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“Global” Warming Consensus Forgets Two-Thirds of the Landmass

More figures to understand how awfully incomplete is the current knowledge of global climate.

And it’s very clear for all to see in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report – Working Group 2 (AR4-WG2), in Chapter 1 and in the Summary for Policymakers.

A bumper 96% of reported changes are from Europe and Europe alone. And what does that mean?

It means that for the whole of Australia/New Zealand, the IPCC could find only 6 significant changes (SC). For the whole of Africa, 7 SCs. For the whole of Latin America, 58 SCs. For the whole of Asia, 114SCs.

In terms of SC per square kilometer, Europe has:

1- 11,978 more than Africa
2- 85 more than North America
3- 853 more than South America
4- 1066 more than Asia
5- 3,702 more than Australia/New Zealand
6- 270 more than Antarctica

But one may reply to that, I am putting too much emphasis on the 28,000+ European biological SCs.

Let’s recompute the above with reference to North America then. In terms of SC per square kilometer, North America has:

1- 142 more than Africa
2- 10 more than South America
3- 12 more than Asia
4- 43 more than Australia/New Zealand
5- 3 more than Antarctica

It is blazingly blatant that before we can speak of global warming, more data has to be collected at least about Africa/Asia/Australia-New Zealand/South America .

We are talking 67% of the total land area of the planet.

Is anybody in the IPCC/Al Gore/James Hansen/Tim Flannery crowd pushing hard to get a complete picture of what is changing where and how?

  1. KuhnKat
    2008/07/26 at 01:25

    Reminds me of one of the huge holes in the global land based temperature data (GISS). A rather large section of Africa, which, incidentally, does not appear to be warming according to satellite records.

    If you leave out enough data that doesn’t match your preconceptions you can prove most theories.

  2. 2008/07/25 at 08:47

    Hello DQ.

    I am glad that my “finding” inspired you to read the report.

    (I suppose you mean you have read in detail Chapter 1 of AR4-WG2, as I have done. Hopefully somebody will put an upper limit in the number of pages before the AR5 comes out!! Honestly, I do not think there is any individual on Earth that has personally read all the AR4 WG’s reports…and that is a problem in itself)

    Anyway, in one sentence: my impression is that we have a differing opinion on the definition of “solid”.

    You start with the assumption that there is “solid” basis for global warming to be occurring at the moment. I presume you mean, global temperatures have been on the increase.

    I do not think that is enough for “solidity”. Thermometers are the first step indeed. And they are “providing some reason to think” something out there is happening.

    But then one should try to find other, non-temperature evidence, otherwise it’ll go down into a squabble about old records, urban heat islands, satellites vs. adjusted land-based stations, and the materials used in XIX century’s buckets. I have a feeling you may be familiar with all the noise around that.

    If I check an infant’s body temperature and find it at 102F, but the child looks perfectly alright, I may be thinking there is something wrong with the thermometer.

    That’s why AR4-WG2-1 is important. Without “significant changes” that “agree with warming”, there is lots to be questioned about the underlying science and data collection quality.

    The IPCC knows that as well. This is how that chapter’s executive summary starts (page 81):

    Physical and biological systems on all continents and in
    most oceans are already being affected by recent climate changes, particularly regional temperature increases (very high confidence) [1.3]. Climatic effects on human systems, although more difficult to discern due to adaptation and non-climatic drivers, are emerging (medium confidence). Global-scale assessment of observed changes shows that it is likely that anthropogenic warming over the last three decades has had a discernible influence on many physical and biological systems [1.4].

    Note that the “very high confidence” is “particularly” attached to “regional temperature increases”. Once again, it’s still in the realm of temperatures. We do need more than temperatures, I am sure you agree, and the IPCC agrees too.


    As a matter of fact I just realised, I have just shown that the above text by the IPCC is an unwarranted exaggeration:

    (a) “all continents” it ain’t

    (b) “global-scale assessment” it ain’t either.

    Africa’s data set is just 7, and South America’s just 58. The whole of Australia and New Zealand’s, just 6.

    There’s no escaping from that. Perhaps that’s why the “very high confidence” relates to “regional” temperature increases.


    You also state: “The IPCC is out there swinging to make up this balance, urging for more study of the potential and the likely impact of global warming all over the planet”. Of course I support that too. But could you please provide some links on where the IPCC does that “urging”, and what is being doing in practice especially by the most vocal and powerful scientists and politicians members of the AGW community? For some reason the issue of incompleteness is not prominent in reports and commentaries.

    Some of the reasons you’ve listed are ultimately a matter of resourcing, for example to translate relevant paper from national journals into English, and to send the biologists half-way around the world for weeks at a time, rather than leaving them to study the immediate neighborhoods.

    Note how the aforementioned present-focusing Chapter 1 of AR4-WG2 is just one chapter.

    Is there too much attention dedicated to the future?

  3. 2008/07/25 at 07:04

    READ the damned report. OF COURSE there is a massive disparity of information. From the end of chapter 1:

    There is a notable lack of geographical balance in the data and literature on observed changes in natural and managed systems, with a marked scarcity from developing countries. Regions with climate warming with an accumulation of evidence of observed changes in physical and/or biological
    systems are Europe, Northern Asia, north-western North America, and the Antarctic Peninsula. Regions with warming where evidence of observed changes is sparse are Africa and Latin America, and evidence is lacking in South-east Asia, the Indian Ocean and regions in the Pacific. Possible reasons for this imbalance are lack of access by IPCC authors, lack of data, research and published studies, lack of knowledge of system sensitivity, differing system responses to climate variables, lag effects in responses, resilience in systems and the presence of adaptation. There is a need to improve the observation networks and to enhance research capability on changes in physical, biological and socio-economic systems, particularly in regions
    with sparse data. This will contribute to an improved functional understanding of the responses of natural and managed systems to climate change.

    So the answer to your last question is: YES, of COURSE they are.

    Furthermore, you are apparently mixing up the study of changes resulting from warming, with study of the warming phenomena itself and its causes. Your sentence here: “It is blazingly blatant that before we can speak of global warming, more data has to be collected at least about Africa/Asia/Australia-New Zealand/South America .” indicates that you haven’t understood what the various working report reports are about. This report from WG-2 is about the assessments of changes and responses to warming. It is an orthogonal question to study of the warming phenomenon itself.

    So you have it backwards. If we did it your way — refused to actually talk about global warming until we already had in place a detailed knowledge of all the impacts and consequences globally — there would rightly be an outcry.

    It is BECAUSE we have a solid basis to talk about global warming that we have a good reason to put effort into finding more about what is likely to happen as the planet warms up. You don’t study impacts without having some reason to think there’s something to have an impact. The first step was to study global warming itself; the scientific basis. And that indeed is where things started. On finding out that there really is a problem here, then you have the reason for looking at all the likely or potential impacts all over the world.

    The problem of lack of study in the developing world is one that occurs in many many fields of study. It is a real problem, and a direct consequence of the available resources in difference locations. The IPCC is out there swinging to make up this balance, urging for more study of the potential and the likely impact of global warming all over the planet.

    I support that 100%.

  4. KuhnKat
    2008/07/25 at 06:54

    I’m sorry, no one is home right now. Would you like to leave a message??

  1. 2008/08/17 at 10:17
  2. 2008/08/17 at 09:40
  3. 2008/08/13 at 04:59

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