Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #434

The Week That Was: December 5, 2020

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

By Ken Haapala, President,

Quote of the Week:  Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thought-crime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. . . . The process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there’s no reason or excuse for committing thought-crime. It’s merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won’t be any need even for that. . . . Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?” – George Orwell, 1984 https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/450328-don-t-you-see-that-the-whole-aim-of-newspeak-is

Number of the Week: 9 

Self-limiting, Logarithmic: For the past several weeks, TWTW has been discussing the research on the greenhouse effect done by W. A. van Wijngaarden and W. Happer (W & H) using the HITRAN database that began in the 1960s and is well established and tested. This database of both observations and calculations is used to predict and simulate the transmission and emission of electromagnetic radiation in the atmosphere. Using the calculations of W & H, Professor of Physics, emeritus, Howard Hayden extended their findings.

The earth is cooled by outgoing infrared radiation, which has a longer wavelength than visible light. Greenhouse gases interfere with infrared radiation by absorbing and re-emitting photons at particularly wavelengths. Expressed simply, as the concentration of a specific greenhouse gas, CO2, increases, its effectiveness diminishes. In other words, as the amount of CO2 increases, its ability to further increase temperatures decreases. This is similar to an automobile approaching maximum speed. It will not go much faster no matter how hard the driver presses on the accelerator.

In the highly influential 1979 Charney report, the committee attempted to get around this self-limiting characteristic by claiming, without physical evidence, that water vapor will greatly amplify the influence of CO2. But this amplification has not been found in over 40 years of atmospheric research. Thus, the Charney report is another example of one of the many dead-ends that scientists have speculated about greenhouse gases.

There is nothing wrong with such speculation and errors, as long as scientists involved recognize them and correct the errors. As Richard Feynman explained in his famous lectures, scientific theory starts with a guess. The important step is testing that guess against all appropriate physical evidence.

A common analogy is that greenhouse gases in the atmosphere act as a blanket protecting the earth from cooling too rapidly. Using that analogy, one can say that adding carbon dioxide to today’s atmosphere is like adding a handkerchief on top of a warm quilt. There is some effect, but it’s not noticeable. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.


Employing the Scientific Method: Although he does not state so specifically, in a rebuttal published in AL.com, John Christy describes how he and Roy Spencer used the scientific method to correct early, minor errors in atmospheric temperature trends from data gathered by satellites for three atmospheric layers. Spencer and Christy are the co-developers of the method, first published in 1990. The data are based on the finding that the intensity of microwave emissions from atmospheric oxygen is directly related to temperature, thus allowing a conversion of these measurements to temperature. [Note that microwave emissions are of a longer wavelength than infrared emissions.]

These data are published monthly, and verified by independent data gathered by different types of instruments on weather balloons. These are the most comprehensive global temperatures existing. Nothing else comes close.

These data do not show dramatic warming of the atmosphere, where greenhouse gas warming occurs. Thus, the data as well as Christy and Spencer have been bitterly attacked by the “climate science” community. For example, Christy writes:

Early on, though, the very clever scientists at Remote Sensing Systems in California discovered two issues with our dataset, both of which were immediately remedied 15 and 20 years ago respectively with only very small impacts.

Yet, as Haapala has personally witnessed, members of the modeling community claim the dataset has been discredited. It does not meet their models. In the world of physical science, numerical models (hypotheses) must be adjusted to meet data, not the data adjusted to meet the models. Climate modelers appear to be living in an alternative reality.

Further, when applying the scientific method, Christy and Spencer have been accused of being anti-science. Such is the nature of the “climate science” community and the politicians who back them. The work of W & H and Hayden on the observed greenhouse effect by analyzing infrared emissions, discussed above, is consistent with atmospheric temperature trends calculated from microwave emissions of oxygen.

Further, as discussed in the July 25 TWTW, Christy and Ross McKitrick used 12 different datasets of evidence from three different methods to establish that 38 of the new models, CMIP6, prepared for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), greatly overestimate the warming of the atmosphere over the time interval tested, 1979 to 2014. In many cases, the 95% confidence intervals of the models are above the 95% confidence intervals for the actual datasets. The conclusion of the McKitrick & Christy paper states:

The literature drawing attention to an upward bias in climate model warming responses in the tropical troposphere extends back at least 15 years now (Karl et al., 2006). Rather than being resolved, the problem has become worse, since now every member of the CMIP6 generation of climate models exhibits an upward bias in the entire global troposphere as well as in the tropics. The models with lower ECS [Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity (for a doubling of CO2)] values have warming rates somewhat closer to observed but are still significantly biased upward and do not overlap observations. Models with higher ECS values also have higher tropospheric warming rates and applying the emergent constraint concept implies that an ensemble of models with warming rates consistent with observations would likely have to have ECS values at or below the bottom of the CMIP6 range. Our findings mirror recent evidence from inspection of CMIP6 ECSs (Voosen, 2019) and paleoclimate simulations (Zhu et al., 2020), which also reveal a systematic warm bias in the latest generation of climate models.

The “climate science” community is producing highly biased research and it appears to be incapable of correcting as required by the scientific method. It appears this community services interests other than objective science and can be termed bureaucratic science. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Measurement Issues – Atmosphere.


D-O Events: In their book Unstoppable Global Warmingthe late Fred Singer and Dennis Avery discussed a climate cycle of about every 1500 years discovered by Willi Dansgaard of Denmark, Hans Oeschger of Switzerland, and Claude Lorius of France. The discoverers were awarded the Tyler Prize (“environmental Nobel”) in 1996. The cycle is known as the Dansgaard – Oeschger Cycle or D-O events for short. D-O events were found in ice cores taken in Greenland. Others have shown that D-O events appear in Antarctic ice cores as well.

Singer and Avery gave considerable evidence that the cycle was world-wide, not just limited to polar regions. They gave evidence from tree rings, stalagmites, dust plumes, insects, plankton, fossilized pollen, algae skeletons as well as changing human cultures to assert that the events influenced climate world-wide. The most plausible cause was the Svensmark Hypothesis that a dormant sun permits more high-energy cosmic rays to hit the earth, increasing cloudiness.

Interestingly, members of the Niels Bohr Institute published in PNAS a discussion of D-O events. The paragraph on significance states:

“The last glacial period was marked by abrupt, high-amplitude Greenland warming events, known as Dansgaard–Oeschger (D-O) events, which were likely linked with Nordic Seas sea ice retreat. We reconstruct the sea ice variability during four D-O events 32–41 ka with unprecedented spatial representation and rigorous temporal constraints, using proxy records from two Norwegian Sea sediment cores and an East Greenland ice core. Our records reveal millennial-scale variations between extended sea ice conditions and reduced seasonal sea ice conditions, with rapid sea ice reductions at the onset of D-O events. Our findings imply that rapid sea ice reduction amplified ocean-atmosphere processes causing the abrupt D-O climate transitions, providing constraints for model simulations of abrupt climate changes and their mechanisms.

It is good to see D-O events recognized and that they are unrelated to CO2. However, it probably will be some time before any recognition of their broad effect appears in PNAS. See links under Changing Cryosphere – Land / Sea Ice


Climate Modeling: Researchers from Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science, ETH Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland; Climate and Global Dynamics Laboratory, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, USA; Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany; National Centre for Atmospheric Science, Department of Meteorology, University of Reading, Reading, UK produced a paper titled: “Partitioning climate projection uncertainty with multiple large ensembles and CMIP5/6.” The beginning of the abstract reads:

Partitioning uncertainty in projections of future climate change into contributions from internal variability, model response uncertainty and emissions scenarios has historically relied on making assumptions about forced changes in the mean and variability. With the advent of multiple single-model initial-condition large ensembles (SMILEs), these assumptions can be scrutinized, as they allow a more robust separation between sources of uncertainty…”

The opening of the introduction reads:

Climate change projections are uncertain. Characterizing this uncertainty has been helpful not only for scientific interpretation and guiding model development but also for science communication (e.g., Hawkins and Sutton, 2009; Rowell, 2012; Knutti and Sedláček, 2012). With the advent of Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects (CMIPs), a systematic characterization of projection uncertainty became possible, as a number of climate models of similar complexity provided simulations over a consistent time period and with the same set of emissions scenarios. Uncertainties in climate change projections can be attributed to different sources – in context of CMIP to three specific ones (Hawkins and Sutton, 2009), described as follows.

Uncertainty from internal unforced variability: the fact that a projection of climate is uncertain at any given point in the future due to the chaotic and thus unpredictable evolution of the climate system. This uncertainty is inherently irreducible on timescales after which initial condition information has been lost (typically a few years or less for the atmosphere, e.g., Lorenz, 1963, 1996). Internal variability in a climate model can be best estimated from a long control simulation or a large ensemble, including how variability might change under external forcing (Brown et al., 2017; Maher et al., 2018).

Climate response uncertainty (hereafter “model uncertainty”, for consistency with historical terminology…

Apparently, the modelers are unaware the main issue the models have is that the models have not been validated – that is rigorously tested against physical evidence showing that they duplicate the physical world, reality. As stated above, they greatly overestimate the warming of the atmosphere over 35 years and they do not duplicate the greenhouse effect. Uncertainty in the models means little compared with the discrepancy between the models and reality. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Defending the Orthodoxy.


ENSO: One of the problems of predicting the weather from year to year is that no one has been able to predict the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The shifting of El Niños (warm periods) and La Niñas (cool periods) alters surface and atmospheric temperature trends and precipitation. Writing for the Global Warming Policy Forum, David Whitehouse discusses how ENSO affects surface temperatures. Roy Spencer discusses its effect on atmospheric temperatures. Being able to predict these events would benefit humanity. See Articles and links under Measurement Issues – Atmosphere and Changing Weather.


Storms of NOAA: For whatever the reason, NOAA has taken to naming storms of little significance and which would not have been observed before the satellite era. As a result, headlines scream increasing hurricanes, but they are in name only and have little impact. For the US, there has been no trend since 1900. NOAA is losing credibility. See links under Changing Weather and Science, Policy, and Evidence for problems with NOAA and the weather service.


Changing Seas of Portland, ME: The Maine Sea Level Rise Dashboard shows two trends for Portland: 1) “1912-2020 average: 1.90±0.10 mm per year or 0.62 ft (7.47 in) per century” and 2) “1995-2020 average: 3.08±0.93 mm per year or 1.01 ft (12.12 in) per century.” Both rates are shown on the accompanying graphs. Unfortunately, the website does not explain why there are two different rates of rise for the same location for the same period, 1995 to 2020.

TWTW will guess that these different rates of rise come from two different sets of instruments that have not been calibrated. One is from tidal gages and the second from satellites. Unlike their colleagues in Penzance (Newlyn), England, apparently those reporting sea level rise in Maine do not believe the public they serve deserves an explanation. See links under Changing Seas.


How to Begin a Critical Letter: TWTW is disturbed about politicians using false science to establish policy. The issue is how to write a critical letter. Christopher Monckton of Brenchley provides a guide. The heading of his letter to the Editor of The Lancet states:

Your suggestion that warmer worldwide weather has caused net loss of life, particularly among the world’s fast-declining population of poor people, is fashionable but misplaced.

Monckton follows the opening with facts substantiating his claim. See links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Lowering Standards.


Tolerance: Several readers asked about the quotation last week from John Adams: “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclination, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” (1770) He said it as a defense attorney for the British soldiers involved in the Boston Massacre. The mob wanted revenge. Adams wanted the rule of law and tolerance.

A decade after the Pilgrims settled the Plymouth Colony in 1620, the Puritans, who were intolerant, established the Massachusetts Bay Colony around Boston. In 1636, the Puritans banished Roger Williams who thought independently. Williams established Rhode Island on the basis of tolerance. Now, Paul Driessen reports that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island wants those who think differently about the causes of global warming be punished. Tolerance has changed in Rhode Island. See link under Communicating Better to the Public – Go Personal.


Number of the Week – 9: CO2 Science reports on the results on yields from exposing nine durum wheat genotypes to high CO2 and temperatures.

“The significance of the above findings is two-fold. First, in this worse-case climatic scenario for the future, none of the nine cultivars experienced declining yields while four experienced significant increases. This observation demonstrates it is highly unlikely that agriculturally-grown durum wheat grain yields will decline in the future and that they will most likely increase as farmers select and grow the genotypes that are most responsive to rising temperatures and atmospheric CO2 concentrations. Second, this study further illustrates the power and ability of plants to cope with higher temperatures at higher levels of CO2. As demonstrated in numerous studies, higher CO2 levels almost always activate multiple ameliorative mechanisms in plants to help them counter the effects of high temperature stress.” [Boldface was italics in original]

Forget the claims of global warming damaging US agriculture as stated in the US Fourth National Climate Assessment (2018) https://nca2018.globalchange.gov/. See links under Review of Recent Scientific Articles by CO2 Science


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