UN IPCC Scientist Richard Courtney responds to new peer-reviewed study calling climate models “fundamentally wrong.” (See: Study shakes foundation of climate theory! Reveals UN models ‘fundamentally wrong’ – Blames ‘Unknown Processes’ — not CO2 for ancient global warming – ‘Global warming: Our best guess is likely wrong’ July 14, 2009)
Courtney, a UN IPCC expert reviewer and a UK based atmospheric science consultant, is featured on page 224 of the U.S. Senate Report of More Than 700 Dissenting Scientists Over Man-Made Global Warming.
Courtney’s Guest Post:
Key Excerpts: It is a scientific conclusion that the data does not indicate whether future warming or cooling will occur. And it is a political decision to ignore that unarguable scientific conclusion. But deniers of natural climate change do ignore it and they proclaim that human activities alone cause global warming: their climate change denial is pure superstition. […] Even RealClimate (i.e. the Alamo of discredited so-called climate scientists) now admits the fact that the Earth is experiencing global cooling and suggests that global warming will not resume “until roughly 2020.” And they are trying to provide excuses for the cooling. In other words, these global warming propagandists have recognized that their natural climate change denial of the last decade is not sustainable anymore. So, they have abandoned any pretence that global warming exists at the moment, and they are presenting their excuses for why the globe is cooling together with their assertions of when global warming will resume (presumably they will claim with a vengeance). Simply, nobody can now plausibly deny that the globe is cooling while the emissions and the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide both continue to increase.
Courtney’s Full Commentary:
I would like to comment on the Climate Depot report providing the information concerning the paper by Zeebe et al. that says the PETM (Palaeocene-Eocene thermal maximum of 55 million years ago) demonstrates the assumed (e.g. by IPCC) relationship of mean global temperature to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is wrong.
The Climate Depot report reveals:
“In a nutshell, theoretical models cannot explain what we observe in the geological record,” said oceanographer Gerald Dickens, a co-author of the study and professor of Earth science at Rice University. “There appears to be something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models.”
OK, but if there is “something fundamentally wrong with the way temperature and carbon are linked in climate models” then this begs the question as to what effect altered atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is now having on mean global temperature.
So, I offer the following thoughts.
The Earth has now been experiencing global cooling for a decade. The Southern Hemisphere started to cool about 20 years ago and this cooling spread to include the Northern Hemisphere about 10 years ago.
And there is no clear evidence in the data of recent decades for the existence of anthropogenic (that is, man-made) global warming (AGW) induced by increases to atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations or anthropogenic emissions of carbon dioxide. The emissions and the concentrations of carbon dioxide have increased (the atmospheric concentration has increased by ~5%) over the last decade while the global temperature has fallen.
The recent global cooling has now been happening for so long that the cooling is even admitted by the pro-AGW-propoganda web site which calls itself RealClimate.org.
Excerpt: “We hypothesize that the established pre-1998 trend is the true forced warming signal, and that the climate system effectively overshot this signal in response to the 1997/98 El Niño. This overshoot is in the process of radiatively dissipating, and the climate will return to its earlier defined, greenhouse gas-forced warming signal. If this hypothesis is correct, the era of consistent record-breaking global mean temperatures will not resume until roughly 2020.”
So, even RealClimate (i.e. the Alamo of discredited so-called climate scientists) now admits the fact that the Earth is experiencing global cooling and suggests that global warming will not resume “until roughly 2020.” And they are trying to provide excuses for the cooling.
In other words, these global warming propagandists have recognized that their natural climate change denial of the last decade is not sustainable anymore. So, they have abandoned any pretence that global warming exists at the moment, and they are presenting their excuses for why the globe is cooling together with their assertions of when global warming will resume (presumably they will claim with a vengeance).
Simply, nobody can now plausibly deny that the globe is cooling while the emissions and the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide both continue to increase.
This raises three issues (two scientific and one political).
Firstly, the claimed “overshoot” being responsible for the present lack of global warming is denied by the data.
This is Monkton’s Figure 5 showing recent global temperature as a composite index of global mean surface temperature anomalies, taking the mean of two surface and two satellite datasets (and it is taken from http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/monckton/temperature_co2_change_scientific_briefing.pdf ).
The graph is a composite but each of the averaged data sets shows the same.
It is apparent that the global temperature did “overshoot” the pre-1998 trend but had returned to the trend by 2001. The global temperature has fallen since. Hence, there is no “process of radiatively dissipating” and if there were such a “process” then it had ended by 2001.
Secondly, there is no reason to suppose that warming will resume in “roughly 2020”. However, as I have repeatedly explained, there is reason to suppose that it may – or may not – resume around 2030.
Anybody who looks at the records of recent global temperature (i.e. the most recent millennia) can see a series of cycles that are overlaid on each other. For example:
There seems to be an apparent ~900 year oscillation that caused the Roman Warm Period (RWP), then the Dark Age Cool Period (DACP), then the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), then the Little Ice Age (LIA), and the present warm period (PWP).
There seems to be an apparent ~60 year oscillation that caused cooling to ~1910, then warming to ~1940, then cooling to ~1970, then warming to ~2000, then cooling since.
So, has the warming from the LIA stopped or not? That cannot be known because the pattern of past global temperature fluctuations suggest that the existing cooling phase of the ~60 year cycle is opposing any such warming. And that cooling phase can be anticipated to end around 2030 when it can be anticipated that then either
(a) warming from the LIA will continue until we reach temperatures similar to those of the MWP
(b) cooling will set in until we reach temperatures similar to those of the LIA.
This brings us to the political point that derives from the above scientific facts.
It is a scientific conclusion that the above data does not indicate whether future warming or cooling will occur. And it is a political decision to ignore that unarguable scientific conclusion. But deniers of natural climate change do ignore it and they proclaim that human activities alone cause global warming: their climate change denial is pure superstition.
Deciding to respond to the clear scientific conclusion by preparing for the possibilities of warming or of cooling would be a political decision (with a precedent that the Bible says goes back to Joseph in the Bronze Age: Genesis 31) based on the scientific evidence. And deciding to prepare for only warming or only cooling would also be a political decision, but it would be based on superstition and would have high risk.
However, advocates of AGW use the Precautionary Principle saying we should stop greenhouse gas emissions – notably carbon dioxide emissions – in case the AGW hypothesis is right. But that turns the Principle on its head.
Stopping the emissions would reduce fossil fuel usage with resulting economic damage. This would be worse than the ‘oil crisis’ of the 1970s because the reduction would be greater (the European Union suggests 80% reduction!), would be permanent, and energy use has increased since then. The economic disruption would be world-wide. Major effects would be in the developed world because it has the largest economies. Worst effects would be on the world’s poorest peoples: people near starvation are starved by it.
All human activity is enabled by energy supply and limited by material science. The energy supply permits the growing of crops, the manufacture of tools, and the provision of goods, services and constructions. Material science limits what can be done with the energy (e.g. a steel plough share is better than a wooden one, ability to etch silica permits adequately reliable computers, etc.)
Wind power, biomass power and animal power were abandoned when the greater energy intensity of fossil fuels became available by use of the steam engine. The increased energy supply enabled more people to exist and the human population exploded. The population is now about 6.6 billion and all estimates indicate that the present population growth will continue and is likely to peak at around 9 billion in the middle of this century. That additional more than 2 billion people requires additional energy supply.
Billions of people – mostly children – will die from lack of energy without that additional energy supply. Reducing the energy supply would kill more millions – probably billions – of people.
Replacement of fossil fuels by wind and solar is not possible because the laws of physics do not allow it. Only an increase to nuclear power could make much reduction to use of fossil fuels and that reduction is limited because many activities require energy that is not only available where there is a wire.
A cut of 80% in anthropogenic carbon dioxide emissions would require a similar reduction to use of fossil fuels.
So, man-made global warming is not a global crisis but the unfounded fear of it is. That fear threatens a constraint of fossil fuel use that would kill millions – probably billions – of people.
In conclusion, it is my opinion that the fact that the globe is now in a period of global cooling needs to be advertised, and silly excuses for it – such as those from RealClimate – need to be loudly refuted.
All the best