1– @bbcworld there is something preternatural in seeing every good climate news invariably more than compensated by some badclimate news refers to “Temperature and CO2 feedback loop ‘weaker than thought‘” by Roger Harrabin, which includes:
The authors warn, though, that their research will not reduce projections of future temperature rises.
2– Total rout for AGW : UK Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change refers to “Science chief John Beddington calls for honesty on climate change”
4– Building a broad climate coalition of scientific/professional organizations reminds of “100 Scientists against Einstein” refers to “Climate change activists work to regain momentum” by Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle
5– Science : “Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel Combustion? (answer: mostly biomass) refers to
Science 23 January 2009: Vol. 323. no. 5913, pp. 495 – 498 “Brown Clouds over South Asia: Biomass or Fossil Fuel Combustion?” by Örjan Gustafsson et al
6– ClimateDepot “warmists” have been scoring own goals for quite some time – and still they do – refers to “The Disastrous Setback for Climate Advocacy of Late 2009” by Chris Mooney in “The Intersection” where I comment
I fully agree with redlink18…disparaging any comment that falls outside of the party line and concentrating on blaming a handful of well-paid individuals when there has been a clear and massive change in public opinion in the USA like in the UK, all of that will lead Mooney’s “camp” nowhere.
On the other hand, given that the “warmists” have been scoring spectacular own goals for quite some time now, no wonder they show no chance of getting anything right at the moment.
7– “try and change the Received date! Don’t give those skeptics something to amuse themselves with” refers to “East Anglia Confirmed Emails from the Climate Research Unit – 1189722851.txt”
9– @Revkin: Watts is at third of Gandhi’s four stages: “First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, then you win” refers to “Poorly sited U.S. temperature instruments not responsible for artificial warming” on Dr. Jeff Masters’ WunderBlog
ADDENDUM JUL 13: Christopher Booker has managed to trace the 40% claim to a deleted web page. “Neither WWF nor Woods Hole come well out of this story“. Definitely, they do not. See also EU Referendum.
ADDENDUM FEB 15: Daniel Nepstad has posted a statement endorsing “the correctness of the IPCC’s (AR4) statement on Amazon forest susceptibility to rainfall reduction” (link fixed on JUL 13). But Nepstad makes several references to 2004 and 2007 articles whose existence the IPCC authors were not obviously aware of. If the IPCC has been right for the wrong reasons, we can state it has been wrong: because it cannot simply be a matter of having it right by pure chance.
(I have posted a version of the below as a comment at WUWT, concerning James Delingpole’s “After Climategate, Pachaurigate and Glaciergate: Amazongate” and in the response to the following comment by an “Icarus” (Jan 25, 14:19:23):
It appears that the 40% figure references this passage in the WWF/IUCN report:
“Up to 40% of the Brazilian forest is extremely sensitive to small reductions in the amount of rainfall. In the 1998 dry season, some 270,000 sq. km of forest became vulnerable to fire, due to completely depleted plant-available water stored in the upper five metres of soil. A further 360,000 sq. km of forest had only 250 mm of plant-available soil water left.”
This passage references a peer-reviewed article in Nature:
46 D. C. Nepstad, A. Veríssimo, A. Alencar, C. Nobre, E. Lima, P. Lefebvre, P. Schlesinger, C. Potter, P. Mountinho, E. Mendoza, M. Cochrane, V. Brooks, Large-scale Impoverishment of Amazonian Forests by Logging and Fire, Nature, 1999, Vo l 398, 8 April, pp505
Unfortunately I don’t have access to the full article but to call this reference “a complete load of porkies” seems a bit unjustified, unless it can be shown that Rowell and Moore completely misrepresent the Nature article (which of course *is* written by Amazonian specialists).
The expression “a complete load of porkies” for what ended up in the IPCC AR4 WG-II Chapter 13, seems a bit justified indeed.
First of all it should not be up to the reader to dig down in the IPCC references until anything peer-reviewed is finally found. If Nepstad et al 1999 were the primary source for the “Up to 40%” claim, that article should have been used, stated and referenced as such, no matter what Rowell and Moore understood of it.
Secondly, the IPCC AR4 WG-II Chapter 13 makes no mention of Nepstad et al 1999. As far as I can see, the Nepstad et al 1999 article is only used in AR4 in the IPCC AR4 WG-II Chapter 4:
Recently observed moderate climatic changes have induced forest productivity gains globally (reviewed in Boisvenue and Running, 2006) and possibly enhanced carbon sequestration, especially in tropical forests (Baker et al., 2004; Lewis et al., 2004a, 2004b; Malhi and Phillips, 2004; Phillips et al., 2004), where these are not reduced by water limitations (e.g., Boisvenue and Running, 2006) or offset by deforestation or novel fire regimes (Nepstad et al., 1999, 2004; Alencar et al., 2006) or by hotter and drier summers at mid- and high latitudes (Angert et al., 2005)
in some tropical and sub-tropical regions, notably South-East Asia and similarly the Amazon (e.g., Nepstad et al., 1999), deforestation rates are still high
You may note that in both cases Nepstad et al 1999 is used to mention deforestation (something one might expect out of an article titled Large-scale Impoverishment of Amazonian Forests by Logging and Fire).
The abstract of that article is particularly terse on Nature.com:
Amazonian deforestation rates are used to determine human effects on the global carbon cycle and to measure Brazil’s progress in curbing forest impoverishment,,. But this widely used measure of tropical land use tells only part of the story..
For some reason, there is a longer version on Mendeley.com:
Amazonian deforestation rates are used to determine human effects on the global carbon cycle(1-3) and to measure Brazil’s progress in curbing forest impoverishment(1,4,5). But this widely used measure of tropical land use tells only part of the story. Here we present field surveys of wood mills and forest burning across Brazilian Amazonia which show that logging crews severely damage 10,000 to 15,000 km(2) yr(-1) of forest that are not included in deforestation mapping programmes. Moreover, we find that surface fires burn additional large areas of standing forest, the destruction of which is normally not documented. Forest impoverishment due to such fires may increase dramatically when severe droughts provoke forest leaf-shedding and greater flammability; our regional water-balance model indicates that an estimated 270,000 km(2) of forest became vulnerable to fire in the 1998 dry season. Overall, we find that present estimates of annual deforestation for Brazilian Amazonia capture less than half of the forest area that is impoverished each year, and even less during; years of severe drought. Both logging and fire increase forest vulnerability to future burning(6,7) and release forest carbon stocks to the atmosphere, potentially doubling net carbon emissions from regional land-use during severe El Nino episodes. If this forest impoverishment is to be controlled, then logging activities need to be restricted or replaced with low-impact timber harvest techniques, and more effective strategies to prevent accidental forest fires need to be implemented.
It is hard not to notice that Nepstad et al 1999 were concerned about deforestation and fires possibly exarcebated by severe droughts, whilst Rowell and Moore, and the IPCC authors and reviewers, completely turned the cards around, pushing hard on the climatic side first.
That is not the first time I have seen “Chinese whispers” at play in the IPCC AR4…
Andy Revkin has just published on dotEarth a James Kanter article titled “Explanation Offered for Error in U.N. Climate Report“. Apparently,
Faulty communication allowed an unsubstantiated estimate of the melting rate of Himalayan glaciers to make it into the landmark 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a senior scientist and panel official said Monday. […] The official, Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, a vice chairman of the climate change panel, said that a glaciologist, Georg Kaser at the University of Innsbruck, in Austria, had sought to correct the information about the glaciers before it was published by the panel but that the correction came too late and never reached the people who could fix the statement.
This “explanation” obviously explains very little and simply opens up a series of new questions:
- Why didn’t Dr Kaser think it worthwhile to voice his concerns in any form (public, or private) after the publication of the IPCC report in 2007?
- What made Dr Kaser place more importance on his colleagues potentially ill feelings about being criticized, than on scientific truth?
- And if a relatively well-known published scientist such as Dr Kaser finds himself forced into some kind of self-censorship and reluctance to speak out, how poisonous, impermeable to criticism and ultimately anti-scientific has the world of the IPCC become?
Words of wisdom to the big cheeses at the IPCC: please stop digging!
It’s open season on the IPCC, thanks to the absurd antics of a Dr Rajendra Pachauri, and a series of revelations including manipulation of science for policy purposes in matters of glaciers and disaster losses. As it happens, those problems concern a part of the IPCC report of 2007 I have already argued about: the actual evidence for “Climate Change/Global Warming” in the physical world of today, as per the IPCC AR4-WG2-Chapter1 (“Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems” (*))
(for a different example concerning future “changes and responses”, see how a clever mix of “could”, “might” and “likely” means that even if we meet again in 2050 and global cooling is in full swing, still the IPCC reports will be, in a sense, correct)
And so here I’ll add my small contribution: because the IPCC authors and reviewers have managed to collate evidence for climate change where even James Hansen and Reto Ruedy agree that the climate has not (yet) changed. Time to ditch AR4-WG2-Chapter1 altogether?
AR4-WG2-Chapter1 is rapidly turning into a sad joke almost devoid of scientific content. After all, with most if not all tangible AGW effects expected in the future, any serious present “Assessment of observed changes and responses” should be a 1-page note declaring “not much if anything”…
I have already shown quite some time ago how AR4-WG2-Chapter1 fails to demonstrate the “global” in “Global Warming”. For example, Table 1.12, p116 “Global comparison of significant observed changes…”) contains a total of 26,285 observed “significant changes compatible with warming“. Of those, 25,135 come from Europe alone: that is a whopping 95.6% out a continent covering less than 7% of the world’s land area.
Two out of three of the remaining observed “significant changes compatible with warming” come from North America. And so on and so forth.
If it interested anybody, we could start discussing how Europe has been warming of late. But about North America, the IPCC assessment is now smelling even fishier. It all started on Jan 14 with Judicial Watch announcing they
obtained internal documents from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) related to a controversy that erupted in 2007 when Canadian blogger Stephen McIntyre exposed an error in NASA’s handling of raw temperature data from 2000-2006 that exaggerated the reported rise in temperature readings in the United States
The news was linked later the same day by McIntyre himself. With 215 pages to go through, no wonder it took around a week for somebody to notice some peculiar statements (click here to read a funny episode almost straight out of The Office). And so AJ Strata of the Strata-sphere reported on Jan 21:
In their snobbish and arrogant effort to belittle those asking questions about what was the warmest year on record, they [GISS] inadvertently admitted that the current warm period is not significantly greater than the warm spots seen in the US in the 1930’s and 1950’s
What the above refers to is GISS’s Reto Ruedy writing on Aug 10, 2007 (expanding on a quote by James Hansen):
He [McIntyre] concentrates on the US time series which (US covering less than 2% of the world) is so noisy and has such a large margin of error that no conclusions can be drawn from it at this point
Later on Jan 21, AJ Strata pointed to another message by Mr Ruedy, dated Aug 15, 2007 and containing the following statement:
The US has been warming in the period 1980-2006 similarly to the period from 1920-1934; that earlier 15-year period then was followed by a cooling period and the same might be true for the current 25-year period. The annual US mean changes are still large compared to any CO2 effect
In other words: not even at GISS they can see any “climate change” concerning the USA.
And yet…amazingly, at the IPCC “somebody” still managed to find a series of pieces of evidence about “climate change” in the USA. Here they are from fabled IPCC AR4-WG2-Chapter1:
- p84: Table 1.1. Direct and indirect effects of non-climate drivers. Invasive species:Tamarisk (USA)
- p85: no change in the number of frost days in the south-eastern USA (Feng and Hu, 2004)
- p86: Table 1.2. Selected observed effects due to changes in the cryosphere produced by warming. Decreased snow in ski areas at low altitudes:Decrease in number of ski areas from 58 to 17:1975-2002 New Hampshire, northeastern USA:Hamilton, 2003b
- p89: Table 1.3. Observed changes in runoff/streamflow, lake levels and floods/droughts. Due to dry and unusually warm summers related to warming of western tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans in recent years:1998-2004:Western USA:Andreadis et al., 2005; Pagano and Garen, 2005
- p92: 184.108.40.206 Changes in coastal wetlands. In the USA, losses in coastal wetlands have been observed in Louisiana (Boesch et al., 1994), the mid-Atlantic region (Kearney et al., 2002), and in parts of New England and New York (Hartig et al., 2002; Hartig and Gornitz, 2004), in spite of recent protective environmental regulations (Kennish, 2001)
- p100: Table 1.8. Changes in the timing of spring events, based on observations within networks. Location:Period:Species/Indicator:Observed changes (days/decade):References. Western USA:1957-1994:Lilac, honeysuckle (F):-1.5 (lilac), 3.5 (honeysuckle):Cayan et al., 2001
- p100: Table 1.8. North-eastern USA:1965-2001,1959-1993:Lilac (F, LU),Lilac (F):-3.4 (F) -2.6 (U),-1.7:Wolfe et al., 2005,Schwartz and Reiter, 2000
- p100: Table 1.8. Washington, DC:1970-1999:100 plant species (F):-0.8:Abu-Asab et al., 2001
- p102: Table 1.9. Evidence of significant recent range shifts polewards and to higher elevations. California coast, USA:Spittlebug:Northward range shift:Karban and Strauss, 2004
- p102: Table 1.9. Washington State, USA Skipper butterfly Range expansion with increased Tmin Crozier, 2004
- p102: Table 1.9. Montana, USA Arctic-alpine species Decline at the southern margin of range Lesica and McCune, 2004
- p103: 220.127.116.11 Climate-linked extinctions and invasions. The pika (Ochotona princeps), a small mammal found in mountains of the western USA, has been extirpated from many slopes (Beever et al., 2003)
- p105: Table 1.10. Observed changes in agricultural crop and livestock. Yields:Part of overall yield increase attributed to recent cooling during growing season: 25% maize, 33% soybean:USA county level:1982-1998:Lobell and Asner, 2003
- p105: Box 1.2. favourable conditions for wine…the same tendencies have also been found in the California, Oregon and Washington vineyards of the USA (Nemani et al., 2001; Jones, 2005).
- p107: Climate warming can also change the disturbance regime of forests by extending the range of some damaging insects, as observed during the last 20 years for bark beetles in the USA (Williams and Liebhold, 2002)
- p107: One study of forest fires in Canada (Gillett et al., 2004) found that about half of the observed increase in burnt area during the last 40 years, in spite of improved fire-fighting techniques, is in agreement with simulated warming from a general circulation model (GCM)[…] it seems to be confirmed by another recent study (Westerling et al., 2006), which established a dramatic and sudden increase in large wildfire activity in the western USA in the mid-1980s closely associated with increased spring and summer temperatures and an earlier spring snow melt.
- p108: This increase in heatwave exposures, where heatwaves are defined as temperature extremes of short duration, has been observed in mid-latitudes in Europe and the USA
QED: the IPCC AR4-WG2-Chapter1 is a sad joke almost devoid of scientific content. All that effort has been for nothing, all the more so as it reported (especially) about warming-related climate changes no matter what.
That is, independently even from the actual measured temperatures.(*) The obligatory full reference: Rosenzweig, C., G. Casassa, D.J. Karoly, A. Imeson, C. Liu, A. Menzel, S. Rawlins, T.L. Root, B. Seguin, P. Tryjanowski, 2007: Assessment of observed changes and responses in natural and managed systems. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 79-131.
There we go again…another Defender of The Science mixing up “weather” and “climate”. Will Phil be convinced by my “Space-Time has digested AGW” argument?
Maybe not. After all, who am I to pretend to be a climatologist. Well, then , perhaps the head of climate impacts at the Met Office Hadley Centre will make the Bad Astronomer change his mind.
people often make the same mistake but in the other direction, and link every heatwave, major flood, drought and famine to global warming.
Of course, we know that these things happen anyway, even without climate change – they may happen more often under a warmer climate, but it is wrong to blame climate change for every single event.
Climate scientists know this, but still there are people outside of climate science who will claim or imply such things if it helps make the news or generate support for their political or business agenda.
I have known the Bad Astronomer for many years (I have even met him once and he appreciated some “scientific” investigative job of mine) and he’s up there in my scientific Pantheon about Astronomy (and not just Astronomy).
Plait is also doing a great job in fighting the child-killing practices of the anti-vaxxers. And to prevent the silliness of creationists from spreading. He should then realize his own heavy responsibility in not placing himself at the forefront of misusing science.
People are victims of the weather. But if “the weather” is not “the climate“, then people are not victims of “the climate“. Therefore: why should anybody care about “the climate“?
What is all this talk about climate change for, and about?
Part 1 has shown how weeks if not months of “it’s weather, not climate” defenses of AGW mean the evaporation of the very concept of “climate” as used in AGW circles. Close scrutiny in temporal or spatial terms automatically excludes the possibility to talk about “climate”.
This leads to an even bigger problem. As already quoted from a NOAA page
In short, climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area. […] When scientists talk about climate, they’re looking at averages of precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind velocity, phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other measures of the weather that occur over a long period in a particular place.
But people are affected not by averages: rather, by actual events.
It is not for lack of examples that Mark Twain talked about “lies, damned lies and statistics“: apart from cricket, there is no sport where the outcome of a match is based on an average of past (or expected future) performances. Likewise: nobody dies because of “of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area“…people suffer because of hurricanes, of heatwaves, of many other atmospheric “short-term patterns”, and especially of cold temperatures.
People are victims of the weather. People are not victims of “the climate”.
One can look at this same problem from another side. Read Andrew Freedman at the WP’s Capital Weather Gang:
A larger problem with the media’s approach to covering the recent cold is that it ignores how people tend to think about climate change, which is squarely in the context of extreme weather and climate events. Such events are much more tangible to everyday experience than long-term climate change is, but they are not always related to climate change. Sometimes weather is just weather.
The keyword there is “tangible“. In fact, how did the Guardian’s David Adam write a few months ago about the “scenarios…of how global warming will unfold across Britain“ as published by “scientists at the Met Office Hadley Centre“?
And now for the weather. The 2020s are looking warm and dry, with occasional heavy winter showers. The 2050s should be sunny and warm, with scattered deaths due to heatwaves across London and the south-east. And looking ahead to the 2080s, temperatures could reach 41C, so be sure to pack the suncream for your picnic. And watch out for those great white sharks!
“And now for the weather…”. QED.
I am perfectly aware of the fact that it is a rhetorical device used to capture the reader’s attention. That is in fact my point: it is very difficult if not impossible to visualize (and care about) something unless it happens as a physical manifestation rather than as a statistical occurrence.
What is an “increase” in “averages of precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind velocity, phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other measures of the weather“? Who knows? Instead: “For the UK […] a future of balmy Mediterranean summers“, writes George Monbiot at the time of the Hadley Centre report.
Now, that is something that can be understood. AGW- and therefore climate-related communication has to include some sort of event, as in the infamous David Viner’s quote from 2000:
According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia,within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event” “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he said.
After all, at some point “climate change” will have to happen, if AGW is correct. So there must be a series of “AGW events”…but if all events are “weather” and not “climate“, then…why should anybody care about “the climate“?
If you can’t use more or less any weather event to talk about climate, the only logical consequence is that climatology is being confined to a generic suggestion that it may going to be hot, perhaps, likely more often than in the past. The Met Office’s Richard Betts in the BBC Green Room:
Of course, we know that these things [a series of “warmest” years] happen anyway, even without climate change – they may happen more often under a warmer climate, but it is wrong to blame climate change for every single event.
The gain in accuracy of such generic statements is more than compensated by their utter lack of usefulness, as suggested here by William M. “Statistician to the Stars” Briggs:
you do not need to have a model for past data if all you want to say is it was “high” or “low” or whatever
And so the question arises for the n-th time…if to talk about “climate” means to state pretty useless assertions…why should anybody care about “the climate“?
People are victims of the weather. But if “the weather” is not “the climate“, then people are not victims of “the climate“. Therefore: why should anybody care about “the climate“?
What is all this talk about climate change for, and about?
Alas, thanks to the staunch defence of AGW no matter what, it is about almost nothing. I have already written how very little there is to show for AGW (most if not all issues are firmly expected for sometimes in the future). And now, whatever AGW has become, it is turning into a ghost of itself in front of our very eyes, because of insurmountable problems of time (and space) .
The Time Dimension of AGW
World temperatures haven’t gone anywhere for at least a decade, hurricanes haven’t been battering like it’s 2005, and the Arctic sea ice cover hasn’t shrunk as in 2007. And yet in an apparent effort to insulate AGW theory from actual observation of the physical world, there is no shortage of people pontificating that the IPCC consensus is safe, because:
- whatever we observe in the here-and-now is “weather”
- the IPCC consensus is about “climate”
- “climate” is not “weather”
- “climate” is “weather” averaged over 30 years (who knows why, 30 and not 22 or 100?)
In short, climate is the description of the long-term pattern of weather in a particular area.
Some scientists define climate as the average weather for a particular region and time period, usually taken over 30-years. It’s really an average pattern of weather for a particular region.
When scientists talk about climate, they’re looking at averages of precipitation, temperature, humidity, sunshine, wind velocity, phenomena such as fog, frost, and hail storms, and other measures of the weather that occur over a long period in a particular place.
The insulation of this vaporous average of a thing called “climate” from experienced “weather” events is near to perfect. For example, Leo Hickman and George Monbiot dismiss the significance of “single events” in the Guardian’s Environment blog:
weather […] believe it or not, it is not always predictable and it changes quite often. It is not the same as climate, and single events are not the same as trends
Revkin goes as far as talking of weather and climate going in opposite directions:
In the last few days, a notable conjunction occurred when these two men [Hansen and Watts] essentially agreed on something: that the planet — despite a lot of very cold patches — is unusually warm.
But the reasoning goes both ways: the same distinction between “weather” and “climate” can be applied to every alleged AGW manifestation on short timescales. Each melting glacier, each heatwave, each single-year or even decadal decrease in Arctic ice is “weather”.
And so we are left in this limbo, where “climate change impacts are already evident” even if they cannot possibly be.
The Space Dimension of AGW
The “G” in AGW means “global”. AGW is meant to apply to the world as a whole. But “climate” heavily depends on local effects, says Wikipedia:
The climate of a location is affected by its latitude, terrain, altitude, ice or snow cover, as well as nearby water bodies and their currents
regional short‐term temperature fluctuations […] are an order of magnitude larger than global average annual anomalies
That is: “local climate” is “weather”, not “climate”. Hence, as explained by Luboš,
the global mean temperature is irrelevant for you and for everyone else, too. It didn’t help the hundreds of frozen people in India, the passengers whose flights were canceled, and millions of other people in the European, Asian, and American civilization centers
That’s not all: even assuming AGW is all fine and right, one should consider the result of “regional variations in radiative forcing“, as already mentioned years ago by Roger Pielke, Sr. :
regional diabatic heating due to human activities represents a major, but under-recognized climate forcing, on long-term global weather patterns. Indeed, this heterogenous climate forcing may be more important on the weather that we experience than changes in weather patterns associated with the more homogeneous spatial radiative forcing of the well-mixed greenhouse gases
AGW: No Close-ups, Please!
If you try to look at it at too fine a temporal detail (a decade or less), there is no such a thing as “climate” (or so we are told). Hence, AGW does not apply. If you try to look at it at too fine a spatial detail (a couple of decades or less), there is no such a thing as “climate” (or so we are told). Hence, AGW does not apply.
That is, weeks if not months of “it’s weather, not climate” defenses of AGW mean the evaporation of the very concept of “climate” as used in AGW circles.
Please somebody explain why should anybody still care about “the climate”…