Home > AGW, Climate Change, Global Warming, Omniclimate, Policy, Science, Skepticism > The IPCC Is Never Wrong -2- “Settled Science” Of Chinese Whispers

The IPCC Is Never Wrong -2- “Settled Science” Of Chinese Whispers

(for the first part, visit “The IPCC Is Never Wrong -1- Why Kevin Trenberth Is Right“)

Given that the scientifically-valid statements in the IPCC AR4 report are strictly capable to cover and include whatever outcome the Earth’s climate will compute for us, how can we find ourselves surrounded by people clamoring that, on the basis of the very same IPCC report, the “science is settled”?

“Chinese whispers”. That’s how.

The incoming strictly-orthodox and yet very open minded IPCC message is of an ongoing, complex, fascinating scientific analysis full of uncertainties that need to be investigated. Yet, at the other end of the “broken telephone” all channels are clogged by absurdist, simplistic claims of “the debate is over” (a statement that is, in a sense, the true denial).

(ironically, even RealClimate has recognized there might be a communication problem…)

Take a look for example at the magnitude of the solar forcing, again according to the IPCC. The “official value” everybody with even a remote interest keeps hearing about, is 0.12 and can be found in AR4-WG1-Chapter2 (*), page 193.

But then if you go to page 212, Table 2.11, it turns out that the “level of scientific understanding” for Solar Irradiance is “Low”, and for the component linked to cosmic UV rays is “Very low”.

And that’s not even remotely enough. All the known unknowns about the role of the Sun in shaping the Earth’s climate are clearly spelled out in Joanna D. Haigh’s “The Sun and the Earth’s climate” (**). True, that article might have been published after the official IPCC deadline. On the other hand, Dr Haig was well known at the time to the IPCC authors and reviewers, and appears four times among the References for that chapter alone.

What has happened then? Go back to page 193. The text actually reads:

The best estimate is +0.12 W m-2 (90% confidence interval: +0.06 to +0.30 W m-2)

That means that actual value can be half, or 2.5 times as much, and that’s just considering a confidence interval of 90% (“moderately confident” in statistical jargon) rather than the classic 95% (regarding which the spread between minimum and maximum possible value would have obviously been considerably wider).

And so we find the IPCC “moderately confident” about a forcing whose (1) known known components are “little to very little” understood, (2) known unknown components are not even considered despite being present in the Literature and (3) unknown unknown components… (well, “no comment” about those).

Add to that the fact that a “forcing”, like all “forcings“, is not a measurable quantity in the real world, and therefore exists strictly as an estimate. An estimate about which the IPCC is somewhat ‘schizophrenic’ to say the least.

======

And yet, all that fun is not found anywhere: instead of “low to very low understanding” about an estimate done with “moderate confidence“, what we read is how small the Solar forcing “IS”: 0.12.

Onwards and upwards, as they used to say…

(*) Forster, P., V. Ramaswamy, P. Artaxo, T. Berntsen, R. Betts, D.W. Fahey, J. Haywood, J. Lean, D.C. Lowe, G. Myhre, J. Nganga, R. Prinn, G. Raga, M. Schulz and R. Van Dorland, 2007: Changes in Atmospheric Constituents and in Radiative Forcing. In: Climate Change 2007: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Solomon, S., D. Qin, M. Manning, Z. Chen, M. Marquis, K.B. Averyt, M.Tignor and H.L. Miller (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, United Kingdom and New York, NY, USA.

(**) Joanna D. Haigh, “The Sun and the Earth’s Climate”, Living Rev. Solar Phys. 4, (2007), 2. URL (cited on Oct 14, 2009): http://www.livingreviews.org/lrsp-2007-2

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  1. Charles Higley
    2010/03/29 at 00:41

    Richard is right and Wayne is wrong.

    Wayne, CO2 is part of an extended equilibrium and cannot alter this equilibrium by its own acidity. Only an outside source of acidity could do this. More CO2 means more calcium carbonate deposition, particularly as, in the coral-forming ocean regions calcium carbonate is at super-saturation.

    The assumption of pH acidification is a strawman – marine life has seen drastically higher CO2 levels for most of the last 600 million years and was well above 440 ppm (up to 550 ppm) as recently as the 1940s.

    So, let’s put some real science behind the contention that CO2 is not a problem and discount some abused science along the way.

    There are a number of points to be made–I apologize for the length–but I wanted to keep it relatively simple, which the problem actually is. Bottom line, CO2 is plant food and is greening our planet—how can that be bad?We have been warming very slowly out of the Little Ice Age, which begs the question: did not we have to cool to get into it in the first place? Hmmm.

    1) To put warming by CO2 in perspective: If the heat-trapping gases create a 30 deg C warming of the planet relative to having none of these gases, then CO2, purportedly responsible for 5% of this effect, causes 1.5 deg C of this warmth. We emit about 3% of the CO2 added to the atmosphere each year. So, we are responsible for 3% of 1.5 degree or 0.045 deg of warming. This is inconsequential, but as you will see in (7) below, Beer’s Law has this effect already 90-95% spent, so the effect is more like 0.0023–0.0045 deg C – truly meaningless. The work by Miskolczi, described in (10) below, indicates that even 0.0023 deg C may be an over-estimate.

    2) Radiation by warm bodies. The rate of energy radiated by warm bodies is related to temperature by the temperature to the 4th power. This means that, if the planet warms 1%, it will increase its rate of emissions by 4%. It is clear that this is a powerful effect which fights any run away warming. This is why an iron bar heated by a Bunsen burner eventually reaches a maximum, constant temperature at which it emits energy as fast as it absorbs it. The geological/biological record shows that our planet has a temperature limit at 22 deg C – it has been that warm for the vast majority of the last 600 million years, while higher life has been around.

    3) Solubility of CO2 in water. CO2 partitions 50 to 1 between water and air. To double the atmospheric CO2, we would have to produce 50 times as much to concurrently handle the oceans soaking up the CO2. There is not enough available carbon for us to do this. At best we might be able to accomplish 20%—we would have to make it a world project.

    The ingenuous aspect of the warmist claims of CO2 is the childish belief that we will keep using carbon fuels at the same or higher rates for the indefinite future. This is to ignore technological progress in energy generation, advances in nuclear fission and fusion, and the power of free enterprise to seek better and more efficient means of doing things.

    4) Henry’s Law. Henry’s Law describes the solubility of gases in water as it relates to temperature. As water warms gases are less soluble and as water cools they become more soluble. At all time scales that have been examined, the records show that changes in atmospheric CO2 ALWAYS lag temperature changes and never the reverse. The oceans, being slow to lose or gain heat, are the cause of this obvious lag time.

    5) Half-life of CO2. The IPCC contends that atmospheric CO2 has a half-life of 200 years (half of it turns over in 200 years). Warmist groups (and I think NOAA) have inflated this number to 1000 years. The real half-life from real research has the half-life from 2 to 20 years with a most convincing average of 5–6 years. This is much more realistic and explains changes in CO2 concentrations seen in the 20th century. The IPCC needs the longer half-life to support their fabricated model that CO2 is accumulating in the atmosphere due to man and not other natural processes.

    6) E Beck’s “180 years of chemical CO2 bottle data.” The IPCC rejected almost all direct chemical CO2 data as they contend that it was too variable – suggesting erratic values. They did praise two French papers that used a method notorious for under-evaluating CO2 concentrations. Rather, the IPCC claims that indirect data from Antarctic ice core data is much more reliable. (Since when is indirect data better than direct? This is ridiculous!)

    Indeed, atmospheric CO2 is variable, but it varies in well formed ups and downs that describe a history of CO2. [It is patently ingenuous to pretend or believe that CO2 would be historically low for hundreds or thousands of years until humans industrialized, but this is another piece of the IPCC model.]

    Ernst Beck collected and correlated 10s of thousands of direct chemical CO2 data points and showed that CO2 has been much higher (440-550 ppm) than now (385 ppm) during three periods of the last 200 years.

    The latest high was in the 1940s right after the climate temperature peaked in 1938. And then global temperature dropped while CO2 was high. It appears fairly clear here that CO2 cannot drive the climate, let alone warm it.

    The IPCC likes to use indirect CO2 readings from Antarctic ice cores, which show rather low CO2 values and rather moderate fluctuations. The world expert on ice cores (Jaworowski) has described quite well the damage and losses that ice cores endure during extraction. He estimates that cores lose 30–50% of their CO2 content during retrieval. Back-calculating CO2 values puts ice core CO2 at concentrations at or well above todays concentrations, into the ranges reported by Beck!. A second study from another strategy derived the same results (I do not have the reference with me at the moment).

    At all time scales from 100s of thousands of years to intradecadal times, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere ALWAYS lag changes in temperature and not the other way around. This would be the smoking gun that CO2 does not drive temperature, but the IPCC would have it that all natural cycles and factors that control the climate have been cancelled/overwhelmed by manmade CO2 [another piece of the IPCC model – they can ignore all other factors, including the Sun and the major heat-trapping gas, water vapor].

    7) Beer’s Law. The IPPC treats CO2’s heat-trapping effect as linear: double the CO2 = double the effect. Fortunately for us, the effect is not linear but logarithmic, such that the 1st 20 ppm CO2 has the greatest effect and each succeeding 20 ppm has a logarithmically smaller effect. CO2 at current concentrations is 90-95% exhausted, making the estimate in (1) to be 0.0045 to 0.0023 deg C, from manmade CO2.

    8) Thermodynamic factor of CO2. The IPCC had a problem: How can such a small effect (0.1 deg C) be made a whole lot bigger? The IPCC had the warming from CO2 doubling at 0.1 deg C but, that not being enough, they altered one of the thermodynamic factors by 12-fold to produce a 1.2 deg C effect. At the time they marveled at how constant this constant had been in the literature while changing it—a bit of sleight of hand to mask their shenanigans. Then, assuming water vapor, the truly dominant heat-trapping gas of our atmosphere, to be a positive feedback factor, they could project any magnitude of warming that they wanted. [This is another piece of their model.]

    9) Water vapor as part of the water cycle heat engine. As kids, we all learn of the water cycle but, from a heat/energy point of view, it serves the planet to carry enormous amounts of heat from the surface to the upper atmosphere where it is lost to space. It is a huge negative feedback mechanism that keeps our climate so very steady. [This cycle has to be ignored totally by the IPCC for their model to work.]

    10) The recent and elegant work of Ferenc Miskolczi (The saturated greenhouse effect theory of Ferenc Miskolczi, presented by Miklós Zágoni, ).

    This is the icing on the cake. The presentation cited above is a very good discussion by Zagoni of Miskolczi’s theory. Miskolczi has been working on this for a number of years (I first detected his work in 2004) and recently managed to iron out the wrinkles, strengthen its foundation, and polish the description such that others can understand it.

    Miskolczi’s theory says is that CO2 and water vapor interact thermodynamically in the atmosphere such that they have a constant ”saturated” effect. The absolute water vapor in the atmosphere goes down as CO2 rises and vice versa. Not only does his theoretical results match the real historical data, but changes in upper atmospheric water vapor have already been detected (by NASA, I believe).

    The Saturated Greenhouse Effect Theory of Ferenc Miskolczi

    – this is the easier presentation written by Zagoni – its good.

    =======

    The Saturated Greenhouse Effect Theory of Ferenc Miskolczi

    – this is the easier presentation written by Zagoni – its good.

    New Developments in the Science of Greenhouse Effect by Ferenc Miskolczi, by Miklos Zagoni
    http://miskolczi.webs.com/ZM_v10_eng.pdf

    – presents more technical aspects of his work.

    New Developments in the Science of Greenhouse Effect by Ferenc Miskolczi, by Miklos Zagoni

    – presents more technical aspects of his work.

    Thus, for all of the noise we have heard about CO2, Miskolczi’s work has shown us that CO2 is effectively irrelevant to the climate. It rides along going in and out of the biosphere and dissolving or outgassing from the oceans as temperatures change due to real ocean cycles (PDO, NAO, AO, ENSO) and the solar sunspot cycles and other cyclic solar factors (such as our currently low intensity and long solar cycle 24, due to what appears to be a sped up solar conveyor belt disturbing sunspot formation and decreasing the solar wind).

    CO2 is plant food and we need all that we can get. Without it we do not have oxygen. To push for lower CO2 is truly stupid.

    • 2010/03/29 at 06:56

      Charles – I have tried to unify your two comments. Please let me know if you need anything changed in the result.

  2. Richard S Courtey
    2010/01/10 at 10:39

    Wayne:

    It would take a book to refute all the assertions in your rant, but refutation of two of them is sufficient to demolish your claims.

    Firstly, you assert;
    “So lets test this site. WITH PROOF what has caused the warming over the last 30 years. And if you are claiming it’s the sun (which has cooled) or cosmic rays (which also would have caused a cooling) WHERE ARE YOUR GRAPHS…”

    The burden of proof is on those who make a claim. In this case, the claimants are the IPCC (and those who support the IPCC’s claim) that anthropogenic emissions were responsible for the warming of the globe in the short period 1940 to 1998 and that the emissions will cause catastrophic warming in future.

    Those who do not make the claim only have a duty to say, “Prove it” to those who do.

    But, in response to a request that they “Prove it” the claimants always demand, “Tell us what else it could be if it is not the anthropogenic emissions?”
    And the answer to that is, “It could be any or some of many things; e.g. solar effects, recovery from the LIA, etc.. No proof is needed to show these are the true cause of the temperature rise from 1940 to 1998 because all that is being claimed is their possibility.

    I repeat that the burden of proof is on those who claim they know the true cause of the global temperature rise from 1940 to 1998.

    Secondly, you assert;
    “THIS IS NOT A GAME BILLIONS OF LIVES ARE AT RISK!”

    Yes, and they are at risk from the claims that anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases should be constrained.

    Advocates of AGW use the Precutionary Principle saying we should stop greenhouse gas emissions in case the AGW hypothesis is right. But that turns the Principle on its head.

    Stopping the emissions would reduce fossil fuel usage with resulting economic damage. This would be worse than the ‘oil crisis’ of the 1970s because the reduction would be greater, would be permanent, and energy use has increased since then. The economic disruption would be world-wide. Major effects would be in the developed world because it has the largest economies. Worst effects would be on the world’s poorest peoples: people near starvation are starved by it.

    The precautionary principle says we should not accept the risks of certain economic disruption in attempt to control the world’s climate on the basis of assumptions that have no supporting evidence and merely because they’ve been described using computer games.

    The magnitude of the slaughter commended by those attempting to constrain the emissions is appalling.

    The use of fossil fuels has done more to benefit human kind than anything else since the invention of agriculture.

    Most people would not exist if it were not for the use of fossil fuels because all human activity is enabled by energy supply and limited by material science.

    Energy supply enables the growing of crops, the making of tools and their use to mine for minerals, and to build, and to provide goods, and to provide services.

    Material Science limits what can be done with the energy. A steel plough share is better than a wooden one. Ability to etch silica permits the making of acceptably reliable computers. And so on.

    People die without energy and the ability to use it. They die because they lack food, or housing, or clothing to protect from the elements, or heating to survive cold, or cooling to survive heat, or medical provisions, or transport to move goods and services from where they are produced to where they are needed.

    The use of fossil fuels has provided that affluence for the developed world. The developing world needs the affluence provided by the development which is only possible at present by using fossil fuels.

    We gained our wealth and our population by means of that use.

    The energy supply increased immensely when the greater energy intensity in fossil fuels became available by use of the steam engine. Animal power, wind power and solar power were abandoned because the laws of physics do not allow them to provide as much energy as can be easily obtained from using fossil fuels.

    The greater energy supply enabled more people to live and the human population exploded. Our population has now reached about 6.6 billion and it is still rising. All estimates are that the human population will peak at about 9 billion people near the middle of this century.

    That additional more than 2 billion people in the next few decades needs additional energy supply to survive. The only methods to provide that additional energy supply at present are nuclear power and fossil fuels. And the use of nuclear power is limited because some activities are difficult to achieve by getting energy from the end of a wire.

    If anybody doubts this then they should ask a farmer what his production would be if he had to replace his tractor with a horse or a Sinclair C5.

    So, holding the use of fossil fuels at its present level would kill at least 2 billion people, mostly children. And reducing the use of fossil fuels would kill more millions, possibly billions.

    That is not an opinion. It is not a prediction. It is not a projection. It is a certain and undeniable fact. Holding the use of fossil fuels at their present levels would kill billions of people, mostly children in the next few decades. Reducing the use of fossil fuels would kill more millions or billions.

    Improving energy efficiency will not solve that because it has been known since the nineteenth century that improved energy efficiency increases energy use: as many subsequent studies have confirmed.

    So, constraining emission of greenhouse gases at their present level would cause a slaughter that would pale into insignificance the combined activities of Ghengis Khan, Adolf Hitler and Pol Pot.

    Richard

  3. 2009/11/05 at 13:09

    Wayne – I am impressed. Please continue. I have recently started collecting the most thought-provoking replies by people like yours and any addition to the list is always welcome.

  4. Wayne
    2009/11/05 at 11:08

    Look the debate IS over. It has gone on for 50 years. We are heading towards disaster and you are putting MILLIONS of lives at risk – you are shameless.

    All the worlds scientific institutions agree:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change

    Just about NONE of the peer reviewed science indicates a debate:

    http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/306/5702/1686

    And 97% of those actively involved in the research agree (this is the latest and most devastating poll):

    http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/01/97_of_active_climatologists_ag.php

    You want 100% YOU AINT GONA GET THIS IN SCIENCE. But here;s the thing if you and your family were to board a plane and only 20% of independent experts said it would crash while say 90% of those who said all was well were in the pay of a notorious corrupt disinformation campaign, I’m guessing you would NOT fly…

    Now we have way more than 20% who say there is a VERY big problem with the climate, and those in denial are usually paid for by people like Exxon. And EVERY time they are challenged they run like the cowards they are.

    So lets test this site. WITH PROOF what has caused the warming over the last 30 years. And if you are claiming it’s the sun (which has cooled) or cosmic rays (which also would have caused a cooling) WHERE ARE YOUR GRAPHS…

    Further why, if it is the sun, is it that the stratosphere, warmed by the sun. is COOLING, the troposphere, warmed by greenhouse gases, is warming. Why is most of the warming at night and winter when it would be day and summer if it was the sun. Why in the Jurassic, when the suns output was LESS was the temperatures higher? What has caused just about all (except the K-T event) of the worlds mass extinctions, I’ll give you a clue it is VERY likely to be CO2!

    It would also be nice for you to show that scientific institutions are split 50/50 (which even then would still suggest we should err on the side of action because of what is at risk)

    Where is your proof of a 50/50 split in the PEER REVIEWED literature.

    And where is your proof that CLIMATOLOGISTS (those actively involved in working on this topic – not polls of scientists NOT working on the issue) are split 50/50.

    NO? See there is a VERY strong smell of bigotry here. People like you demand absolute certainty form the the global warming side, yet offer NOTHING but petty nit picking from yours. You have proof that devastates the consensus THEN PUBLIS IN PEER REVIEWED JOURNALS – claim your Nobel prize and save the world a fortune (and those costs are becoming SO high because of delaying tactics pushed by people like you) if not SHUT UP, stop spreading confusion and get behind efforts to tackle the biggest threat to life on the planet for AT LEAST 50 MILLION years!

    THIS IS NOT A GAME BILLIONS OF LIVES ARE AT RISK!

    • 2009/11/05 at 11:43

      My words are putting millions at risk? Are you suggesting I have seriously underestimated the reach of my words, the strength of my arguments, and my capability to persuade people? Wow! Thanks!

      • Wayne
        2009/11/05 at 13:04

        So that is your PATHETIC reply to my post? See a total inability to engage with the argument, just pick a TINY inconsequential part and hope that will win it for you?

        Now first it is VERY disturbing that you actually acknowledge that millions of people are going to die because of global warming, yet it appears you don’t care – VERY VERY VERY disturbing indeed…

        But you are arguing that try as you might, you are not having sufficient influence to bring this about…

        Now, the general public is VERY confused about what the SCIENCE says. No single source is responsible they all contribute (like a war it’s not the leader but all the minions that cause the disaster they are ALL responsible). And you are indeed adding your part to KILL and displace people (but you should NOT be lamenting your kill level you should NOT be adding to the deaths in the first place!).

        Non psychopaths – those with emotions and a conscience – would consider what you are doing as being DISGUSTING. If you have done any serious reading at all you would know that CO2 has caused mass extinctions in the past – in fact every time there is a big shift upwards the biosphere takes a hit – EVERYTIME!

        And I will accept your white flag on where the debate is and what is at stake. Now why not set a new site up about whether Beyonce is better than Britney – or other unimportant nonsense, and and get out of the biosphere collapsing business?

        Oh and AS YOU KNOW FULL WELL, the CO2 causes the acidity of the oceans to increase devastating life in it and putting the livelihoods of hundreds of millions at risk. But I’m guessing you have a perfectly serviceable conspiracy theory to roll out to explain why CO2 does not raise ocean acidity or why calcium carbonate shells do not dissolve when exposed to this increase? No? Thought not….

        Now look real hard I’m sure there is an inconsequential point you can pick on, a spelling mistake or a tiny irrelevancy – just don’t what ever you do challenge your bigotry… You would get kicked out of the right wing fraternity…

  1. 2010/12/05 at 17:09
  2. 2010/01/27 at 02:38
  3. 2010/01/26 at 10:05
  4. 2009/12/10 at 06:28
  5. 2009/10/15 at 21:45
  6. 2009/10/15 at 13:19

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