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Global warming: another model, different results

What we are seeing …

It appears that the global temperature rise has either flattened out or is actually declining.

According to published reports, all four major global temperature tracking outlets (Hadley, NASA's GISS, UAH, RSS) have released updated data indicating a decline in global temperatures.

hadcrut-jan08-520

What some scientists are saying …

“Using a new technique to remove temporary fluctuations in the global temperature record due to El Niño and transient weather patterns, a number of sudden drops in global temperature have been highlighted in a paper published in Nature this week. Most of these coincide with major volcanic eruptions. But the largest drop, occurring towards the end of 1945, is unrelated to any known eruption. Unlike the others, it is only apparent over the sea.”

“The research team has concluded that this drop is largely artificial. It arises from the different methods used by the United States and the UK to measure sea-surface temperature. During the later part of the war, most of the available observations are from US ships. A sudden increase in the frequency of observations from British ships in 1945 caused the apparent temperature drop. The initial drop is large, but it is temporary. By the 1960s the observing fleet was more diverse and any necessary corrections are likely to be small.”

“David Thompson of Colorado State University, who isolated the issue with the novel analysis said: ‘I was surprised to see the drop so clearly in the filtered data, and working in partnership with others realized that it couldn’t be natural’". <Source>

And others who study ocean currents are saying …

According to the BBC News

“The Earth's temperature may stay roughly the same for a decade, as natural climate cycles enter a cooling phase, scientists have predicted.”

What the modelers are seeing …

“A new computer model developed by German researchers, reported in the journal Nature, suggests the cooling will counter greenhouse warming.”

“Noel Keenlyside of the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, Kiel, Germany, reporting in the Journal Nature said: "The IPCC would predict a 0.3°C warming over the next decade. Our prediction is that there will be no warming until 2015 but it will pick up after that."

keenlyside

Without examining the output of his models, one wonders if the data shows a constant linear rise in temperature beyond 2015 or are the results cyclical. If the results are not cyclical, I would tend to believe that there is a flaw in his computational methodology as the gross historical record suggests that such variability is a key characteristic of nature. I would also like to see his back-tested results prior to 1960 as his data suggests a divergence preceding the reported 1960 start point.

“He stressed that the results were just the initial findings from a new computer model of how the oceans behave over decades and it would be wholly misleading to infer that global warming, in the sense of the enhanced greenhouse effect from increased carbon emissions, had gone away.”

It should be noted that this particular scientist, at least as he is being quoted, seems to have a preconceived notion that global warming does exist and it is caused by increased carbon emissions. Hardly a objective viewpoint from someone who is seeking the truth about a little-understood physical phenomenon.

“As a substitute for direct measurements of the MOC [meridional overturning circulation], the Kiel team used data going back 50 years from the Labrador Sea, where warm water gives up its heat to the atmosphere and sinks, before returning southward lower in the ocean.”

Again, we are seeing computerized models with assumptions being made about existing data that are alleged to resemble the physical system of interest. But as with any model, the results must be very cautiously examined in the light of other findings.

“Only within the last few years have researchers begun systematically deploying mobile floats and tethered buoys that will, in time, tell us how this circulation is changing.”

It appears that we are only now beginning to make some of the physical measurements which will allow us to use more accurate data. However, due to the almost instantaneous time frame of these measurements, there remains a very large gap between what is happening now and what may have happened in the past – and certainly what may happen in the future.

Explaining away the data …

Previously, computer models have used smoothed and interpolated data as input along with “flux adjustments” which allow the models to approximate the observations over a fixed interval of time. When these adjustments are removed, the results are far less persuasive than the results needed to convince non-scientists to turn the world on its head and institute political actions which have very little chance of impacting global climate change.

The problem is now to explain away the evidence that the global warming trend has abated or reversed. And in terms that will allow politicians to still claim that the phenomenon is real, is potentially deadly and requires action – even though no warming results may occur until after 2014.

The problem is those pesky ocean currents …

But the real problem is that many of the global climate change models are extremely limited in their scope as they often fail to include such basic physical (and measurable) phenomenon as oceanic circulation which is responsible for much broader cyclical temperature and climate trends than is the phenomenon that has been designated as global cooling.

According to oceanographers, those who are studying global temperatures using computerized model do not include the variability and strength of the Gulf Stream and have not computed the effects of the cyclical Pacific El Nino warming which is said to be responsible for 1998 being one of the warmest years recorded.

It is also theoretically possible that the warmer ocean waters are “out-gassing” dissolved carbon dioxide into the atmosphere which accounts for the rise in carbon dioxide levels and the current temperature. Other effects, such as the melting of polar ice, may also be explained by these oceanic currents.

The problem faced by those who study global climatology is that the gross causal effects of these currents are well above the noise level of global temperature measurements and thus can mask finer details which might provide more information to prove or disprove the current global warming theories.

While I believe in the cyclic variability of the global climate and its temperature effects on Earth, I do not believe that enough scientific data exists to allow us to draw conclusions that involve disrupting our national economy, raising taxes and putting our fellow citizens into the uncomfortable position of surrendering many of their personal liberties.

I believe that those who are working from temperature records and those who are working with oceanic current measurements should combine models and thus build a closer representation to the physical phenomenon they are studying. Add solar flux variability and the precessional path of the Earth and we might have a model that provides a more realistic viewpoint that can be used for political public policy decisions.

Is there a political solution that can tame nature?

The problem with politicians is they tend to believe that everything can be fixed with more legislation and they are willing to jump on any plausible theory to justify their own agendas. I can hardly believe that man can be so arrogant as to think that they can bend the vast forces of nature to their will with a simplistic solution based on carbon cap and trade policy. 

For all the shouting and proclamations, global warming is not a reality, it is a theory and its causes are still be studied. All of the results are based on assumptions, approximations and computer models which purport to simulate the variable effects of nature.

The fallacy of  totally relying on such an approach can be found in the study of computational systems such as those related to cellular automata where a few computer instructions can produce wonderfully intricate patterns, some of which seem to be found in nature. But to consider that a pattern of a leaf to be descriptive of the leaf itself is misleading. You may have the shape and some of the physical characteristics of the leaf, a mathematical equation of those characteristics – but it no more represents a leaf than a photograph explains the physical nature of a tree.

Thus, with computational models, they may agree with some of the physical data over a period of time, but they hardly capture the underlying processes needed to reproduce the physical phenomenon or allow us to make additional inferences. Therefore, while computer models are extremely useful tools to study physical phenomena, they are often too simplistic and too unreliable to be used to disrupt a nation’s economy.

So whatever is being said, global warming remains a theory as there is little or no definitive proof of the causal effects of CO2 on climate to the extent claimed … and that only exists as a product of computerized climate models.

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Here is a graph of a constantly rising trend in CO2 (green) and a variable graph of temperature. Note that the data starts at the peak temperature year of 1998 and seems to be declining in stages. I apologize for the poor quality of this particular graph, but a more readable one (with explanation) can be found in the reference link on the correlation of CO2 and temperature.

I am not claiming that global climate change does not exist. Or that non-pollutant carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas that can and probably does effect global weather systems. But what I am saying is that the effects of carbon dioxide appear to be far overshadowed by other factors including solar flux, the earth’s rotation and path through space, the circulation of magma, oceanic currents and that other non-pollutant greenhouse gas known simply as water vapor. Some scientists even believe that the effects of CO2 are self-limiting and that CO2 concentrations will decline as waters cool and absorb more atmospheric CO2.

In many long-term studies, CO2 lags temperature rise by 600- 1000 years. Hardly a cycle that could be considered a global catastrophe that requires a panic solution. Many of the suppositions based on the results of the increase in mean global temperature like the increase of disease vectors are also theories. Where are the studies that show a greener planet resulting from a rise in CO2, a more beneficial growing environment for farmers? Surely, there are some benefits attributable to the phenomenon?

It is also possible that there are a number of individual underlying cyclical components to a climate pattern; when taken together produces the observational results we see reflected in the data. Therefore, instead of building single- or two-dimensional data representations,  multi-dimensional models is a must.

What can YOU do?

Study the phenomenon of global climate change. What you will find is a diversity of opinion regarding the methodology used to analyze data and the number of conclusions that are drawn from extremely simple (in terms of modeling a large scale physical phenomenon) computer models. You will find that well-respected scientists publishing in peer-reviewed journals disagree on both methods and conclusions. This is part of the scientific method and should be respected as how one actually goes about discovering a relative truth. Most are honorable men who eschew politics and avoid commenting on scientific results outside of their own narrowly defined field. But you may also encounter some scientists, with impeccable credentials, who have become political animals in a hunt for funding dollars – and likely to parrot the positions of the politicians rather than face the scrutiny of their fellow scientists.

The true answer is: we don’t know enough about the underlying phenomenon of global climate change to take precipitous action involving the severe disruption of our economy and social fabric.

Encourage the allocation of funding … There is no doubt that we must increase funding for impartial study of planetary weather phenomenon. I have no qualms or reservations about allocating money for planetary climatology and encouraging further scientific research. But I certainly want to see more than the output of a computer model before I start tampering with the economy and lifestyles of a nation.

Prepare for nature … As it was in the past, man should prepare himself from the vagaries of  nature. By building shelters that withstand the storm. By building shelters that do not crumble during an earthquake. By respecting nature and not building in the path of a recurring natural disaster such as a flood.

Do not vote for any candidate or current politician who is willing to subvert the safety, security, sovereignty and economic strength of the United States or limit an individual's right of self-defense for their personal philosophy, power, prestige or profits.

-- steve

Quote of the day:  This warning sticker should be placed on every piece of paper and display involving computerized climate modeling.

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A reminder from OneCitizenSpeaking.com: a large improvement can result from a small change…

The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane. -- Marcus Aurelius

Reference Links:

For those wishing to see what raw data looks like and some of the explanations of observational anomalies, you may want to visit the Hadley data repository

For those wishing to read the paper on the correlation between Hadley data and the CO2 concentrations, you can download it here.

Global warming may 'stop', scientists predict - Telegraph


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"The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." -- Marcus Aurelius

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