The Week That Was
May 6, 2006

New on the Web: Elizabeth Whelan is president of the American Council on Science and Health, a strongly anti-smoking group. [Full disclosure: I serve on the Advisory Board of ACSH.] Here she warns against exaggerated health fears about second-hand smoke. The topic is scientifically controversial; Report 95-1115 from the Congressional Research Service discusses the ambiguous evidence:


The flap of the week revolves around the CCSP (US Climate Change Science Program), the nearly $2-billion-a-year federally funded research effort. Its first report (SAP-1.1) analyzes the patterns of warming of the past 25 years and compares them with what greenhouse models would predict. The NOAA press release of May 2 (Item #1) says there is no longer any discrepancy between observations and theory. But readers of the SEPP website know that this is not true: The report itself shows a significant disparity between data and model results (see or New on SEPP web of Dec. 14, 2005)

The NY Times (Item #2) buys into the press release - as does the Washington Post (Item #3). The BBC, however, mentions some doubts (Item #4). Roger Pielke Sr. describes the various conflicts of interest of authors and editors of the CCSP report (Item #5). Stay tuned …this story is not over by any means.

Meanwhile in Europe, big problems with their cockamamie carbon-trading scheme (Item #6). Utilities gain, ratepayers and consumers lose. But what did you expect?

Canada seems set to leave the Kyoto Protocol (Item #7)- which would give a great PR boost for George Bush.

A statistician expresses her doubts about the evidence for Global Warming (Item #8). And the science shows no increasing trend in water vapor (Item #9). How can this be? And here we thought the oceans were warming …Oh well, another problem to be resolved.


With profound regret we inform you that Professor Kirill Ya. Kondratyev, Full Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, passed away on the 1st of May 2006.
A giant force in atmospheric physics and climatology, and a strong supporter of SEPP, he was vigorous to the end. We last met in 2004 in St Petersburg during an informal symposium.
RIP, my friend.


1. New Report Reconciles Atmospheric Temperature Trends
NOAA News, 2 May 2006

First of 21 Reports from the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Significantly Revises, Updates Conclusions from Previous Key Reports

May 2, 2006 - The U.S. Climate Change Science Program issued the first of 21 Synthesis and Assessment S&A Products today with findings that improve the understanding of climate change and human influences on temperature trends.

"Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences," also referred to as S&A Product 1.1, tackles some of the long-standing difficulties that have impeded understanding of changes in atmospheric temperatures and the basic causes of these changes.

According to the published report, there is no longer a discrepancy in the rate of global average temperature increase for the surface compared with higher levels in the atmosphere. This discrepancy had previously been used to challenge the validity of climate models used to detect and attribute the causes of observed climate change. This is an important revision to and update of the conclusions of earlier reports from the U.S. National Research Council and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.


2. Federal Study Finds Accord on Warming
The New York Times, May 3, 2006

A scientific study commissioned by the Bush administration concluded yesterday that the lower atmosphere was indeed growing warmer and that there was "clear evidence of human influences on the climate system."
The finding eliminates a significant area of uncertainty in the debate over global warming, one that the administration has long cited as a rationale for proceeding cautiously on what it says would be costly limits on emissions of heat-trapping gases.
But White House officials noted that this was just the first of 21 assessments planned by the federal Climate Change Science Program, which was created by the administration in 2002 to address what it called unresolved questions. The officials said that while the new finding was important, the administration's policy remained focused on studying the remaining questions and using voluntary means to slow the growth in emissions of heat-trapping gases like carbon dioxide.
The focus of the new federal study was conflicting records of atmospheric temperature trends.
For more than a decade, scientists using different methods had come up with differing rates of warming at Earth's surface and in the midsection of the atmosphere, called the troposphere. These disparities had been cited by a small group of scientists, and by the administration and its allies, to question a growing consensus among climatologists that warming from heat-trapping gases could dangerously heat Earth.
The new study found that "there is no longer a discrepancy in the rate of global average temperature increase for the surface compared with higher levels in the atmosphere," in the words of a news release issued by the Commerce Department and approved by the White House. The report was published yesterday online at
The report's authors all agreed that their review of the data showed that the atmosphere was, in fact, warming in ways that generally meshed with computer simulations. The study said that the only factor that could explain the measured warming of Earth's average temperature over the last 50 years was the buildup heat-trapping gases, which are mainly emitted by burning coal and oil.
All other industrial powers except Australia have accepted mandatory restrictions on such gases under the Kyoto Protocol, but efforts to extend and expand that treaty face hurdles.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations body that conducts an exhaustive periodic review of causes and impacts of warming, has just finished reviewing drafts of its next assessment, to be published next year. Scientists involved in that effort, while refusing to comment on specific findings, said that research since the last assessment, in 2001, had generated much greater certainty that humans are the main force behind recent warming, and that much more warming is in store unless emissions are curtailed.
Michele St. Martin, a spokeswoman for the White House Council on Environmental Quality, said, "We welcome today's report" and added that it showed that President Bush's decision to focus nearly $2 billion a year on climate monitoring and research was "working."
Thomas Karl, the director of the National Climatic Data Center in the Commerce Department and the lead editor of the report, said it was not simply a review of existing work but also, by forcing scientists with differing views to meet repeatedly, resulted in breakthroughs. "The evidence continues to support a substantial human impact on global temperature increases," Dr. Karl said.
John R. Christy, an author of the new report whose analysis of satellite temperature records long showed little warming above Earth's surface, said he endorsed the conclusion that "part of what has happened over the last 50 years has clearly been caused by humans."
But Dr. Christy, who teaches at the University of Alabama, Huntsville, said the report also noted that computer simulations of the climate system, while good at replicating the globally averaged temperature changes, still strayed in projecting details, particularly in the tropics. This implied that the models remained laden with uncertainties when used to study future trends, he said.
Dr. Christy also said that even given what the models projected, it would be impossible to slow warming noticeably in the coming decades. Countries would be wise to seek ways to adapt to warming, he added, even as they seek new sources of energy that do not emit heat-trapping gases.

3. Study Reconciles Data in Measuring Climate Change
By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post, May 3, 2006

A government study released yesterday undermines one of the key arguments of climate change skeptics, concluding there is no statistically significant conflict between measures of global warming on the earth's surface and in the atmosphere.
For years some global warming critics had pointed to the fact that satellite measurements had recorded very little warming in the lower atmosphere, while surface temperature readings indicated that the earth is heating up. Now the U.S. Climate Change Science Program, an interagency body, has concluded the two data sets match.
"The bottom line is there are no significant discrepancies in the rates of warming," said Thomas R. Karl, director of the National Climatic Data Center at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a telephone call with reporters. Karl said reconciling the two sets of temperature readings is "really a major step forward" in understanding climate change.
The report also concluded that humans are driving the warming trend through greenhouse gas emissions, noting in the official news release, "the observed patterns of change over the past 50 years cannot be explained by natural processes alone, nor by the effects of short-lived atmospheric constituents such as aerosols and tropospheric ozone alone."
Rafe Pomerance, chairman of the Climate Policy Center, a group that advocates mandatory curbs on emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases linked to global warming, said the new report settles the scientific debate over humans' role.
"This puts the nail in the coffin of [the skeptics'] argument as much as anything I've seen," Pomerance said. "It may not be the first time it's been said, but it's the clearest I've seen it stated coming out of a government agency. Game over."
Twenty-one scientists worked on the federal report, Karl said, and concluded that more recent satellite data -- coupled with some corrections to earlier analyses -- had reconciled surface temperature observations with satellite records.
Still, the new findings did not sway several scientists and politicians who question whether the climate is changing dramatically.
Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Chairman James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), who maintains there is no evidence that human activity is warming Earth, noted that observed land temperatures have risen about the same amount over the past 30 years as in the period from 1918 to 1945, when industrial sources were emitting fewer greenhouse gases.
"What is clear is that our increased confidence in land-based temperature data in no way implies or supports a conclusion that recent observed warming is due to man instead of natural variability," said Inhofe's spokesman, Matthew Dempsey.
Inhofe's analysis does not account for the acceleration in global surface temperatures since the mid-1970s on top of earlier warming at the turn of the century, Pomerance said, and Earth has now entered the warmest period on record.
John Christy, who directs the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, thinks humans are contributing to global warming but had long pointed to the discrepancies between surface and atmospheric readings in challenging predictions of future rapid climate change. A co-author of yesterday's federal study, he said he has "a minimalist interpretation" of the report because Earth is not heating up rapidly at this point.
"That doesn't change my whole view of the thing, because the whole rate of change is fairly modest," Christy said in an interview. He added that in the tropics, climate models predict higher temperatures in the atmosphere than at the surface, something scientists are still investigating.

4. Clear' human impact on climate
By Richard Black, Environment Correspondent, BBC News website

A scientific report commissioned by the US government has concluded there is "clear evidence" of climate change caused by human activities. The report, from the federal Climate Change Science Program, said trends seen over the last 50 years "cannot be explained by natural processes alone". It found that temperatures have increased in the lower atmosphere as well as at the Earth's surface. However, scientists involved in the report say better data is badly needed.
Observations down the years have suggested that the troposphere, the lower atmosphere, is not warming up, despite evidence that temperatures at the Earth's surface are rising. This goes against generally accepted tenets of atmospheric physics, and has been used by "climate sceptics" as proof that there is no real warming. The new report, Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere, re-analyses the atmospheric data and concludes that tropospheric temperatures are rising.
We do now have overlap between what is happening and what we believe ought to be happening, said Peter Thorne, UK Met Office This means that the impact of human activities upon the global climate are clear. "The observed patterns of change over the past 50 years cannot be explained by natural processes alone, nor by the effect of short-lived atmospheric constituents (such as aerosols and tropospheric ozone) alone," it says.

Holes in the data
But there are some big uncertainties which still need resolving. Globally, the report concludes, tropospheric temperatures have risen by 0.10 and 0.20C per decade since 1979, when satellite data became generally available. The wide gap between the two figures means, says the report, that " is not clear whether the troposphere has warmed more or less than the surface". Peter Thorne, of the UK Meteorological Office, who contributed to the report, ascribes this uncertainty to poor data.
"Basically, we've not been observing the atmosphere with climate in mind," he told the BBC News website. "We're looking for very small signals in data that are very noisy. From one day to the next, the temperature can change by 10C, but we're looking for a signal in the order of 0.1C per decade."
The interpretation that's been given is different from what the data show, says Fred Singer, SEPP. The report shows up a particular discrepancy concerning the tropics, where it concludes that temperatures are rising by between 0.02 and 0.19C per decade, a big margin of error. Additionally, the majority of the available datasets show more warming at the surface than in the troposphere, whereas most models predict the opposite.
For Fred Singer, of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, a prominent climate sceptic, this suggests that the report's support for the concept of human-induced climate change is spin rather than substance. "The basic data in the report is quite OK," he said, "but the interpretation that's been given is different from what the data says. "In particular, [the authors] suppress the major result of the report; that data do not agree with models."
Measuring tropospheric temperatures is far from a simple business. Satellites sense the "average" temperature of the air between themselves and the Earth, largely blind to what is happening at different altitudes. To compound matters, instruments on board satellites degrade over time, orbits subtly drift, and calibration between different satellites may be poor. Weather balloons (or radiosondes) take real-time measurements as they ascend, but scientists can never assess instruments afterwards; they are "fire-and-forget" equipment. Correcting for all these potential sources of error is a sensitive and time-consuming process.

5. Senior Climate Researcher Raises Reservations About New CCSP Report
Roger Pielke Sr., Climate Science, 2 May 2006

The CCSP Report "Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences" ( by Thomas R. Karl, Susan J. Hassol, Christopher D. Miller, and William L. Murray, editors, was published May 2, 2006. This is a report by the Climate Change Science Program and the Subcommittee on Global Change Research, Washington, DC.

As discussed several times on the Climate Science weblog and in my Public Comment, this Report is not a balanced presentation of the issue of recent surface and tropospheric temperature trends. The weblogs on this Report which report on its obvious conflict of interest include;

Conflict of Interest in the CCSP Report "Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences" (

CCSP Report and Response to Public Comments Appears - Confirmation of the Advocacy Position of the Committee (

A Further Discussion of the Conflict of Interest on the CCSP Committee

My Public Comment is available from

Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2005: Public Comment on CCSP Report "Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences". 88 pp including appendices.

As another example of the advocacy character of the Report, one of the Editors, Ms. Susan Hassol, was also the writer of the recent HBO Special "Too Hot Not to Handle" ( This show clearly has a specific perspective on the climate change issue, and lacks a balanced perspective. The Executive Producer was Ms. Laurie David.

The synopsis of the show from the HBO web site states (,

"Over the past century, consumption of carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas) has risen to staggering levels, especially in the United States, where five percent of the world's population is responsible for 25 percent of the world's carbon dioxide emissions. TOO HOT NOT TO HANDLE offers a wealth of chilling evidence that the greenhouse effect is intensifying and the Earth is warming faster than at any other time in human history.

Among the startling facts revealed are:

Deadly heat waves in the U.S. have increased threefold since 1950 and today kill more people than hurricanes, tornadoes, lightning and blizzards combined.

The average temperature in Alaska has already risen five degrees, causing 99 percent of its glaciers to be melting, retreating and shrinking.

Rising sea levels are eroding our shoreline and may eventually displace large numbers of Americans.

The intensity of catastrophic storms, such as 2005's devastating hurricanes Katrina and Rita, , has increased dramatically in the last half-century, as hurricanes draw their strength from warm ocean water.

Deadly viruses like West Nile, aided by higher air temperatures, are spreading to new parts of the globe, including the entire continental U.S.

'My personal hope is that every viewer will be inspired to become part of the solution to reducing our carbon emissions," says executive producer Laurie David. "As the film shows, everything we need to address this pressing problem already exists, and the time to act is now.' "

The advocacy that is obvious in this HBO show is that these problems are due to the increased radiative forcing of added anthropogenic CO2. As readers of this weblog know, the climate system, including the human influence, is much more complex than presented on the HBO show.

That one of the Editors of the CCSP Report also wrote the HBO special should be of concern regarding the objectivity of that Report. Ms. Hassol's role as an advocate is clearly exemplified by her Nature correspondence in 1998 entitled "Clear need to act on global warming" (

Her role as advocate is, of course, appropriate, in other venues outside of the CCSP process. Her position at the Aspen Global Change Institute provides her with a platform to promote her views.

However, to serve as an Editor on the CCSP Report that was just published, with a documented active role in what text was to be included on the issue of 'Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences", further compromised the Report. Since the goal was to provide policymakers with an objective understanding of this issue in climate science, her involvement with the CCSP Report is yet another example to show that the Report was intended to promote a particular, narrow perspective on the issue of recent surface and tropospheric temperature trends.*


6. Europe Fails To Halt Faltering Carbon Trading Scheme
By Fiona Harvey and Kevin Morrison in London
Financial Times, 3 May 2006

Prices for business permits to produce carbon dioxide slid to their lowest in more than a year on Tuesday, even as the European Commission tried to damp turmoil in the fledgling market in greenhouse gas emissions.
The Commission called on member states to withhold information on their emissions until May 15, when officials plan to publish data on how much carbon dioxide companies in each member state emitted in 2005, the first year of the EU's emissions trading scheme.
This information is crucial to the emissions trading market, because the price of permits is determined by the difference between the amount of carbon dioxide produced by the 11,500 industrial installations covered by the scheme and the number of permits issued. The early release of information last week from France, the Netherlands and Belgium, showing that companies in these states had an excess of allowances for the amount of carbon they produced last year, sent prices plummeting.
Under the EU's emissions trading scheme, companies in certain energy-intensive sectors are issued with permits to produce a certain tonnage of carbon dioxide. If they produce less than their allowance, they can sell the excess. But Tuesday's news that Swedish companies had been issued with more than 10 per cent more allowances than they required sent prices even lower, to EUR11 per tonne of carbon dioxide.
Atle Christiansen, director of Point Carbon, the analysts, urged caution. He pointed out that Sweden's allocation of allowances amounted to only about 1 per cent of the 2.1bn permits issued for 2005, and that the countries that had issued information represented only about a quarter of emissions under the scheme. The states yet to report - including Germany, the UK and Italy - could have produced more carbon dioxide than was covered by their allowances, which could help to rebalance the market. He said: "The market has seen [the information released to date] as confirmation of a more general trend but I think it is too early to pass judgment."
EU carbon dioxide futures for December 2006 delivery bounced off their low to end at EUR11.50, down EUR1.85 on the day on the European Climate Exchange. The December 2006 price has now fallen about 63 per cent from its peak reached two weeks ago.
The price plunge has been deeper for the first phase of the EU trading scheme, with prices for the second phase, from 2008 to 2012, holding at higher levels. CO2 futures for December 2008 delivery ended 25 cents lower at EUR18.75 a tonne, down 44 per cent from a record peak two weeks ago.

7. Canada Alters Course on Kyoto Budget: Slashes Funding Devoted to Goals of Emissions Pact
By Doug Struck, Washington Post Foreign Service, May 3, 2006

TORONTO, May 2 -- Canada's Conservative government on Tuesday slashed funds for environmental programs designed to cut greenhouse gas emissions, a move that critics said gutted support for the Kyoto accord on global warming.
Environmental groups said Canada, one of the early signatories and a high-profile proponent of the 1997 pact, is now in line with the Bush administration, which has dismissed the international agreement and expressed doubts about humans' contributions to climate change.
The cuts were included in a federal budget, submitted to Parliament by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, that would also cut the national sales tax and business taxes, create a variety of individual tax credits and beef up spending for the military and law enforcement.
In planning the budget, Harper had a federal surplus -- one Canada has maintained since 1998 -- to work with, and the funding priorities reflect his campaign promises to replace government programs with tax cuts. The budget replaces a federal day-care program with a $90-a-month child-support payment, cuts a $4.6 billion program for aboriginal welfare, and omits about $3.2 billion already allocated for environmental programs through 2010 to pay municipalities and businesses to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide.
Instead, Harper's ruling party said it would develop a new "made-in-Canada" program to reduce smog and offered a tax credit to try to increase public transit usage. The government's environmental plan -- one paragraph in a budget document replacing 25 pages in the previous government's budget -- drew immediate protest.
"These are dramatic cutbacks," said Jack Layton, head of the opposition New Democratic Party. "Every Canadian out there has become more and more aware of the crisis of climate change, but our government is going in the other direction."
"Canada doesn't have a climate change program anymore," said Dale Marshall, a policy analyst for the David Suzuki Foundation, a Canadian environmental group. Canada is currently chairing the meetings on the Kyoto accord, and it is "embarrassing to have a chair that doesn't even believe in the agreements," he said. "Other countries, in the European Union, are absolutely committed to meeting their Kyoto targets and are on track."
Canada, which has long clung to its "green" image, hosted early work that led to the Kyoto Protocol, in which 163 countries and regional organizations pledged to meet quotas to reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that many scientists believe are warming Earth, melting glaciers and brewing more-intense storms.
Despite Canada's vocal support for Kyoto, its greenhouse emissions have risen by 24 percent since 1990, leading Harper's environmental minister, Rona Ambrose, to declare meeting the goals "impossible."
Ambrose had already cut a variety of programs aimed at meeting the Kyoto standards, including a much-publicized plan that encouraged individual conservation efforts. Business and oil-producing groups from the oil-rich province of Alberta applauded the government's pullback on Kyoto.
"We shouldn't be spending billions of dollars fighting a problem that may not be there," said Morten Paulsen, a spokesman for a Calgary-based group called Friends of Science, which has criticized the Kyoto accord. He said that arguments that global warming is caused by carbon dioxide are unproven and that "we believe they are a white elephant."
Douglas Macdonald, a senior lecturer at University of Toronto Center for the Environment, predicted that the Harper administration would not actually withdraw from the Kyoto accord, which Canada formally ratified in 2002. "That would be too visible," he said. "They are more interested in smoke screens. Canada had been one of the leaders pushing for Kyoto. Now the government is saying we won't take it seriously."


8. Personal view: The idea everyone agrees on climate change is a fallacy
Ruth Lea
The Telegraph (UK) ^ | May 1, 2006 |

As it is bank holiday Monday it seems appropriate to discuss the weather. In an age of, we are led to believe by assorted greens and eco-fundamentalists, unprecedented and potentially cataclysmic global warming, it does seem rather cool. Indeed last winter was one of the coldest for the best part of a decade and spring was a frogspawn-threatening two weeks behind schedule.

I am no climatologist but the alarmism of the scientific establishment, including the Government's chief scientific adviser Sir David King who is on record as saying the only habitable continent will be Antarctica by the end of the century if climate change is not controlled, does strike me as slightly excessive.

I am, however, a trained statistician. One of the first things I read about statistics was that it was about measurement and variability. People's height varies, the number of leaves on trees varies, and so does the global average temperature over time. Climate change, therefore, strikes me as quite unexceptional. Indeed I would be amazed if it did not exist, given that solar activity varies.

There have been many fluctuations in the Earth's average temperatures. The last ice age ended about 10,000 years ago. But there was a period from about 5,500 to 2,000BC known as the Holocene Maximum when average temperatures were, apparently, about 1.5 degrees Celsius higher than they are today.

Temperatures then cooled, resulting in the Little Archaic Ice Age of around 520-350BC, and then warmed into Roman times. The Dark Ages were, apparently, on the cool side, but the flowering of medieval culture happily coincided with a warm period. The subsequent Little Ice Age occurred from around 1500 to 1860 and included some bitterly cold winters in the 17th Century when the Thames froze. Greenland's icy mountains became decidedly icier and the Norse settlements died out.

Since the middle of the 19th Century average temperatures have picked up. But even over this geologically short period of time there have been discernable swings in temperature. The years 1942 to 1970 were, for example, on the chilly side and included the bitter winter of 1962/63 which was the coldest in England and Wales since 1740. Since the early Seventies, when "runaway glaciation" and a new ice age were foretold, there has been some warming.

All in all, global average surface temperatures picked up by about a modest 0.6C during the 20th Century, which geologist Dr Bob Carter of the James Cook University, Australia, for example, assesses to be within the limits of natural statistical variability. And, interestingly, global average air temperatures, which are regarded as more reliable by climate scientists, have not changed over the past 20 to 30 years. This all strikes me as little reason to take out a timeshare with the Emperor penguins.

But this is not the impression gained when reading about the so-called scientific consensus, which claims that global warming is not just a major threat to the planet but is primarily man-made. The culprit is the burning of fossil fuels that results in the release of carbon emissions into the atmosphere. These emissions act as greenhouse gases, blanketing the earth, trapping the Sun's heat and, apparently, frying the Earth. But the burning of fossil fuels also results in sulphate aerosols (tiny particles in the atmosphere) that reflect the Sun's heat back into space and cool the Earth. The combustion of fossil fuels can, therefore, cool as well as warm.

Part of the scientific consensus is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was set up in 1988 under UN auspices. Its influential work claims to show that unrestricted carbon emissions will lead to hugely damaging increases in temperature. And, crucially, its work is the scientific underpinning to the UN's Kyoto Protocol of 1997, which requires signatories to restrict their carbon emissions in order to control global warming.

Suffice to say here that the UK Government is an ardent supporter of Kyoto's procedures, which are part of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affair's policies for "dealing with dangerous climate change", irrespective of cost.

But the IPCC's analysis is deeply flawed, as explained in an excellent report from the House of Lords*. The Lords' report also contained a quote from Professor Reiter, of the Institut Pasteur in Paris, which challenged the appropriateness of the notion of scientific consensus. He said "consensus is the stuff of politics, not science".

And indeed it is, as there seems to be little scientific agreement that mankind's fossil-fuel burning is the major reason for climate change. On the contrary, analyses of scientific papers on climate change by Dr Benny Peiser, of John Moores University, and Dr Dennis Bray, of the German-based GKSS National Research Centre conclude that the dissenters are in a healthy majority.
* House of Lords Select Committee on Economic Affairs, The Economics of Climate Change, Volume I, HL Paper 120I (July 2005), TSO (The Stationery Office)
Ruth Lea is a director of the Centre for Policy Studies and a non- executive director of Arbuthnot Banking Group

9. Variations in annual global precipitation (1979-2004), based on the Global Precipitation Climatology Project 2.5 analysis

Thomas M. Smith et al
GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 33, L06705, doi:10.1029/2005GL025393, 2006
The Global Precipitation Climatology Project (GPCP) has produced a combined satellite and in situ global precipitation estimate, beginning 1979. The annual average GPCP estimates are here analyzed over 1979-2004 to evaluate the large-scale variability over the period. Data inhomogeneities are evaluated and found to not be responsible for the major variations, including systematic changes over the period. Most variations are associated with El Nino/Southern Oscillation (ENSO) episodes. There are also tropical trend-like changes over the period, correlated with interdecadal warming of the tropical SSTs and uncorrelated with ENSO. Trends have spatial variations with both positive and negative values, with a global-average near zero.
The new paper by Smith et al, suggests that there has been no global increase in water vapor content, and undermines the IPCC foundation stone of an enhancement of the increased warming effect of CO2 via increased atmospheric water vapor:



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