(Aug. 21, 2004)
Brought to you by SEPP
(Science & Environmental Policy Project)

1. New on the Web: RECENT PUBLICATIONS PROVIDE EVIDENCE AGAINST SIGNIFICANT GREENHOUSE WARMING, say Michaels, singerm and Douglass in Washington Times Op-Ed.

2. Moscow Seminar Puts Climate Fears to Rest

3. Observed Climate Sensitivity Much less than Derived From Models

4. Mixed News About Dioxin

5. How Soon will World Oil Production Peal?

6. Pollution Deaths From Smog?

2. International Seminar On Climate Change Puts Fears To Rest

Russian Academy of Sciences - Moscow 5-8 July 2004

The Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) invited an International Team to provide balance and counter claims by a British Team led by Sir David King (the UK Govt's Chief Scientific Adviser) and Sir John Houghton (former Director General of the UK Met Office). The RAS had already concluded that 'There is no scientific basis for the Kyoto Protocol'.

As reported by invited scientist Piers Corbyn (London), the British Government Team, after failing to prevent the international science team - of which Corbyn was part - from speaking, resorted to spoiling tactics because they were unable to answer questions. They subsequently tried to portray the event as somehow 'taken over' by others/Russians.

KEY POINTS from the International Seminar

1. World Temperatures do not follow CO2 levels and indeed the warmest periods in the last 2,000 years were the Roman period and the Medieval period which were both warmer than present and had lower CO2 levels {various speakers - William Kininmonth Australian Climate Research}.

  2. Solar particles decisively affect World temperatures. There is a much better correlation between world temperatures and particles than with CO2 levels {Piers Corbyn, Weather Action, London}.

  3. There is no significant Sea level rise - in particular the Maldives are in no danger of submergence {Prof Nils-Axel Morner, Stockholm University}.  

4. There is no climate induced increased danger of tropical diseases, e.g. malaria, since it is not itself a tropical disease - having being prevalent in Russia and Britain at various times. {Paul Reiter, Pasteur Institute Paris}.  

5. There is no discernible link between Global warming & Extreme weather.   Indeed the British Govt delegation specifically said they did not claim any increase in storms due to man-made CO2. {Madhav L Khandekar, consulting meteorologist, Ontario, Canada}.


3. Narrowing the Value of Climate Sensitivity

SFS/ 8/19/2004
Letter to The Industrial Physicist

Climate sensitivity is defined as the (equilibrium) global-mean temperature increase from a doubling of GH-gas forcing. It was first set in 1979 by “hand-waving” [1] as between 1.5 and 4.5º C and has since appeared – unchanged -- in every IPCC Assessment Report, from 1990 to 2001. The large range, a factor of three, is an indication of the uncertainty inherent in climate models because of different assumptions, parameterizations, and approximations in trying to simulate complicated atmospheric processes. It is important to narrow this range and to validate model results by comparing with actual observations.

In a UN-IPCC Workshop on Climate Sensitivity held in Paris, 26-29 July 2004, 14 models gave values of from 2.0 to 5.1º C [1]. But after polling eight current models, Gerald Meehl (NCAR) narrowed the range to 2.6 to 4.0, remarkably close to that derived from an MIT model [2]. But this apparent agreement does not constitute validation against observations – the only real test.

For example, James Murphy et al (Hadley Centre, UK), got a range of 2.4 to 5.4º C (Nature Aug 2004) -- employing a technique that varied 29 parameters entering into a single model. But an extension of their method has now dropped these values somewhat to agree with the new IPCC values [1].

What does it mean if there is consensus among modelers? The assembled group of IPCC modelers ascribed the narrowing of the range to a “better understanding of atmospheric processes” [1]. At the same time, however, Jeffrey Kiehl (NCAR) admits [1] that the models “disagree sharply about the physical processes.” The biggest uncertainty still remains the magnitude of the cloud feedback. For example, while “the NCAR and GFDL models might agree about clouds' net effects…they assume different mixes of cloud properties.” The GFDL (NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Lab) model shows a three-times greater increase in short-wave reflection than NCAR. NCAR increases the amount of low-level clouds while GFDL decreases it. Much of the US gets wetter with NCAR but drier with GFDL.

The MIT model was not directly compared with others. But some notion of its validity can be gained from the projected temperature increases between 1990 and 2100 as a function of latitude – as shown in Fig. 3 [2]. While increases between lat 45 N and lat 45 S are a modest 1 to 2º C (depending on whether a certain emission curtailment policy is applied), the median increase in the polar regions is projected as between 4 and 6º C -- or up to 0.5º C per decade. In other words, we should have seen by now an increase since 1990 of 0.7º C. But Arctic observations show a slight cooling trend; the Antarctic shows a strong cooling trend.

We conclude, therefore, that climate models continue to be an unrealistic exercise -- of moderate usefulness but, absent validation, entirely unsuited for reliable predictions of future climate change. Alan Robock's (Rutgers) claim [1] “We have gone from hand-waving to real understanding” is ludicrous. The claimed convergence of results on climate sensitivity is nothing more than an illusion. Modelers still are unable to handle cloud feedback and continue to ignore the even more problematic issue of water-vapor feedback [3].

They also resist accepting observational evidence [4,5]. A climate sensitivity of ~3º C would imply a current temperature trend at the surface of ~0.3º C per decade and up to double that in the troposphere (acc. to IPCC). But satellite microwave radiometers and balloon-borne radiosondes agree on a near-absence of tropospheric warming. These data suggest a climate sensitivity of perhaps 0.5º C and certainly not more than 1.0 – only about 20-30% of the model “consensus.” In other words, Global Warming should not be considered a significant problem.

1. Richard A. Kerr. Three Degrees of Consensus. Science 305, 932-4, 13 Aug. 2004

2. Forest, C., M. Webster, and J. Reilly. Narrowing Uncertainty in Global Climate Change. The Industrial Physicist, Aug/Sept 2004. pp.20-23

3. Lindzen, R. S. Some Coolness Concerning Global Warming. Bull Am. Meteorol. Soc. 71, 288-299, 1990

4. Douglass, D. H., B. D. Pearson, S.F. Singer (2004). Altitude dependence of atmospheric temperature trends: Climate models versus observation. Geophys. Res. Lett. L13208. 10.1029/2004GL020103

5. Douglass D. H. et al. (2004). Disparity of tropospheric and surface temperature trends: New evidence. Geophys. Res. Lett. L13207. 10.1029/2004GL020212


4. Mixed News About Dioxin

Activists Recruit Church to Carry Dioxin Messages:

Cooperating with activists from Health Care Without Harm, a delegation from the United Methodist Women (UMW) is urging office supply retailer Staples to promote chlorine-free paper in its stores and educate store employees on the supposed dangers of chlorine and dioxin. The United Methodist General Conference has included an anti-dioxin platform as part of its environmental policy for the past several years, and supports efforts to promote chlorine-free paper. A similar campaign targeting Kinko's several years ago brought about an agreement that all stores stock chlorine-free alternatives at the same prices as standard white paper. The group continues to target paper production as a source of dioxin and promote the use of total chlorine-free bleaching, even though the chlorine dioxide-based processes that now account for 96 percent of bleached pulp production have virtually eliminated dioxin from paper-mill wastewater streams

The Dangers of Backyard Burning:

Forbes magazine cautioned readers in its regular Health tip section against burning garbage in open containers. The magazine warned about the dangers of pollutants from backyard burning, such as dioxins, volatile organic compounds, and particulate matter, including trace metals. Forbes noted that backyard burning is currently the largest known source of dioxin emissions in the United States, according to EPA.

New Study Finds Lower Background Levels of Dioxins in Animals:

Researchers at Exponent, Inc. have found lower than expected background levels of dioxins, furans, and PCBs in recent animal studies involving both rats and pigs. According to Biotech Week, researchers found concentrations of TCDD and other PCDD/Fs that were several-fold less than concentrations found in previous studies. The researchers say the lower levels found in this study may be due to "inadvertent laboratory contamination in previous studies or to declining levels of PCDD/Fs in laboratory feed, which parallel overall declines in emissions, general environmental levels, and human food and tissue levels of PCDD/Fs." The study is published in the current issue of the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health.


5. How Soon Will World Oil Production Peak?

SFS/ 8/19/2004
To Editor, Geotimes

Albert Bartlett (letter, Geotimes July 2004) generously quotes from my Feb 2004 letter, which questions the Hubbert methodology for predicting the date of the peak in oil production.  As best as I can  tell, Bartlett agrees with my analysis. I therefore only wish to quibble with his "estimated ultimate recovery" (EUR). He quotes values of between 200 and 300 billion barrels and derives a date of 2019 for the peak year of world production. But the BP Statistical Review gives 1147 billion barrels for PROVEN reserves; the EUR may be several times larger. Using Bartlett's model, this would put the peak in world production well beyond the year 2032, i.e., 2019 + (1147—300) x 5.5 days.


6. Pollution Deaths From Smog?

Katherine Hollinsworth
Financial Post, August 09, 2004

Re: Pollution Deaths: Where Are the Bodies?, Terence Corcoran, Aug. 4.

I worked in health care policy research and analysis for a couple of years and pollution or smog-related deaths was one of my favourite topics to challenge. I asked if the death certificate was signed “death from smog,” and of course it wasn't. I asked where the deaths occurred and no one could tell me, but they assumed they happened in hospitals and nursing homes. I asked for a description of the victim and they told me they were primarily fragile seniors in hospitals and nursing homes or asthmatics – they supposed but really couldn't say.

I asked how a day or even a week of smog could kill someone who has been in an air-conditioned hospital for weeks or months. Since they included “hospital admissions,” I asked what the “normal” number what be and for what were people admitted on “smog days” – no such information.

I asked for a list of victims, with no identification, to do a statistical analysis from a given week of high pollution and was told no one had such a list. How could they have statistics and a report with no data and no lists?

If pollution actually kills people and at the level claimed, we should have people dropping dead in the streets or collapsing upon arrival at the office or at home after being outdoors.

Why don't journalists ask these questions and demand evidence when such claims are made? Why did it take so long for anyone in the media to challenge the accepted wisdom on this issue?

I think one reason is the awe with which medical spokespeople are regarded and the other are reporters who don't know how to read data or to think logically and analytically. However, this should not preclude others in the health sector from reviewing such claims and asking for real evidence.

Back to Climate Change Page         Back to English Version

See the weather in Argentina

You are visitor No.:

since January, 2002
FastCounter by bCentral

See here many interesting
statistics about this site

Which countries see us?
Who are our visitors?