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Monckton replies to Prof Andy Pitman


Image: Andy Pitman

Prof Andy Pitman

Prof Andy Pitman, lead author for the IPCC and Co-Director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, claims skeptics are winning because they are so well funded and tell lies. (And don’t we Australian taxpayers feel good about funding his career so he can throw baseless insults at polite volunteers?*) The ABC Interview is here. Case Smit took issue and wrote to Pitman in reply:

” I am one of the two retirees organising the Australian Tour of Lord Monckton. We receive not one dollar of funding from corporations or government! Nor have any other sceptics (true scientists) that I know.

We have underwritten the tour with our own money and are in the process of recouping the costs with donations which, so far have come from individuals who, like us, look into the science of global warming nd have come to the conclusion that humankind’s carbon dioxide contribution has nothing to do with it. Donations are coming in from as little as $10 from supporters of the Tour.

I could write a lot more, but I’m busy organising Monckton functions which are selling out fast all over Australia.”

Pitman wrote back that he was sympathetic, and sorry to hear Case had been hoodwinked by the liars, and that global warming was real. Though the only evidence Pitman even attempted to give was a long list of all the subjects of science that would be “wrong” if global warming was not real AND dangerous. Somehow all of biology will be debunked if man-made global warming turns out to be only minor and inconsequential. Really. I didn’t realize the theory of evolution now depends on carbon emissions. Crickey.

Christopher Monckton

Christopher Monckton

Monckton shot back some thoughts tonight:

Dear Professor Pitman,

It would help me to understand your position if you were able to assist me in understanding this issue by answering some specific scientific questions.
  1. Looking at the Hadley Centre’s global annual mean surface temperature anomalies since 1850, I notice that the data are stochastic, and yet with tantalizing indications of periodicity. Yet NOAA’s annual CO2 concentration anomalies appear to increase monotonically. Since absence of correlation is evident, and necessarily implies absence of causation, am I right in understanding that the monotonic increases in CO2 concentration over the period in question are not responsible for the considerable fluctuations in the surface temperature record over the period?
  2. Looking at the same temperature record, I observe three supradecadal periods of marked warming, at a rate of approximately 0.16 Celsius degrees per decade: 1860-1880, 1910-1940, and 1975-1998. If I understand the IPCC’s rather diffuse documents correctly, it seems to be settled among all parties that humankind cannot have had any appreciable influence on temperature in the two earlier periods of rapid warming. The IPCC, however, states as its principal conclusion that, with 90% confidence, more than half of the warming since 1950 was anthropogenic. Nearly all of the warming since 1950 occurred in the 24 years 1975-1998: yet the rate of warming, at 0.16 C/decade, is not a whit greater than the rate of warming in the previous two periods. Have I understood this correctly?
  3. The A2 scenario is the more conservative of the two IPCC scenarios that come closest to reflecting today’s actual global emissions of around 30 gigatons CO2. On that scenario, as best I can understand it, warming over the decades 2000-2020 is projected to be at a rate of 0.2 C/decade – appreciably higher than the highest supradecadal rate observed since 1850, which is 0.16 C/decade. Yet the real-world outturn since the year 2000 has been a warming rate vanishingly different from zero. Have I understood the facts correctly here?
  4. If I were the IPCC, and I were trying to derive a reasonable central estimate of climate sensitivity to atmospheric greenhouse-gas enrichment, or to any other radiative perturbation of a presumed pre-existing equilibrium, I should wish to examine a sustained, supradecadal, generally-unidirectional period of statistically-significant warming or cooling, to identify the principal radiative forcings – if any – that can be detected by direct measurement. The only such period for which we have adequate satellite as well as terrestrial observations is 1983-2001, a period of warming substantial enough to give us some hope of overcoming mere statistical noise in our observations. Pinker et al. (2005), considering the ISCCP cloud records and the ERBE long-wave vs. short-wave outgoing-radiation datasets, concluded after a most meticulous intercalibration exercise between geostationary and polar-orbiting satellites that there was a sustained reduction in cloud cover over the period, which least-squares linear regression analysis shows to have represented a radiative forcing of 0.16 W/m2 for 19 years, or some 3.04 W/m2 in total. The radiative forcing from CO2 over the same period, using the function given in Myrhe (1998) and cited with approval by IPCC (2001, 2007), was 0.45 W/m2, and other anthropogenic forcings were 0.35 W/m2. Warming over the period was 0.45 K at most. From this, am I right to infer that the equilibrium temperature change to be expected from a doubling of CO2 concentration is represented approximately by the calculation below (subject, of course, to verification of Pinker’s results, and to identification of any significant negative forcings that he or I may have missed, and to action of very long-term feedbacks not reflected in the period)?
    = (5.35 ln 2)[0.45 / (3.04+0.45+0.35)] = 0.44 K
  5. Am I right in recollecting that the IPCC, on the A2 scenario, predicts equilibrium warming of 3.26 K at CO2 doubling. It seems to me that, on the face of things, the IPCC’s central estimate of climate sensitivity is some 7.5 times larger than the result we have just reached above. In that event, Lord Monckton’s own theoretical determination of climate sensitivity 0.6 K at CO2 doubling (Monckton, 2008) may even be on the high side, when compared with the generally robust empirical result I have derived. Certainly, the IPCC’s central estimate of climate sensitivity seems insupportably excessive.

Would you care to comment?

* Yes, much of what I do is volunteer work, like most other skeptics. Like Case’s work with Monckton’s tour, this blog is also funded solely by donations. The most important question though is not the funding. Why is a professor reduced to ad hominem attacks?

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