By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
Professor Shaun Lovejoy, as he continues the active marketing of his latest paper purporting to prove that “the world desperately needs to drop the skepticism and change course – humanity’s future depends on it”, writes in a hilarious op-ed at livescience.com:
“The majordomo of this deniers’ hub [Watts Up With That] is the notorious Viscount Christopher Monckton of Brenchley, who – within hours [fast on his feet, that Viscount is: strong in him the Force must be] – had declared to the faithful that the paper was no less than a ‘mephitically ectoplasmic emanation from the Forces of Darkness’ and that ‘it is time to be angry at the gruesome failure of peer review’.”
The Professor describes this as “venom”. No, sir, it is eloquence in the service of truth. Perhaps he would prefer a scatological rather than an eschatological metaphor. Happy to oblige. The scientific merit of his paper is aptly described by the third, eighteenth, first, and sixteenth letters of the alphabet, taken sequentially. Or, if he prefers it up him palindromically, the sixteenth, fifteenth, fifteenth, and sixteenth.
Let me put on my major-domo’s tails, white starched wing-collar, maniple, and white gloves, polish up the nearest silver salver, and, Jeeves-like, shimmer in to address some the fashionable pseudo-physics in Professor Lovejoy’s latest Technicolor yawn.
After deploying the hate-screech word “deniers”, he wheels out Svante Arrhenius, who, “toiling for a year, predicted that doubling CO2 levels would increase global temperatures by 5-6 Cº, which turns out to be close to modern estimates”.
The Professor is perhaps unaware (for he does not seem to be aware of all that much in the realm of physics) that Arrhenius is known to have made errors in his line-by-line calculation of the warming effect of CO2 (actually performed at intervals over the long Arctic winter, not over a whole year). He had, for instance, relied on defective lunar spectral data.
Furthermore, Arrhenius – a chemist and not a physicist – had not at that time come across the fundamental equation of radiative transfer, which would greatly have simplified his calculations and made them more accurate.
However, in 1906, in Vol. 1, No. 2 of the Journal of the Royal Nobel Institute, he recanted and divided his earlier climate-sensitivity estimate by three:
“Likewise, I calculate that a halving or doubling of the CO2 concentration would be equivalent to changes of temperature of –1.5 Cº or +1.6 Cº respectively.”
So few of the F. of D. are aware of Arrhenius’ recantation that I am happy to provide a facsimile (Fig. 1) of the quotation from his 1906 paper, published in German (which perhaps explains why the largely English-speaking F. of D. are unaware of it).
Figure 1. Detail in facsimile from Arrhenius, S., 1906, Die vermutliche Ursache der Klimaschwankungen (“The possible cause for climate variability”). Meddelanden från K. Vetenskapsakademiens Nobelinstitut 1: 2, 1ff.
It is also important to note that Arrhenius confined his analysis to radiative transports only. He did not take account of all the numerous non-radiative transports – afternoon convection in the tropics, baroclinic eddies in the extratropics, evaporation everywhere, etc. – that militate homeostatically against any sufficiently small perturbation of the natural climate (such as doubling the tiny concentration of CO2 in the air).
Nor did Arrhenius take account of the biggest unknown in the climate – the behavior of clouds. All other things being equal, returning plant food to the atmosphere from which it came will cause some warming. But we do not know that all other things are equal.
Professor Lovejoy is also incorrect to say that Arrhenius’ original estimate of climate sensitivity was “close to modern estimates”. IPeCaC clings to a sensitivity interval of 1.5-4.5 Cº, entirely below Arrhenius’ original estimate and almost entirely above his revised estimate.
Many “modern estimates” point to a climate sensitivity well below IPeCaC’s interval. We may even see less than 1 Cº of global warming per CO2 doubling (Monckton of Brenchley, 2008, 2010; Douglass & Christy, 2009; Paltridge, 2009; Lindzen and Choi, 2009, 2011; Spencer and Braswell, 2010, 2011; Loehle & Scafetta, 2011, etc.).
Next, the Professor says that in the scientific method “no theory ever can be proven beyond ‘reasonable doubt’”. It would be more correct to say that some hypotheses (though few in physics and very few in climate physics) can be demonstrated definitively.
For instance, it is possible to demonstrate the Theorem of Pythagoras. My own simple proof by inclusion is at Fig. 2.
Figure 2. Demonstration of Pythagoras’ Theorem by inclusion. The boundary contains either the square on the hypotenuse (red) and two congruent right triangles or the squares on the other two sides (blue, green) and two more congruent right triangles. Subtract on each view the two right triangles. Then the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides. Q.E.D.
Professor Lovejoy sets out his stall thus:
“Climate skeptics have ruthlessly exploited this alleged weakness, stating that the models are wrong, and that the warming is natural. Fortunately, scientists have a fundamental methodological asymmetry to use against these skeptics: a single decisive experiment effectively can disprove a scientific hypothesis. That’s what I claim to have done. Examining the theory that global warming is only natural, I showed — without any use of GCMs — that the probability that warming is simply a giant natural fluctuation is so small as to be negligible. He compounds this point later by saying “skeptics dismiss the models”.
Well, are the models right? A single experiment demonstrates that, on the central question how much global warming should have occurred since 1990, the modelers’ hypothesis that the trend in global temperature would fall on their predicted interval (the orange region in Fig. 3) has been demonstrated to be false. Skeptics doubt the models not least because the modelers’ confidently-made predictions have been demonstrated, time and again, to be wild exaggerations.
Figure 3. Near-term projections of global warming (IPCC, 1990: orange region), compared with observed outturn taken as the mean of the RSS and UAH monthly global mean surface temperature anomalies, 1990-2014.
Professor Lovejoy says that his “CO2 proxy … predicts with 95 percent certainty that a doubling of CO2 levels in the atmosphere will lead to a warming of 1.9 to 4.2 Cº”. He prays in aid Fig. 4.
Figure 4. “This figure visually shows the strong linear relation between the radiative forcing and the global temperature response since 1880 … showing the 5-year running average of global temperature (red) as a function of the CO2 forcing surrogate from 1880 to 2004. The linearity is impressive; the deviations from linearity are due to natural variability. The slope of the regression line is 2.33±0.22 degrees Celsius per CO2 doubling (it is for the unlagged forcing/response relation).”
I do not pretend to understand this graph. For a start, it seems to show (albeit in exasperatingly non-standard units) that just about half the CO2 forcing since 1750 occurred before 1960, when CO2 concentration last stood at 316 ppmv. However, the official story-line (in standard units) is that the CO2 forcing from 1750 to 1958 was 0.7 W m–2, whereas that from 1958 to 2014 was greater by four-fifths, at 1.2 W m–2. Makes a bit of a mess of the claimed “linearity”, that.
Secondly, the linear trend on the global temperature anomalies since 1880 is 0.87 Cº, (Fig. 5), in response to 1.9 W m–2 of CO2 forcing. A doubling of CO2 concentration would give 3.7 W m–2 of CO2 forcing, according to the current official method.
Therefore, if there were a linear relation between CO2 forcing and temperature change (which there is not), and if all of the warming since 1750 were anthropogenic (which it was not), and if there were no major natural influences on temperature over the period (which there were) the warming in response to a CO2 doubling would be just 1.7 Cº, not the 2.33 Cº suggested in Professor Lovejoy’s caption.
Figure 5. The least-squares linear-regression trend on the mean of the HadCRUT4, GISS, and NCDC monthly mean global surface temperature anomalies from 1880-2014 is 0.87 Cº. The linearity is not particularly remarkable: the correlation coefficient is only 0.69. The oscillations of global temperature following the 60-year period of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation can be clearly seen.
There is demonstrably no linear relationship between the CO2 forcing, which increases monotonically, and global temperature change, which is stochastic. Global temperature change is more closely related to changes in the great ocean oscillations in the short term (Fig. 6), in total sunlight hours at the surface in the medium term (Fig. 7), and in total solar irradiance in the long term (Fig. 8).
Figure 6. The remarkable non-linearity of global temperature change since 1890, showing the two periods of global warming that coincided remarkably with the two positive phases of the naturally-occurring Pacific Decadal Oscillation over the period.
Figure 7. The remarkable non-linearity of global temperature change in the South China Sea, 1880 to 2008, tracking a remarkable non-linearity in the number of sunshine hours in Japan. Not all pyrometer records show this correspondence: but the Japanese record is the longest we have, and one of the most meticulously kept.
Figure 8. The remarkable non-linearity of the sunspot record, 1600-2003, from Hathaway et al., (2004). Inset: The remarkable non-linearity of global temperature trend, 1659-2010. The first and most rapid of the three periods (red) of global warming since 1659 (1694-1733) occurred as solar activity began to recover at the end of the Maunder Minimum (1645-1715). The other two periods (1925-1946 and 1977-2000) occurred at the solar Grand Maximum (1925-1995).
Next, Professor Lovejoy makes the startling assertion that the probability that what he calls “rare, extreme fluctuations” in global temperature such as those of the 20th century were natural is 1:1000 to 1:10,ooo.
This is where his omission of any reference to the Central England Temperature Record, or to the Utrecht or Prague temperature records, or to the historical circumstances (the freezing of the Thames, of the Dutch canals, of the Hudson in New York), is so reprehensible.
The rapid warming at the transition from the Maunder Minimum to a more normal climate occurred well before the industrial revolution began. It was not our fault.
Or Professor Lovejoy could have gone back to 1421, at the time when global temperature began to tip downward into the Little Ice Age. An interesting letter in the Vatican archive from the Papal Legate in Greenland to the Secretariat of State reported that the Legate regretted that he could not take up his appointment because “the ice is come in from the north”. Suddenly, ships could not reach Greenland.
By now, anyone who has studied the climate ought to have realized that what Professor Lovejoy calls “rare, extreme fluctuations” are neither rare nor extreme. They are the norm, not the exception.
Moreover, the entire interval of global temperature change since 1750, from the depth of the Maunder minimum to the acme during the Great El Niño of 1988 represents a movement of just 0.9% in absolute mean global surface temperature. By contrast, the change between midday and midnight at one location can be as much as 20% of absolute mean temperature. And the interval between the hottest and coldest places on Earth represents close to half of absolute mean temperature.
Next, the Professor says: “But what about Medieval warming with vineyards in Britain, or the so-called Little Ice Age with skating on the Thames? In the historical past, the temperature has changed considerably. Surely, the industrial-epoch warming is just another large-amplitude natural event?”
He answers his question in the negative, saying large-scale changes can only occur over periods much longer than a century. He would have gotten a nasty surprise if he had been around at the end of the Younger Dryas cooling event 11,400 years ago. At that time, according to the ice cores, the temperature in Antarctica rose by 5 Cº in just three years. As Professor Ian Plimer puts it, “Now, that’s climate change!”
Next, Professor Lovejoy writes: “My result focuses on the probability of centennial-scale temperature changes. It does not exclude large changes, if they occur slowly enough. So if you must, let the peons roast and the Thames freeze solid, the result stands.” No, it doesn’t. Just look at the warming of 1694-1733: 1.7 Cº in just 40 years, a rate equivalent to 4.33 Cº/century.
The Q&A that Professor Lovejoy has issued to prop up his paper says that he regards any change of more than 0.25 Cº over 125 years as exceptional, and likely to occur only 10% of the time. No, it isn’t. As I pointed out in a previous posting, more than a third of all 125-year periods predating the onset of anthropogenic influence on climate in 1950 show warming or cooling of more than 0.25 Cº.
Figure 9. Left: The misleading propaganda claim made by “Skeptical” “Science” that 97% of scientists agree we are the cause of global warming. Right: The true position exposed by Legates et al. (2013): 99.5% of 11,944 climate-science papers did not say we are the cause. They did not even say we are the primary cause.
Next, Professor Lovejoy says IPeCaC has “strengthened its earlier 2007 qualification of ‘likely’ to ‘extremely likely’ that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.” Yes, it has, but it has done so not only on no evidence but in the teeth of the evidence.
As Legates et al. (2013) demonstrated, 99.5% of 11,944 scientific papers on climate published between 1991 and 2011 did not say that most of the global warming since 1950 was caused by us (Figure 9).
Besides, since Professor Lovejoy’s paper plays with statistics a great deal, he should know that no recognizable statistical process performed on any actual dataset (unless science now recognizes a show of hands among scientifically-illiterate, rent-seeking representatives of governments) generated IPeCaC’s “95-99% confidence” value.
Next, the Professor asserts that “skeptics … insist that warming results from natural variability”. No, we don’t. We assert that in the present state of knowledge it is impossible adequately to distinguish between natural variability and anthropogenic influence.
The Professor digs his hole ever deeper: “The new GCM-free approach rejects natural variability, leaving the last vestige of skepticism in tatters.” Here is an honest version of that sentence: “I reject natural variability aprioristically, so I bished and bashed the numbers till they fitted my preconception, leaving the last vestige of my scientific credibility in tatters.”
Yet he rants blithely on to the effect that the Canadian government has “axed climate research” (hurrah!); that it gave him no funding for his research (so he got more than he deserved); that it has “shamelessly promoted the dirtiest fuels” (but CO2 is not dirty, it is the stuff of life); that it has “reneged on its international climate obligations” (no, it took lawful and timeous advantage of the opt-out clause in the Kyoto Protocol and, therefore, has no “international climate obligations”); that “two decades of international discussion have failed to prevent emissions from growing” (along with crop yields and net primary productivity of trees and plants, thanks to CO2 fertilization); and, finally, that “the world needs to drop the skepticism and change course – humanity’s future depends on it” (but, as T.H. Huxley said, to the scientist “skepticism is the highest of duties, blind faith the one unpardonable sin”, and whenever someone says humanity’s future depends on something he means his income depends on it).