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An inconvenient truth about global warming

Tom Feilden | 09:34 UK time, Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Power station

The global warming narrative - that mankind's addiction to burning fossil fuels is rapidly changing the climate - may be about to go seriously off message.

Far from suggesting the planet will get warmer, one of the world's leading climate modellers says the latest data indicates we could be in for a significant period of steady temperatures and possibly even a little global cooling.

Professor Mojib Latif, from the Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences at Kiel University in Germany, has been looking at the influence of cyclical changes to ocean currents and temperatures in the Atlantic, a feature known as the North Atlantic Oscillation. When he factored these natural fluctuations into his global climate model, professor Latif found the results would bring the remorseless rise in average global temperatures to an abrupt halt.

"The strong warming effect that we experienced during the last decades will be interrupted. Temperatures will be more or less steady for some years, and thereafter will pickup again and continue to warm".

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With apologies to Al Gore, professor Latif's finding is something of an "inconvenient truth" for the global warming debate.

And the timing couldn't be much worse. World leaders are due to meet in Copenhagen in December to hammer out an agreement on cutting greenhouse gas emissions to replace the Kyoto Treaty. It certainly won't help if there are a couple of inches of snow on the ground outside the convention centre, and climate models are predicting a sustained period of steady, or even falling, global temperatures.

Professor Philip Stott believes climate sceptics may seize on the research as evidence that the whole global warming hypothesis is fundamentally flawed: If natural cycles can interrupt, or even reverse climate change, maybe we don't need to take it so seriously.

It's not a view shared by professor Latif, who points to the resumption of warming as the cycle completes itself in a few years. The best we can hope for, he says, is a brief respite from global warming.

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But the complex message professor Latif's research confronts us with, points up another issue debated on the programme this morning: The thorny issue of the media's handling of science.

The Science Minister Lord Drayson sparked a row when he claimed that the coverage of scientific issues was in rude health at the World Conference of Science journalists. Ben Goldacre, the author of "Bad Science" took exception, arguing that most editors were only interested in revolutionary cures for cancer, or whether coffee made you fat.

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After a heated exchange in the blogosphere the two have agreed to debate the issues at the Royal Institution tonight.

Comments

  • Comment number 1.

    I would like to point out to Tom Feilden that his pronuciation of Leibniz is wrong. The "ei" sound in German is as the "i" sound in the English word "right". Leibniz was of course a very eminent scientist and mathematician.
    Regards

  • Comment number 2.

    Windystuart. Apologies to you and Gottfried Leibniz.

  • Comment number 3.

    Just what is Mojib Latif referring to when he sates, "the influence of cyclical changes to ocean currents and temperatures in the Atlantic..."? I understand he is looking at the impact on climate of the ocean currents and temperatures. But wouldn't it be more enlightening to study whichever "cyclical changes" he asserts are effecting ocean temperatures? If i am not mistaken he is studying the effect and not the cause, how is this helpful in discerning the driver of climate? How is it we miss the forest for the trees? The oceans slowly gain and release heat, this is nothing new. We should be more interested in what Prof. Latif is not saying.

  • Comment number 4.

    So let me get this straight;

    1. The climate models have proved to be wrong.

    2. We have been lied to by scientists, environmentalists, journalists and politicians.

    So who is to blame for this fiasco and who will take the HEAT for getting global warming badly wrong?

  • Comment number 5.

    Perhaps this suggests that the greenhouse gases can't be such a strong force after all. It also leaves me wondering whether we shouldn't be glad to have this force such as it is, because without it we would shortly be suffering a more marked climate deterioration with attendant shortening of the growing season and increased excess of winter deaths which really would be something to worry about.

    Although of course science must progress by increments, the sudden inputting of this previously unheard-of new force makes one uncertain about what more these models are lacking before they should be treated like the gospel that people have been taking them for.

  • Comment number 6.

    The journalist says: "professor Latif found the results would bring the remorseless rise in average global temperatures to an abrupt halt." Global warming is going to stop!

    Professor Latif says: "...and thereafter will pickup again and continue to warm". Global warming is not going to stop!

    Then we hear about "the thorny issue of the media's handling of science." It sounds very much like Tom Fielden is sensationalising and misrepresenting the science... and then telling us how confused things are when the media sensationalises and misrepresents science. Urgh.

  • Comment number 7.

    Minuend,
    You start by saying "let me get this straight" then make no attempt to do so. I must wonder: Did you respond to the story or the headline?
    What has been suggested - and it is a suggestion based on one particular computer model, based on one particular set of findings- that there could be (could be) a leveling off of global temperatures. Possibly (possibly, mind you) even a temporary cooling period for a short while (10 years on a planet over 3 billion years old) before temperatures rise again. Possibly (that word again) even speeding up. Scientists make predictions based on available evidence. Sometimes, possibly more often than not, they get things wrong. That doesn't make them liars. If scientists can be said to have an agenda, it is merely to extend understanding and be correct more often than wrong. They have nothing to gain from any other outcome. The others you mention? Well that maybe another story.

  • Comment number 8.

    This is very confusing indeed. How reliable is the science of 'climate predictions'? One study says rise in 2C by 2050 another says rise in 5C. Another says a fall, another says no change. The consenus however is that there will be a rise. But by how much? Since each degree difference requires a rapid change in how governments should act. The danger is that if we fund for a 5C rise this will hamper global economic growth, resulting in many of the poorest suffering. One way of solving this is to say that the oil will run out by 2030. Causing oil companies to invest in alternate energies and governments will act. This may cause another wall street crash but isn't it worth doing so?

  • Comment number 9.

    The warming alarmists are back-pedaling at last. There is nothing new in Latif's pronouncement: the world stopped warming nearly a decade ago (and 2008 was cooler than 1979) -- the climate modelers are merely trying to find a model that fits history. They have claimed in the past that the North Atlantic Oscillation was irrelevant. They claim that this is not the end of global warming -- well, let's just say that if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it's a duck!

  • Comment number 10.

    'The complex message'? What on earth is complex about it? gosh, if learned BBC reporters can't work out how to explain that one, can I have a job please? Watch and learn....

    "New research suggests there may be a temporary stablising of the global planetary temperature assisted by a natural ocean current temperature cycle. After perhaps [insert time period], the average temperature is expected to continue climbing again."

    Even simpler:

    "climate change could going to settle down for a few years, then resume"

    and if you want a headline:

    "Climate Change takes a quick breather SHOCKA!"

    its just NOT a complex message! Have I missed something?

  • Comment number 11.

    Latif's data is neither a new or shocking discovery. Scientists have been using the title "Climate Change" rather than "Global Warming" for at-least a decade now. It was quickly realized that the complex weather systems on the Earth meant the greenhouse effect caused by human activities would not effect all parts of the world in the same way.

  • Comment number 12.

    Completely agree with SimonCozens. The media treatment of science is indeed a problem, and the BBC is not exempt from it. The headline of this blog is particularly irresponsible. It is simply not supported by the article it reports on. The timetable for global warming has never been precise anyway, so a single factor that might cause a slight delay of a few years in its otherwise remorseless progress is hardly an 'inconvenient truth' that undermines its credibility. Such sensationalism only serves to provoke responses like that of minuend.

  • Comment number 13.

    It isn't complicated. Climate change isn't a straight line on a graph. The ecosystem we inhabit becomes increasingly unstable at either extreme, so we are just as likely to oscillate between excess heat and excess cold as it balances itself. Triggers such as the Atlantic Coneyor breaking down will bring a mini Ice Age to the UK as a consequence of global warming - but this does not mean that there is no global warming, just that localised effects will become increasingly extreme at either end of the ecosystem. The Atlantic Conveyor breakdown will merely bring us in line with comparable latitudes and longitudes that are a lot colder without it. We would be better off using the term 'climate change' as opposed to 'global warming' as the latter is misleading (especially if it leads us to think that things are only going to get warmer).

    The galling part will be how faddists will seize on each development as 'proof' of different trends. The reality is that climate change will swing wildly from extreme to extreme (quickly in geological terms, but it will appear slow to us) as the ecosystem comes under increasing pressure from unbalancing forces. The ecosystem has always had to deal with these forces, and has always oscillated wildly - we just have never lived through one of these periods before.

    The evidence is all there in the climate records - tree rings, ice cores, layers of sediment etc. The problem is the people trying to interpret the data. Instead of looking to see what the data is telling them, they try to make the data into a (simpler) story. It just doesn't work if you do that - the data is complex. We must get used to trying to describe its complexity, if we are to avoid accusations of obfuscation, confusion, misrepresentation and falsehood. We could start by dropping the misleading terminology. Climate change does not occur in one linear direction. There is no such thing as global warming, global cooling, global dimming etc. There is only climate change.

  • Comment number 14.

    Professor Latif is way behind the times: Eleven years to be exact. The hottest year in the last century (globally) was 1998. Every year since then has been cooler. I'm surprised he hadn't noticed.

    Now he is predicting another decade or so of cooling. Yet CO2 levels continued to rise during the last decade and look like continuing for the next. So there is obviously no causal relationship between CO2 and global temperatures.

    Have you noticed that when the temperatures were rising it was our fault, but now they are falling it's a natural phenomenon. No wonder the majority of scientists are 'man-made' climate change sceptics.

  • Comment number 15.

    Climate change is used more and more by concerned individuals and organisations who have become tired of dumb global warming jokes. Why are people driven to be such adamant deniers?

  • Comment number 16.

    as kramerr wrote at 6:42pm on 16 Sep 2009,

  • Comment number 17.

    europeeno- because accepting climate change means accepting that we can't continue to be lazy waste producers consuming far more than the world can product.

    Climate change deniers are just people too greedy to accept that they're responsible and that they're going to have to stop being so wasteful and greedy, a bit like bankers and the recent banking crisis really.

  • Comment number 18.

    From the global hysteria in the media (and the BBC is as bad as the rest) an unbiased observer from Mars would probably conclude that Climate Change / Global Warming is a new cult religion, not science.

    Like most cults, the so-called debate generates more hot air than rational thought.

    The most certain prediction is that a few winners will make a lot of money out of it at the expense of a few billion losers. Capitalism is clearly alive and well, whatever the state of climate modelling.

  • Comment number 19.

    I've often wondered what happened to those glaciers that covered most of the UK .I suppose or anceestors lit too many fires .I wish I was a scientist beng paid to interpret data in whichever way will guarantee more funding .

  • Comment number 20.

    The issue at the heart of all this is Co2. Why then is it prefaced by a photo of cooling towers emitting water vapour?
    Yes I know water vapour is a greenhouse gas but you are surely not suggesting that man can compete with the sun and the oceans in producing water vapor, are you?

  • Comment number 21.

    hey, iwinter don't call me greedy, I deny GW entirely, and i've never been on a plane, don't have central heating, haven't got a credit card, recycle, look after my environment, used to be a member of Greenpeace (till they got mixed up with "consensus science" and only have one kid.

  • Comment number 22.

    I presume I am not the only one with the vivid impression that some climatologists, like generals of old, are simply fighting the last war...and so after a few years of warming, global warming they predict. And after a few years of cooling...

  • Comment number 23.

    barrygroves wrote:
    " The hottest year in the last century (globally) was 1998. Every year since then has been cooler." The last sentence is correct, but the first is not. Globally, the hottest year of the 20th Century was 1934 (even Hanson has been forced to concede that).

    The earth has warmed as we came out of the Little Ice Age. Despite the statistical tricks used by the IPCC to "get rid of the Mediaeval Warm Period" (a stated intention of an IPCC lead author in an email to David Deming) by using a technique that produces a hockey stick graph from random data and using dendrochronology from a species whose rings respond more to CO2 than to temperature, the Medieval settlements in Greenland that are still under ice is another "inconvenient truth" that won't go away.

    The problem is not CO2; the problem is that we are running out of oil. It's not politically possible to tax oil much further, but our noble leaders have realised that, by jumping on the climate alarmist bandwagon, they can pretend to tax "carbon emissions" (what they actually tax is fuel use) and get both the revenue and the plaudits for taxing us out of our "folly".

  • Comment number 24.

    Those who have been banging the drum over AGW cannot escape public criticism when dealing with 25 years of actual and now projected global cooling.

    You simply cannot escape the fact that we have been systematically lied to over AGW, and as a consequence there will be reprecussions.

    1. You can forget carbon taxes, cap-and-trade and CO2 limits. That isn't going to happen with global cooling.

    2. You forget renewable energy. No one is going to pay higher energy costs with global cooling.

    3. You can forget greener lifestyles and green jobs. No one is going to be shamed into living an alternative lifestyle and working differently with global cooling.

    4. You can forget environmentalism and saving the planet. No one will allow themselves to be dictated to by a mendacious green movement with global cooling.

    You can bet that the onset of global cooling will see reputations trashed and careers seriously curtailed.

    Who is up first for the chopping block?

  • Comment number 25.

    Denigrators of Tom Feilden's journalistic talents should instead congratulate him. However hesitantly, at least he has correctly detected and reflected a significant mood change. They should also congratulate Professor Mojib Latif, climate modeller extraordinaire, for coming clean in his interview over the significance of the 60-year North Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillation (MDO).
    Faced with the disappointment of a significant downturn in the temperature data since 2000, some 'warmists' are obviously going to be defensive and say silly things. Instead of just responding in kind it is wiser just to stick firmly to the facts:
    The average slope of the IPCC's HadCRUT world mean temperature series between 1880 and 2008 is a paltry 0.6degC per 100 years. If you then use the same data to construct an 11 year running mean curve (to eliminate short term climate fluctuations), the graph you obtain clearly shows a ~60 year cycle of up-and-down variation of about 0.6degC from trough to peak, exactly in phase with the MDO influence that Professor Latif refers to.
    Because the 0.6degC variation due to the MDO just happens by coincidence to be about the same magnitude as the long term 100 year average temperature rise, but occurs over the much shorter half-cycle time of 30 years, this more-than-3-fold increase in the rate of warming caused many wishful thinkers, scientists, journalists and politicians to think they had found the definitive 'fingerprint' of significant man-made global warming. Professor Latif has now kindly provided the simpler and much more rational explanation, the MDO - which, on the figures I have given above, accounts for all the variation to date.
    Assuming, as we might reasonably now expect, that the current 30 year downswing of the MDO redresses the balance, we will of course be left with exactly the same paltry average temperature rise of 0.6degC per 100 years that we had before all this fuss began. Therefore, in the absence of further real data to the contrary (and there is none), the best prediction is that the current long term extremely mild and palatable temperature rise will continue on to 2100 and beyond.
    In the meanwhile, taxpayers should carefully watch their wallets.

  • Comment number 26.

    The real inconvenient truths are these:

    1. NASA, ESA, and members of the space science community blindly insisted that Earth's heat source - the Sun - is a giant ball of Hydrogen (H) heated by H-fusion, in the face of precise, space-age experimental data that directly falsified the illusion that the interior of the Sun is made of the most lightweight elements (91% H and 9% He) like the top of its atmosphere! See: Science 195 (1977) 208-209; Nature 277 (1979) 615-620; Geochemical Journal 15 (1981) 247-267; Meteoritics 18 (1983) 209-222; etc.

    2. The obsolete standard solar model of Hydrogen-filled Sun cannot explain solar cycles of surface magnetic activity (sunspots) that are empirically linked with gravitational interactions of the Sun with its planets and other celestial and with the historical record of previous changes in Earth's climate.

    3. Bitter pills of truth that nuclear scientists, astronomers, and climatologists now face are these: a) The Sun is heated by repulsive interactions between neutrons in the solar core ["Neutron repulsion confirmed as energy source", J. Fusion Energy 20 (2001) 197-201]; b) "The Sun is a plasma diffuser that sorts atoms by mass" [Physics of Atomic Nuclei 69 (2006) 1847-1856 or Yadernaya Fizika 69 ((November 2006, Russian) number 11]; and c) "Earth's Heat Source -(is)- The Sun", [Energy and Environment 20 (2009) pp. 131-144]

    OKM, Former PI for NASA Apollo Samples

  • Comment number 27.

    I'm sorry, but this is just a terrible headline. This information is absolutely unsurprising and in NO way constitutes "an inconvenient truth about global warming". No one has ever said that AGW will cause natural climate cycles to cease to exist. Climate scientists have guaranteed that there will always be periods of relative cooling. AGW will simply ride over the top of natural factors.

  • Comment number 28.

    I think this combined with the current trend of more people beginning to doubt global warming is a reality will only lead to further confusion. It really falls down to climatologists and politicians to decide the appropriate actions to take in Copenhagen. This doesn't have to be an inconvenient truth if we use it as an opportunity to really prevent further warming long term

  • Comment number 29.

    Chrisd, You think that "An Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming" is a terrible headline. This is because you haven't faced up to the facts.

    If you read my earlier comment (No. 25) you will see that the natural climate cycle of the AMO entirely accounts for the apparently worrying acceleration in warming that occurred from 1970 to 2000 and which is now reversing. There is therefore no need to postulate any temperature enhancing effect due to AGW because there is no unexplained component of the temperature rise left to argue about! The long term temperature trend remains at 0.6degC per century and is entirely unalarming.

    Please do challenge the facts as I stated them if you wish. But just saying that "AGW will simply ride over the top of natural factors" is not a scientific statement and does not advance the debate.

  • Comment number 30.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 31.

    There is also a Pacific Decadal Occillation (PDO). It is also on a 60 year cycle. It just went negative (cooler).

    The Global Warming hysteria is entirely based upon computer models. Those models were written assuming that CO2 was the major driver of the global climate. The sun and the oceans were ignored as insignificant. This "pause" demonstrates that the oceans and sun are far from insignificant. They can override CO2's effect. That makes them a stronger force. The 1945-1975 cooling has been ignored by the models and not explained. They will not be able to ignore the 30 years of cooling we are currently in.

    My Take:

    Global warming is 1 degree every 100 years with a predominant 60 year cycle of warming and cooling within that. It is natural. The human fingerprint is slight. Most of it is local. CO2 is good for humans because it is good for the green stuff - we need more.

  • Comment number 32.

    AztecBill, I agree that the Pacific and Atlantic Multi-Decadal Oscillations appear to be correlated, the overall effect being that the World Average Temperature series for at least the last 130 years is composed quite clearly of a benign straight line increase of 0.6degC per 100 years on which is superimposed the 60 year up-and-down MDO cycle, causing the alarmist misunderstanding I mentioned in Item 25 above.

    But warmists are so entrenched in their beliefs that they don't seem to be able to look at real data, easy though it is to download nowadays.

    On climate models, I also agree. A computer model only reflects a scientific hypothesis. It requires verification against facts. When a model doesn't fit the observed facts, you are meant to throw the model away, not the facts. And that goes however many millions of dollars of taxpayers' money you have wasted on developing your model. And however much it hurts your pride. Perhaps they don't teach scientific methodology in schools and colleges any more...

  • Comment number 33.

    David Socrates:

    I agree with your comments at 29 and 32 but I write to dispute your assertion at 25 that says:

    “Assuming, as we might reasonably now expect, that the current 30 year downswing of the MDO redresses the balance, we will of course be left with exactly the same paltry average temperature rise of 0.6degC per 100 years that we had before all this fuss began. Therefore, in the absence of further real data to the contrary (and there is none), the best prediction is that the current long term extremely mild and palatable temperature rise will continue on to 2100 and beyond.”

    Well, no, that is not “the best prediction”.

    Anybody who looks at the records of recent global temperature (i.e. the most recent millennia) can see a series of cycles that are overlaid on each other. For example:
    1.
    There seems to be an apparent ~900 year oscillation that caused the Roman Warm Period (RWP), then the Dark Age Cool Period (DACP), then the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), then the Little Ice Age (LIA), and the present warm period (PWP).
    and
    2.
    There seems to be an apparent ~60 year oscillation that caused cooling to ~1910, then warming to ~1940, then cooling to ~1970, then warming to ~2000, then cooling since.

    So, has the warming from the LIA stopped or not?
    That cannot be known because the pattern of past global temperature fluctuations suggest that the existing cooling phase of the ~60 year cycle is opposing any such warming. And that cooling phase can be anticipated to end around 2030 when it can be anticipated that then either
    (a) warming from the LIA will continue until we reach temperatures similar to those of the MWP
    or
    (b) cooling will set in until we reach temperatures similar to those of the LIA.

    So, it is a scientific conclusion that the data does not indicate whether future warming or cooling will occur. And it is a political decision to ignore that unarguable scientific conclusion. But deniers of natural climate change do ignore it and they proclaim that human activities alone cause global warming: their natural climate change denial is pure superstition.

    Richard

  • Comment number 34.

    RichardSCourtney: Yes, I completely agree with your comments. There are (from the historical temperature evidence) many natural influences, up and down, operating on various timescales from days to millennia (and all timescales in between). So it is impossible in a natural chaotic system to be absolutely sure of anything in 20 to 30 years time let alone 90! The important point that I should have made clear is that my prediction of a continuing linear 0.6degC per century climb out of the little Ice Age, whilst subject to the usual climate fluctuation uncertainties (either way), is nevertheless the only remaining long term influence that we have any information about.

    The fact that the MDO accounts naturally for all, repeat all, of the apparently alarming 3-fold increase in temperature that has occurred over the 30 years to 2000 in effect destroys the hypothesis, repeated endlessly by the press and politicians as being settled science, that man-made CO2 was the cause. This knocks the prop entirely from under the 20 or so well funded climate modelling teams that contributed to the IPCC's prediction of a 2.5 to 6degC rise by 2100. Since there is now no sign of any influence at all in the actual temperature record to 2009 due to man-made causes, I believe that the 'CO2 hypothesis' as currently formulated is now, in scientific terms, effectively dead.

    So the slow natural ascent out of the Little Ice Age is the only game I know about left in town.

  • Comment number 35.

    The real story is buried here between the lines. Dr. James Hansen is Global Warming alarmist numero uno. He is an well paid advocate for many well funded forces looking to profit from the Global Warming scare, and Green agenda. And so against all logic, reason and data, he makes bold predictions that fail to come true, then replaces those with bigger bolder predictions and no apologies.

    Contrast this to Dr. Latif. He is a working scientist and not an advocate. He actually considered the facts, made the best possible model he could and concluded that the AMO had a more significant effect on climate than CO2. Nothing new or profound, Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer, long branded "Deniers", had been asserting this for years. But Latif has become the first 'non-denier modeler' with the integrity to build an honest model and report its results honestly. And his honest conclusion is that the AMO signal trumped the CO2 warming signal. BUT EVEN AFTER ALL OF THIS, he cannot simply report his results honestly. He has to soil all of his scientific credibility with a qualifying statement about how despite the fact that the AMO signal overwhelms any CO2 warming, Global Warming is a valid theory and must remain feared. WELL NO IT'S NOT. A Theory needs only a single point of data to disprove it. And Global Warming theory was constructed in light of these known current oscillations and purported to be valid in spite of them. With equal evidence, that being a computer model, now disputing it, the theory should be dead. But if you are a college professor, trying to keep funding coming your way, you cannot afford to turn your back on the deep pockets and heavy influence of the Green pushers. They are like the mafia. Even when you catch them red handed, you're not gonna get anyone to squeal on them, because of they have a lot to give and a lot to take away. So in what is maybe his finest hour as a scientist, Latif has to compromise his own conclusions with assertions that are scientifically invalid, and soften the impact of his work, simply to kowtow to the Alarmists. This point should not be overlooked. There is a lot of fuzzy science and misinformation out there clouding the debate on the existence/dangers of AGW. Here is a clear illustration of WHY the science is fuzzy. When your funding and credibility are in the hands of Green thugs, you better not make them look bad, no matter how good and scientifically honest your work is. So sadly, Latif is forced to strike a blow to his own credibility in delivering these findings.

    Folks this is not how science is done, and never what it was intended to be. Green gaming of the scientific method will have consequences far beyond energy policy if we allow it to continue. We cannot have true scientific statements bent to political and special interests. We cannot have genuine scientific discoveries tempered by disingenuous qualifications to what they actually mean scientifically. We need to cut the head off of this snake once and for all...

  • Comment number 36.

    iwinter you are a joke. What are you doing that is so much less greedy than anyone else? You clearly have a home, a computer, likely paid for by a job (or welfare, the greediest ripoff of all). I'm sure you have a cellphone, maybe a laptop. I'm sure you eat at restaurants and shop at stores, all of which have lights and climate control, and feature products made by corporations in factories.

    So maybe you ride a bike or drive a hybrid. Woo hoo. Maybe you recycle a few cans and bottles. Big whoop. The difference between your consumption and mine over a lifetime is utterly insignificant. Yet somehow you feel the need to spew a self-righteous tirade at everyone else, about what THEY'RE doing wrong. I hope you are aware how obvious it is to the rest of us that your delusions about how good you are and how bad we are, are simply manifestations of your own psychological problems. Is this really about how much you genuinely care for the world? Are you really living completely off the grid, assuming the role of living embodiment of your convictions? Clearly not. Are you simply a loser so lost in denial that you have taken up this issue as a means to elevate yourself above those who have more than you, in a phony world that exists only in your mind? I think, when actually considering the untempered facts, that that is the more accurate assessment. One that most levelheaded readers of your idiotic tirade picked up on immediately.

  • Comment number 37.

    DavidSocrates:

    Thank you for your agreement at 34.

    The issue of this discussion is how climate is being modelled, and that modelling is based on an unproved assumption that radiative focing governs global temperature. But that is not how the global climate is observed to behave.

    The Earth is constrained within close limits of global temperature in each of two stable states; viz. glacial and interglacial. And its temperature has been the same within narrow bounds in each of those stable states throughout the ~2.5 billion years since the Earth gained an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Importantly, the Earth’s surface has had liquid water throughout that time, but heating from the Sun has increased by about 30% over that time. If that additional radiative forcing from the Sun had a direct effect on temperature then the oceans would have boiled to steam long ago.

    Clearly, the climate system contains very strong constraints that keep global temperature within close boundaries in each of the two stable states.

    So, I wonder why an increase to radiative forcing of at most 0.4 per cent from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is supposed to threaten a "catastrophe" when ~30 per cent increase to radiative forcing from the Sun has had no discernible effect on global temperature.

    But the global temperature does constantly vary within the boundaries of its stable state. Its present state is the interglacial state and has been for ten millenia. At issue is why the global temperature varies within the boundaries.

    The climate system is seeking an equilibrium that it never achieves. The Earth obtains radiant energy from the Sun and radiates that energy back to space. The energy input to the system (from the Sun) may be constant (although some doubt that), but the rotation of the Earth and its orbit around the Sun ensure that the energy input/output is never in perfect equilbrium.

    The climate system is an intermediary in the process of returning (most of) the energy to space (some energy is radiated from the Earth’s surface back to space). And the Northern and Southern hemispheres have different coverage by oceans. Therefore, as the year progresses the modulation of the energy input/output of the system varies. Hence, the system is always seeking equilibrium but never achieves it.

    Such a varying system could be expected to exhibit oscillatory behaviour. And it does. Mean global temperature (n.b. global and not hemispheric temperature) rises by 3.8 degC from January to July and falls by 3.8 degC from July to January each year.: see
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/anomalies/index.php

    Please note that the highest global temperature is when the Earth is furthest from the Sun during each year and, therefore, it is an empirical fact that mechanisms within the climate system have much more effect on global temperature than change to incoming vs outgoing radiation.

    And I wonder why some people think a rise of global temperature of 2 degC would pass a catastrophic “tipping point” when global temperature rises by nearly double that during each year and recovers within the same year, and it does this every year.

    The annual oscillations could induce harmonic effects which have periodicity of several years. Indeed, it would be surprising if such harmonic effects did not occur. Of course, such harmonic oscillation would be a process that – at least in principle – is capable of evaluation. And assessment of that process may indicate frequencies of observed oscillations (i.e. NAO, PDO, etc.).

    It is interesting to note that there is an apparent oscillation with a frequency of ~60 years because mean global temperature is estimated to have cooled from ~1880 to ~1910, then warmed to ~1940, then cooled to ~1970, then warmed to 1998, and has cooled since then. It is tempting to speculate that this oscillation is a harmonic effect.

    However, there may be no process because the climate is a chaotic system. Therefore, the observed oscillations (i.e. NAO, PDO, etc. and the 60 year oscillation) could be observation of the system seeking its chaotic attractor(s) in response to its seeking equilibrium in a changing situation.

    Very importantly, there is an apparent ~900 year oscillation that caused the Roman Warm Period (RWP), then the Dark Age Cool Period (DACP), then the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), then the Little Ice Age (LIA), and the present warm period (PWP). All the observed rise of global temperature in the twentieth century could be recovery from the LIA that is similar to the recovery from the DACP to the MWP. And the ~900 year oscillation could be the chaotic climate system seeking its attractor(s). If so, then all global climate models and ‘attribution studies’ utilized by IPCC and CCSP are based on the false premise that there is a force or process causing climate to change when no such force or process exists.

    Furthermore, harmonic oscillation and chaotic attractor seeking may both occur.

    It is interesting to consider why some people want to believe in man-made global warming when there is no evidence of any kind for it and much evidence denies it: e.g. see
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

    I think they stick to their belief because my comments in this posting are considerations of reality, but AGW-supporters prefer to consider virtual reality.

    And I would like to know why some people think the robust bi-stability of the Earth's climate system could be disturbed by the relatively trivial effect of doubling modern atmospheric CO2 concentration when nobody knows the cause of the bi-stability.

    Richard

  • Comment number 38.

    David Socrates:

    I attempted to post this a few minutes ago and then discovered the 'House Rules' say I cannot reference web sites (which I did to provide supporting evidence). So, I am posting this again with the web addresses deleted.

    Thank you for your agreement at 34.

    This discussion is about the validity of climate models. The numerical (i.e. computer) climate models are all based on an assumption that global temperature is governed by radiative forcing. But that assumption is not how the world is observed to behave.

    The Earth is constrained within close limits of global temperature in each of two stable states; viz. glacial and interglacial. And its temperature has been the same within narrow bounds in each of those stable states throughout the ~2.5 billion years since the Earth gained an oxygen-rich atmosphere. Importantly, the Earth’s surface has had liquid water throughout that time, but heating from the Sun has increased by about 30% over that time. If that additional radiative forcing from the Sun had a direct effect on temperature then the oceans would have boiled to steam long ago.

    Clearly, the climate system contains very strong constraints that keep global temperature within close boundaries in each of the two stable states.

    So, I wonder why an increase to radiative forcing of at most 0.4 per cent from a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is supposed to threaten a "catastrophe" when ~30 per cent increase to radiative forcing from the Sun has had no discernible effect on global temperature.

    But the global temperature does constantly vary within the boundaries of its stable state. Its present state is the interglacial state and has been for ten millenia. At issue is why the global temperature varies within the boundaries.

    The climate system is seeking an equilibrium that it never achieves. The Earth obtains radiant energy from the Sun and radiates that energy back to space. The energy input to the system (from the Sun) may be constant (although some doubt that), but the rotation of the Earth and its orbit around the Sun ensure that the energy input/output is never in perfect equilbrium.

    The climate system is an intermediary in the process of returning (most of) the energy to space (some energy is radiated from the Earth’s surface back to space). And the Northern and Southern hemispheres have different coverage by oceans. Therefore, as the year progresses the modulation of the energy input/output of the system varies. Hence, the system is always seeking equilibrium but never achieves it.

    Such a varying system could be expected to exhibit oscillatory behaviour. And it does. Mean global temperature (n.b. global and not hemispheric temperature) rises by 3.8 degC from January to July and falls by 3.8 degC from July to January each year.
    I HAVE DELETED FROM THIS VERSION OF MY MESSAGE THE WEB ADDRESS OF THE NOAA DATA FOR THIS

    Please note that the highest global temperature is when the Earth is furthest from the Sun during each year and, therefore, it is an empirical fact that mechanisms within the climate system have much more effect on global temperature than change to incoming vs outgoing radiation.

    And I wonder why some people think a rise of global temperature of 2 degC would pass a catastrophic “tipping point” when global temperature rises by nearly double that during each year and recovers within the same year, and it does this every year.

    The annual oscillations could induce harmonic effects which have periodicity of several years. Indeed, it would be surprising if such harmonic effects did not occur. Of course, such harmonic oscillation would be a process that – at least in principle – is capable of evaluation. And assessment of that process may indicate frequencies of observed oscillations (i.e. NAO, PDO, etc.).

    It is interesting to note that there is an apparent oscillation with a frequency of ~60 years because mean global temperature is estimated to have cooled from ~1880 to ~1910, then warmed to ~1940, then cooled to ~1970, then warmed to 1998, and has cooled since then. It is tempting to speculate that this ocillation is a harmonic effect.

    However, there may be no process because the climate is a chaotic system. Therefore, the observed oscillations (i.e. NAO, PDO, etc. and the 60 year oscillation) could be observation of the system seeking its chaotic attractor(s) in response to its seeking equilibrium in a changing situation.

    Very importantly, there is an apparent ~900 year oscillation that caused the Roman Warm Period (RWP), then the Dark Age Cool Period (DACP), then the Medieval Warm Period (MWP), then the Little Ice Age (LIA), and the present warm period (PWP). All the observed rise of global temperature in the twentieth century could be recovery from the LIA that is similar to the recovery from the DACP to the MWP. And the ~900 year oscillation could be the chaotic climate system seeking its attractor(s). If so, then all global climate models and ‘attribution studies’ utilized by IPCC and CCSP are based on the false premise that there is a force or process causing climate to change when no such force or process exists.

    Furthermore, harmonic oscillation and chaotic attractor seeking may both occur.

    It is interesting to consider why some people want to believe in man-made global warming when there is no evidence of any kind for it and much evidence denies it:
    I HAVE DELETED FROM THIS VERSION OF THIS MESSAGE THE WEB ADDRESS THAT LISTED THE DATA I AM CITING

    I think they stick to their belief because my comments in this posting are considerations of reality, but AGW-supporters prefer to consider virtual reality.

    And I would like to know why some people think the robust bi-stability of the Earth's climate system could be disturbed by the relatively trivial effect of doubling modern atmospheric CO2 concentration when nobody knows the cause of the bi-stability.

    Richard

  • Comment number 39.

    RichardS Courtney: Yes, the climate models assume that the additional 0.4% radiative forcing of CO2 will increase world mean temperature proportionately (actually more than proportionally, due to water vapour feedback effects). In the absence of any other hypothesis, this was probably a reasonable starting point some 30 years ago (although it still doesn’t excuse the wild excesses of some of the computer modelers and their followers).

    A climate model is by definition simply a hypothesis in search of verification. Thirty years on, the expected verification data (in the form of any unaccounted-for temperature rise) has not appeared, as discussed in our earlier blog discussions. Now Professor Mojib Latif has simply put the last nail in the coffin of the man-made CO2 warming theory.

    Within our current 'ice house' era, the Earth has experienced a series of binary flips between 'ice ages' and 'inter glacials'. These keep it for most of the time either in the current high (‘integlacial’) state or in the low (‘ice age’) state, with rapid transitions in between. For all the reasons you explain, during the time it spends in one or other of those relatively stable states, it experiences minor perturbations (chaotic or otherwise) up and down around an average level. But that average level must be being maintained by some feedback and referencing process.

    As an engineer, this is a sure sign to me of the operation of a natural thermostat with a few fractions of a degrees C of hysteresis. This would quite obviously be capable of resisting an increase in radiative forcing of a few percent whether that was due to man-made CO2 or anything else, always forcing it back to the average. It is as if I turn on a 2KW electric heater in my centrally heated house. My house thermostat may take a bit of time to respond and turn off my boiler but eventually all the additional heat will be correctly compensated for and the average house temperature will remain exactly the same as before.

    As Bjorn Lomborg has rightly argued for many years, effort should now be sensibly re-directed to helping the world mitigate the effects of natural human and environmental disasters. The busted CO2 forcing theory, and all the accompanying social and political nonsense we have had to endure these past few years, will surely be viewed by our grandchildren as a very quaint historical aberration.

  • Comment number 40.

    It will not matter to our President Obama if Global warmiing is delayed for a decade of a thousand years he is still going topush for cap and trade legislation in our Senate. If the Scientists knew a thing or two they would start checking the SUN because that is where all the global warming is going to come from and not from anything that man can control, pick up a Bible and read Revalation and if you have eyes to see and ears to hear you will see the truth for God has never been wrong and never will be wrong. But these Godless liberal yoyos want to bankrupt the country so they can put the citizentry under thier power like most despots do.

  • Comment number 41.

    Why was this highly significant news about The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis tucked away in a blog and not broadcast on BBC News? Typical of the BBC, which pushes our Government's propaganda and spin at every opportunity but hides away anything that contradicts it.

    Reghars, Pete Ridley, Human-made Globl Climate Change Agnostic.

  • Comment number 42.

    Will reports like this get the true believers, or should I say charlatans off their global warming message. I think not, there's too much money to be made by the governments of the world buying into the whole charade.....http://cooperscopy.blogspot.com/

  • Comment number 43.

    I am a bit new to this so take it with a grain of co2. I have followed the gw debate (debacle) for some time and prefer facts to fiction no matter how inconvenient. From reading the comment (#39 –thermostat analogy – thank you David Socrates), I was struck with an idea that the earth possibly has it’s own individuality (to a degree) that allows it to adjust to outside (and inside? – why not?) changes, somewhat akin to a flower that opens during the day and closes at night (to retain heat for the evening?). Another post seemed to possibly indicate this when it was stated the earth is warmest further from the sun (#38 – thank you RichardS Courtney). How interesting. Does the earth itself compensate as if it is an organism? One analogy regarding: “Hence, the system is always seeking equilibrium but never achieves it.” (#38 – thank you RichardS Courtney); my car will, at lower speeds make different noises and vibrate which is different from the way it sounds and feels at higher speeds. There is a certain range of speed where it is quiet and does not noticeably vibrate, sort of hums along. But my car runs well over all three ranges. Not to be overly simplistic but could the earth run in a similar fashion? That it is stable only when it is seeking equilibrium. It could never be equillibed (real word?) in one ‘spot’ because like my car it needs to go different speeds with different internal and external influencing variables. Maybe it has achieved it (equilibrium) just not our idea of it. Thanks for hearing me out.

  • Comment number 44.

    Keepsaskingwhy, you make some interesting points. Thermostats are a class of servo mechanism. Self-regulating living systems also have many things in common with servo mechanisms. A flower that has evolved naturally over millions of years to open or close its petals to combat changes in the environment is an excellent analogy to the development and behaviour of Earth's natural thermostat.

    Because the warming effect due to man-made greenhouse gases is real, contributing of the order of 0.2 watts per square metre to the energy balance of planet Earth, it is correct to assume that it should by now have generated a sharply non-linear rise in temperature above the gentle 0.6 degC per century that existed for a 100 years before world industrialisation began to take off at the end of World War II. Now that the ups-and-downs of the NAO and SAO natural cycles have been correctly taken into account (thanks, Professor Latif, for coming clean on that one), Earth's temperature since WW2 is seen to have been plodding on at exactly the same gentle rate of 0.6 degC per century with absolutely no sign at all of any measurable upturn.

    The irony is that, by initiating a perfect 30 year scientific experiment, the man-made greenhouse gas warming theory has been the master of its own destruction:

    1. Thirty years ago alarmists began predicting a seriously destablilising world temperature rise as a consequence of the (correctly calculated) radiative forcing effect of post-WW2 man-made greenhouse gases.
    2. There has been absolutely no sign whatsoever of ANY such non-linear rise in temperature since WW2.
    3. Ergo, the alarmist predictions of the greenhouse theory have been falsified.
    4. The countervailing hypothesis, that the CO2 warming effect (although real) MUST be being completely counteracted by a much stronger natural thermostat, fits all the facts exactly.

    The sad thing is that a lot of very bright climate researchers, including Professor Latif's team, have been engaged for years in utterly pointless navel-gazing, developing more and more complex mathematical models based on what has now almost certainly been proved to be a completely flawed warming theory. Would that they had applied their talents towards researching the physical mechanism behind Earth's thermostat. It's not too late to do so. But there are so many economic and political vested interests currently engaged in the global warming 'industry' that I don't see a sensible change of direction in research funding happening any time soon.

    Never mind. At least the facts are now plain for the rest of us to see. So, potentially, that's around 30 trillion dollars saved. Go write to your Member of Parliament!

  • Comment number 45.

    I'd like to second the calls for the BBC to make more of a fuss about this. We've been getting the pro-AGW case rammed down our throats for a number of years now. They've resorted to name calling and intimidation, there have been regular comparisons to holocaust deniers, even child killers and finally they've been undone by the inconvenient truth that the planet just isn’t warming as it should be.
    Many serious scientists stood back from all of this hysteria when it first started, in the mistaken belief that as it was all nonsense it would eventually burn itself out. By the time any of us realised that the rest of world and the media were starting to take these people seriously (Hansen et al) it was way, way too late.
    The North Atlantic Oscillation is not news, many of us have been banging on about it for years, not that anyone was listening, it was long deemed to be insignificant by the pro-AGW camp as indeed were other factors such as small changes in solar irradiance. They were all supposedly much less important than the thermal capacity of a trace atmospheric gas - a gas that has if anything a very, very, very minor role in the retention of atmospheric heat.
    It's nice to have lived long enough to have seen the end of this rubbish, it just a shame that they managed to spin it out this long.
    Perhaps the green agenda can now swing back to more important things, though they may have done irreparable damage to their cause.

  • Comment number 46.

    So much for "the debate is over." And, so much for labeling all of us, who question the legitimacy of the global warming, chicken little mentality, as "deniers" - as though we were in some sort of medieval period of inquisition where those who don't buy into the belief system of the environmental church are singled out as heretics.

    If even the top "believers" of global warming are in disagreement of whether the next couple decades will bring cooling or warming, how can the debate be over?

    When people what to declare a debate over, it is generally because they know the facts aren't on their side and they can't, or are unable, to dispute evidence to the contrary.

    R. Grimes

  • Comment number 47.

    I wish someone would have a word with Richard Black. As he is the BBC web science correspondent he should also broadcast this too. But he wont. He is one of the proven AGW advocates, and still puts the discredited hockey stick onto the main pages, even though the one he uses in 10 years out of date. Recent Arctic ice data do show local temperature rises, but it also shows that the Medieval Warm period, and the Little Ice Age are most definitely real. The Beeb is supposed to report even handedly, so how he gets away with lop sided reporting is a real concern.

  • Comment number 48.

    There is a ground swell of popular rejection of the Australian Government’s attempts to impose a “Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme” (CPRS) which will seriously weaken the Australian economy. The UN’s Copenhagen Climate Change Conference fast approaches and UN politicians are become more and more concerned that no worthwhile agreement will be reached. It is reported (Note 1) that QUOTE: World leaders must intervene to rescue flagging climate talks by brokering in person a deal to combat global warming in Copenhagen in December, Prime Minister Gordon Brown said on Monday. UNQUOTE. It is claimed by The Australian newspaper (Note 2) that QUOTE: Denmark has proposed Australia play a leadership role at the conference, acting as a “friend of the chair” for the purposes of negotiating agreement at the meeting. UNQUOTE. Panic is setting in and is being reported on around the globe.

    On the other hand it is satisfying to see that the developing economies are not prepared to fall in line with the politicians of the UN and EU. The Australian also comments (Note 3) that QUOTE: Fast-developing nations such as China and India will strongly resist being bound by internationally agreed targets and will not allow the solidarity of the G77 negotiating bloc of developing nations to be broken. UNQUOTE. Turkey’s Zaman reports (Note 4) QUOTE: Other nations including India, China, Brazil and Mexico have agreed to draw up national programs to slow the growth of greenhouse gas emissions, but have so far resisted making those limits binding and subject to international monitoring in a treaty. Worries over the US and China have led to mounting pessimism that a deal can be struck in Copenhagen without major policy changes. “The prospects that states will actually agree to anything in Copenhagen are starting to look worse and worse,” Rajendra Pachauri, head of the UN scientific panel studying climate change, wrote in a Friday post on the Newsweek Web site. UNQUOTE.

    In other words, the developing nations, who are preparing to grow their economies significantly and will fuel this growth through the use of fossil fuels, will not agree any commitments on the emissions of carbon dioxide. They know that there is no need for them and that global climates will not be affected by them. This is wonderful news for those of us who recognise the UN’s climate change propaganda for what it really is, a scare-mongering campaign having two major objectives, redistribution of wealth and global government. It has nothing to do with trying to control global climates.

    Australian politicians are wising up to the damage that any emissions restrictions will have on their economy, as exemplified in a presentation by Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi (Note 5). Have a listen. Also take a look at this historical summary of climate change scares since 1895 (Note 6) and at this article on the already reducing rate of change in levels of atmospheric CO2 (Note 7). You may learn something.

    NOTES:
    1) see http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/20091019/brown-urges-leaders-to-broker-climate-deal-in-person.htm
    2) see http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26266711-601,00.html
    3) see http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,26196377-11949,00.html
    4) see http://www.todayszaman.com/tz-web/news-190406-britain-leaders-must-broker-climate-deal-in-person.html
    5) see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=79s9y94s0wg&feature=player_embedded
    6) see http://butnowyouknow.wordpress.com/those-who-fail-to-learn-from-history/climate-change-timeline/
    7) see http://yelnick.typepad.com/politick/2009/06/co2-in-the-atmosphere-is-decreasing-how-will-the-global-warming-crowd-explain-that.html

    Best regards, Pete Ridley, Human-made global climate change agnostic.

 

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