|The Week That Was
April 1, 2000 NEW ON THE SEPP WEB:
Posmentier, Soon, and Baliunas must be a bad lot, since they espouse such an outlandish idea -- that the Sun could be the major influence on the Earth's temperature, rather than soccer moms' with SUV's and evil businessmen with coal-fired steam plants! Then again, perhaps not, since the temperature of the atmosphere, at least the upper parts of it, is said to be independent of the surface temperature, such that a cooling upper atmosphere still allows for global warming at the surface...
SCENARIOS FOR CLIMATE MODELS
Vincent Gray writes from New Zealand:
Future projections of climate models depend more on the choice of energy scenario than on the physics of the model. The IPCC had to abandon its set of IS92 scenarios because they have been so spectacularly unsuccessful in predicting the past. They ranged from the outright absurd (IS92e and IS92f), the ridiculous (IS92a, the "central" scenario, a.k.a. "Business as Usual") and the merely exaggerated (IS92c and IS92d).
So now they have a whole new set of scenarios. This time, any number can play, so they have 40 scenarios, ranging from raving loonies who confidently predict Armageddon and the end of the world, to sober scientists who try to extrapolate existing trends. Since we have to be fair, ALL ARE EQUALLY LIKELY. And there is no longer a "central" scenario or a "Business as Usual" scenario.
But this causes a serious problem. How are we going to satisfy the unshakeable beliefs of our green/eco-sponsors and continue to scare Governments sufficiently that they will still pay our salaries?
So, as usual, we go to the oracle at Boulder, Uncle Tom Wigley, for a pronouncement. And, as usual, he has the answer, an "INDICATIVE SCENARIO" which is sufficiently absurd and scary to satisfy our joint masters. And this can be jacked up a little higher, if need be, by arguing that perhaps the [cooling] aerosols will disappear.
Of course, this scenario. and indeed all the others, including those of the sober scientists, are still spectacularly incapable of predicting the past. For example, carbon dioxide emissions have been falling. This deep dark secret has been omitted from the IPCC Third Assessment Draft, in the hope that things will "pick up" before they have to publish. Despite their wide range, all scenarios, however sober, routinely overestimate world population, economic development, fuel usage, etc..
All this has to be coordinated with the climate modellists. Let us, for a moment, consider their procedure. They produce their set of equations coupling the atmosphere and the ocean, and they select parameters from the latest and most accurate climate and physical quantity measurements. But, wait. Each has to be multiplied by a PRECAUTIONARY PRINCIPLE FACTOR, which is currently 250%.
For example, the measured rate of increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, for the past 35 years, is 0.4% a year. So the figure incorporated in the model is 2.5 times 0.4, 1% a year. The projected figures for atmospheric carbon dioxide levels must be boosted by this amount.
For the past 15 years the rate of rise of methane in the atmosphere has been falling, and is expected to reach zero in the year 2004. But the modellist cannot tolerate this. The trend must be instantly reversed. A similar adjustment awaits all the other parameters.
And if your eyes have strayed inadvertently to these shocking revelations,
sit down in your armchair, restore the blinkers on your eyes, and repeat
after me, five times: "Every day, in every way, our models are getting
better and better."
Meanwhile, the large discrepancy between temperature measurements taken at surface stations and from ships, as compared with temperature measurements taken from weather balloons and satellites continues to plague honest climate scientists. While the ground-based stations show a rise in temperature of about half a degree since 1980, the weather balloons and satellites record no rise.
Supporters of global warming theory have seized on the data culled from land-based measuring sites, as have most of the media, but largely ignored the satellite and weather balloon data -- arguably because it does not fit their preconceived notions.
We'll be hearing a lot from Al Gore about the "threat of global climate change" in the next few months. And if elected, Mr. Gore may pursue economically disastrous policies to combat this bogeyman without waiting for the facts to justify his crusade. Bear that in mind next time you hear him or some media know-nothing spout off about the imminent doom we all face from driving our bad old SUVs.