The Week That Was: January 18, 2020, Brought to You by www.SEPP.org
By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project
The Greenhouse Effect – Different Results: It appears that no one involved in climate change issues disagrees with the concept that the greenhouse effect occurs in the atmosphere. A major issue is how to best calculate it. The key component is estimating: How much humans are changing the greenhouse effect by adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere?
As readers realize, TWTW considers the finest comprehensive temperature dataset is that from the Earth System Science Center of the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). The world-wide temperature average, after all, requires data from the entire earth, not just samples scattered around from place to place on land, and even more sparsely in the oceans. Moreover, after issues with orbits were discovered, UAH now has one satellite that is rigorously kept at constant altitude to serve as a standard for the others.
These data are not perfect. The data are influenced by the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO, El Niño warming and La Niña cooling), volcanoes (cooling), and irregularities in satellite orbits, now corrected. They are published monthly for all to criticize and are independently verified by datasets obtained by observations from weather balloons, and calculations from reanalyzes of daily weather reports.
By contrast, the surface data used by global climate modelers are sparse (spotty), have vast gaps in coverage, are inconsistent, and have been manipulated after their original publication without proper explanation. These adjustments are made under the claim of homogenization.
The measured temperature trend of the atmosphere, as measured by satellite using all data from the launch of the program in December 1978 until the present, is a rise of 1.3 ºC per century. What is not known is how much of that warming is due to natural causes, and how much is due to increasing atmospheric CO2. The Transient Climate response (TCR) is the predicted (i.e., modeled) temperature rise that would occur by the time the amount of CO2 has doubled, but before the longer time required for the oceans to heat up.
In 2017, John Christy and Richard McNider published a paper demonstrating the enormous difference in calculated temperatures between
a) temperature trends observed in the atmosphere after the influences ENSO and volcanoes are removed, and
b) temperature trends of the atmosphere calculated by the climate models used by the IPCC.
On a per-decade basis, the calculated warming using atmospheric observations from January 1979 to June 2017 was +0.096 ⁰K (C) per decade, adjusted for ENSO and volcanoes, and +0.155 ⁰K (C) not adjusted for ENSO and volcanoes. Extrapolated, the adjusted result is slightly less than 1 K (C) per century, with CO2 emissions continuing to grow. Since the greenhouse effect of CO2 declines per unit as the total amount increases (diminishing returns), the expected increase in temperature from growing CO2 emissions by the end of this century is less than 1 ⁰K (C).
Based on atmospheric observations, there is little to be feared from increasing CO2 emissions. The calculated trends using climate models result in predictions of more than twice that of calculations using actual atmospheric temperature trends. In the critical tropical areas, the differences are even greater. Thus, fears of a climate crisis are not supported at all by the finest actual atmospheric observations available.
How can an atmosphere, which is warming slightly, cause a significantly greater warming of the surface, which the UN and its followers call dangerous? This is a question which the global climate modelers are trying to explain, and it will be a theme in this and several upcoming TWTWs. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Model Issues.
[Note: The adjustments to the TCR, to achieve a so-called Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (ECS), often result in a far greater claimed temperature response to carbon dioxide. No one has successfully identified an equilibrium climate in the earth’s existence. Thus, the concept has little meaning. The IPCC tried established an equilibrium climate for the prior one thousand years by using the infamous hockey-stick in the Summary for Policymakers of Third Assessment Report (AR-3, 2001). But that effort failed. The climate has warmed and cooled for hundreds of millions of years and as warmed and cooled for the past 1000 years. Now, the IPCC and its supporters refer to a vague “pre-industrial climate” (starting about 1850). But a pre-industrial climate can include ice ages (such as the Cryogenian Period) or past warm periods, warmer than today, (such as the Cretaceous Period), as well as many cold and warm periods that have occurred since the end of the Pleistocene Epoch.
Model Mysteries – EEI: Writing in Judith Curry’s website, Climate Etc., Frank Bosse explains the current attempts to increase the calculated CO2-induced warming to an extent that may be alarming. He brings up the concept of using calculations of the Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI) based on satellite observations using NASA’s Clouds and the Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES).
“For more than 30 years, the Science Directorate at NASA’s Langley Research Center has shaped how scientists measure Earth’s incoming and outgoing energy. The CERES Science, Data Management, Data Processing and Stewardship Teams are devoted to providing valuable Earth Radiation Budget data to the science community. The CERES experiment is one of the highest priority scientific satellite instruments developed for NASA’s Earth Observing System (EOS). The first CERES instrument was launched in December of 1997 aboard NASA’s Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM), CERES instruments are collecting observations on three separate satellite missions, including the EOS Terra and Aqua observatories, the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (S-NPP) observatory, and soon, the Joint Polar Satellite System, a partnership between NASA and NOAA. CERES FM6 launched on November 18, 2017 aboard NOAA-20, becoming the last in a generation of successful CERES instruments that help us to better observe and study Earth’s interconnected natural systems with long-term data records.”
There appear to be several major issues using this approach. One issue is that the concept requires subtracting one huge number from another huge number, and uncertainties in the numbers may easily be far greater than the difference between the numbers. A second issue is that the entire dataset, from 2000 to 2018, indicates that the Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI) may be declining. Could the earth be cooling as CO2 emissions are increasing? Bosse discusses a paper by Dewitte, Clerbaus, and Cornelis, the abstract of which states:
Decadal changes of the Reflected Solar Radiation (RSR) as measured by CERES from 2000 to 2018 are analysed. For both polar regions, changes of the clear-sky RSR correlate well with changes of the Sea Ice Extent. In the Arctic, sea ice is clearly melting, and as a result the earth is becoming darker under clear-sky conditions. However, the correlation between the global all-sky RSR and the polar clear-sky RSR changes is low. Moreover, the RSR and the Outgoing Longwave Radiation (OLR) changes are negatively correlated, so they partly cancel each other. The increase of the OLR is higher than the decrease of the RSR. Also, the incoming solar radiation is decreasing. As a result, over the 2000–2018 period the Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI) appears to have a downward trend of −0.16 ± 0.11 W/m2dec. The EEI trend agrees with a trend of the Ocean Heat Content Time Derivative of −0.26 ± 0.06 (1 σ) W/m2dec. [Boldface added.]
This results in serious problems to efforts to claim that the Earth is heating dangerously. But the period is short, less than 20 years. Others have attempted to relate EEI with longer-term Ocean Heat Content (OHC) data, a dubious effort unless there is significant tightly overlapping data.
Furthermore, as stated above for EEI estimates, estimates of Ocean Heat Content (OHC) require subtracting one huge number from another huge number and thus the errors in the estimates of the numbers may be far greater than the difference between the numbers. In the case of OHC, the estimates are in units of Zettajoules (ZJ) – one sextillion, or ten raised to the 21st power, or the estimated total energy of estimated petroleum reserves as of 2010, or one power of 10 less than the solar energy hitting the earth’s surface each day.
Writing in GWPF, David Whitehouse critiques the entire process and units of measurements. He states about the latest paper published in 2020:
“The bottom line of this paper is that according to the authors using this relatively new technique they have of replacing no [existing] temperature [record] with synthetic data the world’s oceans (parts of them) have increased in temperature by less than 0.1 degrees C in 60 years.” [Boldface and brackets added.]
Similar to the “pause” of no temperature increase after the 1998 El Niño, a “pause” in Earth Energy Imbalance (EEI) is giving climate modelers difficulty. According to Bosse, efforts by climate modelers to summarize such research is described in a paper by Femke, Nijsse, Cox, and Williamson that is available in preprint. They claim that the newest set of earth system models (ESMs), CMIP6, constrain the temporary, transient climate response (TCR) to a doubling of CO2. Yet, the modelers calculate greater equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS).
Thus, this shift in emphasis from ECS to TCR, provides a possible explanation for the “pause” in EEI. What the modelers really do is forecast / project / predict a greater, long-term response, or equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS), which is unwarranted by the data, thus raising the alarm.
The modelers are developing a clever way to avoid responsibility for their irresponsible forecasts. The long term may be 1000 years. The modelers can always claim that climate equilibrium has not been reached. Thus, it is an imaginary concept.
Upcoming TWTWs will examine the transient climate response (TCR) and equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) for a doubling of CO2 produced by four major US modeling groups: the Department of Energy (E3SM); National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR-CESM2); NASA (NASA-GISS); and NOAA (NOAA-GFDL). Although the trend is clear, the differences among them may be surprising. For further discussion and problems with models and measurement of ocean heat content, see links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Defending the Orthodoxy.
Australia Bushfires: Seasonal rains have come to Australia, prompting new fears that the needed rain will raise CO2 emissions and the burnt bush will pollute water sources. Apparently, some people need to spread fear no matter the season.
On her blog, Australian Jennifer Marohasy posts a summary of what has been occurring to temperature records in Australia. She writes:
“Blaming the recent fires on climate change is to rewrite our temperature history, something the Australian Bureau of Meteorology has been doing for some time. This has involved the:
1. [baseless] remodelling of measured values
2. addition of hotter locations to only the most recent years in the compilation of a national average trend
3. transition to electronic probes that are designed to record hotter for the same weather, and
4. deleting of the hottest day in the official record, which was January 3, 1909.”
Also, firefighters and foresters provide their views of what has occurred in government policies. The issues include the problem of fuels, measuring the intensity of fires, and ability to extinguish fires. Hot, dry, windy weather, and fuels are the mix needed for high intensity fires, which burn the humus (organic matter in the soil).
They recommend controlling the fuel in the big areas of Australia as the indigenous people did. Unfortunately, a maze of recent regulations makes bush control too difficult. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy, Science, Policy, and Evidence, Changing Weather – Australia and Brushfires and Floods, and Communicating Better to the Public – Use Yellow (Green) Journalism?
Philosophical Issues: Writing in the Australian publication Quadrant, Aynsley Kellow, Professor Emeritus of Government at the University of Tasmania, discusses the lure of the apocalypse. He states that he is a recovering apocaholic. He starts his lengthy essay by quoting an 1816 letter from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams:
There are indeed (who might say Nay) gloomy & hypochondriac minds, inhabitants of diseased bodies, disgusted with the present, & despairing of the future; always counting that the worst will happen, because it may happen. To these I say How much pain have cost us the evils which have never happened!
Kellow discusses the popularity of thinking that disaster is about to happen and the IPCC’s computer-generated warming. He brings up the 1990 challenge to the IPCC by Robert Jastrow, William Nierenberg and Frederick Seitz. [The SEPP Annual Seitz Award is in honor of Frederick Seitz.] Though Kellow does not mention it, these three and SEPP Chairman emeritus Fred Singer were the subject of many insulting, unsubstantiated claims by Oreskes and Conway in “Merchants of Doubt.” A glowing review of the book was published in Science Mag., which rejected a prompt rebuttal by the only surviving member of the four, Fred Singer.
Kellow gives a brief account of what has happened since, and concludes:
“We could do no better in the face of these apocaholics than to note the response of Thomas Babington Macaulay to Thomas Malthus in 1830:
We cannot absolutely prove that those are in error who tell us that society has reached a turning point, that we have seen our best days. But so said all before us, and with just as much apparent reason … On what principle is it that, when we see nothing but improvement behind us, we are to expect nothing but deterioration before us?
Apocalypticism, sadly, is more addictive than optimism.”
“Homogenous groups don’t just underperform, they do so in predictable ways. When you are surrounded by similar people, you are not just likely to share each other’s blind spots, but to reinforce them. This is sometimes called ‘mirroring’. [Another way to refer to such actions is “Group Think.”]
“…And this hints at the danger of homogeneous groups: they are more likely to form judgements that combine excessive confidence with grave error.”
See links under Seeking a Common Ground.
The Surge: Power Mag, which promotes wind and solar, used the January US Energy Information Administration (EIA) Short-Term Energy Outlook (STEO), to claim renewables will surge past coal and nuclear in powering US electrical generation by 2021. Power Mag. left out a few details about fossil fuels.
“U.S. net imports of crude oil and petroleum product fell from an average of 2.3 million b/d in 2018 to an average of 0.5 million b/d in 2019, and EIA estimates the United States has exported more total crude oil and petroleum products than it has imported since September. EIA forecasts that the United States will be a net exporter of total crude oil and petroleum products by 0.8 million b/d in 2020 and by 1.4 million b/d in 2021.”
“U.S. dry natural gas production set a new record in 2019, averaging 92.0 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d). EIA forecasts dry natural gas production will rise to 94.7 Bcf/d in 2020 and then decline to 94.1 Bcf/d in 2021. Production in the Appalachian region drives the forecast as it shifts from growth in 2020 to declining production in 2021.”
The real issue is: When will consumers realize they are paying far more for electrical generation capacity, either directly or in subsidies, than they need to pay because wind and solar cannot be depended upon to generate electricity when needed the most? See links under Energy Issues – US.
Number of the Week: +/- 0.003⁰C Paul Homewood calculates that the: “Claimed temperature uncertainty in 2010 is +/-0.003⁰C [for Ocean Heat Content] while sea surface temperature varies about 6⁰C.” This is another example of what Duncan McNeil called “the danger of homogeneous groups: they are more likely to form judgements that combine excessive confidence with grave error.”
1. ‘Cancel Culture’ Comes to Science
A scholar with an agenda targets as ‘dangerous’ our conference on filtering out faulty research.
By Peter W. Wood, WSJ, Jan 12, 2020
TWTW Summary: The president of the National Association of Scholars states:
“An unhappy side effect of the digital age is ‘cancel culture.’ Anyone with an attitude of moral superiority and a Twitter account can try to shut down an event where opinions he dislikes are likely to be spoken. For several years the National Association of Scholars has inveighed against this infantile form of protest, which undermines free expression of ideas and legitimate debate. Now the cancel caravan has arrived at our door.
“We are holding a conference co-sponsored by the Independent Institute in Oakland, Calif., in early February. It is meant to be an exchange among scholars on the problem of ‘irreproducibility’ in the sciences—fake science or failed science, or something-is-missing science. It’s a big problem these days, but there’s no agreement on what to do about it. Our goal is [to] bring together experts who have diverse and often conflicting views to see if they can come to some agreement about how to improve the situation. The conference is titled Fixing Science: Practical Solutions for the Irreproducibility Crisis.
“But one scientist, armed with a keyboard and contempt for contrary opinions, has set out to cancel our conference. Leonid Teytelman has busied himself writing to the speakers at the event to warn them away. And he has found fellow censors who agree the conference is ‘problematic.’ Our critic calls us ‘clever and dangerous.’
“How so? Once a Twitterstorm starts, the reasons multiply. Our list of speakers includes no women. (All declined our invitations.) Our initials share three letters with the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, or Nasem, therefore we are ‘deceptive.’ Wikipedia describes us as a ‘conservative’ organization. We are also accused of ‘climate denialism,’ and of having invited some climate-change skeptics to speak.
“The truth is that we are a traditionalist group of scholars who hold to a rigorous standard of open-mindedness on controversial issues in the sciences. We welcome critiques from anyone who agrees to play by the rules of rational argument, openness and scrupulous use of evidence. That’s clever, I suppose, but dangerous only to those who balk at giving the ‘other side’ a voice. Our Twittering critic sees our conference as a sneaky way to legitimate views that he regards as akin to blasphemy—ironic for a man accusing us of politicizing science.”
The article states that thus far the conference will take place, and concludes stating the main issue:
“Our conference in Oakland—the Twitterstorm notwithstanding—deals with the difficulty the sciences have in recognizing and filtering out faulty research. The effort to cancel it demonstrates the timeliness of the topic. We are under attack by those who would like to maintain groupthink by demonizing dissent and go still further by compromising science in favor of identity politics.”