Climate sensitivity clouded with doubt

Deciphering feedbacks and forcings

From “The Science is Settled” Department. Climate sensitivity is the biggest unknown in climate research. If climate sensitivity is low, then increasing CO2 levels are a non-problem. The IPCC claims that sensitivity is high and that therefore regulating emissions is necessary.

However, a new paper by Dr Roy Spencer and William Braswell, based on real world observations rather than incomplete models, claims that determination of sensitivity is as yet unsolved, because of the difficulty in distinguishing forcings and feedbacks:

“While the satellite-based metrics for the period 2000–2010 depart substantially in the direction of lower climate sensitivity from those similarly computed from coupled climate models, we find that, with traditional methods, it is not possible to accurately quantify this discrepancy in terms of the feedbacks which determine climate sensitivity. It is concluded that atmospheric feedback diagnosis of the climate system remains an unsolved problem, due primarily to the inability to distinguish between radiative forcing and radiative feedback in satellite radiative budget observations.”

The paper is technical, but its conclusion shows that anyone who says “the science is settled” is either ignorant or wilfully deceptive.

Download it here (PDF).


  1. A pathological liar will always come up with a new lie whenever the old lie is exposed. Reality or truth don’t mean anything. Only the aim of the liar is important.

  2. it’s such a crock! it’s just a way of getting revenue for a government that has made so many catastrophic failed economical decisions and say, “ooh it’s to protect the environment and penalise the very companies that are some of the largest employers of Australians

  3. australia exports ~140mt/y of coal. that equates to ~420mt co2 emissions p/y. swannie reckons the carbon tax will double coal output. so that’s ~840mt co2 emissions p/y…in OTHER countries. thanks swannie!

  4. Baldrick says:

    Lindzen & Choi, two Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists, also revealed that climate sensitivity is low. Here is their paper on the subject but like Spencer and Braswell it’s fairly technical – source.

    But like all climate scientists – none have a complete understanding of the Earth’s complex climate system, with so many variables to consider, they don’t know enough about the climate to draw definitive conclusions … unless of course your an IPCC scientist where funding is not an issue, anything you do say is taken as fact and your able to review other IPCC scientists work and submit it as conclusive evidence.

    ‘Real’ scientists, like Lindzen and Choi or Spencer and Braswell, don’t have such luxuries or use unreliable computer modelling on which to base their theories.

  5. have you seen the list of big polluters..Brisbane city council number 104!! there are half a dozen universitys on the list..WTF this dosent even make sense???

  6. James Kress says:

    I’ve been doing mathematical modeling of physical, chemical and fluidic systems for 30 years. In my case, it is standard practice to run a parametric sensitivity analysis on every model to ensure the models accuracy and precision with respect to the known variability of the parameters that characterize it.


    To say this destroys any credibility in their predictive capabilities is an understatement.

    • gyptis444 says:

      Thank you for that. It confirms what I have long suspected. Please spread the word. The lack of due diligence of the IPCC (whose Fourth Assessment Report is the stated basis of Australian Government policy on climate change) has been well documented by the Inter-Academy Council ( ) – political interference, lack of transparency, biased treatment of genuinely contentious issues, vague statements not supported by evidence, poor handling of uncertainty (read ‘exaggeration’), failure to respond to critical review comments, use of material which has not been peer-reviewed or critically evaluated, lack of any policy to preclude conflict of interest, and the use of models incorporating many assumptions and uncertainties (WGIII). Many are unaware of these shortcomings in the IPCC process which renders the IPCC conclusions unreliable. Contrary to what has been stated in “The Critical Decade”, the IAC EXPLICITLY DID NOT ENDORSE IPCC’s version of climate science as that was not in the terms of reference.

  7. Dave Spencer says:

    “It is one thing for the human mind to extract from the phenomena of nature the laws which it has itself put into them; it may be a far harder thing to extract laws over which it has no control.”

    Arthur Eddington

  8. Hmmm, that pdf link appears to be broken (hacked?) – or was it mis-typed?

  9. Yes, climate is sencetive; not to CO2, but to H2O! Get outside the big city and you will see. On every few killometres is different climate; even though is same CO2 level. As long as the Sceptics are debating / conecting CO2 with the climate = they are doing the Warmist dirty job. Warmist make a coment = as feeding the chooks /galahs… noice in the other camp increases… Until the Sceptics realise that: CO2 influence on climate is zero, water controls the climate… The Warmist will keep reposesing farmer’s water = less humidity created inland = less clouds will go inland = worse climate. Warmist know that water controls the climate; that’s why they are against dams. Bob Brown made himself a name, by oposing dam to be built. That Francklin river hidro-dam would have produced more electricity than all the solar panels on the planet. Nullabor is lating for: zero trees; less CO2 there than around the most poluting coal powered electricity generators. WHY?! Open your eyes, boys!

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