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Providing Insight
Into Climate Change
Friends of Science Newsletter June 2014

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June 2014


The PDF version of this document is here.


No. 42

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



As reported in our March Newsletter, the World Economic Forum were to hold a conference on Energy and Climate Change at Lake Louise April 24-25. Their representatives, who come from numerous countries worldwide, were stating that catastrophic climate events are imminent, that extreme weather/climate events are increasing and that these are caused by human industrial activities.

We had planned to become involved in several ways, to publicly express our position concerning climate change, however the conference did not proceed. We did continue with one part of our campaign which was to rent a huge digital super billboard near the airport, which could be seen by all arriving passengers. It was so popular we had it displayed in other areas as well. This was continued for some time.

Apparently a few years ago Greenpeace approached the same billboard company, Pattison, with a proposed billboard that was not accepted for placement by the outdoor advertising firm. Having seen a copy of it, I can understand why, as it is rather unprofessional and confusing. After seeing ours, Greenpeace is now complaining to Pattison for accepting ours and not theirs, accusing them of applying a double standard. This accusation has been reported in a large number of newspapers in Canada and around the world.

FoS billboard Sun-earthThe good part about all this, which I am sure Greenpeace never intended, is that our billboard is shown in all of these newspaper articles and thus we have had a huge amount of free advertising. Social media has picked up the billboard as well. This has resulted in widespread support for Friends of Science. We have even had requests coming in from the UK and Australia for bumper stickers of the board. It appears that the Greenpeace stunt has backfired.

As reported in the Financial Post May 28, 2014, Greenpeace Canada recently sent threatening letters to a number of Canadian corporations and insurance companies, claiming directors and CEOs would face ‘climate crimes’. It will be interesting to see how this strategy turns out for them. Friends of Science  are sending an informative letter to the above companies, to provide them with the facts and detailed information concerning climate change. The letter is posted on our website here.

Global Warming stopped 16+ years agoWe have posted a new message on digital billboards in Alberta proclaiming "Global Warming Stopped Naturally 16+ Years Ago."  The billboard displays the global satellite lower troposphere temperatures from Remote Sensing Systems, and is likely to stir further controversy. See our news release announcing this here. The lack of warming over the last 16+ years despite increasing CO2 in the atmosphere demonstrates that natural factors can easily offset the CO2 effect. As natural climate change is cyclical, this strongly suggests that much of the warming from 1975 to 1998 was natural.

The Heartland Institute, described as the world’s most prominent think tank promoting skepticism about man-made climate change, will be presenting their ninth International Climate Change Conference July 7-9 in Las Vegas. Check it out here. The speakers will include many of the world’s leading climate realists and scientists from around the world who question, not just the causes of climate change, but whether ‘man-made global warming’, if it occurs, will be harmful to plants, animals, or human welfare. Top economists and policy experts will talk about the real costs and futility of trying to stop natural climate change. FoS Director Ken Gregory will represent us at this conference.

                                                Len Maier
                                                President, Friends of Science



Towards Paris 2015 – Part 2

The FoS March newsletter featured the build up to the “last chance” climate summit in Paris (November 30 to December 11, 2015). It described the March meeting in Bonn of the Ad-hoc Working Group on the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action (ADP), the mandate of which is to develop a draft negotiating text for a new Kyoto-style protocol by next December in Lima so that it can be formally adopted at the Paris climate summit. The March meeting was marked by procedural disputes highlighting differences between the rich countries and the G77 group of developing ones.

On June 15 the ADP concluded two weeks of meetings, again in Bonn, with the UN Climate Change Secretariat issuing a press release containing the bland statement: “In March the ADP, the body tasked to construct the new agreement and raise immediate ambition to address climate change, brought forward inspiring examples in the fields of renewable energy and energy efficiency.” In other words, there was little progress on the text for a new climate treaty, and a short list of examples by various cities and countries (Malmö in Sweden, Kampala in Uganda, Brazil and China) spotlighting energy efficiency and penetration of renewables.

There was also little mainstream media coverage of the June conference, but the social news network Rappler ran a story with the sub-heading: “With not much progress at the Bonn talks, negotiators look to the New York climate change summit in September for more concrete commitments.” This refers to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s call for world leaders to attend a climate summit on September 23. Mr. Ban intends for the summit “…to mobilize political will toward an ambitious legal agreement by 2015.” One world leader who won’t be attending is Germany’s Angela Merkel, though Presidents Obama and Hollande (who will be hosting the Paris summit) are expected.

What happens at next September’s summit and thereafter depends on four important players: the US, the EU, India and China. President Obama, having failed to get a cap-and-trade bill passed in his first term and knowing that the Senate won’t ratify any climate treaty that limits US emissions, is reduced to using administrative action to show his climate bona fides to the world. Most recently this included announcement of draft regulations cutting emissions from power plants 30% below their 2005 levels by 2030.

The EU is debating its emissions goals for 2030, with the European Commission proposing emissions cuts of 40%, compared to 20% for 2030. However, this is to be decided in October and that’s not guaranteed, meaning that EU countries won’t be making any commitments at the UN in September. Moreover, the bloc is divided, with countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary more concerned about energy security than emissions. These countries aren’t the only ones concerned about the harmful effects of emission restrictions: Germany increased its coal consumption 13% in the past four years, and the UK 22%.

India’s new government is signalling that developing countries, which it says did not create the emissions problem, have a “right to grow” even if their net emissions of greenhouse gases increase. At the Bonn conference India joined with China in the Like-Minded Developing Countries (also including Malaysia, Argentina, Egypt, Sri Lanka, Venezuela, Philippines and Saudi Arabia) to present a draft text of an agreement that would account for accumulated emissions over the past two centuries. (This draft never got published in the proceedings of the conference.)

China is the world’s coal monster, consuming in 2012 over 50% of all coal produced on Earth. In Bonn China led calls by emerging countries for the rich to raise financial aid to the poor as a precondition for any new climate treaty.

In view of the above, what’s likely to happen for the rest of this year:

  • Another failure at the UN in September, with no major countries or blocs making “ambitious” emission-reduction pledges.
  • No draft text for a new climate treaty because of the rift between the India-China bloc and developed countries over “climate equity”
  • Another futile climate summit next December in Lima (like the ones in Cancun, Durban, Doha and Warsaw).
                                                Ian Cameron
                                        Director, Friends of Science



The Las Vegas Urban Heat Island Effect

Dr. Roy Spencer has reviewed the Las Vegas temperature records and reports that the July 41-year night-time temperature trend is about 0.58 °C/decade, while the minimum day-time trend is about 0.10 °C/decade. Spencer writes, "The most logical explanation for the raw 3-hourly temperature differences between day and night is related to the dramatic growth Las Vegas has experienced in the last 40 years. ... During the day, the extra heat can mix convectively through a pretty deep layer of the atmosphere, which limits the daytime warming. But at night, the nocturnal inversion traps heat, magnifying the UHI effect." See here. Why focus now on Las Vegas? Well, the Heartland 9th International Conference on Climate Change will be held there July 7-9, the hottest time of the year.

Global Drought Intensity Declines with Warming

The Global Integrated Drought Monitoring and Prediction System (GIDMaPS) provides drought information based on multiple drought indicators. The system provides meteorological and agricultural drought information based on multiple satellites, and precipitation and soil moisture data sets. The graph below show the drought indexes from 1982. The legend D0 through D4 indicates mild to severe drought. There is a slight declining trend of total droughts throughout the period. Droughts are costly natural disasters. The IPCC AR5 report says, "Drought frequency will likely increase by the end of this century."  This forecast is not supported by evidence, as the data shows declining global drought despite increasing global temperatures to 1998. See here.

 Global Drought by intensity, 1982-2012.

 Solar Activity Affects the Polar Vortex, Ocean Circulation and Climate

There have been several recent papers that relate solar activity to some aspect of climate. It is known that solar activity has a major affect on the upper stratosphere but it has been unclear how this might affect surface temperatures. A paper published here shows that a weak total solar irradiance decreases pole-to-equator temperature gradient in the upper stratosphere. This weakens the north polar vortex, which forces a negative North Atlantic Oscillation phase, leading an abrupt slowdown of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, which is a major current in the Atlantic Ocean.

Another paper published here and discussed on the Hockey Schtick here shows that periodic oscillations of the equatorial winds in the tropical stratosphere, which are linked to solar activity, can perturb the late winter polar vortex. The authors use ozone as a marker of the stratosphere observed from satellites and assimilated by a climate model to study the effect. This suggests that the Sun could be the ultimate source of polar vortex/jet stream blocking variability. Jet stream dips of the polar vortex were responsible for the record-breaking cold US winter this year.

40% of the US Historical Climate Network Data is Fake

Blogger Steve Goddard claimed in a number of posts that 40% of the US Historical Climate Network (USHCN) "data is fabricated". See here. He also writes that "The thermometer data USHCN uses shows that the US warmer in the 1930s, but they alter the data to create the appearance of warming." See here.

Several scientists wrote blog posts criticizing Goddard's methodology, but without addressing the central issue that 40% of the data is fake. For example, Anthony Watts wrote critical post here. Goddard used an average of all the station measurements, rather than gridding the data. Watts wrote, "Spatial interpolation (gridding) for a national average temperature would be required in a constantly changing dataset, such as GHCN/USHCN, no doubt, gridding is a must." Watts explains that often a station operator might not report data for a few days, so that data is estimated from nearby stations. He thought that Goddard's claim was "clearly wrong." Then Paul Homewood investigated Goddard's claim and found massive temperature adjustments in Texas and Kansas. Referring to Luling, Texas, he writes, "the net effect of the adjustments between 1934 and 2013 has been to add 2.26 °C of warming."

This forced Watts, Judith Curry and others to take the problem seriously. Watts and others now agree that "there is a real problem." This problem is not a few days per month of missing data, but that long closed stations are being reported as estimated data, and real data from many stations are not used but replaced with estimated data from surrounding stations. See Watts' post here and Curry's post here.

                                                Ken Gregory
                                                Director, Friends of Science



To accomplish our goal of educating the broader public and policy makers on the diversity of views on climate change, and the important natural factors, we need financial help from our members. Thank you for your help to date.  This debate matters, you are making a difference. 

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