You Ought to Have a Look is a feature from the Center for the Study of Science, posted by Patrick J. Michaels and Paul C. (“Chip”) Knappenberger. While this section will feature all of the areas of interest that we are emphasizing, the prominence of the climate issue is driving a tremendous amount of web traffic. Here we post a few of the best in recent days, along with our color commentary.
Leaving the election results aside (noting that they were bad for the Obama administration’s ill-founded and executive-ordered climate policies), we highlight a couple (among the many) interesting climate change–related tidbits scattered among the intertubes.
The first is an analysis of what was left out of the latest (final?) report from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), conducted by Marcel Crok, a Dutch journalist who covers climate change with a somewhat skeptical eye.
Crok recently partnered up with climate researcher Nic Lewis to produce a major analysis of climate sensitivity—one of the key parameters in helping to understand how much influence human activities will have on the future climate—for the United Kingdom’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (another site that you’ll surely be hearing from in these pages from time to time). Lewis and Crok found that the IPCC greatly overestimated the climate sensitivity based on a critical review of the extant scientific literature on the topic.
In a post this week on his blog (which is sometimes written in Dutch), Crok compares how the IPCC treatment of climate sensitivity changed from being-front-and-center in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report to being nearly buried in its 2014 Fifth Assessment Report.
Why the change? Because the more people look at climate sensitivity, the less it looks like the IPCC produced a very good “assessment” of it. Virtually the entirety of their reports are premised on a climate sensitivity of around 3.5°C. A much more realistic value is around 2.0°C—a difference so large as to consign most of the IPCC reports to the dustbin of climate history.
In his article “IPCC Bias In Action,” Crok writes:
The IPCC was saddled with a dilemma. A lot of conclusions in the report are based on the output of models and admitting that the models’ climate sensitivity is about 40% too high was apparently too … inconvenient. So IPCC decided not to mention climate sensitivity anymore in the SPM of the Synthesis Report. It decided to give the world a prognosis which it knows is overly pessimistic. One may wonder why. Did it want to hide the good news?
We could hardly have said it better ourselves!
Another site worth clicking on from time to time is a blog called The Blackboard, run by Lucia Liljegren, and independent climate researcher and all-around busybody. Previously, we have teamed up with Lucia to examine how the observed evolution of the global average temperature compares with expectations of the behavior as produced by climate models. Our results indicated that climate models were not faring too well. While everyone knows this now, 4–5 years ago this was cutting edge, and the establishment wanted nothing to do with it. Thus, our paper was never published (rejected by several journals). Nevertheless, it was a scientifically robust work that was a harbinger of things to come. It is available here.
Lucia continues to keep a tab on climate model performance. Recently, she updated her analysis to check to see if reports of the death of the global warming “hiatus” were accurate. Like Mark Twain before her, she found them to be greatly exaggerated. Lucia reports:
Anyway: I’m rather unconvinced ‘the hiatus’ is over. That said: it’s a bit difficult to say for sure because the definition of ‘hiatus’ is rather vague. It does seem to me we are going to need to see quite a bit of warming to overcome the doubts of those who think models are not well suited to predicting warming over periods as long as 20 or 30 years.
The reason for this is simple. It will take several years of warming to establish a significant trend since 1997. For example, if warming began in 2014, at the same rate that was established between the late 1970s and the late 1990s, the “hiatus” would extend to 24 years (using annual data) before the post-1997 trend became significant.
And finally, we’d be remiss if we didn’t point out that level-headed science/science policy researcher Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado has a new book out that should be of interest to anyone who seeks the truth behind the (lack of) identifiable linkages between extreme weather and human greenhouse gas emissions. His book is called The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change, and it is available from Amazon at the insanely cheap price of only $5. For more info and to see what folks have to say about it, you ought to have a look here.