A year on from Climategate

Posted 16th November 2010

In the run up to Copenhagen, a selection of documents, files and emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) were leaked onto the internet.  When what came to be known as Climategate could no longer be ignored, the man-made global warming supporters swung into action.  Numerous “talking heads” were trotted out to confirm that nothing in the emails invalidated the science underpinning the anthropogenic global warming theory (AGW) and it mustn’t delay progress at Copenhagen.  Fortunately, for most of us, it did derail Copenhagen but in an increasingly febrile atmosphere the epithet “denier” was hurled at anyone suggesting that something is rotten in the state of climate science.

The various inquiries into Climategate studiously failed to expose the extent to which the IPCC process had been hijacked by a coterie of climate scientists and their supporters.  The man-made global warming narrative remained intact in the media in spite of various IPCC’s alarmist claims being proven as false.

However, little by little the “climate change” edifice is crumbling, aided and abetted by a particularly savage winter across the Northern Hemisphere in spite of the Met Office’s confident prediction to the contrary.

Read moreA year on from Climategate

21st Century Carbon Caper

Posted 30th September 2010

A recent Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment presentation “Is Carbon Trading and Investment the next Sub-Prime Crisis?” prompted the audience to revisit (and some to recant) their belief in man-made global warming and draw parallels with the sub-prime crisis.   Click here for the podcast (sound and slides) of the presentation: ClimatePresentation_to_CISI_23Sep2010

Note: The podcast starts half way through the introduction by Michael Mainelli, Chairman of ZYen. In the question and answer session, there is reference to an additional three billion tons of wheat per annum for bio-fuel power stations, the correct figure is three million tons.

The slides used in the 23rd September 2010 presentation to the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment are available here: CarbonTradingCrisis.v.1.7

Read more21st Century Carbon Caper

Nothing to see here, the science is settled

Posted 17th July 2010

Below is correspondence with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in response to a letter to the new Science Minister, David Willetts, calling for a thorough, independent, public inquiry into the science behind the claims of impending climate catastrophe.  Although the letter to David Willetts was written following the general election, the DECC’s response only arrived shortly after publication of the Muir Russell Report, the third report into the leaked documents and emails from the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU):

15/07/10 10:23
From: ccu.correspondence@defra.gsi.gov.uk
Subject: Response to your Query : – Ref:DWOE000187405 – Climate science and scientific integrity

Dear Mr Menzies

Thank you for your email dated 4 June to the Science Minister David Willetts. As your enquiry is about climate change it has been passed to the Department of Energy and Climate Change for a reply. I apologise for the delay.

Since submitting your enquiry to Mr Willetts, you have probably become aware of  the conclusions of a third investigation into the CRU leaked documents. Like the other two reviews mentioned in your e-mail, the investigation chaired by Sir Muir Russell found no evidence of scientific malpractice by CRU scientists.

The alleged absence of pronounced warming in the tropical mid-troposphere is claimed by some as evidence of flawed climate models and that greenhouse gases cannot be the main cause of observed surface warming. In reality there is no strong evidence for a systematic inconsistency between observed and modelled temperatures for the tropical troposphere, mainly because there is too much uncertainty in the observational measurements.

Considered in isolation, pronounced warming in the tropical mid-troposphere is a theoretical expectation resulting from water vapour feedback and should occur regardless of the agent that is causing global warming. As is made clear by the IPCC (Chapter 9 of the Working Group 1 Report, www.ipcc.ch), the unique signature of warming due to increases in greenhouse gas concentrations is warming of the surface and troposphere, combined with simultaneous cooling of the stratosphere. The latter effect is being observed  from satellite measurements.

Your email also suggests that the temperature trends from 1940 to 1979 and from 1998 to the present are a further reason to question the reliability of climate models. Contrary to what Peter Taylor says in his book, it is well known that sulphate aerosols created in the atmosphere from fossil fuel combustion were a major influence on the small cooling trend from 1940, although uncertainties remain over the scale of the effect. Even so, when all possible factors are taken into account, models can quite accurately reproduce the 1940 to 1979 trend as shown in Chapter 9 of the above mentioned IPCC report.

The temperature trend since 1998 is understood to result from natural climate variability, combined with reduced solar irradiance during the downward part of the solar cycle after its 2001 maximum. Also, of course, the period since 1998 is too short an interval on which to draw conclusions about long term trends or on the reliability of climate models.

In summary, the evidence for human caused warming stems from long understood basic physics and from the recently observed warming pattern, which cannot be explained by natural factors alone; the ‘hockey stick’ graph is largely irrelevant in this respect and certainly irrelevant to future climate change. Furthermore, the consistency of the conclusions reached by the three separate CRU investigations is clear evidence of the integrity of the science produced by that institution.

Finally, you quite rightly indicated in your email that climate science is a complex and challenging issue, which needs continued research. The Department of Energy and Climate Change is funding a programme of climate science and related research to inform Government policy on mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change.

I hope you find this helpful.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Forberg
DECC Correspondence Unit

16/07/10 00:10

Dear Ms Forberg

Thank you for your response.

The various investigations, to which you refer, were superficial and lacked independence and transparency.  The Commons Select Committee Inquiry failed to probe the email leaks fully, left investigation of the science to the Oxburgh review, and relied on the Muir Russell panel to investigate possible wrongdoing at CRU.

The Commons Committee’s findings are difficult to reconcile with the written evidence it received.  Its findings were carried by three votes to one on all the issues of substance, the dissenter being the only committee member with science qualifications, Graham Stringer MP.  Following the Muir Russell report, Stringer claims parliament was misled on several counts and says Russell’s review was inadequate and, contrary to the Committee’s request, wasn’t independent.

Read moreNothing to see here, the science is settled

Scientific Appraisal Panel chaired by Lord Oxburgh

Posted 15th April 2010

No sooner had one expressed doubts about the prospects of a thorough review of the science supporting the man-made global warming hypothesis, than another report is announced.  The Oxburgh panel has been investigating the work of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU).  Contrast, if you will, the conclusions reached by the Wegman Committee in respect of the MBH98 paper produced by Dr Michael Mann and colleagues, with the conclusions reached by Lord Oxburgh and his panel.

The Wegman Report, produced in 2006, concluded: “It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimatic community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community.  Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done.  In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent.  Moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicised that this community can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.  Overall our committee believes that Dr Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium, cannot be supported by his analysis.” The body of the report refers to basic errors in the use of statistical methods and highlights subversion of the peer review process: “at least 43 authors have direct connections to Dr Mann by virtue of coauthoring papers with him”

Whereas Lord Oxburgh’s panel states: “Although inappropriate statistical tools with the potential for producing misleading results have been used by some other groups, presumably by accident rather than design, in the CRU papers that we examined we did not come across any inappropriate usage although the methods they used may not
have been the best for the purpose. It is not clear, however, that better methods would have produced significantly different results.”

Read moreScientific Appraisal Panel chaired by Lord Oxburgh

House of Commons Science and Technology Committee CRU Inquiry

Posted 13th April 2010

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee published its report into “The disclosure of climate data from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia” on 31st March 2010.

It is difficult to reconcile the conclusions of the Inquiry with the evidence presented to it.   Clearly the Inquiry was conducted with undue haste in order to publish its findings before the election was announced and parliament suspended.  It could be further argued that contentious findings would have had the potential to disrupt the election.

The oral sessions were woefully inadequate and failed to probe witnesses on the substance of the written submissions.  The balance of the oral sessions was heavily weighted in favour of the man-made global warming lobby and had no representation from those who’ve studied the science of climate change in depth across the many scientific disciplines, such as Peter Taylor who made a comprehensive written submission.

Climate change science has played a major role in formulating public policy with many ramifications: economic, social and political.  The Inquiry, as constituted, could never have hoped to achieve what is required, a full independent assessment, of the current state of climate science, independent of the IPCC.  The scope of the Inquiry was drawn sufficiently narrowly so as to avoid many important issues and the Committee seemed to accept the notion that the “science is settled” without probing inconsistencies and contradictions in the evidence.

Read moreHouse of Commons Science and Technology Committee CRU Inquiry

Chill, A Reassessment of Global Warming Theory

Posted 27th March 2010

Does Climate Change Mean the World is Cooling, and If So What Should We Do About It?

Peter Taylor gave a talk at the Energy Institute in London on 16th February 2010.:  “Peter Taylor is an ecologist with a long history of environmental activism and science policy analysis at all levels of government, the EU and the UN. During the 1980s he was a leading advocate for Greenpeace on issues of marine pollution. In recent years he has sat on the UK National Advisory Group for Community Renewable Energy Initiatives and his communications consultancy Ethos pioneered landscape visualisation techniques for integrating renewable energy projects with other elements of sustainability.  During his work on renewable energy strategies, Peter became concerned with the impact of the rush into renewable power supplies on community and biodiversity, and decided to review the science base for ‘global warming’.

Read moreChill, A Reassessment of Global Warming Theory

Global Average Temperatures from UAH

Posted 26th March 2010

John Christy and Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama in Huntsville have produced credible temperature data from satellite measurements since 1979 which are used for the World Climate Widget available from Anthony Watts’ www.wattsupwiththat.com.

Roy Spencer maintains a useful, latest global temperature change page on his website.  On 16th March he posted an interesting analysis of the Urban Heat Island effect.  Both pages are well worth a visit.

and here are global sea surface temperatures (x10) plotted against the Nino3.4 region average from the tropical E. Pacific which suggests a relationship between SSTs and global temperatures which lag the former.

Read moreGlobal Average Temperatures from UAH

The mythology of man-made global warming

Posted 3rd February 2010

No evidence of hot-spots in the troposphere:

The UK Met Office describes the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) hypothesis as follows: “It is now clear that man-made greenhouse gases are causing climate change.  The rate of change began as significant, has becoming alarming and is simply unsustainable in the long term” and the greenhouse effect is depicted on their website thus:

Solar rays hit the earth and heat up the surface (as shown on the left).  The earth’s surface emits infrared radiation back in to space thereby cooling the planet (depicted by two of the red arrows in the right hand picture).  Greenhouse gases in the troposphere trap some of the infrared rays reflecting heat back down to the surface.  The AGW theory suggests that increased CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, caused by humans, is raising global temperatures.

For the theory to hold true, the observable rate of temperature increase would be higher in the troposphere than at the earth’s surface.  The rate of temperature increase would be most noticeable in the tropics because that is where the surface would be radiating the most heat.

Yet the observations, from radiosonde (weather balloons) have consistently shown that not to be the case:

The left hand picture is the climate model prediction of warming in the mid troposphere due to greenhouse gases from 1958 to 1999.  The computer models predict most warming occurs at the mid troposphere at the Equator.  The right hand picture shows actual temperatures measured over the same period by radiosonde (weather balloon).  Actual balloon measurements show no increase in the rate of warming in the mid troposphere at the Equator, ie. no evidence of hot-spots in the troposphere and what is more none of the scientific papers supporting the AGW theory have claimed to have found such evidence.

In short the AGW theory is not borne out by the evidence.  Had the AGW hypothesis been subject to the proper scientific method, the failure to substantiate this fundamental premise (of increased warming in the troposphere over the Equator) would have rendered the man-made global warming theory invalid.

Read moreThe mythology of man-made global warming