Surprising facts about climate change in Portugal: Why the climate catastrophe is not happening

By Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt
www.kaltesonne.de

As Portugal came out of its second unusually wet winter in a row, some people already fear these could be the first signs of global climate change. Can the seemingly endless rainy period be blamed on ourselves because we are driving our cars to work, heating and air-conditioning our homes, and flying on holidays or on business to Brazil? Undoubtedly the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration has been steadily increasing over the past 150 years. In its latest report released last September the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warned of dire consequences should CO2-emissions not be drastically curtailed in the near future.

Among the contributors to the IPCC report were also two Portuguese academics, Dr Pedro Viterbo, Director at the Portuguese Instituto de Meteorologia, and Professor Filipe Duarte Santos of the Lisbon University’s Faculty of Sciences, both serving as review editors for the IPCC. In conjunction with the report’s launch Santos warned that Portugal would be among the European countries most vulnerable to climate change. He suggested that the country in the future will suffer from more extreme weather events like heat-waves and droughts, which in turn will lead to more forest fires and reduced agricultural output. Santos prognosis sees an overall drop in rainfall but with the threat of short bursts of torrential rains that will raise the risk of flooding. Moreover, the Lisbon-based professor expects sea level to rise by more than half a metre before the end of this century, which would put two thirds of Portugal’s coastline at risk for a loss of terrain.

But is it really so? Checking the facts

Are these scary IPCC future scenarios really justified? This is an important question, especially as the European Union has decided to spend at least 20 percent of its entire 2014-2020 European Union budget on climate-related projects and policies – money that is already lacking in other fields. It is clear that the global temperature has risen by nearly one degree since 1850. A similar amount of warming has occurred also in Portugal, as evidenced by historic temperature measurements and geological investigations in the Tejo delta area.

What is interesting, however, is that there has been no warming in Portugal over the last 19 years. This corresponds with the global situation, which has not warmed in the past 16 years, a situation that all of the IPCC’s highly praised climate models failed to foresee. Scientists have been taken by surprise and are now nervously discussing what might have gone wrong in their models. A first explanation emerging is that important 60-year natural ocean cycles apparently had been overlooked. Historical temperature data recorded by weather stations in Lisbon and Coimbra during the last 140 years confirm these stunning cycles. Hardly known today is the fact that around 1950 temperatures in Portugal were as warm over a ten-year period as they are today. And 60 years before that, during the late 19th century, another warm peak had occurred in Portugal, though temperatures were not quite as high as modern levels. Strangely many high temperatures recorded at many places around the world during the 1940s and 1950s have been “corrected” downwards recently by official climate agencies such as NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). Whether these data alterations are justified is today the subject of heated debate among some climate scientists.

How stable was the climate before CO2 levels rose?

To better understand the context of global warming since the industrial period started in 1850, it is also important to study pre-industrial temperature development when atmospheric CO2 concentrations were low and fairly stable at about 280 ppm. Obviously any change in climate during those pre-industrial times would essentially have to be owing to natural factors. Geological studies from all over the world have documented the occurrence of significant climate fluctuations during the last 10,000 years. Warm phases and cold phases alternated about every thousand years, often in sync with changes in solar activity. For example 1000 years ago, during the Islamic Period in Portugal, average global temperatures were at or above the present-day level. This period is referred to as the Medieval Warm Period and coincides with a phase of high solar activity.

A research team led by Fatima Abrantes from the Laboratório Nacional de Energia e Geologia (LNEG) investigated this period and examined a sediment core they had drilled out of the Tagus delta. In their report published in 2005 in the Quaternary Science Reviews journal, the scientists document temperatures that were on average more than half a degree warmer than today for the Lisbon area. The water discharge of the Tagus during this time was less.

image

Figure: Temperature development of the Tagus delta near Lisbon over the past 2000 years. From Abrantes et al. 2005.

A few years later Fatima Abrantes and her team expanded their studies to the Porto area. Not surprisingly the data confirmed the existence of the Medieval Warm Period also at this location. In their study the researchers recorded persistently elevated temperatures between AD 960-1300 and documented climatic conditions for northern Portugal that were at times more than one degree warmer than today. Studies in Spain show similar results.

 

image

Figure: Temperature development offshore Porto over the past 1100 years. From Abrantes et al. 2011.

The warm medieval climate allowed the Vikings to establish settlements in Greenland. The King of Norway-Denmark at the time reportedly sent a number of white falcons from Greenland as a gift to the King of Portugal and received the gift of a cargo of wine in return. The Medieval Warm Period is one of the greatest mysteries in climate science. How could it have been so warm when CO2 in the atmosphere was so low? Climate models still cannot reproduce this warm phase or other warm phases that had occurred earlier. International scientists met in Lisbon in September 2010 to discuss this dilemma, yet the problem remains unresolved to this day.

An inconvenient truth: climate has been always changing

On a global scale cold phases prevailed before and after the Medieval Warm Period. The influx of Germanic tribes to the Iberian Peninsula at the beginning of the 5th century was triggered by the so-called Dark Ages Cold Period. A decrease in agricultural yields in the north contributed to the European migration. Living conditions were equally difficult in central and northern Europe during the Little Ice Age of 1350-1850 AD. Harvests failed regularly and disease spread. Temperatures in Portugal also fell, as shown by Fatima Abrantes and her team show. During some of these winters heavy snowfall was recorded in Lisbon, such as in 1665, 1744 and 1886. Solar activity during the Little Ice Age was unusually low and might have been the main cause of this globally cool period.

Researchers at the University of Coimbra support the idea that solar activity is one of the key climate control mechanisms on timescales of decades and centuries. In cooperation with a Danish colleague from the Danish Meteorological Institute, Anna Morozova and Maria Alexandra Pais analysed temperature variations in Portugal over the last 140 years and found that solar activity changes had a significant impact on climate, especially during the winter months.

Also little known is the fact that temperatures of 7000 to 5000 years ago were globally one or even two degrees warmer than those of today. This is a time referred to as the Holocene Climate Optimum. In collaboration with the Geological Survey of Spain, a scientific team of the LNEG led by Ana Alberto investigated the temperature changes of this natural warm phase using a sediment core extracted from the Atlantic sea floor about 300 km west of Portugal. The researchers confirmed the existence of this high temperature phase, which had been preceded and was followed by colder periods.

Theoretical climate models come under scrutiny

The unexpectedly strong climate variability of the pre-industrial past indicates that the current climate models used by the IPCC underestimate the significance of natural climate drivers and thus greatly overstate the climate potency of CO2. If this is so, then the scary temperature warnings previously issued by the IPCC are unlikely to come true. Consequently it is not surprising that recently there has been a flurry of publications proposing that the warming effect of CO2 in the climate model equations should be reduced. According to the IPCC the so-called climate sensitivity – the warming that is expected to result from a doubling of atmospheric CO2 – is thought to be between 2°C and 4.5°C, with a best estimate of 3°C. However, a recent study by the Norwegian Research Council has drastically lowered these estimates and assumes only a value of 1.9°C.

In the meantime other scientists and organisations have joined in calling for a downward correction, including the Austrian Central Institution for Meteorology and Geodynamics. The government of the Netherlands has urged the IPCC to include natural climate change processes more systematically and realistically in their models. In reality CO2 climate sensitivity values might actually be as low as 1.5°C or even 1.0°C once solar activity effects are fully factored in. Now that the IPCC future warming scenarios appear to be largely exaggerated, a multitude of other climate-related prognoses are looking more and more to be widely off the mark, e.g. those related to sea level rise, droughts, heat waves and storms.

Surprise in Cascais: sea level rise is not playing along

Based on theoretical considerations, IPCC scientists commonly warn of a sea level rising by half a metre, one metre or even two metres by the end of this century. The sea level data that has been measured at tide gauges along the coasts of the globe, however, tell us to be sceptical of such horror scenarios. Based on hard observed data, sea level has been rising by only about 1.0 – 2.0 millimetres per year. Sea level measurements in Cascais over the last 100 years have yielded a total sea level rise of about 150 mm, corresponding to 1.5 mm per year. There are hardly any vertical land movements in the Cascais region so that the measured sea-level value can be considered as characteristic for the Portuguese Atlantic coast.

Interestingly, there has been no sea level rise acceleration in Cascais, or even globally, over the past 40 years despite a global warming of half a degree over the same period. If the present sea level trend continues, the sea would only rise only 10-20 cm by 2100, and not 50-200 cm as some scientists predicted.

image

Figure: Sea-level development in Cascais (near Lisbon) during the past 130 years. From Antunes & Taborda (2009)

Caparica dunes: a natural archive for storm history

Some scientists claim that global warming would automatically lead to more frequent and more violent storms. Luckily there is a simple way of evaluating this scary proposition. As discussed earlier, temperatures in the past 10,000 years have been on a roller-coaster, with warm and cold phases alternating at regular intervals. Did these temperature changes impact storm intensity? The Caparica cliff-top dune on the Setúbal Peninsula south of Lisbon offers a good opportunity to reconstruct the storm history.

Susana Costas of the University of Nebraska lead a team of researchers from the LNEG, the Universidade de Lisboa and the Universidade Lusófona in a study of the dunes and found five particularly stormy periods that had occurred during the past twelve millennia. Interestingly, all were related to climate cold phases. The last three of these windy phases coincide with the Little Ice Age and the Dark Ages Cold Period. Hence, empirical geological data do not support the simplistic idea that storm intensity in Portugal is increasing in Portugal as a consequence of global warming.

The study by Susana Costa and her team was published in the Quaternary Science Reviews in May 2012.

Iberian winter rain in sync with an Atlantic oceanic cycle

In 2009 researchers of the Pyrenean Institute of Ecology (CSIC) publicly warned that rainfall over the Iberian Peninsula would decrease over the coming decades due to rising greenhouse gas emissions. The basis for their claim was an analysis of precipitation data from Spain over the past 60 years which seemed to indicate a decline in winter precipitation.

Only five years later, after several unusually wet Iberian winters, this prediction has begun to fail spectacularly. In particular the winters 2009/2010, 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 have turned out to be extremely rainy. What did CSIC scientists overlook? In 2011 the CSIC researchers found themselves what it was. They had obviously neglected an important 60-year oceanic cycle, the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) which had just entered its negative phase in 2009. The North Atlantic Oscillation is driven by the atmospheric pressure difference between the Icelandic low and the Azores high. It has been long known that winter rain in Portugal and Spain intensifies when this pressure difference is low, also refered to as a “negative NAO”. The NAO cycle began falling around 1990 and according to the 60-year cycle it is expected to remain at low levels for at least another decade thus bringing abundant rain to the Iberian Peninsula over the majority of the coming winters.

Obviously it is necessary to study climatic data series that are significantly longer than the 60-year ocean cycles in order to identify longer-term trends. This is exactly what a Spanish-Portuguese team led by María Cruz Gallego did in a study appearing in the Journal of Geophysical Research in 2011. The researchers studied Iberian rains over a 100-year period and found the opposite of what was found by their CSIC colleagues: the total number of rainy days and that of light rainfall was generally increasing. In 2013 a study led by Dario Camuffo involving researchers from the University of Lisbon and the University of Évora further corroborated this result. The team analysed precipitation data taken from the entire Western Mediterranean covering the last 300 years and found no specific trends over the whole period despite a warming of more than 1°C. It may not come as a surprise that in their data Camuffo and his colleagues found evidence of a 60-year Atlantic oceanic cycle influencing rainfall activity in the study region.

Over longer timescales of hundreds of years, Iberian rainfall was also affected by solar activity changes, as other studies show. Even the NAO itself is now assumed not to be oscillating fully independently, but is partly controlled by the varying energy output of the sun. Therefore the main rain drivers in Portugal and Spain are an Atlantic oceanic cycle and changes in solar activity.

What role could CO2 play in this development? Has it possibly led to an increase in more extreme rain events? A study by the Institute for Environment and Sustainability by the European Commission investigated an increase in insured losses associated with river flooding occurring in Spain between 1971 and 2008. After adjusting the data for socioeconomic factors, the researchers found that there had been no significant trend in the frequency or intensity of river flooding in Spain. Societal influences remain the prime factors driving insured and economic losses from natural disasters related to flooding.

No increase in droughts in Portugal over the past 70 years

IPCC-affiliated scientists have proposed that droughts in Portugal could become more frequent and intense in the future. However there are two concerns with this model. Firstly, this assumption is based on warming scenarios that are unlikely to materialise in reality because of an overestimated CO2 climate sensitivity. Secondly, calibration with historical drought statistics does not support the idea. A team from the Instituto Superior de Agronomia of the Universidade Técnica de Lisboa led by D.S. Martins studied the drought history of Portugal for the past 70 years and concluded that there is no linear trend indicating more drought events despite a warming of more than half a degree. Apparently there is no direct link between average temperature and drought frequency. In fact it seems that droughts were just as abundant during the pre-industrial past as they are today. A recent study by the Universidad de Extremadura analysed Iberian drought history during Muslim rule and identified three severe droughts: AD 748–754, AD 812–823 and AD 867–879.

The climate apocalypse is a false alarm

It is becoming ever clearer that the climate apocalypse so vividly promoted by some overly active scientists and organisations is not backed up very convincingly by scientific data. Theoretical models have failed spectacularly to reproduce the climate of the past. It turns out that climate has always been prone to natural variability, a fact that has been neglected for too long.

Without a doubt atmospheric CO2 content will continue to rise and most probably also result in a long-term warming, but at a much slower pace than claimed by the IPCC. Such a modest warming is not necessarily only bad news, something that is often forgotten in the discussion. A study led by Célia Gouveia of the Instituto Dom Luiz at the Universidade de Lisboa for example found that vineyard yields in the Douro region will most likely increase because of the combined effects of temperature, rain and CO2 fertilisation effects. Another study led by João Vasconcelos of the Instituto Politécnico de Leiria in Peniche investigated Portugal’s excess winter mortality, which is the highest in Europe. The researchers found that cold weather has a significant negative effect on acute myocardial infarctions in Portugal, a health malady that would probably improve under mild warming scenarios.

Meanwhile the public seem to have understood that the climate sciences have overplayed their hand. The people have had enough of dramatized reports predicting an imminent climate apocalypse just around the corner. According to a Eurobarometer poll conducted in July 2013, a mere 4% of the European population now cites the alleged climate catastrophe as their most pressing concern. Moreover, the number is zero percent in seven European countries, including Portugal.

Attempts to bring back a more balanced discussion to the climate sciences have been undertaken repeatedly, but unfortunately with limited success. In 2011, for example, the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation hosted a “Workshop on Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate” in Lisbon, a worthwhile initiative that needs to be repeated.

Climate Change 2.0: Course correction needed

What is the best way forward? Firstly, we need comprehensive research on the underestimated role of natural climate drivers. Secondly, the likely warming pause over the coming decades due to declining ocean cycles and low solar activity gives us the time we need to convert our energy supply in a rational, systematic and sustainable way without causing massive energy poverty. In the UK and Germany, for example, power-station closures and huge expenditures for power systems to stand in as back up for highly volatile wind or solar energy or harmful ethanol production will only further boost energy prices. Volatile wind and solar energy pose the real threats of power outages and the crippling economic cost they would cause, all driven by fear generated by hysterical climate scenarios.

We have the time for rational decarbonising. This may be achieved by cost-improved and competitive renewable technologies placed at the best European sites, through higher energy efficiency and by improving the use of conventional fossil energy. New technologies should be promoted through start-up financing, but have to survive on the market over the longer term without subsidies.

The choice is no longer between global warming catastrophe and economic growth, but between economic catastrophe and climate sense.

Thanks to Pierre Gosselin of www.notrickszone.com for support with language editing

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80 thoughts on “Surprising facts about climate change in Portugal: Why the climate catastrophe is not happening

  1. The claim that CO2 levels have risen over the past 150years is not based on fact but the Callendar 1948 paper that selected only data with CO2 levels at 285ppmv. Unfortunately for the IPCC the atmospheric CO2 content was enthusiastically measured throughout the 1800′s throughout Europe and levels went up to near 600ppmv in some data sets. So CO2 levels may have remained fairly constant for 150 years and the warming a natural result of coming out of the LIA.

  2. “We have the time for rational decarbonising.”
    “The choice is no longer between global warming catastrophe and economic growth, but between economic catastrophe and climate sense.”

    If the science is wrong – as all the scientific data indicates – then the predictions (or projections, if you prefer) of the models are worthless, and should be ignored. This means that “rational decarbonising” is NOT rational, it is scientific economic and financial lunacy. There is no need to try economic catastrophe, we have enough silly politicians always willing to spend other people’s money without adding ‘irrational decarbonizing’.

  3. Prior to the industrial revolution – over the preceding millions of years – the earth has experienced several ice ages, many warm periods, and CO2 levels were all over the place. In fact, during one of the ice ages, CO2 levels were far higher than today’s.
    NO ONE CAN EXPLAIN ANY OF THIS.
    This entire AGW thesis is the biggest scientific scam in the history of the world. It is a political movement, akin to a new communism or fascism , and nothing more than that. Climate “scientists” have sold their souls in pursuit of funding, money and personal influence and power promoting this scam, this farce.
    The scientific community will rue the day they supported this scam by remaining silent or actively supporting this hoax.
    Lysenko and his good pal Stalin are smiling in their graves.

  4. We have the time for rational decarbonising.

    They just finished pointing out that CO2 wasn’t bad at all and the claims of CO2 triggering catastrophe isn’t supported by the science…and then they make this statement? Why decarbonize in the first place?

  5. I wonder if the climate science community in general now accepts the data that shows just how widespread the various historic warm periods were? There does seem to be increasing evidence and if so, surely this needs explaining. Until we can explain the past warming we cannot be confident of explaining what the future climate might be. The confidence expressed by the IPCC is looking more and more foolish.

  6. Nylo

    “@johnmarshall, no, they may not.”

    Why? If CO2 levels really did vary between 285 ppmv and nearly 600 ppmv then the current rise to nearly 400 ppmv in the 1800s could be said to be “fairly constant” in historical terms. Particularly in the context of historic levels of 7,000 ppmv or more.
    Are you disputing the CO2 measurements in the 1800s or are you saying that any rise of 40%+ can never be called “fairly constant?

  7. @Solomon, I’m disputing the CO2 measurements in the 1800s. I don’t think they were done in the same conditions as they are done now in Mauna Loa, and therefore were not representative of average atmospheric concentrations, but contaminated by local CO2 sources instead.

  8. There are several types of nuclear power sources that are much safer from from potential catastrophic failure than some of the present ones, that if used at large scales would eliminated the need to be concerned for long term non-fossil fuel energy (I also need to point out that even with a few large nuclear accidents, nuclear has been historically far safer than the fossil fuel powered plants). In addition, a technology called the e-cat seems to be on a path for an energy source that can be even used at individual household level. While solar cells do not make sense as a primary energy source, they are good for some limited applications. If space solar power (beamed to Earth) can be made inexpensive enough (possibly using in-situ resources rather than lifting all materials from Earth), that can also contribute to a long term power source. Thus available and developing technologies can take up the load from decreasing availability of fossil fuels. This is best done with governments and other biased groups keeping their noses out of the natural economically driven development of new sources.

  9. This is a very interesting, well done article. Thank you. It makes it particularly clear that in Portugal, at least, we haven’t even made up the lost ground from the MWP to the LIA, and that both are absolutely real events, not Mann’s “stick part” of the hockey stick, erased as “inconvenient truth”.

    The sea level data is particularly interesting, given that Portugal’s coast is stable. It isn’t quite true that it is a proxy for the entire ocean, because thermally expanded water floats on top of colder water — the sea level “signal” (inside of the tidal and land uplift/subsidence “noise” that obscures it) is overwhelming the sea surface acting like a thermometer as the overall surface tries to maintain isostasis on a spinning oblate gravitationally irregular globe, plus an empirically tiny contribution from presumed global land ice melt. So the SLR data for Portugal almost perfectly reflects SST in the coastal waters, and by extension LST inland, just as it does everywhere else.

    As long as people continue to make mountains of money from the assertion of catastrophic warming and the diversion of an enormous fraction of public funds and energy into measures that even the proponents agree will not have any visible impact, little will change. One would think that the data would already suffice to change people’s minds about the certainty of catastrophe, but the chicken-little disaster meme is too well entrenched in our culture — only a return of the cold war or invasion by space aliens will suffice to distract the people from their guilt at being alive.

  10. All very useful except the last bit:

    ‘We have the time for rational decarbonising. This may be achieved by cost-improved and competitive renewable technologies placed at the best European sites, through higher energy efficiency and by improving the use of conventional fossil energy. New technologies should be promoted through start-up financing, but have to survive on the market over the longer term without subsidies.

    ‘The choice is no longer between global warming catastrophe and economic growth, but between economic catastrophe and climate sense.

    Firstly, why ‘decarbonise’ at all if the threat is not going to materialise? What we need to do is wean ourselves off intensive use of a fossil fuel resource that will deplete over the next century. The market will do it anyway….the cost of extraction for non-conventional fossil fuel resources like shale gas and tight-oil, tar sands and deep ocean fields is already clear, and apart from a few regional economic benefits – such as gas in the USA (and that will be brief at the current rates of depletion), the fossil fuel price remains high. It will go higher as conventional ‘cheap’ sources deplete further.

    But can we rely on the market alone? Not if we want to avoid hardship for the poorest.

    As for new technology – forget it! There are no serious candidates that will be cheaper.
    And the choice never was between global warming catastrophe and economic growth – and not just because the global warming threat was a mirage created by ambitious modelling labs who could not incorporate natural cycles. Also because perpetual economic growth is a mirage too – the last cycle of negative growth is likely to be repeated once the ‘stimulus’ of printing money in the West and massive unsustainable credit in the East finally kicks home. That will likely coincide with a temperature drop as it did in 2008.

    The reality is that all options – renewables, nuclear, and more efficiency, require more money that can be generated. The only ‘rational’ option is to use less – but that is a sure way to contract ‘the economy’ further. The obstacle to rational change is the entrenched interest of the money-makers and spinners that have so much influence over government. Whatever options are chosen, they have to benefit the banks, otherwise they don’t fly. Thats why Britains programme of energy efficiency and energy conservation is so pathetic…even though it is relatively cheap – it brings no great profits. Renewables are only supported if underwritten by government money and at high returns. Nuclear only gets off the ground in states with limited democratic accountability – or as was the case in France, under state monopoly backed by the jackboot and stun-grenade.

    Commentators who have great skill in assessing the inadequacy of climate science and picking apart the pervasive influence of the IPCC, should try to bring on board some energy policy expertise instead of making throwaway comments about what energy futures might be feasible.

  11. The problem is that EVERY generation thinks their generation will have an apocalypse. You can read it any any culture’s history. Darn it we’re special and we just HAVE to have an earth-shattering End Times!

  12. The increased rainfall results from the larger ionization atmosphere. Relative humidity remains constant in the lower stratosphere and upper decreases.

  13. Katherine says:
    August 5, 2014 at 5:30 am

    We have the time for rational decarbonising.

    They just finished pointing out that CO2 wasn’t bad at all and the claims of CO2 triggering catastrophe isn’t supported by the science…and then they make this statement? Why decarbonize in the first place?

    Indeed, why punish the biosphere with CO2 starvation if there is no need to? This madness of crowds needs to be taken by the horns by rational people and turned around as soon as possible.

  14. Katherine:…and then they
    make this statement? Why
    decarbonize in the first place?

    because you can feed the beast with anything it likes to hear. It doesnt matter what You SAY.
    Or what people ANSWER when asked in the streets.

    Only counting what they really aim and DO – as in:

    My Mercedes is Bigger than
    Yours : An exploration of
    postcolonial …
    4 Nov 2011 … My Mercedes is
    Bigger than Yours Author:
    Nkem Nwankwo. Published in
    the Heinemann African …
    http://www.litnet.co.za/Article/my-
    mercede…

    best regards – Hans

  15. I’m sceptical that CO2 levels were below 285 over the past couple of thousand years. During the MWP, wine grapes were grown in Scotland, farmsteads fluorished in Greenland, etc . Low CO2 doesn’t jibe with this kind of situation. That CO2 is higher today than previously during the last 1000 years or so is the next bit of climate sophistry that is going to bite the dust.

  16. AR5 says that the sea level in 2100 assuming an increase in CO2 emissions for the rest of the century will be 23 cm higher than if we manage to make CO2 peak in this decade (or 30 cm if we assume the upper bounds). So on the question whether sea level rise calls for drastic CO2 emission cuts, the IPCC, if anyone listens, actually sends a clear message: Don’t bother.

  17. For further illumination of johnmarshall’s comment see Zibgniew Jaworowski’s 1997 paper “Ice Core Data Show No Carbon Dioxide Increase”

  18. “The solar irradiance varies by about 0.1 percent over the approximate 11-year solar cycle, which would appear to be too small to have an impact on climate. Nevertheless, many observations suggest the presence of 11-year signals in various meteorological time series, eg, sea surface temperature ( White et al. 1997 ) and cloudiness over North America ( Udelhofen and Cess 2001 ).

    The flux of galactic cosmic rays (GCR) varies inversely with the solar cycle. Svensmark and Friis-Christensen (1997) suggested that GCR enhance low cloud formation, explaining variations on the order of 3 percent global total cloud cover over a solar cycle. A 3 percent cloud cover change corresponds to a radiative net change of about 0.5 W/m 2 (see above), which may be compared with the IPCC 2007 estimate of 1.6 W/m 2 for the total effect of all recognized climatic drivers 1750-2006, including release of greenhouse gasses from the burning of fossil fuels.

    Since clouds have a net cooling effect on climate, the above would imply ( Svensmark 1998 ) that the estimated reduction of cosmic ray flux during the 20th century ( Marsh and Svensmark 2000 ) might have been responsible for a significant part of the observed warming. Since 1983, the cooling cover of low clouds have decreased from 29% to about 25% ( see below ). During the same period the net change of warming high clouds have been small ( see below ).”

  19. ‘Scientists have been taken by surprise and are now nervously discussing what might have gone wrong in their models.’

    If only they were discussing what might have gone wrong with their models we might be getting somewhere approaching sanity. Unfortunately this isn’t the case. The models are defended with ferocity and a total lack of objectivity.

  20. “We have the time for rational decarbonising. ”

    Until there rational proof of a problem, rational decarbonising is an OXYMORON.

  21. Until there rational proof that reducing CO2 will make a squat of difference, rational decarbonising is an OXYMORON.

  22. “As has been argued elsewhere on this web site, the amount of direct solar radiation received in the Equatorial regions presumably is important for both the global sea surface temperature and the global air temperature. In this context, the amount of tropical clouds is likely to represent an important control on the amount of direct solar radiation reaching the planet surface near Equator, from where the heat might be at least partly redistributed to more extensive parts of the planet surface by ocean currents and advecting air masses. The diagram above lends empirical support to this inference. The period until around year 2000 was characterised by generally increasing global air temperature and decreasing tropical total cloud cover. Following 2000, the stable or even slightly decreasing global surface air temperatures associates with a small increase in total tropical cloud cover.”

  23. Us see AO exceptional fall in 2010. In general, high AO index values correspond to a strong polar vortex , and low AO values to a weak polar vortex.

  24. Hum, I do live near Cascais for 3 decades and i do find the data in that graph wierd: as far as I can can see with the naked eye there has been ZERO increase of sea level in here ( and I’m not being rethorical: there are beaches around here with stairs down to the sea and it i easy to match the degrees with the sea level ). So I decided to dig a little and compare the plot with the PSMSL data that was suposedly the base of it:

    [url=http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/rlr.monthly.plots/52_high.png]http://www.psmsl.org/data/obtaining/rlr.monthly.plots/52_high.png[/url]

    Some things to have in mind:

    a) the data before 1895 is somewhat dubious, because the station is was moved from the previous location ( due to the starting position being too shallow to give reliable enough results )

    b) the PSMSL data ends in 1993 because the station had a malfunction in between 1994 and 1999. The portuguese IGP had the data ( including later readings ) in a ftp server, but I was unable to retreive it :/

    c) While the analogical station still exists and is working, the data nowadays is retrieved from a digital acoustic station that is 250m away…. the data of both stations matches closely enough ( see [url=http://dgterritorio.pt/eventos/comunicacoes/San_Sebastian/7ALEGG_Poster_Maregrafos.pdf]here[/url] … in , portuguese ).

    What I wanted to point out is that the data in the PSMSL data does not match that well what is presented above from 1960 on ( those peaks in the 60s in this article graph are well above the mid 80s top values, when in PSMSL data they are roughly equal and that major peak in the late 80s does not match the relative magnitude in both graphs ) … and putting stepwise rates is deceptive :/, but anyway, I am quite sure that there wasn’t a 2.1*34 mm increase of sea level here since 1980 ( like I said above, it would be visible in plain sight in the structures at sea level ). TBH I would like to see the exact data from where that graph came for ( the linked article is not very helpful )

    But anyway, what this article fails to convey properly is how much the upper echelons of society in Portugal ate the “Global warming” discourse, with ( maybe )data manipulation ( I do have in my possession a mid XIX century paper giving news of a 55ºC temp in a small village in the interior of Portugal ( I do know the place and IMHO that is believable ), but, if you go the official meteo site, that never happened and the highest temp ever recorded was of high 40ish ºC in the early 2000s. Hum … ) and pressure to blame everything on Global warming ( one of my ex-Uni collegues told me that a study on the migration of tuna fish migration patterns away from the Portuguese southern coast made some years ago was being pressured to blame it on Global warming, even when the fish was moving south towards WARMER waters instead of colder ones ), not mentioning that the politicians are all on “saving the planet” mode ( OFC that means taxing … like my father used to said back in the days, the portuguese governement only did not taxed the air we breathed because they still didn’t had got a way to excuse it. Now they do :/ ). Oh well …

  25. AGW 1,2,3 RIP should have been DOA

    1. Water Vapor FAIL
    ren says August 5, 2014 at 6:16 am Relative humidity remains constant in the lower troposphere and upper decreases.

    2. Human Greenhouse Role FAIL
    “Total human greenhouse gas contributions add up to about 0.28% of the greenhouse effect”
    That is so infinitesimal small it may as well be nothing. Explains why human warming or increased water vapor did not and could not occur.

    http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html

    3. Observations around the globe FAIL.

    AGW RIP can occur in November. The biggest scam in human history with take a fatal blow in November if enough hands are on deck making it clear how fraudulent the movement is.

    The scam side sent out as proof that temperatures are rising.
    It’s so repugnant it must be slain.

    http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators/

  26. A very convincing article: but will our political masters read it, and if they do, will they take any notice of it? Personally, I doubt if they ever read WUWT, as it will be dubbed a denier’s blog.

  27. @ren you are correct, and this is explained even in SkS’s article devoted to the Jet Stream. Now, this being true and well known and accepted by both climatologists and meteorologists, what I don’t understand is the need to link the “new” behaviour of the Jet Stream to Global Warming, when we already have an explanation through the AO and the NAO, which are both turning negative as they cyclically do, and this is known to cause a weaker jet stream.

  28. We have the time for rational decarbonising.
    It must mean there is time to develop a rationale for decarbonizing as we currently lack one.

  29. “The Medieval Warm Period is one of the greatest mysteries in climate science. How could it have been so warm when CO2 in the atmosphere was so low? ”

    I think I am right in saying that the preceding warm periods were all warmer than the MWP? Being the Roman, Minoan and the Holocene Optimum? All also of course with far less CO2 than today.

  30. Thank you for an interesting paper.

    Nylo, what makes you think the Hawaiian CO2 measurement is a good global average? It appears to vary a lot with altitude and that I would guess has varied with time.

    It is wise to conserve fossil fuel as it is a limited, fixed reserve. I happen to think Rossi’s E-Cat works and LENR will be the future solution. Look for the results of Elforsk’s six month test now expected in September.

  31. There seems to be ample scientifically established evidence that Nature is the culprit. The number of references in this article is impressive. Has the IPCC referenced and used any of these studies?

  32. Rolo says:
    August 5, 2014 at 7:11 am

    Thanks Rolo. I gave up on this whole storey pretty quickly when I had a look at the paper.

    Tide gauge shows 0.5mm/yr then after “barometer adjustment” that becomes 3.3 mm/yr . WTF?

    Then they did a running mean on the data and the long term rate of sea rise changed again !!

    Well I’ve long been moaning about running means distorting the data but I’ve never seen them add a long term trend !

    Then we read that the new acoustic tide gauge varied by 36 mm in the first 6 months but then was accurate to within less that mm. Yeah, right.

    Now Rolo links to a study comparing the new installation to the old one and the annual cycle is way different in shape and sees differences of about 10cm in some of the monthly averages

    If this is a region with very little earth movement, it is a great shame that they were unable to make proper tidal measurements.

    The only think I see of use in this paper is that this station (pre 1993) looks like a good case study of the validity of inverse barometer adjustments. It looks highly suspect to me

  33. Portugal was an early member of the AGW victims club. Maybe we should hold up on their reparations payments.

  34. Decarbonizing, with AGW theory falsified? Europeans obviously have a more modest form of scepticism than that of North America, having basically been long compromised by advanced ‘socialization’. Their, dissent and opposition seem to be shades of gray (e.g. conservatives in UK are much left of center by our reckoning). Still, it’s good to see a bit of scepticism there, subdued or not. I’m hoping that honesty, truth, evidence and rigor are still sufficiently important in their science. The authors of this piece give some hope that there is a stubborn, small enclave of it and that what might appear wishy – washy is just European politesse.

  35. Steve Keohane says:
    We have the time for rational decarbonising.
    It must mean there is time to develop a rationale for decarbonizing as we currently lack one.

    As I said above , rational decarbonising is an oxymoron.

  36. The sea levels measured at Cascais are presumably measured against the Portuguese Land Levelling Datum, which in turn is defined by Mean Sea Level, as nearly all such datums are. The circularity doesn’t usually matter very much, as we’re only looking for short-term trends. In this case, we should also consider the effect of adding some 140m of seawater load to the seabed over 11,000 years. My bet is that that weight has pulled down the seabed and the coastline along with it, so what we’re looking at is isostatic rebound.

  37. Does anyone know of any CO2 measurement datasets from Antarctica or Greenland? It seems to me that taking modern measurements from Hawaii and then comparing them to CO2 measurements from ice core samples is flawed methodology, since as many of you know, CO2 content in air is highly variable from place to place.

  38. Antunes & Taborda (2009)

    http://e-geo.fcsh.unl.pt/ICS2009/_docs/ICS2009_Volume_I/218.222_C.Antunes_ICS2009.pdf

    At the present date, with the year of 2008 complete, the estimated rates by a linear regression fitting (in Figure 2) are:
    - raw daily MSL data 0.2 mm yr-1
    - corrected daily MSL data 3.3 mm yr-1
    - 60-days moving average 2.5 mm yr-1

    To determine the relative vertical movements, the IGP had been
    measuring the relative vertical displacements of the new tide
    gauge by spirit leveling observations between the gauge and the
    IGS permanent station of GPS. Only the first six months after the
    installation of the gauge it has been detected a great vertical
    displacement of -36 mm. After that, the structure has shown a
    great vertical stability.

    ===
    Sorry, before inv. barom. it was only 0.2mm/yr , it worse than we thought.

  39. Katherine says:

    August 5, 2014 at 5:30 am

    We have the time for rational decarbonising.

    They just finished pointing out that CO2 wasn’t bad at all and the claims of CO2 triggering catastrophe isn’t supported by the science…and then they make this statement? Why decarbonize in the first place?

    In fact, CO2 induced global warming seems to be an error. But, on the other hand, peak oil in combination with a colder climate during the next 20-40 years tells us to develop alternative energy sources, while it is an option.

  40. Here you can see why this is happening. High pressure over the Arctic and low pressure than the far south Atlantic.

  41. Similarly is happening in the south. Low solar activity causes the weakening of the polar vortex and an increase in pressure over the poles.

  42. How could it have been so warm when CO2 in the atmosphere was so low?
    =======
    Since a warming ocean releases CO2…..and the MWP clearly shows up in that graph

    Why doesn’t it show up in the CO2 reconstructions?…there’s no bump up in CO2 levels that correspond with that same period

  43. Rolo at Cascais:

    You report no sea level rise for the past thirty years while the above referred PSMSL.

    Data showed some significant rise, about 35 mm I believe. My experience has also shown that Public Service Mean Sea Level data are unreliable as shown by comparison of NOAA Gulf of Mexico mean sea level data against PSMSL data. The NOAA data (tidal gauge) showed no SL rise for at least sixteen years while PSMSL data showed a rising trend. The most interesting thing about this discrepancy is that PSMSL cited the NOAA as their source! To compare simply search for NOAA mean sea level.

    This brings me to my crucial point: NOAA mean sea level data for the US coasts show a flat sea level trend since before this century began. Now you say that at Cascais there has been no sea level rise for as long as 30 years. This may all be extrapolated to a world wide basis and concluded that there is no rising trend in the oceans worldwide, in a general sense.

  44. Disputin@9:08am:

    Sea level rise was mostly complete about 6,000 years or more years ago. Can you show what isostasy changes presently obtain? The coast there is stable. I ask you for data, not arm waving.

  45. mpainter says:

    Rolo at Cascais : You report no sea level rise for the past thirty years while the above referred PSMSL
    Data showed some significant rise, about 35 mm I believe.

    ====

    Firstly the actual tide gauge data shows 0.2mm/yr x 30 = 6mm ! Do you really think anyone eye-balling the steps going down to the shore at various, uncontrolled times in the various tidal cycles can comment on that?

    Now if PMSL shows something different what _exactly_ are you looking at? Tide gauge readings or local “datum” relative figures?

    Please state what you are referring to.

  46. I quote the authors, Sebastian Lüning and Fritz Vahrenholt:

    “… there has been no warming in Portugal over the last 19 years. This corresponds with the global situation, which has not warmed in the past 16 years, a situation that all of the IPCC’s highly praised climate models failed to foresee. Scientists have been taken by surprise and are now nervously discussing what might have gone wrong in their models…”

    It is no secret what has gone wrong with their models. They steadfastly cling to the assumption that addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere causes greenhouse warming. That is the heart and soul of their greenhouse theory and it has turned out to be false.

    There has been no greenhouse warming whatsoever for the last 17 years despite a steady increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Their models are hard-wired to show warming when carbon dioxide goes up. Give them that increase of carbon dioxide and they spew out predictions of non-existent warming.

    You can see the result in CMIP5 projections. All the individual threads in it come from different supercomputers, and they all angle up predicting warming in the twenty-first century, while real temperature is a horizontal straight line.

    The Arrhenius greenhouse theory that they use has likewise been predicting warming for the last 17 years, while in the real world nothing happened. If a theory predicts warming for 17 years and nothing happens, a scientist is justified in tossing that theory into the waste basket of history. There is a spot reserved for it just next to phlogiston, another failed theory that took a generation to bury.

    But this leaves us seemingly without a greenhouse theory to guide us. Fortunately, that is not true because there is the Miskolczi greenhouse theory (MGT) that accurately describes the present pause/hiatus or whatever you want to call a cessation of warming. It came out in 2007 but IPCC did not like its predictions and has successfully suppressed any mention of it in the literature.

    Its prediction is exactly what we see today: addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere does not cause warming. This of course should be corroborated by independent observations. Miskolci did that in 2011, when he used NOAA radiosonde observations going back to 1948 to study absorption of IR by the atmosphere over time. What he discovered is that absorption had been constant for 61 years, while carbon dioxide at the same time went up by 21.6 percent.

    Constant absorption means no warming, and we have an exact parallel to the current no-warming hiatus/pause or whatever. To understand the mechanics involved, Miskolczi theory handles the behavior of several greenhouse gases simultaneously absorbing in the IR. Arrhenius cannot do this because it is limited to carbon dioxide alone and hence is incomplete.

    According to MGT carbon dioxide and water vapor, the two major GHGs in the atmosphere, establish a joint optimum absorption window in the infrared. Its optical thickness is 1.87, determined by Miskolci from first principles. If you now add carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, it will start to absorb in the IR, exactly as Arrhenius says. But this will increase the optical thickness. And as soon as it starts, water vapor will begin to diminish, rain out, and the original optical thickness is restored. The added carbon dioxide will keep absorbing of course, but it cannot cause any greenhouse warming because the reduction of water vapor cancels it out.

    The result is what we see today – no warming at all, while carbon dioxide keeps going up. This has some wide-ranging consequences. First of all, it makes a runaway greenhouse effect impossible. This explains why the very high carbon dioxide in geological history has been unable to cause runaway warming.

    But Hansen has been babbling about runaway warming and pointing to Venus as an example of what could happen to us. Unfortunately he is ignorant of Venusian geology as well, despite having been an astronomer on the Pioneer Venus project. Venus has no plate tectonics. On earth radioactive heat from the interior is constantly vented by plate boundary volcanism while on Venus it builds up beneath the crust until the crust breaks up into giant slabs. Its pieces sink into the interior and every 300 to 600 million years an entirely new crust is created. Its atmosphere is entirely a product of these giant eructations and not a result of oceans boiling as he would like us to believe.

    Closer to home, Miskolczi theory does not permit any enhanced greenhouse effect in the atmosphere. As a result, the anthropogenic global warming (AGW), attributed to the enhanced greenhouse effect by Hansen and IPCC, does not exist. AGW is thus nothing more than a pseudo-scientific fantasy, dreamed up by over-eager climate scientists wishing to prove that the greenhouse effect is real. After all, Hansen himself told the United States Senate that he personally discovered that greenhouse effect. His proof was that there had been a hundred year warming that could not happen by chance alone and this proved that the greenhouse effect did the warming. Checking his warming curve, however, shows that at least thirty of these hundred years were not greenhouse years. And that nullifies his claim.

  47. The most optimistic statement made -
    The people have had enough of dramatized reports predicting an imminent climate apocalypse just around the corner. According to a Eurobarometer poll conducted in July 2013, a mere 4% of the European population now cites the alleged climate catastrophe as their most pressing concern. Moreover, the number is zero percent in seven European countries, including Portugal.

    From the 2011 polling – Just over half (51%) of respondents consider climate change one of the world’s most serious problems (and 20% feel it is the single most serious problem).

    Progress is being made.

  48. Arno: “It is no secret what has gone wrong with their models. They steadfastly cling to the assumption that addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere causes greenhouse warming. That is the heart and soul of their greenhouse theory and it has turned out to be false.”

    “The Arrhenius greenhouse theory that they use has likewise been predicting warming for the last 17 years while in the real world nothing happened.”

    You are over stating the case. Wwe are in the negative phase of the 60y cycle and temps are flat, not showing noticeable cooling. That leaves at least the possibility of some AGW.

    What does seem to be disproved and it the real problem with the models is presumed positive feedbacks and the resultant high climate sensitivity.

    Pretending the recent lack of warming ( and ignoring the lack of notable cooling ) shows that CO2 has no warming effect at all is unjustified and does not advance the argument.

  49. Greg Goodman:

    I did state but the failure is yours. Go see for yourself. You have also misread Rolo’s figure. Go to the posting and it will help you in that figure- 15 mm/decade approx.

  50. Gary Pearse says:
    August 5, 2014 at 6:22 am
    //////////////////

    If CO2 lags temperature, and is a response to it, then (at any rate in the Northern Hemisphere) it is likely that CO2 levels were higher than 280ppm during the Minoan, the Roman and the Viking Warm Perods.

    The growth to which you refer is likely a product of beneficial environmental factors not limited to warmth but also including enriched CO2 fertilisation.

    As others have commented, if CO2 is not driving temperature and if the warming or the majority of it is natural why curb CO2?

    If one leaves the issue of CO2 inducing warming to one side, all the evidence suggests that CO2 at today’s levels and increasing, is beneficial to the biosphere. That being the case, it follows that if CO2 does not significantly drive temperatures (as more and more evidence is beginning to show, and which will probably become more apparent within the coming decade or so), then there is no case for decarbonizing. Indeed, it would be folly to do so,

  51. ren says:
    August 5, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Here you can see why this is happening. High pressure over the Arctic and low pressure than the far south Atlantic.

    ===

    I don’t see this low pressure in S.Alt , look pretty neutral for the most part. Also AO is near zero ( long term avg. )

    This raises the question of where all the extra water that is piling up off the portugese coast due to barometric effects is coming from.

    Go over to C.U. Boulder site and try to get the global mean sea level without the inv. barometer “adjustments” and you won’t get it. Ask and you will be ignored.

    WHY is there any inv. barometer adjustment being applied to _global_ MSL ? It does not make any sense. Barometric effects can only shift water around , it can not make water expand.

    I would not be at all surprised to find that most coastal areas are getting a positive inv. b adjustment. ie all the water is supposed to be piling up out at sea where we cannot measure it and have nothing to cross-check the satellite estimations based on guessing how high waves are ( to the nearest 0.1 mm ! )

  52. I suspect the measurement technology of 1000 years ago is less sophisticated than the thermometer floating around in my swimming pool. Think about it. 180 F of temperature range from ice to steam and measurements spanning 100 F in the rockies or what, 110 F span in Washington DC? Precision at half of least count, so we’re looking at measuring a degree over a thousand years and the pocket protector crowd wants us to get excited over half a degree, measured to a hundredth of a degree?

    I live on an island where it’s generally 4 F cooler on ‘my’ side of the mountains every day. I’ll challenge anyone to find someone who’s moved to the windward side of the mountain because it’s cooler.

    Cal65

  53. Arno Arrak says:
    August 5, 2014 at 11:24 am

    I quote the authors,…

    Arno, to reiterate what was recently said on another thread, can I rent you a paragraph break or two? Please break up your rhetoric into topical chunks. When you write one fifteen inch paragraph, I get to where I just don’t care long before I reach the end as I struggle to figure out where you change topics vs continue the old one.

    As it is, many of the points you make appear to be good ones, some not so good, but I’m not going to tease them sentence by sentence out of one long diatribe to comment. So PLEASE — break up your text into paragraphs like all the other (good) writers in the Universe. Bad writing is not an effective vehicle to use to make important points.

    rgb

  54. Robert W Turner says:
    August 5, 2014 at 9:11 am
    “It seems to me that taking modern measurements from Hawaii and then comparing them to CO2 measurements from ice core samples is flawed methodology, since as many of you know, CO2 content in air is highly variable from place to place.”

    Yes, you are correct and NASA imagery supports it. There is in fact a CO2 “hole” at the poles.

    http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=82142

    In postings related to the Ozone hole, I’ve pointed out that only O2 in the atmosphere is paramagnetic – attracted to a mag field and all other gases are diamagnetic – REPELLED by a mag field. Although there are other things acting – weather, biochemical, etc. this effect should result in at least some enrichment of oxygen at the poles and diminishing of all other gases including ozone and carbon dioxide. The idea hasn’t gotten any traction.

  55. Greg Goodman:

    Seems to be some confusion. The posting referred to PSMSL data which gave about 1-2 mm/yr SL rise. That is what Rolo was referring to when he disputed the reported SL rise and cited his own views. My purpose was to point out the unreliability of PSMSL
    data. You can check NOAA data against

    PSMSL through NOAA mean sea level data.

    NOAA mean SL data indicate a steady sea level since before this century began, about 15-20 years on all gauges except where there is subsidence in such places as the Chesapeake Bay area. This flat trend is exhibited on all three coasts and starkly contradicts what you see in the “official” reports such as the U of Colo. or the NOAA itself which show a rise of about 3 mm per annum. By the tidal gauges, this rise must be fabricated. Nils-Axil Morner tells how it is done: they find a tidal gauge which is subsiding. This gives a spurious sea level rise. This yields a baseline for the satellite altimetry data which itself shows no appreciable SL rise. So the altimetry data is added to the baseline sloped according to the spurious tidal gauge reading (although not really false at that particular location because it matters not whether sea be rising or coast sinking, the result is the same.)

    Now, you might be incredulous at this but please reflect what else the global warmers have done in the name of science and think it possible that this is true.

  56. @Peter Taylor says:
    August 5, 2014 at 6:08 am

    I agree very little. We have centuries of fossil fuels available. The global warming threat of a climate cataclysm from burning fossil fuels is about as close the the square-root of zero as can be without actually being zero.

    The market will respond to needs and changing conditions. There is no need to create artificial conditions by trying to regulate fossil fuels out of use and experimental energy sources into use. Things will sort themselves out.

  57. Greg Goodman says:

    You are over stating the case. Wwe are in the negative phase of the 60y cycle and temps are flat, not showing noticeable cooling. That leaves at least the possibility of some AGW.

    What does seem to be disproved and it the real problem with the models is presumed positive feedbacks and the resultant high climate sensitivity.

    Thanks for having the patience to tease out “paragraphs” from the unbroken monologue and make some of the points I would have made if I had the patience. The fact of the matter is that we haven’t got a model for the climate that is even conceptually capable of explaining all that we know or believe on the basis of historical observation, and we don’t know whether or not many (possibly most!) of those beliefs are accurate. A lot of beliefs about the past state of the Earth’s climate and ecosystem are at heart a complex fiction, storytelling based on a thin layer of narrow observations, usually obscured by a nearly unknown coarse grained averaging over time, drawn from a tiny, tiny handful of sites around the planet and held to be generally representative without any possibility of verifying or falsifying the assertion. A lot of those beliefs are stated as if they were bald fact or displayed as if they are rock-solid “known truth” curves without error bars or any discussion of uncertainty whenever they are used by either side in the climate debate.

    A few of these beliefs do have enough supporting corroborative evidence that they are probably true enough, although perhaps not “true” enough to graph without error bars or uncertainties. Many of them are inferences on the thinnest of evidentiary support, attributing monovariate causes in a highly multivariate environment, with all sorts of possible confounding phenomena either completely ignored or summarily dismissed. Very, very few of them can be supported by a proper Bayesian argument with recomputed posterior probabilities that might at least give one a glimpse at how likely it is that the underlying assumptions (priors) are correct.

    At the moment, the best that we can say is that we have little to no idea whether or not CO_2 is (essentially) irrelevant to the evolution of the current climate, relevant and overall good for the world, relevant and overall bad for the world, relevant but unpredictably good and/or in a chaotic nonlinear multivariate system. We do not know which if any of the various assertions about CO_2′s direct radiative effect and/or the coupled feedback effects of the other greenhouse gases excluding water, the coupled feedback effects including water (which is enormously complex and almost completely misrepresented in climate model computations carried out at a scale that completely eliminates all of the important short distance short time dynamics of water vapor), the coupled feedback effects including other GHGs, water at all spatiotemporal resolutions, various aerosols, the hypothetical contribution from magnetically variable atmospheric radiation, soot, dust, pressure modulation of the GHE, and the coupled dynamics of the ocean (did I mention the ocean?) as a huge highly variably driven heat sink coupled to the global water cycle are correct! And let’s not forget the sun, the moon, geothermal and volcanic variability, orbital variability, non-Markovian dynamics including “sources” that are actually dynamic phenomena whose roots were laid down 100 or 500 or 1000 years ago.

    We only know that so far, they appear not to be accurately computable, so we cannot even assess their necessity or importance by comparing the results of computations with various treatments of all of these contributing factors to reality. We cannot, as has been noted, come up with a believable, computable, explanation of the MWP, the LIA, or the post-LIA warming with and/or without human contributions. We cannot describe even in gross terms the thermal history of the Pliestocene, assuming that our beliefs about that thermal history are well-founded and not a story, ditto the Holocene. There is considerable debate as to the cause of the Younger Dryas. And we have inadequate data to properly start even a perfectly accurate computation now using modern instrumentation. How the hell are we supposed to explain state evolution 500 years ago, from an initial state “measured” by reading verbal anecdotes or making inferences from the price of sheep in Scotland since thermometers and barometers and anemometers and physics and stuff like that hadn’t been invented yet?

    Wait, I know the answer to this one.

    We make stuff up.

    rgb

  58. rgbatduke says:
    August 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm

    Well thought & said, as usual, although maybe shorter sentences with fewer parentheses might make your trenchant analysis more accessible to the laity.

    I think paleoclimatic studies can with some confidence however conclude that the recent, perhaps late, lamented, warming from the late 1970s, was nothing special in the Holocene & that this interglacial has been & is nothing special among interglacials. Dryas-like events have been found in the proxy data from prior interglacials, along with optima like the Holocene’s & subsequent warm intervals interspersed with cooler. Without knowing with great confidence the causes of these observed phenomena, IMO science can & should (although the non-scientifically driven “consensus” hasn’t) still conclude that the null hypothesis hasn’t been falsified, ie there’s no reason to posit humanity as the primary driver of climate since 1950 or whenever.

    It’s still colder now than for most of the Holocene, which has been cooler than at least two of the past four interglacials.

    Too many parentheses of my own.

  59. Excellent post. If you are a skeptic, this has to reinforce your position. If you are a warmist , it has to make you rethink your position. Every week I read information that makes CAGW a theory without legs. Who is going to be the last holdout?

  60. A one degree warmer than present Medieval Warm Period in the Iberian Peninsula sounds about right. Very roughly, globally IMO the MWP was about one degree warmer than now, the Roman Warm Period around two, the Minoan WP possibly three & the Holocene Climatic Optimum four or five. The Arctic during the HCO was up to nine degrees warmer, but the tropics only perhaps one degree.

    Earth is still in the long term cold trend which started either about 3000 during the Minoan WP or 5000 years ago, from the end of the HCO (longer from its height).

  61. Greg Goodman says:
    August 5, 2014 at 9:04 am

    You’ll love this one. Bottom of the following page. Sea level – tide gauge and satellite data side by side. Satellite data shows almost twice the rate of the tide gauges and no explanation from NASA whatsoever!

    http://climate.nasa.gov/key_indicators/

  62. mpainter @ 11:10 am
    “Sea level rise was mostly complete about 6,000 years or more years ago. Can you show what isostasy changes presently obtain? The coast there is stable. I ask you for data, not arm waving.”
    Bit of a problem there, because I don’t think anyone has actually measured it, and I’m not sure how you could. Certainly Scandinavia is still rising, as, I think, are Northern Canada, etc., but that is because they were severely depressed by ice sheets.
    It stands to reason, though, that the addition of 140 tons per square metre on the seabed is going to have some effect, and I doubt it’s all over now.

  63. Disputin:
    Thanks for your reply. The U of Colorado has a sea level fabrication machine operating and a part of that is a spurious ocean floor subsidence for which they add .3mm to compensate. Thus by this and other subterfuges they achieve a fabricated sea level rise of about 3mm per annum. I have great difficulty with claims of isostatic effect that are simply bald assertions. Tidal gauges which data is not so easily adulterated show a steady sea level except in locales where there is subsidence, in which case the gauge shows a SL rise or if there is local uplift then the gauge reads as a falling sea level. Such local effects are easily identified so any vague talk about isostatic movement unsupported by observation is not to be taken seriously.

  64. Susana Costas of the University of Nebraska lead a team of researchers from the LNEG, the Universidade de Lisboa and the Universidade Lusófona in a study of the dunes and found five particularly stormy periods that had occurred during the past twelve millennia.

    The word “lead” should be “led”. This error is all too common. (Apologies if someone else has mentioned this; I skipped over the comments to send this off.)

    Ian M

  65. John Tyler said:
    Prior to the industrial revolution – over the preceding millions
    of years – the earth has experienced several ice ages, many
    warm periods, and CO2 levels were all over the place. In fact,
    during one of the ice ages, CO2 levels were far higher than today’s.
    NO ONE CAN EXPLAIN ANY OF THIS.
    ==============================================

    Um, well, some people CAN. You just have to find them. Nir Shaviv
    of Jerusalem University has put forward some good explanations,
    rather, some very plausible explanations, for the Ice Ages and their
    glaciations, which do not require, and, indeed, are independent of
    CO2. You can find his research at his blog: sciencebits.com —just
    follow the links to his personal research.

    He also collaborated with Henrik Svensmark (Danish Technical University)
    who has been investigating the variation(s) in this planet’s cloud cover and
    whose hypothesis for global warming competes head on with the CO2
    hypothesis. Again, a more plausible and increasingly better supported idea.

    Enjoy your reading!

  66. Greg Goodman August 5, 2014 at 11:58 am says:”… You are over stating the case. We are in the negative phase of the 60y cycle and temps are flat, not showing noticeable cooling. That leaves at least the possibility of some AGW. What does seem to be disproved and it the real problem with the models is presumed positive feedbacks and the resultant high climate sensitivity. Pretending the recent lack of warming ( and ignoring the lack of notable cooling ) shows that CO2 has no warming effect at all is unjustified and does not advance the argument.”

    No, Greg, I am calling it like it is. Your sixty year cycle and quite a few others that have no physical reason to exist is just a confusing occurrence, with no right to be called a cycle. When you are doing science you have to ignore such nonsense and presumed feedbacks as well in order to bring out the signal you are after. If this means killing some sacred cows, so be it.

    What you say about the models is true of course and shows additional reasons why they are wrong. Their high sensitivity is complete nonsense because real sensitivity is exactly zero. There can’t be anything else because increasing carbon dioxiode does not cause any warming.

    I don’t simply pretend that CO2 has no warming effect. I demonstrate it by observed facts. Unless you can show that these observations are wrong you cannot criticize my conclusions. Your hope that there is “… at least the possibility of some AGW…” is not based on any observations and is wrong.

  67. rgbatduke August 5, 2014 at 12:57 pm thanks Greg Goodman for “… having the patience to tease out ‘paragraphs’ from the unbroken monologue and make some of the points I would have made if I had the patience….” He is speaking of my comment here. Goodman’s points of course are irrelevant as I pointed out to him. Now we have rgbatduke who writes sentences sixty six words long complaining about an “unbroken monologue” to get away from discussing anything scientific that I wrote. You will not learn climate science, duke, with such childish tactics.

  68. rgbatduke August 5, 2014 at 12:25 pm says:
    Arno Arrak August 5, 2014 at 11:24 am says: “I quote the authors,…”
    Arno, to reiterate what was recently said on another thread, can I rent you a paragraph break or two?

    Of all people, you of the 66 word sentences acting like a grammarian? Ok, I will let it go this time because the management of this blog felt likewise and decided to break up my writing into paragraphs. Now you have no reason not to read it. Try to focus on science this time.

  69. @ Nylo

    Check your facts.

    Mona Loa data is collected from an instrument measuring IR radiation to estimate the CO2 content of the atmosphere. Considering that this volcano is one of five in the immediate area and all emit CO2 does not make for the best data set. This IR method has not been officially validated.

    Data collected in Europe during the 1800′s was carried out in various countries including UK, Germany and Italy using a chemical method, the method preferred today ”officially” . That the data varied is explained by seasonal changes, natural, and areal concentration due to emerging industry.

  70. For those delighting in the GHE recently published data from NOAA shows that for the past 14-15 years increasing GHG concentrations have been accompanied by REDUCING LIR.

    This is contrary to the favourite theory.

  71. “rational decarbonizing” not only doesn’t exist, it is an oxymoron, put forward by some morons whose brains are desperately short of oxy.

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