Impact of Black Carbon on Global Warming and Other Environmental News

Written by Ken Haapala


By Ken Haapala, Executive Vice President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP) 600px-The Dark Side of Carbon

Black Carbon: A new study appeared in the Journal of Geophysical Research stating that the role of black carbon in causing global warming / climate change has been greatly underestimated.

According to the abstract, the influence of carbon black in climate warming is second only to carbon dioxide and the climate models greatly underestimate the influence of carbon black. If so, then the climate models overestimate the warming influence of carbon dioxide. It will be interesting to see how this study holds up to the criticism it will no doubt receive, and if the IPCC will include it in its AR5. Please see links under Challenging the Orthodoxy.

James Hansen: The most iconic scientist in global warming / climate change establishment is James Hansen of NASA's Goddard Institute of Space Studies (NASA-GISS). With two colleagues he published a paper this week stating: "The 5-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade, which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slowdown in the growth rate of the net climate forcing."

In spite of the statement, Hansen asserts his belief that background warming is occurring, but the evidence is weak. The paper states: "The long-term warming trend, including continual warming since the mid-1970s, has been conclusively associated with the predominant global climate forcing, human-made greenhouse gases," citing the 2007 IPCC report. The paper also states that: "If solar irradiance were the dominant drive of climate change that most global warming contrarians believe, then a global cooling trend might be expected." This is a misstatement because many carbon-dioxide-caused-global-warming skeptics recognize that there are forms of solar energy, other than irradiance, that may be involved and that has been made clear to Hansen. For a critique of the paper see the comments by David Whitehouse of GWPF.

One may not always agree with Hansen's conclusions or methodology, but at least he is demonstrating honesty and integrity in publishing the paper with the first quoted statement that will put him at odds with much of the climate establishment. One can only speculate if the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which is preparing its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), will reach the same conclusion. If not, and if the IPCC continues claim that humans are causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming by emitting greenhouse gases (GHG), particularly carbon dioxide (CO2), and that the IPCC understands the causes of global warming / climate change, then the IPCC, once again, will demonstrate it is a political body not a scientific one.

Although the second draft of AR5, including the summary for policymakers, has been leaked onto the internet, we do not know what the final draft will say. That is due to be released in September 2013. There are massive sums of money involved both for political policy and for the climate establishment to keep the global warming express on track.

No doubt Hansen will come under intense pressure from the climate establishment and from politicians to retract or significantly modify the paper. Similarly, no doubt the research scientists of Britain's MET Office are under intense pressure to retract or significantly modify their findings of no statistically significant global warming in the surface data for 16 years and their projections of no warming through 2017. Whatever the MET's shortcomings, the integrity of the research scientists is to be admired. Please see links under Problems in the Orthodoxy and Challenging the Orthodoxy.

Credible Science: Sections of the report of the US Global Climate Research Program (USGCRP) are being picked-up by once credible Federal agencies such as the US Department of Agriculture, which used part of the report in projecting future major droughts in the US. The projections were used in a business publication stating the country can expect a century of drought, with emphasis of projections of the Palmer Drought Severity Index contained in a chart prepared by the Department of Commerce and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). On his blog, Reference Frame, Lubos Molt explains why no one should believe such charts. The explanation is somewhat technical.

On his blog, Roger Pielke Jr. addresses another section of the USGCRP report - extreme floods. Pielke states the report is out of step with the scientific literature, including some of the literature it cites and that of the IPCC. As Pielke states, the report is a draft that could be corrected: "... but a four-year effort by the nation's top scientists should be expected to produce a public draft report of much higher quality than this."

The damage is being done. If these alarmist games from supposedly scientific government agencies continue, first businesses, than much of the public will realize that many government agencies can no longer be relied upon to produce credible reports. As with the absurd year 2000 climate report produced under the guidance of Al Gore, parts of the country may experience severe droughts, parts of the country may experience severe floods, and parts of the country may experience both - at the same time. Please see links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Communicating Better to the Public - Make things up.

USGCRP - a Lobbying Effort by Environmentalists? On her web site, Donna Laframboise traces the associations of 13 of the senior scientists involved in preparing the USGCRP. Many are associated with environmental lobbying groups and at least 8 are associated with the IPCC. Given this association with the IPCC, it is curious that Pielke finds some of the work is inconsistent with the IPCC. Please see links under Questioning the Orthodoxy in full report, link below.

Interior Department: The Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar has announced his retirement. Mr Salazar banned oil and gas drilling on great expanses of US lands and waters. He placed a moratorium on drilling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico while falsely asserting the moratorium was supported by petroleum experts. He banned uranium mining on over a million acres of US lands, including some of the most promising sites in the country. At the same time, he promoted the industrial exploitation of hundreds of thousands of acres of US lands for major wind farms and solar energy businesses, which have a footprint far exceeding oil and gas drilling and even mining. At this time a replacement has not been selected and it is unknown if a future Secretary will be better or worse for American prosperity. Please see Article # 1 and links under EPA and other Regulators on the March..in full report, link below..

Amplifications and Corrections: Last week's TWTW used a link with Number Watch by John Brignell to identify some of the important criteria developed by Sir Austin Bradford Hill in establishing a strong link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Alerted by Anthony Watts' WUWT of the SEPP comment, Brignell mentioned it on his web site and provided a link to all nine of Hill's criteria. As Brignell states, following these criteria does not establish causation, but they are the basis for scientific epidemiology - something many government agencies have forgotten.


New Authoritarianism: Naomi Oreskes, who bills herself a the historian of climate science, was recently honored by the new AGU, and her book, co-written with Erik Conway, received great praise in Science, even though the authors were unable to provide hard evidence against the scientists they attacked and the part on the Cold War requires ignorance of the Cold War history. Oreskes has a new proposal. She draws an analogy between World War II with Nazi Germany obtaining the atomic bomb, and President Roosevelt using war time executive powers to build an atomic bomb first; and global warming. She calls on President Obama to use war time executive powers to fight global warming / climate change - as if the president could stop climate change that has been ongoing for hundreds of millions of years.

There are a few issues with this analogy including one that the war with Nazi Germany was real and millions were being killed. The threat of human caused dangerous global warming is imaginary - the product of computer models that have never been validated and verified, and which are failing.

The Sierra Club has also chosen a similar theme, the president must use full executive powers, even if it means by-passing the democratic process.

The founders of the nation would be horrified. In writing and approving the Constitution, they expressed the need for strong central government; but the powers of that government, and its various branches, should be few, defined, and limited. No matter what it is labeled, a government in which the executive has powers over the nation, and its people and its economy, unchecked by other branches of government and by a democratic process is Authoritarian. Let us hope that these views do not represent most of those involved in global warming alarmism, including various scientific institutions. Please see links under Below The Bottom Line in full report, link below.

Number of the Week: 14 feet (4.3 meters) v. 17 feet (7.6 meters). According to the financial report of Munich Re, discussed last week, the Sandy, (a low, category 1 hurricane) caused a 14 foot storm surge at the Battery in New York City (the most southern tip of Manhattan). This includes the amplification caused by the strong spring tide.

Although precise measurements do not exist, the 1938 hurricane (a category 3 hurricane) which hit Long Island about 100 miles east of New York had a storm surge estimated to be about 17 feet with waves as high as 25 to 35 feet. It swept a movie theater with the audience out to sea.


New York City is built in a natural funnel, the New York Bight, which amplifies tidal action and storm surges. This can easily be demonstrated from tide charts that show high tides at the Battery of 4 to 5.8 feet as compared with eastern Long Island of 3 to 4 feet. Although accurate numbers cannot be calculated, there is little doubt that if the 1938 hurricane had hit New York City, Sandy would be an important storm, but not the freak, global warming enhanced storm it is made out to be. Please see:


 There is much more news including indepth from references above on SEPP's PDF download


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