Saturday, January 30, 2010

The IPCC mess - like a smoldering coal fire

The computer models used to project future temperatures also don't include this feature because it remains poorly understood.
The feature is upper atmosphere water vapor, and as an article in the Houston Chronicle from which the quote comes notes, recent work reported in Science shows:
” Water vapor in this narrow region really packs a wallop, and has a much bigger impact on climate than if you were to increase water vapor levels at a level higher up,” said the study's lead author, Susan Solomon, a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientist.

During the 1980s and 1990s, levels of water vapor in the stratosphere rose quite dramatically, but in 2000 they suddenly dropped.
The effect of this change is reported to be a change of some 25% to 30% on global surface warming. Now the argument is apparently that had the water vapor level not dropped, then the increasing levels of carbon dioxide would have continued to raise global temperatures. What that argument fails to do is read the abstract, let alone the paper, – which says that:
More limited data suggest that stratospheric water vapor probably increased between 1980 and 2000, which would have enhanced the decadal rate of surface warming during the 1990s by about 30% compared to estimates neglecting this change.
In other words the increase in water vapor before 2000 was causing more warming than would have been the case without it. But the quote at the top is the most pertinent – this is just one of the factors that appear to influence climate that are not in the models. Which leaves one wondering, yet again, why the models have been given such credence when they are obviously not predicting what is happening.

On the other side of the Atlantic the Times has caught the IPCC chief in a lie apparently, and sentiment seems to be growing over not only the pecuniary advantage he seems to have taken of his position but also the lack of scrutiny of sources of information for the last report.

Taking Dr. Pachauri’s lie first, it appears that he was told in November that the IPCC report on glaciers in the Himalayas – which reported on their likely disappearance by 2035, was wrong, and not, as he claimed, in the last few days. What is equally of concern is that there was an investigation of the melting of the glaciers in 2004, headed by Gwyn Rees, which was then published in Hydrological Processes. He has since, on several occasions, had to rebut Syed Hasnain, who was responsible for the glacier melting claim in the IPCC report, but who had signed off on the conclusions of the report, at the time it was written. Specifically:
In 2004, Rees had assumed the rapid-melt claims would not be repeated, but in May that year Hasnain gave an interview to New Scientist suggesting the UK-funded study had confirmed his claims of rapid glacier melt.

In it he said: “Global warming has already increased glacier melting by up to 30%. After 40 years, most glaciers will be wiped out and we will have severe water problems.”

A furious Rees made the magazine publish a retraction in its letters page, describing Hasnain’s comments as a “gross misrepresentation”.
In fact the report said that suggestions that the glaciers would melt soon would seem unfounded. Yet Syed Hasnain has helped Dr Pachauri’s company now get millions of dollars to study a problem that he knew did not exist, and now works for the company.

Sadly as the blinkers fall off the eyes of a press that has, for too long, assumed the climate change distorters could do no wrong, more evidence is coming to the fore that what the report was based on was drawn much more from involved sources, such as the WWF, rather than the peer-reviewed scientific articles that were the claim.

Donna Laframboise has found eight references in the IPCC text to Greenpeace literature being used, in some cases as the sole reference for the global impacts caused by greenhouse gases. She had earlier shown the influence of the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) on the document.
For example, a WWF report is cited twice on this page as the only supporting proof of IPCC statements about coastal developments in Latin America. A WWF report is referenced twice by the IPCC's Working Group II in its concluding statements. There, the IPCC depends on the WWF to define what the global average per capita "ecological footprint" is compared to the ecological footprint of central and Eastern Europe.
The fact that some of the activities of the CRU are viewed as criminal is now being faced by the University of East Anglia. The spreading impact of this will continue to rebound, and well-meaning comments are non-helpful at best, whether by the Prince of Wales (who is the patron of the School of Environmental Science) or the President of the United States who, in his state-of-the-Union address said about the climate and energy:
We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities -- (applause) -- and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy-efficient, which supports clean energy jobs. . . . . . They're (Germany and India) making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs.
which is non-controversial, and then
Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history -– (applause) -- an investment that could lead to the world's cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched*. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year's investments in clean energy -– in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.

But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. (Applause.) It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. (Applause.) It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. (Applause.) And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America. (Applause.)

I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. (Applause.) And this year I'm eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. (Applause.)

I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy. I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here's the thing -- even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future -– because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation. (Applause.)
Well perhaps if we relied a bit more on the scientific experts and less on Greenpeace, and let opposing points of view have better access to the journals, and perhaps some funding, rather than trying to suppress and obliterate them, we might be closer to the truth on these issues.

The main press in the UK is slowly swinging around to the position that there is something rotten in the climate science house, it is surprising how little dent the story has made yet in the American press. But that may change.

End note: I sat down to write a book review of “Climategate – the CRUtape letters” (which I recommend highly) but somehow the above captured my fingers. I’ll have the book review later, and one on “The Hockey Stick Illusion”, that I just got today (harder to get in the US since it is only published, to date, in the UK).

* Wow! We have a patent (U.S. Patent 5,037,431, 1990) on that. (but I bet it wasn't our technique he meant).

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