JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


The Skeptics Handbook

Think it has been debunked? See here.

The Skeptics Handbook II

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IPCC plays hot-spot hidey games in AR5 — denies 28 million weather balloons work properly

The classic hot spot prediction (A) compared to 28 million weatherballoons (B). Click to enlarge. You won’t see this in the new report.

It was a major PR failure in 2007. The IPCC won’t make the same mistake again. They’ve dumped the hot-spot graphs.

In AR4 they put in two graphs that show how badly their models really do. In the next report they plan to bury the spectacular missing-hot-spot images through “graph-trickery” and selective blindness. Each round of IPCC reports takes the spin-factor up another notch. It’s carefully crafted.

See the draft of AR5: Chapter 9: Evaluation of Climate Models

It’s hot-spot hidey games and PR tricks

In the new extra-tricky AR5 version, the IPCC “quote the critics” and ignore them at the same time. That way they can say they include the McIntyre’s, McKitrick’s, Douglass’, and Christy’s: the words are on the page, but that doesn’t mean the information is used in the conclusions. The models have failed and they bury that undeniable result under the clutter.  (You’ll need to read the fine print). There is no acknowledgement that this issue of the “hot spot” drives more amplification of predicted warming in their models than any [...]

Yet another paper shows the hot spot is missing

Remember the evidence is overwhelming, and deniers deny the evidence. But in Oct 2012, two atmospheric scientists were reporting, yet again, the models are wrong. Twenty years after we started looking for the fingerprint of the amplification required to make the CO2 theory of global warming work, it still isn’t there. Forgive me for harping on. It’s still The Most Major Flaw in climate models.

Never heard of “the Hot Spot”? See the first post on the hot spot argument. The models are wrong (but only by 400%!) See how climate scientists admit it’s important and missing. See how they stoop to changing color scales on graphs to pretend they’ve found it and ignore 28 million weather balloons. Or just read the summary with scientific references I wrote in May.

Background: The assumption that was wrong

Researchers made an assumption that water vapor would amplify the direct warming of extra CO2 from a small harmless amount to a large catastrophe. They started with the theory that relative humidity would stay constant in a warmer world and the thicker layer of water vapor would warm the world even more. Greenhouses gases in this instance means mainly water [...]

Fasullo and Trenberth find spurious success, make headlines, but still the models crash

It’s worse than we thought — again….

Fusulo and Trenberth scored headlines around the world recently with a new paper that suggested that a few models got the relative humidity right in some tropical spots, and they also happened to be the models that predicted the hottest global outcomes.

John Christie pointed out that the models with the highest climate sensitivity are also the ones which are the worst at predicting future temperatures.

But there is more to this. It is a likely a case of twenty models predicting 40 parameters, and you can take your pick of the permutations and combinations which give one or two models a “success” here and there on one or two factors. But in the end, as Richard Courtney says, all the models are different so only one model can possibly be The Right One for the whole atmosphere, and quite likely they are all wrong.

In this case, they are still all wrong. The hot spot is still missing, and the region below it with which they scored some success is not that important.

The words hot spot and humidity over the tropics lead many commentators to think this was something to do [...]

Models get the core assumptions wrong– – the hot spot is missing

This is part of a series that Tony Cox and I are doing that references the most important points and papers, as a definitive resource about the evidence. The missing hotspot is not just another flaw in the theory, it proves the models are wrong: not just “unverified”, not just “uncertain”, but failed. Apologies to those who feel I harp on about this! This is a condensed review, squishing years of a scientific battleground down to it’s bare bones… — Jo

It is not well known that even the IPCC agrees that the direct effects of CO2 will only increase world temperatures by 1.2°C. All of the projections above that (3.3°C , 6°C  etc) come from model projections based on assumptions of what water vapor and clouds will do (these are the feedback effects of the original 1.2°C).[i] Are the feedbacks correct?

If the IPCC models are right about the feedbacks, we would see a hot spot 10km above the tropics. The theory is that with more heat, more water will evaporate and rise, keeping relative humidity constant at all heights in the troposphere. The point has been conclusively tested with 28 million weather balloons since 1959.[ii]

 

[...]

So is the hotspot a “fingerprint” or signature? Is it unique?

Some people claim that I mislead people. But it seems they are the misled — not by me, but by their own heroes.

In the Skeptics Handbook I wrote:

“The greenhouse signature is missing If Greenhouse gases are warming the earth we are supposed to see the first signs of it in the patch of air 10 kilometers above the tropics. But this “hot spot” just isn’t there.

Weather balloons have scanned the global atmosphere but could find no sign of the predicted “hot-spot” warming pattern that greenhouse gases would leave.”

Sources: Sources: (A) Predicted changes 1958-1999. Synthesis and Assessment Report 1.1, 2006, CCSP, Chapter 1, p 25, based on Santer et al. 2000; (B) Same document, recorded change/decade, Hadley Centre weather balloons 1979-1999, p. 116 , fig. 5.7E, from Thorne et al., 2005

With all the benefits of hindsight, it stood up extremely well. (Damn, but I did do a good job )

There are claims I should not call it a “signature”, but here’s how it is: The top alarmist researchers called it a fingerprint or a signature, the graph explicitly states that the hot spot is the pattern caused by “well mixed greenhouse gases”, and basically, if [...]

Dr David Evans: The Skeptic’s Case

A new brief summary of the reasoning and evidence behind the skeptics case. –Jo

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The Skeptic’s Case Who Are You Going To Believe – The Government Climate Scientists Or The Data? Guest Post Dr David M.W. Evans

We check the main predictions of the climate models against the best and latest data. Fortunately the climate models got all their major predictions wrong. Why? Every serious skeptical scientist has been consistently saying essentially the same thing for over 20 years, yet most people have never heard the message — here it is, put simply enough for any lay reader willing to pay attention.

What the Government Climate Scientists Say

 

Figure 1: The climate models. If the CO2 level doubles (as it is on course to do by about 2070 to 2100), the climate models estimate the temperature increase due to that extra CO2 will be about 1.1°C × 3 = 3.3°C. [1]

The direct effect of CO2 is well-established physics, based on laboratory results, and known for over a century.[2]

Feedbacks are due to the ways the Earth reacts to the direct warming effect of the CO2. The threefold amplification by feedbacks is based on the [...]

This is 90% certainty? Really? (Yet another paper shows the hot-spot is missing.)

Fu and Manabe agree the hot spot is missing

GRL June 2011.

Yet another study hunted for a form of the missing hot spot–  and again the results show the models are unable to make useful predictions.

The upward rising trend predicted in the models is of critical importance. The models assume that the 1.1 degrees of warming directly due to CO2 will be tripled by feedbacks from humidity and water vapor. Studies like Fu and Manabe are looking to see if the assumptions built into the models are right. If relative humidity stays constant above the tropics throughout the troposphere, we should see the upper troposphere warm faster than the surface.

Fu and Manabe used satellite data  rather than weather balloons, and compared the tropical upper troposphere to the lower middle troposphere during 1979 – 2010. (Other papers I’ve written about compared the upper troposphere to the surface, and mainly used weather balloons.)

“One of the striking features in GCM‐predicted climate change due to the increase of greenhouse gases is the much enhanced warming in the tropical upper troposphere”

Satellites cannot separate out the altitudes at narrow resolutions, as the radiosondes can, but they produce reliable data [...]

David Evans, Carbon Accounting Modeler, Says It’s a Scam

Dr David Evans’ address to the Anti-Carbon-Tax rally, Perth Australia, 23 March 2011.

Good Morning Ladies and Gentlemen.

The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence,  was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic. Watching this issue unfold has been amusing but, lately, worrying. This issue is tearing society apart, making fools and liars out of our politicians.

Let’s set a few things straight.

The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now cheat and lie outrageously to maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.

Let’s be perfectly clear. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, and other things being equal, the more carbon dioxide in [...]

Way back when climate scientists were scientists: Chapter 8, FAR, circa 1990

You’ll find this hard to believe but I get excited about the 1990 First Assessment Report (FAR). It’s very different from wading through the later ones, because it’s remarkably honest, and things are not hidden in double-speak (well, not so much). Scientists behave like scientists and talk of null hypothesis, and even of validating models. Indeed they had a whole chapter back then called “validation”. How times have changed.

This is the short summary of Chapter 8 “Attribution”

Thanks to Alan for sending me this link today (Chapter 8, IPCC FAR).

The “Attribution” Chapter is the part where they try to figure out what “caused” the warming. Chapter 8 says, essentially, “we don’t know, we might never know, our models don’t work, and we can conclude it might all be natural, but then again, it might not.” Got it?

This is in the same era that Al Gore was saying “the science is settled” and “there is no debate”.

What’s clear in 1990 from the FAR was that it was widely admitted that the models were bodgy, and that figuring out exactly what caused the recent warming was very difficult, indeed impossible at the time. There were too many variables, [...]

Where is the evidence for the dangerous positive feedback in the Vostok Ice Cores?

Vostok, Antarctica, Photo: Michael Studinger 2001

It appears the warming of the 20th Century has been done before.  It’s just business as usual for the planet.

Frank Lansner has been hard at work again, and we’ve been discussing the Vostok ice cores. This time Lansner was looking to see if the current warming trend was unusual, and if there was evidence to support the high climate sensitivities the models suggest. As it happens, most of those high climate sensitivities that the models “estimate” come not from carbon dioxide directly, but from the feedbacks (the way the planet responds to any small change in temperature).

The models assume the net feedbacks are positive. These same feedbacks ought to have been working 100,000 years ago, and if so, there should be some hint of it in the ice cores. Lansner has been hunting for large swings in temperature during the periods when Earth was at a similar temperature to present day conditions — but what he finds is that the current claimed rise of 0.7 degrees C over the last century, even if it were true (and not exaggerated by thermometer [...]

Thorne 2010: A very incomplete history of the missing hot spot

Emails are coming in about the latest attempt to announce that they’ve “found the hot-spot”: Thorne et at 2010.

It’s already being used in NOAA press releases to repeat the same line about how a “new scientific study” supports the models. The aforementioned support is rather weakly phrased as being “broadly consistent” (which somehow means the same thing as being “90% certain” a catastrophe is on the way, right?).

But it gives them another chance to claim it’s been found:

This new paper extensively reviews the relevant scientific analyses — 195 cited papers, model results and atmospheric data sets — and finds that there is no longer evidence for a fundamental discrepancy and that the troposphere is warming.

It says something about how important the hot spot is that they keep “finding it”. (Even though they never seem to issue a press release saying it’s missing.) But since the data from the last warming spell came in ten years ago, there are only so many ways they can rehash the same numbers. So now they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel in desperation. This new study is not a “new scientific study”, it’s a new review. This paper tells us [...]

Dessler 2010: How to call vast amounts of data “spurious”

This is part of the big PR game of publishing “papers.”

In the climate models, the critical hot spot is supposed to occur because (specific) humidity rises in the upper troposphere about 10km above the tropics. The weather balloons clearly show that temperatures are not rising as predicted, so it was not altogether surprising that when Garth Paltridge analyzed weather balloon results for humidity, and found that humidity was not rising as predicted either.

Indeed, he found specific humidity was falling, which was the opposite of what all the major climate models predicted and posed yet a another problem for the theory that a carbon-caused disaster is coming. He had a great deal of trouble getting published in the first place, but once he finally did get published and skeptics were starting to quote “Paltridge 2009″, clearly, Team AGW needed an answer.  “Dessler 2010″ is transparently supposed to be that answer.

To start by putting things into perspective, lets consider just how “spuriously” small, patchy and insubstantial the radiosonde measurements have been. According to NOAA The integrated Global Radiosonde Archive contains more than 28 million soundings, from roughly 1250 stations.

Worldwide radiosonde stations (NOAA)

… Or how about the [...]

Is the Western Climate Establishment Corrupt? Part 9: The Heart of the Matter and the Coloring-In Trick

This point is THE critical one. It was the first point raised in the Skeptics Handbook, developed in the Second Handbook; the point that Dr Glikson had no reply to; the point that tripped up Will Steffen, Deltoid, and John Cook. As a modeler there was the moment in August 2007 when David saw the graphs below and said, emphatically: This is it. It’s over for the climate models. –JN

 

The public might not understand the science, but they do understand cheating

Dr. David Evans 19 October 2010

[A series of articles reviewing the western climate establishment and the media. The first and second discussed air temperatures, the third was on ocean temperatures, and fourth discussed past temperatures, the fifth compared the alleged cause (human CO2 emissions) with the alleged effect (temperatures), the sixth canvassed the infamous attempt to “fix” that disconnect, the hockey stick, and the seventh pointed out that the Chinese, Russian, and Indian climate establishments [...]

The models are wrong (but only by 400%)

This is one humdinger of a paper and it’s been a long time coming. It’s a big step forward in the search for the hot-spot. (If the hot spot were a missing person, McKitrick et al have sighted a corpse.) In 2006 the CCSP quietly admitted with graphs (in distant parts of various reports) that the models were predicting a hot spot that the radiosondes didn’t find (Karl et al 2006). Obviously this was a bit of a problem for the Scare Campaign. Much of the amplifying feedback created in the models also creates the hot-spot, so without any evidence that the hot-spot is occurring, there goes the disaster (and the urgent need for funding and junkets). Douglass et al officially pointed out the glaring deficiency in 2007. Santer et al replied in 2008 by discovering a lot of uncertainties, and stretching the error bars. Since the broad errors bars overlapped he could announce that the hot spot wasn’t really missing (even though he didn’t really find it either). He wrote this up in words effectively saying that the inconsistency in temperatures was not so inconsistent. McIntyre and McKitrick pointed out these key Santer results which used data up to 1999 were overturned with the use of data up to 2009. Somehow, despite all the excitement over Santer et al 2008, the IJOC decided updating it and contradicting it was “not interesting” and it took months to reach that banal conclusion. [...]

The Unskeptical Guide to the Skeptics Handbook

It’s taken 21 months, four professors, and three associate/assistant professors, and THIS is the best they could come up with? The printed version listed no author (the pdf has been updated with John Cooks name*) yet wears the logo of the University of Western Australia (UWA), which will embarrass that university as word spreads of the intellectual weakness of their “Guide“.

Did UWA commission this piece of rather inept, qualitative “feel-good” science and clumsy reasoning? Stephan Lewandowsky invited John Cook to speak at UWA and “offer assistance“.

The booklet uses a mislabeled graph with a deceptive scale, won’t show the damning graphs it supposedly debunks,  assumes positive feedback occurs despite the weight of empirical evidence against it (Douglass, Spencer, Lindzen), and repeats irrelevant information even though The Skeptics Handbook describes why rising sea levels and glaciers and ice sheets can’t possibly tell us what causes the warming. It misleadingly discusses a different fingerprint — one that isn’t the key point and isn’t disputed by skeptics. Cause and effect are mixed up, and naturally there are strawmen arguments to unnecessarily destroy for the spectacle of being seen to do something. To top it off, Cook still thinks a measurement is [...]

Sherwood 2008: Where you can find a hot spot at zero degrees

The line blurs between peer-reviewed-science and peer-reviewed-public-relations.

The Big-Scare-Campaign needed an answer to the missing hot-spot question. They needed to find the “hot spot”, or failing that, at the very least provide a “hot spot” type graph that would answer the critics; something that passed for a scientific answer that might fool journalists and bloggers. The failure to find the projected hot spot is so damning, and so obviously not what the models predicted, that there is a veritable industry of people working hard to find a reason why the weather balloon results must be wrong.  Steven Sherwood creatively even resorted to throwing out the thermometer readings entirely and using wind shear instead.  (If only we’d known! All those years and we didn’t need the thermometers?)

In Robust Tropospheric Warming Revealed by Iteratively Homogenized Radiosonde Data (March 2008) Sherwood et al combine both windshear and temperature data to reconsider the radiosondes yet again. The Scientific Guide to The Skeptics Handbook and others use the graph from the top left corner of this paper (Fig 1 here) to suggest that the hot spot is not missing, or that the “fingerprint” was found. Sure enough, it’s a cute graph. Looks “hot”, right?

[...]

How John Cook unskeptically believes in a hotspot (that thermometers can’t find)

John Cook might be skeptical about skeptics, but when it comes to government funded committee reports, not so much.

The author of “skeptical science” has finally decided to try to point out things he thinks are flaws in The Skeptics Handbook. Instead, he misquotes me, shies away from actually displaying the damning graphs I use, gets a bit confused about the difference between a law and a measurement, unwittingly disagrees with his own heroes, and misunderstands the climate models he bases his faith on. Not so “skeptical” eh John? He’s put together a page of half-truths and sloppy errors and only took 21 months to do it. Watch how I use direct quotes from him, the same references, and the same graphs, and trump each point he tries to make. His unskeptical faith in a theory means he accepts some bizarre caveats while trying to whitewash the empirical findings.

In the end, John Cook trusts the scientists who collect grants funded by the fear-of-a-crisis and who want more of his money, but he’s skeptical of unfunded scientists who ask him to look at the evidence and tell him to keep his own cash.

These two graphs are not the same [...]

Round Five: Ignore the main point, repeat the irrelevant

The debate with Paleoclimatologist Dr Andrew Glikson about the evidence for Climate change has reached a telling point.  There is a gaping hole.

Through four rounds of to and fro, I’ve been asking for evidence that the predicted (critical) “hot spot” was there above the equator, and we were drilling down to this point. It’s the weak link in the chain of evidence, and if the climate models are wrong on this element, you can kiss goodbye to the catastrophe. Everything else might be right, but there’s no major warming if there’s no strong amplifying (positive) feedback, and and there is no amplifying feedback from water vapor if there is no hot spot. Indeed, I quoted evidence from three peer reviewed studies that show that we’re headed for a half a measly degree of warming rather than a baking 3 – 6 degrees.

In Round 2 Glikson didn’t mention Lindzen, Spencer or Douglass (the three independent papers which suggest that predicted feedbacks are missing or negative). Instead he suggested “Sherwood 2008” found the hot-spot. I pointed out that Sherwood used wind-gauges instead of thermometers. To believe he is right we need to throw out thousands of thermometer readings and [...]

Great Debate Part III & IV – Glikson accidentally vindicates the skeptics!

UPDATED Part IV: Andrew Glikson replies below.

I am impressed that Glikson replied politely, rose above any ad hominem or authority based arguments, and focused on the science and the evidence. This kind of exchange is exceedingly rare, and it made it well worth continuing. Links to Part I and II are at the end. Round 4 was copied from comments up to the post.

Depending on flawed models

by Joanne Nova

May 11, 2010

For a sentence, I almost think Dr Glikson gets it. Yes, it’s a quantitative question: Will we warm by half a measly degree or 3.5 degrees? It’s not about the direct CO2 effect (all of one paltry degree by itself), it’s the feedbacks—the humidity, clouds, lapse rates and other factors that amplify (or not) the initial minor effect of carbon.

Decades ago, the catastrophe-crowd made guesses about the feedbacks—but they were wrong. Instead of amplifying carbon’s effect two-fold (or more!) the feedbacks dampen it.

Dr Glikson has no reply. He makes no comment at all about Lindzen [1], Spencer[2] or Douglass[3] and their three peer reviewed, independent, empirical papers showing that the climate models are exaggerating the warming by [...]

The debate continues: Dr Glikson v Joanne Nova

Dr Andrew Glikson (an Earth and paleoclimate scientist, at the Australian National University) contacted Quadrant offering to write about the evidence for man-made global warming. Quadrant approached me asking for my response. Dr Glikson replied to my reply, and I replied again to him (copied below). No money exchanged hands, but Dr Glikson is, I presume, writing in an employed capacity, while I write pro bono. Why is it that the unpaid self taught commentator needs to point out the evidence he doesn’t seem to be aware of? Why does a PhD need to be reminded of basic scientific principles (like, don’t argue from authority). Such is the vacuum of funding for other theories that a debate that ought to happen inside the university obviously hasn’t occurred. Such is the decrepit, anaemic state of university science that even a doctorate doesn’t guarantee a scientist can reason. Where is the rigor in the training, and the discipline in the analysis?

Credibility lies on evidence

by Joanne Nova

April 29, 2010

Reply to Andrew Glikson

Dr Andrew Glikson still misses the point, and backs his arguments with weak evidence and logical errors. Instead of empirical evidence, often [...]