Tuesday, 4 September 2012


If 2013 breaks heat record,
how will deniers respond?
03 September 2012 by Stefan Rahmstorf

With an El Niño on the way, 2013 could be the warmest year on record. But the climate-denial machine will keep on churning
IT HAS been another "normal" global-warming summer in the northern hemisphere. The US sweltered in the hottest July on record, following thehottest spring on record. More than 60 per cent of the contiguous US is suffering from drought, as are parts of eastern Europe and India. In the Arctic, sea ice cover is at a record low and the Greenland ice sheet shows what theUS National Snow and Ice Data Center calls "extraordinary high melting". Global land temperatures for May and June were the hottest since records began in the 19th century.
Meanwhile, El Niño conditions are forecast to develop in the tropical Pacific Ocean, warming up ocean surface temperatures. Some observers have predicted that this will lead to record-breaking global temperatures next year.
If El Niño does arrive and temperature records are broken, there will inevitably be much discussion of the causes of the warming. So now is a good time to sort signal from noise in the global temperature records.
For the past 30 years, global temperature has shown a linear warming trend of 0.16 °C per decade (Environmental Research Letters, vol 6, p 044022). When looking for the cause of this warming, a physicist will look for the heat source. One possibility is that the oceans are releasing heat. But measurements show the opposite: the oceans are soaking up heat. The other possibility is that the heat is coming from above, and indeed it is: more radiation is entering the top of the atmosphere than leaving it. This is because increasing amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere hamper the loss of heat into space.
Superimposed on this global-warming signal is short-term natural variability, which makes some years hotter and some colder. Some, notably 2005 and 2010, stick out above the trend line, whereas others, like 2008 and 2011, stay below it. But overall, temperatures are creeping upwards within a corridor of plus or minus 0.2 °C around the trend line. Climate deniers use this variability to claim there is a slowdown in global warming, by cherry-picking time intervals that happen to start in the upper part of the corridor and end in the lower. They mix up signal and noise.
Three known factors explain much of the natural variation. The first is volcanic eruptions - the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in 1991 was followed by three cold years, for example. Then there is the sun's variability, mostly in the form of the 11-year sunspot cycle. Finally, there is the irregular oscillation between warm El Niño and cold La Niña conditions in the Pacific.
We have independent measurements describing all three that we can easily correlate to global temperature changes. This shows, for example, that during a solar maximum the globe is about 0.1 °C warmer than during a solar minimum, but also that solar activity has contributed nothing to the warming trend of the past 30 years. In fact, it has acted to reduce it, but the effect is so small that the hottest year on record, 2010, was near the end of the deepest solar minimum since satellite measurements began in the 1970s.
The analysis further shows that global temperature typically reaches a maximum about four months after El Niño conditions peak, and is correspondingly colder after La Niña. La Niña episodes in 2008 and 2011 have cooled the past few years, masking the warming trend. But while 2011 was cool in the context of the previous 10 years, it was the hottest La Niña year on record.
It is straightforward to remove the effects of the solar and El Niño cycles from the data, just as unemployment figures routinely have seasonal effects removed. Once this is done, and regardless of the global temperature dataset used, the result is always a steady warming trend that has been no slower in the past decade than it was in the previous two - and which, incidentally, agrees with what is predicted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Now solar activity is on the way back up and it is only a matter of time before the next El Niño event comes along. In fact, predictions by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggest that El Niño conditions are likely to arrive any time now. These two factors, combined with the ongoing warming trend, make it likely that a global temperature record will be set next year - unless a major volcano erupts.
Perhaps a record year will silence those unscientific voices who claim that global warming has come to an end. But the denial industry has already come up with a plan B: to claim that global warming is completely down to El Niño. To expose the fallacy of that, we just need to look again at where the heat comes from: below or above.
In the case of El Niño, the warmth comes from the ocean. During El Niño events, the global ocean releases heat, whereas during La Niña events, it recharges its heat store. That is confirmed by satellite measurements of the radiation balance: during recent La Niña events our planet did not lose heat to space. On the contrary, it absorbed more than normal. That is to be expected: when the ocean exposes colder waters at its surface, as during La Niña, these soak up extra heat.
So if global warming of the past decades was due to El Niño or another mechanism involving heat from the ocean, the ocean would have lost heat. But the heat content has gone up, not down. And it is well understood why: because we created a radiation imbalance by adding greenhouse gases to our atmosphere.
The signal of global warming caused by humans is very clear, despite attempts by certain parties to drown it out with a lot of noise.
Stefan Rahmstorf heads the Earth System Analysis department at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany. He is coauthor ofThe Climate Crisis (Cambridge University Press, 2009)

Peter’s Comment

The New Scientist and the ‘believers’ (of Global Warming) have had their share of critics well qualified to comment.

The established science used to be that man could not alter the climate but that has been turned on its head leaving many wondering who exactly are the deniers.

The New Scientist article conveniently ignores the fact that the world’s climate has always been changing, even before man came on the scene and some of the changes, hotter and colder, have been extreme.

The following is from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

In September 2006, New Scientist was criticized by science fiction writer Greg Egan, who wrote that "a sensationalist bent and a lack of basic knowledge by its writers" was making the magazine's coverage sufficiently unreliable "to constitute a real threat to the public understanding of science". In particular, Egan found himself "gobsmacked by the level of scientific illiteracy" in the magazine's coverage of Roger Shawyer's "electromagnetic drive", where New Scientist allowed the publication of "meaningless double-talk" designed to bypass a fatal objection to Shawyer's proposed space drive, namely that it violates the law of conservation of momentum. Egan urged others to write to New Scientist and pressure the magazine to raise its standards, instead of "squandering the opportunity that the magazine's circulation and prestige provides".[11]
The editor of New Scientist, then Jeremy Webb, replied defending the article, saying that it is "an ideas magazine—that means writing about hypotheses as well as theories".[12]
In January 2009, New Scientist ran a cover with the title "Darwin was wrong". The actual story stated that specific details of Darwin's evolution theory had been shown incorrectly, mainly the shape of phylogenetic trees of interrelated species.[13] However, prominent champions of evolution engaged in opposing intelligent design beliefs thought the cover was both sensationalist and damaging to the scientific community.[13][14] Jerry Coyne, author of the book Why Evolution is True (ISBN 0199230846) and its related blog, called for a boycott of the magazine, which was supported by prominent evolutionary biologists Richard Dawkins and P. Z. Myers.[13]

List of scientists opposing the mainstream scientific assessment of global warming

Also from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Description: Page semi-protected
This is a list of notable scientists who have made statements that conflict with the mainstream scientific understanding of global warming as summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and endorsed by other scientific bodies.
Establishing the mainstream scientific assessment, climate scientists agree that the global average surface temperature has risen over the last century. The scientific consensus and scientific opinion on climate change were summarized in the 2001 Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The main conclusions on global warming were as follows:
  1. The global average surface temperature has risen 0.6 ± 0.2 °C since the late 19th century, and 0.17 °C per decade in the last 30 years.[3]
  2. "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities", in particular emissions of the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide and methane.[4]
  3. If greenhouse gas emissions continue the warming will also continue, with temperatures projected to increase by 1.4 °C to 5.8 °C between 1990 and 2100.[A] Accompanying this temperature increase will be increases in some types of extreme weather and a projected sea level rise.[5] On balance the impacts of global warming will be significantly negative, especially for larger values of warming.[6]
These findings are recognized by the national science academies of all the major industrialized nations.[7]
Listing criteria: In contrast, the scientists listed in this article have made statements since the publication of the Third Assessment Report which disagree with one or more of these 3 main conclusions. Each scientist included in this list has published at least one peer-reviewed article in the broad field of natural sciences, although not necessarily in a field relevant to climatology. To be included on this list it is not enough for a scientist to be merely included on a petition, survey, or list. Instead, the scientist must make their own statement.
As of August 2012[update] less than 10 of the statements in the references for this list are part of the peer-reviewed scientific literature. The rest are statements from other sources such as interviews, opinion pieces, online essays and presentations. Papers which reject the scientific consensus that human impact on the environment is a major contributor to climate change may account for less than 0.1% of all peer-reviewed papers on the issue [8] (see also Scientific opinion on climate change and Surveys of scientists' views on climate change).

Scientists questioning the accuracy of IPCC climate projections

Scientists in this section have made comments that it is not possible to project global climate accurately enough to justify the ranges projected for temperature and sea-level rise over the next century. They may not conclude specifically that the current IPCC projections are either too high or too low, but that the projections are likely to be inaccurate due to inadequacies of current global climate modeling.

Scientists arguing that global warming is primarily caused by natural processes

Attribution of climate change, based on Meehl et al. (2004), which represents the consensus view
Scientists in this section have made comments that the observed warming is more likely attributable to natural causes than to human activities. Their views on climate change are usually described in more detail in their biographical articles.

Scientists arguing that the cause of global warming is unknown

Scientists in this section have made comments that no principal cause can be ascribed to the observed rising temperatures, whether man-made or natural. Their views on climate change are usually described in more detail in their biographical articles.

Scientists arguing that global warming will have few negative consequences

Scientists in this section have made comments that projected rising temperatures will be of little impact or a net positive for human society and/or the Earth's environment. Their views on climate change are usually described in more detail in their biographical articles.

Dead scientists

The lists above only include living scientists. The following are dead. Their views on climate change are usually described in more detail in their biographical articles.

Well known to New Zealanders was

Augie Auer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
August H. "Augie" Auer Jr (10 June 1940 – 10 June 2007[1]) was an atmospheric scientist and meteorologist in New Zealand.
As a boy growing up in St. Louis, Missouri, Auer was reportedly fascinated by weather. After a freak winter storm caused havoc in his home town, he decided to become a meteorologist. He studied meteorology at Colorado State University before getting a job at the University of Wyoming.[2]
Auer was a Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Wyoming for 22 years.[3] A land use typing method to classify land as urban or rural, based on work he published in 1978, is used by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and by the Jamaican National Environment and Planning Agency.[4] His most frequently cited research paper involves ice crystals in clouds.[5]
In 1990, Auer emigrated to New Zealand, becoming Chief Meteorologist for the Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited from 1990 to 1998.[3] He also presented the weather forecast on TV3 News for several years, often preferring to use colloquialisms instead of technical jargon. Auer was frequently quoted in the New Zealand press regarding weather and climate issues,[6] and was regarded in New Zealand as a "well-known and colourful meteorologist".[7]
In 2006, he helped found the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition in order to argue claims about man-made global warming,[8][9] leading the MetService to publicly disavow the views of their former Chief Meteorologist.[10] Following the transfer of "climate science" issues from the then New Zealand Meteorological Service into the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) in 1992, Augie become critical of its statements, including those of former associate Jim Salinger.[11]
In a 19 May 2007 interview with The Timaru Herald newspaper, Auer said a combination of misinterpreted and misguided science, media hype, and political spin had created the current hysteria and it was time to put a stop to it, adding "It is time to attack the myth of global warming." According to Auer:
Water vapour was responsible for 95 per cent of the greenhouse effect, an effect which was vital to keep the world warm. …If we didn't have the greenhouse effect the planet would be at minus 18 deg C but because we do have the greenhouse effect it is plus 15 deg C, all the time. The other greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen dioxide, and various others including CFCs, contributed only five per cent of the effect, carbon dioxide being by far the greatest contributor at 3.6 per cent. It would be like trying to increase the temperature of bath tub full of water using one drop from an eye dropper.[12]
On 10 June 2007, Auer died suddenly while dining with family in Melbourne, Australia, while celebrating his 35th wedding anniversary and his 67th birthday.[13]