Certain Temperature and CO2 Gradients Were Required For IPCC >90% Human Caused Conclusion
Opinion: Dr. Tim Ball
The complex nature of the climate system makes connecting dots very difficult.
However, every child knows the picture doesn’t emerge until you do. In climate science connecting dots is complicated by the dominance of individual climate science specialists in government and on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). They control and produce official science. It is a controlled and deliberate example of E. R Beadle’s observation that,
“Half the work that is done in the world is to make things appear what they are not.”
Usually, the climate science dots don’t connect because of illogical assumptions and inadequate or manipulated data. Inaccurate predictions are the manifestation of the problems. It is time to re-examine the larger picture, to look at apparently incongruent issues, such as the 2007 IPCC claim that >90 percent of the global warming since approximately 1950 is due to human CO2. It is illogical on its face. The claim only holds with the gradient they created for temperature and CO2 curves.
Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely (>90%) due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations. It is likely that there has been significant anthropogenic warming over the past 50 years averaged over each continent (except Antarctica).
Why would such a minute fraction of an enormous system suddenly have such a huge influence in the mid 1950s? The claim amounts to a very large change in a decade. Why would a fractional increase in atmospheric CO2 cause the change, when the temperature increase from doubling or tripling CO2 concentration, is fractional? How can there be such certainty, when the annual human portion of atmospheric CO2 figures, produced by the IPCC, is within the error range of two natural sources, oceans and rotting vegetation? Besides, how are the figures so certain, when Antarctica, a massive continent with enormous influence on global temperature, is omitted? Consider, alone, the change in total Earth albedo triggered by a poleward, extension of the sea ice by a couple of degrees of latitude. Over a century ago, speculation suggested a 10° latitude expansion of that ice may have triggered the last Ice Age.
Adjusting the Historic Record
In an apparently disconnected dot, national weather agencies are ‘adjusting’ the historic temperature record. Why? In every case, the temperature record is adjusted to lower historic temperatures. The apparent answer is to achieve a specific result. It is part of a pattern the IPCC created when they chose to prove rather than disprove the hypothesis that human CO2 was causing global warming. Every move involved ‘proving’, today is the warmest in history and temperatures and CO2 levels have risen significantly since pre-industrial times.
Results of adjustments for New Zealand, illustrated in Figure 1, triggered a lawsuit in New Zealand.
Similar adjustments by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) were given headlines with Jennifer Marohasy’s revelations. There is little or no valid reason for making these adjustments, as we learned from the BOM response.
“The BOM has ignored or circumvented all these, refusing to explain why individual stations were adjusted in detail.”
Why did the BOM refuse to provide answers? Why do all the changes follow the same pattern of creating an increase in the temperature gradient? The answer appears to be inferred in this statement.
The IPCC has drawn attention to an apparent leveling-off of globally-averaged temperatures over the past 15 years or so. Measuring the duration of the hiatus has implications for determining if the underlying trend has changed, and for evaluating climate models.
Another clue is in Judith Curry’s observation,
The key challenge is this: convincing attribution of ‘more than half’ of the recent warming to humans requires understanding natural variability and rejecting natural variability as a predominant explanation for the overall century scale warming and also the warming in the latter half of the 20th century. Global climate models and tree ring based proxy reconstructions are not fit for this purpose.
Part of the IPCC claim results from the limited definition of climate change to human causes, created by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Most of the claim is a result of the database created to prove the hypothesis. The claim is only valid because of the gradients the IPCC and its authors established for temperature and CO2. The >90 percent, due to humans claim, is invalid without the increased gradient.
It Has Gone On From The Start
These manipulations of curves and gradients began with the need to show pre-industrial temperatures and CO2 levels were lower than today. After that they needed to create a constantly increasing, significant, upward trend of temperature and CO2. The troublesome Figure 7c in the 1990 IPCC Report that showed a Medieval Warm Period (MWP) warmer than today, was dealt with by the infamous “hockey stick”. Using tree rings alone, their models showed declining temperatures in the 20th century. They hid the decline by unscientifically tacking on a modern temperature record produced by Phil Jones. This record, of which Jones subsequently lost the original data, has an error range of ±33%. Despite this they claimed the increase was beyond normal.
Those who adjusted the temperature curves were put under increasing pressure with the advent of satellite measures around the year 2000. They were attacked almost immediately as unreliable, but are now considered a better measure because they cover more of the globe than surface stations. What appears to be deliberate inflation of temperatures, especially by HadCRUT and NASA GISS prior to 2000, was now challenged. A different approach was required, hence the shift to lowering the historic temperature record. If you don’t think such coordinated strategy is possible, consider the planned series of mini-films prepared by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), prior to the Climate Summit in New York, September 23. If you have the stomach for it, you can watch the series for yourself.
The first challenge was to establish a low pre-industrial level of CO2. It was more important than temperature because warming from the Little Ice Age (LIA) was an accepted climatological trend. Climatologists became aware of the selection of CO2 data to establish a low pre-industrial level with publication of Tom Wigley’s 1983 article “The pre-industrial carbon dioxide level” in Climatic Change. Wigley established the low pre-industrial level at 270 ppm in the climate science community. It paralleled Callendar’s narrow selection of the same data. Both set the required low pre-industrial level.
Zbigniew Jaworowski told a US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Hearing.
The basis of most of the IPCC conclusions on anthropogenic causes and on projections of climatic change is the assumption of low level of CO2 in the pre-industrial atmosphere. This assumption, based on glaciological studies, is false.”
The notion of low pre-industrial CO2 atmospheric level, based on such poor knowledge, became a widely accepted Holy Grail of climate warming models. The modelers ignored the evidence from direct measurements of CO2 in atmospheric air indicating that in 19th century its average concentration was 335 ppmv.
Jaworowski’s research was subsequently confirmed by the work of Ernst-Georg Beck. An article in Energy and Environment examined the readings in great deal and validated their findings. In a devastating conclusion Beck states,
Modern greenhouse hypothesis is based on the work of G.S. Callendar and C.D. Keeling, following S. Arrhenius, as latterly popularized by the IPCC. Review of available literature raise the question if these authors have systematically discarded a large number of valid technical papers and older atmospheric CO2 determinations because they did not fit their hypothesis? Obviously they use only a few carefully selected values from the older literature, invariably choosing results that are consistent with the hypothesis of an induced rise of CO2 in air caused by the burning of fossil fuel.
So the pre-industrial level is actually some 65 ppm (335 – 270) higher than the level used in IPCC computer models. No wonder they are consistently wrong.
Some argue that the 65 ppm higher level is wrong because it implies the pre-industrial ocean temperature was approximately the same as today. A warmer ocean absorbs more CO2 so there should be more CO2 in the atmosphere This supposedly contradicts the argument that the world has warmed since the nadir of the Little Ice Age (LIA). It doesn’t, it contradicts the incorrect assumption that CO2 is the major cause of the warming since pre-industrial times; even the IPCC don’t make that claim. It also assumes the climate sensitivity, that is how much temperature increase occurs with increasing CO2, is much greater than claimed. In fact, the climate sensitivity level has consistently reduced and is close to approximating zero. The real question is, how can it be positive if, as is the case in every single record of any duration for any time period, temperature increases before CO2?
The importance of Beck’s work is measured by the fierce and personal level of the attacks. As I wrote in my obituary,
I was flattered when he asked me to review one of his early papers on the historic pattern of atmospheric CO2 and its relationship to global warming. I was struck by the precision, detail and perceptiveness of his work and urged its publication. I also warned him about the personal attacks and unscientific challenges he could expect. On 6 November 2009 he wrote to me, “In Germany the situation is comparable to the times of medieval inquisition.” Fortunately, he was not deterred. His friend Edgar Gartner explained Ernst’s contribution in his obituary. “Due to his immense specialized knowledge and his methodical severity Ernst very promptly noticed numerous inconsistencies in the statements of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC. He considered the warming of the earth’s atmosphere as a result of a rise of the carbon dioxide content of the air of approximately 0.03 to 0.04 percent as impossible. And it doubted that the curve of the CO2 increase noted on the Hawaii volcano Mauna Loa since 1957/58 could be extrapolated linear back to the 19th century.” (This is translated from German).
Attacks came, as expected, from AGW proponents, but some of the nastier and narrower attacks were from some professing to be skeptics. Skepticism is critical, but a growing trend among climate skeptics is attacks with greater and usually unjustified vigor against those who question skeptical claims. Often, they carve out a skeptical position and consider it their property and sacrosanct, only they know and understand. They become as dogmatic as those they claim to challenge. There is no place for ego in science. As Mary McCarthy said, “In science, all facts, no matter how trivial or banal, enjoy democratic equality.”
Most of my research has involved historical sources and data. It also involved comparing historic records against modern data. It must all be considered and used with extreme care and awareness of the limitations. The 19th century CO2 data has many traits that make it a reasonably reliable source for approximating what was going on with CO2 during that century. Beck examined and detailed each record with what his friend described as, his “immense specialized knowledge and methodical severity…” Here are some reasons for the validity of Beck’s work on the 19th century data as representative of atmospheric CO2 levels.
· Mostly scientists produced the data, although they were then, like Darwin, called naturalists.
· They were trying to determine the percentage of gases in the atmosphere following Priestley’s work on oxygen at the end of the 18th century. The first measures of CO2 began in 1812.
· The objective was pure scientific discovery, with no thought to future concerns about CO2 as a so-called greenhouse gas. This, in direct contrast to the deliberately structured and manipulated instruments and analysis of Mauna Loa.
· The sites and distribution are comparable to those for temperature for the 19th century and early 20th century.
· My experience is that the work of historic record keepers is superior in dedication to detail and integrity of modern, especially government, keepers. Anthony Watts’ study of modern US weather stations underscores this.
· The pattern of the plotted data is similar to other unmodified CO2 records. Figure 3 is very informative because it contrasts the much-modified artificially smooth ice core record with atmospheric levels of CO2 from stomata measures.
· There is an obsession with misrepresenting CO2 distribution in the atmosphere. It extends from the IPCC claim that it is evenly distributed to the elimination of variability in the layer of air near the ground. Extremes are removed with no justification and so much data eliminated that the actual data finally used, bears little or no resemblance to the raw data or reality.
Those proving the AGW hypothesis had to produce a smooth, constantly increasing curve, from three sources. They linked the ice core record to the 19th century data to the Mauna Loa measures. Ernst-Georg Beck put them together, (Figure 4), showing how it could only be done with unjustified assumptions.
Variability is critical but a 70-year smoothing average applied to the ice core record eliminated extreme readings and a great deal of information. It means the results are not meaningfully comparable to the short Mauna Loa record. It is made worse as that record is also smoothed because readings vary up to 600 ppm in the course of a day; just like the 19th century data. Elimination of high readings prior to the smoothing makes the loss even greater. The radiative effect of greenhouse gases doesn’t work to an average. It is in effect all the time and throughout the entire atmospheric column.
The End Justifies The Means
The IPCC was set up to prove a very narrow hypothesis. The goal was to show human produced CO2 was primarily responsible for global warming. Their claim that >90 of warming from 1950 to the present is due to human CO2, is only valid with the gradients of the temperature and CO2 curves they created. The critical portion of this agenda was to show human CO2 was causing temperature increase in a rapidly increasing, unnatural, trend. Wherever the historic data did not fit they adjusted it. When they had control of modern data they adjusted it. Each time they were thwarted, such as with the advent of satellite temperature data, they introduced another ‘adjustment’. Only a few are capable of connecting all the dots, when done, the pattern of activities revealed is a grim picture of manipulating slope and gradient of temperature and CO2 to prove the AGW hypothesis.