Top Swedish Climate Scientist Says Warming Not Noticeable: ‘The warming we have had last a 100 years is so small that if we didn’t have climatologists to measure it we wouldn’t have noticed it at all’


By: - Climate DepotFebruary 3, 2013 12:36 PM

‘ The Earth appears to have cooling properties that exceeds the previous thought ones, and that computer models are inadequate to try to foretell a chaotic object like the climate, where actual observations is the only way to go’

Top Swedish Climate Scientist Dr. Lennart Bengtsson: CO2”s ‘heating effect is logarithmic: the higher the concentration is, the smaller the effect of a further increase’ – Dr. Lennart Bengtsson: ‘The sea level has risen fairly evenly for a hundred years by 2-3 millimeters per year. The pitch is not accelerated’

‘Climate change has become extremely politicized. The issue is so complex that one can not ask the people to be convinced that the whole economic system must be changed just because you have done some computer simulations’

Translated article here.

http://www.issibern.ch/~bengtsson/

“We are creating a huge anxiety, but it is justified”

Published today 06:23

Photo: Christine Olsson / Graphics: DN / Source: NOAA temperature graph shows change, the digit zero indicates the average for the whole period. Carbon dioxide: ppm means parts per million. T h Lennart Bengtsson.

Research Position / Lennart Bengtsson’s summary

Earth’s average temperature has risen by 0.8 degrees over a hundred years, particularly during the two warming periods: 1910 to 1940 (0.3 degrees) and 1980-2000 (0.5 degrees). Most of the recent increase is due to human emissions.

They last about 15 years, warming has paused. What it depends on is unclear. It is probably a natural variation. This means that the temperature trend right now is far below the IPCC four degrees scenario. The trend will be in the future is unclear, but is likely to break a sign that the climate sensitivity is somewhat lower than in the first models.

Koldioxidhaltens heating effect is logarithmic: the higher the concentration is, the smaller the effect of a further increase.

More heat waves and fewer cold periods are to be reckoned with and can already be observed. The other forms of extreme weather would have increased there is no evidence. In the case of storms seen no change in future models.

The sea level has risen fairly evenly for a hundred years by 2-3 millimeters per year. The pitch is not accelerated.

Yes, humans affect the climate. But no, there is no indication that the warming is so serious that we need to panic. It says Lennart Bengtsson, one of the most highly qualified Swedish climate scientists, who has recently become “increasingly frustrated” by the debate.

One of the climate debate curses is that it is often presented as if it consisted of two camps: those who understand that man is causing the warming of the earth and those who deny this. How easy is seldom reality, especially in science. It’s one of the messages from the climate scientist Lennart Bengtsson.

- We create a great anxiety, but it is justified, and it does not lead to any action. The key is to come up with reasonable solutions, he says to DN.

Lennart Bengtsson was the head of the great European weather center of English Reading in the 1980s, he was director of the Max Planck Institute in Hamburg in the 1990s (and still have one Emeritus service there), he sits at the head of atmospheric and Space Institute ISSI in Bern and is a member of the Academy of Sciences. Nowadays, he is also a visiting professor at Uppsala.

He participated in the earliest work of the UN climate panel, and he felt the panel’s first chairman Bert Bolin well. Since then he has followed their work closely and contributed background.

Bengtsson has worked abroad for many decades and has not made much noise in the Swedish climate debate. But recently he has become involved in discussions in blog forums and opinion pieces, including one DN messages published a few days after this interview was conducted.

- I have become increasingly frustrated at the lack of scientific basis of much of what is said in the media. It goes out over science in the long run.

That carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases raise the temperature has been known for over 100 years, and that humans are contributing to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is by now also hardly any who doubt. But just how big is the effect of this is far from settled. There have been estimates pointed to a great effect, and they often come into focus. But there have also been studies that suggest a smaller effect. The only sure thing is what has so far been able to measure.

- The warming Earth experienced the last hundred years is so small that it was not noted if the meteorologists and climatologists informed about it. It indicates that the climate sensitivity is probably lower than climate models, at least initially adopted, says Bengtsson.

UN climate panel says in its latest report that a doubling of carbon dioxide levels likely to result in a warming of around 3 degrees. So far, the 0.8 degrees since the 1800s, and then ten fifteen years, the curve has become flatter, while greenhouse gas emissions continued at the same pace as before.

- There is no doubt that humans have an impact. What we are not sure about is why the warming is so slow. It is possible that the planet cools more efficiently than we had previously expected. It is also possible to store more heat in the deep sea, so that there is inertia.

Lennart Bengtsson responded to a report of an Institute in Potsdam, published by the World Bank at the height of the climate meeting in Doha last fall. It was described generally as if it could be established that the earth is headed for four degrees of warming. It does now not report, but it is about what is likely to happen if it gets much hotter.

- I am critical. They used one of the more extreme options in the scenarios. Of course it is not completely out of the question, but the probability is very low.

Bengtsson admits that it would probably be worse if the risks were ignored completely over exaggerated, but he believes that faith in science is damaged if you hunt up a black scenario and then not much happens.

That such a complicated science that climate communicated to laymen as widely made now is a problem, he says, because the messages are black and white and simplistic conclusions.

- It is always so when it becomes a hype issue that some people become very involved. But many of them are not always the most special, and a lot of very talented researchers are not particularly interested in media activities. Some researchers feel frustrated and provoked, and sometimes they give in to pressure and gives indications that it is safer than it is.

- When you work actively with a question you can see the difficulties. Climate is extremely complicated. What I find it very difficult to explain to people is the chaotic aspect, which is not predictable. It is a fundamental property that can not be changed.

A notable part of the climate scenarios is about extreme weather. In addition to more heat waves and fewer cold days is no clear evidence that extreme weather events have increased.

- They may be called activists who feel the need to warn people of an impending disaster, they apprehended course of some frustration and takes the extreme event anywhere and say they depend on climate change no.

- And has profiled itself is well a tendency to hold on to it.

It Lennart Bengtsson conveys not different from scientific colleagues in the UN climate panel concluded . However, for anyone who is familiar with a topic that one can emphasize some seeds and downplay others.

Although not the apocalypse is around the corner, we should definitely put our energy system, says Lennart Bengtsson. He thinks that the UN’s climate panel, the IPCC is good, “because otherwise we would be flooded by the biased reports, the World Bank.”

- On the other hand, climate change has become extremely politicized. The issue is so complex that one can not ask the people to be convinced that the whole economic system must be changed just because you have done some computer simulations.

- As long as it does not happen anything serious, we must accept that it attacks the issue gradually. You can always ask how anxious you should be for something that happens in a hundred years. One must be realistic, pose the problem in relation to what can be solved and how safe it is.

- All right, if we want to be eccentric, one can say that there is a disaster in slow motion. If greenhouse gases would continue to increase by a factor of five or ten, then there will be problems of various kinds. But until further notice, the internal natural processes almost completely dominated.

UN climate panel presents its next scientific report in Sweden in september, six years after the last one.

What major changes do you think will be in the report?

- I do not think there will be some dramatic changes. We will take note, just as has been done continuously, that the climate system is a bit more complex than originally thought.

Anders Bolling

anders.bolling @ dn.se

Some of Lennart Bengtsson awards:
2007 Rossby Prize 2007 by the Swedish Geophysical Society (SGS)
2007 Elected Honorary Member of the American Meteorological Society (AMS)
2006 International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)
2005 Descartes Research Prize
1999 Fellow of American Meteorological Society
1998 Umweltpreis 1998 der Deutschen Bundesstiftung Umwelt
1998 Member of the Finnish Academy of Science
1996 Milutin Milancovic medal by the European Geophysical Society
1995 Member of the Nordrhein-Westfälischen Wissenschaftsakademie
1993 Member of the Swedish Academy of Science
1991 Honorary Member of the Swedish Meteorological Society
1990 Doctor honoris causa, University of Stockholm
1990 Förderpreis and the Golden Rosette for European Science by the Körberstiftung, Hamburg
1989 Member of Academia Europea
1986 Julius von Hann´s Gold Medal by the Austrian Meteorological Society

Publications: http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/en/staff/lennart-bengtsson/refer.html

1999 Fellow of the American Meteorological Society

1998 Umweltpreis

1998 der Deutschen Bundesstiftung Umwelt – The Germann Environmental reward (shared)

1998 Member of the Finnish Academy of Science

1996 Milutin Milancovic medal by the European Geophysical Society 1995 Member of the Nordrhein-Westfälischen Wissenschaftsakademie

1993 Member of the Swedish Academy of Science

1991 Honorary Member of the Swedish Meteorological Society

1990 Doctor honoris causa, University of Stockholm

1990 Förderpreis and the Golden Rosette for European Science by the Körberstiftung, Hamburg

1989 Member of Academia Europea

1986 Julius von Hann’s Gold Medal by the Austrian Meteorological Society