Sunday, 23 December 2012

Global Warming: Science Fiction Solutions to a Fictional problem

Global Warming: Science Fiction Solutions to a Fictional problem

by NCTCS Secretary Anthony COX


in response to an opinion piece in the Newcastle Herald by Kerryn Brent and Jeffrey McGee

Coal at Newcastle Docks awaiting export.
Image credit - GJB
You have to wonder about a scientific theory which proposes such solutions as changing the refractive index of the atmosphere to block the sun’s rays; or dumping billions of tonnes of iron ore in the ocean to absorb more carbon dioxide [CO2].

But that is what man-made global warming, AGW, suggests. I suppose we could get used to a pink/white sky and the Australian iron ore industry would like the ocean dumping idea.

At least Kerryn Brent and Jeffrey McGee in their article on AGW don’t agree with such alarming proposals. However they do subscribe to the latest alarming predictions that AGW will cause temperatures to rise by 4 to 6 degrees.

No confidence at all can be given to such temperature predictions. The reason for this is that the Intergovenmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] could not even predict temperature trends from 1990 to 2012.

The first IPCC report, FAR, came out in 1990. That report predicted a temperature increase ranging from 0.2 to 0.5C per decade depending on the level of CO2 increase, with the highest predicted trend of 0.5C per decade occurring with the highest rate of increase in CO2 levels.

The rate of increase in CO2 has exceeded the predicted highest increase in CO2 made by the IPCC in 1990. However the actual temperature increase has been either 0.14C per decade as measured by the leading land based temperature record, HadCrut, or 0.17C per decade as measured by the satellite service, UAH.

According to the IPCC the temperature increase should have been at least 0.5C per decade when in fact it was 0.14-0.17C per decade, which is less than 30% of what it should have been.

If the premier body supporting AGW is so wrong with its original predictions why should we take its new predictions seriously?

Even the new IPCC report which has had its draft, AR5, released, shows that the original temperature predictions were wrong. Figure 1.4 from AR5 clearly shows predictions about temperature made by the IPCC in 1990, and indeed in all the following reports, have been above actual temperatures:

In addition there has been no temperature increase since 1998. 1998 is significant because it was the year when the world experienced a powerful El Nino. It was also the year when world conditions probably changed from warm and dry to cooler and wet with more storms like the Pasha Bulker episode.

The AR5 also considers that the influence of the sun on temperature as well as natural variation such as El Nino may play a bigger role in determining temperature [Chapter 7, page 43].

AGW is a theory which has been around for over 20 years. All theories must adjust to the facts. If the IPCC can now take a measured view about other possible explanations for climate change without resorting to unhelpful exaggerations then other commentators should as well.