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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
Friends of Science Newsletter September 2013

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                         September 2013


 The PDF version of this document is here.


No. 39

       "FOS is dedicated to providing the public with insight into Climate Change"



During the past several months we have continued to expand our communication efforts, in keeping with  our mission statement which is to inform the public and governments concerning climate change. We are now approaching 50 press releases sent to a number of newspapers across North America, covering a number of things such as technical information as well as corrections and responses to various false claims and statements made by warmist fanatics. There is no shortage of opportunities to rebut the many ridiculous claims. The public response has been quite encouraging, as we often receive favorable emails from readers. A radio station in Florida recently requested an interview with us to be aired on their station, which was very well handled by our Director and Webmaster, Ken Gregory.

We have also made a lot of progress in getting our message out through our Facebook account. During the past month, over 120,000 people saw at least one of our posts. They were mainly from Canada and the U.S., but also from at least 8 other countries. We continue to get increasing coverage every month.

The IPCC has just released their Summary for Policy Makers of the fifth assessment report. Previously, they said they were 90% sure that most of the warming since the mid-20th century was caused by man-make greenhouse gas emissions. Now that there has been no warming for the past 16 years, they are now saying they are 95% sure! I guess if the facts don’t support their theory, and they cannot or will not explain why, they try to hide it by increasing their level of absurdity.

The Cook et al (2013) study of almost 12000 abstracts of published climate papers reported a 97% consensus that humans are causing global warming. This has been falsely reported as a consensus that man has caused most of the warming and that it is dangerous. Our review revealed that the reported 97% actually is the fraction of studies that state or imply that man has caused only some warming, regardless how little. The study actually shows that only 0.5% of the papers endorsed the view that humans caused more than 50% of the warming as told in our press release here. A paper by Legates et al. (2013) examined each of these abstracts and found that the Cook study has miscategorised many papers, and that only 43 abstracts, or 0.3% agreed man has caused more than 50% of the warming.

We also reviewed four other studies that reported about 97% consensus, but these studies also misrepresented the scientists opinions. Our summary of these studies is here. A larger report on this topic will be coming soon to a galaxy near you!

Meanwhile, things in Europe are becoming increasingly tense as a result of their energy policies, especially replacing low cost conventional power with high cost wind power. Some British politicians want to cap gas and electricity prices for 20 months, due to the severe inflation of power prices over the last several years and the public suffering and backlash. As pointed out by astute critics, “Price controls have been tried many times throughout history in hundreds of different markets and always fail. Wouldn’t companies all hike their prices on the last day before the new rules came into place? And why should firms assume that the cap wouldn’t be permanently extended? Why would anybody want to bother investing in energy projects in Britain?”

Germany’s top economic adviser has called for a radical rethink of the country’s energy policies, warning that the green dream is going badly wrong as costs spiral out of control. The concerns were echoed by Germany’s powerful industry federation, which said it can longer remain silent as green romanticism plays havoc with German power supply. The group said in a new report that the costs have already gone beyond tolerable limits, and the international competitiveness of German industry is in danger, as some German manufacturers move their plants to the U.S.

European experiences should be a real wakeup call to other countries such as Canada, who are relatively early in the process of expanding wind power. In particular, the school boards of Alberta, of all people, have signed a 25 year contract which was intentionally kept confidential from the tax-paying public, with a U.S. firm to build a wind farm for their exclusive use. Since this is approximately double the life of the typical wind turbine according to European experience, unfortunately they are setting themselves up for a very unfavorable future problem.

Down under, an Australian recently interviewed David Suzuki, and told him that the main climate data sets show no real warming for some 15 years. Apparently Suzuki did not know this, and asked for the references. The interviewer listed them  - UAH, GISS, RSS and HadCrut - four of the most basic measurement systems of global temperature. When Suzuki asked what they were, it was obvious to the Australian that he had no knowledge or understanding of the science.

       Len Maier

    President, Friends of Science



 IPCC Releases Fifth Assessment Report – And Circles the Wagons

On September 27 the IPCC released Working Group 1’s (the Physical Science) portion of AR5. It comprises the Summary for Policymakers (SPM), Headline Statements from the SPM, the Press Release and the full Report(to be available online in unedited form the week of September 30).The 36-page SPM is supposed to be an executive summary of the ~2,500-page full report. The four main points from the headline statements and the SPM:

  1. There has been unequivocal warming of the climate system since the 1950s with rising concentrations of greenhouse gases. The1983-2012 period was likely (60-100% confidence) the warmest 30-year period of the last 1400 years (i.e., back to the seventh century.)
  2. Human influence on the climate system is clear due to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations, positive radiative forcing, observed warming and understanding of the climate system.
  3. It is extremely likely (95-100% confidence) that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.
  4. Continued emissions of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and changes in all components of the climate system. Limiting climate change will require substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.


A draft of the SPM was distributed to member governments of IPCC Working Group 1 for comment prior to the September 23-26 meeting of bureaucrats and IPCC authors in Stockholm to wordsmith the final version of the SPM. The draft SPM, which was leaked to selected media, discussed the current 15-year slowdown, pause or hiatus in global warming despite rising atmospheric CO2.

As Bloomberg reported, the hiatus concerned the US and EU envoys, who requested more details in order to counter skeptical arguments that long-term global warming can now be discounted. Moreover, in the run-up to the Stockholm meeting, other mainstream media picked up the hiatus story, suggesting that the IPCC’s climate models and the IPCC itself had been exaggerating the scare. For example:

  • An article in the Wall Street Journal by Matt Ridley titled Dialing Back the Alarm on Climate Change notes that explaining the models’ failure is now a “cottage industry” in climate science.
  • The Mail Online reports that a leaked report of AR5’s Summary for Policymakers(SPM) includes a concession that temperatures over the past 15 years have risen at one-quarter the rate claimed by the IPCC in its 2007 report.
  • Fox News reported on a new study in the journal Nature Climate Change that compared 117 predictions from the 1990s to actual warming. Only three of the predictions were “roughly accurate,” and on average the predictions forecasted twice as much warming as actually occurred.
  • Spiegel Online, in an article titled Warming Plateau? Climatologists Face Inconvenient Truth, confirmed that the German Ministry of Research wanted any discussion about the global warming hiatus left out of the SPM, claiming that the truth "would result in a loss of the support necessary for pursuing rigorous climate policies. Climate policy needs the element of fear". They said only 30-year observations count.
  • In the Financial Post Ross McKitrick’s piece IPCC Models Getting Mushy summarizes the IPCC’s dilemma in one remarkable graph published in the second draft report comparing the predictions from the panel’s four previous assessments to observations. The graph with values for 2012 and 2013 added is shown below.

IPCC models versus observations

The IPCC made the false claim,

"surface temperatures are well within the uncertainty range of all previous IPCC projections, and generally are in the middle of the scenario ranges”

Dr. Ross McKitrick says,

"The IPCC must take everybody for fools. Its own graph shows that observed temperatures are not within the uncertainty range of projections; they have fallen below the bottom of the entire span."

In Stockholm delegates had to reconcile the IPCC's claim of 95% confidence in human influence being the dominant cause of global warming with the fact of a 15-year warming pause that the models can't account for. So they replaced the statement "Models do not generally reproduce the observed reduction in surface warming trend over the last 10-15 years" with "There is medium confidence that internal decadal variability causes to a substantial degree the difference between observations and the simulations; the latter are not expected to reproduce the timing of internal variability." Other references to the pause were similarly modified. For a more complete comparison of the draft and final versions of the SPM, see Bob Tisdale's discussion here.

The obvious hope of the IPCC is that the media will focus on the headlines and the press release, with its exhortation for the world to limit climate change through “substantial and sustained reductions of greenhouse gas emissions” [emphasis in the original.] However, there was too much press coverage of the hiatus for the press to supinely accept the new SPM without comment. Expect stories about the IPCC’s effort to sweep the pause under the rug in the coming weeks.

                                                Ian Cameron

                                        Director, Friends of Science



The IPCC Fabricates Excuses to Explain No-Warming for 16 Years

The "Summary for Policy Makers" (SPM) of the IPCC fifth assessment report attempts to dismiss the significance of the failure of the climate models to reproduce the lack of warming from 1998. The SPM does not show any graph comparing observations to model projection during the period. To remedy that oversight, see our "Climate Models vs. Observations" graph here.

The SPM says,

"The observed reduction in surface warming trend over the period 1998–2012 as compared to the period 1951–2012, is due in roughly equal measure to a reduced trend in radiative forcing and a cooling contribution from internal variability, which includes a possible redistribution of heat within the ocean (medium confidence). The reduced trend in radiative forcing is primarily due to volcanic eruptions and the timing of the downward phase of the 11-year solar cycle."

Volcanic Aerosols

The IPCC assumes that the solar cycle can only affect climate by the changes in the total solar irradiance (TSI), also called the solar constant. The claim that volcanic eruptions and a reduced TSI during 1998 to 2012 could cause the pause in warming is false. NASA publishes satellite data that show a large reduction in the amount of volcanic aerosols during the recent period. Blogger Lucia Liljegren here reports that the average forcing from the lack of volcanic eruption during 1998 to 2012 is 0.28 W/m2 more than the period 1951 to 2012 as shown in the graph. (For comparison, the carbon dioxide (CO2) forcing increase during the period 1998 to 2012 was 0.43 W/m2.) There were no volcanoes since 1992 that could have caused a cooling effect.

The TSI solar forcing is a trivial 0.018 W/m2 less during 1998 to 2012 than 1951 to 2012. The sum of volcanic and solar forcing is shown in this graph by Lucia. The volcanic and solar forcing is 0.26 W/m2 greater in the recent period, which would have cause increased warming, not a pause.

The claim that the lack of warming is due to "internal variability" is refuted by several studies. A team of German scientists say that the lack of warming implies the climate models overestimate the warming effects of CO2 emissions and underestimate natural causes of climate change at a 98% certainty. See here. The climate models include processes to simulate both weather noise and ENSO processes, but these can't account for the lack of warming since 1998.

The IPCC makes a vague claim that a redistribution of heat within the oceans possibly contributed to the lack of warming. This is a reference to the speculation that heat may have gone into the deep oceans. A post by Steve McIntyre here explains that pointing to the deep ocean doesn’t resolve the discrepancy between models and observations since climate models did not include this effect. It may be another climate model failure. NOAA data shows that the global average ocean temperature from surface to 2000 m depth increased from 1998 to 2012 by only 0.058 °C. The temperature change in the layer from 700 to 2000 m increased from 2005 to 2012 by a trivial 0.02 °C. Ocean warming cannot explain the global warming hiatus. The climate model warming trend of the surface to 700 m layer is 4 times greater than the trend of the measurements as shown here.

The SPM claims "Sufficient observations are available for the period 1992 to 2005 for a global assessment of temperature change below 2000 m. There were likely no significant observed temperature trends between 2000 and 3000 m for this period." This seem to refute the IPCC speculation that significant heat is hiding in the deep oceans. Even if heat energy has accumulated in the deep oceans, there is no mechanism for that energy to return to the surface as heat can't move from the cold deep oceans to the warmer surface.

 If unmodeled ocean circulation changes in the upper ocean were partly responsible for the recent lack of warming, then it seems likely that a significant portion of the late 20th century warming was caused by ocean circulation changes, rather than by CO2 emissions. The IPCC is still in full denial of natural causes of climate change.

Journals usually reject papers critical of the models by invoking trumped-up reasons. A major study by six senior climate scientists (including Michaels and Christy, both previous speakers at our annual luncheons) here was rejected because the authors refused a reviewer's request to double count the natural weather noise uncertainties, which would have been wrong. The paper concludes "We find that current trends lie near the lower limits of the model distributions".

The graph here by Dr. John Christy compares 73 climate model runs versus weather balloon and satellite observations in the tropical mid-troposphere. It shows the climate model trend since 1979 is more than five times the trend of the observations. Dr. Roy Spencer writes "I frankly don’t see how the IPCC can keep claiming that the models are 'not inconsistent with' the observations. Any sane person can see otherwise." See here.

Ken Gregory

                                             Director, Friends of Science


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