The mark of bad science is
1. Insisting that a theory is a fact
2. Refusing to abandon a theory even when the evidence points the other way
3. Faking evidence to support a theory for reasons of ideology and profit
Global Warmists are guilty of all three and their struggle to deal with the unraveling science is nothing short of hilarious.
OVER the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”
Temperatures fluctuate over short periods, but this lack of new warming is a surprise. Ed Hawkins, of the University of Reading, in Britain, points out that surface temperatures since 2005 are already at the low end of the range of projections derived from 20 climate models. If they remain flat, they will fall outside the models’ range within a few years.
The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now.
And by “puzzler”, the Economist means that 2012 has come and gone and the world hasn’t ended, so how do we explain the fact that there was a Mayan apocalypse? It’s a puzzler. Science says there was a Mayan apocalypse. Actual science says there wasn’t.
It does not mean global warming is a delusion.
Naturally. Spending hundreds of billions of dollars on a delusion doesn’t make the people who did it look good.
Flat though they are, temperatures in the first decade of the 21st century remain almost 1°C above their level in the first decade of the 20th.
Well that settles it…
The mismatch might mean that—for some unexplained reason—there has been a temporary lag between more carbon dioxide and higher temperatures in 2000-10.
Yes, maybe the higher temps are sleeping? Maybe they’re on strike. Maybe the higher temperatures are pining for the Fjords?
Or it might be that the 1990s, when temperatures were rising fast, was the anomalous period.
Or maybe rising temperatures aren’t related to human activity at all.
Or, as an increasing body of research is suggesting, it may be that the climate is responding to higher concentrations of carbon dioxide in ways that had not been properly understood before. This possibility, if true, could have profound significance both for climate science and for environmental and social policy.
Much like bumps on the head did not respond to personality in ways that Phrenologists had properly understood before. This had profound implications for Phrenology in that it became a laughingstock.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which embodies the mainstream of climate science, reckons the answer is about 3°C, plus or minus a degree or so. In its most recent assessment (in 2007), it wrote that “the equilibrium climate sensitivity…is likely to be in the range 2°C to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded.” The IPCC’s next assessment is due in September. A draft version was recently leaked. It gave the same range of likely outcomes and added an upper limit of sensitivity of 6°C to 7°C
Other recent studies, though, paint a different picture. An unpublished report by the Research Council of Norway, a government-funded body, which was compiled by a team led by Terje Berntsen of the University of Oslo, uses a different method from the IPCC’s. It concludes there is a 90% probability that doubling CO₂ emissions will increase temperatures by only 1.2-2.9°C, with the most likely figure being 1.9°C. The top of the study’s range is well below the IPCC’s upper estimates of likely sensitivity.
This study has not been peer-reviewed; it may be unreliable. But its projections are not unique. Work by Julia Hargreaves of the Research Institute for Global Change in Yokohama, which was published in 2012, suggests a 90% chance of the actual change being in the range of 0.5-4.0°C, with a mean of 2.3°C. This is based on the way the climate behaved about 20,000 years ago, at the peak of the last ice age, a period when carbon-dioxide concentrations leapt. Nic Lewis, an independent climate scientist, got an even lower range in a study accepted for publication: 1.0-3.0°C, with a mean of 1.6°C. His calculations reanalysed work cited by the IPCC and took account of more recent temperature data. In all these calculations, the chances of climate sensitivity above 4.5°C become vanishingly small.
The so-called Mainstream Consensus is not doing too well lately on account of being severely wrong. But at least it’s a severely wrong mainstream consensus, with the exception of those who were laughing at the climate phrenologists.
If such estimates were right, they would require revisions to the science of climate change and, possibly, to public policies.
If, as conventional wisdom has it, global temperatures could rise by 3°C or more in response to a doubling of emissions, then the correct response would be the one to which most of the world pays lip service: rein in the warming and the greenhouse gases causing it.
The world isn’t ending tomorrow. It’s ending next week. Let’s do the same thing we were doing before because we’re still right!
Moreover, if there were an outside possibility of something catastrophic, such as a 6°C rise, that could justify drastic interventions. This would be similar to taking out disaster insurance. It may seem an unnecessary expense when you are forking out for the premiums, but when you need it, you really need it.
Or alternatively, we should sacrifice all Global Warmings to the Volcano Deity on the off-chance that he exists and is responsible for the 1°C warming.
Sure we don’t know for sure that he exists or that he wants an offering consisting of Global Warmists, but it’s like taking out insurance. We should do it in any way, in case we need it.
A related possibility is that general-circulation climate models may be overestimating the impact of clouds (which are themselves influenced by aerosols). In all such models, clouds amplify global warming, sometimes by a lot. But as the leaked IPCC assessment says, “the cloud feedback remains the most uncertain radiative feedback in climate models.” It is even possible that some clouds may dampen, not amplify global warming—which may also help explain the hiatus in rising temperatures. If clouds have less of an effect, climate sensitivity would be lower.
Whew. So we no longer have to destroy the clouds.
That’s a relief.
So the explanation may lie in the air—but then again it may not. Perhaps it lies in the oceans.
Or at the end of the rainbow. You never know. It could lie anywhere. Even in you.
Lastly, there is some evidence that the natural (ie, non-man-made) variability of temperatures may be somewhat greater than the IPCC has thought. A recent paper by Ka-Kit Tung and Jiansong Zhou in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences links temperature changes from 1750 to natural changes (such as sea temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean) and suggests that “the anthropogenic global-warming trends might have been overestimated by a factor of two in the second half of the 20th century.” It is possible, therefore, that both the rise in temperatures in the 1990s and the flattening in the 2000s have been caused in part by natural variability.
Just one last thing. This whole claim we made that your breaths are destroying the planet? It might actually be the natural processes.
Footnote. There’s the outside chance you may not need to sacrifice your loved ones to the Carbon God after all.