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  • 07-Nov-09 No Consensus about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)
  • 25-Jul-09 Human Heat Input or GH Effect? A false choice
  • 16-May-09 The IPCC's Evidence for Anthropogenic GW deconstructed #3
  • 18-Apr-09 The IPCC's Evidence for Anthropogenic GW deconstructed #2
  • 11-Apr-09 The IPCC's Evidence for Anthropogenic GW deconstructed
  • 28-Feb-09 Why don't we see any Anthropogenic Greenhouse Warming (AGW) in the Climate record?
  • SEPP Science Editorial #35-2009
    (in TWTW Nov 7, 2009)

    S. Fred Singer, Chairman and President , Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

    No Consensus about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)

    Nov 7, 2009

    There is a general impression, based on flawed analyses [Oreskes in Science 2004] that scientists support nearly unanimously the so-called scientific consensus on AGW. But more than 31,000 scientists and engineers disagree and have signed a petition that affirms their disbelief in AGW [for a listing of names see pp. 745-855, in Climate Change Reconsidered, available at www.NIPCCreport.org ]

    There is even widespread belief that major scientific societies, like the American Geophysical Union (AGU), have polled their membership before issuing formal Statements which essentially endorse the IPCC conclusion that the temperature rise of the past 50 years has been caused by human activity - and more specifically by the emission of greenhouse (GH) gases. Not so: This false impression seems to be due to a misleading survey result published in an AGU journal [P. Doran and M. Kendall-Zimmerman, Eos 90, 20 Jan 2009, pp 22-23].

    We will discuss this survey here and the question of bias and confounding factors.

    The Eos authors report the response of 3146 earth scientists to two questions:

    1. Has the climate warmed, cooled, or remained constant -- compared to pre-1800?

    Regardless of what one may believe about the causes of climate change, the answer must be: 'Warming.' Pre-1800 refers to the Little Ice Age, which ended around 1800. [If the question were changed to 'compared to 1998,' then the answer would be 'Cooling.']

    2. Do you think human activity is a significant factor in changing global mean temperature?

    Here the answer will depend on what is meant by 'significant' -- and whether 'human activity' should include urbanization, land changes, agriculture, irrigation, deforestation, etc. Many might answer 'Yes' - even if they don't think that GH gases are a significant factor in climate change.

    The authors report that their selection involved faculty in relevant academic departments and employees of government establishments. Presumably, they did not include retirees or those in the private sector. The authors claim that known dissenters were included. But my casual inquiries did not find anyone who participated.

    Most of the responders described themselves as geochemists; only 5% claimed to be 'climate scientists.' (But where are the 'atmospheric scientists'?) The widely quoted result of the survey is a 97.4% 'Yes' to question #2; it is based on a sample of only 77 responses from 'actively publishing climate scientists.' Disregarding the claimed accuracy, what can we deduce from this response? That these are likely individuals who derive large research grants and contracts from a federal budget that almost exclusively supports research designed to affirm AGW. [Of this same group, only 96.2% (rather than 100%) thought that the climate had warmed since 1800. It would be interesting to learn who these individuals are.] By contrast, on question #2, less than half of 'economic geologists' (103 responses) said 'Yes' and slightly more than one-third of 'meteorologists' (36 responses) said 'No.'

    The American Physical Society (APS) in 2007 published a position statement enthusiastically endorsing AGW, without reference to the views of its members. Recently, some 200 APS members and Fellows have petitioned the APS Council to change or withdraw the Statement, in view of scientific evidence that is counter to AGW. Perhaps there will develop a similar initiative within the AGU.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP Science Editorial #23-2009
    (in TWTW Jul 25, 2009)

    S. Fred Singer, Chairman and President , Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

    Human Heat Input or GH Effect? A false choice

    Jul 25, 2009

    Two recent papers in peer-reviewed journals claim that the direct input of heat into the earth's atmosphere by human energy generation is comparable to solar heating -- and more important than the calculated greenhouse effect from fossil-fuel burning. The paper by Nickolaenko from the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences is published in the Journal of Geophysical Research (2009), while the paper by Nordell from the Technical University of Lulea in Northern Sweden is published in the International Journal of Global Warming, vol 1, 2009. [Alas, all this proves is that peer-review doesn't guarantee correctness.] These two papers have caused much jubilation among skeptics of AGW - but such jubilation may be premature. Simple considerations show that the ratio of heat input from the sun compared to human energy activity is of the order of 10,000. In other words, one hour of solar input is equivalent to one year of human energy generation and heat dissipation. It is hardly necessary to read beyond the abstract to reach such a conclusion. A simple back-of-the-envelope calculation may be sufficient.




    Nickolaenko, A. P. (2009), Concept of planetary thermal balance and global warming, J. Geophys. Res., 114, A04310, doi:10.1029/2008JA013753.
    Abstract: The concept of Earth's thermal balance is used to suggest that solar energy absorbed by a planet is equal to the heat radiated from that planet. Such an approach substantially simplifies estimating the anthropogenic warming of the planet. We compare the solar irradiance with the current heat production caused by burning different kinds of fuel. We show that anthropogenic heating is able to cause global warming of 1°C in a century.

    Just reading the abstract suggests that the paper is nonsense and involves a huge numerical error. One can compare human energy generation with solar -- just by rough estimation:

    Heat/sec generated by human activity: ~ 2kW/person x 6*10^9 persons = ~12*10^12 Watt Solar heating 240 W/m2 x 4pi*(6.4*10^6m)^2 = 10^5*10^12 Watt. Even extreme assumptions for 2050, of 10 billion people consuming 10kW yields = 100*10^12 watt, just 0.1% of solar input According to a report in Global Fuels and Refining Today, the Swedish findings could have a "devastating impact" on supposed climate-friendly solutions, including biofuels combustion and nuclear power, since such schemes cut net CO2 but don't reduce heat emissions. "Our study shows that anthropogenic heat emissions are the main cause (three-fourths) of global warming," researcher Bo Nordell told in an exclusive interview. Given this conclusion, we then asked Nordell: If CO2 sequestration isn't important for stopping global warming, then what if anything can be done to stop it in the next few decades? "More efficient use of fossil energy reduces the global warming - this is also the least expensive method," Nordell said. It has been shown that 40% to 50% reduction of the energy consumption is feasible in most industries. Replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy also reduces the net heat emissions, especially any renewables (such as solar and wind) that don't release heat to make energy, he said.

    The study found that the net heat emissions from the industrial age (from 1880 to 2000) correspond to 74% of the earth's accumulated heat - that is, global warming. "The missing heat (26%) must have other causes, e.g., the greenhouse effect, the natural variations in the climate and/or the underestimation of net heat emissions," "Since net heat emissions account for most of the global warming, there is no or little reason for carbon dioxide sequestration," Nordell concluded. Asked about the urban heat island effect on global warming - caused by the expansion of cities during the past 130 years - Nordell said that "in our opinion, heat islands have the same origin - it is mainly a result of heat emission in cities." [Nordell is correct about UHI.]

    About forty years ago, local heat pollution from power stations was considered to be a big environmental problem -- until it was discovered that fish and other marine biota thrived in the warm region of the cooling water. In my book The Changing Global Environment, published by Reidel Publishing Company in 1975, I actually compared (page 42) solar warming with thermal power generation in the Los Angeles basin. In 1970, this area of 4,000 square miles generated thermal power equivalent to more than 5% of solar energy absorbed at the ground. I estimated then that by the year 2000, this value would rise to 18 percent, based on extrapolated electric power consumption with a doubling time of ten years and other energy at a lower rate. Fig 8 showed the expected heat released by automobiles, by residential-commercial heating, and by electric power generation; the sum being the total thermal power. Even if these estimates are not quite correct, the waste heat loads are large and can certainly lead to changes in local climate.

    This released heat forms an important part of the Urban Heat Island Effect. Another part comes from solar heat, stored during the day in concrete and other structures and released during the night, and from reduced evaporation. These effects are of course quite independent from known difficulties of temperature measurements in urban areas, which often suffer from poor placement of observing stations and other problems, as discussed by Anthony Watts. See: www.heartland.org/books/SurfaceStations.html

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    SEPP Science Editorial #14-2009
    (in TWTW May 16, 2009)

    S. Fred Singer, Chairman and President , Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

    The IPCC's Evidence for Anthropogenic GW deconstructed #3

    May 16, 2009

    In our SciEd #13-2009, we pointed to IPCC's omission of significant forcings when trying to compare model simulation with real atmospheric temperature data. Here from www.scientific-alliance.org:

    Apart from the direct localised pollution caused by smoky fires, black carbon has a direct warming effect on the air when suspended in the atmosphere, and also contributes to melting of glaciers and polar ice by settling on the surface and changing its albedo. According to the article, recent research suggests that soot may be responsible for 18% of global warming, compared to 40% for carbon dioxide. And the effect on Arctic ice may be even more marked: black carbon could account for 40% of the loss.

    Given the certainty of so many scientists that they understand the drivers of climate change, and that carbon dioxide dominates, it is sobering to note that the last IPCC Assessment Report, published just two years ago, makes no mention of the significant effect of soot. Moving from certainty that all drivers were accounted for to suddenly finding a basic 18% error is not calculated to build confidence in the state of knowledge. But the effect of black carbon now seems to be generally acknowledged, as witnessed by the recent unprecedented agreement of both climate activists and sceptics in the US Senate to instruct the Environmental Protection Agency to make a study of options to reduce levels of soot entering the atmosphere.

    The problem is that, if climate modellers have completely left out a factor which appears to account for nearly one fifth of climate change, what else might they have overlooked or underestimated? The obvious answer is the role of the Sun, where most mainstream scientists dismiss the changes in total radiance as trivial in climate terms, while many sceptics insist that its effect is far more complex and significant than that. They also point to the well-established historical correlation between sunspot numbers and weather patterns. Periods of low activity correlate with poor harvests and high food prices due to cooler weather in mid-latitudes. Since the Sun is now entering a period of extremely low activity, we can expect to see its influence on the weather over the next decade or so if a causative correlation is valid.


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    SEPP Science Editorial #13-2009
    (in TWTW Apr 18, 2009)

    S. Fred Singer, Chairman and President , Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

    The IPCC's Evidence for Anthropogenic GW deconstructed #2

    Apr 18, 2009

    The IPCC claims, with near certainty, that the temperature history of the 20th century can be explained in terms of a combination of anthropogenic and natural forcings. This claim is entirely based on curve fitting with the use of adjustable parameters. It is also based on the forcings shown by IPCC that do not include, e.g., the forcing due to changing solar activity  a major influence on climate. [IPCC-AR4 shows solar forcing since 1750 as only 0.1 W/m2, compared to GH gases of >2.1 W/m2] Quoting Dr Norman Rogers:

    "The IPCC has tried very hard to convince us that the climate models can reproduce the 20th century climate. They have to. If the models cant do that, how good are they? Allowing each modeling group to customize forcing to make its model show a good fit is unscientific. It is not a minor error. It is very bad science and there is no excuse for trying to fool people with fudged graphs. Adding speculative solar forcing in the early 20th century suggests cherry-picking in order to make the fit look better. Clearly, the IPCC is engaging in slanting the presentation for propaganda reasons. This is not the first time that the IPCC has engaged in this type of behavior. The well-known hockey-stick scandal associated with the 2001 report is another. This is far from being the only defect in the IPCC reports. Dozens of commentators have pointed out many more inconsistencies."

    The IPCC claim that models [which one of the more than 20?] can uniquely match the (global mean surface) temperatures of the 20th century is just not credible. I view it purely as an exercise in 'curve fitting,' achieved by arbitrarily choosing several adjustable parameters. I note with some amusement that IPCC partisans still maintain this claim -- even after the recent discovery that Black Carbon aerosols account for much of observed warming. Will the IPCC now adjust their choice of parameters to match the observed temperature record by including this new forcing?

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    SEPP Science Editorial #12-2009
    (in TWTW Apr 11, 2009)

    S. Fred Singer, Chairman and President , Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

    The IPCC's Evidence for Anthropogenic GW deconstructed

    Apr 11, 2009

    The IPCC claims, with near certainty, that the temperature history of the 20th century can be explained in terms of a combination of anthropogenic and natural forcings. This claim is entirely based on curve fitting with the use of adjustable parameters. It is also based on the forcings shown by IPCC that do not include, for example, the forcing due to changing solar activity -a major influence on climate. In particular:

  • While the forcing from GH gases can be reasonably well estimated, its effect on climate is highly uncertain - mainly because of uncertainties about cloud microphysics and the unknown amount (and even the sign) of feedback from clouds and water vapor. For example, IPCC's climate models show a climate sensitivity typically ranging from 1.5 degC to 4.5 and higher. (Stainforth et al, Nature 2005, have shown that a certain choice of cloud parameters can get values as high as 11.5 degC.) In fact, the absence of agreement between patterns (-fingerprints) of observed and calculated temperature trends leads to climate sensitivities of 0.5 degC or even less.
  • The forcings from aerosols are highly uncertain, particularly the indirect effects. This can be seen clearly from the IPCC's graph showing such forcing. In addition, aerosol forcings have a particular geographic and temporal dependence, which is often not incorporated consistently into climate models. Finally, 'black carbon' and 'mineral dust' introduce additional uncertainties that are not even discussed by the IPCC.
  • Major internal climate oscillations, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, are not incorporated into current climate models and must be brought in on an ad hoc basis in order to try to explain observed 20th century climate changes.
  • The IPCC's treatment of solar effects is disingenuous. Their forcing table only shows changes in Total Solar Irradiance (TSI), which are much too small to produce appreciable climate effects. On the other hand, changes in solar activity, by modulating cosmic ray intensity, can change cloudiness and thereby produce a major impact on climate. But the IPCC totally ignores such effects.

    In view of these many uncertainties, the IPCC claim that models can uniquely match the (global mean surface) temperatures of the 20th cy is just not credible. I view it as an exercise in 'curve fitting,' achieved by arbitrarily choosing several adjustable parameters. I note with some amusement that they still maintain this claim --even after the temperature record (of SSTs) had recently been corrected. Will they now adjust their parameters?

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP Science Editorial #8-09
    (in TWTW Feb 28, 2009)

    S. Fred Singer, Chairman and President , Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

    Why don't we see any Anthropogenic Greenhouse Warming (AGW) in the Climate record?

    Feb 28, 2009

    After all, CO2 is a GH gas whose level is increasing because of fossil-fuel burning. So where is AGW?

    Using a number of lines of evidence, we suggest that there has been little if any warming after 1940 that can be assigned to the anthropogenic increase in GH gases. Nor is there any significant AGW pre-1940. We have used proxy data such as ice-core bore holes, tree rings, corals, etc. as well as instrumented data from the surface and satellites and have tried to explain the reported SST increases as an artifact of the observational method.

    Much of the confusion has come about from drawing straight-line trends through data sets that showed clear evidence of sudden 'jumps' that had nothing to do with GH gases. Other statistical problems involved selective use of data and inappropriate 'data-smoothing' procedures.

    Our conclusion is that because of negative feedbacks the Climate Sensitivity is quite small, well below 0.5 degC for doubling of CO2 - in line with the conclusions of several other investigations.

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