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Jan 18, 2008
Top Ten Science Based Predictions That Didn’t Come True

By Anthony Watts, Watts Up with That

There’s an article in the New York Times pushing a something called “the five stages of climate grief” done by a professor at the University of Montana. This got me to thinking about the regular disaster forecasting that we see published in the media about what will happen due to climate change. We’ve seen this sort of angst broadcast before, and it occurred to me that through history, a lot of disasters and “predictions of certainty” with roots in scientifically based forecasts have not come true. That being the case, here is the list I’ve compiled of famous quotes and consensus from “experts”.

See Anthony’s TOP TEN here and think about these the next time you hear about worldwide crop failure, rising sea levels, species extinction, or “climate grief” you might want to remember that just being an expert, or even having a consensus of experts, doesn’t necessarily mean that a claim is true.

Anthony Watts is a former television meteorologist who operates a weather technology and content business, as well as continues daily forecasting on radio, just for fun. He manages two web sites (here and here) where he is coordinating volunteer efforts to document station siting issues for the USHCN climate stations

Jan 17, 2008
Chilly Response to ‘Warmest Year’ Designation

By Dr. Madhav Khandekar, Rogers Institute in Physics Today

The present global warming debate pays excessive attention to designating a particular year as the warmest ever (PHYSICS TODAY, December 2006, page 30) or the warmest in the past 100 years. Such declarations, begun by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), risk missing the point that the trends are what matter most. The basis for making a claim of the “warmest year” is nothing more than calculating a mean value of temperatures recorded at several land-based stations and combining it with a similar mean over world oceans. Such a “mean” calculation can be misleading since the distribution of observing locations over land and ocean is uneven. Large areas that were only sparsely observed decades ago remain so today.

In a July 2006 report to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Edward Wegman of the Center for Computational Statistics at George Mason University stated that the IPCC’s assessment of the 1990s as the “hottest decade in a millennium” and of 1998 as the hottest year “cannot be supported. . . . The paucity of data in the more remote past makes the hottest-in-a-millennium claims essentially unverifiable.” In a 2002 report on extreme weather trends, prepared for the government of Alberta, Canada, I documented that the 1930s had the hottest summers in Canada and possibly in the conterminous US. In a recent reanalysis prompted by Steve McIntyre, weblogger at Climate Audit , NASA has now designated 1934 as the hottest year in the US and not 1998 as previously claimed. As someone who has spent more than 50 years in the science of weather and climate, I find this designation of “warmest year” misleading and almost meaningless. Read more here.

Jan 17, 2008
Southern Hemisphere Ice

By Craig James, WOOD-TV Blog

NBC did a story the other day on a new study that shows the Antarctic Ice Sheet appears to be melting at a dramatically increased rate over the past 10 years. You can find an article about the study here. The abstract is here. There seems to be some confusion over how this could be since we’ve all heard that the ice in the Southern Hemisphere was at a record high in 2007. I think the confusion is because the ice anomaly shown in the chart below from The University of Illinois Cryosphere site is for sea ice COVERAGE and not the MASS of the Antarctic Ice Sheet, which, of course, is over land. The sea ice coverage is indeed at a record high since satellite observations were taken in 1979, but I don’t believe this takes into consideration the mass of ice over land. Also, the study’s data only goes to 2006 and does not include 2007. To add to the confusion, the NBC reporter apparently didn’t understand the difference between coverage and mass, and even worse, showed video of polar bears.


There have been other studies that refute the idea of a reduced mass of the Antarctic Ice Sheet. See here and here. Even the IPCC says the trend in the Antarctic is inconclusive and it is a shame, but not unexpected, that NBC would not mention this. I should also note that it would not be correct to say that the Southern Hemisphere Sea Ice coverage being at a record maximum in 2007 refutes the study about a shrinking of the Antarctic Ice Sheet mass up to 2006, since that would be comparing apples to oranges. Read more here.

Antarctica Orthographic satellite image

Jan 14, 2008
Global Warming? The Built-In Nonsense Detector

By Reid Bryson, Ph.D., D.Sc., D.Engr.

Hardly a day goes by without a news article in the paper containing a reference to someone’s opinion about “Global Warming”. A quick search of the Internet uncovers literally hundreds of items about “Global Warming”. Issues of atmospheric science journals will normally have at least one article on climatic change, usually meaning “Global Warming” or some aspect thereof. Whole generations of graduate students have been trained to believe that we know the main answers about climate change and only have to work out the details.

Why then do I bother you by introducing this section with such a ludicrous title? I do it because, as one who has spent many decades studying the subject professionally, I find that there are enormous gaps in the understanding of those making the most strident claims about climatic change. In order to read the news rationally,the educated reader needs a few keys to quickly sort the patently absurd from the possibly correct. I propose to supply some of those keys to give the reader at least a rudimentary nonsense detector. Read more here.

Jan 09, 2008
Marine Photosynthesis and Oceanic pH

Sherwood, Keith and Craig Idso on CO2 Science

As the global temperatures flatten, the alarmists’ attention has been focused more on arctic ice and the idea of ocean acidification as seen in stories like ”Ocean Acidification or “Why You Should Be Scared About Rising CO2 Emissions Even If You Are A Climate Change Skeptic”.

In this well-documented story on CO2 Science, the Idsos’s provide considerable evidence that this is not at all the case. They start out:

Based on four theoretical constructs - a geochemical model, an ocean general-circulation model, an IPCC CO2 emissions scenario for the 21st century, and a logistic function for the burning of earth’s post-21st century fossil-fuel reserves - Caldeira and Wickett (2003) calculated that earth’s atmospheric CO2 concentration could approach 2000 ppm around the year 2300, leading to a concomitant surface oceanic pH reduction of 0.7 units, a change they describe as being much more rapid and considerably greater “than any experienced in the past 300 million years.”

What will be the result for earth’s coral reefs and other calcifying marine organisms if this unprecedented - but purely theoretical - surface oceanic pH reduction actually comes to pass? Kleypas et al. (1999) and Buddemeier et al. (2004) have claimed that the projected increase in the air’s CO2 content, together with its simulated decline in surface ocean water pH, will dramatically decrease coral calcification rates, which they say could lead to a major slow-down, or even reversal, of reef-building and the potential loss of reef structures.

There are, however, some good reasons for believing otherwise. This includes the fact that marine photosynthesis tends to increase surface oceanic pH, countering the tendency for it to decline as the air’s CO2 content rises. Adding to these findings the fact that rising atmospheric CO2 concentrations tend to stimulate marine photosynthesis, it can be appreciated that doom-and-gloom stories of impending extinctions of earth’s marine calcifying organisms due to a CO2-induced decrease in oceanic pH are merely that - stories, without any basis in fact. Read more detail here.

Jan 08, 2008
Important New Papers Showing Significant Warm Biases in Temperature Trends

By Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science

Two important new posts the last few days on the Climate Science site suggest issues with station data overstate the degree of global warming. In the first post, ”A New GRL Paper Multi-Decadal Surface Temperature Trends Are Overstated When Minumum Temperatures Over Land Are Used” Roger reports on a new GRL paper by Lin et al. in the GRL ”An Examination of 1997-2007 Surface Layer Temperature Trends at Two Heights in Oklahoma” the authors found long term near-surface daily minimum temperature trends at a single level on light wind nights will not produce the same trends as for long term temperature trends at other heights near the surface.  This is important since reports of multi-decadal temperature trends and temperature anomalies have been based on the measurement of air temperature at a single height above the ground.

This means that a significant warm bias exists in the 2007 IPCC Report on the trends of the global average radiative forcing, since they base their estimate on a surface air temperature trend that includes minimum temperatures over land. This bias, which occurs whenever the nighttime surface boundary layer is stably stratified over land and the winds are light is, therefore, very significant at high latitudes in the winter, where much of the warming is reported to have occurred.

In the second post, A New JGR Paper Published - “Unresolved Issues With The Assessment Of Multidecadal Global Land Surface Temperature Trends”, Roger and his co-authors document various unresolved issues in using surface temperature trends as a metric for assessing global and regional climate change. Roger notes this analysis, as well as other studies such as the McKitrick and Michaels JGR paper, ”Quantifying the Influence of Anthropogenic Surface Processes and Inhomogeneities on Gridded Global Climate Data’ should be a wake up call that erroneous information is being communicated to policymakers and others on the actual radiative imbalance of the climate system. The 2007 IPCC ignored assessing these unresolved issues which, as a consequence, result in a warm bias in their conclusions on the magnitude of global warming.

Jan 07, 2008
Powering our Future or Wrecking the Economy?

By Brian Leyland

The draft New Zealand Energy Strategy is dominated by the Government’s conviction that climate change (more properly described as “man-made global warming") is happening and that we must develop renewable energy to save New Zealand from disaster. The strategy ignores the uncertainties in the evidence claimed to support the belief that man-made global warming is real and dangerous. It cannot explain why, before the days of man-made CO2, the world was warmer during the Middle Ages, Roman and Minoan warm periods. The whole of the Energy Strategy is based on the assumption that the “scenarios” and “projections” of dangerous warming generated by unproven climate models are accurate predictions. The surface temperature record used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that the world has not warmed since 1998. If cooling continues for a few more years then the hypothesis, the theories and the computer models supporting claims that CO2 causes dangerous man-made global warming, will have to be re-examined. 

The strategy ignores the increasingly strong evidence that solar emissions related to the sunspot cycle and cosmic rays have a major influence on our climate. Unlike the carbon dioxide driven hypothesis, this theory explains climate change in the past and predicts that the climate will cool until 2030.  One proven effect of increased CO2 is that it has enhanced plant growth by about 15 per cent. To an agricultural nation like New Zealand, this provides a significant economic benefit. Why is it ignored? It seems to me that the Government has been badly advised. The primary duty of any scientific adviser is to report on the science objectively and to make sure that the politicians understand the uncertainties in the science.

Bryan Leyland is a power engineer and consultant.

Jan 04, 2008
North Atlantic Warming Tied to Natural Variability; but Global Warming May be at Play Elsewhere

By Duke University in PHYSORG

A Duke University-led analysis of available records shows that while the North Atlantic Ocean’s surface waters warmed in the 50 years between 1950 and 2000, the change was not uniform. In fact, the subpolar regions cooled at the same time that subtropical and tropical waters warmed. This striking pattern can be explained largely by the influence of a natural and cyclical wind circulation pattern called the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), wrote authors of a study published Thursday, Jan. 3, in Science Express, the online edition of the journal Science.

Winds that power the NAO are driven by atmospheric pressure differences between areas around Iceland and the Azores. “The winds have a tremendous impact on the underlying ocean,” said Susan Lozier, a professor of physical oceanography at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences who is the study’s first author. “The take-home message is that the NAO produces strong natural variability,” said Lozier in an interview. “The simplistic view of global warming is that everything forward in time will warm uniformly. But this very strong natural variability is superimposed on human-caused warming. So researchers will need to unravel that natural variability to get at the part humans are responsible for.”

See more here.

See full size image here

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