Friday, 23 December 2016

Climate sensitivity battle

How warm can it get?

How warm it gets depends upon climate sensitivity of CO2 to warming. Values for CO2 climate sensitivity vary from about 0.6 °C (Spencer & Braswell), 0.7 °C (Lindzen & Choi), 0.85 °C (Tim Ball), 1.3 °C (Nic Lewis' review). At this time I'm inclined to go with the lower range values of 0.6 °C to 0.85 °C by Spencer, Braswell, Lindzen, Choi, & Ball. Some of these are their own measurements. Some are judgements. Due to uncertainty over what's been happening with surface temperature measurements and whether these have been adjusted from raw values, I'm disinclined to trust them. That means I must trust the satellite values more. Therefore I go with Spencer & Braswell. Climate sensitivity estimates get a lot higher than this (but we are long past the time when anyone considered 10 °C seriously. Today anyone estimating over 2 °C is clearly an alarmist. Not to be taken seriously. In addition to apparent political climate science there are tendencies to overstate positive feedbacks due to the nature of the system, and discount negative feedbacks. Dr Roy Spencer explains this here. e.g.:

For some reason, the main “feedback” which stabilizes the climate system, the so-called “Planck effect” (increasing infrared output as temperature increases) is NOT called a “feedback” in climate research. I don’t know why this is the case. When the Planck effect is included with all of the other feedbacks, the total feedback (even in climate models which produce huge warming) is still negative.

Any climate sensitivity value below about 1.4 °C is fine by me. It does not scare me. This will not lead to any catastrophic climate change. The big reason for panicking over climate and caving into the greens has been the threat of catastrophic change. It is just not there. Climate disaster is not happening. Without catastrophic warming, nearly all the effects of climate change are currently good, apart from sea level rise.

“As a result, the climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2 is estimated to be 0.7 K (with the confidence interval 0.5K – 1.3 K at 99% levels). This observational result shows that model sensitivities indicated by the IPCC AR4 are likely greater than than the possibilities estimated from the observations” This value of 0.7 C somewhat lower than the 1.0 C value that you highlighted, and is consistent with their previous result (0.5 C) and also Dr Spencer & Dr Braswell’s measurement (0.6 C).
--Anthony Watts discussion


  1. Another Potential Reason Why Climate Sensitivity is Over-Estimated, 2 Jun 2016, by Dr Roy Spencer
  2. On the diagnosis of radiative feedback in the presence of unknown radiative forcing, (pdf) 2010, by Roy Spencer & William Braswell
  3. Estimating climate sensitivity using two-zone energy balance models, by J. Ray Bates. Finds EqCS = 1.0 °C. estimates of climate sensitivity reflect publication bias. e.g. by overestimating climate sensitivity by a factor of 2, (pdf). Accounting for this effect they estimate it at 1.6 °C.
  4. global climate sensitivity to increased carbon dioxide, and the potential feedback mechanism of increased water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere, is actually far less than postulated by the IPCC, by Willis Eschenbach and Anthony Watts.
  5. All IPCC models vastly overrate climate sensitivity, by Dr David Evans: former climate modeller for the Government’s Australian Greenhouse Office, with six degrees in applied mathematics. The major cause of global warming is likely “albedo modulation”, the waxing and waning of reflected radiation from the Sun
  6. Climate Scientists Misapplied Basic Physics, by Dr David Evans.

Political climate science

By this, I mean a tendency on the left to create a cause to unify around. To save humanity. For the left: it is hardly ever about just saving something specific like the USA. That would just be selfish. The left need causes to be steeped in moral goodness. The more global the mission, the more abstractly altruistic, the greater their sense of moral superiority over everyone else, the stronger the sense of mission. It is a collective cognitive delusion. The subject first deludes himself that planetary catastrophe is just around the corner. Then proceeds to enlist everyone else to the mission. The left in politics are particularly prone to this. We also see extreme politics from the right: The US War of Drugs was mostly a conservative thing as far as upping the ante went. The reaction following 9/11, especially the senseless invasion of Iraq which gave us 13+ years of Middle East chaos. Yet the right are mostly saving USA, not the world. Only the left give themselves world-saving missions such as the Climate New Testament. Naturally anyone who disagrees with them is a denier / shill / selfish / fascist. This kind of bullying seems essential to cohere their group identity as holier-than-thou. It is the essence of political correctness. PC is never about doing good for an oppressed person. It is always about labelling evil. Pointing the finger at the MCP, fascist, shill and denier. Asserting one's own moral goodness against the evil of another.

Upon getting this far, the left are unable to criticise their own propaganda. That would be betrayal. In an environment where self-criticism is impossible, reckless people are able to make even more reckless statements on climate with no fear of comeuppance (from their own side). Because criticism of one's own side is tantamount to treachery. At this point lies are common in politics. The means became the end. Lies begin with exaggeration and putting one's case strongly. The more exaggerated an argument, the more it's promoted, because the more convincing it seems to its believers. Such believers think that Jill Public has not joined their side because the case was not been put forcefully enough. Jill Public has yet to hear the truth! In all its gory details, such as 20 feet of sea level rise very soon. So they embellish their case by putting their case strongly, and simply. A simple case must be one dimensional with all uncertainty and ambiguity ironed out. From time to time lies obviously follow. The originator of a lie probably just sees it as better propaganda. Much like cops framing a gangster for a murder because they could not get the evidence for the actual crime done. That's how I see the state of a climate fanatics mind.

Those are the sort of effects we get in politics. In climate science the majority are bullied to stay in line, and never criticise alarmists. That allowed alarmists to present themselves as mainstream, with modeling as science. This is not dishonest deception. It's honest, yet wrong. Alarmists really believe they are saving the planet. Consider refs: disputing CO2 climate sensitivity, which alarmists say they refute. They routinely describe as denier literature anything disagreeing with alarmism. Yet the vast majority of alarmists never read, nor understand what they say they disagree with. Alarmists think they don't need to understand critics because they really do think the critics are denier / shill / selfish / fascist just as their propaganda tells them. One could see this as the whole point of climate extremism: to polarize the debate so much that one has an army of supporters, who don't understand your argument, but who fanatically support it! Supporters who will shout down their critics and deny them a platform. These tactics have been current at Western Universities now for a long time. Social science graduates are skilled at this.

Political fact: the great majority of climate believers do not understand much at all about climate science. This is a very agreeable state for affairs for climate alarmists. Because the more one understands of climatology and science, the less one believes in climate alarmism and modeling. When we look at the arguments they present in the media to support their science, they are shot full of holes. They routinely build entire theories on fragmentary, partial, provisional evidence. Mann's tree ring data comes to mind. This fragmentary, partial, provisional evidence is used to discount more solid evidence of the cannon. The new breed who entered 'climate science' since it became political after 1988, often have little background in climatology. They don't understand its background, basic tenants and its literature. To climate invaders: climate was mostly about the models, and getting funded by blaming all global warming on man.

Striking how few alarmists studied climatology
Andrew StockChemical engineering degree
Bill Nyeengineer
Dana NuccitelliEnvironmental Scientist
David Archercomputational ocean chemist
David Suzukibiologist
Dr. Andrew J. Weavermathematician
Eric Steigisotope geochemist
Gavin Schmidtmathematician
Guy McPhersonecologist
James Hansenastronomer and physicist by training.
Jason BoxGlaciologist
John CookPhysics, solar physics
David KarolyMeteorologist & mathematician
Ken CaldeiraPhysicist/Environmental Scientist
Lesley Hughesecologist
Michael MannMaths, physics, geology & geophysics
Richard A. Mullerphysicist, no climate training
Neil deGrasse TysonAstrophysics
Pachaurirailway engineer
Paul BeckwithGeologist
Phil Joneshydrologist
Rasmus E. Benestadphysicist
Raymond T. Pierre humbertA.B. degree in Physics from Harvard
Stefan Rahmstorfoceanographer
Stephan LewandowskyPsychology
Stephen Henry SchneiderMechanical Engineer
Steven MosherEnglish major
Tim Flannerymammalogist, palaeontologist
Kevin E. Trenberthmeteorologist
Veerabhadran RamanathanEngineer
Will SteffenChemical Engineer

How is it possible for me to say this without having been engaged much in climate discussions and not at all in climate science? Because this is exactly the kind of behaviour I experienced from the left over discussions on energy policy. Their near religious belief in renewable energy without bothering to understand the issues around its science, engineering and economics. It's the same pattern of behaviour.

Thursday, 22 December 2016

Scary, scary methane. More fake / pseudo-science on climate.

Consider this science news report: Data show no sign of methane boost from thawing permafrost
"Over a 100-year period, a ton of methane will cause about 25 times as much warming as a ton of CO2." ... The CO2 rise “is still bad, it’s just not as bad” as a rise in methane
At first glance it looks like this story is rebutting claims there'll be catastrophic warming due to melting tundras releasing massive amounts of methane into the atmosphere, so causing runaway global warming. You've, no doubt, read that story at a climate porn site like The Guardian. Yet the threat still remains in our subconscious to bully us because the article assumes this could happen. They legitimise speculation, dressed up in sciency clothes, scaring us into panic measures such as building more expensive electricity systems. It is in fact lies. They dont' tell you the scare story is nothing but speculation. They don't tell you they have no solid science upon which to base their methane scare stories.
  1. The greenhouse gas, GHG, effect of methane tails off logarithmically, just like other GHG. E.g. With CO2, the first 20 ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere is responsible for over 50% its GHG effect. At small concentrations the logarithmic tail off is most pronounced!
  2. Methane absorption bands also overlap with water bands. Not surprising: both molecules have sigma bonds to hydrogen. Nearly all the warming that could be done by methane is already done by far more concentrated water vapour already there. Earth's atmosphere has more water in it than CO2. The water is not well-mixed so it's hard to say exactly how much more warming happens with more water (or more methane acting almost like water).
  1. The statements made by scientists here are based on crude, bad climate models. I believe no one ever experimented to discover the effect of water / methane mixtures on atmospheric radiative forcing. It looks like they spent their research billions on modeling. Shame they could not spare a few millions for basic science to back up their models. Where are the experiments simulating actual water/methane mixtures?
  2. Nor does methane stay around in the atmosphere very long. Methane is reducing (it's actually used as a hydrogen source in industrial chemistry, in ammonia manufacture). Oxygen (present at 21%) is highly oxidising. UV sunlight is a catalyst. You guessed: methane is rather quickly oxidised away. The lifetime of methane in the atmosphere is 10 years at most. So talk about what a ton of methane does over a 100-year period is senseless.

Scaring people to death with methane is junk science. Shame on them.


  • sciency: A disparaging term for representations in mass media which use scientific sounding stories to sell an idea, or befuddle us. It is not the same as pseudoscience because sciency tries to make no actual false claims, whereas pseudoscience is wrong more than right.
  • Wuebbles, Donald J.; Hayhoe, Katharine (May 2002), "Atmospheric methane and global change", Earth Science Reviews, 57 (3): 177−210, doi:10.1016/S0012-8252(01)00062-9.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Another black day for environmental news journalism.

A Guardian article says stopping soot is the 'fastest solution' to slowing Arctic ice melt. The aricle cites gas flaring 4 times within as a culprit. Yet gas flaring produces about 4 tons of soot per day. The total soot is 8 million tons/year. So the gas flaring contribution is only 0.0183%. Insignificant. Why the focus on gas at the Guardian? Even by Fiona Harvey, who is probably their most thorough environmental journalist. The one person on their staff whom I trust with facts she unearths. Why j'accuse 4 times? Because the Guardian political agenda is directed at stopping natural gas, fracking and all fossil fuels in the UK. Sad how they let their politics undermine their reporting.

I don't actually know how important soot is compared to carbon dioxide (and greenhouse warming). I know several people consider soot to be a far more important cause of arctic ice melt than any warming.

Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Really junk "Climate Science"

Here is a nice roll call of utter shame, published as 'climate science'.

  1. Arctic ice melt 'already affecting weather patterns where you live right now'

    Starring: Damian Carrington - the author. Prof Jennifer Francis, "an Arctic climate expert at Rutgers University" in the US, Prof Adam Scaife, a climate modelling expert at the UK’s Met Office, and Prof James Hansen, quoted as saying this “will drive superstorms, stronger than any in modern times – all hell will break loose in the north Atlantic and neighbouring lands

    Claiming: It blames climate change on: the 2010 summer floods in Pakistan, which killed 2,000 people and affected 20 million, and also the searing heatwave in Russia in the same year, which killed 50,000 people and wiped out $15bn (£12bn) of crops, and Hurricane Sandy, which killed 233 people and cost $75bn in damages

    Why is it 'science': It was found in the Guardian Science news section.
    What is it?: It is clearly a comment piece. It does not link to any actual new research, which establishes any of the claims made. Despite it being opinion, the below line comments were disabled.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Is climate mitigation justified?

How warm can it get?

How warm it gets depends upon climate sensitivity of CO2 to warming. Values for CO2 climate sensitivity vary from about 0.2 °C to 10.0 °C. That's the difference between warming we can hardly measure, and catastrophic warming due to us passing a tipping point or two. I discount tipping points as modeling gone bad. At this time I'm inclined to go with the lower range values of 0.6 °C to 0.85 °C by Spencer, Braswell, Lindzen, Choi, & Ball. A climate sensitivity less than about 1.2 °C is nothing to fear. It should all be beneficial.

How much will it cost?

Estimates of the social cost of carbon vary from $11/tCO2 to $56/tCO2. (£9/tCO2 to £45/tCO2). UK government have stopped using the SCC because we're already taxing carbon well above the SCC rate. UK carbon tax is £18/tCO2. For UK motor vehicle fuel the tax rate is closer to £400/tCO2. This is due to a variety of taxes imposed on motor vehicle fuel. Fuel duty, Vehicle excise duty, carbon tax, road tax, VAT. With VAT, they even tax the tax.

Is the Social Cost of Carbon real?

The benefits of CO2 fertilization, longer growing season, greater arable land area, reduced mortality and reduced heating costs greatly exceed harmful effects of warming. The results indicate that governments should subsidize fossil fuels by about 17 US$/tonne of CO2, rather than impose carbon taxes ... The transient climate response (TCR) to greenhouse gas emissions, the warming when CO2 doubles in about 125 years, is estimated at 0.85 °C by using an energy balance approach, new aerosol estimates and accounting for the natural warming since the Little Ice Age and the urban development effects on temperature.
--'Friends of Science'

The taxes and higher energy prices are real but there may be no actual social cost to more carbon dioxide, CO2. In fact, we could be taxing something which is beneficial to us. It could be a doubly regressive tax. Giving us higher energy prices than we want, as well as taxing life on earth, because more CO2 allows more life to thrive on earth. Wanting less CO2 is a kind of pathology against life itself. One might say climate alarmists suffer from vitapathology. More CO2 in the atmosphere is beneficial to plants. It allows plants to grow larger, faster, to begin growth earlier in the season. Finally it allows more plant growth in arid regions. We could see some areas of the Sahara bloom more due to more CO2. This is because plants will use less water to grow, as the stomata need not open for as long to get the CO2 the plant needs. Therefore less water will be lost in plant respiration in the daytime. This will all lead to higher agricultural yields which should translate to lower food prices. More plants mean more animals on the planet and less pressure placed on wild animals and their habitats. So less extinction. CO2 is a boon to life on earth. So the social cost of carbon is the ultimate expression of green nihilism, sociopathy, and vitapathology. Paradoxically done in the name of saving humanity.

Most of the evil in this world is done by people with good intentions.
— T.S. Eliot

Which is most dangerous, heat or cold?

A Lancet study found most people who die owing to temperature do so under moderately cold conditions.

What will climate mitigation cost us?

The UK cost of carbon climate change will be £300 billion up to 2030. Nearly all these climate change measures are felt in the electricity sector. In 2014, UK electricity demand was 34.42GW on average. 301.7TWh over the year, coming from a total electricity generation of 335.0TWh. An average 38.24 GW supply. Over the next 15 years, £300 bn extra cost is £20 bn per year. It's almost all felt as increased electricity prices. £20 bn per 335 TWh. About £60/MWh. I estimate that at over 10 times the social cost of carbon. This cost per MWh to electricity is actually higher than current wholesale electricity prices.

I conclude the social cost of carbon, SCC, has no justification. First of all more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will be beneficial for humanity and all life on earth with up to 2ÂșC warming on top of pre-industrial levels. There is no guarantee that less carbon dioxide will cut global temperatures by any significant amount. For all we know, the temperature rise in the 20th century. (from 1909 to 1940, and from 1975 to 1998) may have been predominantly due to natural causes not to greenhouse gas emissions. Actual measured sea level rises are running at about 52 mm per century, well below the metres that climate alarmists tell us they model. CO2 will certainly not drown us. These moderate sea level rise levels are in keeping with long term trends seen since the end of the Ice Age.


  1. No Discernible Human Influence On Global Ocean Temperatures, Climate
  2. Social Cost Of Carbon
  3. Report Reveals £300 Billion Cost Of Britain’S Climate Change Act
  4. 3 New Papers: Global Seas Now Rising About 2 Inches Per Century ... Claims Of 1 Meter Rise By 2100 ‘Sheer Nonsense’
  5. vitapathology: my term for hatred of life itself.
  6. Obsolete Climate Science on CO2, by Richard A. Epstein
  7. Mortality risk attributable to high and low ambient temperature: a multicountry observational study, by Dr Antonio Gasparrini, PhD, et al
  8. Changes in growing season duration and productivity of northern vegetation inferred from long-term remote sensing data, by Park, Ganguly, et al
  9. A 33-Year History of the Productivity of Arctic and Boreal Vegetation, Review of: Park, Ganguly, et al
  10. Updated climate sensitivity estimates, Review by Nic Lewis
  11. Alberta’s Climate Plan: A Burden with No Benefit, by Ken Gregory