Jun 18 2009

Government Climate Report Seriously Flawed

Published by at 12:33 am under Global Warming

You know, you can tell when something is really, really poorly done when you can take a few, key paragraphs of the Executive Summary and demonstrate complete inaccuracy with little effort. Such is the case with the latest government report on so called global warming or climate change (pick your spin).  

Ironically, the report was dumbed down by a spiffy PR firm in order to make it clearer to those who struggled through high school calculus or sweated trying to help their teenagers through it (you know – politicians, entertainers, etc who all of sudden are experts in science and math). Ripped away of its complicated – yet precise – wording and recast into something grade schoolers could read. Anyway, it made it much easier to point out the blatant errors in the underlying ‘science’ and conclusions.

Here are the key paragraphs,  where the easily identifiable errors are contained (and highlighted):

Observations show that warming of the climate is unequivocal. The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases. These emissions come mainly from the burning of fossil fuels (coal, oil, and gas), with important contributions from the clearing of forests, agricultural practices, and other activities.
Warming over this century is projected to be considerably greater than over the last century. The global average temperature since 1900 has risen by about 1.5ºF.

If these two conclusions are proven false (which they can be easily) then everything else in the report which relies on these two conclusions is also false. QED.

So, let’s begin. First off, note that the supposed increase in average global temperature is claimed to be “about 1.5°F”. That is in fact a very bogus claim. First off, not the following chart from the National Climate Data Center – which is supposedly a source for this report (click to enlarge:

This period, from 1880 to the present, is the one period that has had regular, global measurements using instruments. Prior to this date the global temperature record is derived (many times inaccurately) from ‘proxies’ like the diversity of certain marine fossils in core samples, ice core levels of trace gases, tree rings. I say in accurately because the IPCC and others have attempted to delete the Medieval and Roman Warming periods from the historical record. But these periods when the global temperatures rivaled, if not exceeded, todays warm cycle are not solely predicated on exotic proxies and loose statistics. There are many other records (such as population numbers, growing season numbers, conditional descriptions) which also reflect these warm periods.

Anyway, if we look at this 1880-2009 period we see two ‘peaks’: a low point around 1910 of -0.3°C and the high peak sitting around present time of +0.5°C. Now these are maximum  and minimum peaks – they are not averages. The report claims (falsely) that “The global average temperature since 1900 has risen by about 1.5ºF“. (I need to use one temperature scale or the other, so I will do the rest in °C. The 1.5°F = 0.83°C, which will be the comparison from herein). These ‘scientists’ used the min-max difference from this data set to exaggerate their claim of past warming! And their own data proves this is the case!

Below is a chart I did on the NCDC data set (it is monthly data verses yearly), but I added a few averages to make my point (click to enlarge).

From the period 1880-1940 the average temperature anomaly from ‘normal’ is -0.158°C  and shown by the green line (whatever ‘normal’ really is). The average for the last 70 years (1941-2009) is +0.158°C, and is denoted by the blue line.

Well, we seem to have a problem already, don’t we? There is no +0.83°C rise in ‘average’ global temperature after all, just a +0.32°C increase? I guess it depends on how you define ‘average’ (not to mention ‘normal’)! We should all know from high school math the the peak minimum and maximum do not have any relationship to the ‘average’ of any kind.

But there is an obvious increase in temperature that is clearly evident from 1980-2009. So let’s use two extreme averages (the 1880-1940, and 1980-2009) to see what we can find as the reasonable average increase in the last 50 years or so. The 1980-2009 average is +0.35°C from ‘normal’ (denoted in red), which means the difference between the low period in the record running between 1880-1940, and the warmest last three decades is +0.51°C. Well, this is still way below the claim of an average increase of +0.83°C (1.5°F) – in fact it is 40% too low. So, even pushing the average global warming temperature as far as we probably should, we come up short of the report’s claim of recent warming.

Now let’s keep going with the wild claims in this simply-written report. Supposedly “The global warming observed over the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced emissions of heat-trapping gases”. 

Well, for that to happen the 0.51°C increase in average global temperature over the last 100+ years has to be mostly due to human activity. But there is a serious problem with this claim – and that is the fact that the global temperature has been rising at about +0.5°C for a few centuries now. Ever since the Little Ice Age.

The Earth had been warming since the Little Ice Age at a rate of about 0.5C/century.

So wait a minute here. Is this possible? Can that +0.5°C increase in their data be primarily due to human activity? Well, only if the warming that has been going on for many centuries now can be proven to be over, completely replaced by man-made warming. Otherwise, the warming is all natural, with only a possible small fraction possibly due to human activity. 

So I am waiting to see the peer reviewed, scientifically accepted report that shows the warming from the Little Ice Age has been proven – beyond any doubt – to have ended prior to 1940. Otherwise, the majority of warming we have seen since then is actually the same +0.5°C that has been occurring naturally since the Little Ice Age.

And if that is the case, then everything this report claims is then false, because it is based on false data. QED.

5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Government Climate Report Seriously Flawed”

  1. Paul_In_Houston says:

    I’ve said this before; so what? I still believe it.

    Let’s try for some perspective, time-wise.

    For those comfortable with the metric (S.I.) system, imagine a line about 4.6 kilometers long (a bit under 3 miles). That would represent the 4.6 billion year age of the Earth at 1,000,000 years/meter; 1 mm (about the thickness of a paper clip) would represent a THOUSAND years.

    That line would span the downtown area of quite a few large cities, with some to spare. Here in Houston, the downtown streets are 16 to the mile, making their spacing about 100 meters. Thus, that line would be about 46 blocks.

    The reign of the dinosaurs ended around 65 million years ago (65 meters, about 2/3 of a city block down that line from today).

    The first of our ancestors verging on intelligence may have emerged from 2 to 4 million years ago (2 to 4 meters, say 6.5 to 13 feet; your living room could be around 4 meters in one of its’ dimensions).

    What we call “modern” man may go back 40,000 years or so (40 mm, TWO finger-widths on that line).

    Written history goes back 6000 years (six millimeters, 1/4 inch on that line).

    Fahrenheit’s thermometer is around 300 years old ( 0.3 mm, you’re approaching the thickness of a business card now).

    The portion of that time-line during which precise temperature measurements were recorded would be literally microscopic.

    And from that portion, we dare to make really long range climate predictions, and mandate actions based on them?

    I live about three miles west of some of Houston’s major downtown buildings, so I can easily visualize that line.

    Looking at that time-line of Earth’s history (the universe’s may be four times that), and the flyspeck of our own existence upon it, the notion of asserting that ANY science has been “settled” strikes me as arrogance beyond comprehension (as in “only a politician could possibly believe that”).

  2. WWS says:

    It’s very significant that the previous low temperature point for the 20th century is centered on 1910.

    By all measures, our Sun’s activity has now diminished to levels not seen since 1910 – 1913.

    Of course, since the Sun has nothing at all to do with the Earth’s climate, this is just a meaningless coincidence. Or at least that’s what this report says.

  3. Mike M. says:

    Hold on there, AJ. Even those of us who DID struggle with calculus can understand that anthropogenic global warming is a crock. I’m offended! (insert Miss Piggy indignant sniff here)

    Anyone who has lived in one area more than ten years or so can tell you that climate varies. And after living in Southern Maryland for 35 years, I have first-hand experience of three significant changes in the long-term weather. The lastest of which is making me wonder when polar bear season will open.

  4. GuyFawkes says:

    So…. they compared two numbers to get a difference of about +0.83°C, and you compared two completely different numbers to get a difference of about +0.32°C.

    And somehow, the fact that you decided to use a completely different set of numbers invalidates their entire report? That’s an… interesting conclusion on your part.

    Tell ya what, AJ – instead of arbitrarily choosing to compare a 60 year average vs. a 70 year average (and I don’t see any justification above for why you did that) – why don’t you use sets of 5 years, and then tell us the difference between 1900 and today?

    “I guess it depends on how you define ‘average’ (not to mention ‘normal’)! We should all know from high school math the the peak minimum and maximum do not have any relationship to the ‘average’ of any kind.”

    Well… yes, they do – when those “peaks” (as you call them) are in a chart labeled “Global Mean Temperature”. Unless, of course, you come from a planet where “Mean” is not another word for “average”.

  5. Toes192 says:

    Sry, Aj… Your logic is flawed… I’d tend to agree with you… do not get me wrong on that…
    However, to say that …”everything this report claims is then false, because it is based on false data QED…” is not true…
    If you want to claim that everything in the report is false based on your arguments QED… OK… np…
    If a fool runs into a closed auditorium screaming it’s pouring rain outside, does that mean it is bright and sunny?…