(FORBES BLOGS) – As Professor of Meteorology Dr. Richard Lindzen at MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences observed, “The latest IPCC report truly sank to the level of hilarious incoherence – it is quite amazing to see the contortions the IPCC has to go through in order to keep the international climate agenda going.”
by Larry Bell
The banner claim of this 2013 Summary for Policymakers (AR5) release is that “Human influence is extremely likely to be dominant cause of observed warming since the middle of the last century.”
This “extremely likely” was ratcheted up from “very likely” they claimed in their previous 2007 report. At the same time, the IPCC actually admitted that its 2007 report estimate of greenhouse gas influence had been significantly exaggerated. One can only wonder how they have become more confident that at least more than half of the temperature rise since the mid-20th century has been caused by greenhouse gas emissions, when at the same time they are less certain about climate sensitivity to CO2.
Making life even more difficult for that climate cartel is having to explain why the global climate has flat-lined over at least the past 16 years despite increasing atmospheric CO2 concentrations, something they euphemistically refer to as a “pause”.
Political bureaucrats from different countries reportedly split between those who demanded that the temperature standstill be tackled head-on, versus those such as Germany, Hungary, who wanted it totally ignored. Some, including the U.S. favoring disclosure, argued that skeptics would have a field day if mention of this chilling realty was omitted altogether.
One lead author, Jochem Marotzke, told reporters that the issue surfaced late in their review process, and that there was a tendency for each of the 14 teams to think that others were addressing it. Others admitted they had no plausible explanation to offer. Working group co-chair Thomas Stocker said: “I’m afraid to say there is not a lot of published literature that allows us to delve deeper into the required depth of this emerging scientific question.” He cited a lack of adequate measurements of ocean heating, especially in the deep ocean as a scientific hindrance.
Yet, delving deeply into the depth of desperation, they didn’t all let that lack of scientific literature stop them from trying.
IPCC Credibility Takes a Another Big Dive:
Some beleaguered IPCC participants wasted no time latching onto a hail-Mary hypothesis advanced by New Zealander Kevin Trenberth that the oceans ate their recent global warming temperatures. As Trenberth speculates, “The oceans can at times soak up a lot of heat. Some goes into the deep oceans where it can stay for centuries [and where lamentably, there are no reliable temperature measurements]. But heat absorbed closer to the surface can easily flow back into the air.”
And how does IPCC defend at this hypothesis? Well, perhaps you already guessed the answer. Of course! They developed some hypothetical, unproven guess-work models. Those models will also have to account for that lack of deep ocean temperature measurements in formulating their analysis. In addition, they will have to explain why sea surface temperatures and the upper heat content didn’t increase over the last decade by nearly enough to account for the “missing heat” that those greenhouse gas emissions were originally supposed to have trapped in the Earth’s climate system, yet couldn’t be found.
Shedding Some Sunlight on Climate Change
IPCC’s AR5 report devotes two pages of discussion on climate influences of “solar irradiance”. They conclude that even if such solar activity decreases, it won’t matter nearly as much as an increased “forcing” of greenhouse gases. While this might possibly be true, it doesn’t take the Sun’s strong probable climate influence out of the equation at all. As noted by climatologist Judith Curry who chairs the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, “…the solar-climate connection is probably a lot more complex than this statement implies.”
While the IPCC focusses upon influences of variations in solar irradiance (analogous to turning up and down the brightness of a light bulb), there is another much more powerful way the Sun can impact climate. This occurs through periodic short and long-term changes in cosmic ray activity evidenced by the frequency of sunspots. Cosmic rays are high-energy particles coming from exploding stars that influence the amount of cloud cover.
In an essay titled “While the Sun Sleeps”, Henrick Svensmark, a leading researcher in this area, explains: “The star that keeps us alive has, over the last few years, been almost free of sunspots, which are visual signs of the Sun’s magnetic activity.” He notes that “Solar activity has always varied. Around the year 1000, we had a period of very high solar activity which coincided with the Medieval Warm Period. But after about 1300, solar activity declined, and the world began to get colder. It was the beginning of the episode we now call the Little Ice Age.”
Svensmark and others point out that over the past 50 years solar activity has been at its highest since that medieval warmth 1,000 years ago. At least that was the case until recently. Now it appears that the Sun has changed again, returning towards what solar scientists call a “grand minimum”, a condition which occurred during the multi-century-long Little Ice Age. So maybe, as a precautionary measure, it might be prudent not to sell your flannel long John underwear on eBay just yet.
A recent National Research Council report, “The Effects of Solar Variability on Earth’s Climate” adds credence to this influence, laying out complex ways that solar activity makes itself felt on Planet Earth. The punch line in a NASA press release titled “Solar Variability and Terrestrial Climate” states; “There is, however, a dawning realization among researchers that even these apparently tiny variations can have a significant effect on terrestrial climate.” Perhaps we might hope that IPCC will eventually awaken to that sunlit dawn as well.
A Bum Rap for CO2?
Buried in a final draft of the 2013 Summary for Policymakers , the writers summed up an obvious IPCC dilemma regarding their spectacular global temperature prediction failures, stating that: “Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10-15 years.” However that statement disappeared in the final version, saying instead that the difference between simulated and observed trends could be caused by some combination of (a) internal climate variability (Mother Nature); (b) missing or incorrect radiative forcing; and (c) model response error.
IPCC also finally admits in an obscure footnote that “No best estimate for equilibrium climate sensitivity can now be given because of a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.”
But wait a minute! Wasn’t that climate catastrophe “Earth at the tipping-point” alarm stuff supposed to be about a fossil-fueled CO2 menace? After all, isn’t climate sensitivity supposed to be one of the most important parameters because it determines how much warming…or cooling… we can expect? And now they’re saying that they really aren’t sure where or how much that dastardly greenhouse gas matters?
All IPCC claims about future temperatures have been partly or fully based upon global circulation Models (GCMs). AR5 models estimated average 3oC sensitivity (resulting from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concentrations), while real world observations indicate between 1.5oC and 2oC. If the models warmed up a lot more than the observed climate, then which of them is broke?
Political Science: A Disastrous Climate of Deception
As Mark Twain observed, “There are liars, damn liars, and statisticians.” Perhaps if he were alive today and followed political manipulations of science by the U.N.’s IPCC, he would add one more category…”demagogues”.
Lowering the scientific bar, AR5 even surpasses their former reports in statements ranging from patently dishonest, to artfully misleading. For example, here are but a few:
- The report states that “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.” In reality, the Earth has been warming ever since it began thawing out from the Little Ice Age around 1850, and temperatures are still cooler than those that have prevailed about 90% of the time over the past 10,000 years.
As Dr. Don Easterbrook, a professor of geology at Western Washington University points out, “There just isn’t any nice way to say this – it’s an outright lie.” He notes that vast published literature shows that recent warming is not only not unusual, but more intense warming has occurred many times in past centuries and millennia. More than 20 such periods during the past five centuries are recorded in the Greenland GISP2 ice core, and temperatures during both the Medieval and Roman Warm periods were higher than the present.
- AR5 goes on to assert that: “Over the last two decades, the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have been losing mass, glaciers have continued to shrink almost worldwide, and Arctic sea ice and Northern Hemisphere spring snow cover have continued to decrease in extent (high confidence). Actually, the Antarctic ice mass has not been losing mass. The East Antarctic ice sheet which contains about 90% of the Earth’s fresh water is not melting… it is expanding, as is Antarctic shelf ice. Only the West Antarctic Peninsula which contains less than 10% of Antarctic ice has lost mass. The South Pole has shown no warming since records began in 1957.
Arctic sea ice fluctuates normally. After declining during the 1978-1998 period, it expanded by 60% in 2013. Although there was no mention of this by IPCC, Antarctic sea ice recently increased by about 1 million square kilometers. The extent of global sea ice has not diminished in recent decades.
Despite claiming “high confidence”, the statement that Northern Hemisphere snow cover has “continued to decrease in extent” is false. Snow extent in the Northern Hemisphere hasn’t declined since 1967, and five of the six snowiest winters have occurred since 2003.
- AR5 also claims that “The rate of sea level rise since the mid-19th century has been larger than the mean rate during the previous two millennia (high confidence).” Fluctuating sea level rise over the past several centuries has averaged about 7 inches, and continues to rise at that rate with no evidence of acceleration.
And what are the big takeaway lessons in all of this? A key one is that apparently no one, and particularly not IPCC, can be trusted to tell us what turn the climate will take next, or in which direction. Don’t buy a used car from anyone who tells you that they are certain, and for sure, don’t trust them when their past performance proves otherwise.
Another important lesson is that the best insurance against adverse climate changes is to ensure that resources and technologies are available to adapt and cope. Such preparedness requires an ample supply of energy to grow a healthy economy by applying free market principles. Gullible surrenders to unwarranted alarm-premised restrictions of carbon-based fuels and U.N. wealth redistribution schemes won’t get us there.
Finally, it’s way past time to come to terms with a true climate crisis, one where political agenda-driven liars, statistical manipulators and demagogues are permitted to misrepresent facts without vociferous challenges from the science community they purport to represent. That’s a terribly costly man-made disaster that has absolutely no excuse.