Daily Archives: January 15, 2013

Evaluate sweeping claims about “climate change” carefully

The statement below is an opinion, written like a public relations or propaganda effort. It matters not how many people hold an opinion, how much modeling is done to justify it, or what religion someone is or claims to be. In evaluating a statement like that below, one should ask if it based on a fully-informed understanding of the sciences (not just claims of modelers or change evangelists). The fact that change occurs is a given. But the statement below, in addition to several epistemological assumptions being made that I take issue with, it uses ambiguous language (terms not clearly defined) and puts forward an odd mixture of some true information couched in false premises. As an argument, it suffers from several logical fallacies, and does not reflect a complete Biblical worldview. Set aside the side-issue of who wrote or said it and consider the statement below at face value. Here is the statement:   

“The reality is that there is virtually no debate among climate scientists on the following points: 1. The earth is warming. 2. The main cause for this warming is the increasing production of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases from human activities. 3. The impacts of climate change are already occurring, and will become more severe and even potentially dangerous the longer we allow this problem to continue unchecked. Yes, scientists love to argue. We could argue for years over the impact of soot particles on cloud formation, or the pathway that Atlantic hurricanes might follow in a warmer world. But those who actually study the earth, and study climate, are not arguing over the reality of this issue. That debate was settled many decades ago. The evidence is overwhelming. Climate change is real.” (click here)

At a recent conference in Toronto, I presented the slide below to emphasize the fact that a wide variety of scientists and engineers study climate. The wide variety of scientists and disciplines involved do not agree, contrary to the claim above. In fact, such disagreement and independence of scientists is necessary for the success of the scientific enterprise. To say that there is “virtually no debate” etc etc is simply continuation of IPCC-style bullying….

Pages from 2012 WQTC Pontius - Final2

I will not take the time to respond to all of the issues mentioned above, but recognize one point made in the slide above. Data does not interpret itself. It requires an interpreter, and interpreters have a worldview (typically evolutionism, but there are others more sound). In addition, information theory tells us that a model cannot provide any new information beyond what is programmed into it by the modeler. Models are cool. I use them. But they are not sufficient alone for determining attribution because no new “information” (as understood in information theory) is generated by them. There is a serious epistomological problem with an over-reliance on computer models…..

Low climate sensitivity confirmed……IPCC estimate too high

As discussed here, These observations indicate a climate feedback parameter of 5.5 Wm−2 K−1 which corresponds to global warming at the surface of only [1 Wm-2]/[5.5 Wm−2 K−1] = 0.18 °C per doubling of CO2 levels [or 3.7/5.5 = 0.67°C at the top of the atmosphere]. This is far less than the 3°C global warming claimed by the IPCC.

P. Björnbom. Estimation of the climate feedback parameter by using radiative fluxes from CERES EBAF. Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., 4, 25-47, 2013.
www.earth-syst-dynam-discuss.net/4/25/2013/ doi:10.5194/esdd-4-25-2013.

Top-of-the-Atmosphere (TOA) net radiative flux anomalies from Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy Systems (CERES) Energy Balanced and Filled (EBAF) and surface air temperature anomalies from HadCRUT3 were compared for the time interval September 2000–May 2011. In a phase plane plot with the radiative flux anomalies lagging the temperature anomalies with 7 months the phase plane curve approached straight lines during about an eight months long period at the beginning and a five year period at the end of the interval. Both of those periods, but more clearly the latter one, could be connected to the occurrence of distinct El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) episodes. This result is explained by using a hypothesis stating that non-radiative forcing connected to the ENSO is dominating the temperature changes during those two periods and that there is a lag between the temperature change and the radiative flux feedback. According to the hypothesis the slopes of the straight lines equal the value of the climate feedback parameter. By linear regression based on the mentioned five year period the value of the climate feedback parameter was estimated to 5.5 ± 0.6 W m−2 K−1 (± two standard errors).

Click here for the full paper (Open Source).