Deniers Reach For Cherry, Come up with Pits

December 14, 2012

pits

The climate denial clown car careens onward.  In breathless, puffed-up prose, the bizarro-sphere was buzzing last night about a “game changing” passage in a draft IPCC document, posted online by a self promoting would-be “mole” in the IPCC review process.

A new IPCC report is due next fall. Look for  more attempts to muddy and confuse the public about it.  The reality-based community is, this time, prepared.

Graham Readfern explains:

Alec Rawls runs a blog called “stopgreensuicide” and he registered himself as an “expert reviewer” for WG1. As I’ve pointed out in the case of climate science mangler Lord Christopher Monckton, practically anyone can register for these positions using an online form. Nobody appoints “expert reviewers”, even though Lord Monckton likes to make out that he was “appointed”.

Once Rawls was registered, this gives him access to the draft reports of the AR5 as they wind their way through the protracted process of formulation and review. Work on the AR5 actually started back in July 2009. The IPCC states that

The IPCC considers its draft reports, prior to acceptance, to be pre-decisional, provided in confidence to reviewers, and not for public distribution, quotation or citation.

Each page of the drafts are also marked with the words “Do not cite, quote or distribute”.  This did not deter Mr Rawls from discussing the first draft of the report on climate change sceptic blog Watts Up With That.

At the time, Mr Rawls wrote:

Like everyone else who participated in this review, I agreed not to cite, quote or distribute the draft. The IPCC also made a further request, which reviewers were not required to agree to, that we “not discuss the contents of the FOD (First Order Draft) in public fora such as blogs.

Well Mr Rawls’ itchy blogging finger has got the better of him. He decided to upload the entire second draft of the AR5 WG1 report and popped it on his blog, which as I write is now down, most likely due to the traffic from other bloggers, including New York Times’ Andy Revkin, The Daily Telegraph’s James Delingpole, and Watts Up With That.

Mr Rawls’ main point appears to be that in Chapters 7 and 8 of the draft WG1 report (you still with me?), the IPCC is about to make “game-changing” admission, to quote the WUWT headline, that observed global warming has more to do with the sun than previous reports have suggested. Rawls then quotes one paragraph from Chapter 7, discussing galactic cosmic rays (GCR), which states

Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system (e.g., Bond et al., 2001; Dengel et al., 2009; Ram and Stolz, 1999). The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link. We focus here on observed relationships between GCR and aerosol and cloud properties.

What this is actually talking about, is a fringe theory that cosmic rays have an important influence on the climate. What neither Mr Rawls, Watts Up With That or the climate sceptic blogger James Delingpole did, was to point out that the paragraphs on the chapter which follow the one which Rawls quotes, go on to explain why these theories were not robust.

Professor Steve Sherwood, of the University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre, is a lead author on Chapter 7. Commenting on the publicly-quoted paragraph about cosmic rays (the one cited by Delingpole as a “game changer) Professor Sherwood told me

The single sentence that this guy pulls out is simply paraphrasing an argument that has been put forward by a few controversial papers (note the crucial word “seems”) purporting significant cosmic-ray influences on climate.  Its existence in the draft is proof that we considered all peer-reviewed literature, including potentially important papers that deviate from the herd.  The rest of the paragraph from which he has lifted this sentence, however, goes on to show that subsequent peer-reviewed literature has discredited the assumptions and/or methodology of those papers, and failed to find any effect.  The absence of evidence for significant cosmic-ray effects is clearly stated in the executive summary. This guy’s spin is truly bizarre.  Anyone who would buy the idea that this is a “game changer” is obviously not really looking at what is there.

Skeptical Science has also looked at Rawls’ cherry-picking and offers a more detailed summary of the “cosmic ray” theory.

Dana Nuccitelli at Skeptical Science:

If the IPCC were to report that the sun is a significant player in the current rapid global warming, that would indeed be major news, because the body of peer-reviewed scientific literature and data clearly show that the sun has made little if any contribution to the observed global warming over the past 50+ years (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Percent contributions of greenhouse gases (GHGs), sulfur dioxide (SO2), the sun, volcanoes, and El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) to the observed global surface warming over the past 50-65 years according to Tett et al. 2000 (T00, dark blue), Meehl et al. 2004 (M04, red), Stone et al. 2007 (S07, green), Lean and Rind 2008 (LR08, purple), Huber and Knutti 2011 (HK11, light blue), Gillett et al. 2012 (G12, orange), and Wigley and Santer 2012 (WS12, dark green).

So why would the latest IPCC report contradict these studies when its purpose is to summarize the latest and greatest scientific research?  The answer is simple — it doesn’t.  Rawls has completely misrepresented the IPCC report.

Cosmic Source of Confusion

The supposedly “game-changing admission” from the IPCC report is this:

“Many empirical relationships have been reported between GCR [galactic cosmic rays] or cosmogenic isotope archives and some aspects of the climate system…The forcing from changes in total solar irradiance alone does not seem to account for these observations, implying the existence of an amplifying mechanism such as the hypothesized GCR-cloud link.”

This statement refers to a hypothesis of Henrik Svensmark from the Danish National Space Institute, who has proposed that galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) could exert significant influence over global temperatures.  The GCR hypothesis suggests that when they reach Earth, GCRs (high-energy charged particles originating from somewhere in our galaxy) are capable of “seeding” clouds; thus at times when a lot of GCRs are reaching the Earth’s surface, more clouds will form.  Clouds generally have a cooling effect on the Earth’s temperature, because they reflect sunlight.

So the hypothesis goes like this: high solar activity means a strong solar magnetic field, which deflects more GCRs away from Earth, which means less cloud formation, which means less sunlight is reflected away from Earth, which means more warming.  This GCR-caused warming would amplify the warming already being caused by increased solar activity.  Conversely, cooling from decreased solar activity would hypothetically be amplified by more GCRs on Earth, more clouds, more reflected sunlight, and thus more cooling.

It’s important to note that so far virtually all scientific research on GCRs has shown that they are not effective at seeding clouds and thus have very little influence over the Earth’s temperature.  In fact, as Zeke Hausfather has noted, the leaked IPCC report specifically states this:

“…there is medium evidence and high agreement that the cosmic ray-ionization mechanism is too weak to influence global concentrations of [cloud condensation nuclei] or their change over the last century or during a solar cycle in any climatically significant way.”

But more importantly in this context, even if GCRs did influence global temperature, they would currently be having a cooling effect.

Solar Activity is Down, Greenhouse Gases are Up

Rawls also provides the following quote from the IPCC report (emphasis added):

“There is very high confidence that natural forcing is a small fraction of the anthropogenic forcing. In particular, over the past three decades (since 1980), robust evidence from satellite observations of the TSI [total solar irradiance] and volcanic aerosols demonstrate a near-zero (–0.04 W m–2) change in the natural forcing compared to the anthropogenic AF increase of ~1.0 ± 0.3 W m–2.”

The term “radiative forcing” refers to a global energy imbalance on Earth, which may be caused by various effects like changes in the greenhouse effect or solar activity.  A positive forcing will result in warming temperatures, while a negative forcing will result in cooling.

Here the IPCC is saying that since 1980, the sun and volcanoes have combined to cause a slightly negative global energy imbalance, which means they have had a slight cooling influence on global temperatures over the past three decades.  Indeed, solar activity has decreased a bit over that timeframe (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Global temperature (red, NASA GISS) and Total solar irradiance (blue, 1880 to 1978 from Solanki, 1979 to 2009 from PMOD), with 11-year running averages.

As we would expect, lower solar activity including a weaker solar magnetic field has translated into a slight increase in GCR flux on Earth (Figure 3).  Note that on the left-hand axis of Figure 3, GCR counts decrease going up the axis in order to show the relationship with temperature, since fewer GCRs hypothetically means fewer clouds, less reflected sunlight, and higher temperatures.
gcrSo, if GCRs really do amplify the solar influence on global temperatures, since 1980 they are amplifying a cooling effect.

Physical Reality Intrudes on Rawls

Rawls has argued to the contrary by claiming that the climate is still responding to the increase in solar activity from the early 20th century, and that GCRs are amplifying that solar warming from over 60 years ago.  This argument is simply physically wrong.  As Figure 2 illustrates, when solar activity rises, temperatures follow suit very soon thereafter.  In fact, during the mid-20th century, solar activity and global surface temperatures both flattened out.  Are we to believe that the planet suddenly began responding to the pre-1950 solar activity increase in 1975—2012, after not warming 1940—1975?  The argument makes no physical sense.

On top of that, the hypothetical GCR process is a relatively rapid one.  Cloud formation from GCR seeding should occur within days, and clouds have very short lifetimes.  For GCRs to have a warming effect, solar activity must be increasing right now.  It is not, in fact solar activity has been essentially flat and slightly declining in recent decades.  Changes in solar activity from 60+ years ago have no bearing whatsoever on GCRs today.

IPCC Shows Global Warming is NOT Solar

To sum up,

  • The leaked IPCC report states that there may be some connection between GCRs and some aspects of the climate system.
  • However, the report is also consistent with the body of scientific literature in stating that research indicates GCRs are not effective at seeding clouds and have very little influence on global temperatures.
  • Solar activity has been nearly flat and slightly decreasing in recent decades, meaning that if GCRs do amplify solar influences on climate, they are amplifying a cooling effect.

The body of peer-reviewed scientific literature is very clear: human greenhouse gas emissionsnot solar activity or galactic cosmic rays, are causing global warming.  The leaked IPCC report is entirely consistent with this conclusion.  In fact, in attempting to argue to the contrary, Rawls has scored an own goal by showing that if anything, GCRs are currently amplifying a solar cooling effect.

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24 Responses to “Deniers Reach For Cherry, Come up with Pits”

  1. rayduray Says:

    And in other breaking news, it turns out banks are not well managed…

    Quelle Surprise! OCC Confirms that Big Banks are Badly Managed, Lack Adequate Risk Management Controls
    Read more at http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2012/12/quelle-surprise-occ-confirms-that-big-banks-are-badly-managed-lack-adequate-risk-management-controls.html#FBYORpBAzKltZEIf.99

    • William Burr Says:

      Not Canadian Banks, We are Regulated like the British Banks, to have 5 or 6 Big Banks, which are Capitalized in Debth. We have never had a Bank Run or Failure, or a Banking Collapse, like the American Housing Bubble. Republicans under Reagan deregulated American Finance and created the Monster that Died in the Sub Prime Collapse of 2008. These People haven’t Paid their fair Tax since Reagan and Now Shelter their Money in Bahamas Secret Banks. USA should annex Bahamas and Seize these Tax Sheltered Monnies as Proceeds of Crime, to whit; Tax Evasion, Money Laundering, Organized Crime, Weapons and Drug Smugglers. EU should Seize Swiss Accounts for the Same Reasons. Interpol tracks Money, Drugs, and Weapons in a Three Legged Race around the Ruins, and these Secret Banking Transactions serve No Legitimate Purposes. Jihadists use Sakat Charity meant for Widows and Orphans, to Fund their own Luxury Holy Wars.

      • rayduray Says:

        Re: “USA should annex Bahamas and Seize these Tax Sheltered Monnies as Proceeds of Crime, to whit; Tax Evasion, Money Laundering, Organized Crime, Weapons and Drug Smugglers.”

        That is COMPLETE NONSENSE! What we need to do is to unleash the forces of death, destruction and pure evil ensconced in the Pentagon on every former colony of the British Empire serving as a tax evasion center for the likes of the entirely parasitic and malevolent corporate pirate infestation exemplified by this creep, Eric Schmidt:

        http://www.occupybendor.org/news.php?1481

        And by this creep, Phil Knight:

        http://www.occupybendor.org/news.php?1477

        For good measure, we should hoist by their own petard and slit the throats of all 1%ers who are creating debt slaves of the children of America:

        http://www.occupybendor.org/news.php?1479

        Until America begins to recognize who its real enemies are, we are so doomed!

      • rayduray Says:

        Re: “USA should annex Bahamas and Seize these Tax Sheltered Monnies as Proceeds of Crime, to whit; Tax Evasion, Money Laundering, Organized Crime, Weapons and Drug Smugglers.”

        That is COMPLETE NONSENSE! What we need to do is to unleash the forces of death, destruction and pure evil ensconced in the Pentagon on every former colony of the British Empire serving as a tax evasion center for the likes of the entirely parasitic and malevolent corporate pirate infestation exemplified by this creep, Eric Schmidt:

        http://www.occupybendor.org/news.php?1481

        And by this creep, Phil Knight:

        http://www.occupybendor.org/news.php?1477

        (continues below)

      • andrewfez Says:

        And don’t forget, recent historical investigation break-throughs point to the old-school Bush family helping to bankroll Nazis during WWII:

        http://rense.com/general26/dutch.htm

        How The Bush Family Made Its
        Fortune From The Nazis
        The Dutch Connection

        By Attorney John Loftus
        ©. 2000-2002 John Loftus
        7-2-2

        ‘John Loftus, is a former U.S. Department of Justice Nazi War Crimes prosecutor, the President of the Florida Holocaust Museum and the highly respected author of numerous books on the CIA-Nazi connection including The Belarus Secret and The Secret War Against the Jews, both of which have extensive material on the Bush-Rockefeller-Nazi connection.

        For the Bush family, it is a lingering nightmare. For their Nazi clients, the Dutch connection was the mother of all money laundering schemes. From 1945 until 1949, one of the lengthiest and, it now appears, most futile interrogations of a Nazi war crimes suspect began in the American Zone of Occupied Germany. Multibillionaire steel magnate Fritz Thyssen-the man whose steel combine was the cold heart of the Nazi war machine-talked and talked and talked to a joint US-UK interrogation team. For four long years, successive teams of inquisitors tried to break Thyssen’s simple claim to possess neither foreign bank accounts nor interests in foreign corporations, no assets that might lead to the missing billions in assets of the Third Reich. The inquisitors failed utterly…..’

        • rayduray Says:

          Andrew,

          I wouldn’t trust Rense. Far too much of the material on that website cannot be independently corroborated.

          On the other hand, Kevin Phillips wrote a brilliant and well-referenced work on the criminality of the Bush Family called “American Dynasty”. This is a book you can rely of for the truth.

          http://tinyurl.com/d2m9672

          • andrewfez Says:

            Yeah, definitely some shady material there, in the bosom of the plain html code, circa 1995. My sense of humor got the better of me, as I was revved up by William Burr’s poetry, and was attempting a complimentary reply of the same spirit, rousing out a bit of rebellious ‘fight the system’ rhetoric, along the subject of banking.

    • ahaveland Says:

      WTF has this got to do with Peter’s article?

      • rayduray Says:

        ahaveland,

        Re: “WTF has this got to do with Peter’s article?”

        Nothing, if one is thinking at a 10 year old’s level.

        And everything if we are to examine in total what is going so horribly wrong in the American Empire where dishonesty, ideology and self-dealing have seemingly become THE motivating emotions and actions of a determined fascistic cabal of corporate cheats.

        The pattern is obvious to me. From Peter’s item we learn that some devious denier dweebs are demanding data from the real scientists. The purpose, of course, is to corrupt the scientific process.

        I’m seeing the same modus operandi at the banks, at Google working “capitalism’s” angles to engage in egregious tax evasion. At Nike where there’s a lobby working on a special legislative session today in Oregon to extend a tax giveaway to the Beaverton based corporation for the next 5 to 40 years in a sweetheart deal with the Governor.

        If you can’t see a pattern here, it’s certainly not my fault. You might actually need to get up to speed on how the world works today. :)


  2. [...] But in the most recent “game-changer” at Watts’s, he reposts Alex Rawls masterpiece of incoherence and falls quite solidly in the camp of the transparently ridiculous. The sensible branches of the blogosphere responded (specifically Graham Readfern and Dana Nuccitelli) quickly, and are summarized at Peter Sinclair’s. [...]


  3. Sigh. Business as usual. NH summer recess is over. When will they ever give up??
    I’m anxious to read what omnologos has to say…

  4. David Abbey Says:

    I’m still waiting for somene to look into ‘precession’ as another factor.

    ________________________________

  5. Bruce Miller Says:

    End Fossil Fuels , ending CO2 emmissions, will end Global Warming:
    China will “Alter Global Energy Map of the World” and mankind will enter the true nuclear age of mankind, at the hans of Asian Scientific expertise, beginning in China in 2017, as they are now perfecting clean, Pressure Dome free, benign waste product, mass producible, scaleable, cheap, efficent, Thorium LFTR princple Thorium fueled, reactors. Thes reactors produce no CO2, only heat!
    U-Tube Videos, and much more on Googls tell the story.America’s long famed U.S. Petro Dollar relationship broken now, as China and Russia trade in Yuan, eveh Japan preparing to do same, and the Pan Eurasian Alliances proceeding in that direction. This will destroy the oil energy supremacy and the strong U.S. grip on world ‘s energy, world’s oil.
    Norway also has a Thorium fueled reactor in the works, and the famous but suppressed CANDU reactors were always capable of reconfiguration to Thorium operation, in fact a few of them in China today, do just that.
    A failed U.S. policy from the 70’s?
    “It is imperative that no Eurasian challenger emerges, capable of dominating Eurasia and thus of also challenging America… In that context, how America ‘manages’ Eurasia is critical… the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”
    – Zbigniew Brezinski, The Grand Chessboard
    Quite apparently.
    (See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UT2yYs5YJs)
    (See: http://www.investmentu.com/2011/September/thorium-the-future-of-nuclear-power.html)
    ( http://www.theoildrum.com/node/4971 )


  6. [...] were taken wildly out of context by partisan shills to attempt to discredit valid science? …Apparently not, because this is exactly the same (*)(*)(*)(*) trick. And here's the author of the excerpt apparently confirming that the argument is a blatant [...]


  7. [...] of Energy grants millions of tax dollars for so called ‘community’ projectsDeniers Reach For Cherry, Come up with Pits // IE Evitar seleccion de texto document.onselectstart=function(){ if [...]

  8. skeptictmac57 Says:

    The Denier’s Anthem:

    I am denier,hear me roar

    In numbers that you will deplore

    Though I don’t know much,still I can pretend

    I’m even on the Senate floor

    Your broker,uncle and next door

    And when I’m down,I’ll always rise again

    Oh,yes I’m unwise,but real wisdom causes pain

    Our children will pay the price

    But EXXON will surely gain

    If I have to,I will say anything

    I am WRONG

    I’m INCONVINCIBLE

    I’m a DENIER!!!

  9. neilrieck Says:

    I loved your preamble:

    “The climate denial clown car careens onward. In breathless, puffed-up prose, the bizarro-sphere was buzzing last night about a “game changing” passage in a draft IPCC document, posted online by a self promoting would-be “mole” in the IPCC review process.”


  10. [...] Deniers Reach For Cherry, Come up with Pits (climatecrocks.com) [...]


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