Sunday, 6 August 2017

How I became a climate skeptic.

Once upon a time, about 4 years ago, I was a climate believer. I believed the mainstream (IPCC) projections for climate change, and blamed most of it on carbon dioxide.

It seemed reasonable to decarbonize the energy system. I became a bit of a nuclear power advocate. I read books on nukes. I did introductory online courses on nuclear power. I noticed how the energy issue was totally partisan and divided right down the middle.

On one side were pro-nukes, on the other side the 'greens'. The greens were united along several lines. They:

  • opposed nuclear power
  • supported green issues
  • worried about global warming
  • were keen to reduce human energy use

For them, the debate was not about saving the planet by stopping carbon dioxide emissions. It was about saving the planet from the scourge of humanity.

The other side: pro-nukes was split. It included eco-modernists, conservatives, nuclear industry people, liberals and lefties.

I could not help notice that the news sources worrying about climate change were doing two things:

  1. opposing nuclear power
  2. greatly exaggerating climate change effects, and engaging in a little war against people they called 'deniers'.

Early on, I wanted nothing to do with any of these 'deniers'. They were right wing. They must be wrong. Right?

It slowly dawned on me that the only reasonable people refuting this climate alarmism in the news sources were the 'deniers'. What about all the reasonable people - those who accepted the mainstream IPCC analysis? Where were they in this debate? How come they weren't refuting the obvious over-exaggerations in the media?

The answer is that the 'mainstream' believe the establishment can only be goaded into action by exaggeration. So they stand by and let the hard-core green movement exaggerate. That was my first wake up call. My second wake up call came when I noticed the greens blaming global warming on nuclear power. What kind of good, ethically upright person, has any truck with that kind of politics. No me. That's the point when my pro-humanism kicked in and I dared to think the unthinkable. What if carbon dioxide was not much at fault for climate change? Then I looked at the evidence. The more evidence I looked at, the longer the term for the evidence: thousands, and even millions of years - the more I too turned into a 'denier' too. I have to call myself a skeptic.

I think CO2 has some effect on climate. I think it should warm climate mildly, but only a quarter to a third what IPCC say. I expect 0.6C per doubling of CO2. Q: What about the warming which has already happened? I hear you say. Surely that proves CO2 guilty? A: No.

  • Because we've seen no real warming for 18 years now. If it's 90% the fault of CO2, there cannot be a hiatus, but there is.
  • When you tell me what caused the Medieval Warm Period, then I'll believe there's such a thing as climate science. Till then it's climatology again.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Greenhouse gas effect (GHGE) is overwhelmingly caused by water vapour. Not carbon dioxide.

Claim: The greenhouse gas effect (GHGE) is overwhelmingly caused by water vapour. Not carbon dioxide.

The current "consensus" says: the GHGE is very important at the equator (so climate models say). Approximately between +20º and -20º latitude. This extra heat 'trapped there' rises and settles down at the poles thereby warming the planet. This extra trapped heat is due to more CO2 from burning fossil fuels. Models say 24% of the GHGE is due to CO2. That about 72% is due to water and ~ 4% to other gases (mostly Ozone).

Let us move away from assumptions and models (alarmism) to basic science (below), which no one can dispute:

  1. The sun angle controls water vapour content of the atmosphere. So the atmosphere in the equatorial zone is 80× to 90× more H2O than CO2. [see diagram below]
  2. Water is a much more powerful GHG than CO2 because the bonds in water have far more degrees of freedom so can undergo far more electron bond transitions. It's these bond transitions which cause infrared (IR) radiation absorption. CO2 can only absorb IR at 3 frequencies. Water absorbs at dozens of frequencies.
  3. A plot of GHG forcing against water vapour in the atmosphere shows "the upper limit to the back radiation of GHGs is approximately 420 W/m² at water vapour concentration of approximately 32,000 ppmv, or an H2O/CO2 ratio of 80:1; (2) the lowest back radiation is 97 W/m² at the South Pole" where the ratio H2O:CO2 is 1:1.

This Is The Clincher:

Consider at the South pole where CO2:H2O is 1:1 and GHGE = 97W/m². If that is 24% due to CO2, it means CO2 effect = 23W/m² (at the poles). Moving on to the equator: CO2 is well-mixed so it's also 23W/m² out of 420 W/m² there. That means only 5.5% of GHGE at equator (where it really matters) is due to CO2.

The GHGE is said to be responsible for warming the climate by 33ºC above what it would be with no GHGE. From -18ºC to +15ºC. (Averaged). The US state of North Carolina has an average temperature of about 15.3ºC. NC is located latitude 33° 50' N to 36° 35' N. On Average that's 34.2 °N Let's treat it as the average place on Earth. Assume the ratio of H2O to CO2 = 34:1 there. Implying GHGE ~ 345 W/m². Subtract the part due to CO2 then it is 345 -23 = 322 W/m² due to H2O and O3.

What's the maximum CO2 GHGE?

Let us do a basic maths back of the envelope calculation to give us a maximum for the CO2 GHGE. It can not be more than half of the polar effect. Because even at the poles there's as much water in the atmosphere as CO2, and water is a more powerful GHG [see the last diagram below for a comparison of water and carbon dioxide GHGE]. Let's say the upper limit of the CO2 GHGE is 33% (at the poles) = 33 W/m². Let's count squares in the diagram above. 7 × 33 ÷ 50 = 4.62 squares show CO2 GHGE. The diagram has ~ 49 squares. 4.62 ÷ 49 = 9.5%. That puts an upper limit on the CO2 GHGE of 9.5%. 9.5% of 33ºC = 3.1ºC. (given earth's surface is 33ºC warmer than it would be with not GHGE.)

Remember how the effect of more CO2 tails off logarithmically?

So the CO2 GHGE is already nearly maxed out at about 3.1ºC, and most of that was due to the first 20ppm of CO2 in that atmosphere. Doubling CO2, from 280ppm to 560ppm does not double the effect. It only increases by a fraction of a degree.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Climate modeling is not science. It's not even good modeling.

Climate models cannot model the climate

  • Models rely on untested, assumptions e.g. of constant relative humidity with rising temperatures. This is an 120 year old assumption no climate modeler thinks worth testing. Why not?
  • The ground station data that models use is mostly incomplete. Especially so over oceans which are 70% of earth's surface
  • Models omit many causative factors, such as the Sun (it's various cycles both long and short-term), Volcanoes, ...
  • Models do a poor job describing ocean circulation, and ocean heat emission (e.g. from El Niño). Oceans act as heat reservoirs, and hold 1000 × more heat than the atmosphere can. So oceans are crucial to any good model. Climate modelers understand oceans badly.
  • Scientists have an incomplete understanding of weather and climate. e.g. Do clouds have a net warming or cooling effect? They cannot say for certain.
  • Models work at too course a resolution to be 'simulations', which they, wrongly, claim to be.
  • The climate is more complex than modelers make out. They can only run their models by grossly simplifying things.
  • It would take about a hundred million, trillion years to run a computer model at something close to the correct resolution.
  • A fundamental model mistake is an assumption that IR absorbed by GHG is retransmitted instantaneously. That's both impossible and wrong. Reemission of absorbed IR will take many hundreds of milliseconds. During each millisecond, a molecule will collide with 1 million other air molecules. So any IR (heat) absorbed will be shared with them. Or 'thermalized'. So the 'heat' to be retransmitted as IR is in fact dissipated to the surrounding atmosphere. This rather messes up the downwelling IR model.

Leading experts at modeling have consistently explained that climate models cannot be trusted. So anyone claiming climate model accuracy is denying both modeling best practice and science.

1. Leading Expert Modeler, Prof. Christopher Essex, tells Why Climate Models Hardly Better Than Hocus Pocus: “Welcome To Wonderland”!

2. According to expert modelers: Kesten Green and J. Scott Armstrong:

Scientific forecasting knowledge has been summarised in the form of principles by 40 leading forecasting researchers and 123 expert reviewers. The principles summarise the evidence on forecasting from 545 studies that in turn drew on many prior studies. Some of the forecasting principles, such as ‘provide full disclosure’ and ‘avoid biased data sources,’ are common to all scientific fields. The principles are readily available in the Principles of Forecasting handbook.


We then audited the IPCC forecasting procedures using the Forecasting Audit Software available on Our audit found that the IPCC followed only 17 of the 89 relevant principles that we were able to code using the information provided in the 74-page IPCC chapter. Thus, the IPCC forecasting procedures violated 81% of relevant forecasting principles. It is hard to think of an occupation for which it would be acceptable for practitioners to violate evidence-based procedures to this extent. Consider what would happen if an engineer or medical practitioner, for example, failed to properly follow even a single evidence-based procedure.

- Kesten C. Green & J. Scott Armstrong, in Climate Change: The Facts.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Where do alarming climate projections come from?

The answer in a nutshell : mathematical trickery.

The IPCC equation for the Feedback factor, used to calculate climate sensitivity, is given on AR4, WG1, page 631, footnote 6. It is:

Under these simplifying assumptions the amplification of the global warming from a feedback parameter λ (in W m-2 °C­-1) with no other feedbacks operating is
1 ÷ (1 + λ ÷ λp) where λp is the ‘uniform temperature’ radiative cooling response (of value approximately –3.2 W m-2 °C-1; Bony et al., 2006). If n independent feedbacks operate, λp is replaced by (λ1 + λ2 + ... λn).
Feedback Factor:0.300.350.400.450.500.550.600.650.70
- 40% varianceFF[low]
Feedback Factor:FF[mid]0.300.350.400.450.500.550.600.650.70
+ 40% varianceFF[high]0.420.490.560.630.700.770.840.910.98
Climate sensitivity[low]

Let's consider just how easily we can arrive at a high climate sensitivity value from what looks like a midling feedback factor. The IPCC give their modelers a feedback factor of 0.5 to use
(= λ ÷ λp above, which is a unitless number). Jessica Vial's team were tasked with coming up with (inventing?) this number; as they did. To this central estimate, they add and subtract ±40% (2 standard deviations up or down) because they say they want to cover 95% of eventualities. This is shown in the table (above). Rows 2, 3, and 4 show the feedback factor with -40%, 0%, and +40% adjustments (labeled: FF[low], FF[mid], FF[high]). With a feedback factor of 0.65 (only 0.15 more than their central estimate), the +40% figure for climate sensitivity = 11! That means the equation projects a doubling of CO2 to 560 ppm from pre-industrial times will give an average 11C temperature increase at earth's surface. Don't worry. It's a maths trick it's not real. Unfortunately the likes of Angela Merkel, Ed Miliband, Jeremy Corbyn, countless Tories seem to believe in magic, faeries, and impossible maths equations.

Christopher Monckton has a lot to say on this mathematical trickery here and here. I've yet to read chapter 3 of Bode's "Network Analysis and Feedback Amplifier Design", 1945, from which it looks like the climate modelers stole their feedback ideas. But pray, don't blame Dr. Bode (RIP). The climate modelers did a slight of hand by not using the whole of the forcing in their equation. By only taking the difference in forcing, they created an equation just balanced on the edge of a catastrophe. This has been the climate sensitivity equation since 1979. It predates the IPCC and is used for all 5 IPCC reports. I will elaborate more in another blog. For now: please watch Monckton's talk at the Heartland’s 12th International Conference on Climate Change. After I think I can explain it better, I'll blog it again. I want to show the difference between just using differences (as they do) and what they should do (putting all the forcing in).

How and why does this con work?

You may think the boy that cried wolf story is 'true' of people, in the sense the story chimes with us. That we disbelieve people we know are lying to us. It ain't so. When the liars pose an existential threat to our existence, when they make it a matter of the survival of humanity, then, sadly, we listen to them, again and again. That's why the climate feedback equation is like that. Because with just a bit of tweaking, it can threaten our very existence, and guarantee climate alarmists an audience for their doom-mongering. It's not really about the climate for them. Don't be fooled. It's about putting the brakes on human technological progress. Tying us down, enslaving us to our fears, so we won't be able to harm the environment.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Electric cars are overhyped.

I read here about a revolutionary new battery which:

  • "would allow electric cars to be recharged instantly" That is not true.
  • The energy density of batteries is still about 1% that of gasoline. So the engine and fuel of electric cars still weighs a lot more and the journey range is a lot less.
  • Modern electric cars only drive very well on a full charge. Once they lose a proportion of their charge they are much less responsive.
  • So there are 3 or 4 big issues with electric cars: (1) The long time taken to recharge during which the car is useless, (2) Short range, (3) Lack of infrastructure, (4) Low energy density of batteries compared to liquid fuels like gasoline. This causes the weight of the engine/fuel to be much higher. So lowering the efficiency.

    I discussed the prospects of electric cabs with one of the cab drivers who drives me on my daily journey to work. He thinks electric cars need to be a lot better to be useable as cabs. Meanwhile the local council want every cabbie to have an electric cab in 5 years. My cabbie thinks the local council don't give a toss whether the tech works or not. I think they just want to be seen to be 'saving the planet'.

    PS: The local council in question is St Albans in England. It's not a "socialist" council, nor is it Enviro-Stalinist. It is split between Tories and Lib Dems. The electric cab initiative is mostly Lib Dem - who are like a light green Green Party.

    "We are now consulting on the Councils proposals to introduce fully electric Hackney Carriages and Private Hire Vehicles to be licensed. The consultation will last for 12 weeks and will end on 15th June 2017,we hope to report the responses to the Licensing and Regulatory Committee on 18th July."

    Sunday, 4 June 2017

    How did the UN come to believe that 99.9% of substances/activities they'd tested might pose a cancer risk?

    The Campaign for Accuracy in Public Health Research wrote a recent article about how the UN's cancer agency IARC flat out refuse to say that coffee is safe to drink.

    For decades, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) warned coffee drinkers that their favorite beverage might cause cancer. Finally, the agency updated its assessment in June 2016 and downgraded coffee to Group 3 or “not classifiable as carcinogenic to humans.” While this decision is a step in the right direction, it raises new questions and concerns.

    First, IARC did not categorize coffee as Group 4, “probably not carcinogenic to humans,” even though there is considerable evidence supporting the health benefits of coffee consumption, including protection against Parkinson disease, liver disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. Second, IARC’s decision to classify coffee in Group 3 rather than Group 4 represents a pattern of ignoring scientific evidence that supports certainty and the safety of products and behaviors. In fact, IARC has examined almost 1,000 agents over the past 30 years, only once classifying a substance as Group 4. IARC has explained this by saying that to be downgraded to Group 4, science would have to “prove a negative,” a statement that is neither reasonable nor useful to the goal of providing meaningful information to the public. In the end, IARC’s treatment of coffee provides another example of the urgent need to reform both the Agency and its processes.

    This blog is my attempt to explain how this peculiar state of affairs arose

    The idea that science should 'have to “prove a negative,”' seems to me to come straight out of what's now called 'precautionary thinking'. It also defies the scientific method. How did they do that? The IARC seem to have taken the precautionary principle, PP, and cubed it. The original PP said we should place a moratorium upon technologies which might have the potential to cause widespread environmental change (foreseen or unforeseen), posing a potential existential threat to life. The PP was the environment movement's alternative to cost benefit analysis, CBA. A kind of 'radical' risk analysis. Their arguments against GMOs, nuclear power, atmospheric carbon dioxide, and recently, nanotechnology, try to derive existential threats from otherwise benign technology. I sense the PP was only ever there to avoid CBA. Today enviros often call it 'precautionary thinking', with an implication that it's a way to looking at the world, rather than a principle to be applied in extremis (as the PP was supposed to be). I would not be surprised to find the IARC have never published or acknowledged a CBA of coffee. Please tell me I'm wrong.

    Saturday, 13 May 2017

    How big is human CO2 contribution compared to earth's CO2 budget?

    Nicholas Schroeder May 13, 2017 at 10:10 am

    Per IPCC AR5 Figure 6.1 prior to year 1750 CO2 represented about 1.26% of the total biospheric carbon balance (589/46,713). After mankind’s contributions, 67 % fossil fuel and cement – 33% land use changes, atmospheric CO2 increased to about 1.77% of the total biosphere carbon balance (829/46,713). This represents a shift of 0.51% from all the collected stores, ocean outgassing, carbonates, carbohydrates, etc. not just mankind, to the atmosphere. A 0.51% rearrangement of 46,713 Gt of stores and 100s of Gt annual fluxes doesn’t impress me as measurable let alone actionable, attributable, or significant.

    And in some other words.

    Earth’s carbon cycle contains 46,713 Gt (E15 gr) +/- 850 Gt (+/- 1.8%) of stores and reservoirs with a couple hundred fluxes Gt/y (+/- ??) flowing among those reservoirs. Mankind’s gross contribution over 260 years was 555 Gt or 1.2%. (IPCC AR5 Fig 6.1) Mankind’s net contribution, 240 Gt or 0.53%, (dry labbed by IPCC to make the numbers work) to this bubbling, churning caldron of carbon/carbon dioxide is 4 Gt/y +/- 96%. (IPCC AR5 Table 6.1) Seems relatively trivial to me. IPCC et. al. says natural variations can’t explain the increase in CO2. With these tiny percentages and high levels of uncertainty how would anybody even know? BTW fossil fuel between 1750 and 2011 represented 0.34% of the biospheric carbon cycle.

    ----- = 1.2%