By TOM HARRIS AND TIM BALL
Executive Director, Climate Science Coalition; Consultant
With the United Nations Climate Change Conference starting on Monday in Bonn, Germany, we need to brace ourselves for an avalanche of global warming alarmism. We’ll be told that extreme weather, sea level rise, and shrinking sea ice are all about to get much worse if we do not quickly phase out our use of fossil fuels.
What will make this session especially intense is that this year’s meeting is being presided over by Fiji, a government that has taken the climate change fears to extremes.
Conference president Fijian Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama calls for “an absolute dedication to meet the 1.5-degree target,” the most stringent goal suggested by the Paris Agreement. In support of Bainimarama’s position, the COP23/Fiji Website repeatedly cites the frightening forecasts of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), stating, for example, “The IPCC recently reported that temperatures will significantly increase in the Sahel and Southern African regions, rainfall will significantly decrease, and tropical storms will become more frequent and intense, with a projected 20 per cent increase in cyclone activity.”
To make such dire forecasts, the IPCC relies on computerized models built on data and formulae to represent atmospheric conditions. Besides the fact that we lack a comprehensive ‘theory of climate,’ and so do not have valid formulae to properly represent how the atmosphere functions, we also lack the data to properly understand what weather was like over most of the planet even in the recent past. And, without a good understanding of past weather conditions, we have no way to know the history of its average condition—the climate. Meaningful forecasts of future climate change are therefore impossible.
An important data set used by the computer models cited by the IPCC is the ‘HadCRUT4’ global average temperature history for the past 167 years produced by the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, and the Hadley Centre, both based in the United Kingdom.
Until the 1960s, HadCRUT4 temperature data was collected using mercury thermometers located at weather stations situated mostly in the United States, Japan, the UK, and eastern Australia. Most of the rest of the planet had very few temperature sensing stations. And none of the Earth’s oceans, which cover 70% of the planet, had more than the occasional station separated from its neighbor by thousands of kilometers.
The data collected at weather stations in this sparse grid had, at best, an accuracy of +/-0.5 degrees Celsius, often times no better than +/-1 degree. Averaging such poor data in an attempt to determine global conditions cannot yield anything meaningful.