Peter Taylor’s CHILL: a Reassessment of Global Warming Theory is really two books in one. The first part covers the science of climate change in exhaustive detail and provides an alternative to the orthodox view. Taylor, who has impeccable green credentials, describes “the technocratic and communalist approach” in a masterly analysis of how we arrived at this point through “a combination of zealotry which somehow has managed to portray the science as unequivocal when it’s not”. The second part covers policy, politics and remedies.

A main theme of the first part of the book is that we take too linear a view of
climate-trend projections, without recognising past patterns and cycles
which could include future cooling. I am comfortable with that notion, as any observer of history is provided with clear evidence that climate oscillates in numerous
cycles of warm and cold periods.

Readers who believe Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth, and who consider the IPCC
climate assessments are factual, unbiased and objective, will not like this
book. As Taylor says: “It is clear to me that IPCC has made such a forthright commitment to the standard (Co2 ) policy model, that it has a biased attitude to new data that does not conform to that model.” And:

“It is striking that a small group of men working behind computer screens created a virtual reality in which the future climate became the enemy of mankind. That original cabal was likely innocent of any underhand motivation and genuinely believed mankind faced a threat and that they would sound the alert and potentially stave off disaster. But sociologists will go a little bit further and look at the social environment that pawned the very concepts of the climate game, many of which we take entirely for granted. For example the notion that humanity itself can be under threat or that the planet might need to be saved. These are very recent notions, at least from a societal perspective, and do not bear closer scientific scrutiny. “

This book is a breath of fresh air in pointing out the numerous contradictions in the orthodox climate science camps that believe themselves uniquely exempt to the notion that they should actually prove their scientific hypotheses – that by altering the climate and doubling Co2 emissions, mankind will cause a rise in temperatures of up to 6 degrees C.
The author clinically examines areas of uncertainty, plain misunderstandings, and assertions in the existing ‘consensus’ by reviewing numerous high quality ‘contrarian’ papers that rarely receive much coverage in the science and popular media, which is obsessed with the notion of anthropogenic global warming. Climate science is a very small world with authors frequently peer reviewing each other’s papers, some of which might be based on their own work in the first place (Google US Congress hearing by Wegman). Also, they often pronounce on subjects of which they have little
knowledge. When talking of Solanki – a leading solar scientist – Taylor comments:

“This is another classic example of senior scientists publishing in the peer
reviewed literature and commenting on issues entirely outside of their field,
such as carbon dioxide and atmospheric physics, without reference to other
entire fields of relevant climatology, seriously compromised by
compartmented approach or political correctness in the face of
‘controversial’ science.”

That Taylor – and many other commentators –  believes that even the IPCC’s
lowest Co2/temperature rise scenario exaggerates its case by at least a
factor of three is amply illustrated, and as the author demonstrates, sea
levels and temperatures have obviously not read the IPCC’s script.

Having demolished what currently passes for peer reviewed and settled
science, Taylor moves on to remedies and the consequences of the politics in
the second part of his book. He argues that we are not doing enough to adapt to
inevitable changes, and that in particular we are vulnerable to the climate
cooling, for which there is no ‘Plan B’ whatsoever. The author believes many
of the actions for mitigating the supposed impacts of warming are counter
productive. He stresses the need to create ‘resilient systems’ to cope with
all eventualities. As the author says in examining the ‘collusion of
interests’ he has identified; “I can see how it works to everyone’s interest
to believe in the scary climate story.”

This excellent but lengthy book deals with a difficult subject and therefore
its structure is especially important to ensure accessibility and achieve
the influence it deserves, but in this there are problems. For example,
omitting the chapter number at the head of each page yet referring to
chapter numbers in the text was irritating, as wer the constant references to
papers placed on the author’s web site. As much of the science is complex
and multi-layered, it cannot be read like a novel at one go, so it would be
useful to provide a chapter summary. Also I felt it was missing a chapter on
the IPCC’s politics, rationale and peer review processes, that would
illustrate how they became part of the ‘collusion of interests’ intent on scaring
everyone to death when really we have far more important things to worry
about. Nevertheless, the book remains essential and provocative reading.

Finally, to extract from the major review of the science in the first part
of the book is not easy, given the volume of material covered. But here is a
dip into the section on ocean cycles (page 131), which illustrates the tone
of the message:

“The oceans play a crucial role in the absorption and dissipation of heat
over decadal and millennial timescales and with distinct cyclic patterns.
These patterns are poorly understood and not replicated in global warming
models, and any conclusions drawn with respect to those models being able to
isolate an anthropogenic global warming signal must be regarded as unproven
and unlikely”.

These are brave words from a career environmentalist who has managed to keep his head when all around him are losing theirs.

CHILL: a Reassessment of Global Warming Theory
Peter Taylor
Clairview Books, 2009, 404 pages
£14.99 Pbk  ISBN  978 1 905570 19 5

[or try www.abebooks.co.uk  –  TonyN]

For a profile of Peter Taylor follow the link;

http://www.clairviewbooks.com/pages/viewauthor.php?id_in=29

421 Responses to “Peter Taylor’s CHILL: an environmentalist’s very cool look at global warming”

  1. Hi Peter.

    In your 312 you try to change the topic from picking your choice of optimum “Goldilocks just right” global average temperature for our planet to discussing the optimum “Goldilocks just right” atmospheric CO2 level.

    In other words, we can say that 280 ppmv of CO2 is probably too low for long term human comfort and that a higher figure will need to be agreed upon. At some stage in the future it will be necessary to agree on something like 350 ppmv. Some will no doubt argue that this is too high a figure. The purists will push for 280 ppmv no doubt.

    That is a totally different question, Peter.

    For forests and some crops it might be between 800 and 1000 ppmv, for others even higher.

    For most mammals (including humans) there is probably no “optimum”, provided CO2 doesn’t get up to several thousand ppmv.

    For our climate, the “jury is still out”. Hansen says 450 ppmv is the “dangerous level” beyond which irreversible tipping points will occur, leading to climate disaster, but Hansen has become well known for hysterical hyperbole (viz. coal “death trains”) rather than serious scientific opinion.

    The GHG formulas tell us that 1200 ppmv will lead to a temperature increase of between 1° and 2°C above today’s temperature (ignoring assumed “feedbacks”), and we all know that there is only enough fossil fuel on this planet to arrive at around 1000ppmv if it is all combusted.

    The myth of “negligible natural forcing factors” as the principal cause for 20th century warming has crumbled now that even Met Office concedes that these were strong enough to more than offset record atmospheric CO2 increases in the first decade of the 21st century.

    The myth of “strongly positive net feedbacks”, principally from water vapor and clouds, along with the resulting assumed 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2°C has also crumbled as a result of empirical data gathered on cloud feedbacks; it looks more likely that the 2xCO2 impact is no more than 0.8° to 1.0°C (Richard Lindzen puts it at 0.5°C).

    So forget the “Goldilocks just right CO2 level”. It is irrelevant, Peter.

    But back to the question that is much more pertinent:

    What, in your opinion, is the idea “Goldilocks just right” globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature for our planet:

    (a) The temperature of 2008?
    (b) The temperature of 1998 (0.2°C higher than today)?
    (c) The temperature of 1944 (0.2°C lower than today)?
    (d) The temperature of 1900 (0.6°C lower than today)?
    (e) The temperature at the depth of the LIA (1° to 2°C lower than today)?
    (f) The temperature at the peak of the MWP (0.3° to 1°C higher than today)?
    (g) Some other temperature of your choice?

    C’mon, Peter. Take a stand. You fear that our planet is headed for “bad times” because of model-assumed higher temperatures. So you must assume that there is an optimum “Goldilocks just fine” global temperature for our planet, which should not be exceeded.

    What is this optimum temperature in your opinion, Peter?

    Don’t waffle around with other subjects.

    Simply answer the question.

    If you answer “I don’t know”, that’s OK, too.

    Max

  2. Peter Martin

    Reur 321. Your wife’s right.

    I suspect that I may be a bit older than you, and therefore, more “experienced” when it comes to the concepts of “being right” and “wife”.

    The wife is, by definition, always right.

    Trying to fight against this basic truth or simply allowing it to drive you “up the wall”, is a total waste of energy.

    Just accept it and move on to something else more productive.

    The “win-win” situation occurs when you agree with your wife, for then you, too, can be “right”.

    Max

  3. Peter Martin

    When you write (316):

    CO2 concentrations are spiralling upwards without anyone making the decision that it should happen. The problem for our generation is that we’ve lost control

    This implies that we once had control of our climate, which we then lost.

    This is pure balderdash, Peter, as I am sure you know.

    We do not now, we have not in the past, and we will not in the future have any real control whatsoever of our climate.

    It is an illusion to think that “puny man can control his climate” (as I have said before).

    If you can show me empirical data that support this illusion, please do so (so far you have been unable to do so).

    But please do not let this distract you from picking the optimum “Goldilocks just right” temperature for our planet, according to your opinion (see my post 326).

    Looking forward to your reply.

    Maz

  4. Max,

    There are two factors to be considered:

    1) Temperature Rise
    2) Rate of Change of Temperature (or dT/dt to put it mathematically)

    1)Temperature anomaly is usually measured in terms of ‘anomaly’ relative to the average of the first half of the 20th century. This is currently 0.4 degC. It doesn’t necessarily mean that currently we are experiencing 0.4 deg C of global warming. Global warming didn’t suddenly start in 1950.

    However if you were to press me for a figure I would suggest that we try to keep the temperature anomaly as small as possible on this measured basis.

    2) The rate of change too is important. Besides the obvious implications for future temperatures, it has important implications biologically. If the change is too rapid plants and animals will have little chance of evolving to the chnaged conditions.

    No doubt you’ll say “Ah but its not warming” and you can no doubt pick dates to support your argument. Nevertheless that isn’t the view of mainstream science.

    It could be that an anomaly of zero will turn out to be too ambitious a target. We may well have to settle for something higher. The longer we take to get CO2 levels under control the higher this figure will have to be.

  5. Max,

    Re: # 327.

    My standard answer, no matter what it is:

    “Yes Dear, you’re probably right”.

  6. It could be that an anomaly of zero will turn out to be too ambitious a target. We may well have to settle for something higher.

    Zero temperature anomoly….are you serious?

    Refresh my memory……How do you account for anomolies that occured previous to 1900?

    How do you account for Ice Ages, The Younger Dryas, The Medieval Warm Period, The Little Ice Age, The Roman Optimum?

    Younger Dryas

  7. Brute,

    The chances of reducing the Earth’s temperature to Ice age conditions , or even Little Ice age, are zilch. Not that anyone would want to anyway. Similarly the Younger Dryas.

    MWP temps were probably just slightly less than current ones. I’d settle for them long term.

  8. Peter Martin #332

    *You persistently ignore ample evidence of previous warm temperature periods and that arctic ice, for example, melts regularly.

    *That temperature rises-and falls- can be rapid

    *You try to play down MWP temperatures warmer than today, as evidenced by numerous reports posted here at great length.

    * You ignore evidence (from thermometers-posted here) that confirm the latest warm episode is just one of many similar natural cycles throughout history that can be tracked back 350 years.

    *You ignore the obvious political interference which has sidelined science in the name of creating ‘one world living.’ See my #325.

    *You ignore- then try to refute- the recent period of cooling.

    * You ignore the obvious point that Hadley from 1850 commenced at a period still within the LIA, and that temperatures unsurprisingly have risen since.

    *You ignore the fact that most of the population of the world now live in cities. There is an obvious urban bias with temperature records which exhibit a UHI factor far greater than the IPCC calculate, but observationally we can feel. This is quite separate to siting problems which exhibit a warm bias.

    *You ignore the fact that the Hadley data base from 1850 conceals numerous individuial records showing that in their part of the world temperatures have cooled since the start of the record, or have cooled over the last thirty years-enough to be a climatic trend. So by no means has everywhere in the world been warming-‘Global’ warming simply does not exist (hence the alteration to ‘climate change’)

    *The conclusion by looking at the individual temperature records (rather than a nonsensical and meaningless global one) must be that Co2 is a gas with magical properties whose rising levels (itself much more debatable than you want to admit) is causing increasing temperatures in some parts of the world, but apparently also causing falling temperatures in others.

    An Inconvenient truth indeed.

    TonyB

  9. tonyb (325)

    Interesting to view the comments on the Times article (about the recent TV ad) and sort them by recommendation. I had to get to page 4 before I found a comment from an AGW supporter!

    This rather suggests that the advertisement has increased, rather than reduced, scepticism – which is perhaps not surprising, given its provenance. If a government (especially this one) has to resort to television advertising to get its message across, then most people will smell a rat.

    As Harriet Harman recently discovered, with her ill-judged attack on ‘punternet’ (which enjoyed a big increase in traffic as a result), the law of unintended consequences is always ready to bite you!

    I notice that the original article contained the line: “The Met Office has predicted that the 2003 heatwave..” which almost sounds as if they’ve got a six-year backlog. Now, if only they could predict the next one…

  10. Peter (332)

    MWP temps were probably just slightly less than current ones

    Based on what? I appreciate that if they were ‘slightly more’, it would ruin your argument…

    In any case, the Roman equivalent seems to have been even warmer. I often used to wonder how Hannibal’s elephants managed in the snow, but of course they didn’t have to!

  11. Peter M

    You wrote to Brute (332)

    MWP temps were probably just slightly less than current ones.

    Sorry, Peter. You are (more than “probably”) dead wrong on that statement, despite the discredited Mann et al. hockey stick and its spaghetti copy-hockey sticks cited by IPCC.

    There are studies from all over the globe that show that the MWP was real, global and slightly warmer than today.

    If you would like references, let me know. The information is out there, Peter.

    Max

  12. Peter Martin

    Coming back to your statement to Brute (332):

    MWP temps were probably just slightly less than current ones.

    In addition to the comprehensive study by Craig Loehle (which we have already discussed on the other thread here), which cites several peer-reviewed studies on the MWP and concludes that the temperature then was slightly warmer than today, there have been many other regional studies.

    Here are links to studies made by 83 different scientists from 21 different locations all over the world, concluding that the MWP was warmer than today. Am sending the links separately, since the spam filter gets overloaded.

    China
    De’Er Zhang
    Henan Province
    0.9-1.0°C warmer than present
    Link 1

    Eastern China
    Ge, Q., Zheng, J., Fang, X., Man, Z., Zhang, X., Zhang, P. and Wang, W.-C.
    0.4°C higher than today’s peak warmth
    Link 2

    Pearl River Delta, S. China
    Honghan, Z. and Baolin, H.
    1-2°C higher than that at present time
    Link 3

    Japan
    Adhikari, D.P. and Kumon, F.
    warmer than any other period during the last 1300 years
    Link 4

    Yakushima Island, S. Japan
    Kitagawa, H. and Matsumoto, E.
    about 1°C above that of the Current Warm Period
    Link 5

    Sargasso Sea
    Keigwin, L.
    ~1°C warmer than today
    Link 6

    Tropical Ocean (Indian Ocean, South China Sea, Caribbean)
    Alicia Newton, Robert Thunell, and Lowell Stott
    0.4°C warmer than today
    Link 7

    New Zealand
    Cook, E. R., J. G. Palmer, and R. D. D’Arrigo
    (MWP confirmed but no temperature difference cited)
    Link 8

    New Zealand
    Wilson, A.T., Hendy, C.H. and Reynolds, C.P
    0.75°C warmer than the Current Warm Period
    Link 9

    Barrow Strait, Canada
    Vare, L.L., Masse, G., Gregory, T.R., Smart, C.W. and Belt, S.T
    (MWP confirmed but no temperature difference cited)
    Link 10

    Northern Gulf of Mexico (Pigmy Basin)
    Richey, J.N., Poore, R.Z., Flower, B.P. and Quinn, T.M
    about 1.5°C warmer than present-day temperatures.
    Link 11

    Coastal Peru
    Rein B., Lückge, A., Reinhardt, L., Sirocko, F., Wolf, A. and Dullo, W.-C
    Medieval Warm Period for this region was about 1.2°C above that of the Current Warm Period
    Link 12

    Venezuela coast
    Goni, M.A., Woodworth, M.P., Aceves, H.L., Thunell, R.C., Tappa, E., Black, D., Muller-Karger, F., Astor, Y. and Varela, R.
    approximately 0.35°C warmer than peak Current Warm Period temperatures, and fully 0.95°C warmer than the mean temperature of the last few years of the 20th century
    Link 13

    Lake Erie, Ohio, USA
    Patterson, W.P
    both summer maximum and mean annual temperatures in the Great Lakes region were found to be higher than those of the 20th century; mean annual temperatures were 0.2°C higher
    Link 14

    Chesapeake Bay, USA
    Cronin, T.M., Dwyer, G.S., Kamiya, T., Schwede, S. and Willard, D.A.
    mean 20th-century temperatures were 0.15°C cooler than mean temperatures during the first stage of the Medieval Warm Period
    Link 15

    Greenland Summit
    Johnsen, S.J., Dahl-Jensen, D., Gundestrup, N., Steffensen, J.P., Clausen, H.B., Miller, H., Masson-Delmotte, V., Sveinbjörnsdottir, A.E. and White, J.
    temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period (~AD 800-1100) were about 1°C warmer than those of the Current Warm Period.
    Link 16

    Sweden (Central Scandinavian Mountains)
    Linderholm, H.W. and Gunnarson, B.E.
    Between AD 900 and 1000, summer temperature anomalies were as much as 1.5°C warmer than the 1961-1990 base period
    Link 17

    Finnish Lapland
    Weckstrom, J., Korhola, A., Erasto, P. and Holmstrom, L.
    0.15°C warmer than the peak warmth of the Current Warm Period
    Link 18

    Ural Mountains, Russia
    Mazepa, V.S.
    Medieval Warm Period lasted from approximately AD 700 to 1300 and that significant portions of it were as much as 0.56°C warmer than the Current Warm Period.
    Link 19

    Altai Mountains, S. Siberia, Russia
    Kalugin, I., Daryin, A., Smolyaninova, L., Andreev, A., Diekmann, B. and Khlystov, O.
    mean peak temperature of the latter part of the Medieval Warm Period was about 0.5°C higher than the mean peak temperature of the Current Warm Period.
    Link 20

    NW Spain
    Martinez-Cortizas, A., Pontevedra-Pombal, X., Garcia-Rodeja, E., Novoa-Muñoz, J.C. and Shotyk, W.
    mean annual temperature during this time was as much as 3.4°C warmer than that of the 1968-98 period.
    Link 21

    Antarctica (Amery Ice Shelf, East Antarctica)
    Hemer, M.A. and Harris, P.T
    The MWP at ca. 750 14C yr BP was likely warmer than at any time during the CWP.
    Link 22

    So these studies all show

    (a) that the MWP was real
    (b) that the MWP was global
    (c) that the MWP was a bit warmer than today

    Unfounded general statements (even with the word “probably”) often get you into trouble, Peter. It’s best to avoid them.

    Max

  13. Peter Martin

    Let me know if you want the links to all those MWP studies (337).

    Max

  14. Peter M

    Further to the post by James P (335).

    Every Swiss schoolchild knows about Hannibal crossing the Alps with elephants during the Roman Optimum. They also know that Roman soldiers crossed the Alps coming into Helvetia (without elephants).

    Most have also learned about human migrations across the Alps and settlements in high Alpine valleys during the MWP, which later had to be abandoned due to advancing cold.

    And they have also read about medieval Alpine gold and silver mines being covered up by advancing snow and ice and abandoned at the end of the MWP.

    The late climate science pioneer, Reid Bryson once reported about an old abandoned silver mine that was uncovered as the glacial ice retreated, and there have been several reports about medieval (as well as earlier) signs of vegetation and civilization found under retreating glaciers.

    This is all common knowledge here, as are the medieval Greenland farm houses found buried in the permafrost, the crop records from all over Europe and Asia, the Norse sagas and Viking sea charts, the wild grapes found by Vikings in Newfoundland (Vinland), etc.

    Glaciologists here in Switzerland have also determined that Alpine glaciers reached their maximum extent in 10,000 years around 1850, around the same time as modern glacier records began, that their extent was much less during both the Roman Optimum as well as the MWP than it is today, and that they were essentially all gone during an even earlier and longer warm period.

    It all has nothing to do with human CO2, Peter.

    Peter Taylor also cites evidence of a MWP that was warmer than today (pp.124-126) and links this and earlier warm plus cold periods to “part of a fluctuation of increasing amplitude” with millenial scale sea surface temperature variations.

    Peter Taylor concludes the paragraph with the statement:

    “the past picture of relative stability during the Holocene (as for example given in IPCC’s ‘hockey stick’ graph) must now be discounted”

    and

    “any claims for an anthropogenic signature must be made against new evidence that climate has warmed and cooled on a large scale over the past 1000 years, and has been doing so at 1500-year intervals for 20,000 years.”

    After re-reading several sections of Peter Taylor’s book and checking out the sources he cites as well as others on the topic, I have become more and more convinced that his conclusion is correct that:

    there have always been several longer and shorter-term cyclical oscillations, which have determined our climate, and that

    the most recent 20th century warming can be principally attributed to an unusual combination of several of these cycles.

    His next conclusion is that these cycles now appear to be reversing, so that it is most likely that we are in for a prolonged period of cooling, which will not necessarily be a good thing for our society and our environment.

    This part is (educated and substantiated) conjecture, but the MWP and Roman Optimum (both somewhat warmer than today) are indisputable.

    Max

  15. This thread is supposed to be discussing Peter Taylor’s book. Most of the comments that are appearing now should be on the NS thread, so please think before you post. It’s easy enough to link to comments here if you want to refer back to them.

  16. Sorry to be away from these discussions. I would like to comment on some of the themes:

    The anomaly of the late 20th century warming:

    Those of you who have pointed out that the warming between 1979-2000 (there was no warming between 1945-1978) is only anomalous if you disregard the Medieval Warm Period (and the Roman Warm Period) are partly right.

    The 20th century only looks unusual if you neglect long term cycles of 400/800 year troughs and peaks. There is good paleo-ecological evidence that such cycles exist but they are poorly understood.

    Whether or not the MWP was warmer or nearly as warm or the same, is less relevant than acknowledging the cycle itself and that it varies in amplitude and that we do not know the driving mechanism. The IPCC put considerable emphasis on Michael Mann’s work – which we now know to be flawed (and in truth, it shocked many paleo-climatologists) – the hockey stick – and we need to note that this work was finally discredited by an independent team of statisticians who were not part of the UN system. IPCC is inter-governmental and the selection process is hardly inclusive of its critics!

    Even if the current warm period is warmer than the previous, this does not help us isolate the carbon dioxide contribution, since natural cycles vary in amplitude. But it gives an upper figure! I think 20% is that upper figure.

    You can apply the same reasoning to the Arctic ‘anomaly’ – either you go back to the MWP when Vikings grew crops on Greenland – or to the shorter 70 year cycle when the 1940s showed many regional records that have not yet been surpassed. If you chose say Barrow and East Greenland, you could get figures of 20-50% higher than the 40’s, but West Greenland has yet to reach the previous cycle’s record, and there are about a dozen stations throughout the Arctic for which that would be true – and maybe the same number for which the 20% figure would apply.

    The next issue is the RATE of rise and its GLOBAL significance – and the two are related.

    There is little doubt nowadays that the MWP was a global phenomenon – reaching into South America and New Zealand in the south, China in the East, though Antarctica is unclear (and in any case tends to cycle in the opposite direction to the northern hemisphere). But at the outset of the IPCC (in 1990) much of this data had not been published – so the Panel started out with the argument that MWP was a regional phenomenon, whereas we were now faced by a GLOBAL rise with an unprecedented RATE.

    Neither of these arguments hold up on closer scrutiny. The problem with the ‘global’ issue is that all the proxies for the longer term past are by their nature ‘regional’. They also have much greater levels of uncertainty (error bounds). Any attempt to derive a global average is fraught with difficulty and thus these data cannot or should not be readily compared to modern station-network data (and even the extrapolation to 1850 is difficult due to calibration and interpolation issues).

    On a regional level, there is nothing unusual about the rate of temperature rise. And on a global level, the data is simply not good enough to substantiate any argument – and IPCC pretty much say so in IPCC4.

    On recent cooling:

    Both sides have a point. Yes, since 1998, the global average has either flatlined, or slightly cooled, depending on which data set you choose. NASA GISS give greater weight to the smaller area of the Arctic where the ‘anomaly’ is highest and hence have 2005 as the warmest year. There is some rationale for that – in that the Arctic is certainly a lot warmer – up to 3C compared to average 20th century figures, and there is an unusual ‘plateau’ in the period 2000-2007 that bumps up the decadal average (and they would argue without the help of a super-el Nino).

    And if you compare the average from 1989-1999 and 1999-2009, you would get a higher figure for the recent decade – and hence conclude that the trend was still upwards.

    But all such trends are spurious. You can draw a line from 1800-2000 and see that the average varies above and below the trend line in a pattern rather like a snake around a stick. If you extrapolate from an ‘up-phase’ of the snake, you will get an erroneous projection. In this long-term graph – as Prof Akasofu, the Arctic specialist points out, the late 20th century is not unusual, it is one more up-phase of the snake. Sea-level rise follows the same pattern. As does glacier melt, hurricane intensity etc.

    The key to future projections lies in elaborating the power of the natural cycles. IPCC argued that CO2 had overpowered the natural cycle – which would have shown no increase in global temperatures from 1950-2000 (their figure 1 in their chapter 3 of the technical reports) – this natural flatline was computer generated. Their error was to rely upon this despite their own admission that they knew next-to-nothing about the natural cycles!

    This – by the way, is what you might refer to as ‘mainstream’ science and the international consensus in operation. It is neither. IPCC is not mainstream – it is carefully selected and excludes certain critics, with the secretariat heavily biased towards its previous judgements and prior commitments (that is the way such panels have always worked and IPCC is no exception – I made detailed criticisms in the peer-reviewed ocean pollution literature in 1993, and they have been systematically ignored).

    Natural cycles: clearly these are the key to understanding the future. Is there really a ‘cooling’? Will it continue? Has ‘global warming’ ceased?

    On a strictly scientific level – it is too early to say for sure. We have now a decade of ‘standstill’. This was not exactly predicted, but the endpoint in 2009 is at the lowest outlier of the error-margins for the IPCC’s predicted temperature at this time (hence they can say the DID predict it!). Only two centres that I know of have tackled building ocean cycles into the models (Kiel and Hadley – the former have gained publicity, Hadley are rather shy) – and call this ‘short term’ to 2020/2030 as opposed to 2050-2080. Both these models predict no further warming for about 10 years.

    It is not inconceivable that such a 20 year flatline is compatible with ‘global warming’ theory – after all, the trough from 1945-1979 was thirty years long and did not prevent the theory unfolding. BUT it was explained as due to industrial aerosols.

    Another one here for the mainstream and consensus fans – that consensus fell apart in 2005 with analysis of global satellite date, and the verdict now is that the PDO/AMO – two natural cycles only delineated after 1995, was the cause (i.e. clouds and atmospheric transparency related to ocean cycles). IPCC buries their agreement deep in AR4 (see my book).

    So – could ‘global warming’ return with a vengeance in 2020 or 2030 and what about the ‘quiet sun’?

    The jury is out – but there is no consensus, (for those who are still a fan of this authoritarian approach) – other than in places like Hadley – where they have no specialists on long-term solar cycles (other than maybe one or two hand-picked IPCC aparatchiks) or GISS.

    It all depends upon a) the power of the cycles, b) what drives them.

    I took a look at the patterns of the cycles and concluded that there had been a long term ‘seventh wave’ effect where they had ALL peaked in the late 20th century.

    solar cycle peak (1995 in terms of magnetic field, 1990 in terms of visible radiation)/long cycle of 800 years/AMO (60-100 years)/PDO (30)/NAO (20)/ ENSO (4-8)

    I quoted refereed oceanographic and sediment work that argued the ENSO cycle rode on top of the PDO, which itself rode on the longer term cycles.

    I looked for indications that the cycles would now drop. ENSO always drops global temperatures in the two years after a major event. There is an ENSO event right now that takes the global average to 0.4 C (anomaly), and without it , we would be at about 0.1 C. It could drop next year to -0.1 or – 0.2 C and persist for a year at that level.

    That La Nina territory would coincide with a falling PDO/AMO and Arctic Oscillation – but only the Arctic falls rapidly from its peak – the other two are more gradual and may have a bit more juice left. This seems unlikely since the latest upper ocean heat figures show a gradual fall – the oceans are steadily losing heat. Cloud cover globally is about 2% above the longterm average and has been since 2001. This cuts the heat input to the planet – but can keep the Arctic warm – depends on the spatial distribution of the cloud.

    My conclusion is for more of a trough than a flatline – it depends how powerful the CO2 effect really is. I think, as you know, that the seventh wave was taken to falsely confirm the CO2 atmospheric model (which has a 200-300% error bound that is not admitted by the mainstream consensus because they have been kept misinformed by the manipulations of the IPCC secretariat and the willingness of mainstream scientists to accept ‘authority’).

    Then we come to the solar science:

    This is in a state of ‘flux’ (excuse the pun!).

    It would appear that for once IPCC backed the horse of truth when it downplayed the solar irradiation contribution (from about 30% to 12%) for the last century.

    I have followed Leif Svalgaard’s arguments on WUWT and his papers as well as the apparent agreement of his peers – and he argues that solar irradiation in the deep past was unlikley to have been lower than it is now at the current solar minimum (spot-wise). This argues for around 0.1% variability – or 1.3 watts/square metre at the top of the atmosphere and this compares to previous estimates of the change from the LIA of 2.5 watts – and much less since 1900.

    However, that still leaves the solar magnetic cycle. Lockwood in 1999 first announced the 1900-1990 rise of 230% – and now that seems unlikely to have been the case. Lockwood now agrees with Svalgaard. There HAS been some rise, as measured by the interplanetary field AP, but I am not clear yet by how much.

    This has significance for two issues:

    1) Svensmark’s cloud hypothesis:

    If he is right (evidence is strong for cycle 22 but not 23), then a long term increase in AP
    would imply a long term decrease in cloud and hence global increase in temperature (parallel to CO2 story). Indeed, Svensmark’s first calculations left no real room for a carbon dioxide contribution – clouds could explain it all (as indeed, they do from 1980-2000).

    2) the UV hypothesis: I still hold that this is signficiant – Svalgaard doesn’t think so.

    This is a separate mechanism but would influence cloud also – the UV flux interacts with the polar vortex and the jetstream (I think this could be the driver of the 400 year cycle – which is also seen in the solar magnetic cycle).

    As far as I can tell, there is still room for significant UV variation from solar low to solar max (1400-1990) and the sediment records indicate a jetstream effect on this timescale.

    So – to conclude – the visible SW effect of the sun may be small – and hence the current quiet sun will have minimal impact on cooling from this source – however, the UV decline and potential electrical cloud seeding effects a la Svensmark are not out of the equation yet. The next decade will clarify the science.

    On this – many solar scientists think that the current minimum could persist for 10 years (Dalton type minimum) or 50 (Maunder type) – and there is good correlative evidence that cool periods follow the minimums.

    So – watch the Sun! Especially over the next 2-3 years. There was a small sunspot group two weeks ago – but it has gone quiet again. The AP is the lowest on the scale. Cosmic rays are 20% higher than in a normal cycle. I think UV is low – but there is a complex relationship between UV and its penetration to different atmospheric levels – I am trying to get more information but there seem to be few people working on it or willing to talk.

    And finally on ‘alarmism’.

    The scientists who raised the ‘alarm’ – Hansen and others at GISS in 1985-1990, may have done so out of best intentions (just as those did who spotted the ozone hole – which incidently, is subject now to some doubt on causation because – guess what, there is a natural component related to the solar maximum!). I talk in my book about various other motivations that are always present in any science institution – the desire for influence on government, the kudos of international travel and committees, funding streams etc. It would be naive to pretend such do not exist. Further, once scientists travel higher up the inter-governmental ladder, they lunch (or lodge) with other upscale specialists also eager for influence and contracts – and in this case, there is a clear alliance between climate ‘alarmists’ and nuclear advocates (who lost out in the late 80s). It would be equally naive to pretend such cross-thinking, lunching and lodging does not exist and that such influences were not present in the drive to get all the world’s science institutions ‘on message’ to save the planet.

    Naturally, science does not like to see itself in this light – any more than bankers like to have their own self-image tarnished, or deceitful politicians caught with their hands in the expenses drawer. We live in a decade of dodgy dossiers and deception on a grand scale. Al Gore was rightly awarded an Oscar
    – but the Nobel, to share with the IPCC – for ‘peace’!

    It is rather sad and distinctly childish (no – that’s a slur on childhood!) for science to continually deny that these ‘interests’ (the sociological term – I recommend the sociologist Barry Barnes on ‘interests and the growth of knowledge’ exist. But of course it is not childish – it is political necessity and straightforward cunning.

    So – final comment – this is a long thread, but lets not get bogged down into head-banging on what is and is not mainstream and miss the point about how consensus is constructed and how critics are excluded. In any group of people, political, scientific, or otherwise, in my experience, the wisest, most caring and intelligent are always in a minority. The challenge of democracy is to respect this minority.

  17. And before anyone else does, I would add!!!:

    The egotistical, power seeking, insensitive, thick-skinned but intelligent and cunning are also in a minority. The challenge of democracy is not to elevate them!

  18. Peter Taylor

    I am rationally skeptical of the premise that AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, is a serious threat, but I am not a cynic or a snob.

    You wrote:

    The egotistical, power seeking, insensitive, thick-skinned but intelligent and cunning are also in a minority.

    I would agree that this combined group may be a minority, but, unfortunately, so is the somewhat larger group of the “intelligent”. Too many individuals simply swallow what they hear or see on TV often enough.

    I once saw a (partly humorous) classification of employee applicants that divided them all into 4 categories based on 2 criteria: intelligence and aggressiveness.

    Intelligent + aggressive are the future CEOs and managing directors. Hire them, but if they happen to also be power-seeking, egotistical and cunning, watch out!

    Intelligent but not aggressive are the future key support directors and managers (controller, chief engineer, chief scientist, IT manager, etc.). These are extremely valuable to any organization, as they ensure that it will perform as planned.

    Not intelligent and not aggressive are the great majority of productive support employees. These are the true “backbone” of the organization, for they perform all the necessary day-to-day operations required for its success.

    Aggressive and not intelligent are the ones that have no value to an organization whatsoever; these individuals usually end up in prison and should not be hired.

    Fortunately, all of those active on this blog have shown that they are intelligent (even if they may share different opinions), which makes blogging here interesting.

    Max

  19. Peter Taylor

    You say:

    “Natural cycles: clearly these are the key to understanding the future. Is there really a ‘cooling’? Will it continue? Has ‘global warming’ ceased?”

    As you may have seen, I have been posting extensively on cycles as evidenced by thermometers, and posted the results of some of the 30 I have discovered that go back to 1701 (excluding CET)

    The cyclic effect throughout the decades is very apparent.

    As to your question ‘has global warming stopped?’ First of all it was never global. An examination of the temperature records to 1850 (Hadley) or 1880 (Giss) shows that the warming that is driving the rise in ‘global’ temperatures is very largely coming from Urban areas (which has a very big part in the Giss database) Other areas have been cooling-some for very many years.

    Taking into account the last decade of acknowledged (even by PM) cooling, and accepting that a ‘trend’ is considered to be thirty years or more, we are finding that many more individual temperature records are now showing a cooling trend. These are now counterbalancing the heavily UHI affected urban areas in the ‘global’ record.

    For the benefit of our Austrtalian friends, listed below are those places in Australia that are showing a cooling trend. (All these from Bom/Giss)

    Adelaide Airport cooling since 1881
    Brisbane-eagle Farm cooling since 1957
    Cape Otaway cooling since 1865
    Darwin airport cooling since 1905
    Dubbo cooling since 1882
    Echura (Victoria) cooling since 1881
    Willis island cooling since 1965
    Perth cooling since 1977.

    BOM seems to have a severe case of Hansenitis-in citing 2008 as Adelaides hottest ever summer they omitted to mention that 1914 was the hottest year. Other places in Australia are showing no trend or slight warming.

    tonyb

  20. comment: Manacker

    Oops, hope I don’t come over as a cynic or snob – I was referring more to the democratic processes within science and thinking about the IPCC and the way it treats the wiser intelligent but dissenting voices within its ranks – like Richard Lindzen, and how for science to avoid situations like the current one, it has to find a way of allowing the critical voice a platform – such as minority report, within the overall, rather than seeking a consensus that turns out to be meaningless (and in some areas staged by exclusion). The cunning and intelligent are those that deliberately manipulate the majority – even all of the other intelligent members, though they would of course, have the highest of motives (and am not cynical about that – some of them do really believe they have to stretch things, even the truth, because of what they feel is at stake).

    TonyB – on cycles – it would be great to see a post on that subject – especially if you can get a handle on the harmonics or phase interactions.

    At least now the BBC and hopefully other media will begin to take these arguments about cycles more seriously.

  21. This very successful thread seems to have run its course now, and Peter Taylor won’t be able to make any more contributions for the moment. Thanks to everyone for their contributions, but no more comments here please. If you want to comment on any unresolved matters then please do so on the NS thread.

    The good news is that Peter will be posting an extract from Chill at Harmless Sky towards the end of the month and this should open up new areas for discussion.

  22. […] the first part of his new book, Peter Taylor scrutinises the scientific research that underpins concern about global warming and finds that it […]

  23. The United Nations and many politicians have got an emotive campaign going like the proven gross exaggerator and liar, Al Gore. (Who uses an obscene amount of energy himself, got the emotive panic started on climate change with lies and made $millions from his dishonest film).

    They try to imply that modern carbon emissions are like the coal particulate smog that plagued London in the industrial revolution! Modern coal power plant emissions are just odourless, colourless, non-toxic CO2 that is essential for all plant life. What you can see is water vapour, the major greenhouse gas, which has around 60 times the greenhouse gas impact of CO2 but is far too complex in its impact to include in computer models.

    Further, the relatively very small impact of CO2 on warming is a reverse logarithmic one. Doubling CO2 from now would have little impact on temperature (but would boost crop yields by about 70 per cent).

    It’s interesting that during the Roman Warming (250BC – 450AD) and the Medieval Warming (900 – 1280 AD) periods, European temperatures reached 1.5 – 2.0 degrees C warmer than now. This had nothing to do with CO2 but was due to the normal cause – increased solar radiation (which regularly changes). These were boom periods due to increased rainfall and, therefore, increased crop yields!

    In the earth’s two most recent cool periods, The Dark Ages (535 – 900AD) and The Little Ice Age (1280 – 1850 AD), temperatures in Europe dropped by about 2.0 degrees C. Once again, this had nothing to do with CO2 but was mainly due to reduced levels of solar heat radiation. Both of these periods were accompanied by increased glaciation, drought, crop failures, war, famine, depopulation and disease.

    It’s intriguing that in the most recent warming (1850 – 1998) temperatures rose by only 0.7 degrees C, recovering by barely a third of the temperature drop in the preceding Little Ice Age (1280 – 1850 AD)!

    Many governments seem intent on impoverishing their citizens. Proposed carbon taxes would cost $trillions to be significant but would achieve nothing except to impoverish their citizens needlessly!

    Denis Maclaine
    Brisbane, Australia

  24. Denis:

    It would be interesting to know what interest the Australian media and public are taking in the CRU email hack story, and whether this is likely to have any impact prior to the Copenhagen summit.

  25. CO2 or (as Usual) the Sun?

    The United Nations and many politicians have got a religious-like campaign going like the proven gross exaggerator and liar, Al Gore. (Who uses an obscene amount of energy himself, got the emotive panic started on climate change with lies and made $millions from his dishonest film).

    They try to imply that modern carbon emissions are like the coal particulate smog that plagued London in the industrial revolution! Modern coal power plant emissions are just odourless, colourless, non-toxic CO2 that is essential for all plant life. What you can see is water vapour, the major greenhouse gas, which has around 60 times the greenhouse gas impact of CO2 but is far too complex in its impact to include in computer models.

    Further, the relatively very small impact of CO2 on warming is a reverse logarithmic one. Doubling CO2 from now would have little impact on temperature (but would boost crop yields by about 70 per cent).

    It’s interesting that during the Roman Warming (250BC – 450AD) and the Medieval Warming (900 – 1280 AD) periods, European temperatures reached 1.5 – 2.0 degrees C warmer than now. This had nothing to do with CO2 but was due to the normal cause – increased solar radiation (which regularly changes). These were boom periods due to increased rainfall and, therefore, increased crop yields!

    In the earth’s two most recent cool periods, The Dark Ages (535 – 900AD) and The Little Ice Age (1280 – 1850 AD), temperatures in Europe dropped by about 2.0 degrees C. Once again, this had nothing to do with CO2 but was mainly due to reduced levels of solar heat radiation. Both of these periods were accompanied by increased glaciation, drought, crop failures, war, famine, depopulation and disease.

    It’s intriguing that in the most recent warming (1850 – 1998) temperatures rose by only 0.7 degrees C, recovering by barely a third of the temperature drop in the preceding Little Ice Age (1280 – 1850 AD)!

    Many governments seem intent on introducing massive economic decline for their countries. Proposed carbon taxes would cost $trillions to be significant but would achieve nothing except to needlessly impoverish their citizens!

    Denis Maclaine
    Brisbane, Australia

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