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The Week That Was
(May 14, 2005)
brought to you by SEPP

NEW ON THE WEB: Professor Dennis Bray (GKSS Forschungszentrum, Geesthacht, Germany) conducted a survey among 530 international climate scientists and found that nearly 30% were skeptical of the IPCC conclusions about anthropogenic global warming. About 10% of those surveyed disagreed strongly. This should be contrasted with the conclusion of Dr. Naomi Oreskes who after reviewing nearly 1000 published abstracts claimed that NONE questioned the consensus. Dr. Benny Peiser, examining the same abstracts, found over 3% skeptical of the consensus.

Bray's letter, submitted to Science in response to the Oreskes essay, was rejected. In fact, the editors of Science refused to publish *any* of the numerous letters critical of the Oreskes study. No wonder many believe that there is a universal consensus among climate researchers..

His results (and the refusal by Science to correct the grossly misleading Oreskes essay) speak for themselves. Worse even, the editors had Bray's article under consideration while approving Oreskes for publication.

Neither Bray nor von Storch are climate "skeptics" themselves. Indeed, they are vocal critics of global warming "skepticism" in most of its forms. Nevertheless, both researchers are only too aware of the reality of skepticism evidently present within the climate science community.

Even IPCC stalwart Tom Wigley considers Oreskes paper to be “clearly flawed.” “I can name a number of papers critical of the global warming idea, yet it seems these slipped through the Oreskes net.” But he then hastens to add that they are all wrong.

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[When SEPP first got underway, in 1990, we surveyed leading members of the American Meteorological Society and found that about one-quarter were familiar with the greenhouse debate and were skeptical.]

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In a letter to Nature (March 31, 2005), George Monbiot and four other “climate campaigners” (including from Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth) complained bitterly that because of skeptics a “[false] impression [was] created in the public mind that climate scientists are deeply divided” To put the record straight, Prof. David Douglass and I submitted a response, which Nature chose not to publish (see Item #1)

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What else is hot these days?

HOCKEYSTICK: defended by Ammann and Wahl

Too bad the news about A&W arrived just after a presentation by McIntyre and McKitrick on May 11. I am content to let them deal with it. But my money is on M-M not on A-W. The surest sign that the Hockeystick is dead comes when dyed-in -the-wool partisans of the IPCC now say that the IPCC conclusions about current anthropogenic warming never needed the Hockeystick for support. NOW they tell us...

Three further points:
.
1. In their 2003 paper, M&M demonstrated tha the proxy DATA had been severely mishandled. This fact is not disputed by Ammann & Wahl, but they criticize M&M for showing a temperature peak in the 15
th century. [But M&M got the 15th-century temperature peak only after they corrected the data and used MBH methodology. (which they regard as faulty). In other words, A&W should not pin the 15th cy peak on M&M. This is unfair.]

2. I quickly scanned the links to Ammann-Wahl and looked esp at their MBH Reevaluation Code. Any recent warming comes from the instrumented record not from proxies.

3. When Ammann (with Bradley and Crowley) presented what I call "Hockeystick-Light" last month at the Senate Office Bldg, I asked Amman publicly if they had any proxy data showing POST-1980 warming. He promised to send me such data (from corals, he claimed) but has not done so -- using various excuses. I have been collecting post-1980 proxy data; NONE show a warming. But I have been reluctant to publish this, as long as there are people out there who claim to have contrary evidence. (In e-mails two years ago, Chick Keller (Los Alamos) claimed to have such data but has refused to send them).

POST-1980 WARMING

At the May-25 AGU meeting in New Orleans I will be making a direct attack on the instrumented ocean data that show such warming. This data, of course, is the main pillar holding up the IPCC conclusions. I will try to show (1) that the GH effect cannot warm the ocean and (2) that the reported temperature increase is an artifact of the measurement scheme.[See Item #2].It essentially denies surface warming and brings it into accord with satellite and balloon results. Reconciling this disparity has been a kind of Holy Grail.

JIM HANSEN.S 'SMOKING GUN'

I take a dim view of his ocean heat storage causing a delayed temperature increase; it goes against the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics. But I still have to convince some of my fellow-skeptics. Meanwhile, meteorologist Charles Hosler has published a critique of Hansen's heat storage values (Item #3).

SOLAR RADIATION BRIGHTENING

Three papers in Science report an increase in solar radiation reaching the Earth's surface – presumably because of reduced atmospheric absorption. (Item #4). If these observations are correct, it means that the GH effect is smaller than required to account for the small warming trend observed by weather satellites. Hence – a smaller climate sensitivity and a reduced temperature estimate for 2100 – an increase of less than 0.5 C.

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New on the Web

"THE NOT SO CLEAR CONSENSUS ON CLIMATE CHANGE"

Letter by Professor Dennis Bray,
GKSS Forschungszentrum, Geesthacht, Germany
submitted to Science on 22 December 2004,
but not accepted
http://w3g.gkss.de/G/Mitarbeiter/bray.html/BrayGKSSsite/BrayGKSS/WedPDFs/Science2.pdf

Abstract

One of the most heavily and most publicly contested scientific consensus in the last decade has been in the debate concerning climate change, namely if it is the result of natural causes or of anthropogenic activity). Using evidence from survey questionnaires distributed among climate scientists, the following suggests that consensus among climate scientists might not be as clear as sometimes depicted.

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Scientific consensus seems to be a key word in science to policy transitions, particularly in those cases where uncertainty and risk are high, those issues labeled as post-normal science.
[1] One of the most heavily and most publicly contested scientific consensus in the last decade has been in the debate concerning climate change, namely if it is the result of natural causes or of anthropogenic activity.

Oreskes
[2] claims that evidence suggests that there is indeed a scientific consensus of anthropogenic induced climate change as stated by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Using evidence from survey questionnaires distributed among climate scientists, the following suggests that consensus among climate scientists might not be as clear as depicted by Oreskes. The inset to Oreskes essay suggests that without substantial disagreement, scientists find human activities are heating the earth's surface.

By reviewing 928 abstracts, Oreskes concludes that “Remarkably, none of the papers disagreed with the consensus position”. Oreskes goes on to argue that “This analysis shows that scientists publishing in peer-reviewed literature agree with IPCC, the National Academy of Sciences and the public statements of their professional societies. [While on the other hand] Politicians, economists, journalists, and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is not correct” [emphasis added].

Oreskes main conclusion seems to be that ...there is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic climate change. Results of surveys of climate scientists themselves indicate the possibility that Oreskes conclusion is not as obvious as stated.

In the results of a survey of climate scientists conducted in 2003
[3] one question on the survey asked: “To what extent do you agree or disagree that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes?” A value of 1 indicates strongly agree and a value of 7 indicates strongly disagree. Countries, and number of responses from each country are as follows:

USA n = 372;
Canada n = 14;
Germany n = 56;
Italy n = 14;
Denmark n = 5;
Netherlands n = 4;
Sweden n = 5;
France n = 5;
U.K. n = 18;
Australia n = 21;
Norway n = 3;
Finland n = 3;
New Zealand n = 6;
Austria n = 3;
Ethiopia n = 1;
South Africa n = 3;
Poland n = 1
Switzerland n = 7;
Mexico n = 3;
Russia n = 1;
Argentina n = 1;
India n = 3;
Spain n = 2
Japan n = 3;
Brazil n = 1;
Taiwan n = 1;
Bulgaria n = 1

To the question posed above there were 530 valid responses. Descriptive statistics are as follows:

Mean = 3.62; Std. Error of mean = .080; Median = 3.00; Std. deviation = 1.84; Variance = 3.386

Frequencies:
1. strongly agree 50 (9.4% of valid responses)
2. 134 (25.3% of valid responses)
3. 112 (21.1% of valid responses)
4. 75 (14.2% of valid responses)
5. 45 (8.5% of valid responses)
6. 60 (10.8% valid responses)
7. strongly disagree 54 (9.7% of valid responses)

These results, i.e. the mean of 3.62, seem to suggest that consensus is not all that strong and only 9.4% of the respondents strongly agree that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes. This is however, a slight rise in consensus of the same survey conducted in 1996
[4] that resulted in a mean of 4.1683 to the same question (Five countries USA, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Denmark only in 1996 survey, N = 511).

In the 1996 survey only 5.7% of the valid responses strongly agreed that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes.

In fact, the results of the two surveys even question the Oreskes claim that the majority of climate scientists agree with the IPCC, although this has improved somewhat between 1996 and 2003. In the 1996 survey only 8.2% of the valid responses strongly agreed with the statement that the IPCC reports accurately reflect the consensus of thought within the scientific community while in 2003 the number rose to 22.8%. While there is a shift to a greater level of consensus, the results do not substantiate Oreskes claim. Lacking in Oreskes approach to analysis is any notion of the dynamics of scientific consensus.

References

1. Funtowicz, S. and J. Ravetz. 1992 Three types of risk assessment and the emergence of post-normal science. in Krimsky, S. and D. Golding (eds.) Social Theories of Risk London. Praeger 1992.

2. Oreskes, Naomi. The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Science Vol.306, 3 December 2004 Vol. 1686

3. Bray, D. and Hans von Storch The Perspectives of Climate Scientists on Global Climate Change, 2003

4. Bray, D. and Hans von Storch The Perspectives of Climate Scientists on Global Climate Change, 1996

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1. GW CONSENSUS?

Letter to Nature

Sir: We can well understand the unhappiness of environmental campaigners who fear that allowing skeptics access to the media may cause the public to believe that “climate scientists are deeply divided.”
[1]. But this is a fact that cannot be ignored. Some scientists believe that computer models which project a major warming [2] can adequately simulate the complex atmosphere, while others point to a disparity between model results and observational evidence. [3]. There is even debate about whether the data show a current warming [4]; and there is also great uncertainty – by a factor of six -- about model results of future warming. [5]

Thus the frequently claimed “scientific consensus”
[6] is nothing but a convenient bit of fiction used by political scientists to evade digging into the ongoing scientific controversies. Lawyers tend too be more forthright, stipulating that “the science is settled” so that they can move on to drafting protocols, legislation and regulations to control greenhouse gases and energy use.

Unlike the campaigners who signed the letter
[1] and whose raison d'etre is to promote global warming fears [7], we have no stake in the eventual outcome of the scientific debate. We subscribe to John Maynard Keynes: “If the facts change, I will change my opinion. What do you do, sir?”

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  1. Monbiot, G. et al, Nature 434, 559 (2005)
  2. IPCC 2001
  3. Douglass, Pearson, Singer Geophys Research Letters2004
  4. NRC-National Academy of Sciences. Reconciling Temperature Trends. Jan 2000
  5. Stainforth D. et al Nature Jan 27, 2005
  6. Oreskes, N Science, Dec 3, 2004
  7. Crichton, M. “Aliens are Causing Global Warming” Michelin lecture. CalTech, 2003.
==================================

David H Douglass, Prof of Physics, University of Rochester, NY
S. Fred Singer, Prof Emeritus of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia

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2. ARE SEA SURFACE TEMPERATURE (SST) TRENDS REAL?

S. Fred Singer
Abstract for the AGU Joint Assembly, May 25, 2005, New Orleans

We examine the fundamental physics of SS heating by short-wave (SW) and long-wave (LW) radiation. Solar SW radiation penetrates to some considerable depth, depending on wavelength and turbidity. With an average ocean albedo of 0.09, most of the visible part of the solar spectrum heats the euphotic zone, and through wave action and eddy mixing communicates this energy downward, heating the “mixed layer,” conventionally taken as the upper 100 meters.

But LW (atmospheric) radiation, typically around 20 microns, cannot penetrate into water; its contribution to SST is minor. Instead, it aids in the evaporation of the ocean “skin” and adds latent heat to the atmospheric boundary layer. As a result, the enhanced (anthropogenic) greenhouse effect from an increase in GH gases makes only a minor contribution to SST.
Thus SST should not warm appreciably in response to the anthropogenic GH effect.

But SST records of the past 25 years (referring to temperature of the mixed layer) do show an increase, comparable to that of land data. This temperature rise has conventionally been ascribed to GH warming.

To account for the obvious disparity, we examine more closely the types of measurements that make up the SST. They consist principally of temperature data from engine-cooling water measured at ship inlets (typically around 10 meter depth and below the euphotic zone) and – since 1980 -- an increasing amount of data from drifter buoys in the (warmer) euphotic zone.

We hypothesize that the reported SST warming is an artifact of the increasing percentage of (higher-temperature) buoy data and suggest various tests for falsifying the hypothesis.

Supporting the hypothesis is the reported disparity between surface and atmospheric temperature trends in the tropics
[Douglass et al 2004] and the observed disparity in trends between SST and NMAT (night-time marine air temperatures) [Christy et al 2001]. We suggest that the SST rise observed prior to 1940 is real and not caused by GH warming.
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D H Douglass et al. 2004. Disparity of tropospheric and surface temperature trends: New evidence. GRL 31, L13207, 10.1029/2004GL020212

J.R. Christy et al. 2001. Differential trends in tropical sea surface temperatures since 1979. GRL 28, 186-193.
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3. SMOKING GUN' MISFIRES

by Charles Hosler
The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC)
Published: May 9, 2005

The April 29 Associated Press news story "Data confirm warming" reported on NASA climatologist James Hansen's study of the Earth's apparent energy imbalance, collected from floats deployed in the oceans since 2000; the measurements are supplemented by satellite monitoring of ocean levels. According to Hansen [whose article on the research is being published in the journal Science]
"There cannot longer be genuine doubt that human-made gases are the dominant cause of observed warming... This energy imbalance is the 'smoking gun' that we have been looking for."

Such an assessment seems to be premature, to say the least. Hansen has conveniently dismissed measurements by satellite and balloons that indicate negligible warming of our planet's lower atmosphere (below 40,000 feet above the surface). Also, Hansen has omitted references to recent research on "global dimming," a decline in the rate of water evaporation, urban heat island effects, recent decades of cooling measured over most of Antarctica, and that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide have leveled off over the past decade.

Our Earth's climate variations are more complicated than reliance upon a single hypothesis that suggests that global warming or cooling is dependent mostly on anthropogenic greenhouse gases. In fact, the Earth warmed between 1910 and 1940 but cooled between 1940 and 1975; the warming period occurred before 82 percent of the 20th century's increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide took place. Furthermore, our planet experienced warming from 800 A.D. to 1200 A.D. and cooling from 1400 A.D. to 1750 A.D., during which periods greenhouse gas concentrations were relatively stable. Also, since 1850 the Earth has undergone periods of warming and cooling, despite industrialization.

Charles R. Hosler
(The writer served as a meteorologist with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.)

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4. GLOBAL WARMING: SOMETHING NEW UNDER THE SUN?

World Climate Report,
10 May 2005
http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/2005/05/10/global-warming-something-new-under-the-sun/

That appears to be what is happening, judging from three papers in the May 6 issue of Science.

These three papers argue that the amount of incoming solar radiation reaching the surface of the earth has increased dramatically in the last two decades. While the values vary from paper to paper, in toto the new studies suggest that the increase in solar radiation absorbed at the earth's surface had almost 10 times as much warming power during that time as the concurrent increases in carbon dioxide, the main global warming gas. Therefore, the warming observed over the past 20 years must have little to do with changes in greenhouse gases.

Before you kill the greenhouse effect, please note that we think this is a lot of hooey. But if you accept these results, that's where you have to go.

You'd think it would be huge news that the greenhouse scare is over. Instead, the "news" sections of Science and Nature are behaving in their predictable fashion. In Nature, Quirin Schiermeier wrote
"this may worsen the greenhouse effect."

Really?

Changes in the sun or in the net amount of energy transmitted down to the surface are conveniently measured in watts per square meter (W/m2). For comparison, think of a 100 watt light. That does a pretty good job of warming the meter beneath it. While the changes in wattage from carbon dioxide or the sun are much less, they are changes nonetheless. Remember our recent piece on James Hansen's recent calculations. He now feels that the change in temperature that ultimately results is two-thirds of a degree (C) per watt change (down from one degree that he used for years, thanks to the reluctance of the earth to warm as predicted). That should have been big news, too, and it was also entirely missed by Science, Nature and the press in general.

Here are the wattage changes reported in Science:

Enhanced greenhouse effect during industrial era: 2.4 W/m2. According to page 66 of the 2001 compendium of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change (IPCC), about a quarter of this amount, or 0.6 W/m2, has occurred since the mid-1980s.

Change in solar radiation absorbed by the earth from 2000 to 2004, estimated from low-orbiting satellite data, reported by Wielicki et al.: 2.06 W/m2.

Change from 1983 to 2001 in solar radiation absorbed by the earth, estimated at the surface by satellites, reported by Pinker et al.: 2.7 W/m2.

Change from 1985 to 2000 solar radiation absorbed at the surface, as measured at the surface, reported by Wild et al.: 4.4 W/m2.

If we average the results of Pinker et al. and Wild et al., we get 3.55 W/m2 for the period 1985 to 2000. To this we add 2.06 W/m2 from 2000 to 2004 and get 5.61 W/m2. If we divide this by 0.6 W/m2 (the total change in greenhouse forcing from 1985 to 2004, we get 9.35. The added forcing from increased solar radiation reaching the earth's surface has contributed nearly 10 times as much energy as greenhouse changes! When compared to the overall greenhouse forcing since pre-industrial times, it's four times larger.

(We converted the numbers above to watts per square meter from the values given in different units by Robert Charlson et al., in an accompanying "Perspectives" piece in the same issue of Science)

Further converting the numbers above to temperatures, we arrive at the following. The earth has been warming during the past 35 years at a very constant rate of about 0.18 ºC/decade. Traditionally, this has been associated with the overall response to greenhouse gas changes (remember, their radiation effect, since the industrial revolution, is 2.4 W/m2). If increases in solar radiation reaching the earth's surface in the last 20 years are 10 times greater than that from carbon dioxide, and four times greater than the greenhouse gas changes in the last 150 years, which is more important?

Don't forget that it accepted in climate science that the warming of the early 20th century, about 0.4ºC, is due largely to solar changes. In other words, it was pretty concurrent with the varying amount of radiation reaching the surface. So the recent changes in received solar energy should have exerted a tremendous influence on temperature!

Let's be frank. This
wildly fluctuating amount of solar radiation warming the surface invalidates every carbon-dioxide driven climate model for the past, as well as every future projection of warming resulting from greenhouse effect changes.

Why is the amount of solar radiation reaching the earth's surface increasing? The authors of the Science papers don't have a firm idea, but most tend to think that it has to do with the atmosphere becoming generally cleaner as a result of less pollution being emitted into it rather than actual changes in the solar output.

But regardless of the cause, if you believe all of this, then enhanced greenhouse gases are inconsequential compared to the tremendous increase in solar energy hitting the surface. Apparently few want to admit to this.

But some timid voices are beginning to whisper. NASA's Bruce Wielicki, lead author of one of the new Science articles, told the New York Times on Friday, May 5th that the amount of increased energy coming from the sun matches the amount of energy that NASA's James Hansen reported on Science's web site just last week is being absorbed by the world's oceans. What Wielicki failed to mention (or what the Times failed to report) was that Hansen ascribed increases in ocean heat storage to the greenhouse effect!

It can't be both. If it's the sun, than greenhouse warming is dramatically overestimated. If it's greenhouse warming, than the solar effect is an artifact of the research methods and nothing more.

So, either the three independent papers just published in Science magazine are wrong, or the earth's sensitivity to changes in the greenhouse effect is exceedingly small. Truth be told, something really stinks here. If the amount of solar energy hitting the globe as a whole fluctuates as wildly as these papers believe, then there's a tremendous amount of stability built into the climate.

But the solar changes are almost certainly wild overestimates. For one thing, we have a pretty good test of how quickly the earth responds to much smaller changes in incoming radiation, as occurs when a big volcano blows off. The eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, in 1991, lowered the amount of incoming solar radiation by about 1.5 W/m2 and subsequently dropped the surface temperature about a half of a degree within two years. A clear cause and effect. The rises now purported in solar radiation are several times larger than that (as are the reported declines in solar radiation that preceded the recent rise). So their impacts should be obvious, instead of hiding in the fine print of a highfalutin science journal. In fact the earlier declines were of such magnitude that they should have completely disrupted the world's food system, which obviously did not happen.

Obviously something is very wrong here. If the solar radiation received by the surface of the earth changed this much, earth's surface temperature would be fluctuating wildly. Instead, the slow, modest and steady increase established 35 years ago continues, as predicted by mainstream computer models.

That's our take, because it's the only one that seems internally consistent. But, if somehow we are wrong (a rare event), then greenhouse warming is over, as the sensitivity of the earth's temperature to carbon dioxide has been grossly overestimated. Believe us, we'd like to hope the latter is correct, but we have to call things in the most logical fashion.

References:

Charlson, R., et al., 2005. In search of balance. Science, 308, 806.

Hansen, J.E., et al., 2005. Earth's energy imbalance: confirmation and implications. Sciencexpress, April 28, 2005.

Pinker, R.T., et al., 2005. Do satellites detect trends in surface solar radiation? Science, 308, 850-854.

Schiermeier, Q., 2005. Clear skies end global dimming. Nature, published on-line, May 5, 2005.

Wielicki, B., et al., 2005. Changes in Earth's albedo measured by satellite. Science, 308, 825.

Wild, W., et al., 2005. From dimming to brightening: decadal changes in solar radiation at Earth's surface. Science, 308, 847-850.

Copyright 2005, World Climate Report

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..................... you're in the wrong lane

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