Wednesday, 16 December 2015 11:49

Climate Science Does Not Support IPCC Conclusions

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Climate Science Does Not Support IPCC Conclusions

S. Fred Singer

S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project. His specialty is atmospheric and space physics. An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the U.S. Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the U.S. National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere. He is a senior fellow of the Heartland Institute and the Independent Institute, and an elected fellow of several scientific and engineering organizations. He co-authored the New York Times best-seller Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years. In 2007, he founded and has since chaired the NIPCC (Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change), which has released several scientific reports [See]. For recent writings, see and also Google Scholar. This article is republished from The American Thinker.

Since 2008, the Chicago-based, libertarian-leaning Heartland Institute has organized nine ICCCs (International Conferences on Climate Change). Norman Rogers (American Thinker, Aug. 9, 2014) has given a general overview of ICCC-9 (at Las Vegas), which attracted an audience of well over 600 and featured speakers from 12 nations. Here I present a more detailed and personalized account of the two main science issues that appear to be of general concern. The first has to do with future temperatures and the second has to do with future sea level rise (SLR).

When it comes to global average surface temperature, the concern seems to be to remain below 2 C. It should be recognized that this limit is entirely arbitrary. There is no established scientific basis for assigning special significance to it; it just happens to be the "Goldilocks" number. Here is what I mean: If one were to choose 0.5 ¼C, people will say "we've already seen that and nothing much has happened." However, if we were to choose 5 ¼C, people will say, "we'll never see that much warming - hence of no significance." That is why 2 ¼C may have become the alarmists' choice.

The real question relates to climate sensitivity - defined as the temperature rise associated with a doubling of CO2 (the definition varies slightly between different authors).

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) initially claimed a very large climate sensitivity. But after the first Assessment Report of 1990, climate sensitivity dropped from 4.5 to about 2.5 ¼C. From then on, IPCC only considered the last part of the 20th century and no longer claimed the earlier warming (1910-40) to be manmade.

In my view, climate sensitivity may actually be close to zero. This means CO2 has very little influence on climate change - probably because of negative feedback. There is still debate, however, about what kind of negative feedback to expect: Should it come from water vapor or from clouds?

IPCC's Ever-changing, Non-existing Evidence for AGW

I want to critique IPCC reports #1 (1990) to #5 (2013). As a so-called "expert reviewer" I have enjoyed a unique platform for observing successive IPCC drafts. It is rather amusing that IPCC Summaries talk about increasing certainty for anthropogenic global warming (AGW or, in other words, human caused global warming), while at the same time modeled temperatures increasingly diverge from those actually observed.

We note that each report "Summary" is produced by a political consensus, unlike the underlying scientific report. (Doubting readers can visit the IPCC web site.) As Rogers points out, the UN mandate is:

Understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change. . . .

There is no mandate to consider any other causations, such as natural ones related to solar change and ocean circulation cycles - just presumptive human causes, mainly fossil fuels. The IPCC sees a human climate-fingerprint everywhere because that is what they are looking for.

Specifically, IPCC Assessment Report 1 indicates a climate sensitivity of 4.5 ¼C, by considering both reported temperature increases (1910-1940 and 1975-1997) to be anthropogenic (human caused). After severe criticism of this "evidence," IPCC dropped the climate sensitivity to 2.5 ¼C by considering only the most recent decades of reported global warming as anthropogenic. The earlier warming (1910-1940) is now considered to be caused by natural forces.

Having given up on anthropogenic forcing for 1910-40, IPCC then considered different types of evidence to support anthropogenic global warming for the interval 1975-2000. In their 1996 report, Assessment Report 2, Ben Santer "manufactured" the so-called Hotspot, a calculated maximum warming of the upper troposphere, and claimed it as a fingerprint of AGW. This is incorrect on two counts: The Hotspot is not a fingerprint of AGW at all; and, it does not even exist. It was cherry-picked from the (balloon-radiosonde) temperature record, where a segment shows a short-term increase while there has been no long-term increase - as clearly seen from the actual data.

The disparity between models and observations is striking. It nicely illustrates the major source of scientific disagreement - between those who rely on model calculations vs. those who rely on observations.

In IPCC Assessment Report 3 [2001], IPCC no longer uses the Hotspot but have gone to Mike Mann' s notorious Hockey Stick Graph - claiming that, in the past 1000 years, only the 20th century showed unusual warming.

A close examination of the proxy data used in the Hockey Stick Graph shows that the warming was not unusual at all and was probably less than existed 1000 years ago - and that major warming comes only by adding the (reported) temperature curve from instruments. Note also that Mann suppresses his post-1979 proxy data, which probably showed no such warming.

Because of many valid criticisms, the Hockey Stick argument has now been dropped by IPCC and is no longer used to claim AGW. Instead, both Assessment Report 4 [2007] and Assessment Report 5 [2013], in their chapters on "Attribution," rely on very peculiar circular arguments for supporting AGW.

Both reports "curve-fit" a calculated curve to the reported temp data of the second half of the 20th century. (This can always be done by choosing a suitable value of climate sensitivity, and an assumed aerosol forcing.) After having obtained a reasonable fit, they then remove the greenhouse-gas forcing, and of course, obtain an unforced model curve that no longer shows any temp increase. But they then claim that this gap with respect to the data represents sure evidence for AGW. This claim defies logic and makes absolutely no sense. They simply modified the calculated curve and then claimed that the resultant gap proves anthropogenic warming.

It is generally accepted that sea level has risen by about 400 feet (120 meters) since the depth of the most recent ice age, about 18,000 years ago. The best values come from coral data in the Caribbean.

The UN's IPCC in its five reports has attempted to estimate seal level rise (SLR) expected by the year 2100. These estimates have been decreasing, with the lowest values obtained in the draft of Assessment Report 4 [2007]. However, the final version of Assessment Report 4 shows slightly larger estimates.

Assessment Report 4 [2007] still produces reasonable values for SLR. But by the time Assessment Report 5 came around, we can see a rough doubling of both lowest and highest estimates.

We now look at the summary result (from chapter 13 of Assessment Report 5) in some detail in and pose the crucial question: Is there reliable evidence for acceleration in SLR associated with temp rise and CO2 increase during the 20th century? As we shall see, the answer is NO.

The first question one might ask of why does SLR suddenly accelerate in 1880, going from zero to about 7 inches per century (18cm/cy)? The answer may be that IPCC data does not agree with other data that show no such acceleration.

Next, why is there an acceleration shown at 1993? The answer may be that IPCC introduced a new observational method, based on Radar from satellites. But as cogently argued by Willie Soon, the new data set is problematic and disagrees with the traditional data from tidal gauges. The latter do not show any acceleration during recent centuries. On the contrary, some tidal-gauge analyses show a deceleration around 1960. The cause is not known but its reality has not been questioned. It certainly disagrees with the more rapid rise reported from satellites.

My best estimate for the year 2100 is a further sea level rise of about 15cm and continued rise thereafter of about the same value (18cm/cy) - independent of any short term temp fluctuations. In my opinion, there is nothing we can do about this natural rise, which will continue until the next Ice Age - when sea level will drop as ice accumulates in the Polar Regions and on glaciers. Meanwhile, we should follow the Dutch example: relax and build dikes.

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