Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Questionable behaviour by the global warming alarmists

I have been meaning to post on a paper by Christopher Monckton which discusses climate sensitivity. The article was interesting for several reasons. It was attempting to show that the climate models overestimate forcing by neglecting more significant attenuating factors. It was also interesting in that a disclaimer preceded the article which apparently was unprecedented and possibly incorrect.

The paper is slightly difficult to read, I struggled with aspects and I am trained in physics. There are some interesting comments in between the mathematics.
Some 20 temperature feedbacks have been described, though none can be directly measured. Most have little impact on temperature. The value of each feedback, the interactions between feedbacks and forcings, and the interactions between feedbacks and other feedbacks, are subject to very large uncertainties....
This does not necessarily mean the uncertainty of climate is high, it depends on how much influence these feedbacks have in the models. They may have negligible effects in predominantly solar models but are the major contributor to CO2 models. Which means the uncertainty of anthropomorphic climate models is high.
Even satellite-based efforts at assessing total energy-flux imbalance for the whole Earth-troposphere system are uncertain. Worse, not one of the individual forcings or feedbacks whose magnitude is essential to an accurate evaluation of climate sensitivity is mensurable directly, because we cannot distinguish individual forcings or feedbacks one from another in the real atmosphere, we can only guess at the interactions between them, and we cannot even measure the relative contributions of all forcings and of all feedbacks to total radiative forcing.
20 different feedbacks and they cannot be empirically distinguished. How can the modellers even know whether these things exist?

The discussion makes some interesting comments,
The IPCC’s methodology relies unduly – indeed, almost exclusively – upon numerical analysis, even where the outputs of the models upon which it so heavily relies are manifestly and significantly at variance with theory or observation or both. Modeled projections such as those upon which the IPCC’s entire case rests have long been proven impossible when applied to mathematically-chaotic objects, such as the climate, whose initial state can never be determined to a sufficient precision. For a similar reason, those of the IPCC’s conclusions that are founded on probability distributions in the chaotic climate object are unsafe.
With the subsequent conclusion noting 9 serial contingencies; 9 nested if/ then statements!

What motivated me to get around to this post is Monckton's publication this month (pdf), Hockey Stick? What Hockey Stick? How alarmist "scientists" falsely abolished the Mediaeval Warm Period.

This paper analyses the events surrounding the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, focusing on the infamous hockey stick graph. It reports a
swamp of misrepresentation, deceit, concealment and malfeasance
to such a degree that even if anthropomorphic global warming were a true phenomenon, the IPCC would be unable to discover it.

I will add that I do not find the evidence for a medieval warm period given in the later half of the paper particularly convincing. I think there was a medieval warm period, but I am not convinced by the examples and methods he reproduces.

Monckton's conclusion is worth quoting at some length
The continuing affair of the “hockey-stick” graph is a microcosm of the profound collapse of the rigor, objectivity, and honesty that were once hallmarks of the scientific community. The need to look to the State for very nearly all science funding has inflicted upon the scientific community a dull, dishonest uniformity, so that the deliberate falsification of results to support the current official orthodoxy has become commonplace, particularly where the climate question is concerned.

It was bad enough that one of those behind the “hockey stick” affair should have told a fellow researcher, “We need to get rid of the medieval warm period.” It was worse that the authors of the bogus graph attempted to do just that, by ignoring, undervaluing or even suppressing proxies for northern-hemisphere temperature that did not suit the result they wanted; by falsely stating that they had used data they had in fact replaced with “estimates” of their own that gave them a less inconvenient answer; by overvaluing by many orders of magnitude the contribution of datasets that suited the result they wanted.

It was worse still that the IPCC, several leading journals and numerous former co-authors of the three fabricators of the hockey stick should have continued to cling to it as though it were Gospel even though it has been justifiably and utterly discredited in the scientific literature, and should have gone through an elaborate pantomime of rewriting and publishing previously-rejected papers with the connivance of a dishonest journal editor, so that an entirely fictitious scientific support for the false graph could be falsely claimed by the IPCC in its current Fourth Assessment Report.

The IPCC might have regained some of the scientific credibility that it lost by its publication of the 2001 graph if, in its 2007 assessment report, it had had the integrity, honesty, and common sense to apologise for the failure of its soi-disant “peer-review” process to identify the multiple and serious scientific errors that led to the publication of the graph.

As it is, the IPCC, rather than apologizing, has chosen to participate in the falsification of subsequent results purporting to uphold the original graph,... No serious scientist, therefore, can any longer take any of the IPCC’s conclusions seriously for a single moment longer. As Lord Lawson of Blaby has long argued, the IPCC should now be abolished. It cannot serve any useful purpose in future, because it has dishonestly lent its support not merely to the falsification of scientific results but to the persistent maintenance of that falsification. The IPCC is finished....

Is there, therefore, the slightest reason for the childish panic that the environmental extremist movement and its servant the IPCC have attempted to whip up? No. Should any government devote a single further penny to the climate scare? No. Even if humankind is contributing significantly to warmer weather (which is highly unlikely), adaptation to warmer weather as and if necessary would be orders of magnitude cheaper than the measures to reduce carbon emissions that the world’s extremist politicians are now so eagerly but purposelessly advocating.

The real cost of the flagrant abuses of the scientific method surrounding the question of climate that are so well illustrated by the affair of the “hockey stick” is a terrible, unseen cost in human lives. The biofuel scam that arose directly out of the climate scare has taken one-third of US agricultural land out of food production in just two years. Similar economic disasters have occurred worldwide, not because of “global warming” but because of the catastrophically bad policy-making that the “global warming” scare has engendered among politicians too ignorant of science and too lazy to do other than swim with the rising tide of pseudo-scientific nonsense.

The environmental extremists, who have already killed 50 million children through malaria by their now-canceled ban on the use of DDT, the only effective agent against the anopheles mosquito that spreads the infective parasite, are already eagerly killing millions more through their latest scientifically-baseless scare – the “global warming” panic pandemic. Food riots are occurring throughout the world among the poorest of the poor in many countries: but the desperation, starvation, disease, and death that accompany the sudden famines that the biofuel-driven doubling of world food prices has engendered are scarcely reported by our news media. In Haiti, they are eating mud pies made of earth, water, a tiny knob of butter, and a pinch of salt; or they sell the mud pies to less fortunate neighbours at 3 US cents each. Has any Western news medium reported this, or the hundreds of other agonizing stories of famine and starvation all round the world? No. Instead, every icicle that falls in Greenland is paraded as an omen of imminent doom: and, as for the crooked pseudo-scientists who invented the hockey stick, supported it, and continue to parade it in the mendacious documents of the IPCC, no journalist would dare to ask any of them the questions that would expose their self-seeking corruption for what it is. These evil pseudo-scientists, through the falsity of their statistical manipulations, have already killed far more people through starvation than “global warming” will ever kill. They should now be indicted and should stand trial alongside Radovan Karadzic for nothing less than high crimes against humanity: for, in their callous disregard for the fatal consequences of their corrupt falsification of science, they are no less guilty of genocide than he.
If the alarmists are right, then it is important to bring attention to these "omens." The issue may need to be addressed. But ideas have consequences. If they are wrong it is possible they have blood on their hands.

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