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. JasonHart, just considering paragraph 1 in your 119:

    [1] I never said it was due to climate change. I haven’t seen anyone make a convincing case that any regional change is due to climate change. [2] I think focusing on such immediate changes in weather when the whole concept is about trends is foolish. [3] You haven’t even bothered to listen, but have jumped straight into a pathetic answer to a question no one asked. [4] The balls you have using an old graph from a blog to tell farmers that they are really wrong: there’s plenty of water around. [5] You are even contradicting Peter by saying that food production is doing fine!…”

    [1] Good.

    [2] Please clarify; what trends are you on about? (For instance if you look at various data, there does not appear to be an increase in trends of drought in the Murray-Darling Basin since 1900, but rather the opposite.)

    [3] But, you did say in part in your 112:

    “… I probably am biased in that view by my location, which has seen dropping food production due to high temperatures, drought and changes in the seasonal distribution of rainfall…”

    My 115 was a response to my understanding of what you wrote. Sorry, but I don’t get it. Are you claiming that the recent drought is significantly different to earlier droughts in this region?

    [4] The graph that you don’t like is from the Oz Bureau of Meteorology (BOM). It shows rainfall in the Murray-Darling Basin since 1900, where there have been periodic droughts recorded. It does NOT say that there is plenty of water around in the Murray-Darling Basin recently, where there is a repetition of regional drought. OK, if you don’t trust the BOM, you might prefer the image below from the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. I also recommend that you check-out the following PDF for fuller information. (can’t replicate the images here)
    http://www.ipa.org.au/library/publication/1228170972_document_marohasy_hoskin_facts-murrayriver.pdf

    [5] Sorry, but wasn’t Peter Taylor concerned with food production if there is a significant drop in global temperatures. The concern you expressed (I think) was that with increasing temperatures there would be a reduction in cropping. I merely assured you that Oz and World wheat production for 2009 was, according to that impeccable source, increasing to the extent that prices were expected to drop.

    Figure 5 Murray River system inflows with extended drought periods highlighted
    http://www.mdbc.gov.au/subs/annual_reports/AR_2005-06/img/fig5_sml.jpg

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    I may make separate comments on the remaining four paragraphs in your 119, but confess that I have difficulty understanding what you have written. (and may need to ask you for some interpretations)

  2. JasonHart, further my 126 and the M-DBC image:

    Please note that the photo above of those horse-drawn SUV’s on the dry Murray riverbed, occurred in the shortish drought of only four years starting 1912. (The correct date is probably Easter 1915, although reportedly, 1914 is written on the back of the photo.)

    There are also some photos of camels crossing the Murray, (high up at Echuca?) barely ankle deep in broken pools of water somewhere if you would like to Google around.

  3. Bob,

    3. Learn the difference between high and higher. It should help.

    You’ve just spent a lot of effort arguing a case I didn’t disagree with. I just didn’t like your reasoning.

  4. Also could you please explain to me what IPA is? Is it a government department? Is it a university organisation? Can we trust it?

  5. JasonHart

    I would not call our disagreement a “clash of values”, but since you brought this term up, I am going to go a step further in explaining my “values” to see if really do have a “clash”.

    I consider myself to be a rational skeptic (in the scientific sense).

    Wiki defines this as follows:

    Scientific skepticism or rational skepticism (also spelled scepticism), sometimes referred to as skeptical inquiry, is a practical, epistemological position in which one questions the veracity of claims lacking empirical evidence.

    What does this mean?

    I do not “a priori” believe everything that I hear or see written, particularly when I detect a multibillion dollar sales pitch behind the statement or it is being cloaked in hype or even hysterical fear mongering, as is quite often the case for the premise that AGW is a serious threat, caused principally by human CO2 emissions.

    In my search for empirical evidence to support this premise, I find computer model outputs and assumptions, but no real supporting empirical evidence.

    Yes, it has been warming, ever since the modern record started as we have been recovering from a colder period, called the Little Ice Age.

    This warming has occurred in warming/cooling cycles of around 60 years, with half-cycles of cooling in between the warming half-cycles. The causes of these cycles have been postulated, but there has been no clear empirical evidence linking these cycles to any single cause or multiple causes.

    The most recent warming half-cycle (1976-2000) is the “poster period” for the IPCC and supporters of the AGW premise. During this period atmospheric CO2 increased by a substantial amount (from 334 to 369 ppmv) at the same time that temperature did the same (by around 0.4°C).

    The previous warming half-cycle (1910-1944) showed an even slightly greater warming (0.5°C), but there was very little increase in atmospheric CO (from 294 to 309 ppmv), and the half-cycle in between (1945-1975) showed slight cooling with accelerating levels of CO2 increase, during the post-war boom years.

    These are the observed facts.

    Now we move on to the theories to try to explain this warming.

    Solar scientists tell us that around half of the total 20th century warming (or 0.3°C) can be attributed to the unusually high level of solar activity (highest in several thousand years). This is based upon empirical observations on solar activity and temperature going back to very inactive and cold periods in the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries, prior to any substantial human impact.

    Greenhouse climatologists do not have this long-term empirical data to fall back on, but rely instead on the greenhouse theory. This generally accepted theory tells us that CO2 (and other less important greenhouse gases) cause our planet to warm by absorbing and reradiating long wave energy that would otherwise be emitted into space. The theory tells us that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 could result in a warming of around 1°C.

    As a rational skeptic, I am still looking for the experimental or empirical data to support this theory, but it has, as yet, not been found. Instead the proponents of the AGW premise show the strong CO2 / temperature correlation (1976-2000) as “evidence”, forgetting about the other warming/cooling half-cycles, which have not exhibited such a correlation and ignoring the fact that correlation does not prove causation.

    The postulated evidence of anthropogenic greenhouse forcing is that the “computer models” are unable to explain the late 20th century without assuming such forcing. This leaves me unconvinced, especially when there is the admission that these same computer models cannot explain the early 20th century warming at all.

    The unsubstantiated rationalization that the mid-century cooling must have come from human aerosol emissions has since been cast into doubt. The timing and levels of aerosol emissions and their geographical distribution do not check with a global cooling pattern and it appears that the added cloudiness during this period might just as well have come from natural causes.

    I then read the whole saga of the Mann et al. hockey stick, which IPCC was eager to embrace, without first doing a good job of due diligence, because it supported the suggestion that the current warming was unprecedented, thereby negating a large amount of historical, physical and recreated proxy information, which confirms the existence of a slightly warmer global Medieval Warm Period.

    So I begin to see how the facts are being bent to fit the theory.

    Then we come to the “positive feedback” multiplier, which increases the 2xCO2 GH impact of the GH theory by a factor of three. This is purely based on theoretical considerations and climate model assumptions on both water vapor and clouds, plus a minor feedback from surface albedo changes (with the assumed positive feedback from clouds alone accounting for 1.3°C of the assumed total 3.2°C impact).

    The bit of empirical data on cloud feedbacks that exists so far shows that the feedback from clouds is strongly negative, rather than positive, at about the same order of magnitude (but with a different sign). Making this correction alone cancels out the multiplier of three and the assumed positive feedback impact, so that the 2xCO2 GH impact is again around 1°C.

    Now I agree with you that we are removing the planet’s fossil fuels at a much higher rate than the one at which they were created, and that this means that we will probably run out of these fossil fuels before too long.

    Optimistic forecasts of our total proven and possible new fossil fuel reserves tell us that we have no more than around 150 years’ supply left (many estimates put this much lower).

    At these optimistic forecasts, we have not quite enough total fossil fuels on this planet to reach an atmospheric CO2 level of 1,000 ppmv (today we are at around 387 ppmv).

    Yet IPCC presents two predictions for year 2100 of 1,250 and even 1,540 ppmv CO2, apparently without even considering where all this carbon is going to come from in the first place. This is a silly and amateurish error, leading to greatly exaggerated temperature predictions.

    So we have:

    A theory of GH warming from added human CO2 with no empirical evidence.

    Empirically supported evidence showing that the sun has caused half of the 20th century warming, leaving 0.3°C for human GHGs (including CO2).

    Computer generated assumptions, which multiply the theoretical GH warming impact of CO2 by a factor of three, with an assumed strongly positive feedback from clouds accounting for around 40% of this multiplier.

    Empirical data based on physical observations, which show that the cloud feedback is strongly negative, and should cancel out the multiplier of three entirely, leaving us with a theoretical 2xCO2 impact of around 1°C.

    After correcting for the errors, it is reasonable to assume that the theoretical CO2 concentration will be 560 ppmv, resulting in a theoretical GH warming by year 2100 of around 0.5°C above today’s temperature. This is no problem.

    Even when we have consumed all of the fossil fuels extant on our planet (maybe 150 years from now) and have reached the absolute maximum possible CO2 concentration of just below 1,000 ppmv, we will only have warming of around 1.4°C above today’s temperature, which still represents no problem.

    All the rest is hype.

    So, as a rational skeptic, I conclude that the premise that AGW is a serious threat, caused principally by human CO2 emissions is unfounded (i.e. not supported by empirical data) and can therefore be ignored.

    My “values” tell me that every claim made by the powers that be (in particular, an obvious “sales pitch”) should be checked against empirical data, wherever possible.

    If you see this as a “clash of values” with your point of view, so be it.

    Max

    PS You asked me “how can you be so sure that nothing we do will make any difference?” I’ll come back to you on that.

  6. manacker,

    That isn’t your values, it’s you understanding. You know if you google the important phrases from you comment all the top hits are from junkscience, wattsupwithwatt, jennifermarohasy etc.
    Nice to see you looked at all the info yourself, and didn’t rely on other people to do it for you. You wouldn’t want to rely on the ‘authority’.

    You still have some points, and I don’t want to discourage active inquiry. Precious few people care enough about their world to educate themselves.
    I also apologise for my tone, the discussion has gone downhill and I’m responsible. I just can’t help getting worked up against poor reasoning and tit for tat arguments. And lets not forget the treerings, that was a real eyeopener. It’s hard to not have a strong reaction when your whole reality is challenged so convincingly.

  7. JasonHart

    You asked me

    “how can you be so sure that nothing we do will make any difference?”

    There have been two specific proposals made in the USA, both of which are supported by both Al Gore and James E. Hansen.

    These are
    · Stop all new construction of coal-fired power plants starting in 2010
    · Shut down half of the existing coal-fired plants by 2050

    I have gone through a calculation of “the difference” that implementing these two proposals would “make” (see the “Continuation of the New Statesman Whitehouse/Lynas” thread here, posts #6815 and 6816).

    The combined impact of these two proposals would be to avert 5 ppmv in atmospheric CO2 concentration by 2050, with a resulting mitigation of 0.05°C of warming.

    The investment cost would be around $1 trillion, assuming that the coal-fired capacity is replaced by conventional nuclear power capacity. If one were to replace the coal-fired capacity with “renewable” sources (solar/wind), the cost would be considerably higher.

    I have seen no specific proposals for mitigating actions (other than imposing the carbon tax or cap and trade scheme, which will have zero impact).

    The windmills being installed in the UK and elsewhere will not result in any climate change improvement, whatsoever, while they will mess up a lot of nice scenery (fortunately we do not have enough wind here in Switzerland to do any major messing up of our landscapes).

    By “specific proposals” I do not mean blanket statements of desired results, such as “reduce CO2 emissions back to 1990 levels”, etc.

    I mean specific actionable proposals that can be implemented (such as the two above for the USA).

    Along with the specific proposal, I would like to see the estimated impact (the ppmv CO2 increase and the °C global warming averted directly as a result of the action.

    Then I would like to see the estimated investment plus operating cost associated with this proposal.

    Only then can your question be answered: “how can you be so sure that nothing we do will make any difference?”

    Max

  8. Jason

    You a bit presumptive when you write:

    That isn’t your values, it’s you understanding.

    I have given you my position on AGW as a rational skeptic and you come back with the rather silly and condescending statement:

    You know if you google the important phrases from you comment all the top hits are from junkscience, wattsupwithwatt, jennifermarohasy etc.

    What kind of a idiotic derogatory statement is that, Jason?

    I really thought you were a bit more objectively rational than to make such totally unsubstantiated statements.

    Don’t assume that your debate partner is basing his conclusions on “junk science”, just because you do not happen to agree.

    Then you come with:

    Nice to see you looked at all the info yourself, and didn’t rely on other people to do it for you. You wouldn’t want to rely on the ‘authority’.

    Was this supposed to be a snide remark or a simple statement of fact?

    It is absolutely true that I have not relied on the “authority” (i.e. the IPCC). IPCC is selling a “pitch”, namely the premise that AGW is a potentially serious threat, caused principally by human CO2 emissions.

    There just aren’t any empirical data supporting this premise, as I have pointed out to you.

    Max

    PS If you have these empirical data, which provide support or evidence of the AGW premise as outlined above, please bring them. I have been searching for over 2 years now and have found nothing but model outputs (which provide no empirical evidence whatsoever)

  9. Max and Jason

    Max commented:

    “Then I would like to see the estimated investment plus operating cost associated with this proposal.”

    As regards the (hugely underestimated)financial costs of ‘mitigating’ climate change, and some of the associated actions to achieve this, you may find reports from here interesting.
    http://www.world-economics-journal.com/Subjects/Climate_change/

    As regards the specifics of climate change and a critique of the Stern report, this is worth a read as it is partly co authored by David Holland, who has a very rational and reasonable voice.

    http://www.staff.livjm.ac.uk/spsbpeis/WE-STERN.pdf

    David is one of the people trying to get hold of Phil Jones’ 1850 temperature data sets.(used in the IPCC reports) Phil Jones refused to say what stations he used, how the dataset was constructed and it was proceeding through a UK freedom of information act request to get the information when the original material was ‘lost’ (although the ‘adjusted’ information still remains).

    Some of the background to Steve McIntyres attempts to get the data as well is related here.
    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=6618

    You will recall when asked by Warwick Hughes (an Australian climatologist) for this data, Dr. Jones famously replied:

    “Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.”

    Such is the standard of the scientific work which is currently exemplified in the link #118 I gave on the latest instalment in the hockey stick saga.

    tonyb

  10. Jason

    You seem to like original research. Here is just a snapshot of evidence of the constantly changing climate the world has experienced, without any input from man.

    First we need to put any increase in temperatures into context, by remembering that the much cited Arrhenius actually backtracked in another later paper, that oddly never seems to get quoted by warmists.

    Arrhenius originally estimated that halving of CO2 would decrease temperatures by 4 – 5 °C (Celsius) and a doubling of CO2 would cause a temperature rise of 5 – 6 °C[4]. In his 1906 publication, Arrhenius adjusted the value downwards to 1.6 °C (including water vapour feedback: 2.1 °C).

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius

    Modern estimates factor in highly imaginative and wholly unsubtantiated feedbacks to attain even higher temperatures. Rationally, doubling may cause up to .5C increase (but what level are we doubling from?)

    It is an inconvenient truth that we have been this way before, even in the little Ice Age.

    http://www.blackwellpublishing.com:443/content/BPL_Images/Content_store/Sample_chapter/9780631222736/higgit.pdf
    http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=u-sOAAAAQAAJ&pg=PA5&lpg=PA5&dq=olive+trees+england+middle+ages&source=bl&ots=WTPpDWDyWH&sig=WXhrKVnyRESur0RPFsuqutmllJs&hl=en&ei=YQPCSs-pF4mw4Qad87iLCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4#v=onepage&q=olive%20trees%20england%20middle%20ages&f=false
    By Lamb; page 12 and 13 about 1730’s

    Defining climate trend as a 30-yr trend one can plot the CET trends for a sliding 30-yr window:
    http://www.leif.org/research/CET1.png

    The following, condensed from the records of the Hudson Bay company, demonstrate that climate change is not a new phenomena.

    “Over the fifteen years between 1720 and 1735, the first snowfall of the year moved from the first week of September to the last. Also, the late 1700s were turbulent years. They were extremely cold but annual snow cover would vary from ‘extreme depth to no cover’. For instance, November 10th 1767 only one snowfall that quickly thawed had been recorded. June 6, 1791 many feet of snow in the post’s gardens. The entry for July 14, 1798 reads ‘…53 degrees colder today than it was yesterday.”

    The current warming is clearly not unprecedented. Such swings occur regularly

    This comes from the extensive weather records of Thomas Jefferson;the warm weather of the early 1700’s has given way to intense cold then another period of warmth

    http://xroads.virginia.edu/~HYPER/JEFFERSON/ch07.html

    “A change in our climate however is taking place very sensibly. Both heats and colds are become much more moderate within the memory even of the middle-aged. Snows are less frequent and less deep. They do not often lie, below the mountains, more than one, two, or three days, and very rarely a week. They are remembered to have been formerly frequent, deep, and of long continuance. The elderly inform me the earth used to be covered with snow about three months in every year. The rivers, which then seldom failed to freeze over in the course of the winter, scarcely ever do so now. This change has produced an unfortunate fluctuation between heat and cold, in the spring of the year, which is very fatal to fruits. From the year 1741 to 1769, an interval of twenty-eight years, there was no instance of fruit killed by the frost in the neighbourhood of Monticello. An intense cold, produced by constant snows, kept the buds locked up till the sun could obtain, in the spring of the year, so fixed an ascendency as to dissolve those snows, and protect the buds, during their development, from every danger of returning cold. The accumulated snows of the winter remaining to be dissolved all together in the spring, produced those over flowings of our rivers, so frequent then, and so rare now. “
    (from observation 1772 to 1779 written in 1781?)

    It would be a more constructive debate if we could all agree that AGW is being used as the rationale to demand a step change in mans habits, rather than that it has any merit as a proper scientfic concept as it continually ignores current and past evidence.

    Changing our ways is a good debate in itself-it clouds the issues to have a non existent sword of Damocles hanging over us.

    tonyb

  11. “If you have these empirical data, which provide support or evidence of the AGW premise as outlined above, please bring them. I have been searching for over 2 years now and have found nothing but model outputs (which provide no empirical evidence whatsoever)”

    Alas you’re not the only one. The nature of correlation and causation means we can never be sure. If we want to try we have to rely on our understanding of interrelated processes. The study of the human body entailed discovering the function and interaction of the components. Through hard work and determination we made a model of the body (medicine), which has been very useful. It took alot of trial and error, but it’s the best way forward. It just needs to be viewed in perspective:
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/simple.htm#N_120_

  12. No, Jason, I understand the PP well enough. And, in this case, I am not merely saying that it is “not practical” – I’m saying that, given that dangerous AGW is an unverified hypothesis, it is absurd (as well as impractical) to implement it in view of the consequences I touch on in the second paragraph of my post 122.

  13. JasonHart

    Thanks for your #136.

    Yes, the study of the human body has gone back several millennia, and we are still just scratching the surface.

    Computers have been used extensively for data processing in medical research, but computer models have played a relatively minor role in medical research itself, with empirical data derived from case histories, genetic testing, animal tests, actual patient experience and other direct studies being more important.

    The study of our planet’s climate has only really gone back to the mid 1950s, although there were certainly a few pioneers before this time. In addition, I would submit that it is at least as complex as the human body (my brother, who is a medical doctor, might disagree).

    If climate science (as it is now known) did not have the multi-billion dollar political, industrial and economic AGW juggernaut driving it today, we would have only a small fraction of the climate scientists we have.

    Despite all this effort, there is still far more that is unknown about our planet’s climate than there is that is known. This makes the myopic fixation on anthropogenic factors alone so ridiculous.

    A problem, which I see is that climate model outputs are often confused with empirical data.

    Some even see computer models as the modern equivalent of oracles, which can predict the future.

    But in reality, a computer model is nothing more than a multi-million dollar “upgrade” of the old slide-rule of the past. It is simply a tool. Garbage in = garbage out.

    Beware of those who use agenda driven “science” to issue slick reports with lots of graphs, references, computer outputs, etc. but no real empirical data.

    Trust the empirical data, Jason, and the chances of being bamboozled by someone trying to sell you a “bill of goods” will be far less than if you swallow everything the “majority opinion” is telling you.

    Max

    .

  14. ‘But in reality, a computer model is nothing more than a multi-million dollar “upgrade” of the old slide-rule of the past. It is simply a tool. Garbage in = garbage out.’

    Very true.

    ‘Computers have been used extensively for data processing in medical research, but computer models have played a relatively minor role in medical research itself, with empirical data derived from case histories, genetic testing, animal tests, actual patient experience and other direct studies being more important.’

    True, except that case histories, genetic testing, animal tests, actual patient experience and other direct studies are forms of modelling.

    http://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model

    We work out what to expect from comparing direct observations to our understanding of causes and interactions and change our understanding to fit with the observations. Computers were not needed because very effective advances in thought could be made with simple technology, such as slide rules, so long as observations where precise. Computers are now becoming used because all the easiest work has been done (I know how hard medical experts work; I’m not saying it’s easy).

    This is the form of reasoning that underpins modern civilisation. It’s the reasoning tonyb is struggling to use when he lists observations that no one is challenging. The model he is trying to prove is very simple, ‘climate changes’. His null hypothesis is that climate does not change, which can be easily disproved by listing examples.
    It is modelling that informed his statement that ‘rationally, doubling may cause up to .5C increase (but what level are we doubling from?)’. I don’t know how he can come to an answer when he doesn’t even know what question he is answering, but the structure of the process is exactly the same as computer models, only on a smaller scale. It’s the same process you used when describing your saga of discovery, which used simple logic on a complex problem. It’s pretty hard to get much further without some kind of mathematical help.

    The problem with asking for empirical evidence is you’ve got the whole exercise backwards. It’s not possible to prove causation from correlation. To test the hypothesis that ‘greenhouse gasses cause climate change’ you need to actually test the null, which is ‘greenhouse gases cause no climate change’. I asked if you were confident releasing greenhouse gases would have no influence, you either dodged or misunderstood the question. No one has proven that, and unlike the original it actually can be. That is why the question is asked that way.

    At your best you said: ‘Empirically supported evidence showing that the sun has caused half of the 20th century warming, leaving 0.3°C for human GHGs (including CO2).’

    Which suggest you do hold some faith in some models, because only a model could get a result like that. That conclusion also leaves it possible that GHG’s have been just as important as the sun. Not saying it is, just that it is not impossible. I know all models have flaws, all our understanding is nothing but a crude localised image of reality. No one ever said they have been perfected, but that’s not going to stop anyone from tying to better them. It’s the best method we have, and quite frankly, has been the foundation of modern civilisation. I’m an economist and have seen countless models with far less evidence be used to encourage happiness and inflict suffering on millions of people. By using the uncertainty argument, as Peter has done, you do not prove or disprove anything; you just say that we don’t know. It’s a conclusion humans (men especially I’ve found) don’t like to admit and find very hard to accept if they have to back pedal. I seriously doubt all the world leaders would ever get together and conclude ‘You know what? No one knows shit. Let’s go to the beach!’, which is why I take it seriously. There are countless examples of dumb moves being made when people have no idea, but are too stubborn to admit it. But either way the choices will be made, by design or by momentum. We just have to try and make the best decision based on incomplete information. I know I will regret not reducing my environmental impact, even if GHG’s have no influence on the climate, at least until someone can show me that my actions actually have no impact.

    *A side note on the ‘costs of mitigation’ argument. Not to disagree, but it has proved weird that the poor are now high on the agenda. http://www.ipa.org.au/ have the story on their front page, yet they are a political organisation with the expressed goal of deregulating society and reducing government involvement. They have never cared about the poor before; in fact a lot of their proposals harm the poor in the name of efficiency and greater returns for the rich. Just seems odd to me.

  15. JP said;

    “This is the form of reasoning that underpins modern civilisation. It’s the reasoning tonyb is struggling to use when he lists observations that no one is challenging. The model he is trying to prove is very simple, ‘climate changes’. His null hypothesis is that climate does not change, which can be easily disproved by listing examples.”

    Wow, this is a convoluted argument. As a member of a modern civilsation I will use the same reasoning as those who are trying to prove something that is not true- Why is that such a strange thing to do?

    Over the last four weeks I have been in on three meetings of various govt committees where it is clearly stated that temperatures are unprecedented, the change has never been quicker and it is directly linked to mans co2 emmissions. Do I start talking about gardening in order to counter these perceptions, or do I rationally examine each one and query the cause and effect?

    What should be common sense observations of an
    ever changing climate (so we both agree on that) are being challenged by those proposing the co2 hypothesis. The MWP, LIA and other extreme climatic periods are being minimised in order to fit in with the notion that man made co2 is the primary climate driver and our impact means we are heading for catastrophe.

    If past temperatures and climate can be shown to change so radically (upwards in this case) through natural drivers, the basic hypothesis of the co2 link is severely weakened and the overwhelming importance of natural drivers is re-affirmed.

    I think you must be aware that the data demonstrating that ‘WE’ are the cause of catastrophic climate change does not stand proper objective scrutiny, as the basic information it was predicated on is factually incorrect or manipulated.

    I think you are in effect saying that you believe AGW to be true, because you want it to be true. Even if it isn’t true, you think we need to behave as if it was, as man needs to mend his ways. In that respect you believe AGW and the hockey stick (for example) are compelling narratives to ensure people do what you think is right.

    That is a perfectly respectable position-and one with which I have some personal sympathy at the margins-but that doesn’t make it right to scare people and attempt to change the world based on a distortion of the truth. Scare? Yes. I suggest you become familiar with the stuff being fed to our school children.

    By all means let’s discuss the ecological impact Man is causing our planet-an interesting debate in itself- but lets do it without recourse to dubious science that will cause us to take irrational actions. We need to spend money on things that need fixing (Robin enunciated them well) rather than extend a precautionary principle way beyond its intended and sensible use.

    tonyb

  16. JasonHart

    You wrote:

    The problem with asking for empirical evidence is you’ve got the whole exercise backwards. It’s not possible to prove causation from correlation. To test the hypothesis that ‘greenhouse gasses cause climate change’ you need to actually test the null, which is ‘greenhouse gases cause no climate change’. I asked if you were confident releasing greenhouse gases would have no influence, you either dodged or misunderstood the question. No one has proven that, and unlike the original it actually can be. That is why the question is asked that way

    Your statement that correlation does not prove causation is correct.

    The exercise is not at all backwards though, Jason. It is the role of the rational skeptic to insist on empirical data to confirm the theory (according to the established scientific principles). This has nothing to do with “testing the null” or even less “proving the null”.

    But to answer your question: No. I am not “confident releasing greenhouse gases would have no influence”, as I believe I have pointed out to you earlier. I have just stated that this theory is not substantiated by empirical data.

    I can accept that this is a viable theory, and I can even accept that a portion of the past warming we have experienced may have come from increased GHG concentrations (primarily CO2). This should answer your question.

    I can accept the studies by several solar scientists, using empirical observations on solar activity and temperature over a long, pre-industrial period starting in the early 17th century, that half of the observed 20th century warming can be attributed to the unusually high level of solar activity. (Note that the study uses long-term empirical observations, when there were no anthropogenic climate forcing factors, so is not a study based on climate model assumptions.)

    Question:

    Are you confident that changes in solar activity had no impact on 20th century temperature?

    (Please do not “dodge” or misunderstand my question.)

    Now, if we have gotten beyond this hurdle, let’s see what else I am “confident” about.

    IPCC tells me that the 2xCO2 warming impact (excluding any assumed feedbacks) is slightly below 1°C, with an essentially logarithmic CO2 / temperature relation. I can accept this estimate as reasonable (and am certainly not “confident” that the estimate is in error).

    I am confident that the positive feedback assumptions made by IPCC (which triple the 2xCO2 GH effect) are in error, because I have seen the conclusion of empirical observations, which show me that clouds will have a strongly negative feedback with warming, essentially canceling out the assumed other positive feedbacks. [If you want to see the specific arithmetic on this, I will be glad to run through it.)

    When I review the observed 20th century warming, I see that the solar impact based on the above studies represents around 0.3°C and the GHG impact (plus everything else) was another 0.3°C.

    Ignoring all other factors except CO2, this puts the calculated 2xCO2 impact at around 0.7°C. But since we are told that there is a time lag in the GH warming, this could be as high as 1.0°C.

    This all checks very well for me.

    The empirical evidence supports the premise that the sun plus GHG caused 20th century warming roughly equally and that a doubling of CO2 could result in added warming of around 1°C, as the GH theory states.

    Now we have a bit of a dilemma for the supporters of the AGW premise.

    Since January 2001 it has been cooling, despite all-time record annual increases in atmospheric CO2.

    The Met Office experts tell us that this cooling has been caused by “natural variability” (a.k.a. natural climate forcing factors).

    These have apparently been so strong that they could not only offset the 0.2°C warming expected from the observed CO2 increase, but result in an observed cooling of 0.1°C over the barely 9-year period.

    So I ask myself the logical question: If these natural climate forcing factors have been so strongly negative (cooling) in the 21st century, could they not have been strongly positive (warming) in the 20th century?

    So I come to my final question to you:

    Are you confident that natural forcing factors observed in the 21st century were not the dominant climate forcing factors of the 20th century?

    Let’s see if we can continue making progress in our discussion.

    Max

  17. tonyb

    I have been in on three meetings of various govt committees where it is clearly stated that temperatures are unprecedented, the change has never been quicker and it is directly linked to man’s co2 emissions

    At those meetings, were any of those assumptions challenged?

  18. JH

    …actual patient experience and other direct studies are forms of modelling

    Really – how? Sounds oxymoronic to me. If you mean that the data from such studies are analysed, say to produce sampling distributions, then please say so.

    As Wiki says, “a computer model is a program which attempts to simulate an abstract model”, which is not quite the same thing.

  19. This is a great debate to follow – I must make my apologies for entering and then not sustaining an input, but I would like to add some comments from my perspective.

    Firstly, it might be useful to say more about my background. I work as a professional ecologist but in an advisory role or as a consultant to various organisations – and have done since 1978. I do not do either hands-on measurement-type science, nor have I had much of an academic role. I could have done either – having graduated in Natural Sciences from Oxford in 1970 with a good degree and was offered a PhD studentship. I was then anxious to get out and see a bit of the real world – and I became an ‘explorer’ – crossing deserts, jungles, tundra….to get first hand experience of both ecology and different peoples. However, around 1975 I became personally affected by a major industrial development close to a nature reserve in Germany, where I was living – and I offered my ecological expertise to the local farming community, who knew they were being hoodwinked. After a couple of years witnessing how ordinary communities were helpless in the face of mega-development projects that put them at serious risk (the central government cost-benefit analysis had already factored in their risk profile), I went back to Oxford to study the way in which people perceived and evaluated their ‘environment’ – from risk perception down to causation, locus of control, and values that affected all that, which included their religious and political persuasions. I gained distinctions in my studies and was awarded government grants for further research and enrollment in a D.Phil. I could have chosen an academic career – the Institute was keen to have me – until that is, I began to turn my forensic mind upon the social scientists themselves. What was their game? How did they protect their objectivity? How did they perceive the world, causation, risk, values….and what were their cultural blindspots. At that time, Oxford’s academic world and my interests did not find an accord, and so I broke away from the Institute (by mutual agreement) and founded my own unit. I drew in the best minds from Oxford and Cambridge and other Universities – with PhDs and MScs already, and we formed a team that set out to analyse the science used to support policy decisions. At first we had no money and were supported by the Rowntree Charitable Trust (a Quaker foundation)on minimal wages. That was translated by the Daily Telegraph, forced to react to one of our publicised reports, as ‘communists supported by Moscow’!!! Nevetheless, after about seven years of effective work – and being proven right on a range of contentious issues – our advise was being sought and paid for by governments and environmental organisations, trades unions, regional assemblies, fishermens’ organisations and many others all over the world. That was the 1980s. We didn’t make money – as was the habit of that decade, nor accrue security in any form – but we maintained independence and integrity. The 1990s saw a sea-change – with governments now saying – ‘ok, you guys were right all along….help us’. And for a while we did – though now more as a network of consultants, at the EU and UN level – having a hand in drafting changes to treaties and setting up conventions (some of my colleagues set up the Climate Convention and wrote the Kyoto protocol). I worked on marine pollution protocols and then later, on atmospheric dispersion – which gave me my exterise at analysing computer models, before heading back to my longer term interests in forests and biodiversity (as an ecologist). The latter area has seen most of my work over the past decade – which is brought together in ‘Beyond Conservation’ (Earthscan, 2005). I helped set up ecological networks in the UK and in communication with Europe – not on the ground, but in the minds of ecologists and land-use managers – and laid the basis for the current interest in ‘rewilding’.

    I am still busy with that issue – and hence have limited time for blogs! I took three years of precious time to study climate science – because it is highly relevant to the advice I give land managers (I work gratis for the National Trust and Forestry Commission in the Lake District on rewilding some of their holdings).

    I have also written several energy policy inputs to inter-agency consultations – maintaining a long-standing interest in how energy technology affects community, the rural economy, farming and biodiversity. For three years I sat on a government advisory body on this issue. I also pioneered computer-virtual-reality models of the countryside and the visualisation of change to 2050 according to different energy scenarios (accessible on my website: ethos-uk.com).

    My skills therefore relate to looking at data, peer-reviewed papers, conclusions from science institutions, policy papers, drafting procedures (there is great value in following a drafting process….and I tell an instructive story in ‘Chill’ of how governments changed things when they thought nobody was going to see the first draft!) and of course government consultation documents and their final form as law.

    Much as I admire many academic institutions and several leading professors (some of whom have acknowledged the benefits of working with me), I also know their limitations – as also with research teams and data gathering. They are often confined to narrow disciplines. They often have no experience of committees, agencies, drafting groups etc and are naive politically and socially (not all- I have worked with some extra-ordinary exceptions willing to take flak, risk their funding, talk to the media and risk also being wrong-footed). Generally, academics are no match for hardened industrially based scientist/panel members, government aides and secretariats.

    So – I sigh when George Monbiot declines to debate on the grounds that I have not published in the climate journals. Or – the Science and Media Centre at the Royal Institution declines ITV’s request to set up an ‘Expert Encounter’ again on the grounds that I am not a well known academic expert. And even more when someone mails me from California and tells me that his local bookstore refused to order Chill because Peter Taylor is a ‘climate change denier’!

    Anyway – that’s a bit of a story – excuse the personal revelations, but I am feeling decidely sceptical about our own society (again!) and its supposed liberal values.

    To the science:

    Max – you state at one point ‘no clear evidence linking these cycles to any single or multiple cause’ :

    What is ‘clear’? I am surprised you make that conclusion. There is a wealth of peer-reviewed papers on ocean temperature cycles (from surface temperature data), ocean sediment cycles, lake varves, stalagmites, tree rings, etc., linked to solar cycles as evinced by magnetic cycle proxies such as carbon-14 and beryllium-10, or to more recent direct data from sunspot cycles. I review some in detail in Chill, and flag many of the others.

    The most compelling is the least researched – where Drew Shindell at NASA found a correlation btween temperature (in the Little Ice Age), magnetic status of the sun, proxies for UV radiation, the polar vortex and the movement
    of the jetstream. This single observation appears not to have been followed up by NASA and I have yet to learn why (anyone know?).

    If I do set out to do an academic paper, it would be to review this subject from a systems ecology standpoint – something NASA generally fails to do. I think it can explain the long cycle of 400/800 year troughs and peaks.

    The other cycles (AMO, 60-100 yrs, AO (70 yrs), NAO (25 yrs), PDO (30-40 yrs) and ENSO (4-8 yrs) all come on top of this long cycle – and if you get all of these ‘in-phase’ you are going to get a big peak. In Chill I provide the peer-reviewed evidence that this happened in the time period 1977-2007.

    Following the discussion (TonyB, Max, Jason and others) – IPCC admits that it has little understanding of these oscillations and regards the science as ‘poorly constrained’. This means that you cannot create a computer model for the late 20th century warm period that includes them because the time period is so short and you do not have the ‘starting’ conditions for the many hundreds of ‘runs’ – the cycles are too irregular to know where you are in any decade – until you are there, so to speak!. So, until about 2008 and the work of Keenlyside and team at Kiel in Germany (oceanographers), nobody attempted to put them in. Those non-cyclic models are the only evidence to support the IPCC statement that most of the warming has been due to GHGs. I think it would be right to say that I completely demolish this piece of policy-oriented ‘science’ by reference to the refereed literature – most especially post-2005 papers.

    A clear case can be made to show that all of the known cycles peaked together between 1977 and 2007. There is no known case where the cycles did not thereafter go into a ‘trough’. If that trough is deep (I expect the deep point to be about 2030, from my reading) then ironically, if carbon dioxide has the power attributed to it – it will protect us from the worst of the cooling! But heh, though it is perfectly scientific a statement, you can guess what kind of a response I get from my former colleagues in Greenpeace (who supported about 50% of my work from 1982-1992).

    How deep the trough goes will depend on what modulates the long cycle – and I think it is the sun’s magnetic field (plenty of correlative evidence for that), though we do not yet know the mechanism(s), as well as the degree of interference and phase interactions in the cycles. My hypothesis is that the 1977-1998 warming period built up a large body of warm water in the upper oceans – firstly and briefly in the tropics due to thinning cloud and changing winds, then it was moved largely to accumulate in the northern oceans. It takes time for that heat to dissipate (and it has melted down the Arctic summer sea-ice – but not the winter ice; defrosted the Arctic ice-cap – but not significantly more than the last warm phase of the AO/NAO/PDO between 1920-1940). I think that time lag accounts for the plateau of 2000-2007. I predicted a ‘recovery’ phase based on my reading of these cycles, beginning in 2008 – with more summer sea-ice ( in both 2008 and 2009), colder Alaska and Canada, cooler north Pacific, and a turning NAO/AO/AMO – which happened in 2008/2009, and also that the jetstream would shift south and not north as predicted by the AGW models (and which caught out the UK MetOffice, who had no expertise on the jetstream in 2008). So far, all the data have supported the hypothesis – which Monbiot calls ‘novel’ in my book.

    I haven’t got time to write academic papers – nor the desire to struggle through the delays and difficulties of the peer-review process for unsolicited papers from non-institutional non-experts – and in any case, in my very long experience, academics are as guilty as policy makers in ignoring those papers that mess up their own picture.

    The alternative is to engage in a seminar-debate with the experts directly, and with the media present. If the current institutional system was not convinced it already knows the ‘truth’ perhaps it would do that. It has in the past, once it has realised its preconceptions might be wrong. We appear to be a half-decade away from that point. Anyway – I am contemplating an open challenge to such a debate. It would go beyond the points-scoring format of Monbiot and aim to get at the truth of what is a falsely constructed consensus. I am not that confident of winning such a debate – mainly because many of the scientists whose work I have reviewed, would be unlikely to show up and challenge the consensus in such a public way – they have already done so, quietly, in the peer-reviewed literature – and been systematically ignored!

    I will follow everyone’s thoughts on this issue – and hope to join in every few days,
    with respect,
    Peter

  20. Comment:
    Jason-

    When the null hypothesis is set up, it needs to be done in such a way that data that would confirm or negate it can be satisfactorily gathered. In the case of your ‘greenhouse gases are having no effect’ null-hypothesis, considerable thought has to be given to what kind of data you would need. Obviously, if the temperature has risen, that is evidence that contradicts the hypothesis. However, in that considerable thought period, it would be important to know what else might drive the temperature up, and then the hypothesis might need refining in order to determine the percentage influence of other factors. In ‘Chill’ I document how the IPCC and then all institutions minded to follow their example or authority, systematically either avoided gathering evidence on other factors, ignored that evidence when reported by others, criticised or marginalised that evidence, or actively sought to delay things, prevent funding or denigrate the researchers – such that oceanographic evidence of the power of natural cycles was ignored, critical comments in peer-reviewed papers on data and modelling bias was also ignored or reported but not properly evaluated, research on solar magnetic cycles and climate was denigrated, devalued, and obstructed, papers that supported the prior-commitment models (mostly actually more modelling) were selectively valued and included after deadlines, whereas others were excluded…..I document all of this, and to me, none of it is surprising because that is exactly how the UN and other authorities have operated in the past when very large vested interests were operating.

    This is the danger of the null-hypothesis in any form – not enough resources are devoted to whichever side of the thesis is opposite to the desired outcome! In any hypothesis there are a myriad prior influences!

    Further – the whole approach is not well-adapted to environmental science and complex systems – it is suitable really only for laboratory science under carefully controlled and isolated parameters.

    Of far greater value (I have argued)is for positional science (e.g. AGW stance) to be subjected to critical review by a forensic team that have a powerful motivation to question and find fault. This is closer to a legal inquiry or parliamentary commission. The problem then becomes one of resources. In the ‘old’ days as I retold in my previous comment, people like myself could rely upon Greenpeace and others, including some government or agencies, even TV companies, to provide the resources for gathering alternative data, inputting different parameters into models (if you could run them yourself!), travel, appearing at meetings etc. Nowadays, AGW is a monolith. And it is not open to me on ethical grounds, to approach other players like fossil fuel companies, for funding.
    Nor would my work be taken seriously if I did, however much truth was uncovered.

    If the null hypothesis had been used – i.e. greenhouse gases have no effect, this would be relatively useless, since we are interested not in zero effect, but proportional influence.

    If the hypothesis had been : no effect beyond natural fluctuations and variability….then more effort might have been devoted to exploring the latter and showing that temperatures were indeed above the natural variability. But as everyone suspected at the outset, temperatures were not necessarily warmer than previous cycles, and so the focus shifted to the rate of change (and natural cycles of 30-100 years were relegated for the 1950-2000 period). Again, the evidence for an unusual rate of change was slim – because in previous warm cycles the proxies integrate the temperature change over regions and decadal timescales. We now know (since the first mmodels in 1990) that the rate of temperature change may not be that unusual. The only thing that is unusual is the CO2 rate of accumulation.

    As many others have pointed out – the CO2 predictions in the models rely upon positive feedbacks for the scary scenarios. The evidence for these is very slim – they are entirely ‘theoretical’ and reliant upon model parameters.

    What struck me in my review was the paucity of scientific references supporting the atmospheric model and carbon’s radiative forcing, yet the widespread acceptance of this model across so many disciplines. Nobody, as far as I can see, made a detailed critical review of this science in the early 1990s – with the honorable exception of Richard Lindzen on the IPCC itself and in the peer-reviewed literature.

    You might then argue, ‘well, he was just one voice among many thousands of experts’ – but twould be naive – he was one of the very few experts in atmospheric sciences at the IPCC. The way his work and opinion was treated led the President of the US Academy of Sciences, in 2001, to write in the Wall Street Journal, that he had never seen in the wholeof his career, a worse corruption of the peer-review process as in the 2001 IPCC report. I document this in the book.

    These areas are where the real problem lies – authority and peer-review and the corrupting power of ‘interests’, as much as the nature of the hypothesis and the selective use or doctoring of data. Its the real world of science policy – and the IPCC, Royal Society and most AGW supporters are in denial that this world exists.

  21. James~142

    Only by me. After two of the meetings senior people have covertly said to me they agree with my challenges and they disagree with the science-they get data from Defra not generally available-but say it is more than their job is worth to do the same.

    tonyb

  22. Peter Taylor

    I have taken some interest in Drew Shindell and the correlation/uv theories over the years and have a couple of old references and a rather newer one.

    I get the impression Drew did a fair bit of work on it six or seven years ago then went on to other things until this year.

    http://lasp.colorado.edu/sorce/news/2005ScienceMeeting/info/Oral_presentation_abstracts.pdf

    http://www.acia.uaf.edu/PDFs/ACIA_Science_Chapters_Final/ACIA_Ch05_Final.pdf

    Also here in January archives 0zone/Uv.

    http://climatechangepsychology.blogspot.com/2009_01_01_archive.html

    Drew contributed to both the first two and tantalising parts of the answer are given. I suspect Leif Svalgaard (who you quoted in Chill) and often posts at WUWT will also have bits of the story. He is the one I quoted here who I corresponded with and was also concerned about a Carrington event (now THERE’S a good example of the precautionary principle being needed!)

    tonyb

  23. Peter Taylor

    When I wrote of the observed 60-year climate cycles that there was “no clear evidence linking these cycles to any single or multiple cause”, I was not including the evidence you provided in your recent book, “Chill”, but was rather referring to the evidence as reported in the IPCC reports of 2001 and 2007.

    I stand corrected.

    You have, indeed, shown in your book that cloud cover diminished during the period of late-20th century warming, thereby increasing the amount of heat absorbed by the ocean surface water, and that both the NAO and PDO go through multi-decadal cycles. The interaction between PDO and ENSO as well as the correlation you show between the PDO Index and global temperature are compelling, as is the evidence that these cycles are in some way connected to solar activity.

    You state, “A clear case can be made to show that all of the known cycles peaked together between 1977 and 2007”, resulting in the late 20th century warming cycle.

    I do not belittle this evidence, I just say that it has not yet been accepted by the “majority opinion”, acknowledging at the same time that this is unlikely with its brief to investigate anthropogenic climate change and its resulting rather myopic fixation on CO2 as the primary driver of climate.

    IPCC readily admits that its “level of scientific understanding” of solar forcing is “low” and that “clouds are the largest source of uncertainty”, so it is no real surprise to me that it has overlooked these factors, while concentrating instead on anthropogenic GHGs.

    To me there is a more serious immediate dilemma for the supporters of IPCC and the AGW premise.

    This lies in the recent cooling of 0.1°C since January 2001, despite an all-time record increase in atmospheric CO2, which should have caused a theoretical warming of around 0.2°C over this period.

    After curiously predicting an astounding 4°C global warming due to AGW by year 2060, the Met Office has recently told us that the current cooling was caused by “natural variation”. (To me this is just anther way of saying “natural climate forcing” factors.)

    So if “natural climate forcing” could result in such a major change in such a short period, is it not conceivable that this same “natural climate forcing” (working in the opposite direction) could have been the primary cause for the late 20th century warming?

    It seem to me that Vicky Pope, of the Met Office, has opened this “Pardora’s Box” with her “natural variability” comment.

    You say that there is good reason to believe that the late 20th century warming cycle peaked between 1998 and 2007 and that this cycle will be followed by a ‘trough’, with a deep point around 2030. We shall see.

    At any rate I believe that your predictions are more likely to occur than those of the Met Office or IPCC.

    Max

  24. Peter Taylor,

    I’m just wondering if you’d had time to check out this reference on the relative safety on nuclear power.
    http://www.cna.ca/english/pdf/Articles/ScherrerInstitut.pdf

    Although the link is Canadian the information itself is from a Swiss source.

    Even with the Chernobyl accident included the case for nuclear power is strong. Without it, it is what the Americans would term a “no-brainer”. No-one is proposing that anything like that design of reactor should ever be built again.

    Let’s look at the actual evidence on the safety of nuclear power rather than the politics. The politics dominated the debate in the early days of nuclear power. In a nutshell, the real reason for wanting it, back then, was as a supply of fissile material for nuclear weapons. The cover story was cheap nuclear power. That’s all changed now and the nuclear case needs to be re-assessed scientifically with the changed circumstances of the 21st century taken fully into account.

  25. tonyb

    more than their job is worth to do the same

    That says it all, really! Thanks for the insight.

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