Global Climate Change, Science, a little History -
and the Future
There are many dialogs and monologs regarding the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Reports, and their Doom and Gloom Scenarios related to CO2 doubling, etc. The fact that the major Greenhouse gas, Water Vapour (water in gaseous form) is not included in their simulations (these are not 'experiments' or hypothesis tests) bothers many of their critics, including me. Here is a good treatise on the relative roles of the various Greenhouse Gasses and Water Vapor.
I also do not like the overuse of the new deferential buzzword "uncertainty" that prevails in discussions of the concepts, outcomes, and debate that the IPCC Summary Report employs to diffuse the generally poor understanding of the forces that interact to create what we see as weather. Weather, when averaged on various time scales, is labeled 'Climate' - or average expected weather. IPCC's future climate scenarios are the result of simulations, using any or many models, whose outcomes have been spread over a fuzzy spatio-temporal backdrop, and interpreted as likely future climate (average weather) scenarios.
In many ways, the issue is not about the various 'portents' of IPCC, but more about the many 'claims' made, and the long-term credibility of science, in a constantly changing world.
What could/would you use to compare the results - or validate them? I think this is another case where the answer is going to be chased for decades, where whatever the weather patterns, there will be some small subset of this divergent family of simulations that will claim to have forecast something that 'looks kinda like that'. Chaos is job security.
I have listed a select few of the more eclectic 'expert' messages, from folks with access to both the real observational data, and IPCC Reports.
The important point is to try to use (apply) them
Here are four distinctly different ways of looking at and integrating climate scenarios:
1. Random climate changes prevent reliable weather prognoses -
2. Dr. David E. Wojick, President, Climatechangedebate.org, has generated a Report about IPCC's Artful Bias that describes his perspectives on the IPCC's failings in communication, as well as in modeling 'The System'.
3. University of Washington Climate and Ocean Science researchers have their own story to tell, involving the Arctic Oscillation:
The Arctic Oscillation (AO) & North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO)
Statement: The Arctic Oscillation (AO) is an alternate view of what many scientists call the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Year-to-year fluctuations in the North Atlantic Oscillation are thought to be prompted primarily by changes in the ocean, as with El Niño. However, Wallace, Thompson and Baldwin argue that the North Atlantic Oscillation is in fact part of the Arctic Oscillation, which involves atmospheric circulation in the entire hemisphere. They say the trend toward a stronger, tighter circulation around the North Pole could be triggered just as well by processes in the stratosphere as by those in the ocean.
Definitions and graphics for both AO & NAO.
There is still debate whether they are one in the same. Some scientist believe they are the same or very similar and some scientist still feel they are different and separate climate oscillations. The definitions are for your information.
The Arctic oscillation (AO) is a pattern in which atmospheric pressure in northern latitudes switches, or oscillates randomly, between positive and negative phases. The negative phase brings high pressure over the polar region and low pressure at about 45 degrees north latitude - a line that runs through the northern third of the United States and western Europe. The positive phase reverses the conditions, steering ocean storms farther north and bringing wetter weather to Alaska, Scotland and Scandinavia and drier conditions to areas such as California and Spain.
North Atlantic Oscillation:
Strong positive phases of the NAO tend to be associated with above-normal temperatures in the eastern United States and across northern Europe and below-normal temperatures in Greenland and oftentimes across southern Europe and the Middle East. They are also associated with above-normal precipitation over northern Europe and Scandinavia and below-normal precipitation over southern and central Europe. Opposite patterns of temperature and precipitation anomalies are typically observed during strong negative phases of the NAO. During particularly prolonged periods dominated by one particular phase of the NAO, abnormal height and temperature patterns are also often seen extending well into central Russia and north-central Siberia.
The AO has wide-ranging effects in the Northern Hemisphere and operates differently from other known climate cycles. The AO is a seesaw pattern in which atmospheric pressure at polar and middle latitudes fluctuates between positive and negative phases. During the winter, the AO extends up through the stratosphere, 6 to 30 miles above the Earth's surface.
The stratosphere's effect on the Arctic Oscillation's behavior appears particularly intriguing because it is opposite of what happens in other major climate systems. When the oscillation changes phases, the strengthening or weakening of the circulation around the pole tends to begin in the stratosphere and work its way down through lower levels of the atmosphere. In phenomena such as El Niño in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, the changes begin in the ocean and work their way up through the atmosphere.
The positive phase of the AO is characterized by a strengthening of the polar vortex (a counterclockwise spinning ring of air around the polar region) from the surface to the lower stratosphere. This phase of the AO is responsible for warmer winters over much of the US and a northward shift of the belt of westerly winds in middle latitudes that steer storms across the US.
The negative phase of the AO is characterized by a weakening of the polar vortex that allows cold continental air to plunge into the Midwestern US.
In recent years, the AO has been mostly in its positive phase. The AO is an alternate view of what many scientists call the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Previously, year-to-year fluctuations in the NAO were thought to be prompted by changes in the ocean as with El Niño. However, more recently, scientists have recognized that the NAO is in fact part of the AO, which involves atmospheric circulation in the entire hemisphere. Like ENSO and the PDO, the AO is also monitored routinely.
The Positive Phase
The positive polarity of the Arctic Oscillation (top) is characterized by
a strengthening of the polar vortex from the surface to the lower
stratosphere. The stronger polar vortex of the Arctic oscillation's
positive phase brings cool winds across eastern Canada, while North
Atlantic storms bring rain and mild temperatures to northern Europe
and Drought conditions prevail in the Mediterranean. Stronger
Trade winds result in the Eastern Atlantic.
The Negative Phase
During the negative polarity of the Arctic Oscillation (bottom), the
weaker polar vortex, allows cool continental air plunges into the
Midwestern United States and Western Europe while storms bring
rainfall to the Mediterranean region. Weaker Trade winds result in the
4. Connections to large scale ecosystem dynamics, and society
Several years ago, 1990-91, meteorologist William Gray, and his colleagues at Colorado State University connected the atmospheric dynamics of the North Atlantic with drought periods in the Sahel and west Africa. In the early 1980s, French fisheries scientists, Belveze and Erzini, showed that the coming and going of Moroccan sardines, coincident with changes in the dominant wind speed and directions, that result from quasi-periodic shifts in what has been called the North Atlantic Oscillation. Stepping back, a bit further, the connections between the fisheries blooms/busts and drought/wet periods to their east seem obvious, and certainly a response to the larger scale atmospheric processes described above.
While the Arctic Oscillation is becoming more recognized, within the northern hemisphere, the southern Polar analog is certainly at least as important. It is perhaps sometimes a major force on the northern hemisphere's climate patterns, given the unimpeded free flow of Mobile Polar Highs from Antarctica, across South Africa's eastern plains, as well as across the Indian Ocean onto the Asian continent. There is no reason to expect symmetry, or synchrony, given the vastly different contexts of the polar and sub-polar geographies, i.e., orography, ocean expanses, etc.
This also likely explains the off-cycle pelagic species shifts observed in the South African pelagic fisheries, as noted by Rob Crawford, and others, while the other main eastern Boundary Current fisheries appear to be more in synchrony, within these decadal scale climate regimes.
George Vangengeim studied daily pressure maps and discovered that their patterned, periodic shifts in dominant surface wind directions fell into three predominant classes: from E to west; or W to east; so-called Zonal; or Merdional directions (North to South) and back again. He began publishing atmospheric circulation indices (ACI) for a broad segment of the Northern hemisphere - from Iceland to Siberia, from the North Pole to the Tropic of Cancer - back in the early 1940s. After more than a century of observations, and defining these indices, it was found that a 55-70 year dipolar cycle appeared, with each 1/2 cycle taking 27-35 years - within the longer cycle. AA Girs and other Russian geophysicists revitalized these Atmospheric Climate Indices in the 1980s.
In the late 1990s Leonid Klyashtorin of VNIRO pointed out the correlation with Blooms and Busts (Catches) of the two distinct pelagic fish fauna in each upwelling region, Catches of the major polar fish species, as well as Catches of myriad Pacific salmon populations. He also pointed out that the various Climate Indices, e.g., SOI, NPOI, PDO, AO, etc., that have been described have temporal similarities that defy our lack of understanding of the forces behind the variety of changes that characterize each index. This relation, and the evolving methods to forecast the transitions within these indices from one Climate Regime to the other has everyone intrigued. Rightfully so.
These dynamic patterns are well documented in the anoxic paleosediment records of each of the regions of interest, with the longest record to date showing a continuous variation of similar periods for the entire record, during the recent two thousand years. The most intriguing message from analysis of these species' coming and going over nearly 2000 years was that the California Current appears to have been more productive from ~600-1100 CE than afterward, or today. That productivity peak coincides with the Medieval Warm Period when the temperatures were warmer than today's, indicating that the region's ocean ecology was stimulated by whatever was going on, although the 55-70 year pattern was still active, and effective. Another interesting trend was that the patterns of dipolar cycles shortened from ~70 years, to around 55 years. This and other 'coincidences' was one of the reasons that I began compiling the material in the Chronology of Warm and Cold Events featured on my website.
There is obviously a lot more to learn about the roles of the Polar Cycles in Global Climate, seasonal weather patterns, and longer-term trends and cycles. Marcel Leroux's Dynamic Analysis of Weather and Climate(1998) Wiley/Praxis, helped me make the connections that I needed to relax my emphasis on equatorial climate as a dominant source of forcing or 'triggers' for ENSO and longer climate perturbations.
The frequencies and intensities of Polar Subsidence Events, and the resulting Mobile Polar Highs deserve our immediate and constant attention, along with the now usual equatorial ocean monitoring, if we are ever to truly understand the earth's climate system dynamics, and their ecological and social consequences.
Thank you Professor Leroux!
Now, Back to what we know, versus what IPCC wishes we believed:
Doug Hoyt has posted a Scorecard that reviews and provides background information for the various IPCC climate modleing games. His compilation if summarized at tyhe bottom of the page, showing 11 or more tests that all falsify the IPCC climate models. There are many additional ways the models fail, some of which are covered in the above-linked scorecard. A common feature of these falsifications is that the models tend to overestimate signals by a factor of 3 to 10. This suggests the predicted warming of 2.5 C for a doubling of greenhouse gases will really be between 0.25 and 0.8C.
Pacific Institute's Climate Links
Sudden climate transitions during the Quaternary
Solar-Irradiance Variations and Regional Precipitations in the Western United States
Pacific Climate Conference, was the most eclectic meetings on earth! Getting Olde and Losing Track -
Ray Tomes' Cycles in the Universe
PAGES / CLIVAR Intersection / CLIVAR International Conference Proceedings
Climate Sceptics Subject Matter Links
Resolving the Basic Issues and Assumptions of Global Climate Modelling
Joseph Fletcher's 2000 Leacture has a broader Audience via SeaFriends in New Zealand -
drawing attention to faulty science across a range of subjects:
Australian John McLean's draft of the Document which discusses the major disputes with the science underlying the notion of global warming - and links to Doug Hoyt's ScoreCard re AGW claimants.
Acerbic Anti-Green blog by Dr John Ray of Brisbane. Wide range of articles all homing in quickly on Green fallacies.
Institute of Public Affairs. See their demolition of Green / media view of Murray River, and Great Barrier Reef.
Steve Milloy's huge site debunks all manner of Green and Govt. myths and lies.
Numberwatch by John Brignell, highlights misleading use of statistics and general media ignorance where politicians, science, numbers & stats are concerned. Witty and rapier sharp.
Karl Popper, Hayek, and Bartley's philosophies. Insights by Rafe Champion. Something a little off the main track for us science types. Take Rafe's link to "full index", scroll down to Short Reviews, several on science subjects.
The Scientific Alliance, another web site putting balancing views on science and environment issues, solid and very British. http://www.scientific-alliance.com
Track all grain and commodity prices
Qld DPI Long Paddock for El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) actual daily values with 30 and 90 day rolling averages.
SEPP: Dr Fred Singer's Science and Environment Policy Project, publishes The Week That Was (TWTW), critiques a range of environment science issues each week, pricks many balloons, not to be missed.
Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.
Australian Government survey of air quality history from all cities, "State of the Air" has many weaknesses and shortcomings but it is a start.
Melbourne Victoria Australia air quality improving over decades
Kwinana Western Australia industrial district near Perth, air quality improving over decades
Cockburn Association of Pragmatists.(CAPS) Details how issues surrounding air quality in Kwinana, the Perth W.A. main industrial district, generate media reports from the far side. Read how the local "EPA" looks to be helping Green groups promulgate their inventive complaints time after time, via a pliant or lazy media. No, CAPS is not inventing this stuff.
NASA telling us about the urban heat island, wonderful pictures of infra-red inages from satellites. Click on Air Quality for very good vertical section of ozone content across the Knoxville UHI in USA. Like a flower the UHI / pollution plume rises a couple of thousand metres.
California Air Resources Board (ARB), will mail a data CD if you ask.
French air monitoring, you can make maps (try modelisation link), even get limited data auto emailed to you.
ASL web site, huge amount of reading and information
Greenhouse / Climate change issues:
Balling Central: Homepage of noted climate scientist, and greenhouse skeptic Professor Robert Balling Jr. Dozens of links including to most of his papers.
Paal Brekkes solar site, interesting info on sun's impact on climate change.
Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change. Challenging reviews and articles. Very good "Subject Index" page where material on a wide range of climate topics can be located.
If you are interested in the greenhouse debate you can not miss the late John Daly's
comprehensive website Waiting for Greenhouse.
Bigger than Ben Hur and more useful.
Economist Alan Oxley's concise and to the point Climate Change Backgrounder
New site in 2002 by Hans Erren of The Netherlands who has analysed UHI's in the historically significant De Bilt and Uccle data and shown relationship to population. Also shows how De Bilt has been composited. We look forward to more revelations about European UHI's. Also much thoughtful analysis of carbon dioxide and climate history.
Goddard Institute for Space Studies, (GISS) Dr Jim Hansen's magnificent web creation where you clik on a global map and can see a graph of the temperature record of your chosen station, can also choose the dataset and can even download the table of data.
Dr. Douglas Hoyt thoughtfully discusses many aspects of the various global temperature datasets, take a coffee into this one.
A link for IPCC output where you should find the Summary for Policymakers.
Site by Peter Krahmer, said to be the German John Daly. What more can I say.
The Lavoisier Group., New Australian greenhouse sceptics group. Look in "papers" for pdf file with interesting exchange of letters with Dr Pearman, head of CSIRO Div of Atmospheric Research. CSIRO is the Oz version of NOAA. New paper by Bob Foster, download in pdf.
This NASA site, "Contrary Thermometers" discusses the difference between lower troposphere and surface temperatures. New in July. signs that the NASA Goliath might yet figure out the connection between, urban temperature records, the Urban Heat Island effect (UHI) and "Global Warming". Great potential but their first effort on 21, July needs editing. P.S. 28, July. Yep, the editor has been at work, August 29,2000. Now the site only offers aticles post 2000 -???
NASA 2000 "Culprits of Climate Change" Explains Dr. Jim Hansen's "new" position.
NASA Top Stories, selections from NASA research, good archive, some surprises here
Another branch of the far flung NASA Empire,what at one time was a convenient site where you see an image map in red and blue of global temperature anomalies from 1979, collected by satellite, and you could choose various layers of the atmosphere and by clicking on the map or making a rectangle with your mouse, can see a graph for that area - Today - just Today... and words...
NATIONAL TIDAL FACILITY AUSTRALIA at The Flinders University of South Australia for Australian and Pacific sea level history data still exists - somewhere - but the Facility has disappeared - They said in the late 1990s that Australian sea level is rising at a miserly 0.3 mm pa. Today - the only source of information for Australia is here - and a bit short - and late: http://www.bom.gov.au/oceanography/projects/abslmp/abslmp.shtml
New Little Ice Age Instead of Global Warming? by the late Dr. Theodor Landscheidt
Viewpoint Paper on Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide
"Does CO2 really drive global warming? by Robert Essenhigh. Chemical Innovation 2001, 31 (5), 44-46. Copyright (c) 2001 American Chemical Society. This article expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of Chemical Innovation magazine or the American Chemical Society."
INQUA Commission on Sea Level Changes and Coastal Evolution, whose President is Professor Nils-Axel Mrner of Sweden. Under the title "Research Topics 5: The expected sea level changes in the next century", the Commission says:
This is a topic of much controversy. ,Ä¶ As it is now, the scenarios are primarily presented by people with little or no specialization in sea level research. This is especially true for the IPCC project where "sea level changes" are treated in ways far away from proper observational records.
Sounds like the IPCC I know.
World Climate Report: Professor Pat Michaels and colleagues exposing inadequate climate science and all sorts of new material.
Track all grain and commodity prices
Qld DPI Long Paddock for El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) actual daily values with 30 and 90 day rolling averages.
ENSO Prediction Based on Solar Cycles
Dr. Theodor Landscheidt has a good track record with the last few ENSO events.
New Columbia University model claiming stunning success predicting ENSO
The Bureau of Meteorology (Australian) rainfall outlook page
Forecast ENSO page;
Water Resources / Rainfall:
Bureau of Meteorology FTP site, Australian high quality rainfall data 379 stations, but maybe ~300 updated thru 2003
Global Historical Climate Network data
Indian Ocean site by Jean-Luc Le Blanc - now lifeless - No Updates.
Jacobs Perth Climate data pages, links to real time weather observations
Follow link on right to "Snowfall Augmentation by Cloud Seeding", many pdf reports to read note Searle 2002.-Post 2005 rearrangement and merger at this site; http://www.cmar.csiro.au/ The Water Corporation, administers WA water supplies. Look in downloadable reports for useful info. http://www.watercorporation.com.au.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, research projects of Dr. Warren B. White, including forecasts for global rainfall.
All Lost in Space!
http://jedac.ucsd.edu/PERSONNEL/WHITE/index.html his home page
http://jedac.ucsd.edu/PROJECTS/index.html papers by Dr White
http://jedac.ucsd.edu/acw/ his Antarctic Circumpolar Wave web pages
Viacorp, background on Perth water supply
Water Forum, new web site with what the Government wants us to know.
Then - from a long-time academic Climatologist - an opinion about Opinions vs Facts - Tim Ball
Comments from an Australian BLOG reviewing Climate Change vs Green Group Babble:
When these questions are posed in Australia, the general response is that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Reports, which say there is significant warming and that human activity is the principal cause, are endorsed by several hundred scientists. Many of the 2000 who review and approve the IPCC findings are not scientists. This is a political response. No objective scientist will dismiss the above observations in that way. They pose serious and fundamental questions.
There is much more doubt about the science in the IPCC report than is generally conceded---most people engaging in the Greenhouse debate have not read it. Our capacity to predict global weather patterns is weaker than our capacity to predict economic trends. There are vast gaps in knowledge about climate change. Furthermore, other serious flaws are being revealed in the IPCC work.
Ian Castles, Australia's former Commonwealth Statistician reviewed it recently and found major errors in its statistical analysis. The result is very significant exaggeration of the economic impact of the various scenarios for global warming which are modelled. He has forced a review of the economics of the report.
One conclusion from recent science that can be safely drawn is that global warming and the impact of it is not as dramatic as its boosters claim. We have time to assess the issue calmly.
We know more about the science now than when the first IPCC report was prepared in 1990. But we still don't know enough.
When science is not certain, sensible people and responsible politicians act prudently, not rashly. By all means be cautious. Use energy more efficiently, take prudent steps to reduce GHG emissions. But avoid actions that harm economic growth, like raising power prices, until we are certain about the phenomenon and what is causing it. What if we are wrong about global warming?
Why should anyone question the fact that it has warmed since the end of the several cooler centuries prior to ~1850? The Issue is about the reality of 'turning off' something, as yet unidentified - other than human population growth - to minimize our contributions to the various declining options - i.e., learning to cope with natural variabilities, without marginalizing ever more people, poor or well off.