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2009 Index of Editorials

All Editorials for
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2012
2011
2010
2009
2008

Categories
   Subcategories

Antarctic Warming
 Skepticism [2]

Book
 Review [2]

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]

Environmentalism
 Surrogate Religion [1]

Foreword
 Energy Primer for Kids [1]

Geo-Engineering
 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]

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

Misinformation
 Statistics Misuse [1]

Modern Empirical Science
 v. Medieval Science [1]

NIPCC
 China [1]

Nuclear Fuel
 Supplies [1]

Organizations
 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]

Report
 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]
  • 26-Dec-09 Junk Science #2: IPCC Second Assessment Report (IPCC-AR-2, 1995, published in 1996) [Global Warming, Junkscience]
  • 19-Dec-09 Junk Science #1: IPCC [Global Warming, Junkscience]
  • 12-Dec-09 SEPP Editorial [Organizations, World Meteorological Organization (WMO)]
  • 05-Dec-09 SEPP Editorial [Organizations, Climate Research Unit (CRU)]
  • 25-Nov-09 SEPP Editorial [Organizations, Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)]
  • 14-Nov-09 More about 'Scientific Consensus [Organizations, UK Met Office]
  • 07-Nov-09 No Consensus about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) [Global Warming, Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)]
  • 31-Oct-09 The rebirth of the hockey-stick? [Global Warming, Hockeystick]
  • 24-Oct-09 What has happened to global warming since 1998 [Global Warming, General]
  • 17-Oct-09 A CLOSER LOOK AT SURFACE DATA AND REPORTED TRENDS-REDUX [Measurements, Surface Data]
  • 10-Oct-09 UNEP updates IPCC and brings back the 'Hockeystick' (Part 2) [Global Warming, Hockeystick]
  • 03-Oct-09 UNEP updates IPCC and brings back the 'Hockeystick' (Part 1) [Global Warming, Hockeystick]
  • 19-Sep-09 Short-term climate prediction: An unrealistic project [Global Warming, Oceans' Role]
  • 05-Sep-09 Critique of "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling" [Global Warming, General]
  • 29-Aug-09 Sun spot frequency has an unexpectedly strong influence on cloud formation and precipitation [Global Warming, Sun's Role]
  • 15-Aug-09 Some Unsettled Problems in Climate Science [Climate Science, Unsolved Problems]
  • 08-Aug-09 What Caused the PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Temperature Maximum) [Climate Science, Thermal History]
  • 25-Jul-09 Human Heat Input or GH Effect? A false choice [Global Warming, Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)]
  • 18-Jul-09 Modern v. Medieval Science [Modern Empirical Science, v. Medieval Science]
  • 11-Jul-09 Geo-Engineering (Part 3): Overcoming the Next Ice Age [Geo-Engineering, Applications]
  • 04-Jul-09 Geo-Engineering (Part 2) [Geo-Engineering, Applications]
  • 20-Jun-09 How to Cheat with Statistics [Misinformation, Statistics Misuse]
  • 13-Jun-09 Climate Sensitivity (CS), Negative Feedback (NF), and all that [Climate Science, Climate Sensitivity]
  • 06-Jun-09 Why I am a Climate Realist [Political Issues, Climate Realism]
  • 23-May-09 The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and Sea-Level Rise [Sea-Level Rise, West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) ]
  • 16-May-09 The IPCC's Evidence for Anthropogenic GW deconstructed #3 [Global Warming, Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)]
  • 18-Apr-09 The IPCC's Evidence for Anthropogenic GW deconstructed #2 [Global Warming, Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)]
  • 11-Apr-09 The IPCC's Evidence for Anthropogenic GW deconstructed [Global Warming, Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)]
  • 04-Apr-09 On Causes and Mechanisms of the 1500-Year Climate Cycles [Climate Science, Climate Cycles]
  • 21-Mar-09 The latest alarmist concerns about sea level rise [Sea-Level Rise, Alarmism]
  • 07-Mar-09 The sea-ice issue - a tempest in a teapot. [Measurements, Arctic Sea Ice]
  • 28-Feb-09 Why don't we see any Anthropogenic Greenhouse Warming (AGW) in the Climate record? [Global Warming, Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW)]
  • 14-Feb-09 Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Change and the Lifetime of CO2 [Global Warming, Economics]
  • 07-Feb-09 Returning to the Antarctic [Antarctic Warming, Skepticism]
  • 31-Jan-09 Climate Damage May Be Irreversible, Report Indicates. [Climate Change, CO2 Emissions]
  • 24-Jan-09 Is Antarctic Warming Real or is it Mann-made? [Antarctic Warming, Skepticism]
  • 17-Jan-09 The Future of Nuclear Fuel Supplies [Nuclear Fuel, Supplies]
  • 10-Jan-09 Keeping the IPCC Honest - Part II [Organizations, International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)]
  • 03-Jan-09 Methodology of Extracting Climatologically Useful Atmospheric Temperature Data [Measurements, Atmospheric Temperature Data]
  • 03-Jan-09 Methodology of Extracting Climatologically Useful Atmospheric Temperature data [Measurements, Atmospheric Temperature Data]
  • 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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    SEPP Editorial
    (in TWTW Dec 12, 2009)

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

    SEPP Editorial

    Jul 29, 2011

    There has been much confusion created by the announcement of the World Meteorological Organization (UN-WMO) that the past decade has shown some of the warmest years, based on the record of 160 years of temperature data.

    Whether intended or not, the WMO press release just at the opening of COP-15 in Copenhagen, has created the impression that human-caused warming (AGW) is the cause and that the IPCC conclusion is correct after all.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. The WMO confuses (purposely?) two quite different concepts: TEMPERATURE (measured in degrees C) and TEMPERATURE TREND (measured in degrees C per year).

    Of course, temperatures are at their highest, and may eventually become even higher, as the global climate recovers from the Little Ice Age -- without any human assistance. It may even reach the high values seen in the Medieval Warm Period around 1100AD.

    But temperature trends have been downward -- even as GH gases like CO2 are increasing. This negative correlation contradicts the results of GH models and indicates that anthropogenic GW is quite small.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP Editorial
    (in TWTW Dec 5, 2009)

    Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President , Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

    SEPP Editorial

    Dec 5, 2009

    As the questionable actions of the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia are being revealed, we are witnessing how the life work of Hubert H. Lamb was tarnished by the very organizations he helped create. A pioneer in the scientific study of climate change, H.H. Lamb was the founder and first director of the CRU. After he retired, Lamb wrote the classic, Climate, History and the Modern World, (Routledge, 1982 & 1995). Lamb synthesized the physical evidence demonstrating that since the last ice age ended, the earth has been both warmer and cooler than today. For over 3,000 years, 5,000 to 8,000 years ago, it was 2-3 degrees C warmer than today.

    The evidence for the Northern Hemisphere is extensive. Throughout North America and Eurasia trees grew 200 to 400 km closer to the North Pole than they grow today and in the mountains grew at higher elevations than they do today. The Sahara Desert was wetter. For example, cave paintings in the middle of the Sahara show natives hunting hippopotami in canoes or boats.

    Because the land mass of the Southern Hemisphere is far less than the land mass of the Northern Hemisphere there is less physical evidence in the Southern Hemisphere. However, in the mountains of the Southern Hemisphere trees grew at higher elevations than today and Australia was wetter.

    Lamb contended that temperature and climate changes were not uniform and differed both spatially and temporally; but, they existed world-wide and that temperature changes were more pronounced in the mid and upper latitudes than in the tropics. Based on his analysis, Lamb stated that warm periods were beneficial for humanity, and cold periods were harmful. He advocated that governments should fund studies on climate change so humanity will be better prepared for the next cold period that was sure to come. In the 1995 edition, he expressed concern that the study of climate change (global warming) had taken a wrong turn.

    Lamb's research has been largely dismissed by the human caused global warming community.

    For example in discussing Lamb's work, Chapter 6, Palaeoclimate of the 2007 The Fourth IPCC Assessment Report (AR4) states: These local warm periods were very likely not globally synchronous and occurred at times when there is evidence that some areas of the tropical oceans were cooler than today (Figure 6.9) (Lorenz et al., 2006). When forced by 6 ka orbital parameters, state-of-the-art coupled climate models and EMICs capture reconstructed regional temperature and precipitation synchronous and occurred at times when there is evidence that some areas of the tropical oceans were cooler than today (Figure 6.9) p. 460

    The IPCC offers a graph showing a cooling of the tropical North Indian Ocean and the tropical Pacific Ocean as claimed proof that the extended warm period demonstrated by Lamb was regional not global. Of course, there is little physical evidence of warming or cooling of these oceans to verify or contradict the computer simulations. Thus according to the IPCC, compelling physical evidence of extensive warming in one part of the globe is counterbalanced by computer simulations of cooling in another part of the globe for which physical evidence is lacking. The life work of Lamb in compiling physical evidence has been trumped by computer simulations with little or no supporting physical evidence.

    Perhaps there is a bit of irony in this week's statement by Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, when he claimed that the information in the emails in no way damages the credibility of the IPCC's AR4.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP Editorial
    (in TWTW Nov 25, 2009)

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

    SEPP Editorial

    Nov 25, 2009

    These were sent by Prof. Singer as he was preparing for debates and lectures during his European trip.

    1. The single most important question is whether warming is natural or man-made. The Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) claims it is natural. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claims it is man-made but presents no credible evidence.

    2. Even if the IPCC were correct, you must consider that a modest warming is beneficial and that therefore mitigation of carbon dioxide is counter-productive.

    3. If NIPCC evidence is accepted, then CO2 is not a pollutant, and there is no need for alternative energy sources like wind, ethanol, etc., or for CCS (Carbon capture and Sequestration).

    4. To sum up: I do not have any fears about climate change. I only fear what zealous politicians might do to distort the economy in their misguided quest to save the climate.

    Climategate:

    The Climategate disclosures over the past few days, consisting of some thousand of emails between a small group of British and US climate scientists, demonstrate that global warming is man-made after all - created by this small group of zealous scientists. They have used flawed data, phony statistics, and various tricks. They have covered up any contrary evidence and refused to open their work to the scrutiny of independent scholars. By keeping out intruders, by reviewing their own papers, by capturing scientific journals and intimidating editors, they have tried to suppress any dissent.

    I do not wish to discuss any of the ethical or legal aspects, which may be self-evident.

    I consider the whole matter a great tragedy not only for science but also for the institutions involved and for many of the scientists involved who have in fact spent many years and whole careers on their work. I have some personal sympathy for Philip Jones, the apparent leader of this group, and feel he has been dealt a bad hand. Trying to correct temperature observations from weather stations around the world is extremely difficult work. It involves much detail; it certainly not traditional science. However, I cannot endorse the actions of this group and hope that an impartial investigation will bring closure to this difficult matter.

    Inevitably, the public's view of science will be affected and this will hurt all of science.

    Summary of Climate Debate of November 23 2009

    Climate science is basic to climate policy. Based on successive IPCC-reports, there has been constructed a huge edifice of organizations, treaties, laws and regulations all of these essentially depending on the quality of the science. I include there the 1992 Global Climate Treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, the 15 annual meetings of the Conference of the Parties (COP) with nearly 200 national delegations, etc. What will happen if the IPCC science turns out to be wrong? What if climate change is controlled by natural factors rather than human-produced greenhouse gases? Will the edifice collapse? One might think so but maybe not. The reason is money. There is so much tied up now with AGW. There are windmill constructors and wind farms, ethanol producers and farmers, there are emission traders, and many others - - all of them intent to keep the edifice erected even without a foundation.

    In the United States, the Waxman Markey Bill aims to extract $865 billion from people who use energy, perhaps the biggest tax in history. Of this amount only 15% will go into the Treasury; 85% goes to favored entities that helped support the legislation. The first IPCC report of 1990 led directly to the 1992 climate treaty. The second IPCC report of 1995 gave rise to the slogan the science is settled and there is now a complete consensus and led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The nations of the world are now considering an extension of Kyoto at Copenhagen; but more and more scientists have concluded that global warming is a non-problem and that the real problem is government action to solve a phantom issue.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    SEPP Science Editorial #36-2009
    (in TWTW Nov 14, 2009)

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

    More about 'Scientific Consensus

    Nov 14, 2009

    According to the UK Met Office Climate Change Guide the core climate science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was written by 152 scientists from more than 30 countries and contributed to and/or reviewed by some 600 experts. Not mentioned, however, is the fact that many of the reviewers disagreed with the IPCC conclusion that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely (>90% sure) due to the observed increase in man-made greenhouse gas concentrations. Also unmentioned is the fact that most of the science of the IPCC report is not controversial. The only crucial chapter is Chapter 9 (on Attribution), in which the IPCC attempts to show that 20th century warming was anthropogenic. It was written by only 9 scientists and is dominated by a tightly controlled clique whose members referee each others' papers and consider 'attribution studies' as their private fiefdom.

    The NIPCC was set up to break down this monopoly. The NIPCC Summary (2008) and full report (2009) demonstrate that there is no real evidence backing the IPCC conclusion http://www.NIPCCreport.org.

    The following letter, signed by senior physicists, was sent to all 100 U.S. senators on October 29, 2009:

    A GAGGLE IS NOT A CONSENSUS

    You have recently received a letter from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), purporting to convey a "consensus" of the scientific community that immediate and drastic action is needed to avert a climatic catastrophe. We do not seek to make the scientific arguments here (we did that in an earlier letter, sent a couple of months ago), but simply note that the claim of consensus is fake, designed to stampede you into actions that will cripple our economy, and which you will regret for many years. There is no consensus, and even if there were, consensus is not the test of scientific validity. Theories that disagree with the facts are wrong, consensus or no.

    We know of no evidence that any of the "leaders" of the scientific community who signed the [AAAS] letter to you ever asked their memberships for their opinions, before claiming to represent them on this important matter.

    We also note that the American Physical Society (APS, and we are physicists) did not sign the letter, though the scientific issues at stake are fundamentally matters of applied physics. You can do physics without climatology, but you can't do climatology without physics.

    The APS is at this moment reviewing its stance on so-called global warming, having received a petition from its membership to do so. That petition was signed by 160 [by now well over 200] distinguished members and fellows of the Society, including one Nobelist and 12 members of the National Academies.

    Indeed a score of the signers are Members and Fellows of the AAAS, none of whom were consulted before the AAAS letter to you.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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    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 #34-2009
    (in TWTW Oct 31, 2009)

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

    The rebirth of the hockey-stick?

    Oct 31, 2009

    The hockeystick is attempting a comeback - and instead of relying on tree rings, it now relies on ancient midge larvae in lake sediments. It's all part of a determined effort to show that the 20th century is 'unusual' -- and therefore supports the IPCC claim of AGW.

    Here is the press release:

    WASHINGTON (AFP) Oct 19, 2009: Sediment cores from a small Arctic lake in Canada stretching back 200,000 years show unprecedented gains in global warming since 1950, indicating human activity is the likely cause. "The past few decades have been unique in the past 200,000 years in terms of the changes we see in the biology and chemistry recorded in the cores," University of Colorado glaciologist Yarrow Axford said in the study by Canadian and US researchers. "We see clear evidence for warming in one of the most remote places on Earth at a time when the Arctic should be cooling because of natural processes," added the chief author of the study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

    One suspicious item is the fact that the editors of PNAS, in their obvious desire to publish this paper, assigned its review to an editor [Mark Brenner, U of FL] of their own choosing. So the paper has not been peer reviewed in the usual sense; this depreciates its credibility and also that of the PNAS, particularly in a contentious area like climate science.

    It is difficult for a non-specialist on midges like me to judge the quality of the data. But it would have been reassuring if similar results were to be published from other lakes in the Arctic, of which there are many thousands, rather than from just a single one. Obviously, even if there is a warming, one cannot identify its cause from the data presented. Actual temperature data of the Arctic, taken with thermometers, show a peak in 1935 followed by a cooling trend that reversed only in the 1970s.

    Of course, there has been warming since 1950, a low point in temperature. First, we had the sudden temp jump in 1976-77 (certainly not caused by CO2); then the large El Nino warming of 1998. How can the authors possibly claim a human influence? In addition, their claim that there should have been a significant 'cooling' trend over just 50 years from astronomical causes makes no sense either.

    Of interest, below, is the abstract of what appears to be a very similar study (May 2004), complete with diatoms and chironomids (midge larvae), but with dissimilar results

    Similarities and discrepancies between chironomid- and diatom-inferred temperature reconstructions through the Holocene at Lake 850, northern Sweden.

    A quantitative temperature reconstruction using chironomids and diatoms has been attempted from a high-elevation lake in northern Sweden (Lake 850). Since 7000 cal. years BP, both chironomids and diatoms recorded similar temperatures (in the range of present-day estimates) but the correspondence between chironomid and diatom-inferred temperatures was highest in the recent Holocene (2500 cal. years BP to the present). Between ca. 9000 and 7000 cal. years BP, inferred temperatures from chironomids were warmer than today (ca. 12°C), in accord with other climate reconstruction using pollen, plant macrofossils and oxygen isotope analysis in lakes of northern Scandinavia. In contrast, diatom analysis did not infer warmer temperatures during this period. The insensitivity of diatoms to temperature in Lake 850 between 9000 and 7000 cal. years BP could be attributed to other environmental factors affecting the diatom assemblages through time, especially lake-water pH. Diatom-inferred pH showed a gradual decrease (0.5 pH units) between 9000 and 7000 cal. years BP, while it remained more or less constant since 7000 cal. years BP. Changes in lake-water pH acting on diatoms seem to mask the effect of climate, leading to temperature reconstructions that are inaccurate. Ways of disentangling climate and other environmental factors when attempting climate reconstruction should be further investigated.

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    SEPP Science Editorial #33-2009
    (in TWTW Oct 24, 2009)

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

    What has happened to global warming since 1998

    Oct 24, 2009

    The respected science journalist Richard Kerr discusses the anxieties of the 'warmistas,' who try to explain away the fact that the climate has not been warming since 1998. They now admit that the data are sound and that indeed there has been a slight cooling trend in the last few years. The only exception is the data compilation by Jim Hansen's GISS which still shows warmer years after 1998 - contrary to the compilations of NOAA-NCDC, and of Hadley-CRU. But GISS is simply contrarian, as can be seen from the satellite data that show no warming either.

    Now as we have pointed out repeatedly, this lack of a warming trend should not be taken as evidence against the existence of AGW; but it clearly indicates that the IPCC discussion is quite incomplete, since it omits any forcing that would counteract, or more than counteract, the warming effects of GH gases. This time around, unlike during the cooling of 1940-75, the warmistas don't blame the cooling on aerosols. Instead, they seem to be about evenly divided between those who attribute the lack of warming to a change in ocean circulation and those who blame the sun [Rind and Lean]. Except that in the latter case, Rind and Lean attempt to explain the data on a change in Total Solar Irradiance [TSI]; they seem to not have heard of the climate effects of cosmic rays, yet they refer to TSI as 'solar activity.'

    What I find interesting is that the modelers have now admitted that GH models can occasionally produce ten-year long periods of no warming; I'm willing to accept this. According to the modelers even 15-year periods can occur, but very rarely. So perhaps in five years we will be able to judge whether the current absence of warming is a stochastic event or due to real climate forcing, be it a change in ocean circulation or solar activity.

    Wouldn't it be prudent therefore to delay long-term commitments to mitigation until we understand more fully the cause of this puzzling absence of warming and its apparent contradiction to greenhouse models?

    Ref: R. Kerr. Science 326. pp. 28-29, Oct 2, 2009

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    SEPP Science Editorial #32-2009
    (in TWTW Oct 17, 2009)

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

    A CLOSER LOOK AT SURFACE DATA AND REPORTED TRENDS-REDUX

    Oct 17, 2009

    The recent flap about the availability of raw data and the reliability of surface temperature data generally has forced a re-evaluation of reported trends and their comparison with expectations from models.

    For example, many have claimed that a warming between 1975 and 1998 is evidence for AGW.

    There is no question that 1998 is a good deal warmer than 1975; but the error is to draw a straight line between those two points and assume it is a GH-gas-produced 'trend.'

    Then there is confusion between 'temp' and 'temp trends': For example, the years since 1998 may be among the warmest in the past 100 years; yet the trend is negative, i.e., it's cooling.

    There are so many problems with SFC data that we will just list a few here and discuss them more fully later: [Note that satellite data are relatively immune from problems #1 to #6]

    1. Urban heat island effect: well-recognized warming bias but difficult to eliminate.

    2. The 'de-population' of observing station and the artificial (warming) bias introduced thereby

    3. The poor placement of stations, changes in location, changes in monitoring and reporting procedures: All these are well-recognized problems but require knowledge and corrections of individual stations.

    4. Sea Surface Temp(SST): Fundamental issue of penetration of IR energy

    5. SST: Changes in sampling instruments and procedures over time.

    6. SST: Non-uniform geographic coverage and changes over time

    7. Trends: Problems of defining time interval

    8. Trends: Errors introduced by 'smoothing' procedure

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    SEPP Science Editorial #31-2009
    (in TWTW Oct 10, 2009)

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

    UNEP updates IPCC and brings back the 'Hockeystick' (Part 2)

    Oct 10, 2009

    Well, it seems that UNEP has now removed the Hockeystick graph (on page 5 of its report, which claims to 'update' IPCC - I wonder, however, if IPCC agrees). They must have been greatly embarrassed when it was revealed that they copied the graph from an obscure Norwegian biologist, who found it on Wikipedia! "Those damn dirty bloggers muck up the reporting of science to the masses yet again." Climate Report

    See also: "UN climate reports: They lie." The hockeystick flap again; this time by UNEP not IPCC Climate Reports They Lie

    But this is not the end of the story: There is also a problem with the new graph on p.5 of this 'modified' UNEP report (that supposedly updates IPCC-4) at www.unep.org/compendium2009/: It uses the problematic GISS data for global surface temperature, which shows post-1998 temp that are warmer than 1998 -- in contradiction to Hadley-CRU and to NOAA-NCDC!** And of course, the satellite MSU data (both UAH and RSS) disagree with GISS also. So we willl just have to get after UNEP until they change the graph again. Stay tuned.

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    SEPP Science Editorial #30-2009
    (in TWTW Oct 3, 2009)

    Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President , Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

    UNEP updates IPCC and brings back the 'Hockeystick' (Part 1)

    Oct 3, 2009

    The UN's Environment Program has released a report that claims to update IPCC-4. It is edited by Catherine McMullen and Jason Jabbour and can be downloaded at More on UN Climate Report

    A few gems from the UNEP Report are shown below. Report My comments are in the square brackets [&]:

    "The pace and scale of climate change may now be outstripping even the most sobering predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC), according to the findings of a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)." [Just shows that the IPCC cannot be trusted]

    "This analysis of the very latest, peer-reviewed science indicates that many predictions at the upper end of the IPCC's forecasts are becoming ever more likely."[Meanwhile, the climate has been cooling and will likely continue to cool]

    "Some scientists are now warning that sea levels could rise by up to two meters by 2100 and five to ten times that over following centuries." [That's more than ten times the NIPCC estimate; we'll soon see whos right]

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    SEPP Science Editorial #29-2009
    (in TWTW Sep 19, 2009)

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

    Short-term climate prediction: An unrealistic project

    Sep 19, 2009

    Two widely acclaimed research papers have tried to explain the current lack of warming in terms of natural influences on climate, but have limited their discussion entirely to internal oscillations of the ocean atmosphere system. I do not find this explanation satisfactory. First, there is no theory to account for the various internal oscillations and they do not appear in current climate models. More to the point, the authors neglect the effect of any external forcing from variable solar activity. Yet geological evidence conclusively demonstrates such solar-forcing effects on climate; it is difficult to account in other ways for the detailed correlation, observed in stalagmites, between carbon-14, a cosmic-ray produced isotope, and oxygen-18, the conventional indicator of terrestrial climate. While the exact mechanism at work is not completely settled, it is quite unrealistic to assume that this well-established process, which operated for millennia during the Holocene, is no longer operating today. It is unreasonable also to assume also that two independent forcings are causing decadal-scale climate variations. I am therefore of the opinion that solar activity provides the trigger for the quasi-periodic internal oscillations, like PDO etc, -- which is not a new idea.

    In addition, both papers subscribe to the basic (and unsupported) IPCC claim of a substantial anthropogenic contribution from GH gases - contrary to the NIPCC summary report "Nature - Not Human Activity" Rules the Climate" http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC_final.pdf

    1. "Long-term natural variability and 20th century climate change" by Kyle L. Swanson, George Sugihara, and Anastasios A. Tsonis; PNAS, 14 September 2009, 10.1073/pnas.0908699106 - expanding on their paper in GRL (2009)

    Abstract: Global mean temperature at the Earth's surface responds both to externally imposed forcings, such as those arising from anthropogenic greenhouse gases, as well as to natural modes of variability internal to the climate system. Variability associated with these latter processes, generally referred to as natural long-term climate variability, arises primarily from changes in oceanic circulation. Here we present a technique that objectively identifies the component of inter-decadal global mean surface temperature attributable to natural long-term climate variability. Removal of that hidden variability from the actual observed global mean surface temperature record delineates the externally forced climate signal, which is monotonic, accelerating warming during the 20th century.

    2. Keenlyside et al. 2008, Nature 453, 84 - 88 Coauthor Prof Mojib Latif, from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University in Germany, has been looking at the influence of cyclical changes of ocean currents and temperatures in the Atlantic, a feature known as the North Atlantic Oscillation. When he factored these natural fluctuations into his global climate model, he found the results would bring the rise in average global temperatures to an abrupt halt. He told more than 1500 gathered in Geneva at the UN's World Climate Conference (WCC-3 Aug 31-Sept 4, 2009) that in the next few years a natural cooling trend would dominate over any warming caused by humans. The NAO is now moving into a colder phase. Breaking with climate-change orthodoxy, he said NAO cycles were probably responsible for some of the strong global warming seen in the past three decades. "But how much? The jury is still out," he told the conference.

    Latif claimed that NAO cycles also explained the recent recovery of the Sahel region of Africa from the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s. Few climate scientists go as far as Latif, an IPCC author. But more and more agree that the short-term prognosis for climate change is much less certain than once thought. James Murphy, head of climate prediction at the UK Met Office, agreed and linked the NAO to Indian monsoons, Atlantic hurricanes and sea ice in the Arctic. "The oceans are key to decadal natural variability," he said.

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    SEPP Science Editorial #28-2009
    (in TWTW Sep 5, 2009)

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

    Critique of "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling"

    Sep 5, 2009

    Critique of "Recent Warming Reverses Long-Term Arctic Cooling" by D.S. Kaufman, et al, published in Science, 4 September 2009.

    Abstract: The temperature history of the first millennium AD is sparsely documented, especially in the Arctic. Here we present a synthesis of decadally-resolved proxy temperature records from polewards of 60N covering the last 2000 years that highlights a pervasive cooling from the early part of the first millennium through the Middle Ages and into the Little Ice Age. A 2000-year transient climate simulation with the Community Climate System Model shows the same temperature sensitivity to changes in insolation as does our proxy reconstruction, supporting the inference that this long-term trend was caused by the steady orbitally-driven reduction in summer insolation. The cooling trend was reversed during the 20th century, with four of the five warmest decades of our 2000-year-long reconstruction in the last half-century (1950-2000 AD). =============================================================== Based on a quick reading, here are just four problems with this paper (marked in red in the Abstract):

    1. Actual thermometer data (Polyakov et al) - not indirect proxy data -- for the Arctic are available for the 20th century, showing the warmest years around 1935. See also Soon (PhysGeogr 2009). This can also be seen clearly in the CRUTEM data of their Fig 2 (black curve).

    2. The Abstract mentions the [warm] 'Middle Ages' and the [cold] 'Little Ice Age.' Both are well established; for example, Loehle and many other researchers (e.g., Dahl-Jensen) show the Medieval Warm Period with higher temperatures than the past 30 years. But these and other key references, such as the extensive compilation at http://co2science.org/data/mwp/mwpp.php are never mentioned. Fig 3 of this paper goes back to the discredited hockey stick temp curve of Mann (which even the IPCC no longer uses).

    3. The Abstract tries to relate the temperature changes to insolation changes that are 'orbitally driven.' This is highly unlikely: orbital changes are much slower, and generally measured in multi-millennia, while significant temperature changes occur on a time scale of decades and centuries (Singer and Avery, Unstoppable Global Warming - every 1500 years).

    4. Most important: The implication that warming by GH gases 'reversed the cooling trend' is contradicted by the NIPCC summary report "Nature - Not Human Activity - Rules the Climate" http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC_final.pdf

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    SEPP Science Editorial #27-2009
    (in TWTW Aug 29, 2009)

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

    Sun spot frequency has an unexpectedly strong influence on cloud formation and precipitation

    Aug 29, 2009

    Climate modelers seem puzzled that small fluctuations in total solar irradiance (TSI) appear to have large influence on the climate. They feel it necessary to take recourse to complicated mechanisms. For example, Gerald Meehl of the US-National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) and his team [1] have been able to calculate how the extremely small variations in TSI bring about a comparatively significant change in the system "Atmosphere-Ocean" They try to explain how 'sunspot frequency' has an unexpectedly strong influence on cloud formation and precipitation, according to a press release from the GFZ (German Research Centre for Geosciences), the home of Katja Matthes, a co-author of the study. One suggested mechanism is a solar-UV enhancement of stratospheric ozone, leading to circulation changes in the troposphere, a possibility explored earlier by British researcher Joanna Haigh. Another complicated mechanism suggested is increased heating and evaporation from cloud-free regions of the ocean, with the additional moisture transported into the equatorial zone, followed by some kind of positive feedback. But the answer may really be very simple: the tiny (~0.1%) variation of TSI during the solar cycle is only the '1tip of the iceberg.' The much stronger variability is that of solar activity (solar wind and magnetic fields), which explains the observed modulation of Galactic Cosmic Radiation (GCR); in turn, the GCR affect cloudiness in the lower troposphere (the 'Svensmark mechanism'). And what makes me so sure about the GCR hypothesis? It is the observational evidence from isotopic data in stalagmites (shown in the NIPCC summary report [2] and used there to challenge the IPCC conclusions).

    But the GCR explanation is not congenial to AGW alarmists, who have been brainwashed by the IPCC. The latest (2007) IPCC report ignores the cosmic-ray effects, and by focusing only on TSI, disingenuously considers solar influences on climate to be insignificant when compared to the forcing by GH gases.

    In this sense then, the paper by Meehl et al constitutes some kind of conceptual breakthrough -even if it is not correct in all its conclusions. Professor Reinhard Huettl, Chairman of the Scientific Executive Board of the GFZ agrees: "The study is important for comprehending the natural climatic variability, which - on different time scales - is significantly influenced by the sun. In order to better understand the anthropogenically induced climate change and to make more reliable future climate scenarios, it is very important to understand the underlying natural climatic variability."

    --------------------------
    1. Meehl, G.A., J.M. Arblaster, K. Matthes, F. Sassi, and H. van Loon (2009), Amplifying the Pacific climate system response to a small 11 year solar cycle forcing, Science, 325, 1114-1118. [We note that one of the coauthors is Harry van Loon, a pioneer in studies of solar influences on climate.]

    2. NIPCC summary report Nature - Not Human Activity - Rules the Climate http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC_final.pdf

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    SEPP Science Editorial #25-2009
    (in TWTW Aug 15, 2009)

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

    Some Unsettled Problems in Climate Science

    Aug 15, 2009

    This presentation is directed primarily towards scientists who have some familiarity with climate problems.

    Our aim is to show

    (1) that the "science is NOT settled"

    (2) that NIPCC is in every sense as competent as IPCC

    (3) that we need help in solving some sticky problems

    (4) that continued but targeted research support is essential

    My most recent seminar talk was at the NOAA Research Center in Boulder, CO, on July 31, a Friday afternoon. More than 200 crowded into the lecture room and discussions continued long after my lecture - some still ongoing by e-mail.

    • How goes the dispute about Climate Sensitivity? Is it 3 degC for a doubling of CO2 (IPCC) or 0.3 (NIPCC)
    • Is WV and cloud feedback positive or negative? and how can the right data give the answer
    • How much of 20th century warming is anthropogenic? nearly all (IPCC) or an insignificant percentage (NIPCC)
    • Can solar activity explain decadal-scale climate changes? Or internal atmosphere-ocean oscillations - or both?
    • How much energy does GH radiation impart to SeaSfcTemp? since downwelling IR cannot penetrate beyond a thin skin of water
    • Why the debate about CO2 residence time Is it 5 years, 50-100 years, or millennia?
    • Is there really a temperature increase "in the pipeline"? Will warming continue after GH gases are stabilized?
    • Why such disagreement about Sea Level Rise? Year 2100 estimates vary greatly: 600cm (Hansen), 1200cm (Weaver), 14-53cm (IPCC-2007), or only 18 cm (Singer)?

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      SEPP Science Editorial #24-2009
      (in TWTW Aug 8, 2009)

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

      What Caused the PETM (Paleocene-Eocene Temperature Maximum)

      Aug 8, 2009

      One of the striking features of the thermal history of the earth is the unusually rapid and strong warming about 55 million years ago, termed the PETM. It was recently again discussed in a paper by Zebee et al in Nature Geoscience online: 13 July 2009 | doi:10.1038/ngeo578

      The paper brought great joy and jubilation to both climate skeptics and climate alarmists. Skeptics latched on to the authors' statement that GH models could not explain the rapid temperature rise in relation to the observed rise of CO2. Alarmists, on the other hand, warned that such rapid and strong temperature excursions might even be possible today unless we restrain CO2 emissions.

      Of course, it is difficult to be certain about the direction of cause-effect from a correlation of temperature and CO2, since the data lack adequate time resolution. It might therefore be appropriate to develop a different hypothesis, which happens to make use of two papers I already published (in 1971 and 1988). Many authors seem to accept that the cause of the temperature rise was the rapid release of methane trapped in clathrates in ocean sediments, which then was oxidized to CO2. The problem with this simple idea is there may not be sufficient oxygen, particularly in the deep ocean, to accomplish this chemical transformation. This will be particularly true if large bursts of methane are released in bubbles that travel rapidly to the sea surface.

      Once in the atmosphere, methane released in these large quantities could survive for a long time, simply by depleting the available hydroxyl (OH) radicals, which exist only in minute concentrations in the steady state. As a consequence, not only would this methane exert a strong GH effect, but large amounts of methane could percolate into the stratosphere, and there be photolyzed by solar ultraviolet radiation to eventually form both water vapor and CO2, and contribute to destruction of ozone ("Stratospheric Water Vapour Increase Due to Human Activities." Nature 233:543-547. 1971).

      These large amounts of water vapor released into the normally dry stratosphere can lead to important consequences, including the formation of cirrus clouds (consisting of ice particles) in the vicinity of the cold tropopause. Tabulated physical measurements give us the "complex refractive index" of water and ice. Therefore, a direct calculation based on Mie theory can provide the optical properties of the cirrus cloud cover (Re-Analysis of the Nuclear Winter Phenomenon. Meteorology and Atmospheric Physics 38:228- 239. 1988).

      If the cloud cover is very thick, it could exhibit an appreciable optical albedo. But my analysis shows that as the cloud thins, it retains a large infrared opacity, sufficient to cut off any thermal radiation from the earth's surface in the IR window of the atmosphere (8-12 microns). Such a GH effect is quite powerful for warming the global climate; it depends, of course, also on the areal coverage of the cirrus cloud. It might be strong enough to enhance the warming of the earth and therefore accelerate a further release of methane from the ocean, a kind of positive feedback that could explain the observed large temperature increase. But so far all of this is simply hypothesis and speculation. Some obvious questions remain:

    • How to test this hypothesis? One would expect to find some evidence concerning anoxic effects in the ocean, including a die-off of marine organisms. The CO2 increase observed could partly be caused by a degassing of a warming ocean.
    • And could such an effect happen now? Not likely. We have to remember that temperatures near the P-E boundary had been unusually high for long periods of time. In fact, the earth was completely ice-free, including also the polar regions. This is quite different from the present situation. Further, nothing of the sort has happened during the much warmer (compared to today) Holocene Temperature Optimum, 8000-5000 years ago.

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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 #22-2009
      (in TWTW Jul 18, 2009)

      Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President , Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

      Modern v. Medieval Science

      Jul 18, 2009

      A remarkable revolution in thinking occurred in the 17th Century - the creation of modern empirical science, which is one of the greatest achievements of civilization. It marks the major difference between the medieval world and the modern world. At the beginning of the Century, most educated people thought in terms of medieval science; at the end of the Century most thought in terms of modern science. To the medieval scientist what one believes and who believes it were vital. To the modern scientist how and why is most important. Beliefs are tentative, not dogmatic; they are based on evidence, not authority or intuition. To the modern scientific mind, if pronouncements from authorities, be they Aristotle, religious leaders, governments, computer models, etc., do not stand up to empirical observation; then, they are wrong.
      Copernicus hypothesized that the Earth has a twofold motion: a daily rotation, and an annual revolution about the Sun. Man was no longer the center of the universe with his place on a fixed Earth -- which outraged religious leaders, Catholic and Protestant, as well as Aristotelian scientists. Kepler simplified the hypothesis by using elliptical orbits, questioning the assumptions of the ancients who believed heavenly bodies must move in perfect circles.

      Galileo insisted that scientific knowledge comes from repeated observations and experiments which he used to develop the concept of acceleration, the law of falling bodies, the parallelogram law, and, using the telescope, discovered that the Sun is not immutable, there are more than seven heavenly bodies, etc. - all contradicting Aristotelian scientists. Newton built upon these works for his laws of motion and the universal law of gravitation, from which came planetary theory, orbits of comets, etc.

      The remarkable change in thinking included the elimination of the animist belief of life force, which has no place in physics. Purpose is not needed to explain scientific procedures, comets are not portents, authority and assumptions are to be constantly questioned, skepticism is vital to expanding knowledge, and experiments and observations are paramount.

      A very disturbing trend is the dogmatic belief that Man is the principal cause of the recent warming. It appears to be a regression to medieval science, with its claimed "consensus" and its insistence on the authority of the UN-IPCC and computer models. Yet the assumptions of the models have not been tested and the models fail basic empirical tests such as the fingerprint test. The IPCC uses a panel of advocates, experts, who assign probabilities to their work. This is no better than a panel of Aristotelian scientists assigning probabilities that Galileo is wrong.

      We must not return to medieval thinking.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #21-2009
      (in TWTW Jul 11, 2009)

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

      Geo-Engineering (Part 3): Overcoming the Next Ice Age

      Jul 11, 2009

      The most interesting application for climate geo-engineering might be to overcome the next ice age. Milankovich astronomical theory and also the experience of the last 2 million years suggest that the current interglacial period (Holocene) will soon come to an end and that the earth will soon enter into another glaciation. Alarms of an imminent ice age have been raised from time to time, for example in the 1970s after a prolonged period of climate cooling, and even more recently as the climate cooled slightly in the past few years. One needs to distinguish, however, between a Little Ice Age that may be part of a more-orless regular 1,500-year cycle (and likely related to solar activity) and a true ice age that relates to a change in solar irradiance brought about by changes in earth's orbit, axis inclination and precession.

      Not everyone agrees that such a Milankovich glaciation is imminent. For example, Andre Berger et al believe it might be as much as 40,000 years away. In any case, everyone agrees that a glaciation would bring about unprecedented hardship to the world, including crop failures, starvation - and wipe out much of the earth's human population.

      The accepted mechanism for the initiation for a glaciation is the survival of a snow field at high northern latitudes during the summer, with feedback (due to increased albedo and cooling) enlarging the snow and ice area gradually over the years to cover much of the Northern Hemisphere. This effect may be the "Achilles heel" of glaciation. Can it be stopped before it spreads?

      The geo-engineering task would consist of three phases: (1) a more detailed studied of the Milankovich glaciation mechanism; (2) setting up a protocol for satellite search for surviving snowfields; (3) field experiments with soot dispersal to decrease the albedo and cause the disappearance of snowfields so they absorb solar radiation instead of reflecting it.

      1. A search of climate literature suggests that the sensitive region for initiation of an ice age is in the vicinity of 56 deg North latitude, which would place it into Canada, Scandinavia, or Siberia. The coldest areas in these regions are likely to be at the higher altitudes, which narrows the search to particular locations. Since the initiation mechanism depends on the survival of high-albedo snowfields throughout the whole summer, one can search existing data sources for such locations and define others where the duration of a high-albedo snowfield might extend well into the summer before melting. It may turn out that the initiation mechanism is more complicated and depends on being kicked-off by a century or even a decades-long period (like a Little Ice Age) -- or perhaps even by a major volcanic eruption like the one that led to the very cold summer of 1816 - that promotes the survival of the initiating snowfield.

      2. Once the likely locations are defined, one can set up a protocol whereby weather satellites can routinely observe and track the albedo in these regions, locate snow fields that survive during the summer and expand from year to year -- and alert decision makers on the possibility of an ice-age initiation. This task seems fairly routine and could be initiated with existing resources.

      3. Finally one would like to demonstrate the feasibility of artificially melting and removing a snowfield. This task would investigate the technical resources needed and define the details and costs of such an operation. One possibility that comes to mind will be to use crop-duster planes to distribute soot material over the snow field and observe the rate of melting, comparing it to what would be expected from theory. Such field experiments could be usefully conducted while the other parts of the project are proceeding. The end result would be to demonstrate a reliable means of overcoming the initiation of a future ice age. The geo-engineering operation of removing the high-albedo snow fields might have to be done year after year until the astronomical conditions change sufficiently so that the sun itself could operate to remove the possibility of an ice age.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #20-2009
      (in TWTW Jul 4, 2009)

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

      Geo-Engineering (Part 2)

      Jul 4, 2009

      Once one accepts that the human contribution to climate change is minimal, there is really no necessity for geo-engineering. The only exception that I can think of would be to overcome the onset of a major ice age.

      Nevertheless, it is worthwhile to study various schemes and try to arrive at realistic cost estimates. Here we would like to look at "air capture" of carbon dioxide as a way of ameliorating or overcoming anthropogenic CO2 emissions.

      At first glance, air capture would seem to be impractical and extremely costly. It may well be, but one needs to research the subject more closely. The general idea was first expounded by Lackner, K. S., Grimes, P., and Ziock, H. J. (2001); Capturing carbon dioxide from air; in Proceedings of the First National Conference on Carbon Sequestration, Washington, DC.

      A recent Ph.D. thesis at Carnegie Mellon University has produced a detailed examination of an engineering scheme to effect air capture and provided some credible cost estimates. http://wpweb2.tepper.cmu.edu/ceic/theses/Joshuah_Stolaroff_PhD_Thesis_2006.pdf These range widely, from about $80 to $230 for a ton of carbon sequestered. The author expresses the hope that these costs might be reduced in practice. One can suggest various ways of lowering the cost. Since CO2 is globally distributed, one can place the sequestering units at the most favorable locations. These might be where winds are strong and steady, where cheap energy is available to recycle the sequestering chemical agents, and where there exist ready commercial uses for CO2. One possibility that comes to mind is to co-locate the units with a wind-turbine installation. This combination might provide cheap power, since winds are strong and steady, but does not require great reliability in power supply.

      -----

      In the next editorial we will discuss a proposal to overcome the occurrence of a future ice age. Such a glaciation is almost certain to happen relatively soon and would constitute a true disaster for most of mankind.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #18-2009
      (in TWTW Jun 20, 2009)

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

      How to Cheat with Statistics

      Jun 20, 2009

      The standard way is to simply ignore contrary data: for example, the IPCC-AR4 [2007] does not mention or reference climate forcing from changes in solar activity in spite of much published evidence. A more sophisticated method is selectivity: for example, choosing a time interval that will lead to a desired temperature trend [see SEPP Science Editorial #7-08 of Oct 4, 2008]. More difficult to spot is 'selective smoothing' of data that can produce a trend where none exists [see SEPP Science Editorial #8-09 2/28/09].

      We now come to the misuse of averaging, as used in the WH report released this week. Recall that the last National Assessment report (NACC 2000, under Al Gore) used TWO climate models to predict dire futures. Trouble was, their results disagreed violently: in half of the 18 regions they even gave opposite predictions [see NIPCC Summary, figure 16]: For example, the Rio Grande region (New Mexico and West Texas), Upper and Lower Colorado would turn into a desert, acc to one model -while the other model turned them into swamps. So how to fix this strategic error? The new WH Assessment uses an AVERAGE of models instead of showing the results of individual models. It's the old story about the statistician who had one foot in a bucket of ice water and the other in a bucket of boiling water: on the average, he was quite comfortable.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #17-2009
      (in TWTW Jun 13, 2009)

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

      Climate Sensitivity (CS), Negative Feedback (NF), and all that

      Jun 13, 2009

      Based on empirical evidence, various researchers have concluded that CS is much smaller than the modelderived values quoted by the IPCC. Some of the empirical studies compare observed temperature trends over time with IPCC values [Schwartz, Monckton, etc]; others [Douglass, Singer, NIPCC] compare observed and modeled patterns of temperature trends ("fingerprints")'

      CS is conventionally defined as the equilibrium temp rise caused by a doubled forcing of GH gases; it is often taken to be just a doubling of CO2 levels. The "canonical" CS values of the IPCC range from 1.5 to 4.5 C, with a median of 3.0 C. Many model calculations show higher values, depending on assumptions about cloud parameters; for example, Stainforth et al [2005] quote as high as 11.5 C. The empirical values for CS are all well below the IPCC's; some are 0.5 C or even less, corresponding to a trend of Global Mean Sfc Temp (GMST) of only about 0.05 C/decade and a tropical troposphere trend of about 0.1 C/decade. These trends are at or below the limit of detection, because of the interfering effects of aerosol emissions (both natural and anthropogenic), volcanic eruptions, El Niños and other, less dramatic atmosphere-ocean interactions.

      The "fingerprint" method can only conclude that anthropogenic effects are not detected [NIPCC], and yields no values for CS - only an upper limit of perhaps 0.3 C, an order of magnitude smaller than the IPCC's median value.

      How to account for the huge discrepancy between IPCC and NIPCC? In principle, one can invoke natural forcings, both external (solar) and internal, as well as aerosols that affect the optical properties of the atmosphere. It is tempting, however, to first investigate the possibility of negative feedbacks within the climate system itself, principally the various effects of water in the atmosphere.

      Atmospheric water can occur in three different forms: as a gas -- water vapor (WV), as liquid cloud droplets, and as solid ice particles. In principle, one can measure the climate effects of each component, as we shall discuss below.

      1. Liquid: The negative feedback effects of water droplets are easiest to visualize [Singer WSJ 1988]. As the oceans warm, increased evaporation can increase cloudiness, increasing optical albedo, and reducing the incidence of solar radiation at the surface - thus reducing any warming caused by increasing GH gases. But measuring such an albedo change is difficult, requiring accuracies of a fraction of a percent and exceptional stability over a number of years. 2. WV: Models all assume a constant relative humidity with altitude; thus WV in the cold upper troposphere (UT) will radiate at a low temperature and contribute little to OLR (outgoing long-wave radiation), with the remainder therefore coming from the warm surface. (Total OLR is fixed and must equal absorbed solar energy.) However, if atmospheric processes manage to achieve a drying of the UT (as GH gases increase) [Ellsaesser, Gray, Lindzen], then WV will radiate at the higher temperature of the boundary layer, contribute the bulk of the OLR, and leave less IR emission from the surface.

      Satellite measurements, such as by the AIRS instrument, can resolve the WV bands in the OLR and determine the source temperature. Data would be required versus latitude, and over a number of years. 3. Ice: Convective activity in the tropics can transport moisture to heights near the tropopause where ice crystals would form cirrus clouds, often invisible but having strong absorption properties over the entire effective IR region. A reduction of the area covered by cirrus (iris effect - Lindzen) would permit more escape of IR from the surface and thus produce a cooling -- a negative feedback.

      Again, AIRS data could obtain the necessary confirming data by observing long-term trends. NF is not a sure thing; aerosols and/or natural forcings can reduce and even overcome GH warming. At present, one cannot tell which of the possible NF effects is dominant; but the right kind of data could help settle the issue. Establishing the magnitude of NF would independently confirm the low values of CS.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #16-2009
      (in TWTW Jun 6, 2009)

      Guest Editor

      Why I am a Climate Realist

      Jul 30, 2011
      6-jun-09...
      Guest column by Dr Willem de Lange, University of Waikato, NZ, 23 May 2009

      In 1996 the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Second Assessment Report was released, and I was listed as one of approximately 3000 scientists who agreed that there was a discernable human influence on climate.

      I was an invited reviewer for a chapter dealing with the economic impact of sea level rise on small island nations. In keeping with IPCC procedures, the chapter was written and reviewed in isolation from the rest of the report, and I had no input into the process after my review of the chapter draft. I was not asked if I supported the view expressed in my name, and my understanding at the time was that no evidence of a discernable human influence on global climate existed. The chapter I reviewed dealt primarily with the economic consequences of an assumed sea level rise of 1 meter causing extensive inundation. My response was that I could not comment on the economic analysis; however, I disagreed with the initial assumptions, particularly the assumed sea level rise in the stated time period. Further, there was good evidence at the time that sea level rise would not necessarily result in flooding of small island nations, because natural processes on coral atolls were likely to raise island levels. The IPCC Second Assessment Report assessed sea level rise by AD 2100 as being in the range 0.20-0.86 m, with a most likely value of 0.49 m (less than half the rate assumed for the economic analysis).

      Subsequent research has demonstrated that coral atolls and associated islands are likely to increase in elevation as sea level rises. Hence, the assumptions were invalid, and I was convinced that IPCC projections were unrealistic and exaggerated the problem.

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

      MORE at NZ Centre for Political Research

      http://www.nzcpr.com/guest147.htm

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      SEPP Science Editorial #15-2009
      (in TWTW May 23, 2009)

      Guest Editor

      The West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) and Sea-Level Rise

      May 23, 2009

      Guest Editorial by Thomas Sheahen tsheahen@alum.mit.edu
      Ref.: J.L. Bamber et al, Science v. 324, pp 901- 903 (15 May 2009).

      The topic is of interest because the WAIS has been known to collapse in the past, most recently maybe about 400,000 years ago. The main thing the Science paper does is re-calculate with more accurate input data what had first been published in 1975, when less was known of the surface features.. Parts of the WAIS are on bedrock that is beneath sea level and parts are elevated above sea level.

      The "region of interest" eligible for collapse is smaller than earlier supposed. The old estimate of maximum sea level rise was about 6 meters; the new calculation gives a maximum of 3.2 m.

      The sea level rise that is actually expected is about 1.8 m -- based on taking ice on certain places in Antarctica and having it melt into the ocean. To pursue that point, you have to go to the online supplemental material and look at tables and figures there. There are a few points of interest to those who pay attention to the political spin of Science:

      First, the 1.8 m expected value appears in one sentence, never in the abstract, which talks about the maximum value.

      Second, much is made of the notion that the coasts of America will experience a sea-level rise about 25% higher than global average. This is because the earth's axis of rotation will change a little due to redistribution of mass when the ice leaves its present position.

      Third, an associated "Perspectives" article (p. 888-889) goes to considerable length to paint the picture as gloomy as possible, emphasizing all that could go wrong. Without mentioning the 1.8-m figure buried within the Bamber et al paper, the Perspectives article asserts that "....just 0.5 to 1.0 m of uniform sea-level rise will cause catastrophic geopolitical and economic devastation in many urbanized coastal settings." It also says things like "The time scale of the fully manifested instability cannot currently be predicted." Clearly, this permits alarmists to go right on insisting that inundation of cities is imminent, while previous estimates visualized WAIS survival for several millennia (assuming that the present Holocene persists that long).

      Finally, remember that the Hansen-Al Gore-ism of "20 feet" is a vestige of the 1975 calculation, now laid to rest.

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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?

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      SEPP Science Editorial #11-2009
      (in TWTW Apr 4, 2009)

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

      On Causes and Mechanisms of the 1500-Year Climate Cycles

      Apr 4, 2009

      The existence of a (roughly) 1500-year climate cycle of abrupt warming and cooling, first noted in Greenland ice cores by Dansgaard and Oeschger, is well established from a multitude of geological data [Singer and Avery. Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years. Rowman & Littlefield Publ. 2007]. The cycle appears to extend into the Holocene and can account for the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) [Loehle and Singer 2009]. Its synchronicity seems to be preserved. Early on, Bond [2001] suggested a solar cause; but we do not know of any solar phenomenon with such a period. Nor do we know the mechanism by which the Sun could cause such abrupt climate changes.

      In view of the fairly precise timing of the cycle, we speculate that purely internal oscillations of the oceanatmosphere system are unlikely to be the principal or only cause. We also note that the amplitude of D-O events was much larger during the period of glaciation than during the current warm period of the Holocene. We therefore favor a quasi-periodic internal oscillation synchronized by a solar trigger; the mechanism resembles "stochastic resonance." This would also account for the occurrence of missing cycles. As to the actual mechanism, we favor changes in solar activity modulating the energy spectrum of Galactic Cosmic Rays [Singer 1958] and thereby the flux of GCR impinging on the Earth's atmosphere. The most reasonable way this could affect the climate is by changes in cloudiness [Svensmark 2007]. The large amplitude of the D-O events suggests a positive feedback, perhaps a greenhouse effect, ultimately limited by a negative feedback inherent in the atmosphere-ocean system. Although many puzzles still remain, the observations suggest that large-amplitude abrupt changes become less likely in a warmer climate [NRC 2002].

      Why is that?

      (1) One reason might be that a colder ocean mixed-layer contains more dissolved CO2 and therefore releases more CO2 into the atmosphere when warmed - compared to a warmer Holocene ocean.

      (2) Further, this released CO2 produces a stronger GH forcing when added to the low CO2 levels of the ice ages -- because of the well-accepted logarithmic dependence of CO2 forcing on CO2 concentration.

      (3) Even more important, the ice-age atmosphere is extremely dry; there is little evaporation from the cold ocean surface and ice cover. Hence there will be little or no 'negative feedback' from WV or from clouds. (I am assuming here that such a feedback exists now -- reducing the GH effects of CO2). So one can see the full GH effect of CO2.

      (4) Finally, we don't see "run-away warming" because the amount of CO2 released from the mixed layer is limited. (At much higher temperatures, of course, the 'thermostat' effect of Ramanathan would operate.)

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      SEPP Science Editorial #10-2009
      (in TWTW Mar 21, 2009)

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

      The latest alarmist concerns about sea level rise

      Mar 21, 2009

      Apparently the IPCC-4 (2007) estimate for sea level rise by the year 2100 are now considered to be not catastrophic enough. As reported by the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7598861.stm , the preferred estimate seems to be 200 cm, about five times the median IPCC value and ten times the observed rate of rise over the last few centuries

      http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/sci;321/5894/1340

      The only justification given, in a paper published in Science, is a more rapid melting of glaciers and ice sheets from Greenland and Antarctic - all this in spite of the fact that no such events occurred during the Medieval Warm Period about 1000 years ago. One member of this group, Shad O'Neel from the US Geological Survey, warns that even 18 cm/century might turn out to be catastrophic. He's apparently unaware of the fact that 18 cm/century is the ongoing rate of rise -- which implies no additional rise in sea level. In other words, the human influence is essentially zero.

      Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth has received much criticism, and so has James Hansen, for implying that a rise of 20ft (6m) was possible in the near future. Their fond hopes have been dashed by recent publications on the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS). Apparently, it will slowly melt away in a few millennia - unless a new ice age intervenes. (But we have known this for more than a decade.)

      Andrew Revkin (NYT) reports on two new papers in the journal Nature focusing on the WAIS. The paper by David Pollard at Penn State and Robert M. DeConto of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst provides an estimated time frame for the loss of ice that its authors say should be of some comfort. (If the entire WAIS melted, sea levels worldwide would rise more than 15 feet.) They ran a five-million-year computer simulation, using data on past actual climate and ocean conditions gleaned from seabed samples (the subject of the other paper) to validate the resulting patterns. The bottom line? In this simulation, the ice sheet does collapse when waters beneath fringing ice shelves warm 7 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit or so, but the process at its fastest takes thousands of years. Overall, the pace of sea-level rise from the resulting ice loss doesn't go beyond about 1.5 feet per century, Dr. Pollard said in an interview, a far cry from what was thought possible a couple of decades ago.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #9-09
      (in TWTW Mar 7, 2009)

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

      The sea-ice issue - a tempest in a teapot.

      Mar 7, 2009

      Conservative columnist George Will is under attack about alleged reporting 'inaccuracies.'

      See http://www.washingtonpost.com/wpdyn/ content/article/2009/02/26/AR2009022602906.html?sid=ST2009022702494

      The affair  as seen by the Columbia Journalism Review: But they are wrong; Will is correct.

      http://www.cjr.org/the_observatory/the_george_will_affair.php?page=all&print=true

      SEPP Comments:

      **George Will is a 'big boy' and can take care of himself. He certainly needs no help from me.

      **The whole affair seems contrived -- almost like a conspiracy by the AGW (anthropogenic GW) alarmists. By attacking a 'high-visibility' doubter en masse, they hope to intimidate not only Will but others who don't follow the IPCC gospel that preaches AGW.

      **I noticed, and so have many others, that the official source of sea-ice data changed their 'evidence' just after Will's article appeared. They discovered that one of their sensors had gone out of calibration. I don't doubt this fact, but I am curious about the timing of the discovery.

      **The funny thing is that the whole issue of the extent of Arctic sea ice is a 'nothing-burger' -- to use the immortal expression coined by a past EPA chief. No one seems to have commented on the fact that sea ice might tell you something about whether the air and ocean is warming or cooling but it cannot tell you anything about the CAUSE of warming/cooling. ANY kind of warming will melt ice. Simple logic.

      Personally, I prefer to look at thermometers and not at sea ice. And the thermometers (and also ice-core data) tell us that the Arctic is no warmer now than in the 1930s -- and much colder than centuries ago. **Finally, I want to emphasize that I know of no definitive evidence for AGW. None! But we have strong evidence against significant AGW.

      See the NIPCC report http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC_final.pdf

      I fully believe that science will win out in the end -- although it might be easier to convince the public -- and perhaps even politicians -- if the present cooling trend continues for another decade or more. A few years from now, when it becomes clear that Nature, not human activity, rules the climate a lot of Will's critics are going to look pretty silly.

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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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      SEPP Science Editorial #7-09
      (in TWTW Feb 14, 2009)

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

      Cost-Benefit Analysis of Climate Change and the Lifetime of CO2

      Feb 14, 2009

      Economists seem to be making a career out of applying the tools of cost-benefit analysis (CBA) to the climate problem, ending up most recently with the truly grotesque conclusions of the Stern Review. {Nearly two decades ago, I wrote that Wm Cline (The Economics of Global Warming, 1992) was using unrealistically low discount rates to justify huge present costs in order to avoid speculative future damages.}

      But as other economists have convincingly demonstrated (Mendelsohn et al, The Impact of Climate Change on the US Economy, 1994), a modest 2-3 degC greenhouse warming would lead to overall benefits rather than damages. Pray then, what happens to cost-benefit analysis?

      Well, they found a new wrinkle: "Catastrophic" warming. As Ron Bailey of Reason magazine tells the story [Reason Online, 10 Feb 2009 http://www.reason.com/news/show/131604.html ]: How much should we pay to avoid the tiny risk of total destruction? Harvard University economist Martin Weitzman raised the issue by putting forth a Dismal Theorem -- arguing that some consequences, however unlikely, would be so disastrous that conventional cost-benefit analysis should not apply.

      The IPCC-AR4 finds that climate sensitivity is "likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5 degrees Celsius, with a best estimate of 3 degrees, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5 degrees. Values substantially higher than 4.5 degrees Celsius cannot be excluded." Without going into detail, Weitzman assumes that uncertainties over values higher than 4.5 degrees Celsius can yield catastrophic climate change.

      Then again, Bailey continues, perhaps Weitzman is premature in declaring the death of cost-benefit analysis. Yale University economist William Nordhaus certainly thinks so and has written a persuasive critique of Weitzman's dismal conclusions. First, Nordhaus notes that Weitzman assumes that societies are so risk-averse that they would be willing to spend unlimited amounts of money to avert the infinitesimal probability that civilization will be destroyed. Nordhaus then shows that Weitzman's dismal theorem implies that the world would be willing to spend $10 trillion to prevent a one-in-100 billion chance of being hit by an asteroid. But people do not spend such vast sums in order to avoid low-probability catastrophic risks. For example, humanity spends perhaps $4 million annually to find and track possibly dangerous asteroids.

      Nordhaus also notes that catastrophic climate change is not the only thing we might worry about. Other low-probability civilization-destroying risks include "biotechnology, strangelets, runaway computer systems, nuclear proliferation, rogue weeds and bugs, nano-technology, emerging tropical diseases, alien invaders, asteroids, enslavement by advanced robots, and so on." If we applied Weitzman's analysis to our individual lives, none of us would ever get out of bed for fear of dying from a slip in the shower or a car accident on the way to work.

      Weitzman's analysis also assumes that humanity will not have the time to learn about any impending catastrophic impacts from global warming. But mid-course corrections are possible with climate change.

      People would notice if the average temperature began to increase rapidly, for example, and would try to counteract it by cutting emissions, deploying low-carbon technologies, or even engaging in geoengineering. SEPP: Only one thing might save Weitzman's bleak assessment from Nordhaus' devastating analysis: the 'Bern formula.' BF deals with the 'lifetime' of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere and considers its removal by various natural processes. As opposed to calculations that postulate a decay using a simple 'half-life' of around 50 to 100 years, the BF leads to the conclusion that about half of emitted CO2 will survive for centuries and even millennia. The BF has been enshrined into 'truth' not only by the Bern group (Joos et al), but also by IPCC, James Hansen, David Archer (U of Chicago), and (most recently) by Susan Solomon et al in PNAS [2009] Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions. Susan Solomon, Gian- Kasper Plattner, Reto Knutti, and Pierre Friedlingstein. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA. 2009; 106:1704-1709.

      If the Bern formula were really correct, then the 'peak value' of CO2 would govern the fate of the climate. 'Mid-course' corrections would be ineffective if a substantial fraction of emitted CO2 really had - for all practical purposes - an infinite lifetime. The Nordhaus analysis would have to be modified. One thing can save it though. The BF could be all wrong -- as I once claimed in an impromptu debate with Eric Sundquist (USGS-WHOI) at an AGU Council meeting a few years ago.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #6-09
      (in TWTW Feb 7, 2009)

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

      Returning to the Antarctic

      Feb 7, 2009

      You may recall our skepticism about reported Antarctic warming [Science Editorial #4-09 (1/247/09)]:

      Recall that Professor Eric Steig et al last month announced in Nature that they had spotted a warming in West Antarctica that previous researchers had missed through slackness - a warming so strong that it more than made up for the cooling in East Antarctica. Finally, Global Warming really was global.

      The paper was immediately greeted with suspicion, not least because one of the authors was Michael Mann, 'inventor' of the infamous hockey stick, now discredited, and the data was reconstructed from very sketchy weather-station records. But also, because the Steig result was contradicted by the much superior MSU data from satellites.

      As reported by Australia's Herald Sun (Feb 4), the warming trend 'arises entirely from the impact of splicing two data sets together' Read this link and this to see Steve McIntyre's superb forensic work. Why wasn't this error picked up earlier? Perhaps because the researchers got the results they'd hoped for, and no alarm bell went off that made them check. Now, wait for the papers to report the error with the zeal with which they reported Steig's warming. http://blogs.news.com.au/heraldsun/andrewbolt/index.php/heraldsun/comments/going_cold_on_antarctic_warming#48360

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

      University of Toronto geophysicists have shown that should the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) collapse and melt in a warming world, as many scientists are concerned it will, it is the coastlines of North America and of nations in the southern Indian Ocean that will face the greatest threats from rising sea levels. The research is published in the February 6 issue of Science magazine "This concern was reinforced further in a recent study led by Eric Steig of the University of Washington that showed that the entire region is indeed warming."

      Well now, not only is there no indication of a collapse of the WAIS - but it's not even warming. The researchers end their news release with: "The most important lesson is that scientists and policy makers should focus on projections that avoid simplistic assumptions."

      I agree fully.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #5-09
      (in TWTW Jan 31, 2009)

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

      Climate Damage May Be Irreversible, Report Indicates.

      Jan 31, 2009

      "Irreversible climate change due to carbon dioxide emissions." Susan Solomon, Gian-Kasper Plattner, Reto Knutti, and Pierre Friedlingstein. PNAS 28 January 2009, 10.1073/pnas.0812721106

      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090127163403.htm

      NBC Nightly News (1/26) reported on a "disheartening finding on the environment." The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says "that if carbon dioxide continues to build up unchecked in our atmosphere, then the effects of global warming could be irreversible for more than a thousand years. That could mean severe drought in some parts of the world. Researchers conclude things are not hopeless as long as immediate action is taken to cut greenhouse gases."

      ScienceDaily (1/28/2009): A new scientific study reaches a powerful conclusion about the climate change caused by future increases of carbon dioxide: to a large extent, there's no going back. The pioneering study, led by NOAA senior scientist Susan Solomon, shows how changes in surface temperature, rainfall, and sea level are largely irreversible for more than 1,000 years - even after carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are completely stopped. On its front page, the Los Angeles Times (1/27) reports, "The gas already here and the heat that has been absorbed by the ocean will exert their effects for centuries, according to an analysis published in the

      Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences."* According to the report, "changes in rainfall patterns will bring droughts to the American Southwest, southern Europe, northern Africa and western Australia comparable to those that caused the 1930s Dust Bowl in the U.S." The Times adds, "Scientists familiar with the report said it emphasized the need for immediate action to control emissions."

      As far as I can tell, the paper is all bunk. Looks like PNAS is trying to outdo Science and Nature in publishing really bad science -- all to get some media publicity. Deplorable. Actually, the bunk is 5-fold. But I want to run my thinking past some fellow physicists -- before I go public and make an ass of myself:

      (1) There is the fundamental issue of whether increases in CO2 produce any appreciable warming. If you read the NIPCC report, you all know where I stand on this. The authors adopt a climate sensitivity that is likely too high by a factor of ten. Much ado about nothing. I trust they remembered the fact that the response to increasing CO2 grows only logarithmically.

      (2) Then there is the claim of increased drought (and related disasters). Ah, Clausius-Clapeyron, where are you when we need you? If the oceans warm, then there must be more evaporation and precip. Can one really trust models to know where it will rain? If circulation is affected so that the Earth's desert belts expand, then wouldn't this also guarantee more negative climate feedback from water vapor - offsetting the warming from CO2? And what about the 'verdant Sahara' during the Holocene Warm Period?

      (3) Sea-level rise. The paper produces numbers that greatly exceed those of the 2007 IPCC report (and even more those of NIPCC - 18cm per century) by ignoring the considerable offsetting effects that come from ice accumulation, mainly on the Antarctic continent.

      (4) Much more subtle -- and disputed -- is the question of lifetime of CO2 increases. Is it really the complicated composite of several removal mechanisms that would let CO2 increases remain in the atmosphere for millennia? I don't think so -- but to overcome conventional wisdom I will have to make my arguments more convincing. We also have contrary empirical evidence from volcanic injections.

      (5) Finally, this business of "the warming in the pipeline," which has become folklore and unchallenged since Hansen and Wigley first invented it about 20 years ago. Hansen used it recently [Science 2005] -- and now Solomon. The "pipeline principle" claims that even if GH gases are stabilized, temperatures will keep increasing because of heat stored in the oceans. Apparently, many 'skeptics' believe it also. I think it may violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics - which is a no-no for physicists like me.

      View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #4-09
      (in TWTW Jan 24, 2009)

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

      Is Antarctic Warming Real or is it Mann-made?

      Jan 24, 2009

      The report of an unexpected Antarctic warming trend [Eric J. Steig, David P. Schneider, Scott D. Rutherford, Michael E. Mann, Josefino C. Comiso & Drew T. Shindell. Warming of the Antarctic ice-sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year. Nature 457:459-463, 22 Jan. 2009; doi:10.1038/nature07669] has created a certain amount of skepticism - even among supporters of AGW.

      But in an AP news story, two of its authors (one is 'hockey-stick' inventor Michael Mann from the Real Climate blog) argue that this refutes the skeptics and is "consistent with" greenhouse warming. Of course, as Roger Pielke, Jr, points out, not long ago we learned from Real Climate that a cooling Antarctica was 'consistent with' greenhouse warming and thus the skeptics were wrong: So a warming Antarctica and a cooling Antarctica are both 'consistent with' model projections of global warming. Our foray into the tortured logic of 'consistent with' in climate science raises the perennial question, what observations of the climate system would be inconsistent with the model predictions?"

      The results are based on very few isolated data from weather stations, plus data from research satellites. And here is the rub: these are not data from microwave sounding units (MSU), such as are regularly published by Christy and Spencer, but data from infrared sensors that are supposed to measure the temperature of the surface (rather than of the overlaying atmosphere, as weather stations do).

      But the IR emission depends not only on temperature of the surface, but also on surface emissivity -- and is further modified by absorption of clouds and haze.

      These are all difficult points. Emissivity of snow depends on its porosity and size of snow crystals. Blowing snow likely has a different emissivity than snow that has been tamped down; so surface winds could have a strong influence. The emissivity of ice is again different and will depend on whether there is a thin melt layer of water on top of the ice, temporarily produced by solar radiation. Finally, we have temperature inversions that can trap haze which is essentially undetectable by optical methods from satellites.

      The proof of the pudding, of course, is the MSU data, which show a continuous cooling trend, are little affected by surface conditions and are unaffected by haze and clouds. They are therefore more reliable.

      Bottom line: As it looks to me right now, the Antarctic Continent is cooling not warming.

      View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #3-09
      (in TWTW Jan 17, 2009)

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

      The Future of Nuclear Fuel Supplies

      Jan 17, 2009

      The adequacy of fissionable material may become a serious problem in the decades ahead. In principle, the world's supplies of uranium are inexhaustible. After commercially useful ores become depleted, however, one has to rely on granites and ultimately on sea water, where the recovery costs may become prohibitive.

      At the same time we will have available huge amounts of spent fuel containing fissionable U-235 and plutonium isotopes that could be recycled into new fuel elements. In addition, the greatest resource could come from the non-fissionable U-238 in spent fuel, from depleted uranium, and from vast natural resources of thorium ores. To turn these into useful fissionable material that can be burned in conventional reactors requires not only recycling and reprocessing of spent fuel but also the construction of breeder reactors or the use of fusion processes and other means that create neutrons -- which can in turn transform non-fissionable materials into fissionable ones.

      By 2015 there will be enough spent thermal-reactor fuel on hand (globally) to start up 200-300 GWe of breeder reactors, with some 10 GWe's worth more coming in every year. Clearly, with proper planning NOW we won't be hurting for fissile material for decades. Once established, breeders can propagate themselves at a rate of 5-10% per year, depending on reactor parameters.

      One useful byproduct of reprocessing and recycling, if done properly, is the elimination of long-lived radio-isotopes which removes one of the chief concerns about the handling of spent nuclear fuel. One such concept is the Integrated Fast Reactor (IFR), which can burn up these trans-uranic isotopes.

      The technical problems are vast but the political problems may be even greater. There have been long-standing objections in the US (but not in the UK or France) to reprocessing spent fuel and to the construction of breeders because of fear of nuclear weapons proliferation. There is also legislation, going back to 1982, mandating the permanent underground disposal of spent fuel without any reprocessing - a once-through use of uranium that is clearly wasteful and also environmentally controversial.

      View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #2-09
      (in TWTW Jan 10, 2009)

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

      Keeping the IPCC Honest - Part II

      Jan 10, 2009

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

      The most blatant example is the Second Assessment Report (SAR), completed in 1995 and published in 1996. Its SPM contains the memorable phrase The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate.

      This ambiguous phrase conveys a mental picture of climate scientists, preferably with gray beards, sitting around a table judging both human and natural influences, looking at published scientific research, and carefully weighing their decision. Nothing of the sort has ever happened. The IPCC has consistently ignored the real natural influences on climate change and has focused almost entirely on human causes, especially GH gases -- and more especially on carbon dioxide, which is linked to industrial activities and therefore bad almost by definition.

      How then does the IPCC-SAR arrive at this "balance?" It was done by carefully removing references to any doubt that human influences are the major or almost exclusive cause of warming. I will quote here from the WSJ (August 13,1996) article, written by the late Professor Frederick Seitz. He compared the draft approved by the authors of IPCC-SAR Chapter 8 (Detection and Attribution) and the final printed text. He noted that key phrases had been deleted from the approved draft before printing.

      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.

      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.

      You may recall that this dishonest 1996 IPCC report played a key role in the political deliberations that led to the 1997 Kyoto Protocol. The persons responsible for making these alterations bear a heavy responsibility for misleading the Kyoto conference and for the subsequent economic damage. ****************************************************************

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      SEPP Science Editorial #1-09
      (in TWTW Jan 3, 2009)

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

      Methodology of Extracting Climatologically Useful Atmospheric Temperature Data

      Jan 3, 2009

      John Christy and Roy Spencer (Univ of Alabama, Huntsville -- UAH) pioneered the methodology of extracting climatologically useful atmospheric temperature data from the satellite microwave (MSU) instrument  a great achievement, since the instrument was not designed for this purpose.

      The analysis requires many kinds of corrections. A competing group, RSS, pointed to one correction that the UAH group had overlooked: the influence of a slight decrease in satellite altitude due to orbit decay [1998]. UAH immediately made this correction -- a small change in the analysis algorithm. It increased the temperature trend slightly -- although it is still much smaller than the surface trend.

      But the RSS trend, based on an independent analysis of the same basic satellite readings, continued to show a larger, more positive trend than UAH  with the independent balloon data supporting UAH. This discrepancy between RSS and UAH became a hot topic -- which has persisted. Neither group, both very competent, could pinpoint the exact cause.

      In Dec 2002, at a CCSP workshop in Arlington ,VA, I heard a full presentation of the RSS results by Carl Mears. I noticed that the RSS temp record showed a small 'jump' around 1993, where a transition occurred between two satellites, with only a short overlap in time. I then e-mailed Mears and Spencer (and a few others), and suggested a comparison of RSS and UAH trends before and after 1993, to see if that might be the origin of the discrepancy. It's really an obvious idea; I was not prepared (or capable) to dig into the detailed analyses of the two groups to isolate the actual cause.

      Such a comparison has just been performed by Douglass and Christy (my co-authors in a 2007 paper) in an appendix to a paper on climate sensitivity (published in Energy & Environment, Aug 2008). As I had expected, in support of the UAH result, they now find agreement between RSS and UAH trends -- although I will hold up until Carl Mears confirms this result.

      Apparently, D&C do not consider their finding of great importance. I beg to differ. To see why, pls look at Figs 9a and 9b in the NIPCC report "Nature Not Human Activity Rules the Climate"

      http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC_final.pdf -- and move the RSS point to coincide with UAH. Disagreement between greenhouse models and observed trends now becomes quite obvious  and strengthens the NIPCC conclusion that "Nature, not human activity, rules the climate."

      View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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      SEPP Science Editorial #1-09
      (in TWTW Jan 3, 2009)

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

      Methodology of Extracting Climatologically Useful Atmospheric Temperature data

      Jan 3, 2009

      John Christy and Roy Spencer (Univ of Alabama, Huntsville -- UAH) pioneered the methodology of extracting climatologically useful atmospheric temperature data from the satellite microwave (MSU) instrument - a great achievement, since the instrument was not designed for this purpose.

      The analysis requires many kinds of corrections. A competing group, RSS, pointed to one correction that the UAH group had overlooked: the influence of a slight decrease in satellite altitude due to orbit decay [1998]. UAH immediately made this correction -- a small change in the analysis algorithm. It increased the temperature trend slightly -- although it is still much smaller than the surface trend.

      But the RSS trend, based on an independent analysis of the same basic satellite readings, continued to show a larger, more positive trend than UAH - with the independent balloon data supporting UAH. This discrepancy between RSS and UAH became a hot topic -- which has persisted. Neither group, both very competent, could pinpoint the exact cause.

      In Dec 2002, at a CCSP workshop in Arlington ,VA, I heard a full presentation of the RSS results by Carl Mears. I noticed that the RSS temp record showed a small 'jump' around 1993, where a transition occurred between two satellites, with only a short overlap in time. I then e-mailed Mears and Spencer (and a few others), and suggested a comparison of RSS and UAH trends before and after 1993, to see if that might be the origin of the discrepancy. It's really an obvious idea; I was not prepared (or capable) to dig into the detailed analyses of the two groups to isolate the actual cause.

      Such a comparison has just been performed by Douglass and Christy (my co-authors in a 2007 paper) in an appendix to a paper on climate sensitivity (published in Energy & Environment, Aug 2008). As I had expected, in support of the UAH result, they now find agreement between RSS and UAH trends -- although I will hold up until Carl Mears confirms this result.

      Apparently, D&C do not consider their finding of great importance. I beg to differ. To see why, pls look at Figs 9a and 9b in the NIPCC report "Nature Not Human Activity Rules the Climate"

      http://www.sepp.org/publications/NIPCC_final.pdf -- and move the RSS point to coincide with UAH. Disagreement between greenhouse models and observed trends now becomes quite obvious - and strengthens the NIPCC conclusion that "Nature, not human activity, rules the climate."

      View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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