Roy Spencer's testimony before congress backs up Monckton's assertions on climate sensitivity

Dr. Roy Spencer went to Washington to give testimony today to the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Here is his presentation. While not as technical as Lord Moncktons paper at APS (since it had to be simplified for a congressional hearing), it nonetheless says the same thing – climate sensitivity is overstated by models and not supported by observational data. – Anthony

Update: See the complete testimony on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qzf6z-oHP8U


http://www.uah.edu/News/climatepics/Spencer.jpgTestimony of Roy W. Spencer before the

Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on 22 July 2008

A printable PDF of this testimony can be found here

I would like to thank Senator Boxer and members of the Committee for allowing me to discuss my experiences as a NASA employee engaged in global warming research, as well as to provide my current views on the state of the science of global warming and climate change.

I have a PhD in Meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and have been involved in global warming research for close to twenty years. I have numerous peer reviewed scientific articles dealing with the measurement and interpretation of climate variability and climate change. I am also the U.S. Science Team Leader for the AMSR-E instrument flying on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

1. White House Involvement in the Reporting of Agency Employees’ Work

On the subject of the Administration’s involvement in policy-relevant scientific work performed by government employees in the EPA, NASA, and other agencies, I can provide some perspective based upon my previous experiences as a NASA employee. For example, during the Clinton-Gore Administration I was told what I could and could not say during congressional testimony. Since it was well known that I am skeptical of the view that mankind’s greenhouse gas emissions are mostly responsible for global warming, I assumed that this advice was to help protect Vice President Gore’s agenda on the subject.

This did not particularly bother me, though, since I knew that as an employee of an Executive Branch agency my ultimate boss resided in the White House. To the extent that my work had policy relevance, it seemed entirely appropriate to me that the privilege of working for NASA included a responsibility to abide by direction given by my superiors.

But I eventually tired of the restrictions I had to abide by as a government employee, and in the fall of 2001 I resigned from NASA and accepted my current position as a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Despite my resignation from NASA, I continue to serve as Team Leader on the AMSR-E instrument flying on the NASA Aqua satellite, and maintain a good working relationship with other government researchers.

2. Global Warming Science: The Latest Research

Regarding the currently popular theory that mankind is responsible for global warming, I am very pleased to deliver good news from the front lines of climate change research. Our latest research results, which I am about to describe, could have an enormous impact on policy decisions regarding greenhouse gas emissions.

Despite decades of persistent uncertainty over how sensitive the climate system is to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, we now have new satellite evidence which strongly suggests that the climate system is much less sensitive than is claimed by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Another way of saying this is that the real climate system appears to be dominated by “negative feedbacks” — instead of the “positive feedbacks” which are displayed by all twenty computerized climate models utilized by the IPCC. (Feedback parameters larger than 3.3 Watts per square meter per degree Kelvin (Wm-2K-1) indicate negative feedback, while feedback parameters smaller than 3.3 indicate positive feedback.)

If true, an insensitive climate system would mean that we have little to worry about in the way of manmade global warming and associated climate change. And, as we will see, it would also mean that the warming we have experienced in the last 100 years is mostly natural. Of course, if climate change is mostly natural then it is largely out of our control, and is likely to end — if it has not ended already, since satellite-measured global temperatures have not warmed for at least seven years now.

2.1 Theoretical evidence that climate sensitivity has been overestimated

The support for my claim of low climate sensitivity (net negative feedback) for our climate system is two-fold. First, we have a new research article1 in-press in the Journal of Climate which uses a simple climate model to show that previous estimates of the sensitivity of the climate system from satellite data were biased toward the high side by the neglect of natural cloud variability. It turns out that the failure to account for natural, chaotic cloud variability generated internal to the climate system will always lead to the illusion of a climate system which appears more sensitive than it really is.

Significantly, prior to its acceptance for publication, this paper was reviewed by two leading IPCC climate model experts – Piers Forster and Isaac Held– both of whom agreed that we have raised a legitimate issue. Piers Forster, an IPCC report lead author and a leading expert on the estimation of climate sensitivity, even admitted in his review of our paper that other climate modelers need to be made aware of this important issue.

To be fair, in a follow-up communication Piers Forster stated to me his belief that the net effect of the new understanding on climate sensitivity estimates would likely be small. But as we shall see, the latest evidence now suggests otherwise.

2.2 Observational evidence that climate sensitivity has been overestimated

The second line of evidence in support of an insensitive climate system comes from the satellite data themselves. While our work in-press established the existence of an observational bias in estimates of climate sensitivity, it did not address just how large that bias might be.

But in the last several weeks, we have stumbled upon clear and convincing observational evidence of particularly strong negative feedback (low climate sensitivity) from our latest and best satellite instruments. That evidence includes our development of two new methods for extracting the feedback signal from either observational or climate model data, a goal which has been called the “holy grail” of climate research.

The first method separates the true signature of feedback, wherein radiative flux variations are highly correlated to the temperature changes which cause them, from internally-generated radiative forcings, which are uncorrelated to the temperature variations which result from them. It is the latter signal which has been ignored in all previous studies, the neglect of which biases feedback diagnoses in the direction of positive feedback (high climate sensitivity).

Based upon global oceanic climate variations measured by a variety of NASA and NOAA satellites during the period 2000 through 2005 we have found a signature of climate sensitivity so low that it would reduce future global warming projections to below 1 deg. C by the year 2100. As can be seen in Fig. 1, that estimate from satellite data is much less sensitive (a larger diagnosed feedback) than even the least sensitive of the 20 climate models which the IPCC summarizes in its report. It is also consistent with our previously published analysis of feedbacks associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations3.

Fig. 1. Frequency distributions of feedback parameters (regression slopes) computed from three-month low-pass filtered time series of temperature (from channel 5 of the AMSU instrument flying on the NOAA-15 satellite) and top-of-atmosphere radiative flux variations for 6 years of global oceanic satellite data measured by the CERES instrument flying on NASA’s Terra satellite; and from a 60 year integration of the NCAR-CCSM3.0 climate model forced by 1% per year CO2 increase. Peaks in the frequency distributions indicate the dominant feedback operating. This NCAR model is the least sensitive (greatest feedback parameter value) of all 20 IPCC models.

A second method for extracting the true feedback signal takes advantage of the fact that during natural climate variability, there are varying levels of internally-generated radiative forcings (which are uncorrelated to temperature), versus non-radiative forcings (which are highly correlated to temperature). If the feedbacks estimated for different periods of time involve different levels of correlation, then the “true” feedback can be estimated by extrapolating those results to 100% correlation. This can be seen in Fig. 2, which shows that even previously published4 estimates of positive feedback are, in reality, supportive of negative feedback (feedback parameters greater than 3.3 Wm-2K-1).

Fig. 2. Re-analysis of the satellite-based feedback parameter estimates of Forster and Gregory (2006) showing that they are consistent with negative feedback rather than positive feedback (low climate sensitivity rather than high climate sensitivity).

2.3 Why do climate models produce so much global warming?

The results just presented beg the following question: If the satellite data indicate an insensitive climate system, why do the climate models suggest just the opposite? I believe the answer is due to a misinterpretation of cloud behavior by climate modelers.

The cloud behaviors programmed into climate models (cloud “parameterizations”) are based upon researchers’ interpretation of cause and effect in the real climate system5. When cloud variations in the real climate system have been measured, it has been assumed that the cloud changes were the result of certain processes, which are ultimately tied to surface temperature changes. But since other, chaotic, internally generated mechanisms can also be the cause of cloud changes, the neglect of those processes leads to cloud parameterizations which are inherently biased toward high climate sensitivity.

The reason why the bias occurs only in the direction of high climate sensitivity is this: While surface warming could conceivably cause cloud changes which lead to either positive or negative cloud feedback, causation in the opposite direction (cloud changes causing surface warming) can only work in one direction, which then “looks like” positive feedback. For example, decreasing low cloud cover can only produce warming, not cooling, and when that process is observed in the real climate system and assumed to be a feedback, it will always suggest a positive feedback.

2.4 So, what has caused global warming over the last century?

One necessary result of low climate sensitivity is that the radiative forcing from greenhouse gas emissions in the last century is not nearly enough to explain the upward trend of 0.7 deg. C in the last 100 years. This raises the question of whether there are natural processes at work which have caused most of that warming.

On this issue, it can be shown with a simple climate model that small cloud fluctuations assumed to occur with two modes of natural climate variability — the El Nino/La Nina phenomenon (Southern Oscillation), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation — can explain 70% of the warming trend since 1900, as well as the nature of that trend: warming until the 1940s, no warming until the 1970s, and resumed warming since then. These results are shown in Fig. 3.

Fig. 3. A simple climate model forced with cloud cover variations assumed to be proportional to a linear combination of the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) and Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) index. The heat flux anomalies in (a), which then result in the modeled temperature response in (b), are assumed to be distributed over the top 27% of the global ocean (1,000 meters), and weak negative feedback has been assumed (4 W m-2 K-1).

While this is not necessarily being presented as the only explanation for most of the warming in the last century, it does illustrate that there are potential explanations for recent warming other that just manmade greenhouse gas emissions. Significantly, this is an issue on which the IPCC has remained almost entirely silent. There has been virtually no published work on the possible role of internal climate variations in the warming of the last century.

3. Policy Implications

Obviously, what I am claiming today is of great importance to the global warming debate and related policy decisions, and it will surely be controversial. These results are not totally unprecedented, though, as other recently published research6 has also led to the conclusion that the real climate system does not exhibit net positive feedback.

While it will take some time for the research community to digest this new information, it must be mentioned that new research contradicting the latest IPCC report is entirely consistent with the normal course of scientific progress. I predict that in the coming years, there will be a growing realization among the global warming research community that most of the climate change we have observed is natural, and that mankind’s role is relatively minor.

While other researchers need to further explore and validate my claims, I am heartened by the fact that my recent presentation of these results to an audience of approximately 40 weather and climate researchers at the University of Colorado in Boulder last week (on July 17, 2008 ) led to no substantial objections to either the data I presented, nor to my interpretation of those data.

And, curiously, despite its importance to climate modeling activities, no one from Dr. Kevin Trenberth’s facility, the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), bothered to drive four miles down the road to attend my seminar, even though it was advertised at NCAR.

I hope that the Committee realizes that, if true, these new results mean that humanity will be largely spared the negative consequences of human-induced climate change. This would be good news that should be celebrated — not attacked and maligned.

And given that virtually no research into possible natural explanations for global warming has been performed, it is time for scientific objectivity and integrity to be restored to the field of global warming research. This Committee could, at a minimum, make a statement that encourages that goal.

REFERENCES

1. Spencer, R.W., and W.D. Braswell, 2008: Potential biases in cloud feedback diagnosis:

A simple model demonstration. J. Climate, in press.

2. Allen, M.R., and D.J. Frame, 2007: Call off the quest. Science, 318, 582.

3. Spencer, R.W., W. D. Braswell, J. R. Christy, and J. Hnilo, 2007: Cloud and radiation

budget changes associated with tropical intraseasonal oscillations. Geophys. Res.

Lett., 34, L15707, doi:10.1029/2007GL029698.

4. Forster, P. M., and J. M. Gregory, 2006: The climate sensitivity and its components

diagnosed from Earth Radiation Budget data. J. Climate, 19, 39-52.

5. Stephens, G. L., 2005: Clouds feedbacks in the climate system: A critical review. J.

Climate, 18, 237-273.

6. Schwartz, S. E., 2007: Heat capacity, time constant, and sensitivity of the Earth’s

climate system. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S05, doi:10.1029/2007JD008746.

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I was going to forward this to you, but you beat me to the punch.
I wonder if Sen. Boxer had the guts to pay attention to the info presented here. I can hope she did, but knowing how entrenched her opinion is on AGW, I doubt it.

Retired Engineer

Predictions: The warmers will ignore Spencer. Or denounce him as a dangerous lunatic who completely misinterpreted all of the data.
Nailing your thesis to the church door sometimes gets you in trouble.

Mike C

No one from Trenberth’s office went there because they are still in denial of Anthony’s presentation of the surface stations.

Dr Spencer will be attacked and maligned. It started as soon as he stopped speaking.

[…] Sidebar to Spencer testimony today – Barbara Boxer tosses an insult, implies Limbaugh is involved in Spencer’s testimony 22 07 2008 From the Rush Limbaugh show, some sparks flew when Boxer beclowns herself at the end of Dr. Roy Spencer’s testimony. (Link to testimony here) […]

Frank Ravizza

As much as I admire Dr. Spencer’s audacious dissemination of his focused empirical research which attenuates iconic catastrophic AGW theory, I know this work will be marginalized by global warming politics. As much as I’d like to see it happen–there is no such thing as a decisive knock-out punch.

Stan Needham

Nailing your thesis to the church door sometimes gets you in trouble.
And that is precisely what just happened. Let the debate commence anew.

R John

Climate insensitive to man? What an interesting concept.
Now, let the fun begin. All of us who think this is theory is correct should continue to look for evidence to support this (as well as evidence that does not). THIS is how science works. We should not just declare our consensus!!!
As Einstein once said, “You don’t need 100 scientists to prove me wrong, you only need one.” Perhaps Spencer is that “one” to prove the modelers were wrong.

Joel Shore

I think someone needs to point out to Spencer that his reference 6 to Schwartz is no longer applicable in that Schwartz himself no longer argues for a climate sensitivity that implies “the real climate system does not exhibit net positive feedback”. See his reply to the comments on his paper here: http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/steve/pubs/HeatCapCommentResponse.pdf
Schwartz’s estimate 1.9 +- 1.0K for the equilibrium climate sensitivity is now considerably overlapping with the IPCC’s estimate of 2.0 to 4.5 K. (No net positive feedbacks would imply a sensitivity of ~1.1 K or less, so this just barely overlaps with Schwartz’s estimate.)

It’s all over except for the shouting.

I disagree with Joel Shore’s estimate of the UN/IPCC’s predictions, because the IPCC makes so many predictions.
Rather than trying to show the UN’s mendacity, I will refer to Lord Monckton’s devastating rebuttal to the IPCC: click
In reading Monckton’s thorough deconstruction of the UN’s methods, you will see why they and the AGW/catastrophe peddlers fear and loathe Monckton the way they do: he exposes their fraud to the world.

Jeff C.

Dr. Spencer has an informative write-up on this subject here:
http://www.weatherquestions.com/Climate-Sensitivity-Holy-Grail.htm
The subject is very clearly explained with much more information regarding climate sensitivity and how many of the modelers have misinterpreted the measured data to overestimate sensitivity. It is must reading.

DR

Thank you for posting this.
Frank Ravizza,
We can expect many ex post facto rhetoric from those who’ve staked their reputations on AGW. In time it will be self-evident just how wrong they are. True, Spencer will be maligned and ignored but others will follow with more evidence supporting his work despite attempts to stop the debate. Who else has noticed the garbage being ramrodded through the “science” journals using climate models as their predictive tools? Great huh? A hypothesis used to form a hypothesis. That’s science?
What was missing in this has been the observational evidence to support/refute CO2 AGW. Spencer has simply opened the door by publishing his first article last August which showed the atmosphere behaves exactly opposite the climate model predictions. It was somewhat ignored, but those who read it began to understand just how horribly wrong the AGW hypothesis is. As the satellite data keeps rolling in, it will be difficult to support the “consensus”.
After Spencer published his second article referenced above, RealClimate attacked with their usual volley of ad hominen logical fallacies, but failed to acknowledge as Spencer noted, that Held and Forster agreed with him which effectively neutered Raypierre and the rest of the malcontents at RealClimate. Why anyone takes them seriously is puzzling.
Now the true believers are backed to the Arctic being their last stand, their Little Big Horn, but even that isn’t working out well. Strange it is that the three major postulates presented as the cause for the anomalous 2007 Arctic melt doesn’t mention CO2 🙂 Yet Hansen declares just last month without evidence it is rising GHG causing the melt. These preachers of doom can’t even show it is warmer now in the Arctic and Greenland than it was ~70 years ago.
http://www.arm.gov/science/research/pdf/R00143.pdf
http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=impure-as-the-driven-snow
http://www.nasa.gov/vision/earth/lookingatearth/quikscat-20071001.html

DR

Joel Shore,
Did Schwartz have Spencer’s data to make those determinations?
That is the difference. Observations trump theory, every time.

Leon Brozyna

Perhaps APS would have Dr. Spencer submit his paper for the next edition of the Physics and Society newsletter. Keep the debate going.

Philip_B

Climate sensitivity to increasing CO2 is the core the AGW debate. The physics of CO2 doubling gives a warming of around 1C (some say substantially less), of which we should have seen about half to date.
So, the core argument of the Warmers is that the climate sensitivity is much higher than what can be directly attributed to CO2 itself. And this results from feedbacks.
The evidence for these feedbacks is shaky to non-existent. And the GCM and the IPCC determined their sensitivity by extrapolating the observed warming in the temperature record from the 1970s to the 1990s.
Clearly, the fact the 70s to 90s warming is unrepresentative (and may well not be in part real) of both the subsequent and prior periods and a sensitivity determined from this period is almost certainly wrong.
The IPCC and the modellers will deny this to the end, because reducing the sensitivity will bring the whole AGW house of cards crashing down. The climate sensitivity determined in the 1990s must be defended at all costs.

Glenn

Joel unwittingly helps here with the question of this “consensus”, “settled science”, in his reference:
http://www.ecd.bnl.gov/steve/pubs/HeatCapCommentResponse.pdf
“The continuing high uncertainty associated with estimates of Earth’s climate sensitivity pertinent to climate change on the multidecadal time scale has motivated an effort to determine this sensitivity empirically within an energy balance framework.”
Doesn’t sound like “settled science” or the basis of a consensus.

Douglas Hoyt

I don’t think Schwartz’s analysis of climate sensitivity is valid if you have large unforced natural oscialltions in climate like Spencer points out.

Joel Shore

Douglas: But, Spencer is using Schwartz to re-enforce his claim about climate sensitivity being low. Why would he cite work that he knows is faulty (when it supports his claim)…but now you are trying to tell me that the analysis isn’t valid (now that an error in it has been corrected and it no longer supports the claim)?
The work of Schwartz has been cited many many times by commenters on this blog. Now, it seems that it wasn’t so great after all? Hmmm.
DR says: “Did Schwartz have Spencer’s data to make those determinations?…
That is the difference. Observations trump theory, every time.” Well, both of the papers rely on a combination of observational data and analysis of that data so I don’t see how you can say that one trumps the other on this sort of simplistic basic.
Smokey says: “I disagree with Joel Shore’s estimate of the UN/IPCC’s predictions, because the IPCC makes so many predictions.” The latest predictions are in the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report. That report states clearly that the equilibrium climate sensitivity is likely between 2 and 4.5 C and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5 C.
Glenn says: “Joel unwittingly helps here with the question of this ‘consensus’, ‘settled science’, in his reference:” It is not “my reference”. It is simply the updated analysis in a reply to comments given by Schwartz, which is the reference that Spencer cites. And, noone claims that there is not a considerable amount of uncertainty in climate sensitivity. Clearly, even a range of 2 to 4.5 C, the IPCC “likely” range, demonstrates that there is a considerable amount of uncertainty. However, that does not mean there is no scientific consensus whatsoever and any opinion is equally regarded in the scientific literature as any other.

Bill Marsh

Phillip_B,
“The physics of CO2 doubling gives a warming of around 1C (some say substantially less), of which we should have seen about half to date.”
If the mathematics of ln(C/C0) holds, then we’ve actually seen more like 70% of the warming we’re going to see with doubling of CO2 from 260-520 ppmv. You’ll get the most increase in warming in the first 30% of increase.

Andrea Smith

I watched the testimony before the EPW committee today (webcast at http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Hearings.Home); the title of the hearing is quite misleading: Full Committee hearing entitled, “An Update on the Science of Global Warming and its Implications.”There were only a few committee members in attendance and all they were wanted to know is “Did President Bush tell the EPA to throw out recommendations on regulation of CO2?” Dr. Spencer gave any opening statement and was asked no more questions. Jason Burnett, Former Associate Deputy Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, was the principal witness. Sadly, it appeared that these policy makers are not willing to hear anything that differs from their viewpoints.

Joel Shore

By the way, looking at the link that Jeff C. provided for more details of Spencer’s analysis, it is clear that Spencer says things that clearly contradict Monckton.
For example, Spencer says bluntly, “For the Earth, this natural cooling effect amounts to an average of 3.3 Watts per square meter for every 1 deg C that the Earth warms. There is no scientific disagreement on this value.” This parameter that he is talking about is equal to 1/kappa in Monckton’s notation. Note that Monckton makes much of us not knowing this parameter before coming up with an estimate that is a fair bit different (~4.15 W/m^2).
Spencer is less direct in his statement about the forcing for CO2 doubling, but it seems pretty clear from his statements (e.g., “If clouds and water vapor don’t change as we add CO2 to the atmosphere, then the expected warming by 2100 would only be about 1 deg. C”) that he accepts the IPCC estimate, whereas Monckton arbitrarily knocked it down to 1/3 the IPCC value. [Either that, or he really expects CO2 levels to go through the roof by 2100!]
So, the moral of the story is that any claims that Monckton and Spencer are saying the same thing is not true at all. Yes, they are both arguing for low climate sensitivity. However, they are doing so with completely different arguments and, in fact, the arguments can’t really both be right.

Joel Shore

Bill Marsh says: “If the mathematics of ln(C/C0) holds, then we’ve actually seen more like 70% of the warming we’re going to see with doubling of CO2 from 260-520 ppmv. You’ll get the most increase in warming in the first 30% of increase.”
Even ignoring the facts that the accepted value I usually see used for pre-industrial levels is 280ppmv, that there is a lag time in the warming (i.e., equilibrium climate sensitivity differs from transient climate sensitivity), and the cooling and warming effects of aerosols and other greenhouse gases, I don’t see how you get 70%. Using your 260ppm value (and using 385ppm for the current value), I get that we have gone a little less than 57% of the way toward a doubling of CO2 levels, i.e., log(385/260)/log(2) = 57%. Using the more accepted 280ppm value, lowers that to 46%.

Mike C

I get the feeling that the debate will finally include cold water upwelling. Cold water upwelling is the mechanism by which the ENSO and PDO cause cooling. It is a missing factor in many of the models, replaced by anthropogenic aerosols as the cause of mid 20th century cooling. Understanding this concept is necessary in understanding what Spencer is talking about but never mentioned. You guys need to study it a little and start talking about it.

Reed Coray

I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest thanks to Dr. Spencer, Lord Monckton, Dr. Singer and the many other scientists unknown to me who refused to believe the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) alarmists’ predictions just because it was the politically and fiscally “smart thing to do”. By questioning the establishment, at a minimum they put their reputations on the line; and although I am unware of a specific case, I can’t help but believe many of them have put their livelihoods on the line as well. They did this in part because they observed politically-influenced science being practiced on a large scale, and as true believers of science-science not political-influenced-science, they couldn’t and didn’t stand idly by and say nothing. Even if in the end it turns out they are incorrect (an outcome whose likelihood is diminishing daily), I will still feel I owe them a debt of gratitude. They may be the primary reason we avoid whatever problems and catastrophes would ensue had the political-scientists gotten their way. If the AGW alarmists basic premise that man’s industrial activity (in particular man’s increased production of CO2) (a) will cause global warming and (b) global warming is in the aggregate bad for the Earth, by delaying action we may do some damage to the Earth. But given the fact that since 2001 measurements show that the Earth has cooled, it’s extremely hard to believe that the apocalypse will occur if we delay taking action by a few years. Between the two alternatives: (1) massive and immediate changes to energy production, and (2) taking a risk that by delaying doing something we cross the threshold of temperature stability and bring on the apocalypse, I for one am happy to take the risk.
Reed Coray

Reed Coray

In the arena of scientific discourse, I believe in a polite, respectful, and courteous exchange of ideas. In the arena of political discourse, I have no such restrictions. Although I didn’t see the Congressional hearings held this morming (22 July 2008), which I believe were chaired by Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat, California), it’s easy for me to believe Andrea Smith’s post (19:45:19) is accurate. Being a resident of California, two things, and only two things, would surprise me about Senator Boxer: (a) she expresses an intelligent thought, and (b) she makes a decision based on what is good for the country instead of what is good for Barbara Boxer and the Democrat Party.
Reed Coray

Joe S

At the very end of Dr. Spencer’s spoken testimony he said the following and I thought it was significant and pretty scary. I transcribed it from the video. I hope I got it right.
First time using the blockquote tag. Please work!

Joe S

At the very end of Dr. Spencer’s spoken testimony he said the following and I thought it was significant and pretty scary. I transcribed it from the video. I hope I got it right.
“There’s a story I’d like to relate to you and I’ve never told it before. In the early days of the IPCC, I was visiting the head of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy. The director, Dr. Robert Watson, who later became the first Chairman of the IPCC, he informed me and a work associate with me that since we had started to regulate Ozone depleting substances under the 1987 Montreal Protocol, the next goal, in his mind, was to regulate Carbon Dioxide emissions from fossil fuel burning. This was nearly twenty years ago. There’s no mention of a scientific basis for that goal. So, as you can see from the beginning of the IPCC process, it has been guided by desired policy outcomes, not science.
I believe that most of the scientists involved with the IPCC are indeed reputable and honest. But, I they have been used by politicians, bureaucrats and a handful of sympathetic and outspoken scientists. “

DR

Joel Shore,
You clearly have not been keeping track of Spencer’s work this past year. That’s ok, he has been ignored……until now. He’s been building up to this point for the last two years. Now Pandora’s box has been opened. What’s inside?
His first paper showed observational data from satellites clearly disagreed (exactly opposite in fact) with GCM outputs on atmospheric behavior in the tropics.
His second paper consisted of forming a hypothesis as to why this was occurring. In case you missed it, Held and Forster (look them up) agreed, but not on a quantifiable basis.
His third paper is the observational evidence to support his second paper.
In any event, observations are diametrically opposed to IPCC GCM’s. There are now myriads of studies demonstrating this. G Stephens 2005 was the first big hit on GCM assumptions on cloud dynamics. Roe & Baker further bloodied them up on climate sensitivity. There are many more.
One would assume you believe there is still “heat in the pipeline”. If this were the case, as OHC is declining, where is the heat going? Josh Willis and Kevin Trenberth are a bit perplexed by this. It is not continuing to warm on land or sea as IPCC (ala Hansen et al) claimed it would as GHG emissions continue to rise.
I don’t see how pitting Monckton vs Spencer will help your cause. If you have read Spencer’s work closely, (I don’t have it in front of me) I believe he places the actual real world warming attributable to 2xCO2 at .2C……..that’s not too far off from Monckton now is it? Have you dissected Monckton’s mathematical calculations? Where is he in error? Where is Spencer wrong?

DR

Joel Shore,
P.S. No, Schwartz did not do what Spencer has done with the data demonstrating the potential bias in GCM cloud feedbacks. Spencer credited another researcher who evidently didn’t appreciate the significance. I don’t recall it being Schwartz. If it was, obviously he didn’t do anything with it.

[…] of Roy W. Spencer before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on 22 July 2008 (via Watts Up With That? today) […]

FTrouse

I’m envious of all your positive attitudes. Your conviction that as a better more honest science is given an opportunity to be presented the world and your peers will see the truth and accept it.
I fear this will not be the case.
I see the IPCC as another form of Al Gore. One who has invested his fortune his reputation and most importantly his pride in the premise that the earth is heating in direct relation to the introduction by man of carbon pollutants into the atmosphere. The earth is going to hell in a hand cart and it’s all your fault!
All that time he spent as Vice President, with absolutely nothing to do, no way to continue his march to glory, no opportunity to present himself to the world as one of the great ones. Then the humiliation of the loss to that Texas pecker wood.
This is his last chance.
Mr. Gore, like the IPCC, has stepped into the light with all the glory needed to be the guide, the leader, in fact the saviour of the world. Do you think that he, they, will forgo that? Do you believe that something as common and insignificant as science, or truth, will cause them to relinquish the dreams they were born to achieve?
To protect his wealth and his pride Al Gore would rip the heart from every babe that ever drew breath. To remain the man of the decade, or the most influential NGO in the world today, these two entities would scythe through a puny bunch of mathematicians, physicists, climatologists, journalists, or any other ists that would have the gaul to attempt to spoil the exaltation of their glory.
Think about this: If your hopes and thesis are correct, will they, Mr. Gore and the IPCC, relinquish their Nobel s, return the monetary awards, give up their grants and close up the departments and offices that the grants support? Will they continue to feed and care for your peers who rely on Climate Change, IPCC and Al Gore for their livelihoods? Will they go before the world with heads bowed and confess that it was all a terrible mistake? Will they say they are sorry for any inconvenience they may have caused and please allow us to make it right? Will they go before the UN, that paragon of virtue and honesty, and convince them that the Kyoto Agreement must be immediately terminated and any economic losses suffered by it s signatories be recompensed by the UN?
I am convinced you do not need anyone to answer those questions for you.
I believe that those of you who determine to follow your science and the truth that it can provide are about to embark on an adventure that will, as the saying goes, separate the Men from the boys.
As one who hasn’t the tools to prove what time it is but who will never the less be required to live with the consequences of a world under the boot of Eco-Nanny Junk Science Totalitarians, I hope your success is resounding as well as rapid. May I, as one of the billions of little guys who can’t prove the time of day or convince our governments to just leave us alone, offer you my thanks my gratitude and my support.
Sincerly,
FTRouse

Barbara

Dr Spencer’s findings are very interesting.
On the issue of climate sensitivity, one thing has always puzzled me.
Is there any “orthodox” explanation of the mechanism(s) whereby in the Carboniferous era (the clue’s in the name!), around 320 million years ago, CO2 went from c.7,000 ppm in the early period, to 350 ppm in the middle period?
If I understand the positive feedback theory correctly, once a tipping point is reached (presumably purported to be well under 7,000 ppm) this *couldn’t* happen, right?
Or did I miss something?

FTrouse (01:25:16) Keep the faith, buddy. Anthony and his ilk will not let us down; despair as you and I may right now.

Douglas Hoyt

Here is how I think why and how climate change is occurring.
1. Cloud cover is varying over the oceans. Evidence (see Palle abstract below).
2. The cloud cover causes changes in ocean temperatures by modulating the amount of solar radiation being absorbed.
3. The changes in ocean temperatures cause much of the observed changes in temperature over land (see Compo abstract below).
4. Part of the changes in land temperatures are also caused by land use changes (Pielke, Sr.), urban heat islands (McKitrick and Michaels), and poor siting of thermometers (Watts).
Additional comments:
1. The Compo paper states: “Indeed we find compelling evidence from several atmospheric general circulation model simulations without prescribed GHG, aerosol, and solar forcing variations (Table 1) that the continental warming in Fig. 1a is largely a response to the warming of the oceans rather than directly due to GHG increases over the continents (Table 2).” In other words, they simulate the observed climate changes without any changes in greenhouse gases.
2. The cloud cover variations reported by Palle are consistent with the recent cooling of the oceans based upon the Argo buoys and are inconsistent with the GHG warming theory.
3. The oceans cannot be warmed by additional downward radiation from additional greenhouse gases since this radiation is absorbed in the upper few microns of the oceans. Indeed Compo says the heat is flowing out of the oceans and not into it, so this also eliminates the hypothesis the greenhouses gases warm the air which is mixed into the oceans warming them.
4. Cloud cover over the oceans varies and this modulates the amount of solar radiation reaching the surface which modulates the ocean temperatures. Cloud cover variations are probably natural unforced internal variations of the climate system. It is unlikely that cloud cover and ocean temperatures are ever in equilibrium and hence one can expect oscillations over decades and centuries as seen by El Nino, PDO, AMO, NAO, the 1500 year cycle, etc.
5. Palle reports that the internal forcing is several watts per square meter. The observed temperature variations are in the tenths of a degree. The implied climate sensitivity therefore is very low. The low climate sensitivity means that the postulated forcing by greenhouse gases will have little effect of temperatures.
6. Studies that neglect internal unforced variations in cloud cover will lead to an overestimation of climate sensitivity (for example, Schwartz). You would need to remove all the unforced variations from the temperature record and then apply Schwartz’s techniques to calculate climate sensitivity. I am not sure if this is possible.
7. Some of the cloud cover variations may be forced by solar variations as suggested by Svensmark.
8. Spencer seems to hold views similar to the ones above.
Pallé E., P. Montañés-Rodriguez, P. R. Goode, S. E. Koonin, M. Wild, and S. Casadio, 2005: A multi-data comparison of shortwave climate forcing changes, Geophysical Research Letters.
The abstract reads:
“Traditionally the Earth’s reflectance has been assumed to be roughly constant, but large decadal variability, not reproduced by current climate models, has been reported lately from a variety of sources. We compare here the available data sets related to Earth’s reflectance, in order to assess the observational constraints on the models. We find a consistent picture among all data sets of an albedo decreased during 1985–2000 between 2–3 and 6–7 W/m 2, which is highly climatically significant. The largest discrepancy among the data sets occurs during 2000–2004, when some present an increasing reflectance trend, while CERES observations show a steady decrease of about 2 W/m 2.”
Compo,G.P., and P.D. Sardeshmukh, 2008: Oceanic influences on recent continental warming. Climate Dynamics, in press.
The abstract reads:
“Evidence is presented that the recent worldwide land warming has occurred largely in response to a worldwide warming of the oceans rather than as a direct response to increasing greenhouse gases (GHGs) over land. Atmospheric model simulations of the last half-century with prescribed observed ocean temperature changes, but without prescribed GHG changes, account for most of the land warming. The oceanic influence has occurred through hydrodynamic-radiative teleconnections, primarily by moistening and warming the air over land and increasing the downward longwave radiation at the surface. The oceans may themselves have warmed from a combination of natural and anthropogenic influences.”
Sorry for the long post.

Mike Bryant

FTrouse,
I’m glad to hear from you. I believe there are millions just like you. I am also not able to prove much. But what I have decided to do is let everyone I know the way I am thinking and what I am feeling about this Global Warming Cult.
I keep a positive attitude and always remind friends, relatives and casual acquaintances that things are getting better and cooler.
Have you noticed that Global Warming stopped?
Mike Bryant

Scott Covert

I think the exchange of ideas in places such as this will be sufficient to bring about change. You don’t have to have the best hand to win at cards and you don’t have to be in the majority in the court of public opinion to make the biggest impact in public policy.
What this information is used to accomplish is more important than the information itself, a sad fact indeed. I think the IPCC sees this as an “Ends justify the means” situation. Regulating CO2 equals regulating energy. It is the biggest sword a governing body could weild (aside from religion). Whether increasing or decreasing energy usage the result would be the same, complete control of the world economy and by proxy, control of the world.
I don’t think the proponents of AGW theory are being misled by bad science, quite the opposite. If the governing bodies are finally given control over speech and scientific discourse, they will have won a resounding blow against liberty and resistence to globalization of goverance.
I am very happy to be able to post this and to participate in free exchange of information. Let us all pray this privelege is never allowed to be taken from us.

kim

Douglas, thank you for that succinct and important comment.
=====================================

Ken Westerman

Bravo to Mr. Spencer. Excellent report.
Sounds like the folks at NCAR aren’t too thrilled about a challenge to their mind virus. One of these days, things will be different.

“Predictions: The warmers will ignore Spencer. Or denounce him as a dangerous lunatic who completely misinterpreted all of the data.”
You forgot the inevitable claim, which no doubt will emerge, that he is funded by evil and scary corporations and…..BIG OIL!

Joel Shore

DR says: “I don’t see how pitting Monckton vs Spencer will help your cause. If you have read Spencer’s work closely, (I don’t have it in front of me) I believe he places the actual real world warming attributable to 2xCO2 at .2C……..that’s not too far off from Monckton now is it? Have you dissected Monckton’s mathematical calculations? Where is he in error? Where is Spencer wrong?”
That Spencer and Monckton get the same end result of a low climate sensitivity is not surprising since that is what they are both aiming for. This does not mean the two papers are consistent…and in fact they are not.
As for whether I have dissected Monckton’s calculations, the answer is yes. And, as to where he is wrong, the short answer is pretty much everywhere. Tim Lambert has a pretty good analysis here: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2008/07/moncktons_triple_counting.php One could quibble with whether what Monckton did is best characterized as “triple counting” but the basic underlying errors are correctly noted and they completely invalidate the whole paper. I know that there will also be responses to Monckton’s piece in the FPS newsletter that will explain where he was wrong…I have already read over and commented on one draft response that a friend from physics grad school is writing and it is very good at explaining in great detail where Monckton went wrong.
As for Spencer, his work is clearly a much more serious scientific attempt than Monckton’s. I am not really qualified to say where he might be wrong…although I do know a couple of things. One is his claim that Schwartz’s result supports his claim of net negative feedbacks is no longer true, as I noted. The second is that the fit shown in Fig. 3 is not very impressive given the free parameters that he has to play with…And, I think the RealClimate folks had more to say about that and about the values he had to choose for those parameters in order to even do as well as he did.
In time, climate scientists qualified to evaluate Spencer’s work will weigh in on it, as it should be. In the meantime, what you have is some work that other scientists have not had a chance to digest and respond to that contradicts lots of other evidence in the field. In any field of science at any given time, this is usually the case…It seems to be only in fields like climate science and evolution (i.e., ones that generate political controversy) that many seem to think that this means that we have to be paralyzed and act as if we know nothing.

counters

I am firmly in the same camp with Joel. Monckton’s paper is riddled with error and arbitrary methodology that would never pass should it actually be peer-reviewed some day.
On the other hand, I look forward to the day in which Spencer publishes his work so that we may dissect it in an appropriate scientific discourse. As it stands now, however, his theory is not fully fleshed out. He asserts an interesting premise, and likely it will be absorbed over time into the scientific canon and we will better understand the climate system. I highly doubt it will overturn the large body of evidence supporting the predictions made by AGW.
REPLY: You make claims that “Monckton’s paper is riddled with error and arbitrary methodology” yet offer nothing other than your opinion to back it up.
Thus, your opinion as viewed by the science is worthless. You are welcome to prove it wrong, but simply “saying so” isn’t of any scientific value.
Spencer has published, look it up. Then you can so that you can “dissect it in an appropriate scientific discourse.” or whatever method you choose.
By the way, you can’t actually have “appropriate scientific discourse.” and be an anonymous coward at the same time. Peer review is done by real, known people that put their name behind their work. Your current methodology applied here doesn’t fit that description.

Joel Shore

The moderator says: “Spencer has published, look it up. Then you can so that you can ‘dissect it in an appropriate scientific discourse.’ or whatever method you choose.” Spencer has published some of what he presents, not all of it. As for dissecting it, I have made a few points but I am not sure that either counters or myself are the best ones to do this. I don’t pretend to be a climate scientist and although my background in physics and my reading of climate science in my “free time” give me some ability to comment on work that appears, I have no illusions that I can do so as well as someone working in the field.
The moderator says: “By the way, you can’t actually have ‘appropriate scientific discourse.’ and be an anonymous coward at the same time. Peer review is done by real, known people that put their name behind their work.” Actually, in the cases that I am familiar with, peer review is done anonymously…at least anonymously to everyone but the editor. In fact, I have a friend who works as an editor for the APS journal Physical Review and they have their system designed so that even he is unable to see who refereed the papers that he published there before he became an editor.
REPLY: I’m familiar with the process. Peer reviewers are known by the journal editor and selected based on credentials, experience, and expertise. You can’t gauge any of those from Internet phantoms that don’t use their name or put forth any details on expertise. They aren’t even known to the moderator. For “counters” to imply that a rigorous examination can occur the same way by himself and others is simply an erroneous fantasy.

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evanjones

FTrouse: You don’t do it by assaulting Truk and Rabaul. You do it by bypassing them and rendering them irrelevant.

Kent D. Steele, CRE, MAI, FRICS

Much acclain should be given to Dr. Spencer, my fellow UW-Madison alumnus. Unlike other scientists, he has been able to get his mind around the fact that history did not begin 60 years ago. The politicized scientists seeking self-fulfilling grants have never managed to learn that many mathmatical expressions of complex phenomena are nothing more than garbage in – garbage out. Dr. Spencer knows better! Let’s hope that the politicians who were supposedly listening to him learn a thing or two.

Sam the Skeptic

“I hope that the Committee realizes that, if true, these new results mean that humanity will be largely spared the negative consequences of human-induced climate change. This would be good news that should be celebrated — not attacked and maligned.”
This is so obvious that it shouldn’t need saying. As a non-scientist (but avid follower of this blog) I don’t understand all the science but I have spent all my life believing that good news is preferable to bad news.
I would have hoped that in a rational world the IPCC and the UN itself and most of the world’s governments would have been delighted that a prominent climate scientist has come up with a realistic thesis that may tell us that AGW is not actually happening and that we don’t need to spend trillions of dollars in combating it.
Perhaps one day somebody will come up with a cast-iron explanation of why this is not the case since I cannot for the life of me work it out for myself.

Reed Coray

Does anyone else think conversations like the following are beginning to take place throughout the halls where anthropogenic global warming alarmists (AGWAs) gather?
AGWA 1: “Did anyone get the license number of the truck that just demolished our lobby?”
AGWA 2: “Yeah. It was a personalized plate, and I think it read T R U T H.”

Jordan

@ Joel Shore
Actually Spencer only points to Schwartz’s works as an example of other researches that find that “the real climate system does not exhibit net positive feedback”.
In its 2008 revision Schwartz writes: “The revision in estimated climate sensitivity relative to that of S07 results in a revision of Table 3 of that paper in which total forcing and forcing other than by greenhouse gases were presented; that revision is shown here as Table 2. Perhaps most important here is the revision in the forcing other than by greenhouse gases, which is attributed mainly to forcing by anthropogenic aerosols, which is given now as -1.1 ± 0.7 W m-2, substantially greater (negative) forcing than given in S07. The conclusion of S07 that changes in atmospheric composition over the industrial period would, for concentrations of forcing agents held constant at present values, lead to minimal additional heating “in the pipeline” is unchanged.”
In other words, the recent corrections made by Schwartz don’t contradict his previous findings that were referenced by Spencer. Also, their methods are different and you can not claim that they directly support/refute each other. Scwartz himself points that “Attention is called also to other recent independent estimates of climate sensitivity that are likewise at the low end of the IPCC [2007] range: 0.29 to 0.48 ± 0.12 K/(W m-2) [Chylek et al., 2007]; 0.49 ± 0.07 K/(W m-2) [Chylek and Lohmann, 2008]; and 0.65 ± 0.28 K/(W m-2) [Scafetta and West, 2007]” This is the most important: that the science is not settled and there is an ample scientific evidence for that.

Geoff Larsen

Joel Shores says: –
“As for Spencer, his work is clearly a much more serious scientific attempt than Monckton’s. I am not really qualified to say where he might be wrong…although I do know a couple of things. One is his claim that Schwartz’s result supports his claim of net negative feedbacks is no longer true, as I noted. The second is that the fit shown in Fig. 3 is not very impressive given the free parameters that he has to play with…And, I think the RealClimate folks had more to say about that and about the values he had to choose for those parameters in order to even do as well as he did”.
And further
“As for dissecting it, I have made a few points but I am not sure that either counters or myself are the best ones to do this. I don’t pretend to be a climate scientist and although my background in physics and my reading of climate science in my “free time” give me some ability to comment on work that appears, I have no illusions that I can do so as well as someone working in the field”.
Come on Joel you can do better than that! I assume you have read the accompanying presentations?
http://www.weatherquestions.com/Climate-Sensitivity-Holy-Grail.htm
http://climatesci.org/wp-content/uploads/spencer-ppt.pdf
The data & analysis are compelling. In his charts of delta Flux TOA versus delta T (see page 14 of his power point presentation- 2nd link), he plots running daily data points of 3 month averages which tease out information not seen in average data analysed by Forster, Gregory & Taylor, uses local slopes analysis & interprets the results as follows: –
1. “Stripes” with slope of 7 W m ^2 K^ -1 which he contributes to the real feedback. This is greater than 3.3 W m^2^-1, the non feedback slope, and indicates a strong negative feedback.
2. These true feedback signals are superimposed on a background of what he refers to as varying cloud cover causing temperature change and is indicated by abrupt movements of the plot in the horizontal direction.
3. He hypotheses as to what may be the cause of this varying cloud cover and speculates that varying ocean circulations may be the answer.
Whether 3. turns out the be true or not (ie what is the cause of the cloud variability?) does not detract from the validity or otherwise of 1. or 2. I’ve racked my brains trying to think of alternative hypotheses for 1. or 2. Joel, lets get to what I believe is the crux of the matter, points 1. & 2. Any alternative hypotheses? Your straw-men & conflation’s above completely miss the mark. Anyone else care to comment?
Having followed the arguments for high positive feedback in the literature for sometime and having long formed the opinion that this is the “Achilles heel” of deleterious AGW, I look forward the Realclimate’s rebuttal with glee.