By Christopher Monckton of Brenchley
USA Today, in common with most of the banestream media, appears to be temperamentally incapable of fairly reporting both sides of the climate question. On Friday July 6 Doyle Rice, its “weather editor”, published yet another “worser than y’all ever done thunk” piece, this time “reporting” – with his trademark lack of critical faculty – a “new study” suggesting that global warming may prove to be “double what had been predicted”.
The article opens in Doyle’s characteristically tramp-toting-“The-End-Is-Nigh”-banner style with the words “Collapsing polar ice caps, a green Sahara Desert, a 20-foot sea-level rise.”
Let’s knock Doyle’s rubbish on the head, point by fatuous point.
Collapsing polar ice caps: Doyle failed to mention that until the last couple of years Antarctic sea ice had been growing, or that both in Antarctica, home to 90% of the world’s ice, and in Greenland (5%), there is a striking correlation between areas of undersea volcanic activity and areas of ice loss, or that in Antarctica a new global low temperature record was recently set.
A green Sahara desert: Doyle somehow failed to mention that greening a desert (the Sahara was first reported to be greening as far back as 1981, so it’s not news) is a good thing, not a bad thing, just as the loss of permafrost in Russia and northern Canada would be a good thing, opening up vast new acreages of agricultural land.
Doyle Rice – “lack of critical faculty”
“A 20-foot sea-level rise”: Frankly, the world is becoming bored of this stale nonsense. IPCC has been menacing us with 20ft sea-level rises for decades, but nobody cares anymore, because sea level continues to rise at about 8 inches a century, not 20 feet. Even Al Gore’s sci-fi comedy horror movie, A Profitable Fiction, made the silly 20 feet claim: but, in the very year when Gore was making the movie, he was buying a $4 million condo at – er – Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco, just feet from the allegedly rising ocean. Follow the money, Doyle, baby!
An artfully-colored world map: Again, we’ve seen it all before:
The caption read as follows: “This map shows Earth’s average global temperature from 2013 to 2017, as compared to a baseline average from 1951 to 1980, according to an analysis by NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies. Yellows, oranges, and reds show regions warmer than the baseline.”
Yeah, whatever. Let’s recolor the map. New caption: “Green regions are where the world has benefited from slightly warmer weather”.
Doyle intones, tediously, that “Global warming could be twice as warm as current climate models predict.” Or it could be half as fast as models predict – just as it has been since the 1970s, not that Doyle tells you that. We’ll come back to this point shortly.
Next, Doyle says: “The rate of warming is also remarkable: ‘The changes we see today are much faster than anything encountered in Earth’s history. In terms of rate of change, we are in uncharted waters,’ said study co-author Katrin Meissner of the University of New South Wales in Australia.”
And did he show her – or, for that matter, USA Today’s few remaining readers – the following graph from the Central England Temperature Record for 1694-1733? Um, no. The CET record is quite a respectable proxy for global temperature change, and it shows – in common with many other lines of evidence from the end of the Little Ice Age – that for 40 years the rate of global warming was equivalent to 4.33 K/century – about twice as rapid as the fastest rate seen in any 40-year period since Man began influencing climate in 1950.
Doyle digs himself in deeper: “This could mean the landmark Paris Climate Agreement – which seeks to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels – may not be enough to ward off catastrophe.”
However, as the 2018 BP Annual Statistical Review of Energy shows, growth in GDP and in energy is a good deal faster in the non-OECD countries, to very few of which the “landmark” Paris agreement applies, than in the OECD countries, to nearly all of which it applies.
And does Doyle tell his readers that, after 20 years of politicized reporting by the likes of him, coal’s share of global power generation is 38%, exactly as it was 20 years ago? Nope.
On drones dreary Doyle: “Even with just 2 degrees of warming – and potentially just 1.5 degrees – significant impacts on the Earth system are profound,” said study co-author Alan Mix, a scientist from Oregon State University. “We can expect that sea-level rise could become unstoppable for millennia, impacting much of the world’s population, infrastructure and economic activity.”
Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, who has been studying sea level for half a century and has written more than 650 papers on the subject, says mean sea level rise was 8 inches in the past century and will be 2 ± 6 inches this century. Much of the apparent “sea-level rise” in the official record was artificially conjured into being by devices such as the fictitious “glacial isostatic adjustment” (see diagram above).
Now for the “Worse Than We Thought” meme: “Study lead author Hubertus Fischer of the University of Bern in Switzerland and his team found that our current climate predictions may underestimate long-term warming by as much as a factor of two. Meissner said that “climate models appear to be trustworthy for small changes, such as for low-emission scenarios over short periods, say over the next few decades out to 2100. But as the change gets larger or more persistent … it appears they underestimate climate change.”
Did Doyle check any of this nonsense before merely parroting it? Don’t hold your breath, gentle reader. Of course he didn’t. All he did was check that these supposed “findings” were consistent with the Party Line. And that was that.
We have already seen that the statement published by Doyle to the effect that recent warming was unprecedented was flat-out nonsense. Let us now check his repetition of the statement that “current climate predictions may underestimate long-term warming by as much as a factor of two.”
We shall check this statement in two directions: first, by seeing whether current warming is exceeding existing predictions, and then by seeing whether it is likely that warming will accelerate many times over so as to match the new, “Worse Than We Thought” predictions.
IPCC’s very large interval of predictions made in 1990 is the yellow zone in the graph above. The bright blue trend-line is the least-squares linear-regression trend on the mean of the NCEI and UAH global-temperature anomalies from 1990 to May 2018. The observed rate of global warming is entirely below IPCC’s original predictions, and not much above half of its mid-range prediction.
To exceed IPCC’s mid-range prediction by double, the warming rate would have to increase by more than triple, from 1.55 K/century equivalent to 5.55 K/century.
What of the computer models? In the CMIP5 ensemble, the mid-range estimate of equilibrium sensitivity to doubled CO2 (which is near enough the same as the mid-range estimate of 21st-century warming from all manmade sources) is 3.35 K (derived from Andrews 2012). To double the CMIP5 models’ mid-range rate, the warming rate would have to increase more than fourfold, from 1.55 K/century equivalent to 6.7 K/century.
It’s not going to happen – or, if it does, Man’s tiny perturbation of the climate is not going to be responsible. To show the arithmetically-challenged Doyle why global warming will be less than half of what is predicted rather than double, let’s do the math for him.
From Andrews 2012 we learn that the radiative forcing from doubled CO2 is about 3.464 Watts per square meter. The Planck sensitivity parameter is 0.299 Kelvin per Watt per square meter (Schlesinger 1985). So reference sensitivity to doubled CO2, before accounting for feedback, is the product of the two: i.e. 1.035 K.
Since the difference between reference and equilibrium sensitivity is accounted for solely by the feedback factor (i.e., the fraction of equilibrium temperature that is feedback-driven), all we need to do is find out what that feedback factor is. That is the holy grail of climate-sensitivity studies.
IPCC mentions “feedback” >1000 times in its 2013 Fifth Assessment Report, but it has no idea of the true value. Why not? Because in 1985 James Hansen at NASA made a striking error of physics that climatologists have profitably copied ever since.
James Hansen, ex-head of NASA GISS, should perhaps have been arrested for bad science.
From Lacis et al. 2010, the albedo in the absence of greenhouse gases would be 0.418 compared with today’s 0.293. Today’s insolation is 1364.625 Watts per square meter (Mekaoui et al., 2010; see also DeWitte & Nevens 2016). To this we should add the direct forcing of about 38.6 Watts per square meter from the presence of the non-condensing greenhouse gases. From these data the fundamental equation of radiative transfer tells us that emission temperature, which would obtain at the surface in the absence of greenhouse gases, would be 254.3 K before taking any account of temperature feedback.
However, the surface temperature in 1850, before any appreciable anthropogenic perturbation, was 287.55 K (HadCRUT4). From these values, we can directly find the hitherto-elusive feedback factor. It is simply 1 – 254.3 / 287.55, or 0.116. And not the 0.6-0.9 assumed by the usual suspects. Ever since Hansen’s catastrophic 1984 paper, climate science has, in effect, been using an equation to represent the influence of feedback on temperature that, though not incorrect, is incomplete and, therefore, incapable of determining the feedback factor correctly.
How official climatology subtracted out the Sun by mistake and got global warming wrong. Its variant is the difference between two equilibrium states of the full, mainstream equation.
Climatology’s defective variant of the system-gain equation that is universal in control theory – the study of feedback in dynamical systems (systems that change their state over time) – is, in effect, the difference between two equilibrium states in the complete, mainstream equation.
Since the emission temperature is common to all equilibrium states, Hansen’s use of an equation that takes the difference between them subtracts out the Sun’s warmth – the principal input on which the feedback response depends. That is why the feedback factor has until now been exaggerated up to sixfold, and climate sensitivity up to fourfold.
How have things changed since 1850? Well, there has been 2.29 Watts per square meter of net anthropogenic radiative forcing (IPCC, 2013, fig. SPM.5). Multiply that by the Planck parameter 0.299 to obtain the reference warming from 1850-2011 attributable to Man: about 0.7 K. But there was 0.75 K warming from 1850-2011 (HadCRUT4 again), and to this we might add 0.25 K to this, making 1 K in all, to allow for the imagined (and probably imaginary) “radiative imbalance” of 0.6 Watts per square meter over the period.
So the feedback factor for 2011 is 1 – (254.3 + 0.7) / (287.55 + 1.0) = 0.116, exactly as it was in 1850. To three decimal places it is the same as the feedback factor for 1850. Why so little change? The reason is that the 0.7 K reference warming contributed by Man is so paltry compared with the 254.3 K already contributed by the Sun and by the pre-existing greenhouse gases.
Now that we know the feedback factor, we can derive equilibrium sensitivity to doubled CO2 concentration. It is simply the ratio of the reference warming of 1.035 K from doubled CO2 to (1 – 0.116), which works out at less than 1.2 K. Not the 1.5-4.5 K predicted by IPCC; not the 2.1-4.7 K predicted by the CMIP5 models; and certainly not the 6.7 K implicit in the paper on which Doyle’s silly, extremist article is predicated. The Party Line is no substitute for doing the math.