Friends of Science Newsletter March 2015

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March 2015


No. 45

The PDF version of this newsletter is here.

FoS is dedicated to providing the public with insight into Climate Science 


We have been busy in 2015, and expect to get busier on the road to Paris 2015 '. During the past 12 months we have issued 34 press releases with wide circulation which have countered the misinformation commonly espoused by the main stream media. Although we are very confident in our evidence based assessment of the climate change boondoggle being perpetrated upon the public it requires diligence and tenacity to overcome the apathy and reticence of the general public to review the facts for themselves. The increasingly desperate tactics of the radical environmentalists and vested interest alarmists indicate that they are running scared.

Our website,, continues to be a comprehensive resource for anyone wishing to investigate the science-based facts. Our Facebook page, "Friends of Science" is extremely active with posted articles, generally of a non-technical nature, which attract a large number of comments from both alarmists and skeptics. Our Facebook policy is to encourage dialogue and freedom of opinion. There is no censorship except in rare cases of abusive or unacceptably rude language. We encourage all of our members to join the debate.

On April 11, Canada 's premiers are heading to Quebec City to discuss climate change. We expect a very large contingent of warmers to also attend their conference, including Suzuki, Greenpeace and many local Quebec organizations. Many green ' groups are pressing for cap and trade or carbon taxes. We are informing the public with our McKitrick on Climate Change ' information series and other recent items. Please share them with colleagues, friends and family, on facebook, twitter, or on-line comment forums:

McKitrick on Climate Change Video:

Layman 's Guide to Social Costs of Carbon:

Ideology or Evidence A Critical review of Ontario 's Climate Change Discussions paper:

Burning Questions report challenging the Alberta phase-out coal campaign:

Burning Questions Video clip:

As further news, it is with some regret that I wish to inform the members that I have recently resigned as president of Friends of Science.   Effective immediately, Vice President Warren Blair will now handle all of the President 's responsibilities. He will take over as Acting President until our Annual General Meeting, Warren has agreed to stand as a nominee for the position of President at the Annual General Meeting. I plan to continue to work as a regular director and to help the Society in any way that I can.

I sincerely appreciate all of the assistance and support provided by our members, directors and consultants Julie Toblan and Michelle Stirling during my four year tenure as President. I feel that we have accomplished a lot by way of educating the public and government concerning climate change, and it is now time for others to lead the pack.  

Once again, we sincerely request assistance from our members to help the volunteer board with our activities.   We especially need new board members as our numbers have declined over the past year while our activities have expanded. If any of our members are interested in participating, or know of others who may be interested, please let us know.  

                                                                                              Len Maier
                                                                                              Past President, Friends of Science



 Towards Paris 2015 Part 5

On March 19 the secretariat of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change issued a press release announcing that the negotiating text for the new climate change agreement had been communicated in the UN 's six official languages. The 90-page text includes more than 500 options and sub-options. Since reducing all these options would overwhelm the two-week summit in Paris, the UNFCCC has scheduled three negotiating sessions in Bonn, June 1-11, August 31 to September 4 and October 19-23. Progress at these sessions should give a sense of the chances of all parties agreeing on a single text in Paris next December.

The Transformation of the Science of Climatology

Hubert Lamb (1913-1997) led and established historical climatology in the 1960s, becoming the founding director of the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, from 1971 to 1978. In 2009 under the directorship of Phil Jones, the CRU became notorious for the Climategate email controversy. In contrast to the current direction at the CRU, Dr. Lamb spent much of his career convincing the world that the Earth 's climate was constantly changing (overturning the old orthodoxy of a constant climate) and was an early and vocal skeptic of the idea that greenhouse gas emissions were (or soon would be) noticeably warming the planet.

A paper, Hubert Lamb and the Transformation of Climate Science, by Bernie Levin of the Global Warming Policy Foundation examines Dr. Lamb 's legacy. He was a believer in historical climatology  be collecting and analyzing proxy evidence and historical archives [p. 10], but beginning in the 1960s computer modelling and the greenhouse hypothesis were becoming more fashionable. Dr. Lamb argued against CO2-induced warming, noting [p. 13] the observed decline in temperatures since 1945 (the mid-century warming pause.)

Dr. Lamb 's skeptical views in the early 1970s ran up against the carefully-planned launch of the global environmental movement beginning with the 1972 Human Environment conference in Stockholm [p. 14]. While Dr. Lamb was struggling to get funds for his historical library [pp. 19-22], computer modelling and anthropogenic climate change becoming more fashionable, and the grant moneys started flowing [pp. 24-25]. The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) became particularly adamant in tipping the balance towards the warmers  [pp. 29-30] and neglecting natural causes of climate change.

One transformation that particularly affected Dr. Lamb was the distorting influence of public controversy and its effect on research funding, with powerful individuals creating barriers to scientific advance in order to protect their own interests [p. 31]. Dr. Lamb was not alone in resisting the transformation of climate science. His allies included Hendrik Tennekes from the Netherlands and Scandinavian meteorologists Aksel Wiin-Nielsen and Lennart Bengtsson [p. 34].   As Dr. Lamb noted [p. 31] there are fashions in scientific work, and climate science is no exception. Perhaps, there will be a revival in looking again at historical records.

 Conflicts of Interest in Climate Science

Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Willie Soon is co-author of a paper, Why models run hot: results from an irreducibly simple climate model, published in the prestigious Chinese Academy of Sciences journal. This study concluded that, once discrepancies in the IPCC computer models are taken into account, the impact of CO2-driven global warming over the next century is likely to be no more than 1/3 or 1/2 that of the IPCC projections.

The study infuriated the climate establishment because it was unusually popular, receiving more than 10,000 views and because it made a mockery of their cherished computer models. Rather than attack the substance of the paper the warmists, led by Greenpeace, fed the New York Times documents for a story claiming Dr. Soon accepted $1.2 million over the last decade from fossil fuel interests. Other media outlets and environmentalist blogs mounted a malevolent and coordinated campaign against Dr. Soon, seeking to undermine the credibility of his research results, summarized in a statement by the Heartland Institute. The Smithsonian tried to disown him by issuing a statement that it does not support his conclusions on climate change and promising to investigate his failure to disclose funding sources for his climate change research. Nevertheless the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics had been deducting 30-40% of Dr. Soon 's grants.

Dr. Soon issued a statement of defense noting that he had been a solar and stellar physicist at the Center for a quarter of a century and stating that he had never hidden grants or conflicts of interest. His research funding had long been a matter of public record. Christopher Monckton, one of the co-authors of the Why models run hot paper wrote a strong essay supporting Dr. Soon, first attacking the Center 's attempt to disaffiliate itself from Dr. Soon, then the allegations that his research was not of the highest quality  despite the number of publications and awards. Lord Monckton explains how scientists, like Dr. Soon, who receive no stipend from the Center, must earn their living out of grants made by government bodies, corporations, or foundations to which they must apply for grants. Individual grants are usually tied to specific research projects. He ends his essay with graphs of recent climate-related trends and a statement pointing out that Dr. Soon could have earned more money by working on scientific topics in support of human-caused global warming.

                                                                                              Ian Cameron
                                                                                              Director, Friends of Science



Dr. Roy Spencer on Natural Climate Change

Dr. Roy Spencer, a climatologist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH), describes the consequences of the "pause" or "hiatus" in global warming this century to estimates of natural climate change of the previous century. He writes on his blog here, "A natural change in ocean circulation is the leading potential explanation for the pause. Due to the huge temperature difference between surface waters and deep water, any small change in ocean overturning can result in either warming or cooling of surface temperatures. ... to the extent that a change in ocean circulation has negated anthropogenic warming in the last 15+ years, an opposite change likely enhanced warming during the 1970s to 1990s. You can 't have one without the other. Natural fluctuations in ocean vertical circulation are cyclical. You can 't attribute the recent warming hiatus to natural forcings without also addressing the role of potential natural forcings in causing the previous warming period." (Italics in the original).  

Dr. Spencer continues to explain that the climate "the models were mostly developed (and modelers ' opinions regarding sensitivity formed) during a period (the 1970s to 1990s) when substantial natural warming was occurring, yet they assumed it was entirely manmade." (Bold in the original)

He posted a graph here which explains the "big-picture significance" of his Spencer & Braswell (2014) paper here, which shows using a 1D (vertical dimension) climate model that ocean changes associated with ENSO (El Nino and La Nina) "reduces the resulting model climate sensitivity by about 50%."   Dr. Spencer explains that about 1/3 of ENSO is "probably due to changes in global average cloudiness associated with changes in atmospheric circulation." The paper is explained by a post linked to the Clouds section of "Climate Science" on the Friends of Science website here.

If ENSO can reduce global warming estimates by 50%, it seems likely that other ocean circulation changes, such as the AMO, PDO, (see here for definitions) and longer term changes, could account for even more of the past warming. And what might cause changes in atmospheric circulation? In the opinion of Friends of Science, the sun is the cause.


New Lower Estimates of Climate Sensitivity

Independent climate scientist Nicholas Lewis has recalculated previous estimates of climate sensitivity published in 2014 by Dr. Judith Curry and himself using new estimates of aerosol forcing. He published the new estimates on the blog Climate Audit here titled "The implications for climate sensitivity of Bjorn Stevens ' new aerosol forcing paper", which Lewis called "compelling" and "a game changer". Bjorn Stevens, Director of the Department 'Atmosphere in the Earth System' at the MPI for Meteorology in Hamburg published the paper "Rethinking the lower bound on aerosol radiative forcing" in the Journal of Climate here.

High estimates of climate sensitivity to double CO2 determined from climate models rely on "highly negative aerosol forcing" to offset high CO2 forcing estimates so the forecasts approximately match the 20th century warming. The new estimate of aerosol forcing is about -0.5 W/m2, with an uncertainty range of -1.0 to -0.3 W/m2. This is much less negative than the IPCC fifth report (AR5) of -0.9 W/m2 (from the year 1750) with a 5%-95% confidence range of -1.9 to -0.1 W/m2.

Lewis has recalculated the equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) and the transient climate response (TCR) using the new aerosol estimate. ECS is the amount of warming from doubling the CO2 concentration once the world's oceans has fully warmed up, a process that takes more than a thousand years (See a submission by Lewis here). TCR is the estimated warming from climate models that will take place over a 70-year period during which the CO2 concentration doubles. TCR is more relevant to policy makers. At the current linear rate of CO2 increase (over the last 18 years) of 2.02 ppm/y, a doubling from now would take 200 years.

The new ECS estimate (with 5-95% confidence range in square brackets) is 1.45 [1.05 to 2.2] °C, which is dramatically less than the AR5 estimate of [1.5 to 4.5]. The IPCC, for the first time did not give any best estimate.

The new TCR estimate is 1.2 [0.9 to 1.65] °C, which is dramatically less than the multi-model mean of 1.8 °C, see Table 9.5 of AR5   here. Lewis writes, "... the upper 83% TCR bound falls to 1.45 °C and the 95% bound is cut from 2.5 °C to 1.65 °C. Only a handful of CMIP5 models have TCRs below 1.65 °C.

The estimates are based on the analysis of periods without significant volcanic activity and similar short-term climate variability. They do not account for the increasing solar indirect forcing during the 20th century. To the extent that part or most of the 20th century warming was due to the sun, climate sensitivity would be even lower. Dr. Judith Curry of Georgia Tech remarked on her blog here,   "we have no idea to what extent a longer term oscillation might be contributing to the overall warming since circa 1600." A TCR of 1.2 °C (best estimate, excluding indirect solar effects) might be beneficial to most people.

The Albedo of Earth

A paper here published in Reviews of Geophysics finds that the albedo of the earth is highly regulated, mostly by clouds. Albedo is the fraction of incoming solar energy that is reflected back to space. The paper finds that the Northern and Southern Hemispheres (NH, SH) reflect almost the same amount of sunlight, within 0.2 W/m2, compared to the global average of about 100 W/m2. The abstract says the "symmetry is achieved by increased reflection from SH clouds offsetting precisely the greater reflection from the NH land masses." The paper also shows that the interannual variability of reflected solar flux is very small, just 0.2% of the annual mean, and concludes that the albedo of Earth appears to be highly buffered.

The graph below from Figure 10b of the paper compares the NH-SH differences of the atmosphere (mostly clouds) and surface contributions to the reflected solar energy from 12 climate models to the CERES satellite measurements. The graph shows enormous differences among the climate models of reflected solar flux from surface and the atmosphere, and the multi-model mean fails to match the hemispheric symmetry of the CERES satellite data.

Reflected solar flux


The paper also shows that there is 4 times more year-to-year variability in the multi-model mean reflected flux than observed by CERES. Dr. Judith Curry comments on her blog here "This paper implies the presence of a stabilizing feedback between atmosphere/ocean circulations, clouds and radiation. Climate models do not capture this stabilizing feedback."


CORRECTION:   The graph of polar bear populations over time that appeared in the article "Faulty Polar Bear Models  in "Science News" of the December 2014 newsletter was published without proper attribution. The graph was produced by Dr. Susan J. Crockford and discussed in her blog post here. The on-line December 2014 newsletter here (PDF and HTML versions) was corrected March 23, 2015.

                                                        Ken Gregory
                                                                                              Past Director, Friends of Science


Please join us on May 5th for the FCPP First Annual Luncheon for the Environment in Calgary, where the featured guest speaker will be Donna Laframboise, Author and Investigative Journalist.  She will be addressing issues related to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in the wake of the sex scandal surrounding the former IPCC Chair - and commenting on implications for the upcoming Paris 2015 Climate Change dialogue.  Check out her website at:

This  year's luncheon  event will be hosted by Dr. Patrick Moore, Chair of Energy, Ecology & Prosperity for Frontier Centre for Public Policy and sponsored by Friends of Science.   For more information check out this link:

Tickets can be purchased online here or contact Samantha Leclerc at (403) 400-6862 or by email:



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