New Assessments of Climate Outlook/Forecasts

Today’s Australian reports an article published in Nature which accepts the hiatus in warming since 2000 even though this has occurred while strong increase in emissions of greenhouse gases has continued. It is surprising that a “green” journal should accept such an article. But it is just one of a number of analyses which have appeared since the Paris climate agreement questioning the threat of dangerous warming unless governments take countervailing action.

It will be recalled that the Paris meeting in December 2015 could not agree on any legally binding provisions and that the statements by various countries of intentions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions differed widely, with the biggest emitter (China) for example indicating only that it’s emissions will peak by 2030. The 196 countries attending the COP21 conference did agree to review “progress” and, at the end of five years, all counties except the G77 developing nations agreed to resubmit national goals. The only substantive agreement was on “holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C”. But there was no agreement on the specifics of how to achieve that. There was also in principle agreement  by developed countries to make voluntary contributions to a $100 billion green climate fund  for helping developing countries take action to mitigate the alleged adverse effects of climate change.

For Australia, Turnbull stuck to the already announced target by Abbott of reducing CO2 emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 and to achieving that by Direct Action at a cost, according to one estimate, of reducing GDP by 0.6 %. Before the Paris meeting, the Opposition announced a targeted emissions reduction of 45% per cent by 2030. Interestingly, these decisions followed a survey by CSIRO showing that there were then slightly more sceptics than believers (46.5% cf 45.9%) about the dangerous warning threat.

As mentioned above, since the Paris agreement there have been new assessments which add to the disbeliefs about the alleged threat of dangerous warming. These are summarised below.

  • Today’s Australian reports the publication of an article by Prof Fyfe of the Canadian Centre for Climate Modelling and others claiming that for the period 2000-14 there has been a significantly slower increase in global temperatures (see attached “Nature Publishes “Real” Analysis). Importantly, this has been published in Nature, the journal which is strongly supportive of the warmist view, and it contradicts the study published by the agency within the US Government Department of Commerce, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, claiming there has been no hiatus. Note that the reference in the Fyfe article to a “continuing scientific effort to quantify the climate signals associated with internal decadal variability, natural external forcing and anthropogenic factors” acknowledges the “science” is not settled and that natural changes play a role in determining temperatures.
    Note also that Nature includes a comment by a climatologist that it is important to explain that “ the rate of warming slowed down at a time when greenhouse gas emissions were rising dramatically”. The failure to establish a correlation between changes in temperature and in concentrations of CO2 has been a feature of analyses by many sceptics.
  • In my Commentary of 7 Feb I referred to a submission to the US House Committee on Science, Space & Technology by acknowledged climate expert Prof Christy of the University of Alabama. This included an update of an analysis comparing temperature predictions by various models with what actually happened. It showed that the average of the models-predicted temperatures was 2.5 times higher than actual global average. Christy argued that “our understanding of how greenhouse gases affect the climate is significantly inadequate to explain the climate since 1979”. He concluded that “the regulations already enforced, such as those from the Paris Agreement, will have virtually no impact on whatever the climate is going to do”.
  • A Professor of Statistics at a UK university, Terence Mills, has had a comprehensive statistical analysis published by the UK’s Global Warming Policy Foundation. The Foreword by economist Prof Ross McKitrick says Mills’s conclusion that “statistical forecasting methods do not corroborate the upwards trends seen in climate model projections is highly important”. Mills suggests that climatologists have been using a different modelling system to what he claims most economists now use for forecasting and the climatologist’s system may have no application in climatology. Using what he describes as “statistical forecasting”, he assesses two global temperature series, one from 1850 and one from  1979. After testing with various models he concludes that the resultant “forecasts do not contain any trend, with long-horizon forecasts being flat, albeit with rather large measures of imprecision even from models in which uncertainty is bounded”.
    The conclusion by Mills has been reported in The Times by its Environment Editor (see below “Planet is not overheating, says Professor”), who has included a critical comment by a warmist.  However, the critic’s suggestion that there is a correlation between increases in CO2 concentrations and temperatures overlooks the periods, such as from 1945 to 1975 and since 2000, when concentrations increased but temperatures did not or rose much more slowly. Note that the board of the GWPF includes a number of distinguished climate scientists who would presumably have “cleared” the article for publication.
  • Readers of my Commentaries are aware that climate expert Dr Jennifer Marohassy is one of a number of analysts who have questioned the accuracy of temperatures published by the Bureau of Meteorology. She hasshown that the homegenization of the temperature of Rutherglen by the BOM had the effect of changing a slight cooling trend of 0.35 degrees Celsius per century in the raw data into a dramatic warming of 1.73 degree Celsius per century.  This was done even though all temperatures for Rutherglen were recorded in an accepted standard (the Stevenson screen), there are no documented site moves and no discontinuities.

Having failed to attract a substantive response to her analysis from either BOM or Minister Hunt, on 11 November last she sent a submission to the Auditor General asking  that “the Australian National Audit Office undertake a performance audit of the procedures, and validity of the methodology, used by the Australian Bureau of Meteorology in the construction of the official historical temperature record for Australia”. Then, on 19 January 2016 Dr Quirk sent to the Auditor General a summary of an analysis by climate expert Dr Ken Stewart of temperature changes made by BOM at 10 other locations. It shows that the BOM adjustments range from increases of 0.94-2.79 degree Celsius and involved from 2 to 11 adjustments which lack convincing justification. The implications are obvious.

To the extent that they overstate the increases in temperatures in the 11 locations, there would also be an overstatement in the published average temperature increase of about 0.8C over the last century for Australia. There would also certainly be a question about the Federal budget expenditure of over $1bn  a year ( incl on the BOM and the CSIRO) on measures and research supposedly designed to reduce/limit increases in temperatures.

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