelope of natural variability outlined in the model, instead of comparing them to a single run.

“Creating an envelope of what can be considered natural also makes it possible to see when the signal of human-caused climate change has pushed an observation beyond the natural variability. The Large Ensemble can also clarify the climate change “signal” in the model. That’s because averaging together the 40 ensemble members can effectively cancel out the natural variability — a La Niña in one model run might cancel out an El Niño in another, for example — leaving behind only changes due to climate change.”

The wide range of possible climate is attributed to the butterfly effect, which was described by Professor Edward Lorenz in advancing Chaos Theory. There is a great deal of uncertainty internal to climate science when it is approached from a modeling perspective.

To make matters more complex, the modelers have increased the expected range of temperatures from a doubling of CO2 from 1.5 and 4.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 – 8.1 degrees Fahrenheit) to 5.3°C (10.1°F).

“NCAR’s newest iteration of the Community Earth System Model (CESM2), which was released to the research community last year, is now projecting 5.3°C (10.1°F) of warming if carbon dioxide is doubled. Similar increases in climate sensitivity are also being reported by research teams operating other leading climate models, which are running experiments in preparation for the next report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).”

“’Multiple independent models are coming up with answers that are outside the canonical range from the last 30 years,’ said NCAR scientist Andrew Gettelman, who led the new study. ‘We are concerned there could be something wrong in the model, but we’re even more worried that the model might be right. This magnitude of increase in climate sensitivity increases the risk for extreme climate change impacts.’”

The research was published in the Geophysical Research Letters

“The scientists were ultimately able to show that the biggest difference comes from the way clouds, as well as cloud interactions with the tiny atmospheric particles called aerosols, are represented in the new model. While it’s possible that these representations are inaccurate and are contributing too much to surface warming, the scientists can’t yet determine that with certainty. In fact, the clouds simulated in CESM2 look more realistic than those in its predecessor when compared to observations.”

Atmospheric observations demonstrate that the models greatly overstate the influence of greenhouse gases on temperature trends. But the modelers are so focused on surface temperature trends, that they forget that the greenhouse effect occurs in the atmosphere. See links under Problems in the Orthodoxy


Methane Fears: Claiming that the US government overstepped its authority in regulating methane, the current EPA is proposing relaxing some of the rules of the Obama administration. This is bringing the usual chorus of fears of global warming – methane “is about 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide in trapping the earth’s heat, according to estimates used by the EPA.”

The June 23, 2018, TWTW discussed why fears of global warming from methane are not credible. Decades of laboratory experiments demonstrate that methane absorbs radiation (electromagnetic energy) within narrow wavelengths. In the atmosphere, energy in these wavelengths is absorbed by water vapor, by far the dominant greenhouse gas. There is little remaining energy for methane to absorb and the calculations of enhanced greenhouse from methane are meaningless. If one eliminated water vapor from the atmosphere, then methane could cause minor, not measurable, warming. But the elimination of water vapor would be a greater threat. See link under EPA and other Regulators on the March.


Fearing Deregulation: Reporters for Bloomberg had an article stating that some businesses are objecting to deregulation. This is not surprising. Business have long sought political protection against competition. Adam Smith wrote a book about it, The Wealth of Nations, published in 1776. Smith advocated that the market system, free of undue government regulations, would be a great benefit to the general population rather than the then common mercantilist system, where favored businesses were protected by the crown and certain trade groups by guilds. The language has changed, but the goal is the same – protected profits. See link under Change in US Administrations


UN Climate Fears Week: There have been several articles on the coming UN Climate Action Summit on September 23. This will be followed by Climate Week in New York City September 24-30. The goal is to promote the UN Paris Agreement. The UN post states:

“Climate change is the defining issue of our time and now is the defining moment to do something about it. There is still time to tackle climate change, but it will require an unprecedented effort from all sectors of society. To boost ambition and accelerate actions to implement the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, UN Secretary-General António Guterres will host the 2019 Climate Action Summit on 23 September to meet the climate challenge. The Summit will showcase a leap in collective national political ambition, and it will demonstrate massive movements in the real economy in support of the agenda.”

Other parts of the press release state:

“Global emissions are reaching record levels and show no sign of peaking. The last four years were the four hottest on record, and winter temperatures in the Arctic have risen by 3°C since 1990. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs are dying, and we are starting to see the life-threatening impact of climate change on health, through air pollution, heatwaves and risks to food security.”

“The latest analysis shows that if we act now, we can reduce carbon emissions within 12 years and hold the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2°C and even, as asked by the latest science, to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.”

“UN Secretary-General António Guterres is calling on all leaders to come to New York on 23 September with concrete, realistic plans to enhance their nationally determined contributions by 2020, in line with reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent over the next decade, and to net zero emissions by 2050.” [Boldface in original]

The official sponsor of the follow-up Climate Week is The Climate Group, a UK charity. Although the sponsors include the Office of Mayor of NYC, TWTW found no direct connection to the UN. Originally, the UN was strongly advocated as an alternative to fear of war. Now, it is an advocate of fear of climate change, which has been ongoing for hundreds of millions of years, and fear of prosperity of the general public. See links under: Communicating Better to the Public – Use Propaganda.


Addressing a Real Threat? Recently one of the more discouraging recent activities of the military has been reports of the fear of climate change and drastic sea level rise by the Pentagon, repeated in the latest National Climate Assessment. Certainly, relative sea level rise in the Virginia Beach-Norfolk-Newport News VA-NC Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA, which includes extreme northeastern North Carolina) threatens the largest Navy Base in the US.

But the primary reason is not global sea level rise, but the MSA sinking from groundwater extraction. About 35 million years ago the area was hit by a meteor, making a large crater, which complicates the geography. However, GPS measurements clearly show sinking around two major water wells, northwest and south of the center of the MSA.

The Navy Times reports that the Navy has quietly dropped its climate change task force. Hopefully, the Navy will now address the real threat, the sinking land in the MSA. It would need to work with the political and community leaders to find a solution. TWTW still proposes that the most realistic, cost effective approach is major desalination plants, like the one being successfully used in Carlsbad, California. See link under Change in US Administrations.


Lowering Standards: The flagship publication of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), Science Magazine, dismissed Fred Singer’s rebuttal to the fawning review the magazine gave the Merchants of Doubt, which produced no evidence to back its claims. Admittedly, TWTW is not favorably inclined to AAAS.

Last week, TWTW discussed that a court in Canada found in favor of Tim Ball in Mr. Mann’s lawsuit against him for slander. Among those commenting on the litigation was attorney Francis Menton writing in his blog the Manhattan Contrarian:

“Here’s a twist that is simply beyond belief. On February 17, 2018, the American Association for the Advancement of Science — the largest professional association of scientists in the world, claiming to have more than 120,000 members — gave its supposedly prestigious ‘Public Engagement with Science’ award to none other than Michael Mann. Here is its announcement of the award. Some choice excerpts:

“’The honor recognizes Mann’s ‘tireless efforts to communicate the science of climate change to the media, public and policymakers.’ In the past year, Mann has had 500 media interviews and appearances and directly reached public audiences via social media. . .. He has also advised actor Leonardo DiCaprio, who spoke about climate change during a 2014 speech delivered to the United Nations.’” See links under Oh Mann!




The voting is closed and the winner who most closely meets the qualification is being selected.


Number of the Week: 6,000 times more accuracy needed! According to the calculations made by ISCCP and NASA, to make projections / predictions the models need an increase in accuracy by 100 times the accuracy they have now. But this increase in accuracy is dependent on the claim that the accuracy of the models in temperature and wind is within about 5%.

However, John Christy and his colleagues have shown that in describing temperature trends of the atmosphere, the models overestimate the increases in temperatures trends by about 300% in the critical tropical areas. US models are worse. Thus, the ISCCP and NASA state the performance of the models is 60 times greater than their actual performance where the greenhouse effect occurs.

Using their same rough calculation procedures, one can claim that the increase in model accuracy needed for projections / predictions is not 100 times but by 6,000 times. The EPA Endangerment Finding is on shaky ground.



1. A Famine of Fact at U.N. Climate Panel

The IPCC sounds an alarm about food production, but another U.N. agency’s data show it’s a false one.

By James Taylor, WSJ, Aug 30, 2019


SUMMARY: The director of The Heartland Institute’s Arthur B. Robinson Center on Climate and Environmental Policy writes:

“Global crop production sets new records virtually every year. That didn’t stop the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from publishing an alarmist report Aug. 8 that suggests global warming has devastated crop production and threatens food shortages.

“‘Climate change . . . has adversely impacted food security and terrestrial ecosystems as well as contributed to desertification and land degradation in many regions,’ the report asserts. ‘Warming compounded by drying has caused yield declines in parts of Southern Europe. Based on indigenous and local knowledge, climate change is affecting food security in drylands, particularly those in Africa, and high mountain regions of Asia and South America.’

“At the same time, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reports that new records were set for global corn, wheat and rice production five years running through 2017, the most recent year for which data are available. How is that possible?

“The IPCC report parses words and engages in semantic tricks to give readers a false impression of declining global crop production. Note the reference to declining yields in ‘parts’ of Southern Europe. The report doesn’t mention that yields are increasing in Southern Europe as a whole. What sense does it make to blame declining yields in a small portion of the world on global warming without crediting global warming for global gains?

“The IPCC claims that ‘indigenous and local knowledge’—as distinct from objectively quantifiable data—supports its claim of declining food production in ‘drylands’ of Africa, Asia and South America. Yet data show crop yields are increasing throughout all three continents and in almost all the nations characterized by drylands.”

Mr. Taylor concludes with organizations making false claims.


2. Bernie’s Green Leap Forward

Cost: $16 trillion. Fracking: banned. Oil CEOs: in jail.

Editorial, WSJ, Aug 25, 2019


SUMMARY: The editorial starts:

“Bernie Sanders published his version of the Green New Deal last week, and it’s written with all the realism voters have come to expect. Start with its price: ‘an historic $16.3 trillion.’ That’s 10 times Joe Biden ’s climate plan, which is wild already. For the record, America’s annual economy is about $21 trillion.

“Mr. Sanders says climate change ‘shares similarities with the crisis faced by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the 1940s,’ when the U.S. ‘within three short years restructured the entire economy.’ Oh, the good old days of coffee and meat rationing. Maybe that isn’t what Mr. Sanders has in mind, but he pledges to declare a national emergency and push through ‘a wholesale transformation of our society.’

“To start, he’d switch electricity and transportation to 100% renewables by 2030. He would ban fracking; ban drilling offshore and on federal lands; ban ‘imports and exports of fossil fuels’; cancel oil pipelines already being built; and halt permitting of ‘new fossil fuel extraction, transportation, and refining infrastructure.’

The key points are [summarized]:

“Nuclear power would be phased out. ..”

“Mr. Sanders will make railroads retrofit their ‘coal and oil bomb trains.’ “

“To keep the rest of business in line, the Treasury and the Environmental Protection Agency would ‘monitor investments and actions made around the globe.’ “

“Workers in the fossil-fuel industry would be given a ‘just transition,’ “

“Let’s not ignore the many spending line-items in Mr. Sanders’s agenda:

• $2.2 trillion to help small businesses and families in ‘weatherizing and retrofitting.’

• $2.1 trillion to help companies and families ‘trade in their fossil fuel-dependent vehicles for new electric vehicles.’

• $607 billion for a ‘regional high-speed rail system.’

• $527 billion to offer ‘free, universal school meals,’ as well as to expand food stamps. This is part of his Green New Deal ‘because the cost of energy and food are so intertwined.’

• $407 billion to ‘replace all school and transit buses with electric buses.’

• $216 billion for truckers to ‘replace all diesel tractor trailer trucks.’

• $36 billion to help people ‘transform their lawns into food-producing or reforested spaces.’

The editorial continues:

“At some point the eyes glaze over. Yet there’s much more, from spending on broadband internet to money for ‘farmers of color.’ Bernie’s plan, at least on our office printer, runs to 37 pages. (Sorry, trees.)

“The virtue of all this for Democratic voters is that it shows what Bernie’s Manichaean socialism would entail as he unleashes the federal government to fine-tune every aspect of American life. Joe Biden’s $1.7 trillion climate plan is a fever dream. Mr. Sanders makes him look almost reasonable.”


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