Letter to the Editor

The sky fell last month, but almost nobody noticed

atomic model

An atomic model. Symbolises atoms in the atomsphere… sorry, atmosphere.

To the Editor
Climate Conversation

9th July 2014

The sky fell on Hawaii last month, all because carbon dioxide levels peeped above the much-hyped 400 ppm ‘hurdle.’ Chicken Littles all over the world squawked into their friendly media megaphones about numerous imminent global warming disasters. One warned: “the fate of the world hangs in the balance.” (Similar alarms were rung when the 350 ppm level was passed).

But nobody else noticed anything scary.

Four pieces of well-established evidence say that 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not a concern.

Firstly, there has been no increase in global temperatures since 1998 despite years of rising carbon dioxide levels and heavy usage of carbon fuels. Clearly, CO2 is not the main driver of global temperatures.

Secondly, the ice core records show clearly, with no exceptions, that all recent ice ages have commenced when the atmosphere contained relatively high levels of carbon dioxide. The temperature fell first, and then carbon dioxide levels fell. This proves that high carbon dioxide levels do not guarantee a warm globe, but could suggest that they may be a harbinger of a coming ice age. Cold will cause far more damage to the biosphere than even the worst warming forecast.

Thirdly, current levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide are not extreme or unusual. Carbon dioxide reached 2,000 ppm in the luxuriant era of the dinosaurs, and ten times current levels (4,000 ppm) when the great Devonian coral reefs were flourishing. There is no tipping point into runaway global warming, or we would have tipped eons ago.

Finally, current carbon dioxide levels are just above starvation levels for plants. All vegetation would grow stronger, faster, and be more drought resistant and heat resistant if carbon dioxide levels trebled to 1,200 ppm. Such levels are no threat to humans – US submarines operate at up to 8,000 ppm for cruises of 90 days. Topping 400 ppm should be a cause for celebration – it shows that Earth is emerging from the cold hungry years of the ice ages.

Climate Cassandras have blown false trumpets once again.

forbes [at] carbon-sense [dot] com

13 Thoughts on “Letter to the Editor

  1. Mike Jowsey on July 11, 2014 at 2:18 pm said:

    “But nobody else noticed anything scary. “
    Nothing scary noted by me! (Except, maybe, a contentious notch-filter prediction. I’m not sure which scared me the most – the prediction or the flame war between prominent sceptics.)

  2. Richard C (NZ) on July 11, 2014 at 5:55 pm said:

    >”But nobody else noticed anything scary”

    Viv didn’t see my last month’s power bill. That was a little scary.

  3. Richard C (NZ) on July 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm said:

    This cartoon accompanies Viv’s post at Climate Change Dispatch:

    http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/images/stories/cartoons/cartoon_cry_wolf.jpg

  4. Richard C (NZ) on July 11, 2014 at 7:48 pm said:

    ‘Confessions of a Computer Modeler’

    Any model, including those predicting climate doom, can be tweaked to yield a desired result. I should know.

    By Robert J. Caprara
    July 8, 2014 7:15 p.m. ET THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

    The climate debate is heating up again as business leaders, politicians and academics bombard us with the results of computer models that predict costly and dramatic changes in the years ahead. I can offer some insight into the use of computer models for public-policy debates, and a recommendation for the general public.

    After earning a master’s degree in environmental engineering in 1982, I spent most of the next 10 years building large-scale environmental computer models. My first job was as a consultant to the Environmental Protection Agency. I was hired to build a model to assess the impact of its Construction Grants Program, a nationwide effort in the 1970s and 1980s to upgrade sewer-treatment plants.

    The computer model was huge—it analyzed every river, sewer treatment plant and drinking-water intake (the places in rivers where municipalities draw their water) in the country. I’ll spare you the details, but the model showed huge gains from the program as water quality improved dramatically. By the late 1980s, however, any gains from upgrading sewer treatments would be offset by the additional pollution load coming from people who moved from on-site septic tanks to public sewers, which dump the waste into rivers. Basically the model said we had hit the point of diminishing returns.

    When I presented the results to the EPA official in charge, he said that I should go back and “sharpen my pencil.” I did. I reviewed assumptions, tweaked coefficients and recalibrated data. But when I reran everything the numbers didn’t change much. At our next meeting he told me to run the numbers again.

    After three iterations I finally blurted out, “What number are you looking for?” He didn’t miss a beat: He told me that he needed to show $2 billion of benefits to get the program renewed. I finally turned enough knobs to get the answer he wanted, and everyone was happy.

    More >>>>>>

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/wsj-confessions-of-computer-modeler-any.html

    Control knobs for NCAR’s CAM:

    ‘User’s Guide to the NCAR Community Atmosphere Model (CAM 3.0)’ [Valid for CAM5 near enough]

    http://www.cesm.ucar.edu/models/atm-cam/docs/usersguide/usersguide.pdf

    For example, search for “CO2″ using the pdf search box. The search brings up the first occurrence of CO2 in “B.8 CAMEXP physics namelist variables” but keep going and you find the prefix “Ramp”. Keep going further and you get to “B.13 Complete list of CAM namelist variables”. Basically, GHG’s and CO2 (and other forcings) are either “FIXED” or “RAMPED” by a percentage or factor.

  5. Richard C (NZ) on July 12, 2014 at 7:22 pm said:

    Cash for Thunder: Bolivia Demands “Climate Reparations”

    Bolivian president Evo Morales has a message for carbon-spewing countries like the United States: Show me the money.

    —By Sasha Chavkin | November/December 2009 Issue

    […] The past few years of unprecedented flooding and severe rainstorms have displaced nearly 50,000 people in Bolivia, one of South America’s poorest countries.

    Rather than chalking up the destruction to the vagaries of Mother Nature, Bolivian president Evo Morales placed the blame squarely on climate change—and carbon-spewing countries like the United States. Morales has demanded that industrialized countries fork over what some have called “climate reparations”: mandatory compensation to developing nations for the increasingly devastating effects of CO2 emissions. “If there are countries that are doing a lot of damage to the environment, those countries should make some acknowledgment, some reparation for the damages that they are causing,” Morales told me at a forum in New York last November. Shortly after, he released a sweeping 20-point plan, including a demand that developed countries contribute a minimum of 1 percent of their annual GDP to a United Nations fund for poor countries.

    http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2009/11/bolivia-paying-rain

    # # #

    Okaaay, so where’s Bolivia among the “carbon-spewing countries” ?

    http://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/top-20-carbon-emitting-nations.jpg
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/05/the-revenge-of-the-climate-reparations/

    Sandwiched between Germany and Japan.

  6. Richard C (NZ) on July 13, 2014 at 11:20 am said:

    Computer Models as “Evidence”

    Cross-posted from Coyoteblog

    The BBC has decided not to every (sic) talk to climate skeptics again [hotlink], in part based on the “evidence” of computer modelling [quote below from link]

    […] “Among the objections, including one from Green Party politician Chit Chong, were that Lawson’s views were not supported by evidence from computer modeling.”

    I see this all the time. A lot of things astound me in the climate debate, but perhaps the most astounding has been to be accused of being “anti-science” by people who have such a poor grasp of the scientific process.

    Computer models and their output are not evidence of anything.

    […]

    The other problem with models

    The other problem with computer models, besides the fact that they are not and cannot constitute evidence in and of themselves, is that their results are often sensitive to small changes in tuning or setting of variables, and that these decisions about tuning are often totally opaque to outsiders.

    I did computer modelling for years, though of markets and economics rather than climate. But the techniques are substantially the same. And the pitfalls.

    Confession time. In my very early days as a consultant, I did something I am not proud of. I was responsible for a complex market model based on a lot of market research and customer service data. Less than a day before the big presentation, and with all the charts and conclusions made, I found a mistake that skewed the results. In later years I would have the moral courage and confidence to cry foul and halt the process, but at the time I ended up tweaking a few key variables to make the model continue to spit out results consistent with our conclusion. It is embarrassing enough I have trouble writing this for public consumption 25 years later.

    But it was so easy. A few tweaks to assumptions and I could get the answer I wanted. And no one would ever know. Someone could stare at the model for an hour and not recognize the tuning.

    Robert Caprara has similar thoughts in the WSJ [linked, quoted, and see previous comment]

    http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2014/07/2361.html

  7. hemimck on July 14, 2014 at 3:34 pm said:

    I know I should ignore these articles but can’t help myself

    http://www.abc.net.au/science/articles/2014/07/14/4044314.htm

    “Declines in rainfall over south-west Australia over the last 40 years are linked to greenhouse gases and ozone depletion, new climate models show.”

    “Using a new, high-resolution climate model that can forecast down to an area just 50 kilometres wide, US researchers from the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory examined the impact of variation in both human and natural influences on climate.”

    Presumably if you narrow down the inputs into your model you will be able to convince yourself with greater certainty that historical trends will continue into the future.

    “..the new higher-resolution model provides greater confidence in projections that show continuing future reductions in winter rainfall across southern Australia, “a prospect that poses increasing risks to sustainable water resources”.

    About time we had a high resolution model, the low resolution one certainly did not work.

  8. Richard C (NZ) on July 15, 2014 at 3:17 pm said:

    AW points out – the paper ignores land use and land cover change.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/07/13/claim-australia-drying-caused-by-greenhouse-gases/

    Here’s the paper that addresses it:

    ‘The effect of land clearing on rainfall and fresh water resources in Western Australia: A multi- functional sustainability analysis’

    Mark A. Andrich & Jörg Imberger DOI: 10.1080/13504509.2013.850752

    Abstract (excerpt)

    It is widely recognized that southwest Western Australia has experienced approximately a
    30% decline in rainfall, in areas inland from the coastal margin, over the last forty years or
    more. It is generally thought that this decline was due to changes induced by global warming, but recently evidence has emerged suggesting that a substantial part of the decline may be attributed to changes in land use. These changes involved extensive logging close to the coast and the clearing of native vegetation for wheat planting on the higher ground. We present a methodology that compares coastal and inland rainfall to show that 50 – 80% of the observed decline in rainfall is the result of land clearing

    https://wattsupwiththat.files.wordpress.com/2014/07/andrich_and_imberger_2012a.pdf

  9. Richard C (NZ) on July 23, 2014 at 6:28 pm said:

    ‘New paper finds only ~3.75% of atmospheric CO2 is man-made from burning of fossil fuels’

    The Hockey Schtick, Thursday, July 17, 2014

    A paper published today in Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics finds that only about 3.75% [15 ppm] of the CO2 in the lower atmosphere is man-made from the burning of fossil fuels, and thus, the vast remainder of the 400 ppm atmospheric CO2 is from land-use changes and natural sources such as ocean outgassing and plant respiration.

    According to the authors,

    We find that the average gradients of fossil fuel CO2 in the lower 1200 meters of the atmosphere are close to 15 ppm at a 12 km × 12 km horizontal resolution.

    The findings are in stark contrast to alarmist claims that essentially all of the alleged 130 ppm increase in CO2 since pre-industrial times [hotlink] is of man-made origin from the burning of fossil fuels, finding instead that only 15 ppm or ~11.5% of the increase is of fossil fuel origin. The findings cast additional doubt upon the IPCC carbon-cycle Bern Model, previously falsified by the atomic bomb tests.

    Furthermore, if use of fossil-fuels has contributed such a small part of total atmospheric CO2 levels, restricting use of fossil fuels will have little effect upon CO2 levels.

    ‘Simulating the integrated summertime Δ14CO2 signature from anthropogenic emissions over Western Europe’

    D. Bozhinova1, M. K. van der Molen1, I. R. van der Velde1, M. C. Krol1,2, S. van der Laan3, H. A. J. Meijer3, and W. Peters1

    1Meteorology and Air Quality Group, Wageningen University, the Netherlands
    2Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands
    3Centre for Isotope Research, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands

    http://hockeyschtick.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/new-paper-finds-only-375-of-atmospheric.html

  10. Richard C (NZ) on July 23, 2014 at 6:51 pm said:

    >”….alarmist claims that essentially all of the alleged 130 ppm increase in CO2 since pre-industrial times [hotlink] is of man-made origin from the burning of fossil fuels”

    ‘Pre-Industrial And Current CO2 Levels Deliberately Corrupted’

    by Dr. Tim Ball on May 9, 2012

    […] Official Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) climate science was completely orchestrated for a premeditated result. T.R.Wigley’s 1983 paper “The pre-industrial carbon dioxide level” was pivotal in the evolution of climate science corruption. It was a flawed paper that cherry-picked data to claim pre-industrial CO2 level was 270 ppm. G.S. Callendar did the same thing (diagram), as Zbigniew Jaworowski illustrated in a paper to a 2004 US Senate Committee.

    http://drtimball.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Callendar-circle.gif

    There are 90,000 samples from which Callendar selected a few. Notice they also change the slope of the trend, to show a steady rise from 1750.

    […]

    Jaworowski wrote,

    “Until 1985, the published CO2 readings from the air bubbles in the pre-industrial ice ranged from 160 to about 700 ppmv, and occasionally even up to 2,450 ppmv. After 1985, high readings disappeared from the publications.”

    Beck found,

    “Since 1812, the CO2 concentration in northern hemispheric air has fluctuated exhibiting three high level maxima around 1825, 1857 and 1942 the latter showing more than 400 ppm.”

    Here is his plot comparing 19th century readings with ice core and Mauna Loa data.

    http://drtimball.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/Launa-Moa.jpg

    The ice core record is shown as a smooth curve achieved by eliminating extreme readings and applying a 70 year smoothing average. Eliminating variability is done with the Mauna Loa and all current atmospheric readings, which can vary up to 600 ppm in the course of a day. Information is lost with smoothing. Elimination of high readings prior to smoothing makes loss greater. Statistician William Briggs says you never smooth a time series.

    – See more at: http://drtimball.com/2012/pre-industrial-and-current-co2-levels-deliberately-corrupted/#sthash.vPlHvmEJ.dpuf

  11. Richard C (NZ) on July 23, 2014 at 7:32 pm said:

    Jonathan DuHamel, WryHeat on July 21, 2014.

    A new post on The Hockey Schtick reviews a new paper “that finds only about 3.75% [15 ppm] of the CO2 in the lower atmosphere is man-made from the burning of fossil fuels, and thus, the vast remainder of the 400 ppm atmospheric CO2 is from land-use changes and natural sources such as ocean outgassing and plant respiration.”

    This new work supports an old table from the Energy Information Administration which shows the same thing: only about 3% of atmospheric carbon dioxide is attributable to human sources. The numbers are from IPCC data.

    Look at the table and do the arithmetic: 23,100/793,100 = 0.029.

    URL for table: http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/archive/gg04rpt/pdf/tbl3.pdf

    If one wanted to make fun of the alleged consensus of “climate scientists”, one could say that 97% of carbon dioxide molecules agree that global warming results from natural causes.

    http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/only-about-3-of-co2-in-atmosphere-due-to-burning-fossil-fuels.html

    People like our warmist friend Simon think all CO2 increase is from fossil fuel emissions.

  12. Richard C (NZ) on July 25, 2014 at 3:29 pm said:

    The HS goofed up on the Bozhinova paper (“gradient” not increase) and has since taken down the post.

    Honest mistake by The HS (but hasty and ill-considered assessment) because, and the BH guys have missed this, the US DOE Energy Information Administration 2004 report on greenhouse gas emissions for 2003, as Jonathan DuHamel points out above, had only about 3% (0.029) of global atmospheric carbon dioxide attributable to human sources (Table 3 pdf linked by DuHamel above and see below). The 2004 EIA report is here:

    http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/1605/archive/gg04rpt/index.html

    1. U.S. Emissions of Greenhouse Gases: Background and Content

    http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/1605/archive/gg04rpt/emission.html

    1. U.S. Emissions of Greenhouse Gases: Background and Context Tables

    http://www.eia.gov/oiaf/1605/archive/gg04rpt/cdemissions_tbls.html

    Table 3. Global Natural and Anthropogenic Sources and Absorption of Greenhouse Gases in the 1990s

    Gas: Carbon Dioxide (Million Metric Tons of Gas)
    770,000 – Natural
    23,100 – Human-Made
    793,100 – Total [Human-Made 2.9% of Total Carbon Dioxide in the Atmosphere]
    781,400 – Absorption
    11,700 – Annual Increase in Gas in the Atmosphere

    Bozhinova et al (2014) is here:

    ‘Simulating the integrated summertime Δ14CO2 signature from anthropogenic emissions over Western Europe’

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys.net/14/7273/2014/acp-14-7273-2014.pdf

    Turns out that The HS, although wrong by rationale, was not far wrong by value. See Fig 4, page 9:

    Figure 4. 6 months of hourly results for Lutjewad at 60m height. Comparison between observed and modeled (a) CO2 concentrations, (b) CO2ff concentrations (c) atmospheric 114CO2 and (d) the contribution of different compounds for the resulting 114CO2. The transport of air that is enriched in fossil fuel CO2 is directly connected to the variations in the 114CO2 signal at the location, but these are not captured by current observations due to their low temporal resolution.

    # # #

    CO2ff for Lutjewad at 60m from April – October 2008 (B) is predominately between 0 and 10ppm. CO2 concentration (A) is around 380 – 400ppm. 5/390 = 0.0128 (1.28%) i.e. about half of the DOE EIA 2004 report figure of 2.9% and about a third of The HS’s erroneous figure of “3.75% [15 ppm]”.

    Those jumping on The HS will not have the last laugh in this episode.

  13. Richard C (NZ) on July 25, 2014 at 4:16 pm said:

    >”Those jumping on The HS will not have the last laugh in this episode”

    The BH post and comments is here:

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2014/7/21/new-paper-from-the-netherlands-on-c02-emissions.html

    This was followed by a post at moyhu (Nick “race horse” Stokes):

    “An oddity. About 36 hours ago I looked in on Paul Homewood’s site, and saw this credulous post [hotlink]. I followed the link to ClimateChangeDispatch, which said:

    “A new post on The Hockey Schtick reviews a new paper “that finds only about 3.75% [15 ppm] of the CO2 in the lower atmosphere is man-made from the burning of fossil fuels, and thus, the vast remainder of the 400 ppm atmospheric CO2 is from land-use changes and natural sources such as ocean outgassing and plant respiration.””

    It linked to the source, HockeySchtick. There I read an article discussing what seemed to be just a paper on local measurements of CO2 fluctuation as indicated by C14, along with the perturbing effect of nuclear reactor C14. But yes, HS made that claim, and there was a lively discussion involving sensible people like Ferdinand Engelbeen and David Appell saying sensible things about CO2. About 36 comments when I looked, but no-one seemed to notice that the paper just wasn’t saying anything about global CO2. Along the way David Appell was banned for saying that the oceans were acidifying.

    I saw later another credulous post at Bishop Hill, but here the commenters seemed to see through it fairly quickly [but missed the all-important Fig 4]. The post, with its links are still not modified.

    Anyway, this morning, local time, I tried to follow a link, and got this:
    “Sorry, the page you were looking for in this blog does not exist.”

    And sure enough, just vanished. No explanation, that I could see. Gone. But the linking pages still make their claims without modification.

    I wonder if David Appell is still banned.”

    Posted by Nick Stokes at 9:50 AM [July 24, 2014]
    http://moyhu.blogspot.co.nz/2014/07/adjusting-past.html

    I wonder if anyone actually read the paper. Paul Homewood has an update:

    Update [July 22, 2014]

    CCD have this comment from Denica Bozhinova, one of the authors of the study.

    Denica Bozhinova 2014-07-23 16:57
    “A reply from the authors of the scientific article on the “review” on The Hockey Schtick blog has pointed out that the results cited are grossly misinterpreted and the blog has taken down the entire review and following comments.”

    As the post appears to have been taking down, I cannot offer any more details.

    Denica also adds

    Denica Bozhinova 2014-07-24 07:22
    “To be fair, I only notified the author of this entry for this issue yesterday. I am hoping he will correct it or note it somehow on his version as soon as possible.”

    Meanwhile if the authors care to provide a potted version of how they interpret their findings, I will be more than happy to publish.

    http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/only-about-3-of-co2-in-atmosphere-due-to-burning-fossil-fuels-climate-change-dispatch/

    CCD link (including Bozhinova comments):

    http://www.climatechangedispatch.com/only-about-3-of-co2-in-atmosphere-due-to-burning-fossil-fuels.html

    # # #

    A “potted version” of how they interpret their Figure 4 rather than how they interpret their findings would be more instructive for the likes of Stokes, Connolley, Engelbeen, and Appell I would have thought,

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