Guest post by Dr. Tim Ball
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports are the ‘scientific’ source of claims for more severe and extreme weather. In fact the incidence and severity of extreme weather— hurricanes, wind storms, tornados, heat waves, drought, floods, ice storms, etc—have not generally increased recently and are well within long term natural variability.
IPCC are also wrong because in their models the data on which they are built is insufficient, the basic physics incorrect, and major mechanisms are inadequate or missing. But don’t take my word for it as the IPCC don’t hide their limitations. Instead they know people, especially the media, don’t read or understand the Science Report. They, cynically produce a Summary for Policymakers (SPM) written with a certainty completely unjustified by the Science Report.
The IPCC claim that polar temperatures will increase more than tropical with warming. This reduces the temperature contrast across the Polar Front, the main boundary between polar and tropical air. Frequency and intensity of all middle latitude (30-65°) severe weather is a function of this temperature contrast and including intense low pressure systems and tornadoes. It is evident in North America along what is called Tornado Alley. Reduce that contrast, traditionally called the Zonal Index, and severe weather potential is decreased.
Hurricanes are tropical; witness the terminology problems that developed when Sandy moved north and weakened. They form in all tropical oceans (0-30°), but Atlantic ones receive more media attention as the damage to expensive human structures is greater.
The Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) is a major mechanism in the formation and intensity of hurricanes. It’s an oscillation in the direction and intensity of upper level tropical winds. These reflect the link between the lower stratosphere and the troposphere and are used for hurricane predictions.
The IPCC says:
“Due to the computational cost associated with the requirement of a well-resolved stratosphere, the models employed for the current assessment do not generally include the QBO.”
Hurricanes develop from tropical Easterly Waves fueled by moisture evaporated from warm tropical water. The IPCC tells us, “Unfortunately, the total surface heat and water fluxes are not well observed.” The thunderstorms circle into tropical storms beyond 8° of latitude where Coriolis Force becomes effective and only become hurricanes when wind speed exceeds 120 kph. Energy transfers from the ocean to fuel the thunderstorms that form the wall around the eye of the hurricane. They are massive and powerful but too small to show up on the large grid of the IPCC computer models.
As Essex and McKitrick (E & M) explain:
“at this moment, and at every moment, there are thousands of active thunderstorms in the hot, moist places of the planet. There are tens of millions of them in any year. It should be clear that this great and constant roar of atmospheric air conditioning is an important part of the global energy budget and should figure significantly into any model of the global climate. However the mighty creature overhead, along with all of its cousins, is too small to show up in even the biggest and grandest global climate models. They are in the jargon of the field, sub grid scale -computerese for” they fall between the cracks.”
The IPCC concede; “The spatial resolution of the coupled ocean-atmosphere models used in the IPCC assessment is generally not high enough to resolve tropical cyclones, and especially to simulate their intensity.”
There’s virtually no data from the vast oceans that dominate the tropics so the IPCC applied parameterization to create data. They use model output as ‘real’ data input for another model. The IPCC comment reveals the speculative nature of the process: “The differences between parameterizations are an important reason why climate model results differ.”
E & M comment:
“The use of such parameterization means the resulting computer calculation procedures are models and not computations of basic theory. Climate models do not represent a theory for climate… Therefore, forecasting climate change with a model, in lieu of the theory is a dicey proposition. Parameterizations do not normally conform to the laws of physics, and it is only the laws of physics that are guaranteed not to change with climate. There is no such guarantee for parameterizations.”
IPCC history is replete with confrontations, but usually orchestrated PR responses deflect them. Most were only significant to people who knew the scientific deception being practiced. Chris Landsea a major authority on hurricanes and currently Science and Operations Officer at the National Hurricane Center was an IPCC member until his resignation in 2005. In a public letter he itemized concern about politicization of the IPCC, and specifically his input on hurricanes. Major conflict was with Kevin Trenberth, long time participant and hyper-advocate for IPCC science.
“Trenberth participated in a press conference organized by scientists at Harvard on the topic “Experts to warn global warming likely to continue spurring more outbreaks of intense hurricane activity” along with other media interviews on the topic.”
In 2006 Landsea co-authored a paper showing there was no link between hurricanes and global warming.
It’s likely the Harvard conference was organized by John Holdren, later Obama’s Science Czar but then professor of environmental policy and director of the Program on Science, Technology, and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. While at Harvard Holdren organized the 2003 vicious attacks on Baliunas and Soon because they published historical evidence of the Medieval Warm Period. (MWP).
Public interest and concern about global warming had declined. Sandy was barely and very briefly a Category I hurricane, but provided an opportunity to scare the public again. The problem is the science and evidence are still incorrect. It won’t make any difference because climate science remains political propaganda and the truth is not required. As Will Rogers said, “If you ever injected truth into politics you would have no politics.”
 All IPCC quotes in bold are from the Physical Science Basis, Chapter 8, FAR 2007.