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2008 Index of Editorials

All Editorials for


Antarctic Warming
Skepticism [2]

Review [3]

Climate Change
CO2 Emissions [1]

Climate Models
Uncertainty [2]

Climate Science
Climate Cycles [1]
Climate Sensitivity [1]
Holes [1]
Thermal History [1]
Unsolved Problems [1]

Energy Issues
American Power Act [1]
Clean and Sustainable [1]
Nuclear Waste Storage [1]
Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) [1]

Surrogate Religion [1]

Energy Primer for Kids [1]

Applications [2]

Global Climate - International
French Academy [1]

Global Warming
Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) [6]
Confusion [1]
Economics [1]
General [2]
Greenhouse Gases [1]
Hockeystick [4]
Ice Cores [1]
Junkscience [9]
Oceans' Role [2]
Skepticism [1]
Sun's Role [2]

Health Issues
Second Hand Smoke [1]

Arctic Sea Ice [1]
Atmospheric Temperature Data [2]
Sea Surface Temperature [1]
Surface Data [2]

Statistics Misuse [1]

Modern Empirical Science
v. Medieval Science [1]

China [1]

Nuclear Fuel
Supplies [1]

Climate Research Unit (CRU) [1]
International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) [2]
Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) [1]
UK Met Office [1]
World Meteorological Organization (WMO) [1]

Political Issues
Climate Realism [1]
Climategate [3]
Independent Cross Check of Temperature Data [1]

IPCC Assessment Report [2]
NOAA State of the Climate 2009 [1]
NRC-NAS Advancing the Science of Climate Change [1]

Sea-Level Rise
West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) [1]
Alarmism [1]

Types of Energy
Nuclear Energy [1]
  • 27-Dec-08 Keeping the IPCC honest [Organizations, International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)]
  • 20-Dec-08 The sorry state of surface temperature data [Measurements, Surface Data]
  • 13-Dec-08 The Problem with Sea Surface Temperature (SST) (2) [Measurements, Sea Surface Temperature]
  • SEPP Science Editorial #17
    (in TWTW Dec 27, 2008)

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

    Keeping the IPCC honest

    Dec 27, 2008

    I know it's a tough job - but let's just check their iconic, widely-quoted conclusion and parse its meaning:

    "Most of the observed increase in globally-averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations." [IPCC Synthesis Report, SPM, Nov 2007]. How should one interpret this ex cathedra declaration to the faithful?

    IPCC helpfully defines 'very likely' as '90-99% certain.' But they don't tell us how they reached such well-defined certainty. What remarkable unanimity! Just how many and whom did they poll?

    IPCC doesn't define the word 'most.' We may assume it means anything between 51 and 99%. Quite a spread. But a footnote informs us that solar forcing is less than 10% of anthropogenic [0.12/ 1.6 W/m2]; so 'most' must be closer to 99% than to 51%.

    OK; let's check out the data since 1958. But we don't want to rely on contaminated surface data - which IPCC likely used -although they omitted to say so. Atmospheric data were readily available to the IPCC in the CCSP-SAP-1.1 report (Fig 3a, p.54; convening lead author John Lanzante, NOAA), with independent analyses by Hadley Centre and NOAA that agree well. And further, according to GH models, atmospheric trends should be larger than surface temperature trends.

    1958 - 2005: Total warming of +0.5 C - but how much of that is anthropogenic?

    1958 - 1976: Cooling

    1976 - 1977: Sudden jump of +0.5 C Cannot be due to GHG

    1977 - 1997: No detectable trend

    1998 - 1999: El Nino spike

    2000 - 2001: No detectable trend

    2001 - 2003: Sudden jump of +0.3 C Cannot be due to GHG

    2003 - present No trend, maybe even slight cooling

    Conclusion: The IPCC's 'most' is not sustained by observations; the human contribution is very likely only 10% or even less.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP Science Editorial #16
    (in TWTW Dec 20, 2008)

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

    The sorry state of surface temperature data

    Dec 20, 2008

    GW advocates are 'spinning' the 'warmth'- of 2008, claiming it to be the xth warmest year since yy  all the while trying to ignore the low temperature records being set worldwide [see Item #6]. I share the critical views about the quality of the surface data, along with Courtney, d'Aleo, Gray, McKitrick, Watts and many others who have looked into the matter. I consider only satellite data truly reliable [See discussion in NIPCC report].

    So I was struck by a short item about 2008 temperatures in the blog of NY Times writer Andrew Revkin

    The top graph shows the geographic distribution of 2008 mean temperatures, compared to a base period of 1951-1980. Two features are very striking:

    1. The base period is of course a cool period just before the sudden temperature rise around 1977. This would explain why one sees so much warming.

    2. The most interesting feature is the warmth of the FSU, and particularly the extreme warmth of Siberia. I was puzzled by that and then recalled that during the communist period station managers were said to be under-reporting temperatures in order to gain larger fuel allocations.

    I'm wondering now what the pattern would be like if we chose a *post-communist* base period, say 1990-2005. Would the pattern be preserved? Would Siberia still show strong warming in 2008?

    [There's the additional matter of the closing down of many weather stations in that area after 1980.]

    We can now look at the second GISS graph and note two interesting features:

    1. Unlike the Hadley surface data, and unlike the satellite data, the graph shows 21st-century temperatures that are higher than 1998. The reason for that is not clear.

    2. Close inspection also shows an unusual temperature increase starting in 1992, which is not present in the satellite data for the northern hempisphere. This would seem to support the hypothesis that pre-1990 Siberian temperatures might have been under-reported.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP Science Editorial #15
    (in TWTW Dec 13, 2008)

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

    The Problem with Sea Surface Temperature (SST) (2)

    Dec 13, 2008

    Oceans cover 71% of the Earth's surface; SST essentially determines surface temperature. While not subject to the problems of land temperature data (urban heat islands, weather station placement and maintenance, etc), SST has even more severe problems, mainly related to coverage and to changes in methods of measurement. Just recently, the Hadley Centre had to fix a 'glitch' caused by a change from wooden to canvas sampling buckets, which led to a temperature 'discontinuity.'

    Since 1980 we have a situation where data from floating buoys (from a warm layer of about 50 cm depth) are increasingly combined with ship inlet data (from a colder layer at depth of ~10 m). Could this lead to a fictitious warming trend? How to check whether this produces a problem? One method would be to process ship data and buoy data separately before combining them. I have not been successful in penetrating the data analysis bureaucracy to arrange for such a test. But there may be a simpler way (which I first proposed at a conference in Erice in 2005): Compare day-time and night-time SST trends. If they do not differ, then the 'buoy effect' is likely of little importance.

    Singer, S. F. (2006). How effective is greenhouse warming of sea surface temperatures? In International Seminar on Nuclear War and Planetary Emergencies. Climatology: Global Warming. (ed. A Zichichi and R. Ragini). World Scientific Publishing Company, Singapore. pp. 176-182.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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