Why is there so much preoccupation with atmospheric CO2 concentrations and reducing anthropogenic CO2 emissions when it is well documented in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that the CO2 contribution to the overall greenhouse effect is so weak that it can be easily supplanted by small changes in clouds and water vapor, or natural climate-changing constituents?


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Something to amuse you and then your senior pupils: a potted history of climate-alarmism, leaving the BEST to last

The recent spinning of the BEST results to claim they refute the arguments of sceptics by merely showing that the widely used global climate records do indeed show a modest warming in the 20th century is but the latest attempt at mass deception by those who have found advantage in climate alarmism.   Here, from Maggie's Farm, is a trenchant view of it all:

Global Warming 4.0

'I have a tough observation test for you (if you dare to take it, and I highly recommend you don't), but first a bit of history, written in my usual calm, clear, objective, pusillanimously pseudonymous style.

Global Warming 1.0 was the original theme (see accompanying photograph taken from Moon Base Alpha), basically launched by NASA's James Hansen as NASA began its decades-long plan to bankrupt the American economy by building a completely worthless trillion dollar space station as well as destroy entire nations as witnessed by the South Seas island nations who have been told that their islands will soon be inundated with water from the melting ice pack and have thus abandoned any future plans for their nations' growth.  Well done, NASA, well done.

Global Warming 2.0 was when it was realized that, dammit, the earth wasn't warming as quite as fast as it should, and the hurricanes we got clobbered with in 2004 and 2005 turned out to be the predicted results of typical hurricane patterns, not to mention that the hurricanes then had the temerity to go away in 2006 — and what a disappointment that was.  As a result, 'climate change' was created to cover more bases.

Global Warming 2.1 to 2.8 was when we saw the massive expansion of things that were going to affected by the new, improved 'climate change', and this was especially effective because you can work in both directions, hotter and colder.

Global Warming 2.9 was when earthquakes were deemed to be the result of man-made global warming.  This one was given its own special sub-version number so future historians will be able to pinpoint with precision the apex of mankind's stupidity.

Global Warming 3.0 was a little more insidious, in while it claimed that, yes, global warming was entirely man's fault, we didn't need to take such drastic measures as those espoused by the Kyoto Protocol and, later, Cap & Trade.  This version was spearheaded by Danish video rock star Bjorn Lomborg.  It was very seductive to the fence-sitters, and Tigerhawk, for one, took it seriously, as did other bloggers whose names you might recognize.

All of which brings us to today... '

[see the article link for the rest, which includes a link to an article in The Guardian in which 4.0 first sees the light of day.]

Notes added later on 25/10/11:  
(1) Dr Ball has interesting things to say about the BEST study:

'The fact they even attempted the project indicates lack of knowledge or understanding of the inadequacies of the data set in space or time or subsequent adjustments. Lamb spoke to the problem when he established the Climatic Research Unit (CRU). On page 203 of his autobiography he said,
“When the Climatic Research Unit was founded, it was clear that the first and greatest need was to establish the facts of the past record of the natural climate in times before any side effects of human activities could well be important. A worldwide record was needed particularly on the time scale of human history a project which surprisingly no other body had attempted in any coordinated way.” “We are living in a time when the glamour of the much more expensive work of the mathematical modeling laboratories, and the tempting prospect of their theoretical predictions are stealing the limelight. The confidence generally characterizing the pronouncements from those quarters has since given way to more cautious statements in later years. It does not seem to have been widely recognized that the theoreticians work was proceeding without adequate prior study (or any sure understanding) of the sometimes drastic swings of climate that have occurred over periods from a few years or decades to some centuries, often settling in abruptly and some of them still unexplained.”
The BEST study confirms Lamb’s concerns.  It adds nothing to advancing the understanding of the degree of climate change. Until that is adequately defined and described there is no hope of determining the underlying causes and mechanisms of change.  The failure to understand the complete inadequacy of the existing temperature record is troubling. It makes it appear that there is an incompetence or a political motive, or both.'
(2) James Delingpole is even more damning:
'What is going on is exactly the kind of utterly reprehensible dishonesty and trickery I anatomise more thoroughly in Watermelons. The Warmists lost the battle over "the science" long ago; that's why the best they can do now is resort to the kind of risible semantic ruse like this deliberate conflation of "global warming" with "man made global warming".'
(3) Willis Eschenbach provides a more technical assessment (but still a very accessible one):
'I remind folks again that the hype about BEST showing skeptics are wrong is just that. Most folks knew already that the world has been generally warming for hundreds of years, and BEST’s results in that regard were no surprise. BEST showed nothing about whether humans are affecting the climate, nor could it have done so. There are still large unresolved issues in the land temperature record which BEST has not clarified or solved. The jury is out on the BEST results, and it is only in part because they haven’t even gone through peer review.'
Note added 27 October 2011
This link to Nature may not last long since the comment by Prof Singer in it conflicts with and criticises their notorious stance with respect to climate science.
'But unlike the land surface, the atmosphere has shown no warming trend, either over land or over ocean — according to satellites and independent data from weather balloons. This indicates to me that there is something very wrong with the land surface data. And did you know that climate models, run on super-computers, all insist that the atmosphere must warm faster than the surface? And so does theory.
And finally, we have non-thermometer temperature data from so-called 'proxies': tree rings, ice cores, ocean sediments, stalagmites. They don?t show any global warming since 1940!
The BEST (Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature) results in no way confirm the scientifically discredited Hockeystick graph, which had been so eagerly adopted by climate alarmists. In fact, the Hockeystick authors never published their post-1978 temperatures in their 1998 paper in Nature, or since. The reason for hiding them? It's likely that those proxy data show no warming either. Why don't you ask them?
One last word: You evidently haven?t read the four scientific BEST papers, submitted for peer review. There, the Berkeley scientists disclaim knowing the cause of the temperature increase reported by their project. They conclude, however: 'The human component of global warming may be somewhat overestimated.' I commend them for their honesty and skepticism.'

( I have corrected some punctuation typos, esp. where '?' was printed instead of apostrophes, and I added the emboldening at the end.)

Note added 30 October 2011.  A useful overview in the Mail on Sunday:
(note that the vertical scales are slightly different, and the horizontal scales are very different between the charts)
'But today The Mail on Sunday can reveal that a leading member of Prof Muller’s team has accused him of  trying to mislead the public by hiding the fact that BEST’s research shows global warming has stopped.
Prof Judith Curry, who chairs the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at America’s prestigious Georgia Institute of Technology, said that Prof Muller’s claim that he has proven global warming sceptics wrong was also a ‘huge mistake’, with no  scientific basis.
Prof Curry is a distinguished climate researcher with more than 30 years experience and the second named co-author of the BEST project’s four research papers.
Her comments, in an exclusive interview with The Mail on Sunday, seem certain to ignite a furious academic row. She said this affair had to be compared to the notorious ‘Climategate’ scandal two years ago.'

(hat tip: Bishop Hill , where some discussion of this newspaper article can be found)

Note added 7 Nov 11.. Report of very poor data quality in the BEST study:  http://climateaudit.org/2011/11/06/best-data-quality/

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