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Index of Editorials
Global Warming Junkscience


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  • 29-Jan-11 Oreskes O-15 Blunder
  • 06-Feb-10 Junkscience #8: The warmest year, decade, century game
  • 30-Jan-10 Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST)
  • 23-Jan-10 Junkscience: Climategate Distortion of Temperature Data
  • 16-Jan-10 Junk Science #5: IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report [IPCC-AR4, 2007]
  • 09-Jan-10 Junk Science #4: IPCC Third Assessment Report [IPCC-TAR, 2001]
  • 02-Jan-10 Junk Science #3: IPCC Third Assessment Report (AR-3, 2001): Hockeystick and ClimateGate (CG)
  • 26-Dec-09 Junk Science #2: IPCC Second Assessment Report (IPCC-AR-2, 1995, published in 1996)
  • 19-Dec-09 Junk Science #1: IPCC
  • SEPP Science Editorial #2011-3
    (in TWTW Jan 29, 2011)

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

    Oreskes O-15 Blunder

    Jan 30, 2011

    My article in the American Thinker http://www.americanthinker.com has been attacked in many blogs - which I have always ignored. I had pointed out that Prof. Naomi Oreskes shows a deplorable lack of scientific knowledge in her book Merchants of Doubt. I have now received a letter (below) from a retired French science administrator, in which he accuses the late Dr Frederick Seitz, a distinguished US physicist and former chairman of SEPP, of scientific ignorance. His highly misleading letter went to many addressees. I therefore decided to respond -- to set the record straight (see below).

    --------------------

    From: "Earl Evleth"
    Sent: Thursday, January 27, 2011 11:48 AM
    To: "S. Singer"
    Subject: WEBFORM: citation of Oreskes and Conway's book

    You wrote in the American thinker article that

    Oreskes' and Conway's science is as poor as their historical expertise. To cite just one example, their book blames lung cancer from cigarette smoking on the radioactive oxygen-15 isotope. They cannot explain, of course, how O-15 gets into cigarettes, or how it is created. They seem to be unaware that its half-life is only 122 seconds. In other words, they have no clue about the science, and apparently, they assume that the burning of tobacco creates isotopes - a remarkable discovery worthy of alchemists.

    In fact they wrote:

    After all, the natural environment was hardly carcinogen-free [Seitz] noted, and even "the oxygen in the air we breathe. plays a role in radiation-induced cancer".98 (Oxygen, like most elements, has a radioactive version - oxygen 15 - although it is not naturally occurring.
    **************************************************
    My response to Evleth (Jan 27):

    Sir:

    You are quite wrong!

    And -- you are a scientific ignoramus.

    You obviously don't know the difference between REACTIVE oxygen (which Seitz was referring to) and RADIOACTIVE oxygen. To paraphrase that ancient biblical teacher Hillel: "Go Google"

    And furthermore, you are being despicably deceptive. The FULL quote on page 28 reads:

    After all, the natural environment was hardly carcinogen-free, [Seitz] noted, and even "the oxygen in the air we breathe plays a role in radiation-induced cancer".98 (Oxygen, like most elements, has a radioactive version - oxygen-15 - although it is not naturally occurring.)99

    Ref 99 refers to a paper by Ter-Pergossian that discusses the use of O-15 as a tracer in respiration studies. By deleting ')99' you tried to make it appear as if Seitz said that O-15 was the cause of cancer.

    In fact, the sentence in parenthesizes is a comment added by Oreskes/Conway.

    Therefore, I stick with my assertion that Oreskes/Conway are as incompetent in science as they are in historical studies.

    To emphasize my point, I refer you to page 29 [of Merchants of Doubt] where they refer to beryllium as a HEAVY METAL.

    S. Fred Singer, PhD
    Chairman, SEPP
    singer@sepp.org
    [Beryllium has an atomic number of 4 and atomic weight of 9]

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    Science Editorial #6-2010
    (in TWTW Feb 6, 2010)

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

    Junkscience #8: The warmest year, decade, century game

    Feb 6, 2010

    [Note: This is another of a series of mini-editorials on the junk science influencing the global warmingissue. Other topics will include the UN Environmental Program, and some individuals heavily involved in these matters.]

    A NASA press release claims that January 2000 to December 2009 was the warmest decade on record," citing James Hansen and Gavin Schmidt (of NASA-GISS). They are practicing what magicians call "misdirection," designed to mislead the unsuspecting reader. Let me explain:

    Let us grant that the past decade was the warmest on record. What exactly does this prove? Since the warming trend started well before the release of substantial amounts of greenhouse gases, the most likely cause is simply a natural recovery of the global climate from the Little Ice Age, which historical records place between around 1400 and 1800 AD. And since we are still well below the temperatures seen during the Medieval Climate Optimum (when Norsemen were able to grow crops and raise cattle in Greenland), we will likely experience even warmer decades during the 21st century. But this is a pure guess; we still don't understand what controls millennial climate cycles of warming - and cooling.

    However, the data do not support a human influence on climate. Temperatures have not warmed (i.e., shown an upward trend) during the past decade -- in spite of sharply rising levels of atmospheric CO2. The confusion comes about when people mix up temperature level (measured in deg C) with temperature trend (measured in deg C per decade). They are entirely different concepts. We currently have a record temperature level but no upward trend -- and possibly even a slight cooling.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #5-2010
    (in TWTW Jan 30, 2010)

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

    Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST)

    Jan 30, 2010

    [Note: This is another of a series of mini-editorials on the "junk science" influencing the global warming issue. Other topics will include the UN Environmental Program, and some individuals heavily involved in these matters.]

    The Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) is largely determined by the Sea Surface Temperature (SST) - since oceans cover 71% of the earth's surface. So even if the land data are manipulated to show a major warming (as the ClimateGate e-mails suggest), this should not affect the SST data - one would think. Unfortunately, SST has problems of its own: (1) Scarcity of data; and (2) Lack of compatibility of different methods of collecting data.

    For much of the 20th century, data came only from shipping routes -- and large parts of the world's oceans were not contributing data. Data collection came from samples gathered with buckets from sailing ships, first wooden buckets and later canvas ones (which required substantial corrections). After the advent of steamers, temperatures were measured at the inlets for engine cooling water (inlet temperature).

    Around 1980, satellites produced major changes: (1) Infrared emission from the sea surface was thought to measure temperature directly, But the method worked only in the absence of clouds and haze, and it responded to "skin" temperature rather than the bulk of the sea surface (as inlet temperatures). (2) The introduction of buoys, first "drifters"and then diving buoys, expanded geographic coverage. But this introduced a new problem: As I have discussed (see also NIPCC 2008 Fig 20), drifters measure temperatures in the upper 50cm, which are usually warmer than the "inlet temperatures." It is easily shown that the increasing fraction of data from drifters leads to an artificial warming trend.

    But don't the measurements of Ocean heat content show a warming? What better authority than the flawed paper by Hansen et al [Science 308:1431-35 (2005)]-that had proudly claimed to be the smoking gun for AGW. Its Fig 2 shows hardly any increase in observed stored heat between 1992 and 1996; Fig 3 shows a cooling of the upper layers in the equatorial region. There is poor correspondence to model runs (which strongly disagree with each other).

    These are all problems that require detailed corrections before one can accept the published SST results - and therefrom the IPCC's global surface warming trends. By comparison, the MSU (satellite) data show good agreement between tropospheric temperature over land and ocean (see NIPCC 2008 Fig 13), with little warming over land and even slightly less over oceans.

    To sum up: Both the land data and SST data tell us that the claimed rise of global surface temperature between 1979 and 1997, shown by IPCC, is probably much smaller or may even be non-existent.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #4-2010
    (in TWTW Jan 23, 2010)

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

    Junkscience: Climategate Distortion of Temperature Data

    Jan 23, 2010

    [Note: This is the sixth of a series of mini-editorials on the "junk science" influencing the global warming issue. Other topics will include the UN Environmental Program, and some individuals heavily involved in these matters.]

    We discuss here in some detail the way in which warming trends were introduced into the IPCC Report -- when in fact they did not exist or were extremely small. We focus on the period 1979 to 1997. There was cooling up to 1976; in 1998 there was a super-El-Nino and no subsequent warming. Our discussion is in three parts: (1) a "bottoms-up" approach; (2) the "top-down" approach; and next week I shall discuss (3) the treatment of sea surface temperatures (SST).

    (1) Bottoms-Up Distortion of Temperature Data

    The Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia (CRU-UEA), under the direction of Dr. Philip Jones, collected data from weather stations from around the world. These are almost all land-based stations, showing a high concentration in the United States and Western Europe and a lower concentration elsewhere -- with many parts of the globe hardly covered by reliable stations.

    There are a variety of problems with such data, and the investigators were aware of most of them. Many stations produce useless data, either because of inadequate maintenance, or because of their location. Anthony Watts (in his WUWT blog) has shown that even stations in the USA were badly placed and subject to local warming influences that were not adequately corrected.

    The surface of the earth is then divided into grid boxes, usually five degrees by five degrees. When there are several stations in a grid box, the investigators would choose those they considered most reliable - which in many cases meant urban stations, or stations at airports, that are well maintained. However, because of their location, they generally are subject to "urban heat-island" (UHI) effects, a local warming that increases with population and urban growth over time and suggests a temperature trend of a global nature. The investigators tried various ways to eliminate such local UHI trends, but were not very successful.

    The problem was greatly exacerbated by the closing of over half the world's weather stations between 1970 and 2000 (see NIPCC Summary, Fig 12- which in most cases removed rural stations but also stations from higher latitudes and altitudes that tended to show a lower warming trend or no warming trend at all. It should be obvious therefore that this drastic change in the sampling population would introduce a fictitious warming trend which is an artifact of the change. E. Michael Smith and Joseph D'Aleo have documented in some detail how such artificial temperature trends could be produced even when there was no global trend. [See http://www.americanthinker.com/2010... ]

    (2) The Top-Down (TD) Approach

    In many ways, the "Top-Down" (TD) approach to derive the Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) is to be preferred over "bottom-up" (deriving GMST by collecting data from weather stations and sea surface readings). The TD approach relies primarily on the data from weather satellites, the only truly global measuring system, using a single microwave sounding (MSU) instrument and therefore independent of the vagaries of individual weather stations and their thermometers.

    There are of course certain disadvantages: The MSU cannot measure temperatures at different levels of the atmosphere but derives instead a "weighted mean" of the vertical temperature profile; the times of observation are fixed by the orbit of the satellite; a change of satellite, and MSU instrument, requires an overlap in operating time to permit a recalibration. Nevertheless, by comparing different view angles, one can change the weight factors and obtain a temperature value for "Lower Troposphere." The University of Alabama, Huntsville (UAH) group has shown good agreement of UAH results with those of radiosondes from weather balloons.

    As early as 1997, I noticed a disparity between temperature trends of satellites and surface trends, esp. in the tropics. (See Fig 9 in Hot Talk, Cold Science, 1997) The troposphere trends (between 1979 and 1995) were close to zero or even slightly negative, while surface trends showed a warming of about 0.05 deg per decade. This disparity is just the reverse of what one would expect from GH models [see IPCC-SAR] - namely a positive (warming) troposphere trend up to twice as large as the surface trend.

    In addition, I noticed that the proxy data to which I had access showed no surface warming (tree-ring data of Jacoby et al (Fig 16 in HTCS) and ice core data of Dahl-Jensen et al]. I tried very hard to obtain more proxy data but was not successful. For example, I noticed that Michael Mann's infamous hockeystick graph did not extend beyond 1979 and suspected that his proxy temperatures diverged from the instrumented surface results. Yet when I wrote to Mann about post-1980 proxy data, I received only a brusque negative reply. Thanks to "Climategate" we now know, what I had then suspected, i.e., that Mann and Jones were engaged in a scheme to "hide the decline [in post-1979 proxy temperatures]"

    To sum up: Both the satellite results and the proxy data tell us that the claimed rise of surface temperature between 1979 and 1997, shown by IPCC, is probably much smaller or even non-existent.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #3-2010
    (in TWTW Jan 16, 2010)

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

    Junk Science #5: IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report [IPCC-AR4, 2007]

    Jan 16, 2010

    [Note: This is the fifth of a series of mini-editorials on the junk science influencing the global warming issue. Other topics will include the UN Environmental Program, and some individuals heavily involved in these matters.]

    In line with its policy of "ramping up" its case for Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) and escalating climate fears, IPCC-AR4 concludes: "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations" [my emphasis]. They helpfully explain that very likely means 90 to 99% certain. One wonders just how IPCC arrived at this rather precise estimate - since there is nothing in the report to back it up.

    By now, the IPCC has mercifully abandoned some of the "evidence" given in their earlier reports: They no longer feature the discredited "Hockeystick" graph (that had done away with the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age). They recognize that melting glaciers cannot illuminate the cause of warming and that shifting and often reversing CO2-temperature correlation does not support AGW. Instead, the "evidence" now advanced is essentially circumstantial. The logic which gets the IPCC to this conclusion (as pointed out in Scientific Alliance Newsletter 160) is as follows:

    1. There has been a general rise in averaged measured surface temperatures over the past century.
    2. At the same time, atmospheric concentrations of so-called 'greenhouse' gases, particularly carbon dioxide, have been rising. All the evidence points to the net increase being caused largely by burning fossil fuels.
    3. Computer models of the climate (General Circulation Models) cannot account for the temperature changes on the basis of known natural variability in climate.
    4. Therefore, the additional 'anthropogenic' carbon dioxide must be the primary driver of this change. Yet as Scientific Alliance states: On this unproven argument, a whole climate change industry has been built; academic researchers, civil servants, carbon traders, environmental and development NGOs, taxpayer-subsidised renewable energy companies and, of course, UN agencies beaver away in the shared assumption that this logic is compelling and demands concerted action."

    Can you spot the "hole" in the IPCC "logic"? The key word is "known." But they totally ignore the most important natural forcing: changing solar activity that modulates the intensity of galactic cosmic radiation (GCR) incident on the Earth. This fact seems known to everyone except the IPCC group dealing with the most important issue: the cause of climate change in the 20th century. See evidence in Fig 14 of NIPCC.

    It gets worse: IPCC-AR4 claims they can simulate past century's Global Mean Surface Temp (GMST) with "known" natural and anthropogenic forcings (as displayed in Fig 5 of NIPCC). But the uncertainties shown there are huge, especially for the indirect effects of aerosols. Of course, the major forcings from solar activity-GCR are not even considered; nor the effects of clouds that likely produce negative feedbacks rather than reinforcing the warming of GH gases.

    The upshot is that the IPCC's claim of matching the GMST is nothing else but an exercise in curvefitting, with several suitably chosen parameters. I would be impressed if IPCC could match mean zonal temp, not just GMST - or the atmospheric temp obtained from radiosondes and satellites - using the same chosen parameters.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #2-2010
    (in TWTW Jan 9, 2010)

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

    Junk Science #4: IPCC Third Assessment Report [IPCC-TAR, 2001]

    Jan 9, 2010

    [Note: This is the fourth of a series of mini-editorials on the junk science influencing the global warming issue. Other topics will include the IPCC's Assessment Report 4, the UN Environmental Program, and some individuals heavily involved in these matters.]

    In line with what seems to be an IPCC plan of claiming increasing confidence in AGW (anthropogenic global warming) with each successive report, the Summary of IPCC Third Assessment Report [IPCCTAR, 2001] promised new information to support a conclusion of AGW. This new information turned out to be the Hockeystick, a dramatic graph that showed temperatures since 1000 AD steadily decreasing - until, suddenly, here was a huge warming in the 20th century. No trace of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and the Little Ice Age (LIA), so clearly shown in earlier IPCC reports and supported by both physical and historic data. [See figure]

    See TWTW link below for Graphic.
    Source : Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate: Summary for Policymakers of the Report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, Chicago, IL: The Heartland Institute, 2008. Figure 1 Difference in 1000 Year Temperature History from First to Third IPCC Report Historic Temperature Based On Empirical Data "Reconstructed Temperatures" from proxy analysis [Mann, Bradley, Hughes 1998] - "Observed Temperatures" from analysis of thermometer data [Jones, Hadley- CRU]

    The hockeystick (HS) graph was based on the "multi-proxy" (mainly using tree-ring data) analysis of Mann, Bradley, and Hughes (MBH) [Nature 1998]. Strangely, there was little challenge from the paleoclimate community, perhaps because the statistical method used to combine different kinds of proxy data was not familiar. Soon and Baliunas published a paper (with great difficulty) that contradicted MBH but they were shouted down. As I related (in Science Editorial #1-2010), I questioned Mann as to why his proxy analysis did not go beyond 1980. And Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick (MM), in Energy & Environment 2003, found many irregularities in the data that MBH had assembled.

    But it was only later that MM and Wegman et.al. discovered fatal errors in MBH's statistical methodology and in their tree-ring calibration. A convincing demonstration of this was that even random data treated with Mann's methodology would always yield a HS. While I consider it likely that Mann was not fully aware of his statistical problems in 1998, when he first published his analysis, any subsequent use of the HS to support AGW certainly borders on fraud.

    The National Academy of Sciences undertook to investigate the HS controversy and produced an ambivalent report that was used by some to "whitewash" MBH. It mildly criticized the MBH analysis but confusingly claimed that the 20th century was the warmest in the past 400 years - without mentioning that the 16th century was near the depth of the LIA. A Congressional investigation (headed by Rep. Joe Barton) pulled no punches and condemned not only the HS analysis but also the clique of scientists that protected it from legitimate criticism by withholding information, misusing the peer-review process, and even pressuring editors of scientific journals to turn down dissenting papers. The ClimateGate e-mails have served to confirm what had been known or suspected.

    A final word: The IPCC-TAR's case for AGW rested on the claim that the 20th century was "unusual" in the past 1000 years. But it was not. See, for example, the paper by Craig Loehle [E&E 2007], who did not use tree-ring data and showed a MWP substantially warmer than the 20th century. (For other examples, see the NIPCC Summary report.) Besides, there is nothing magic about 1000 years; there are many periods in the Holocene that are even warmer than the MWP.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #1-2010
    (in TWTW Jan 2, 2010)

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

    Junk Science #3: IPCC Third Assessment Report (AR-3, 2001): Hockeystick and ClimateGate (CG)

    Jan 2, 2010

    [Note: This is the third of a series of mini-editorials on the junk science influencing the global warmingissue. Other topics will include the IPCC's Assessment Report 4, the UN Environmental Program and some individuals heavily involved in these matters.]

    Has the Climate Really Warmed in the Past 30 Years?

    Around 1996-97, while writing my book Hot Talk Cold Science, I had a chance to study some published tree-ring data [by d'Arrigo and Jacoby] and ice-core data [Dahl-Jensen et al] that showed essentially no warming since 1940. At the same time, the available satellite data also showed essentially no warming since 1979. But all of the surface data did show a warming, and while US temperatures did not exceed those reached in the 1930s, the global temperatures were very much higher. Something didn't quite fit. Could it be that the global data were contaminated by urban heat island effects? Or perhaps by the fact that rural stations worldwide had been closed down after 1970? Could it be that just airports were warming?

    It seemed important to me to check out the available proxy data. The 1998 "hockey-stick" paper by Michael Mann et al. seemed like a good place to start. But I noticed that his analysis of proxy data stopped at 1979, just when things became interesting. I e-mailed him and asked him if post-1980 data were available and why he hadn't included them. He replied brusquely that suitable data were not available. I suspected then and I am more certain now that the reason he didn't use post-1980 data is that they would have showed no warming - and that would have destroyed his calibration and the rationale of the "hockey-stick." I have saved this exchange of e-mails.

    Of course, the hockeystick graph (with proxy data stopping in 1979 and instrumented data showing a steep rise after 1979) became the "clincher" in IPCC-TAR (AR-3): The 20th century was supposed to be the warmest in the past 1000 years. Baloney! The ice-core data of Dahl -Jensen and ocean-sediment data of Keigwin clearly showed the Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age. The CG mafia jumped on Soon and Baliunas who had collected many references showing a MWP and LIA. Besides, there was historical evidence supporting Soon-Baliunas. All that was attacked as being purely "local" but not global warming and cooling.

    Craig Loehle has now published a definitive temp record from proxy data (but omitting tree-ring data) that clearly shows a global warming 1000 years ago, exceeding current temperature. Of course, there was nothing ever magic about "1000 years." Everyone agrees that much warmer periods occurred during earlier periods of the Holocene.

    The CG mafia also attacked the satellite data - even after the researchers made minor corrections that produced hardly any change in reported temperature trends. Things looked good for the Hockeystick, and Michael Mann soon became the IPCC's poster boy. I took up the matter again in 2003 when McIntyre and McKitrick started to publish their critiques of the hockeystick. [I served as a reviewer of their first paper in Energy & Environment.] I corresponded extensively with Steve McIntyre in the hope of getting post-1980 proxy data, but he didn't seem very interested. In pursuing the matter further, I came across an e-mail message from Chick Keller claiming to have such proxy temperatures. When I asked for them, he replied that they were not his and he couldn't release them. I understood that, but asked for the source of the data so I could contact the source directly. After repeated attempts to get a reply from him, I concluded that he really did not have such data.

    Five years later I'm still looking to collect more proxy data that would give post-1980 surface temperatures and allow a comparison with instrumented values and with atmospheric temperatures from radiosondes and satellites. Once the CG investigations get underway, we may finally find out how a warming trend was "manufactured" from data that showed no such trend. Truly, we have "manmade" warming after all; except it may all be fake.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #41-2009
    (in TWTW Dec 26, 2009)

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

    Junk Science #2: IPCC Second Assessment Report (IPCC-AR-2, 1995, published in 1996)

    Dec 26, 2009

    [Note: This is the second of a series of mini-editorials on the junk science influencing the global warming issue. Other topics will include the IPCC's Assessment Reports 3 and 4, the UN Environmental Program and some individuals heavily involved in these matters.]

    IPCC assessment reports, and particularly their Summaries for Policymakers (SPM), are noted for their selective use of information and their bias to support the political goal of control of fossil fuels in order to fight an alleged anthropogenic global warming (AGW).

    Perhaps the most blatant example is IPCC's Second Assessment Report (SAR), completed in 1995 and published in 1996. Its SPM contains the memorable phrase "the balance of evidence suggests a discernable human influence on global climate." You may recall that this 1996 IPCC report played a key role in the political deliberations that led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

    This ambiguous phrase suggests a group of climate scientists, examining both human and natural influences on climate change, looking at published scientific research, and carefully weighing their decision. Nothing of the sort has ever happened. The IPCC has consistently ignored the major natural influences on climate change and has focused almost entirely on human causes, especially on GH gases and more especially on carbon dioxide, which is linked to industrial activities and therefore "bad" almost by definition.

    How then did the IPCC-SAR arrive at balance of evidence? It was the work of a then-relatively-junior scientist, Dr Benjamin D. Santer of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), who has recently re-emerged as a major actor in ClimateGate. As a Convening Lead Author of a crucial IPCC chapter, Santer carefully removed any verbiage denying that human influences might be the major or almost exclusive cause of warming and substituted new language. There is no evidence that he ever consulted any of his fellow IPCC authors, nor do we know who instructed him to make these changes and later approved the text deletions and insertions that fundamentally transformed IPCC-SAR.

    The event is described by Nature [381(1006):539] and in a 1996 WSJ article by the late Professor Frederick Seitz (See also my Science Editorial #2-09). Seitz compared the draft of IPCC Chapter 8 (Detection and Attribution) and the final printed text. He noted that, before printing, key phrases had been deleted from the draft that had earlier been approved by its several scientist-authors. For a full account of these text changes see my Hoover Essay in Public Policy No. 102 [2000] "Climate Policy: From Rio to Kyoto"

    Exec Summary
    Essay pdf
    Essay Notes
    Seitz wrote [WSJ, Aug 13, 1996]:

    "Last week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations organization regarded by many as the best source of scientific information about the human impact on the earth's climate, released "The Science of Climate Change 1995," its first new report in five years. The report will surely be hailed as the latest and most authoritative statement on global warming. Policy makers and the press around the world will likely view the report as the basis for critical decisions on energy policy that would have an enormous impact on U.S. oil and gas prices and on the international economy.

    This IPCC report, like all others, is held in such high regard largely because it has been peer-reviewed. That is, it has been read, discussed, modified and approved by an international body of experts. These scientists have laid their reputations on the line. But this report is not what it appears to be--it is not the version that was approved by the contributing scientists listed on the title page. In my more than 60 years as a member of the American scientific community, including service as president of both the National Academy of Sciences and the American Physical Society, I have never witnessed a more disturbing corruption of the peer-review process than the events that led to this IPCC report.

    A comparison between the report approved by the contributing scientists and the published version reveals that key changes were made after the scientists had met and accepted what they thought was the final peer-reviewed version. The scientists were assuming that the IPCC would obey the IPCC Rules--a body of regulations that is supposed to govern the panel's actions. Nothing in the IPCC Rules permits anyone to change a scientific report after it has been accepted by the panel of scientific contributors and the full IPCC.

    The participating scientists accepted "The Science of Climate Change" in Madrid last November; the full IPCC accepted it the following month in Rome. But more than 15 sections in Chapter 8 of the report--the key chapter setting out the scientific evidence for and against a human influence over climate--were changed or deleted after the scientists charged with examining this question had accepted the supposedly final text.

    Few of these changes were merely cosmetic; nearly all worked to remove hints of the skepticism with which many scientists regard claims that human activities are having a major impact on climate in general and on global warming in particular.

    The following passages are examples of those included in the approved report but deleted from the supposedly peer-reviewed published version:

    "None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed [climate] changes to the specific cause of increases in greenhouse gases." "No study to date has positively attributed all or part [of the climate change observed to date] to anthropogenic [man-made] causes." "Any claims of positive detection of significant climate change are likely to remain controversial until uncertainties in the total natural variability of the climate system are reduced." The reviewing scientists used this original language to keep themselves and the IPCC honest. I am in no position to know who made the major changes in Chapter 8; but the report's lead author, Benjamin D. Santer, must presumably take the major responsibility.

    IPCC reports are often called the "consensus" view. If they lead to carbon taxes and restraints on economic growth, they will have a major and almost certainly destructive impact on the economies of the world. Whatever the intent was of those who made these significant changes, their effect is to deceive policy makers and the public into believing that the scientific evidence shows human activities are causing global warming.

    If the IPCC is incapable of following its most basic procedures, it would be best to abandon the entire IPCC process, or at least that part that is concerned with the scientific evidence on climate change, and look for more reliable sources of advice to governments on this important question."


    But in addition to these text changes there are also two key graphs that were doctored in order to convey the impression that anthropogenic influences are dominant. Again, my Hoover essay gives the details.

    1. According to all climate models, GH warming shows a characteristic "fingerprint": a "hot spot" in temperature trend values in the tropical upper troposphere. Michaels and Knappenberger [Nature 384 (1996):522-523] discovered that the IPCC's claimed agreement with observations was spurious and obtained by selecting a convenient segment of the radiosonde temperature data and ignoring the rest.

    2. Santer also claimed that the modeled and observed patterns of geographic surface temperatures were correlated, with the correlation coefficient increasing over time (suggesting to the reader that a growing human component gradually emerged from background noise). I found, however, that Santer had obtained this result by simply deleting from a published graph all the trend lines that disagreed with his desired outcome [Eos 80 (1999):372]. In fact, the original paper had Santer himself as lead author and did not appear in print until after the IPCC report was completed - in contravention of IPCC rules.

    It is interesting that these several documented falsifications went largely unreported and had little impact on scientists and politicians, who went on to support the passage of the Kyoto Protocol -- in spite of the absence of any scientific support. A wide-ranging investigation of ClimateGate may yet serve to bring this IPCC triple-malfeasance to light.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #30-2009
    (in TWTW Dec 19, 2009)

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

    Junk Science #1: IPCC

    Dec 19, 2009

    [Note: This will be the first of a series of mini-editorials on the junk science influencing the global warming issue. Other topics will include the IPCC's Assessment Reports 2, 3, and 4, the UN Environmental Program and some individuals heavily involved in these matters. ]

    In 1988, two UN agencies, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN World Meteorological Organization (WMO), set up a climate science panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Its Charter directs the IPCC to assess worldwide scientific, technical and socio-economic literature relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.

    And indeed, the IPCC has steadfastly pursued this goal and has given a short shrift to any possible natural influences on climate. (This despite the fact that the historic record shows unending changes in climate, both warming and cooling, on time scales ranges from years to eons.) It would be strange indeed to think that such natural changes stopped with the onset of the Industrial Revolution, but this logical point seems to have been ignored by the IPCC and many others. The IPCC charter also states that IPCC will assess the science on a "comprehensive, objective, open and transparent" basis. Unfortunately, none of these aims have been realized - as was brought home by the recent revelations contained in the e-mails of ClimateGate.

    The first IPCC science assessment, FAR or AR-1, was published in 1990 and formed the science basis for the Rio Climate Summit of 1992 that led to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC or "Global Climate Treaty"), which in turn forms the basis for the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the COP (Conference of the Parties - to Kyoto), and all national and international efforts to control the emission of greenhouse gases.

    The Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of IPCC-FAR concluded that observations and Greenhouse (GH) models (all of which show a steady increase of global temperature as the level of GH gases rises) are broadly consistent. They ignore not only the lengthy period of cooling (from 1940 to 1975) but also the existence of weather satellites, which, at that time, had shown no warming since 1979 (when data from MSU - microwave sounding units -- became available) -- or even a slight cooling. No wonder that IPCC denied the existence of such 'inconvenient truth.' To correct such biases and deficiencies, we set up the NIPCC (Non-governmental International Panel on Climate Change) to examine the same peer-reviewed science literature as the IPCC, but including also papers ignored by the IPCC. Our conclusion is given by the title of the NIPCC summary report of 2008: "Nature, not human activity, rules the climate."

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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