The latest hand-wringing “myth-buster” video roundly debunked
Posted by pwl on September 24, 2014
Guest Post By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
The usual suspects have issued yet another “myth-busting” video in their continuing attempt to flog the dead horse of catastrophic Caucasian-caused climate change (CCCCC).
This latest droopy me-too effort is at sciencealert.com.au/features/20142309-26219.html. Here are the main points in bold face. Science-based responses are in Roman face.
The hand-wringing “myth-buster” climate doomsday droopy video:
“Overall, temperatures are increasing”. This statement is unscientific because the starting and ending dates are not specified. Temperature has declined since the Holocene Climate Optimum 6000-10,000 years ago. The Old Kingdom, Minoan, Roman, and medieval warm periods were also warmer than the present.
Since 1950 there has been warming, but at only half the rate predicted by the IPCC in 1990.
In the 17 years 11 months from October 1996 to August 2014 there was no global warming at all, according to the RSS satellite dataset, whose output is not significantly different from that of any other global-temperature dataset.
“Storms, droughts, floods, ocean acidification, sea-level rise”: The usual litany. As for storminess, the trend in severe hurricanes, typhoons and tropical cyclones has been downward in recent decades; there has been no trend in landfalling Atlantic hurricanes for 150 years; and the U.S. has enjoyed its longest period without a major hurricane landfall since records began. There is no trend in extra-tropical storminess either, according to the IPCC’s special report on extreme weather.
As for floods, the same report, confirmed by the Fifth Assessment Report, says there is no evidence of any global increase in the frequency, intensity, or duration of floods.
As for droughts, Hao et al. (2014) show that the land area under drought has fallen slightly over the past 30 years.
As for ocean “acidification”, the ocean remains pronouncedly alkaline, with a pH around 8 (where 7 is neutral and values below 7, such as the 5.4 for rainwater, are acid). Why is rainwater acid? Because it is the “missing sink” that scrubs CO2 out of the atmosphere. When the rainfall reaches the ocean, it locally alters the pH at the surface by a minuscule amount. However, where rivers debouch into the ocean (as the Brisbane River does just opposite the Great Barrier Reef), pH can vary locally by large amounts: yet calcifying organisms thrive nevertheless. The oceans are strongly buffered by the basalt basins in which they lie: so our capacity to alter the pH of the oceans by our tiny alteration of the composition of the atmosphere is as near nil as makes no difference. And there is no global measurement network for ocean pH, for two reasons: first, no automated pH measuring device has proven successful; and secondly, notwithstanding the propaganda everyone in the field knows perfectly well that ocean pH is not going to change very much, and that, even if it did, calcifying organisms are well adapted to dealing with it.
As for sea-level rise, the GRACE gravitational-recovery satellites showed sea-level falling from 2003-2009 (Cazenave et al., 2009).
The Envisat satellite showed sea-level rising by a dizzying one-eighth of an inch during its eight-year lifetime from 2004-2012.
The intercalibration errors between the Jason-Topex-Poseidon laser-altimetry satellites are greater than the sea-level rise they pretend to find.
Sea level is probably not rising any faster in this century than it did in the last: and, since there has been no global warming for almost 18 years, there is no particular reason why it should be rising at all. A telling comparison between the reconstructed sea-level changes shown in Grinsted et al. (2009) and the schematic showing surface temperature change in IPCC (1990) indicates that sea-level was 8 in. higher than the present in the medieval warm period and 8 in. lower than the present in the little ice age.
“13 of the last 14 years have been the warmest since records began”: This, too, is an unscientific statement. Records began only in 1850. And, like it or not, there has been no trend in global temperatures for about 13.5 years on the mean of the terrestrial records and on the mean of the satellite records. Yet CO2 concentration has continued to rise at record rates. Absence of correlation necessarily implies absence of causation. The rising CO2 concentration cannot be causing the lack of warming evident over the past couple of decades.
“Not only Arctic but also Antarctic sea ice volume is declining”: Not a good moment to run this argument, given that satellites do not do a very good job of estimating ice thickness, but are at present showing a record high sea-ice extent in the Antarctic, a substantial recovery of Arctic ice even in the summer, and no appreciable change in global sea-ice extent throughout the 35-year satellite record.
“The Sun is dimmer, but temperatures are rising”. The Sun is indeed becoming less active, but global mean surface temperature is not rising. It is not falling either. Perhaps the modest decline in solar activity is being offset by a modest forcing from the additional CO2 we are adding to the atmosphere: if so, then the CO2 forcing is substantially less than the IPCC imagines. Indeed, Professor David Douglass of Rochester University has recently asked me an interesting question: has anyone attempted empirical measurements, rather than modeling, to determine the CO2 forcing? Please let us know in comments if you are aware of any atmospheric measurements on the basis of which the CO2 forcing has been quantified. The value in the IPCC’s recent documents was determined by inter-comparison between three models, and, given the lamentable performance of models in every other field of climate prediction, perhaps Professor Douglass has a point.
“We add 30 GTe CO2 each year, but Nature adds 780 GTe: however, Nature also takes away 780 GTe, so our net effect is to increase CO2 in the air.” Not quite right. We emit 35 GTe CO2 each year at present, but only half of this remains in the air: the rest is scrubbed out by rain or taken up by the ocean, trees and plants. Nor is it wise to assume a pre-existing balance of CO2 sources and sinks. Close examination shows considerable annual variations in the net CO2 increase in the air, suggesting that our monotonic influence is a rather small part of the picture.
“We know the CO2 remaining in the air is substantially manmade because fossil-fuel CO2 has less carbon-13 than the air, and the carbon-13 fraction in the air is falling”. The difference between fossil-fuel carbon-13 content and general atmospheric CO2 content is not as great as was once thought, and the carbon-13 content in the air is falling very slowly. This method of attribution is fraught with measurement and coverage uncertainties.
“The concentration of water vapor, the most potent greenhouse gas, is increasing, causing a positive feedback”. Not all records show the water vapor increasing, particularly in the crucial upper to mid troposphere. The “positive feedback” may even be a negative feedback. If water vapor were causing a strong positive feedback, global temperature should have risen at least as fast as the IPCC predicted in 1990, but it has risen only half as fast, leading the IPCC almost to halve its medium-term predictions of global climate change.
“CO2 lagged temperature change in the paleoclimate, but it acted as a reinforcing or positive feedback once the Milankovich cycles had triggered temperature change, amplifying it 9-fold”. Given the many uncertainties in paleoclimate analysis, no firm conclusion can be drawn as to the magnitude of the CO2 feedback. The IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report put it at 25-225 ppmv per Kelvin – an order-of-magnitude interval that shows very clearly how unwise it is to assume that CO2 was the main reason for temperature change in the paleoclimate. After all, during the Neoproterozoic era 750 million years ago, equatorial glaciers came and went twice at sea level. There are no equatorial glaciers at sea level today. Yet today, to the nearest tenth of one percent, there is no CO2 in the atmosphere at all.
Now contrast the fact-based responses to the goofy scare stories of the “myth-busters”. If the news media had been willing to print facts instead of extremist predictions, the general population – and the scientifically illiterate politicians who represent them – would be in a better position to judge for themselves whether to be scared about manmade global warming. On the real-world evidence, there is no longer any legitimate pretext for fear, and still less for the “climate action” that that needless fear engenders.
And should not Ban Ki-Moon, having relentlessly ignored facts such as those briefly set out here, resign forthwith and for aye? He abandoned the impartiality that his office demands and took sides with communists and kooks by participating in the fatuous New York useful idiots’ climate march. He must go – and the U.N. with him. What little use it had has gone.