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Missing Climate Headlines from May 2009

Posted By JoNova On May 26, 2009 @ 2:07 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

Undoubtedly the best summary of the current state of affairs is the SPPI monthly CO2 report. The April report contains news that—if there was a free and high quality media—would have generated headlines like these (well, sort of—you get the idea).

Any investigative journalist who was doing their job only had to Google for the other side of the story. I’m not saying those journalists have to agree with us, just that, at the moment most environmental writers think ‘balanced’ means saying, “The world will cook: the question is, lightly toasted OR totally pan-fried’.

Here’s the counter summary of the headlines we didn’t see, accompanied by an analysis you probably won’t see anywhere else.


Planet Unmoved by IPCC Forecast

Despite the power of the authority vested in the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), The Planet appears to be unswayed by the large well funded international bureaucracy, and is similarly immune to following the collected wisdom of the software engineers who compress it’s 1100 billion cubic kilometers of complexity into a PC.

Although the warming of the last 30 years has been the ‘steepest in living memory of the baby boomers’, the trend (with the most favorable cherry-picking permitted*) is only leading to 1.5 degrees of warming, and that’s if it continues at it’s present pace until 2100.

The pink shaded region shows the range of trendlines predicted by the IPCC, but the actual trendline lies below and totally outside the IPCC range. In any other field this would be called, ‘a miss’.

Curiously, the IPCC tactic of using argument from authority, which is often so effective with large crowds, has had little impact on the troposphere. In response to the planet’s recalcitrant behaviour, the IPCC are encouraging universities to hand out more honorary doctorates to climate modelers. They hope that the atmospheric gases, or at least the data, will pay more respect to an even larger weight of PhD’s. A spokesman for the IPCC said ‘the planet’s response is surprising, given that we all have Nobel Prizes’.

When asked why the temperatures don’t match modeled projections, the leader of a large group of scientists wrote a 20 page document which essentially translates to: “The thermometers must be wrong”. This may be true. Unfortunately it leaves us with the awkward puzzle of how climate scientists can be capable of predicting the temperature accurately but are somehow unable to measure it.

*Choosing most other points to start the trendline from results in an even lower estimate. Before the 1970′s the planet was cooling, and if trends from 2001-2009 are followed, the world will warm by ‘minus one degree’.

Global Oceans Ignore Climate Models

For the last five years the oceans were supposed to be warming, instead, they’ve cooled, revealing yet another embarrassing failure of climate models, and possibly one of the most crippling.

While the atmosphere wasn’t warming, the oceans were the place that the missing heat was supposed to be hiding. If CO2 is warming up the planet, where-o-where has the extra heat gone?

As a store of heat, the oceans are hard to argue with. They cover 70% of the Earth’s surface and have an average thickness of nearly 4 km. Yet it takes only the top 3.2m layer of water to hold as much heat as the all the air in all the atmosphere. (Source: NOAA)

Presumably then, both the atmosphere and oceans appear to be not warming, we can expect climate scientists to conclude soon that the planetary radiation is not out of balance, and there is indeed no extra stored heat energy anywhere.  See Watts Up for DiPuccio’s description.

Sea Ice Denies it was ever ‘Out of Form’

Despite many headlines that sea-ice is shrinking, Arctic sea ice coverage has set a nine year record high last month. Meanwhile a spokesman for the Antarctic continent pointed out that Antarctica is currently at it’s third highest level in 30 years and that the records it set in 2007 were entirely ignored. “While Antarctic ice grows, news stories this month speculate instead on the entirely theoretical possibility of the West Shelf collapsing”.

For the people who are betting that the oceanic thermometers were wrong and the oceans are not cooling, the healthy sea-ice figures back the wrong horse. It’s difficult to see how warmer water can make for more ice.

Forget the Climate, IPCC can’t Predict Carbon

Far from predicting the climate, the IPCC is having difficulty even predicting the carbon level itself. They estimate atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide will rise as high as 836ppm by 2100, instead, judging by the trend of the last seven years, it’s likely carbon will reach only 575ppm by then, some 30% lower. Since this is a cornerstone of all the IPCC calculations and estimates from models, it calls into question their ability to make larger and far more complex predictions, (or even smaller basic calculations). If carbon levels are not rising as fast as they assume, it suggests that their understanding of how global carbon circulates is like a tool box with out a hammer.

Why don’t we see these headlines and stories in the mainstream media?

For the graphs and commentary, and to sign on for all the monthly updates: The SPPI April Monthly Report 2009.

UPDATE: June 9, 2009. The New Monthly Report is out….

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