6th December 2010
Two more studies that demolish the “science” of climate change
Before I say anything further on this controversial topic let me make a few things very clear at the outset:
a) I care about the environment and about good policy to genuinely protect the environment. Indeed, I would argue that I'm more concerned about the environment (particularly about wildlife) than most "environmentalists";
b) I do care for humanity (not just India) and would not like humanity to be roasted alive due to man-made actions (where such actions have been demonstrated to adversely effect mankind); and
c) I've not shut my mind to science and continue to remain open to evidence that addresses all the objections to the current theories and data regarding AGW (man-made climate change).
I am essentially a critical thinker and a scientist (even though I've forgotten the details of what I learnt during my BSc studies decades ago). I look for robust theories and robust data to substantiate such theories. And in most cases I don't "trust" anyone. I form my own opinions after reading, thinking, and assimilating the issues.
So far I've found that the "science" behind AGW (or man-made climate change) is a bucket full of holes. Not one piece of data exists today in relation to the climate that is not amenable to alternative, natural explanations. The null hypothesis, that man has created the current global warming, has been disproved at EVERY step. That doesn't mean it has been disproved forever, but so far the data are clear: that natural explanations exist for our observations.
So now to these two articles published recently in scientific journals, that further demolish the currently received theory. I'm comfortable if you can rebut these studies but please don't write to me claiming that X number of scientists "believe" in AGW. Dispute only the theory and the facts.
Climate models predict NOTHING
The paper: Anagnostopoulos, G. G., Koutsoyiannis, D., Christofides, A., Efstratiadis, A. & Mamassis, N. (2010) A comparison of local and aggregated climate model outputs with observed data. Hydrol. Sci. J. 55(7), 1094-1110
This study (click here for the full study – PDF) states: "It is claimed that GCMs provide credible quantitative estimates of future climate change, particularly at continental scales and above. Examining the local performance of the models at 55 points, we found that local projections do not correlate well with observed measurements. Furthermore, we found that the correlation at a large spatial scale, i.e. the contiguous USA, is worse than at the local scale."
It is a general rule about complex models (such as computable general equilibrium models in economics – about which I know a fair bit) that they are highly imperfect and need to be calibrated each year with parameters being updated to match the true values. The true model DOES NOT EXIST.
If complex models do not calibrate every year, they end up as delusions. Climate models are delusional – that is what this paper is effectively saying.
The predicted heating of the poles has not occurred
The paper: White, J.W.C.; Alley, R.B.; Brigham-Grette, J.; Fitzpatrick, J.J.; Jennings, A.E.; Johnsen, S.J.; Miller, G.H.; Steven Nerem, R.; Polyak, L. Past rates of climate change in the Arctic, Quaternary Science Reviews, Volume 29, Issue 15-16, July 2010, Pages 1716-1727
[Source] "A long succession of climate models has consistently suggested that anthropogenic-induced global warming should be significantly amplified in earth's polar regions and, therefore, that the first signs of man's expected impact on the world's weather should be manifest in that part of the planet."
White et al. study this issue in great depth and conclude that "thus far, human influence does not stand out relative to other, natural causes of climate change." They do add, out of courtesy: "Human-forced climate changes appear similar in size and duration to the fastest natural changes of the past, but future changes may have no natural analog."
In other words, they have not found any truly exceptional change SO FAR – with the current change corresponding to the fastest rate of changes in the past, but they can't rule out exceptional change in the future, which is what any good scientist must always say (But that really means little – like saying that in we so far haven't disproved the theory of evolution but it could be disproved in the future).
[An interesting curiosity that no one can explain: The extent of ice in the Arctic is falling but it is almost entirely compensated by the increased ice in the Antarctic. Why?]
I believe that some warming is inevitable given the increased levels of CO2. The Greenhouse gas effect is real (despite a spate of recent articles and books purporting to disprove this effect – I haven't read them yet, though), but what has been seen in terms of temperatures so far is not particularly exceptional. To me it appears so far that the best explanation for what we see is this: a move out of the Little Ice Age due to greater solar activity which has lagged effects.
The DIRECT FOOTPRINT of CO2 is NOT visible in virtually any study. I believe such evidence will surely emerge in the coming years, and earth temperatures are likely to increase slightly (up to 2 degrees C over the next century) but this won't cause noticeable harm. Instead, the benefits from warming will be very positive. The world will be a much better place if it gets somewhat warmer.