Written by Ken Haapala
Sea Level Rise: As nature refuses to obey global climate models and the earth is not warming as projected by the models with increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, it is becoming increasingly clear that those who insisted that CO2 emissions would cause catastrophic Anthropogenic (human caused) Global Warming (AGW) are becoming more desperate. One of the fears being promoted is catastrophic sea level rise of multiple feet or meters by the end of the century.
Dr. Roy Spencer testimony before Senate Committee Hearing on Climate Change (TEXT) video clip scroll down
In Article # 1, SEPP Chairman Fred Singer discusses some of the issues regarding sea level rise and why it is difficult to be precise. In summary, unless solid observational evidence is offered otherwise, there is no reason to assume that 21st century sea level rise will be greater than 20th century sea level rise - namely about 7 inches (18 cm).
There is an irony in US government agencies, and other climate researchers, declaring that possible sea level rise may range from 7 inches to up to 33 times that (Hansen - 600 cm, or 236 inches). In in its Fourth Assessment Report (AR4), 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change expressed great certainty in the climate science. The US EPA made this certainty an important finding in US Federal Courts. Now government agencies are expressing great uncertainty in climate science. Please see Article #1 and links under Communicating Better to the Public - Make things Up and Changing Seas.
EPA Science: In the Wall Street Journal, Lamar Smith, Chairman of the US House Science, Space and Technology Committee expresses concern about the EPA scientific studies that are being used to justify a massive new array of air quality regulations. The EPA refuses to make the studies public, in spite of declaring it would.
"We know this much: Virtually every major EPA air-quality regulation under President Obama has been justified by citing two sets of decades-old data from the Harvard Six Cities Study and the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study II. The EPA uses the data to establish an association between fine-particulate emissions and mortality.
"For two years, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, of which I am the chairman, has sought to make this information available to the public. But the EPA has obstructed the committee's request at every step. To date, the committee has sent six letters to the EPA and other top administration officials seeking the data's release."
As long as the EPA continues to keep the research secret, there is every reason to be suspicious about the quality of the research.
One can assess the quality and clarity of EPA science from the oral arguments used by Angeline Purdy, who was introduced as the scientific and technical expert, before the 3 judge panel of the US Circuit of Appeals for the DC Circuit hearing the challenge to the EPA finding that greenhouse gases endanger human health and welfare (Endangerment Finding).
The most disturbing part is the argument on model validation which is on page 90 of the transcript. She states:
"What reanalysis is, is it's [sic] one method by which some models are validated, and that is a process by which, you know, again, a model is validated by looking whether its projections match real world data, there may be some things that are incomplete in that data set, inevitably, because maybe it covers 100 locations but doesn't have a data point at the 101st. So, you take that data set, you run it through a model that has already been valid and that can use principles of physics, what it knows about the climate system to fill in any interstices in that data set, then take the model you're trying to validate and you compare its projections against that augmented data set.
No model has been validated. One cannot use an un-validated model to validate another model. If a valid model existed, that would be the one used - there would not be some 73 models. All 73 models project far too much warming of the atmosphere over the tropics. Please see Article #2 for the op-ed on EPA secret science.
Thought, Belief, and Scientific Knowledge: Two weeks ago, a low point in the Senate hearing on climate change was reached when Senator Whitehouse questioned Roy Spence about his religious beliefs. Spencer clearly outclassed the Senator, but the issue remains - some of those skeptical of the claim of catastrophic carbon based AGW are being classified as religious zealots.
During the development of modern empirical science, in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, many pioneers were religiously devout. They believed that Natural Philosophy (an earlier term for science) was the method to unlock the secrets of nature and fulfill their religious duty. They were able to separate thought from belief, and belief from scientific knowledge.
Spencer and John Christy have undergone bitter criticism for their willingness to publically report atmospheric temperatures from satellite measurements, the most comprehensive measurements available. When RSS discovered an error in the calculations, failure to account for orbital drift, Spencer and Christy promptly admitted the error and corrected it. This is the way science advances.
If religious beliefs give some scientists the strength to stand up to bitter criticism and to conduct their scientific pursuits scrupulously, so be it. Those critics who question these beliefs are engaged in nothing more than ad hominem attacks. For a link to the hearing with Spencer's interrogation beginning about 3 hours and 23 minutes into it please see:
Collapse of Global Civilization: In March, the Proceedings of the Royal Society, B, published an opinion piece by Paul Ehrlich and Anne Ehrlich claiming that over-population, over-consumption, and climate change will lead to the collapse of global civilization. In the 1970s Paul Ehrlich is famous for prophesying that within a few decades over population would result in massive death, destruction, and disease, which did not happen.
To its credit, the Proceedings of the Royal Society, B, published a rebuttal to claims by the Ehrlichs written by a Michael Kelly, a professor of engineering at Cambridge University. Kelly stresses the resilience of human nature and that strong economies will continue to develop the engineering and technological advances to offset environmental and other threats.
The authors offer two different world views, one Malthusian, the other along the lines of Julian Simon. Perhaps if there is a collapse of civilization, it will come from believing prophets such as Paul Ehrlich and believing that authoritarian governments of philosopher-kings are needed to save civilization. Please see links under To Its Credit.
Heated Wars: Science magazine published another highly questionable study based on un-validated computer models. The study claimed that slight increases in temperature, or changes in perception, will cause a great increase in violence in the form of riots, civil wars, ethnic conflicts, etc. The study is inconsistent with studies of climate history which show, in general, that cold periods are periods of violence, disease, famine, and death, and warm periods, in general, are beneficial to humanity. The combination of warming and increased atmospheric CO2 are increasing harvests, helping to assure plentiful food supply. There are food riots in countries that heavily subsidize food. But these are due to price increases because Western countries are driving up world grain prices by misallocating resources to grow crops for biofuels rather than for human consumption. Please see links under Lowering Standards.
IPCC Personalities: Judith Curry discusses an article in the Financial Times that profiles various personalities associated with the IPCC and its reports. In the article, the head of the scientific section (Working Group I) brings up the current pause in temperature increases and says it will be included in the section. But this is not the major issue. The primary issue is the enormous disconnect between the politically negotiated Summary for Policymakers and the scientific section. Unless the pause is thoroughly discussed in the Summary, we can expect little more than another report that ignores critical science. Please see link under Seeking a Common Ground.
Rating the Blogs: The Society of Environmental Journalists published a rating of the various climate blogs. A dead give-away for its rating system was the repeated use of the word "denier." According to the authors of the report, Anthony Watts's blog "is not reliable as a source of factual information." The statement applies to the society. Please see link under Communicating Better to the Public - Go Personal.
Congress: Just before it went on its August recess, the House of Representatives passed a series of bills to restrict future regulations by the EPA and other agencies. This was symbolic, because it is doubtful the Senate will take up the bills. However, it does show that the House recognizes that the administration's expansion of regulations are an authoritarian expansion of power. Please see links under The Political Games Continue.
Shale Games: Royal Dutch Shell announced it took a pre-tax $3 Billion write off on its US shale holdings. The company refused to identify the specific shale holdings. It may have been on its holdings in shale formations that produce oil and natural gas by smart drilling. Or it may have been its heavy investments in the Green River Formation, in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado, in which Shell invested significantly to produce kerogen, which must be heated in order to extract fuel from the shale.
No doubt, opponents of development of shale resources will use this loss to claim that shale oil, or gas, is a temporary boom, which it is not. However, each formation is different and must be explored carefully. One thing is clear. In the US, independent oil and gas companies have far out-performed the majors in the development of oil and gas from shale. Please see Article # 3.
Amplifications and Corrections: Last week TWTW carried an article "Refuting the myths of climate change." The comments failed to note that the article demonstrates that Australia's Bureau of Meteorology has miscalculated average temperatures in Australia. This type of error may also apply in other countries, leading to a distortion of the surface land record. See:
Also last week, TWTW linked to Steve McIntyre's simple model of temperatures, which out-performs the global climate models in temperature forecasts. Christopher Essex correctly noted that the global climate models can be scientifically useful because they include a number of other variables. As always, TWTW appreciates such amplifications and corrections.
Number of the Week: $20 Billion. BP announced that it has allocated nearly all of the $20 billion compensation fund it set aside for the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and that mounting costs will reduce future profits. The environmental disaster is a financial disaster for BP. Please see Article # 4.