Guest post by Rud Istvan
I got to thinking about my now 10 years of occasionally contributed guest posts at WUWT and at Climate Etc. Lots of stuff provided over the years, ranging from NRDC Congressional deceit (my very first post here back in 2011, noted below, maise), to problems with climate models and their predictions, to the ‘fit for purpose’ of ARGO and Jason, to provable scientific misconduct (Marcott 2013, O’Leary 2013, and Seattle Times/Fabricius 2013 just to pick on that inauspicious AR5 publication year). Some but not all of these themes are also covered in eBook Blowing Smoke, with a gracious foreword from Dr. Judith Curry.
There are now a lot of newer active commenters here, a good sign for Anthony and Charles. They may not have dug deeply into the extensive WUWT archives. A way to shape their big picture dialogue is to look at some of the climate alarmist’s most fundamental failed predictions, and why they failed. Here are nine of my own BIG ones, grouped by three origins. Just reread Galois group theory.
- There is a modeled tropical troposphere hotspot. BUT, as John Christy showed Congress in 2016, there isn’t in reality. The climate models overstate the tropical troposphere warming by about 3x. The most plausible reason is Eschenbach’s emergent phenomena hypothesis, specifically thunderstorms. These wash out humidity, but cannot be modelled, only parameterized. (Details in a long ago post, ‘The trouble with climate models’). Observationally, CMIP5 modeled about half the tropical rainfall that ARGO observes by changes in thermocline salinity. So, true.
- Models sufficiently hindcast anomalies to match observations. Actually, this is half true, because the requisite model parameters are tuned until true. The deception is in the use of model anomalies. In reality, in absolute temperature terms, the CMIP5 models varied by ~4C in the year 2000 (early in their tuning period), from about the observed ~15.5C global average.
Almost none were close to observed reality—almost all hot. Anomalies hide this basic climate model ‘hot’ predictive defect.
- Models reliably predict an ‘Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity’ (ECS) of about 3C. Again half true. They all do, but not ‘reliably’. Observational ECS using energy budget (and other) methods consistently show about 1.6-1.7C, about half of modeled. This is a big deal, since all the alarmist doomstering depends on a high ECS (or its close cousin TCR). At 1.6, there is no climate problem at all. At 3, there might or might not be. The model/observation discrepancy is so great that AR5 declined to produce a central estimate of ECS, an embarrassing omission.
- Sea level rise will accelerate. But it hasn’t, based on long record differential GPS land motion corrected tide gauges, of which there are now about 70. The reason is that we are experiencing conditions similar to the previous Eemian interglacial (the Holocene is now per paleoproxy and ice core records about 1C colder), during which the geological evidence points to a maximum Eemian sea level rise (SLR) of about 2.2mm/year—exactly what we observe now, with closure, from the long record tide gauges over the last century. There is no SLR acceleration.
- Crop yields will fail and humans will starve. This was the subject of my first post here long ago. The dire NRDC prediction to Congress was based on two falsehoods. First, they misrepresented the ‘worst’ prediction as the norm. Second, the ‘worst’ paper they relied on for corn (maise) was itself fundamentally flawed (whether deliberate or incompetence can be debated). It was a massive statistical analysis of US corn yields over time, at the granular US county level for all the main corn producing states. It purported to show that transient temperatures over x permanently reduced corn yields by y. EXCEPT, their multivariate regression analysis left out a key covariant term, temp x water. Their omission logic was that temp and water are not meteorologically correlated. True. The flaw in their reasoning was that corn REALLY DOES care, and their y variable was corn yield. The omitted term falsifies their analysis, as (after the authors became famous among alarmists, then foolishly posted their now famous corn data in graphical form) became readily apparent from simple visual inspection and a bit of logic. No advanced statistics needed. Conclusion BOGUS.
- Polar bears will go extinct, because Arctic summer ice will disappear somewhen (the prediction as to when varies, but Wadkins has been a lead alarmist, already proven wrong three times). As Dr. Susan Crawford has many times pointed out, the entire scientific extinction premise is wrong. Polar bears do about 80% of their caloric annual feeding intake during the spring seal welping season. In fact, too thick spring ice, not too little, is a problem for seals and then bears. They do not depend on summer ice at all for feeding. They come ashore, and then summer feed like their close relatives the brown (grizzly) bears, opportunistically on bird nest eggs, berries, carrion like washed up dead whales and walrus, maybe even an occasional unlucky caribou kid.
- Renewables and the Green New Deal (GND). AOC and the Squad obviously know nothing about electrical engineering. The grid is supposed to be reliable. First, renewables (wind, solar) are intermittent. Therefore they need backup at any significant penetration, a large cost not supported by always subsidized (because uneconomic) renewables. Second, the grid demands frequency stability, aka grid inertia. Renewables are asynchronous so supply none. Large rotating conventional generators powered by coal, natgas, or nuclear supply inertia automatically. There is a solution, called a synchronous condenser (essentially a large spinning but unpowered generator mass) but renewables don’t pay for those either, so none are added.
- EVs will solve the gasoline/diesel emissions ‘carbon’ problem. They need large inputs of cobalt and lithium (hydroxide or carbonate). We haven’t enough of either, and the prospects of remedying the situation in the next few decades by new mines are about nil at the EV penetration the GND wishes. Lithium is the 33rd most abundant Earth element, and Cobalt is the 31st. Prospects are NOT good for the long run. By abundance comparison in Earth’s crust (only), aluminum is 3, iron is 4, and carbon is 17. Translation: Coke cans and airplanes, steel whatever, and ‘carbon’ fuels we got. EV batteries, not so much. Ignoring the associated rare earths China dominates because of environmental processing costs, not abundance. US has a very large deposit at the Cali-Nevada border at Mountain Pass mine, now owned by China. The cost problem is not the ore, it is the environmental processing consequences. China does not care. We do. Advantage China.
- EVs will require a large investment in the grid. T&D plus generation. A rough estimate is by 2x to supplant gasoline and diesel. That is not possible in the Biden/.GND time frame, nor even close to economic. Promising Impossiblium may feel good, but always ends badly in reality.