You’d think we’d never had a heatwave before…


Safe CO2 heatwave…

Safe CO2 heatwave… (source)

The ABC is acting as the taxpayer-funded PR agent for the privately-funded Climate Council, which itself is behaving as if it had never seen a heatwave before:

Heatwaves in Australia are becoming more frequent, hotter and are lasting longer because of climate change, a report released today by the Climate Council says.

The interim findings of the report, titled Australian Heatwaves: Hotter, Longer, Earlier and More Often, come as southern Australia swelters through a heatwave, with the temperature in Adelaide today forecast to hit 46 degrees Celsius.

The report says heat records are now happening three times more often than cold records, and that the number of hot days across Australia has “more than doubled”.

It says the duration and frequency of heatwaves increased between 1971 and 2008, and the hottest days have become hotter.

And it predicts that future heatwaves will last up to three days longer on average, they will happen more often, and the highest temperatures will rise further.

“It is clear that climate change is making heatwaves more frequent and severe,” report co-author Professor Will Steffen said in a statement.

“Heatwaves have become hotter and longer and they are starting earlier in the season.”

After notching up two consecutive days over 40C, Melbourne is on track to record its second-longest heatwave since records began in the 1830s.

Second-longest?

The longest heatwave in Melbourne was in 1908, when there were five consecutive days over 40C.

When CO2 was under 300ppm, well below the ‘safe’ 350ppm. Shurely shome mishtake?

Despite the IPCC and many other climate scientists refusing to link ‘extreme weather’ to climate change, the Climate Council and the ABC are quite happy to do so as part of a co-ordinated scare campaign:

Professor Steffen says the extreme weather patterns can be attributed to climate change, with the continued burning of fossil fuels trapping more heat in the lower atmosphere.

Professor Steffen says large population centres of south-east Australia stand out as being “at increased risk from many extreme weather events, including heatwaves”.

“The current heatwave follows on from a year of extreme heat, the hottest summer on record and the hottest year on record,” he said. (source)

But where’s the warming, Willy? Global temperatures have barely risen for over a decade. Whilst Australia is experiencing a heatwave, the US is freezing. Oh wait, that’s climate change too. Everything’s climate change.

All of the above is ably abetted, naturally, by the Bureau of Meteorology, which suddenly finds it an appropriate time to announce that it has introduced a definition of “heatwave”. Which begs the question, in a country which has been ravaged by heat waves since the dawn of time, why has it taken until now to define what one actually is? I’m surprised that the Bureau stopped at ‘severe’ in their heatwave categories, and didn’t jump the shark with ‘catastrophic’ (like the bush fires), or even ‘calamitous’, ‘apocalyptic’ or ‘cataclysmic’! My own suggestion would be ‘OMG we’re all gonna fry’…

Once again, the ABC dutifully does the Bureau’s PR work here.

‘The party’s over’ for IPCC


Now the cleanup begins…

Now the cleanup begins…

It’s sure been great (for the climate rent-seekers and hangers-on, that is), but now it’s over.

Maurice Newman, in The Australian:

What we now see is the unravelling of years of shoddy science and sloppy journalism. If it wasn’t for independent Murdoch newspapers around the world, the mainstream media would be almost completely captured by the IPCC establishment. That is certainly true in Australia. For six or seven years we were bullied into accepting that the IPCC’s assessment reports were the climate science bible. Its chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, told us the IPCC relied solely on peer-reviewed literature. Then Murdoch papers alerted us to scientific scandals and Donna Laframboise, in her book The Delinquent Teenager, astonished us with her extraordinary revelation that of 18,000 references in the IPCC’s AR4 report, one-third were not peer reviewed. Some were Greenpeace press releases, others student papers and working papers from a conference. In some chapters, the majority of references were not peer reviewed. Many lead authors were inexperienced, or linked to advocate groups like WWF and Greenpeace. Why are we not surprised?

The IPCC was bound to be captured by the green movement. After all, it is a political body. It is not a panel of scientists but a panel of governments driven by the UN. Its sole purpose is to assess the risks of human-induced climate change. It has spawned industries. One is scientists determined to find an anthropogenic cause. Another is climate remediation. And, naturally, an industry to redistribute taxes to sustain it all. With hundreds of billions of dollars at stake, this cartel will deny all contrary evidence. Its very survival depends on it. But the tide is turning and Mother Nature has signalled her intention not to co-operate.

In the meantime, childish personal attacks on those who point out flaws in IPCC reasoning and advice only increase scepticism. They are no substitute for empirical evidence and are well into diminishing returns. The party’s over. (source)

FAIL: 34 years and billions of dollars… for what?


Texas TI99 from 1979

Texas TI99 from 1979

UPDATE: Stewart, in the comments, makes an excellent point:

“There is a great analogy with the development of hydrological models in the 1960′s (because we could automate computation) – in 2013, we are still unable to simulate process accurately – it doesn’t stop us from building the models with increasing complexity which many then blindly believe however the programmer has decided to represent individual processes…

In 1979, personal computers looked like this.

In 2013, you carry around a supercomputer in your pocket (a smartphone), with the processing power of a warehouse full of TI 99s, and millions of times the 16k storage capacity.

Such is the speed of progress in computer technology. How has climate science fared by comparison?

In climate, the only number that really matters is the sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2. Normally, over a period of years, greater understanding, better modelling and greater computing power will reduce the margins of error as the theories become more finely tuned.

So how has the IPCC done, after 34 years and billions of taxpayer dollars? The following plot shows the range of climate sensitivity since the Charney Report of 1979, and then through the IPCC’s FAR, SAR, TAR, AR4 and AR5:

Fail.

Epic fail

As as you can see, despite a slight narrowing of the range in AR4, the precision of the sensitivity value hasn’t improved at all from 1979 to today. Not one bit. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Zero. Despite billions of dollars of taxpayers’ hard earned cash, thousands of scientists and years of research, the entire climate science community has failed to improve on the original estimate for climate sensitivity made 34 years ago.

Prof Nir Shaviv writes:

if the basic premises of a theory are wrong, then there is no improved agreement as more data is collected. In fact, it is usually the opposite that takes place, the disagreement increases. In other words, the above behavior reflects the fact that the IPCC and alike are captives of a wrong conception.

Full story here.

(h/t Lubos)

ABC: time to shoot a furry animal


Fluffy story

Fluffy story

The ABC, Anything but Climate (sceptics), has successfully avoided mentioning any of the numerous problems with the IPCC’s recent report, like changing a graph to make it look like climate models hadn’t wildly overestimated warming in the last decade.

In order to distract attention even further, this morning it wheeled out one if its “choose an Aussie icon and put a gun to its head” stories, accompanied by a cute picture to tug at the heart strings:

Rising temperatures pose risk for koalas

A new study on vulnerable koala populations has found the Australian icon could struggle to survive rising temperatures.

Dr Crowther says the results of the research call for a change in the management and conservation of koalas.

“One quarter of the koalas we studied perished in a heatwave in 2009 and Australia has just experienced the hottest year since climate records began,” he said.

With temperatures increasing, without more help koalas could really start to feel the heat.

“The lack of understanding of the importance of shelter trees for koalas is particularly concerning given the increasing frequency of extreme weather events,” Dr Crowther said.

“Exposure to prolonged high temperatures can result in heat stress, dehydration and eventually death.” (source)

Gimme all your fossil fuels, or the koala gets it!

Even if the IPCC predictions were 100% correct…


Mutual distrust

Adversarial process required?

… why should anyone trust them?

The AGW advocates delight in making shrill claims about sceptics being funded by “Big Oil”, which the advocates believe is a perfectly good reason to dismiss much, if not all, of what they say as compromised. But what’s the difference with the IPCC? It is an organisation that is funded by “Big Green”, comprised of governments desperate to appear politically correct, vested interests from academia and business, and environmental activist groups. What goes for one, goes for the other. By analogy, anything the IPCC says must be regarded as equally compromised.

The only differences, as far as I can see, are that:

  • Big Green funds the AGW advocates a thousand dollars for every one dollar funding sceptics;
  • the IPCC shies away from transparency and open debate, whereas sceptics encourage it.

So even if all the dire predictions of the IPCC were correct, why should anyone believe them? And how is such a problem resolved?

The success of the adversarial process in a court of law relies on cross-examination and forensic analysis by those on the other side of an argument. By forcing a witness to answer difficult questions, and putting to him an alternative set of circumstances, a skilled counsel can drill down to reveal the uncomfortable truth that the witness may be reluctant to reveal. At the moment, the IPCC is a courtroom with a defendant (human emissions of CO2), but no defence lawyers present. All we get is the prosecution case. And the defendant is, unsurprisingly, quickly found guilty.

The alarmist industry, including the IPCC, must engage with those on the other side of the debate, and willingly bring them into the process, instead of excluding, and then demonising them. The IPCC should actively want its reports fact-checked and picked over by those who disagree. It must embrace the cross-examination of sceptics, as such a forensic examination would lend huge credibility to its findings.

But that change is not going to happen in a hurry, and until it does, the IPCC’s predictions are as worthless and compromised as the alarmists claim those of the sceptics to be.

IPCC’s political exercise in consensus building


Climate politics

Climate politics

The IPCC has never been about science. It has always been about building a gargantuan “consensus” by which to fashion the alarmist narrative and steamroller any attempt at genuine debate.

The organisation is stacked with scientists who are already convinced that global warming is man-made and dangerous and that something must be done. It is riddled with environmental activists from Friends of the Earth, WWF and other extreme-green organisations who are on a crusade to save the planet. Despite claims that the IPCC only considers “peer-reviewed” literature, previous reports have relied heavily on grey literature which, oddly enough, always supports the consensus. Funny that.

So it is of very little consequence that the latest Summary for Policymakers for Working Group 1 (Physical Science Basis) of the 5th Assessment Report, continues in the same way, building on the alarmism created in reports 1 – 4. As we have learned, this document is pored over by scientists and policy wonks for days, with every paragraph, sentence and word subjected to tough negotiation in order to ensure the message remains focussed, and isn’t diluted by, oh, I don’t know, er… facts?

It helpfully advances the narrative created over the past thirty years, so that compliant journalists can continue to print the same old rubbish (more ABC: same old rubbish) they’ve been printing for years. At the press conference, virtually every journalist was a subscriber to the cause, with only David Rose of the UK Daily Mail daring to ask something “off script”.

You only have to look at environmental journalists in Australia to realise that they are almost invariably eco-warriors. Why would anyone who isn’t want to be an environmental journalist in the first place?

It’s bizarre, but since temperatures have actually fallen slightly since the last report in 2007, the IPCC is now more certain that humans have been the dominant cause of observed warming since the 1950s. The IPCC claims that climate models have improved since AR4, but cannot give a best estimate for climate sensitivity, the only number that really matters in the end, because of, quote:

“a lack of agreement on values across assessed lines of evidence and studies.”

Feeling confident so far? The pause in warming is brushed aside as due to:

“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.”

In other words, the dog ate it. Where’s my heat, dude? It’s in the ocean, where we can’t measure it.

Whether the IPCC’s dire warnings will be proved correct is yet to be seen. But as an exercise in political spin, it will no doubt succeed. All we can remember is the old adage, if it’s about consensus, it isn’t science.

Note: For the inside peek at the highly suspect IPCC process, head to Donna Laframboise’s excellent Delinquent Teenager.

Curry vs. Cook (with a bit of Flannery)


Flannery finished...

Unrelated but couldn’t resist!

No contest, I’m afraid. Judith Curry writes in The Australian this morning on the skewed nature of the climate consensus:

The IPCC’s consensus-building process relies heavily on expert judgment; if the public and the policymakers no longer trust these particular experts, then we can expect a very different dynamic to be in play with regards to the reception of the AR5 [Fifth Assessment Report, due later this year] relative to the release of the AR4 [Fourth Assessment Report] in 2007.

THERE is another, more vexing dilemma facing the IPCC, however. Since the publication of the AR4, nature has thrown the IPCC a curveball: there has been no significant increase in global average surface temperature for the past 15-plus years. This has been referred to as a pause or hiatus in global warming.

Almost all climate scientists agree on the physics of the infrared emission of the CO2 molecule and understand that if all other things remain equal, more CO2 in the atmosphere will have a warming effect on the planet. Further, almost all agree that the planet has warmed across the past century and that humans have had some impact on the climate.

But understanding the causes of recent climate change and predicting future change is far from a straightforward endeavour.

My chain of reasoning leads me to conclude that the IPCC’s estimates of the sensitivity of climate to greenhouse gas forcing are too high, raising serious questions about the confidence we can place in the IPCC’s attribution of warming in the last quarter of the 20th century primarily to greenhouse gases, and also its projections of future warming. If the IPCC attributes the pause to natural internal variability, then this prompts the question as to what extent the warming between 1975 and 2000 can also be explained by natural internal variability.

Nevertheless, the IPCC concludes in the final AR5 draft of the summary for policymakers: “There is very high confidence that climate models reproduce the observed large-scale patterns and multi-decadal trends in surface temperature, especially since the mid-20th century.”

SCIENTISTS do not need to be consensual to be authoritative. Authority rests in the credibility of the arguments, which must include explicit reflection on uncertainties, ambiguities and areas of ignorance, and more openness for dissent. The role of scientists should not be to develop political will to act by hiding or simplifying the uncertainties, explicitly or implicitly, behind a negotiated consensus. I have recommended that the scientific consensus-seeking process be abandoned in favour of a more traditional review that presents arguments for and against, discusses the uncertainties, and speculates on the known and unknown unknowns. I think such a process would support scientific progress far better and be more useful for policymakers. 

The Editorial takes up the same theme:

The issue of climate change is a significant political, economic and environmental dilemma confronting our nation and the international community. At its heart is science. While we can engage in complex debates about the variety of mechanisms, technologies and practices that can be employed to deal with the issue, none of it makes perfect sense until we grasp the dimensions of the problem. And this is where science is pre-eminent. Yet, thanks largely to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the debate has been centred not on scientific claim and counter-claim — or scientific theory and measurable results — but on what’s referred to as the “scientific consensus”. This is almost an oxymoron; to at least some extent, the two words don’t belong in the same sentence.

John Cook, also writing in The Australian, simply rehashes the same old tired arguments we have seen so many times before, plugging his junk-science ‘97% consensus’ paper to justify his incessant alarmism. At no point is there any acknowledgement from Cook about the problems with the IPCC process, and the unexpected halt in warming, which is becoming too big for even the mainstream media to ignore.

He also oddly fails to disclose his authorship of the climate activist website Skeptical Science (Curry, on the other hand, is open about her blog) – is he embarrassed by its zealotry, perhaps? Cook also claims his “server” was “hacked” and emails were “stolen” last year, when in fact it appears more likely a back door was simply left open at the SkS website, and the files were inadvertently made public. This is a cheap attempt to portray his critics as prepared to engage in unethical or illegal behaviour when in fact it was a self-inflicted wound.

The only positive is that Cook manages to avoid the “D” word for a change. Well done…

UPDATE: The Daily Mail reports that many countries have tried to suppress the inconvenient truth of a warming halt:

Germany called for the references to the slowdown in warming to be deleted, saying looking at a time span of just 10 or 15 years was ‘misleading’ and they should focus on decades or centuries.

Hungary worried the report would provide ammunition for deniers of man-made climate change.

Belgium objected to using 1998 as a starting year for statistics, as it was exceptionally warm and makes the graph look flat – and suggested using 1999 or 2000 instead to give a more upward-pointing curve.

The United States delegation even weighed in, urging the authors of the report to explain away the lack of warming using the ‘leading hypothesis’ among scientists that the lower warming is down to more heat being absorbed by the ocean – which has got hotter.

When the facts don’t fit the political agenda, don’t change the agenda, spin the facts. Shocking.

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