September 30, 2013
The Honorable John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington D.C. 20520
Dear Mr. Secretary:
Your press release dated September 27, 2013 Release of the Fifth Assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change clearly expresses your beliefs about climate science. It included:
This isn’t a run of the mill report to be dumped in a filing cabinet. This isn’t a political document produced by politicians.
Excuse me if I make a few clarifications. In reality, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Summary for Policymakers for their 5th Assessment Report was initially written by climate scientists for politicians. The language of the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers was then amended by politicians during days of negotiations in Stockholm prior to publication.
Additionally, the vast majority of the scientific research reflected in that document was funded by governments. As a result, the IPCC Summary for Policymakers presents only research efforts that adhere to the agendas of the political entities that financed it.
Simply stated, the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers was bought and paid for by politicians for political purposes.
You concluded your press release:
We do so because this is science, these are facts, and action is our only option.
I would have to guess that you have confidence on the IPCC’s projections of future climate. Climate models are used for those predictions. Those predictions are based on projections of future emissions of manmade greenhouse gases and of other anthropogenic factors. But, climate models are not facts; they are computer-aided speculation.
Further to climate models, the predictions assume the models properly simulate climate on Earth. I hate to be the bearer of bad news: the climate models used by the IPCC for their 5th Assessment Report simulate Earth’s climate so poorly they are not fit for their intended purposes.
I am an independent climate researcher, Mr. Secretary. I receive no funding other than from book sales and occasional tips from generous souls. I publish my findings at my blog Climate Observations and at the award-winning science blog WattsUpWithThat? I recently presented the modeled and observed warming rates of global land surface air temperatures and of global sea surface temperatures, covering the past three decades. That blog post was Models Fail: Land versus Sea Surface Warming Rates. The cross post at WattsUpWithThat is here. (See that post for the specifics on the datasets, model outputs and the time period used.) I compared the warming rates in a table, but the relationships are much easier to see in the two time-series graphs that follow.
Figure 1 compares the warming rates of the modeled and observed global land surface air temperatures over the past three-plus decades. The models performed well. They only overestimated the observed warming rate of land surface air temperatures by about 25%. The problem: they achieved that similarity in trends with skewed climate dynamics within the models.
The vast majority of the warming of global land surface air temperatures, Mr. Secretary, is in response to the warming of the sea surface temperatures of the global oceans. [See Compo and Sardeshmukh (2009) “Ocean Influences on Recent Continental Warming.”] In order to achieve the close match with the observed warming rate of land surface air temperatures, the modelers had to double the observed rate of warming of the surfaces of the global oceans over the past 31 years, as shown in Figure 2.
That clearly indicates the basic underlying physics within the models are unsound. Therefore, there are no reasons to believe the climate model-based predictions of future climate or any study that attempts to use climate models to attribute global warming and climate change to human influences.
In my earlier post linked above, I presented what appear to be the reasons why the modelers needed to force the oceans to warm at twice the observed rate. I won’t bore you with the details here. But, in summary, the climate models used by the IPCC do not — cannot — properly simulate the naturally occurring, coupled ocean-atmosphere processes that cause the surface of the oceans to warm and cool over multidecadal timeframes. (See Guilyardi et al. (2009) and Ruiz-Barradas, et al. (2013))
Those climate model failings stem from the focus of the climate science community on human-induced global warming and climate change — not on global warming and climate change regardless of the cause.
I have been publishing comparisons of data with climate models outputs for about two years. The climate models used by the IPCC clearly cannot simulate Earth’s surface temperatures, precipitation or sea ice area. Additionally, there are numerous scientific research papers that are very critical of how climate models perform specific functions. Looking at those papers independently, the faults do not appear too bad, but collectively they indicate the models are fatally flawed.
In my book Climate Models Fail, I have collected my past findings about climate models, and illustrated others, and I’ve presented highlights from the research papers critical of climate models. I would be happy to forward a link to a free copy of Climate Models Fail to your offices for your personal use. Please have one of your staff members leave a comment at my blog Climate Observations if that interests you.
In closing, I would like to ask a favor. I will ask that you help to change the focus of climate change research from “understanding the scientific basis of [the] risk of human-induced climate change” to “understanding the scientific basis of the risk of climate change”. (See IPCC organization History webpage)
The Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) is concerned about the IPCC’s focus. See their document titled Submission by The Netherlands on the future of the IPCC. Under the heading of “The IPCC needs to adjust its principles”, KNMI begins:
We believe that limiting the scope of the IPCC to human-induced climate change is undesirable, especially because natural climate change is a crucial part of the total understanding of the climate system, including human-induced climate change.
Now consider that suggested change of focus came from a country with 20% of its land surface below sea level and about 50% of it only a meter above sea level. If any country should be concerned about climate change, it’s the Netherlands, and they have asked for a better understanding of natural climate change. I suggest to you that the United States should also ask for that same change in research scope.
With that change of focus, I personally believe, based on my own research, that climate researchers will find that the global warming and climate change we’ve experienced over the past three decades is primarily a response to naturally occurring coupled ocean-atmosphere processes, not manmade greenhouse gases. I also believe with the change in focus that, to the relief of most persons, future global warming and climate change will not be found to be catastrophic, but that we will have to plan for a long-term, naturally occurring rise in sea level. Sea levels were 4 to 8 meters (13 to 26 feet) higher during the Eemian (the last interglacial period) than they are today. (Refer to the press release for the 2013 paper by Dahl-Jensen, et al. “Eemian Interglacial Reconstructed From a Greenland Folded Ice Core”.) It would be prudent to plan for those same sea levels during this interglacial. Thankfully, with the slow rate of sea level rise, there should be loads of time to make sound economic decisions.
The people of the United States should be receiving honest appraisals of human-induced and naturally occurring global warming and climate change, not politically motivated conjecture.
Thank you very much for your time, Mr. Secretary.