$10,000 Challenge Submission – 10 Facts and 10 Myths

Originally published by GR in 2009
Ten facts about climate change

1.     Climate has always changed, and it always will. The assumption that prior to the industrial revolution the Earth had a “stable” climate is simply wrong. The only sensible thing to do about climate change is to prepare for it.
2.    Accurate temperature measurements made from weather balloons and satellites since the late 1950s show no atmospheric warming since 1958.  In contrast, averaged ground-based thermometers record a warming of about 0.40 C over the same time period. Many scientists believe that the thermometer record is biased by the Urban Heat Island effect and other artefacts.
3.    Despite the expenditure of more than US$50 billion dollars looking for it since 1990, no unambiguous anthropogenic (human) signal has been identified in the global temperature pattern.
4.    Without the greenhouse effect, the average surface temperature on Earth would be -180 C rather than the equable +150 C that has nurtured the development of life.
     Carbon dioxide is a minor greenhouse gas, responsible for ~26% (80 C) of the total greenhouse effect (330C), of which in turn at most 25% (~20C) can be attributed to carbon dioxide contributed by human activity. Water vapour, contributing at least 70% of the effect, is by far the most important atmospheric greenhouse gas.
5.    On both annual (1 year) and geological (up to 100,000 year) time scales, changes in atmospheric temperature PRECEDE changes in CO2. Carbon dioxide therefore cannot be the primary forcing agent for temperature increase (though increasing CO2 does cause a diminishingly mild positive temperature feedback).
6.    The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has acted as the main scaremonger for the global warming lobby that led to the Kyoto Protocol. Fatally, the IPCC is a political, not scientific, body.
Hendrik Tennekes, a retired Director of Research at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute, says that “the IPCC review process is fatally flawed” and that “the IPCC wilfully ignores the paradigm shift created by the foremost meteorologist of the twentieth century, Edward Lorenz“.
7.    The Kyoto Protocol will cost many trillions of dollars and exercises a significant impost those countries that signed it, but will deliver no significant cooling (less than .020 C by 2050, assuming that all commitments are met).
The Russian Academy of Sciences says that Kyoto has no scientific basis; Andre Illarianov, senior advisor to Russian president Putin, calls Kyoto-ism “one of the most agressive, intrusive, destructive ideologies since the collapse of communism and fascism“. If Kyoto was a “first step” then it was in the same wrong direction as the later “Bali roadmap”.

8.    Climate change is a non-linear (chaotic) process, some parts of which are only dimly or not at all understood. No deterministic computer model will ever be able to make an accurate prediction of climate 100 years into the future.
9.    Not surprisingly, therefore, experts in computer modelling agree also that no current (or likely near-future) climate model is able to make accurate predictions of regional climate change.
10.   The biggest untruth about human global warming is the assertion that nearly all scientists agree that it is occurring, and at a dangerous rate.
The reality is that almost every aspect of climate science is the subject of vigorous debate. Further, thousands of qualified scientists worldwide have signed declarations which (i) query the evidence for hypothetical human-caused warming and (ii) support a rational scientific (not emotional) approach to its study within the context of known natural climate change.
LAYING TEN GLOBAL WARMING MYTHS
Myth 1     Average global temperature (AGT) has increased over the last few years.
Fact 1       Within error bounds, AGT has not increased since 1995 and has declined since 2002, despite an increase in atmospheric CO2 of 8% since 1995. 
Myth 2     During the late 20th Century, AGT increased at a dangerously fast rate and reached an unprecedented magnitude.
Facts 2      The late 20th Century AGT rise was at a rate of 1-20 C/century, which lies well within natural rates of climate change for the last 10,000 yr. AGT has been several degrees warmer than today many times in the recent geological past. 
Myth 3     AGT was relatively unchanging in pre-industrial times, has sky-rocketed since 1900, and will increase by several degrees more over the next 100 years (the Mann, Bradley & Hughes “hockey stick” curve and its computer extrapolation).
Facts 3      The Mann et al. curve has been exposed as a statistical contrivance. There is no convincing evidence that past climate was unchanging, nor that 20th century changes in AGT were unusual, nor that dangerous human warming is underway.
Myth 4     Computer models predict that AGT will increase by up to 60 C over the next 100 years.
Facts 4      Deterministic computer models do. Other equally valid (empirical) computer models predict cooling. 
Myth 5     Warming of more than 20 C will have catastrophic effects on ecosystems and mankind alike.
Facts 5      A 20 C change would be well within previous natural bounds. Ecosystems have been adapting to such changes since time immemorial. The result is the process that we call evolution. Mankind can and does adapt to all climate extremes.
Myth 6     Further human addition of CO2 to the atmosphere will cause dangerous warming, and is generally harmful.
Facts 6      No human-caused warming can yet be detected that is distinct from natural system variation and noise. Any additional human-caused warming which occurs will probably amount to less than 10 C. Atmospheric CO2 is a beneficial fertilizer for plants, including especially cereal crops, and also aids efficient evapo-transpiration. 
Myth 7     Changes in solar activity cannot explain recent changes in AGT.
Facts 7      The sun’s output varies in several ways on many time scales (including the 11-, 22 and 80-year solar cycles), with concomitant effects on Earth’s climate. While changes in visible radiation are small, changes in particle flux and magnetic field are known to exercise a strong climatic effect. More than 50% of the 0.80 C rise in AGT observed during the 20th century can be attributed to solar change. 
Myth 8     Unprecedented melting of ice is taking place in both the north and south polar regions.
Facts 8      Both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are growing in thickness and cooling at their summit. Sea ice around Antarctica attained a record area in 2007. Temperatures in the Arctic region are just now achieving the levels of natural warmth experienced during the early 1940s, and the region was warmer still (sea-ice free) during earlier times.
Myth 9     Human-caused global warming is causing dangerous global sea-level (SL) rise.
Facts 9      SL change differs from time to time and place to place; between 1955 and 1996, for example, SL at Tuvalu fell by 105 mm (2.5 mm/yr). Global average SL is a statistical measure of no value for environmental planning purposes. A global average SL rise of 1-2 mm/yr occurred naturally over the last 150 years, and shows no sign of human-influenced increase. 
Myth 10   The late 20th Century increase in AGT caused an increase in the number of severe storms (cyclones), or in storm intensity.
Facts 10    Meteorological experts are agreed that no increase in storms has occurred beyond that associated with natural variation of the climate system.

Response: 
OK, so this will take a while.

Fact 1: No one is claiming the climate hasn’t changed. The very reason guys like this can state the climate has changed in the past is because scientists have done the hard work to discover this climate history. 

Fact 2: False and false. No scientist with any credibility believes the temperature record is due to the heat island effect. This is a extremely well-debunked myth. And, take a look at the global surface temperature shown in the figure below. There is a substantial amount of warming since 1950.

Fact 3: Again, this is so false that it is insulting to spend my time on it. Take a look at this plot:

Once again, deniers are leaving out any data that doesn’t agree with their desired conclusion. The ocean is part of the globe and is, therefore, part of ‘global’ warming. The oceans actually absorb 93% of all of the planetary warming.

Fact 4: Almost true, but very misleading. The actual average temperature of the planet without an atmosphere would be about -20 degrees Celsius. It is true that water vapor is a more efficient greenhouse gas than CO2, but the water vapor  wouldn’t be there without something to warm it up in the first place. In this way, CO2 is the driver and is the principle greenhouse gas.

Fact 5: It is true that the temperature increase preceded the CO2 increase. This just means there was some kind of trigger in natural cycles that initially caused the temperature to rise and allowed the CO2 to be released, resulting in greater temperature increases. We have taken the place of that natural trigger and made a concerted effort to put the CO2 in the atmosphere ourselves. Now, it is leading to higher temperatures, just like it did in the past cycles.

Fact 6: This is an irrelevant, political statement and has nothing to do with the science. This author is merely venting his hatred of science.

Fact 7: See Fact 6.

Fact 8: A big misdirection here. First, the models don’t predict weather, they predict climate. Huge difference. Second, define ‘acceptable.’ Models are doing very well already (despite denier claims) and will only continue to get better. Here is nice article on  The Weather Underground showing how well they are working.

Fact 9: Not true. See Fact 8.

Fact 10: Define ‘vigorous debate.’ Yes, scientists debate things. Isn’t that what we are suppose to do? Debating does not mean we don’t agree on certain things, though. The well-documented consensus among climate scientist is 97% agree that man made global warming is real. This has even been verified by the deniers.

Tally on ‘Facts’: Five are false, three irrelevant, 1 true and 1 part-true

Now the Myths:

Myth 1: This one is so false that I get tired of talking about it. Refer to the heat content graph above.

Myth 2: Another false statement. The rate of temperature increase in the last 30 years of the 20th century has never been seen in the historical record before now.

Myth 3: He means the Hockey Stick curve, which has most assuredly been shown to be valid. I don’t know what he means by saying it showed climate was unchanging, because it didn’t.

Myth 4: 60 degrees?! No! The extremes are between 2 and 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit by the year 2100. Sixty degrees Celsius is equal to 108 degrees Fahrenheit! Add 108 to your temperature today and imagine what that would be like.

Myth 5: Models do not predict 20 degrees C increases, that would be 36 degrees F. Generally, 6 degrees C (about 11 degrees F) is considerate catastrophic.

Myth 6: This one is true. An increase in CO2 is harmful for the environment. But, they are stating on one hand that it is bad and the other that it is good. I’m not sure what they are saying.

Myth 7: Back to clearly false. Solar activity has been decreasing. If we were to go by only the solar activity, things would be getting cooler.

Myth 8: False, false and false. The ice sheets are most definitely melting. Check out the National Snow and Ice Data Center to see for yourself. Greenland is losing billions of tons of mass each year. The sea ice in the north is rapidly disappearing. The sea ice in the south is increasing, but the total ice on Antarctica is decreasing.

Myth 9: Take a look:

Looks like its rising to me. You might want to define ‘dangerous.’ I live 1800 feet above sea level, so I’m not in direct danger. But, if you live on the coast, and most people living on the coast know this, sea level rise is a danger.

Myth 10: Half true. The data base is small, but seems to be showing no increase in storms, but an overall increase in storm dissipated energy due to more category 4 and 5 storms.

Tally of Myths: Eight are just plain false and two are half true.

This thing is busted. Not only does it not disprove man made global warming, but it barely rises to the scientific standard.

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9 thoughts on “$10,000 Challenge Submission – 10 Facts and 10 Myths

  1. “Fact 3: Again, this is so false that it is insulting to spend my time on it. Take a look at this plot: [of the OHC]”

    This is just pure cherry picking! The OHC figure starts at the bottom of the AMO cycle! Naughty scientists.

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  2. “He means the Hockey Stick curve, which has most assuredly been shown to be valid. I don't know what he means by saying it showed climate was unchanging, because it didn't.”
    Chris, be sceptical as all scientists should be, and do the following experiment for me. Take thousands of data points of low-resolution data, average them heavily , loess smooth them heavily , then tack on a high resolution temperature rise.

    You will get a hockey stick. No matter what data you put in.

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  3. Re 97% “consensus”

    Chris, here's the Data used in the “97%” paper: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/media/erl460291datafile.txt

    Cut and paste it to a spreadsheet.
    Order by endorsement
    Confirm that of the c12,000 papers only 64 “Explicitly endorses and quantifies AGW as 50+% “
    Calculate the consensus of the papers that “Explicitly endorses and quantifies AGW as 50+% ” thusly:

    64/12000 *100 = 0.5% endorsement.

    Not 97%. From their own data.

    Like

  4. The hockey stick shows naturally occurring fluctuation in the temperature record ending with a huge increase in modern times. You are partly correct. Any valid data of the temperature record of the last 1000 years will yield the hockey stick. That is because there has been an unprecedented sky rocket in global temperature the last several decades.

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