Notify me of new HIR pieces!
an hir series
“When is an inference from a premise, p, to a conclusion, c, reasonable? If an inference is made by the mainstream of a scientific community, is it not reasonable, for is not science the epitome of rationality? While scientists value rationality, they too are fallible and mainstreams sometimes fail under social pressures… Next, the idea that scientists’ inferences define reasonableness is authoritarian because it would make criticism of established thought unreasonable, whereas criticism may progress science; and subjectivist, because it locates reasonableness not in the objective character of inferences, but in relations between inferences and particular groups. An inference from p to c is reasonable only if p supports c…” 
The media, the Western governments, the UN, innumerable ‘environmental organizations,’ and a host of scientific institutions have been defending for some time the anthropogenic (man-made) global warming hypothesis, which states that global warming is a consequence of human activity. By burning fossil fuels, they explain, we are releasing large quantities of CO2 (carbon dioxide) into the atmosphere, and because CO2 is a “greenhouse gas,” it traps solar radiation and contributes to the warming of our planet. The argument has become famous especially through the efforts of Al Gore and his movie An Inconvenient Truth, for which he received a Nobel Peace Prize.
It is not a mere ‘academic’ question, but a political and economic one as well. The above-mentioned actors do not merely argue that global warming is man-made, but also that, as a result of global warming, a large-scale catastrophe will soon be upon us. If they are right, such can only be averted by making profound changes—on an emergency basis—in the economic arrangements that govern the lives of billions of people around the globe. Copenhagen is the recently agreed upon site for discussing recommended policy changes, that, everybody agrees, will impose profound costs, and especially so in the developing world, but these sacrifices, they say, are necessary in order to avert the expected collapse of human life on Earth. With passion, Al Gore warns that the planet “has a fever” (and prolonged fevers, if untreated, kill the patient).
On this and other topics laypeople are daily asked to bow before the “claims of science,” a new “Word of God” sternly pouring forth from the mouth of an irresistible new priesthood, custodian of the new sacred: objectivity. Do I exaggerate the similarities with religion? Not if people take objectivity on faith (in which case the Enlightenment, for all practical purposes, never happened). And herein lies the paradox: to defend science one must question it. The true scientist, therefore, even should he be an anthropogenic partisan, will celebrate rather than condemn that anything so momentous as the possibility of man-made global warming should be received with skepticism. And he will delight in the debate, gladly meeting his intellectual opponents to discuss their objections. For science is a cultural activity, not immune to political, ideological, reputational, or economic incentives, which can be sources of error. Only when we allow—in fact promote—an open and vigorous debate can errors be identified and their sources corrected.
As in other topics, the skeptical layman will here find support among the priests, for there is dissension within the Temple, and a number of scientists disagree with the thesis that global warming has anything to do with human activity. Matters appear differently because the media has repeatedly lectured us about a supposed “unanimous scientific consensus” on man-made global warming (but the intellectually free will save some skepticism for the media). This article will familiarize the reader with an aspect of the data collected from ice core samples obtained by drilling deep into the Antarctic ice. It is my view, and that of many climate scientists, that this key evidence in fact refutes the anthropogenic hypothesis.
What are the ice cores? Snowfall over those areas of the Antarctic that never melt has created a kind of ‘fossil’ record of atmospheric composition, because as the snow falls it traps air. As successive layers of snowfall accumulate on top of each other, we get over time a vertical frozen record of changing atmospheric conditions. It is not only the relative quantities of various gases, such as CO2, that can be reconstructed with this record, but also the temperatures, because some of the particles trapped in the air bubbles (certain kinds of ‘isotopes’) are known to be strong correlates of temperature. The upshot is that thanks to the ice core samples we can now say with some confidence, for a period of some 650,000 years, 1) how the temperatures have bounced around, and 2) how the levels of CO2 have bounced around. This allows us to look for evidence that changes in the concentrations of CO2 cause changes in the overall temperature.
The central issue. If the ice core record shows evidence consistent with a causal relationship where CO2 ‘drives’ temperature, then it is possible for the anthropogenic hypothesis to be correct (though it would still be necessary to show that human production of CO2 is sufficient to produce current warming trends). My contention, however, is that such evidence is missing, and that the ice core record has refuted the anthropogenic hypothesis. I contend, also, that this is obvious, and that no serious challenge to this view has appeared in the scientific peer-reviewed literature.
The above notwithstanding, those who defend that global warming is man-made have continued to insist that their view is “settled fact.” Not only that, they claim that the ice core evidence is actually the best evidence in their favor. Since these arguments receive lots of support in the media, which repeat that the UN’s IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) brings together the world’s top climate scientists, and that they all agree that global warming is man-made, the average layperson is easily impressed. To counter that, we will here explain the importance of the ice core evidence, and why this evidence does not help the anthropogenic hypothesis. We will also provide evidence to controvert the supposed scientific consensus around IPCC claims. Happily, there is no disagreement about the quality of the evidence, nor is there any disagreement about what the evidence says. Also happily, this is all quite easy to understand. The lay reader, therefore, once the evidence is explained, will be in a position to make up his or her own mind.
So that the reader is in no doubt about our fairness, we will consider what proponents of the anthropogenic hypothesis have themselves referred to as their best arguments. In particular, we will examine an article by climate scientist Jeff Severinghaus, who is repeatedly used as a rebuttal source when skeptics dare affirm that the ice core evidence has embarrassed the man-made global warming hypothesis.
What I am not saying
The subtitle of my article, “I don’t believe in man-made global warming,” is a simple declarative statement. And yet it fails to make my position clear. Many people believe that if someone questions the hypothesis of anthropogenic (man-made) global warming one is automatically stating a number of other things. But one isn’t—not necessarily. And I am not. So I begin by clearing the air.
I am not defending the oil companies
Before anybody proposed the hypothesis that global warming was man-made there was already a long tradition among progressives and liberals of suspicion and opposition to the great oil conglomerates. Historically, plenty of nasty stuff going on in the oil business, quite apart from any environmental considerations, has justified this stance. A refutation of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis should not be interpreted as, and is not here intended to be, an argument to rehabilitate any oil company. What I am saying is simply this: I don’t believe global temperatures are rising because we burn fossil fuels.
I don’t deny the existence of serious environmental problems which demand our attention
For some 20 years I have been what people call an ‘environmentalist,’ and my awakened consciousness has moved me to reflection and action concerning the manner in which we pollute the oceans, the land, the rivers, the groundwater, and, yes, also the air. I am concerned, too, about the costs imposed on the poor, who routinely become the greatest victims of environmental degradation. But concern for the health of the environment and its human victims does not commit me to any particular theory of how global temperatures work. I believe we are harming the environment in various quite dangerous ways, but I don’t believe we are causing global warming. And I believe we increase the dangers of many environmental problems when we pour so much energy on global warming, something we cannot affect.
For example, people in Mexico City are more concerned about global warming than about fecal matter in the air they breathe. The second problem has a solution: proper water treatment. But Mexicans are also largely unaware that practically all of the water treatment plants in the country are not in operation. In consequence, the air, groundwater, and soil are being poisoned. And yet Mexicans are hardly mobilized to demand a solution to these problems, for they don’t hear about them. What they hear about—incessantly—is global warming.
I am not saying that the world’s top climate scientists are wrong
People hear from the media, from a great many environmental activists, and from government and UN bureaucrats at different levels that the UN-based IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) brings together the world’s top climate scientists, and that they all agree global warming is man-made. Lots of people who say this—including many relatively high-profile environmental activists and bureaucrats at the UN and other places—no doubt believe it. But it isn’t true.
Many of the scientists listed as authors on IPCC documents actually disagree with their content and have fought to have their names removed. Some have threatened or taken legal action to achieve this. Others, with less energy for that, have impotently watched how the IPCC uses their names to defend a position which they have not endorsed. Many people listed on IPCC documents are not climate scientists. These issues are discussed in the 2007 documentary The Great Global Warming Swindle, which has a good number of top climate scientists disagreeing with the anthropogenic hypothesis.
In Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science, Australia’s top geologist Ian Plimer explains:
“Although it is commonly cited that 2500 scientists wrote the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment report, a head count shows that there were 1656 authors and many of them were authors of many parts of the Report. Some of them used their given name in one part, used an initial in another, and used an abbreviation in another.”
Is this a scandal? People wrote their names different ways so they could be counted two or three times when calculating the ‘number’ of scientists who authored the report.
“Furthermore, if we investigate the biographies of the 2500 ‘climate scientists,’ we find that many are not even scientists [let alone climate scientists – FGW]. To claim that this group of people represents the world’s top scientists is untrue. It seems that of the 1190 separate individuals who wrote the scientific part of the report, many were not scientists but were political and environmental activists.”
Plimer also writes the following:
“The social scientist Naomi Oreskes claimed in the scientific journal Science that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993-2003 under the key words ‘global climate change’ produced 928 articles, all of which had abstracts supporting the consensus view. Another social scientists, Benny Peiser, tried to validate this claim, checked Oreskes’ procedure and found that only 905 of the 928 articles actually had abstracts, and that only 13 of the 905 explicitly supported the consensus view. Some papers opposed the consensus view. Referees and editors of Science could have done their job and easily checked Oreskes’ claim, as did Peiser. They did not. Claims of consensus relieve policy bureaucrats, environmental advocates, and politicians of the need to validate claims or have any knowledge of science and are used to intimidate those who beg to differ.”
Plimer also points out that the US Academy of Science refused to join the British Royal Society in signing an alarmist manifesto . The Russian Academy of Science has taken a quite public and quite explicit position against what the IPCC claims is the ‘consensus’ view. Furthermore, writes Plimer,
“the 32,000 American scientists who signed the Oregon Petition expressed serious doubt about the major conclusions of the IPCC. Many surveys now involve little time and effort as they utilize the click of a computer mouse. The process for the Oregon Petition involved filling in a printed document, finding a stamp and envelope, and posting it to the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.
The American Physical Society stated: ‘There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.’ ” [2a]
In December of 2008 the following was reported:
“WASHINGTON – A United Nations climate change conference in Poland is
about to get a surprise from 650 leading scientists who scoff at doomsday
reports of man-made global warming – labeling them variously a lie, a hoax
and part of a new religion.
The article cited above quoted the statements of some of the scientists. One, a Nobel-prize winner, said, “Global warming has become a new religion.” Another said that warming fears are the “worst scientific scandal in the history.” And so on.
To read the
text of the report authored by these scientists, which was officially
submitted in a US Senate Environment & Public Works Committee Minority
I don’t know whether there was follow through on this, but the founder of the Weather Channel announced on FOX NEWS in 2008 that he and over 30,000 scientists, many of them professionals of climate and closely related sciences, had initiated action to sue Al Gore for what they claim is scientific fraud in his high-profile defense of the anthropogenic hypothesis.
Also in 2008, Vincent Gray, “expert reviewer” for the IPCC, resigned in disgust and published an exposé of what he claims is widespread and fraudulent manipulation of data at the IPCC.[3a] In his exposé Gray charges that “dubious observations and some genuine science has been distorted and ‘spun’ to support a global campaign to limit human emissions of certain greenhouse gases which has no scientific basis.”[3b] Gray’s accusations received dramatic support in late 2009 when the Climategate scandal revealed that the most important IPCC scientists were exchanging emails about how to twist their data in favor of the anthropogenic hypothesis and how to censor any skeptics who disagreed with them (this is covered towards the end of this article).
This is already enough to establish that the idea of a ‘scientific consensus’ in favor of IPCC claims is at the very least a wild exaggeration, and perhaps an outright inversion of the truth. So, given that at least a good many (and apparently a great many) of our top climate scientists are disputing the anthropogenic hypothesis, my stance on this question does not place me in opposition to them.
I don’t deny global warming as such
There appears to be general agreement that from 1979 to 1998 planetary temperatures rose. Let us stipulate here that they did. The question then is not whether the Earth has been warming but why. Some of us believe that human production of CO2 has nothing to do with the warming and that some other cause is responsible. Most probably, the sun (no one disputes there has been increased solar activity). But we agree that there has been some warming.
As a brief aside, I point out two wrinkles on the widespread agreement concerning the 1979-1998 warming. The first is that warming appears to have stopped since 1998, coinciding with a decrease in solar activity that nobody disputes. If we haven’t quite begun cooling (some believe we have), at least we have not resumed warming yet.
The second is that, contrary to what some claim, the 1979-1998 warming may not have been much. The data used to argue for a dramatic planetary temperature increase comes from terrestrial measuring stations. These are plagued with problems that give the measurements a warm bias, according to a report from the Science and Public Policy Institute. The satellite data, which do not have these problems, show nothing but a moderate temperature increase in the period 1979-1998, and therefore no actual global warming for the 20th c. as a whole. This supports the skeptics who claim that 1979-1998 shows ordinary cyclical warming—nothing to do with human activity.[4a] We shall return to this issue at the end.
I don’t deny the “greenhouse effect”
In a greenhouse the glass (or plastic) roof and walls allow the sun’s rays in, and these warm the air and other things within it; but thanks to the roof and walls the heated air cannot be lost by convection as it normally would (more precisely, heat loss is slower than heat production). The so-called atmospheric “greenhouse effect” works differently but appears analogically similar, hence the name. In the atmospheric “greenhouse effect,” when the sun’s rays bombard the surface of the Earth, gases in our atmosphere trap some of the infrared radiation and prevent it from escaping back into space. This warms the air between the surface and the troposphere.
I believe the “greenhouse effect” does happen. But this does not force me to believe that large-scale changes in the Earth’s temperature are primarily due to changes in the concentrations of “greenhouse gases.” It is logically possible for the “greenhouse effect” to do its thing while other processes move the planetary temperatures dramatically up and down.
Suppose you study my body temperature in the shade and conclude that burning of calories is mostly responsible. I step into the sun and my body gets quickly warmer. Why? Because I suddenly began burning more calories? Nothing forces you to say that. On the contrary, the best hypothesis for why my body temperature suddenly increased has to do with the sun’s rays directly hitting my body. And yet recognizing this will in no way deny that my body burns calories and that calories produce heat. Similarly, when I say that big shifts in global temperatures do not follow changes in the relative abundance of certain “greenhouse gases,” but rather some other process, I am not denying that the “greenhouse effect” happens.
As an economist would say, the greenhouse gas elasticity of global temperature may be very low: perhaps even large shifts in greenhouse gas concentrations cause only very small changes in global temperatures, tiny wiggles on the truly important movements. A top climate scientists puts it like this: “If the current atmospheric CO2 content of 380 ppmv were doubled to 760 ppmv, there would be a minuscule impact on the radiation balance and the temperature.”[6d]
I am not denying that CO2 is a “greenhouse gas”
The IPCC claims that the CO2 elasticity of global
CO2 is considered one of the gases that contribute to the “greenhouse effect.” Everybody agrees, however, that water vapor is by far the most important greenhouse gas, and that CO2’s effect relative to water vapor is small. Moreover, human production of CO2 is quite small compared to naturally occurring CO2 production: “Experts estimate annual human production of CO2 at 23 billion tonnes - less than 3 per cent of nature's estimated 770 billion tonnes. Annually, nature produces 33 times more than do humans.”[6a] The anthropogenic hypothesis thus requires that a proportionally very small increment—the human-caused increment—in the global level of a relatively unimportant greenhouse gas somehow operates a “tipping point” that puts the “greenhouse effect” into overdrive, causing a dramatic rise in the planetary temperature. That sounds a bit far-fetched, but that is precisely what the IPCC claims. As one newspaper puts it:
“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says the earth has effectively developed an allergy to CO2. The effect of a tiny amount of CO2 in the atmosphere is amplified by water vapour and clouds in a positive feedback loop which enhances the climate's sensitivity to extra CO2 and causes ‘runaway global warming.’ That is the big Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change hypothesis.”[6b]
Those who believe, in disagreement with the IPCC, that human production of CO2 has not caused global warming, though CO2 is indeed a “greenhouse gas,” incur no necessary contradiction.
I don’t deny the evidence suggesting that atmospheric temperature and CO2 are causally linked
Those who believe in man-made global warming routinely refer us to the Antarctic ice-core evidence with which climate scientists have reconstructed a 650,000-year record of both Antarctic temperatures and CO2 levels. In fact, they seem quite sure that this is their most important evidence, and it has become famous with the public thanks to the efforts, especially, of Al Gore and his movie, An Inconvenient Truth. Like them, I accept the ice core data, and like them, I believe this data suggests that atmospheric temperature and CO2 concentrations are causally linked. The question, however, is: what causes what?
For the anthropogenic argument to make sense, higher levels of CO2 must cause higher temperatures. Should the higher temperatures (achieved by some other process) be the ones causing higher levels of CO2, then the relationship will go precisely the wrong way for the anthropogenic argument. As it turns out, in the 650,000-year record, Antarctic temperatures always rise first, and then, with an 800-year lag (give or take), rise the Antarctic levels of CO2. This is the most dramatic refutation imaginable of the anthropogenic argument’s most basic premise. For it is simply impossible for rises in CO2 to cause changes in temperature if the rises in CO2 happen second (the very principle of causality requires precedence in time).
And yet this evidence is usually presented as the most dramatic in the anthropogenic argument’s favor.
‘Orwellian’ is an adjective reserved for a media-imposed total inversion of reality, plus indifference to absurdity equal parts boldness and nonchalance (so powerful in the rash assertion of its plausibility as to convince the innocent). Loudly claiming that evidence refuting an argument is the most powerful supposedly validating selfsame argument, and daring us to disagree, is Orwellian.
What about the ice core evidence?
“While some environmentalists might concede that the IPCC report is a political document, they would also point to what they see as Mr Gore’s knockout punch, a dramatic video based on the world’s climate record preserved in ice cores.”
--The Straits Times (Singapore) [6c]
The evidence mentioned immediately above is important, because proponents of the man-made global warming hypothesis—in which CO2 stars as the main protagonist—consider the ice core evidence their “knockout punch.” In his movie, Al Gore proudly poses in front of a giant representation of the ice core evidence, shown as two graphs, one of temperature levels and another of CO2 levels, covering a period of many hundreds of thousands of years. The Straits Times: “The two graphs obviously move in lockstep with each other, he says. With great panache, Mr Gore concludes that when carbon goes up, temperature inevitably follows.” But this is based on a deception. Al Gore placed the two graphs—CO2 and temperature—‘on top’ of each other, disrespecting the axis of time. A trick. If one represents matters properly, explains The Straits Times,
“...it becomes very clear that, very consistently, every temperature rise actually precedes the carbon rise by some 800 years. This undeniable time lag is critical since what it says is that more carbon in the air did not lead to global warming in times past. If so, factors other than carbon must have set off the various periods of global warming in times past.
If so, the most fundamental assumption of the carbon theory of human-induced global warming rests on shaky ground.” [emphasis added]
A ‘knockout punch,’ all right, if anthropogenic partisans were fighting with the mirror. They stand refuted by their own ‘best’ evidence.
But naturally one may feel insecure on this point. One might prefer, before making up one’s mind, to see anthropogenic partisans at least try to defend their hypothesis from the ice core evidence. After watching them fail, one could then abandon this theory without the nagging pangs of guilt that usually accompany shifts against political correctness. To this end, I will consider two cases. As we shall see, both cases make clear the importance of climate scientist Jeff Severinghaus’s arguments to those in favor of the anthropogenic hypothesis. We will therefore consider Severinghaus’s arguments in some detail.
Ice core evidence (Case 1)
Our first case concerns contributions to the internet website RealClimate, whose academic authority is heralded in its header: “Climate Science from Climate Scientists.” The “About” section explains:
“RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists. We aim to provide a quick response to developing stories and provide the context sometimes missing in mainstream commentary. The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science...”
After such a strongly worded commitment to avoid politics and economic policy one is surprised to find, in a post dated April 2007, the heading: “THE LAG BETWEEN TEMPERATURE AND CO2. (GORE’S GOT IT RIGHT.)” Naturally, an article on the ice core evidence should, as this one does, make reference in its title to the glaring problem: CO2 lags temperature. But if a politician selling worldwide economic reforms via anthropogenic arguments is embarrassed by his own ‘best’ evidence, or if he isn’t, what does that matter to scientists who write “for... journalists” without “get[ting] involved in any political or economic implications...”? Anyway. But we learn from this, at least, that despite 650,000 years of data showing temperature rising before—not after—CO2, the article will defend the bravado claim that Al Gore is still right: CO2 is the agent of world temperatures.
The author begins:
“When I give talks about climate change the question that comes up most frequently is this: ‘Doesn’t the relationship between CO2 and temperature in the ice core record show that temperature drives CO2, not the other way round?’ On the face of it, it sounds like a reasonable question.”
To doubt that the most fundamental premise of the anthropogenic warming hypothesis can be right, when the purported cause turns out to be an effect, take note, is only apparently reasonable. Respect for the rules of logic and the principle of causality, therefore, cannot animate the complaint; rather, certain people “try to discredit Al Gore,” and so “it is one of the most popular claims made by the global warming deniers.”
I am stopped cold. As mentioned earlier, most skeptics of the anthropogenic theory actually agree that global warming has been taking place (at least for the period 1979-1998). But even if we didn’t, if this is a scientific debate, why attack us with the epithet “global warming deniers”? Sounds a bit like “Holocaust deniers,” doesn’t it? People beyond the pale. Heretics. Quite a bit of emotion here already, then, and I have quoted only the first two paragraphs. One glances nervously back at the “About” page for reassurance that this website “will not get involved in any[thing] political,” but one is then hit by the article’s next few sentences.
[Quote from RealClimate begins here]
[The troublesome question] got a particularly high profile airing a couple of weeks ago, when congressman Joe Barton brought it up to try to discredit Al Gore’s congressional testimony. Barton said:
“In your movie, you display a timeline of temperature and compared to CO2 levels over a 600,000-year period as reconstructed from ice core samples. You indicate that this is conclusive proof of the link of increased CO2 emissions and global warming. A closer examination of these facts reveals something entirely different. I have an article from Science magazine[8a] which I will put into the record at the appropriate time that explains that historically, a rise in CO2 concentrations did not precede a rise in temperatures, but actually lagged temperature by 200 to 1,000 years. CO2 levels went up after the temperature rose. The temperature appears to drive CO2, not vice versa. On this point, Mr. Vice President, you’re not just off a little. You’re totally wrong.”
Of course, those who’ve been paying attention will recognize that Gore is not wrong at all. This subject has been very well addressed in numerous places. Indeed, guest contributor Jeff Severinghaus addressed this in one of our very first RealClimate posts, way back in 2004.
[Excerpt from RealClimate ends here]
Impossible to miss the simultaneous ad hominem and browbeating recourse to authority: should you think that Gore is “wrong at all,” just because some people “try to discredit” him with his own ‘best’ evidence, you have not “been paying attention” to how “this subject has been very well addressed in numerous places.” You are distracted.
If I may digress from the above article for a second, how did Al Gore reply? Happily, a video of the congressional exchange between Joe Barton and Al Gore is available on YouTube.
First, Al Gore took refuge in authority: “...the [congressional] committees should be under no illusion of what the scientific consensus is...” For support, he rattled off a list of organizations that endorse his views, and placed great emphasis on the IPCC, which he called “the most extensive and elaborate, in depth, highest quality, international scientific collaboration in all of history.” Not only that, he said the IPCC was “unanimous” and that believing in anthropogenic global warming was like believing in gravity! But we have already mentioned the problems with the IPCC (and we shall return to this issue).
Almost by accident, Gore made a statement on the substance of Barton’s point: “On CO2 and temperature, when CO2 goes up, temperature goes up.” This way of talking appears to imply that CO2 rises first and the temperature second. Indeed, in An Inconvenient Truth, as he stood in front of a gigantic graph of the ice core data, Al Gore literally stated: “when there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer.” But this actually inverts what his own graph would show if he hadn’t tricked his viewers by playing fast and loose with the time axis: when temperature gets warmer, CO2 then goes up: carbon dioxide increases follow temperature increases (not the other way around).
After this, Gore insisted for a while, with great passion, that the 20th c. has been warm (which is hardly the issue). Then, again almost by accident, he returned to the substance of Barton’s point: “In the ice core record, as I’ve said every time I give my slide show, the relation...—it’s a coupled system, they [CO2 and temperature] go up and down together...” Notice: he almost committed himself to a statement about what the causal relationship is but corrected himself just in time: “it’s a coupled system.” Well yes, “coupled,” if you wish, but with an 800-year lag, and with the temperatures rising first. The reason Gore opted for his vague “coupled system” instead of committing himself to a clear statement of causality, I think, is that he was confronted with a clear interpretation of the evidence that refutes the CO2-drives-temperature hypothesis.
After some virtuoso ink-spilling from Gore on rotation wobbles, and orbits, and the sun, and whatnot, all of which had nothing to do with the issue, Barton simplemindedly insisted: “The temperature goes up before the CO2 goes up.” To my eyes, Gore appeared a bit desperate as he shot back: “Sometimes that has been true in the past; the opposite has also been true in the past.” This is false. The ice core data never show CO2 changes preceding temperature changes.
But if Al Gore is not very good at this, perhaps the professional climate scientists who contribute their views on the website RealClimate will do better. Coming back to the article quoted above, of those “numerous places” where the embarrassment of the ice core data has been addressed to the satisfaction of the author, we are directed especially to one place. This is a 2004 post, also on RealClimate, by Jeff Severinghaus, Professor of Geosciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California (San Diego). Severinghaus’s article leads off with the title: “WHAT DOES THE LAG OF CO2 BEHIND TEMPERATURE IN ICE CORES TELL US ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING?” I now quote the article in full:
[Quote from RealClimate begins here]
This is an issue that is often misunderstood in the public sphere and media, so it is worth spending some time to explain it and clarify it. At least three careful ice core studies have shown that CO2 starts to rise about 800 years (600-1000 years) after Antantarctic temperature during glacial terminations. These terminations are pronounced warming periods that mark the ends of the ice ages that happen every 100,000 years or so.
Does this prove that CO2 doesn’t cause global warming? The answer is no.
The reason has to do with the fact that the warmings take about 5000 years to be complete. The lag is only 800 years. All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend. The other 4200 years of warming could in fact have been caused by CO2, as far as we can tell from this ice core data.
The 4200 years of warming make up about 5/6 of the total warming. So CO2 could have caused the last 5/6 of the warming, but could not have caused the first 1/6 of the warming.
It comes as no surprise that other factors besides CO2 affect climate. Changes in the amount of summer sunshine, due to changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun that happen every 21,000 years, have long been known to affect the comings and goings of ice ages. Atlantic ocean circulation slowdowns are thought to warm Antarctica, also.
From studying all the available data (not just ice cores), the probable sequence of events at a termination goes something like this. Some (currently unknown) process causes Antarctica and the surrounding ocean to warm. This process also causes CO2 to start rising, about 800 years later. Then CO2 further warms the whole planet, because of its heat-trapping properties. This leads to even further CO2 release. So CO2 during ice ages should be thought of as a “feedback”, much like the feedback that results from putting a microphone too near to a loudspeaker.
In other words, CO2 does not initiate the warmings, but acts as an amplifier once they are underway. From model estimates, CO2 (along with other greenhouse gases CH4 and N2O) causes about half of the full glacial-to-interglacial warming.
So, in summary, the lag of CO2 behind temperature doesn’t tell us much about global warming. (But it may give us a very interesting clue about why CO2 rises at the ends of ice ages. The 800-year lag is about the amount of time required to flush out the deep ocean through natural ocean currents. So CO2 might be stored in the deep ocean during ice ages, and then get released when the climate warms.)
[Quote from RealClimate ends here]
“It comes as no surprise that other factors besides CO2 affect climate. Changes in the amount of summer sunshine, due to changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun that happen every 21,000 years, have long been known to affect the comings and goings of ice ages. Atlantic ocean circulation slowdowns are thought to warm Antarctica, also.”
Severinghaus concedes that powerful forces having nothing to do with CO2—powerful enough to end ice ages—are drivers of global temperatures. Though he alludes mysteriously to “some (currently unknown) process [that] causes Antarctica and the surrounding ocean to warm,” it appears from what he writes that the “unknown” process might have a lot to do with the sun. “This process,” he agrees, “also causes CO2 to start rising, about 800 years later.”
He poses the obvious question: “Does this prove that CO2 doesn’t cause global warming?” One is tempted to answer (perhaps timidly) “yes.” But Severinghaus replies, “The answer is no.” And why not?
“The reason has to do with the fact that the warmings take about 5000 years to be complete. The lag is only 800 years. All that the lag shows is that CO2 did not cause the first 800 years of warming, out of the 5000 year trend. The other 4200 years of warming could in fact have been caused by CO2, as far as we can tell from this ice core data.”
Can we agree from the above that the ice core embarrassment has been “very well addressed,” so that anybody thinking that Al Gore is “wrong at all” has not “been paying attention?” I hardly think so. Severinghaus himself makes clear that his conjecture is entirely speculative: “The other 4200 years of warming could in fact have been caused by CO2.” Could. Grant, for the sake of argument, this very weak claim of in-principle possibility. Does anything compel you to say it is likely? Even to those overflowing with charity for Severinghaus, his argument must seem baroque and full of special pleading.
The objections are obvious. If the initial warming period, propelled by a cause so powerful that it can end an ice age, has nothing to do with CO2, why can’t the entire 5000-year trend be entirely due to this other, so powerful cause? Why couldn’t this other powerful cause continue to warm the planet without any help from CO2, as it did—and here he agrees—for the first 800 years (a rather longish stretch of time...)? And why shouldn’t this be the first and most obvious hypothesis? What compels Severinghaus to assert that, once the alternative powerful cause warms the planet for 800 years, finally causing the release of CO2, the CO2 then takes over, acting as an “amplifier” in the warming process?
The answer to that question can be found in his sentence: “From model estimates, CO2 (along with other greenhouse gases CH4 and N2O) causes about half of the full glacial-to-interglacial warming.” This is what compels Severinghaus: faith. Faith in the “model estimates.” What models are these? Computer simulations built by some climate scientists in which rises in CO2, through an enhancement of the “greenhouse effect,” are shown to produce increases in planetary temperatures.
Of course, a model—any model—works the way it does because of the assumptions built into it. These could be correct or incorrect. So we must ask: How are those scientists who build “greenhouse warming” models arriving at their assumptions?
In Super Freakonomics, authors Steven Levitt & Stephen Dubner discuss the general topic of global warming. About the models, they quote astrophysicist Lowell Wood explaining: “ ‘Everybody turns their knobs’—that is, adjusts the control parameters and coefficients of their models—‘so they aren’t the outlier...’ ” What is an outlier? This would be a model that, unlike all the others, doesn’t show proper greenhouse-driven global warming. And why doesn’t anybody want to be the outlier? “ ‘[B]ecause the outlying model is going to have difficulty getting funded.’ In other words, the economic reality of research funding, rather than a disinterested and uncoordinated scientific consensus, leads the models to approximately match one another.”[10a]
This is a crucial point: The assumptions in the greenhouse warming models are determined by the desire to please those who hand out enormous sums of money for climate research, and those people want to hear that global warming is man-made. This is what produces the “scientific consensus.”
Now, there is nothing in principle wrong—mind you—in building a model in order to achieve a particular behavior. But it is certainly damaging to the exploration of the Universe that scientists aren’t building other kinds of models, based on alternative hypotheses, because they can’t get funding for them.
The key point: if we believe that CO2 causes global warming just because it does so in the models, we have a quasi-circular argument (the models, after all, were built to do that!). The argument is not entirely circular because these models do show that one can build, in the computer, some “greenhouse effect”—not necessarily like our own—in which CO2 causes global warming. But is it like our own? To find out we investigate reality: we go looking for facts. For example, we drill deep into the Antarctic ice in order to get relatively solid data about past atmospheric temperatures and past levels of CO2. If the models’ assumptions are reasonable from the point of view of our reality, they will predict at least the qualitative shape of the data we collect; but if those assumptions aren’t reasonable, the models will come out wrong.
When the data have been collected, it is best to be honest. Who can doubt, for instance, that if the ice core data had shown CO2 rising first, Severinghaus and his colleagues would have shouted victory from the rooftops, bidding us to recognize how the data had vindicated their hypothesis? Who can doubt the severity of their reaction if skeptics had said that CO2 didn’t play a role in warming even though it began rising immediately before the end of an Ice Age? But it went the other way, so they tell us that CO2 is responsible for global warming despite the fact that it begins rising after the temperatures do. Well, if the hypothesis that CO2 drives global temperature is right no matter what the data say, we ought to be saving ourselves tremendous expense and a lot of heroic trouble in the Antarctic.
When we assert—regardless of which way the data go—that our model is right, then we have faith in the model, just as people have faith in various kinds of supernatural causes even when the evidence does not support their beliefs. Guided by such a mind-frame, we will attack those who disagree with us for being “deniers” (“atheists”), and we will accuse them of not “paying attention” to the Unquestioned Truth spoken by those all-important greenhouse models—our new totems, our new idols.
One clever reader of RealClimate, David Holland, noticed the religious fervor and commented: “Wow! Are you really saying that we have no idea what starts to warm up our world from an ice age but [we] know with near certainty what has caused the warming of the last three decades?” More precisely, if we are still not even sure why the ice ages come to an end, shouldn’t we be at least a little skeptical that the anthropogenic hypothesis explains current global warming (especially when the ice core evidence does not support it)?
Another relevant question: Given that we are not sure, yet, what causes ice ages to end, and given that this is obviously the most powerful cause behind global temperature changes, how can we be building reasonable models of climate change in which the role of CO2 is properly represented? Shouldn’t the models first include the action of the powerful but unknown cause before they can say anything sensible about CO2’s proportionate role? Severinghaus hints more than once that the “unknown” powerful cause is the sun, and yet Victor Manuel Velasco Herrera, a researcher at the Institute of Geophysics of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), points out that, incredibly, the models “do not include, for example, solar activity.” [10b]
Another clever reader of RealClimate, John (no last name is given), realized that the ice core data already contain a test of Severinghaus’s claims, so he asked him about it.
I read your article “What does the lag of CO2 behind temperature in ice cores tell us about global warming?” You mention that CO2 does not initiate warmings, but may amplify warmings that are already underway. The obvious question comes up as to whether or not CO2 levels also lag periods when cooling begins after a warming cycle…even one of 5,000 years?
If CO2 levels on planet Earth also lag the cooling periods, then how can it be that CO2 levels are causally related to terrestrial heating periods at all? [. . .] If there is also a lag in CO2 levels behind a cooling period, then it appears that CO2 levels not only do not initiate warming periods but are also unrelated to the onset of cooling periods. It would appear that the actual CO2 levels are rather impotent as an amplifier either way…warming or cooling. [. . .]
If there is also a time lag upon the onset of cooling, then it appears that some other mechanism actually drives the temperature changes. So what is the time difference between CO2 levels during the onset of a cooling period at the end of a warming period and the time history of the temperature changes in the ice cores?
[Excerpt from RealClimate ends here]
In other words, if Severinghaus is right that CO2 acts as an important amplifier once it starts being released, taking over from the powerful cause that ended the ice age, then at least we should see that the warming ends because CO2 levels go down. So at the end of a warming period we should see CO2 levels decrease first, followed by a drop in temperatures, as shown in the stylized diagram A, below.
Suppose, however, that we see the following pattern: at the end of a warming trend, the temperatures drop first, and then, after a lag, fall the levels of CO2, as shown in stylized diagram B.
If the ice core data show this second pattern, reasons John, we don’t have any evidence to support that CO2 acts as an amplifier. There is just no reason to suppose that it has an effect on warming and cooling trends at all. CO2 is “impotent,” as he says.
So what’s the story? What do 650,000 years of ice core data say about the final phase of warming trends? Jeff Severinghaus replies:
The coolings appear to be caused primarily and initially by increase in the Earth-Sun distance during northern hemisphere summer, due to changes in the Earth’s orbit. As the orbit is not round, but elliptical, sunshine is weaker during some parts of the year than others. This is the so-called Milankovitch hypothesis, which you may have heard about. Just as in the warmings, CO2 lags the coolings by a thousand years or so, in some cases as much as three thousand years.”
What begins a cooling trend? Once again, most probably, the action of the sun. Severinghaus says so himself. CO2 levels begin decreasing “in some cases as much as three thousand years [later].” But does Severinghaus recant? Not for a second. He writes:
“But do not make the mistake of assuming that these warmings and coolings must have a single cause. It is well known that multiple factors are involved, including the change in planetary albedo, change in nitrous oxide concentration, change in methane concentration, and change in CO2 concentration.”
Is it really “well known” that “warmings and coolings” have something to do with “change in CO2 concentration”? No, this is false. It is not well known. The greenhouse models that Severinghaus reifies into religious idols do say this, but that is quite different from something being “well known.” The models could be wrong, and the ice core data suggest that they are.
Perhaps there is still some way to save the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis; what is clear, however, is that the ice core evidence does not help this hypothesis at all. Quite to the contrary. Therefore, against the claims of RealClimate, it is now certain that Al Gore is wrong, for in his movie An Inconvenient Truth he presents the ice core evidence as somehow obviously (no less) the best evidence (no less) in favor of his preferred hypothesis, and he pours gleeful scorn on anybody who would dare disagree, calling such skepticism the “most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.”
Ice core evidence (Case 2)
The Great Global Warming Swindle is a British documentary that aired on TV for the first time in 2007. Many people, including a good number of top climate scientists, are interviewed expressing their disagreement with the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. The documentary is meticulous in arguing that virtually every prediction—explicit or implied—made by this hypothesis fails. But the scientists, in particular, place great emphasis on the ice core data, explaining that if CO2 rises after the warming trends begin, then CO2 cannot be driving global temperatures.
I went looking for reactions to the movie from proponents of anthropogenic global warming. For this, I turned first to the Wikipedia article on the movie. My reading of this article is that Wikipedia editors feel quite negatively about the movie. Here is what they write:
[Excerpt from Wikipedia begins here]
Although the documentary was welcomed by global warming sceptics, it was criticised heavily by many scientific organisations and individual scientists (including two of the film's contributors). The film's critics argued that it had misused and fabricated data, relied on out-of-date research, employed misleading arguments, and misrepresented the position of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Channel 4 and Wag TV (the production company) accepted some of the criticism, correcting a few errors in subsequent releases. However according to Bob Ward (former spokesman for the Royal Society), this still left five out of seven of the errors and misleading arguments which had been previously attacked by him and 36 other scientists in an open letter.
The British broadcasting regulator, the Office of Communications (Ofcom), received 265 complaints about the programme, one of which was a 176-page detailed complaint co-authored by a group of scientists. Ofcom used this complaint in its deliberation, and delivered its ruling on 21 July 2008. It ruled that the programme had unfairly treated Sir David King, the IPCC and Professor Carl Wunsch. Ofcom also found that part 5 of the programme (the 'political' part) had breached several parts of the Broadcasting Code regarding impartiality. Ofcom said that the rules on impartiality did not apply to the scientific arguments in parts 1-4, because global warming caused by human activity was a settled fact: "In this respect it could be said that the discussion about the causes of global warming was to a very great extent settled by the date of broadcast ( 8 March 2007 ). [...] In Ofcom’s view the link between human activity and global warming also became similarly settled before March 2007. [...] Having reached this view, it follows that the rules relating to the preservation of due impartiality did not apply to these parts." Regarding the programme's accuracy, Ofcom noted that in its role as regulator it: "had to ascertain – not whether the programme was accurate - but whether it materially misled the audience." On this basis Ofcom ruled that: "On balance it did not materially mislead the audience so as to cause harm or offence." On 4 and 5 August 2008, Channel 4 and More 4 broadcast a summary of Ofcom's findings, though it will not face sanctions.[12a]
[Excerpt from Wikipedia ends here]
How interesting to learn that, according to the British office in charge of regulating communications, “global warming caused by human activity [is] a settled fact.” But I am not impressed. Ofcom is hardly the arbiter of “settled facts”—evidence and logic are. However, the casual Wikipedia reader might conceivably be impressed with such appeals to authority, and with the references to “many scientific organisations and individual scientists (including two of the film’s contributors),” who, according to Wikipedia, expressed opposition to the movie. (Concerning “two of the film’s contributors,” please consult the footnote [12b].)
One might also be impressed upon reading that Ofcom “received 265 complaints about the programme, one of which was a 176-page detailed complaint co-authored by a group of scientists.” Certainly, my eyebrow went up when I read that. So I decided to look at the text of this rather long formal complaint filed with Ofcom, the link for which Wikipedia helpfully provides. My main concern was to see if critics of the movie, whatever else they said, had a reasonable defense for the anthropogenic hypothesis from the points made in the movie concerning the ice core evidence: for this is the key issue.
First, let us examine the transcript of the movie, which the complaint reproduces before proceeding to its objections.
[Excerpt from The Great Global Warming Swindle begins here]
[Narrator] Former Vice President Al Gore’s emotional film “An Inconvenient Truth” is regarded by many as the definitive popular presentation of the theory of man-made global warming. His argument rests on one all-important piece of evidence taken from ice core surveys in which scientists drilled deep into the ice to look back into earth’s climate history hundreds of thousands of years. The first ice core survey took place in Vostok in the Antarctic. What it found, as Al Gore correctly points out was a clear correlation between carbon dioxide and temperature.
[Cut to Al Gore speaking on the film “An Inconvenient Truth”, with a graph of CO2 vs. temperature in the background] We’re going back in time now 650,000 years. Here’s what the temperature has been on our earth. Now one thing that kinda jumps out at you is: ‘Do they [temperature and CO2] ever fit together?’ Most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.
The relationship is actually very complicated, but there is one relationship that is far more powerful than all the others, and it’s this: when there is more carbon dioxide, the temperature gets warmer.
[Narrator] Al Gore says that the relationship between temperature and CO2 is complicated; but he doesn’t say what those complications are. In fact there was something very important in the ice core data that he failed to mention. Professor Ian Clark is a leading Arctic palaeoclimatologist, who looks back into the earth’s temperature record tens of millions of years.
[Prof Ian Clark] When we look at climate on long scales we’re looking at geological material that actually records climate. If we were to take an ice sample for example, we use isotopes to reconstruct temperature; but the atmosphere that’s imprisoned in that ice, we liberate it and then we look at the CO2 content.
[Narrator] Professor Clark and others have indeed discovered, as Al Gore said, a link between carbon dioxide and temperature. But what Al Gore doesn’t say is that the link is the wrong way round.
[Cut to Prof Ian Clark in front of his laptop, on which he’s demonstrating a graph. Cut to a separate animation of the graph.]
[Prof Ian Clark] So here we’re looking at the ice core record from Vostok, and in the red we see temperature going up from early time to later time. At a very key interval when we came out of a glaciation; and we see the temperature going up, and then we see the CO2 coming up. The CO2 lags behind that increase – it’s got an 800[-year] lag. So temperature is leading CO2 by 800 years.
[Narrator] There have now been several major ice core surveys. Every one of them shows the same thing. The temperature rises or falls, and then after a few hundred years CO2 follows.
[Dr Frederick Singer] So obviously carbon dioxide is not the cause of that warming. In fact we can say that the warming produced the increase in carbon dioxide.
[Prof Ian Clark] CO2 clearly cannot be causing temperature changes – it’s a product of temperature – it’s following temperature changes.
[Dr Tim Ball] The ice core record goes to the very heart of the problem we have here. They said: “if the CO2 increases in the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas, the temperature will go up.” But the ice core record shows exactly the opposite; so the fundamental assumption, the most fundamental assumption of the whole theory of climate change due to humans is shown to be wrong.
[Excerpt from The Great Global Warming Swindle ends here]
What does the complaint filed with Ofcom say about this?
[Excerpt from the complaint begins here]
“This accumulation of consecutive interviewee statements, taken together with statements by the narrator, amount to a highly misleading narrative coverage of the lag of historical CO2 increases behind temperature increases.
The ‘CO2 lags temperature’ argument against anthropogenic global warming theory has been discussed in the literature and rebutted many times, for example see: http://tinyurl.com/2g4cq8 [UK Met Office], and http://tinyurl.com/27lfdu [RealClimate].”
[Excerpt from the complaint ends here]
For those not familiar with academic lingo, the phrase “in the literature” is synonymous with “in the scientific literature,” meaning publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals. And yet, despite assuring us that the objection stated in the film has been “rebutted many times” and “in the literature,” the complaint document—which was elaborated and also reviewed by a number of scientists sympathetic to the complaint—refers us only to two documents, neither of them peer-reviewed. One is to the website for the press office at the UK Met Office (notorious for almost always getting its climate forecasts dead wrong), and the other to ...(drum roll)... RealClimate. One is led to believe that, concerning the ice core data, the authors could not find peer-reviewed scientific publications that could rebut the points made in the movie.
Concerning the link to the UK Met Office, it takes
me to the following page:
If you visit this page, you will find the following message: “PAGE NOT FOUND.”
As for the link to RealClimate, it takes me to Jeff Severinghaus’s piece!
Climategate: Deep problems in the anthropogenic camp
It is curious that the authors of the complaint to Ofcom should have included a section in their complaint titled: “This Complaint is Not an Attack on Free Speech.” If they aren’t against free speech, they should simply exercise it in disagreement with the film. But a formal complaint to the State, seeking sanctions, cannot be construed but as an attempt at censorship.
It is not the only such attempt from the anthropogenic camp. Recently, as reported in the Wall Street Journal, hackers penetrated the computers of the Climatic Research Unit of the University of East Anglia in Britain, a prominent institution that has defended the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis. The hackers then published on the internet the thousands of documents they retrieved, which included more than 1000 emails. Many of the emails confirm an accusation made in the film The Great Global Warming Swindle: that there is an effort—by those scientists now receiving millions in funding to do “climate change” research with an anthropogenic slant—to censor out of the scientific journals and organizations those who express skepticism about anthropogenic global warming. It is precisely in this manner, by censoring the views of those who disagree, that over the years Al Gore and others have been able to convince lots of people that the consensus on anthropogenic global warming is “unanimous,” shoring up the claims of Ofcom and other official bodies to the effect that “global warming caused by human activity [is] a settled fact.”
The Wall Street Journal reports that,
“In the emails, which date to 1996, researchers in the U.S. and the U.K. repeatedly take issue with climate research at odds with their own findings. In some cases, they discuss ways to rebut what they call ‘disinformation’ using new articles in scientific journals or popular Web sites.”
Could these be websites such as RealClimate? One is led to wonder. After all, as we saw above, Jeff Severinghaus’s article was “one of our very first RealClimate posts,” so one could reasonably infer that RealClimate was created specifically in order to deal with the embarrassment of the ice core evidence. The poverty of Severinghaus’s arguments, and the stridency of the website, might then convince us to disregard entirely the disclaimer in the “About” section and conclude that the website has always been an entirely political creature, rife with the same kind of deliberate intellectual dishonesty that is evidenced in the East Anglia emails.
“The emails,” writes the WSJ, “include discussions of apparent efforts to make sure that reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], a United Nations group that monitors climate science, include their own views [those of anthropogenic warming proponents] and exclude others.” One is filled with doubt that Al Gore can be right when he calls the IPCC the “highest quality international scientific collaboration in all of history.” The WSJ continues: “In addition, emails show that climate scientists declined to make their data available to scientists whose views they disagreed with.”
Aside from poor ethics, such tactics are evidence of fear: proponents of the anthropogenic hypothesis are scared to face their critics. If I were guilty of rather formidable shenanigans, as appears to be the case with Michael Mann (who, with Phil Jones, is easily the most influential climate scientist pushing the anthopogenic hypothesis), I would be afraid to face my critics too.[17a] Perhaps this is why, in one of the now exposed emails that the Wall Street Journal quotes, “Phil Jones, the director of the East Anglia climate center, suggested to climate scientist Michael Mann of Penn State University that skeptics’ research was unwelcome: We ‘will keep them out somehow -- even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!’ ”
Ah… Phil Jones will no doubt borrow his new meaning of ‘peer review’ from the Holy Office of the Inquisition’s dictionary.
But even redefining what the peer-review literature is has not saved the anthropogenic hypothesis from the core embarrassment—the ice core embarrassment. For even with the censorship, as we have seen above, it appears that nobody has dared state in the peer-reviewed literature that the ice core evidence supports the anthropogenic hypothesis.
really that warm?
I close with a final question on the reported temperatures themselves: Is it really that warm? As I look out my window it hardly seems so. We are having one darn cold winter here in Mexico City. I can see from the news that others are shivering too.
Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts write as follows in a Science and Public Policy Institute report dated January 2010:
“Recent revelations from the Climategate emails, originating from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia showed how all the data centers, most notably NOAA [National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration] and NASA, conspired in the manipulation of global temperature records to suggest that temperatures in the 20th century rose faster than, in reality, they actually did.
This has inspired climate researchers worldwide to take a hard look at the data proffered by comparing it to the original data and to other data sources. . .
Five organizations publish global temperature data. Two – Remote Sensing Systems (RSS) and the University of Alabama at Huntsville (UAH) – are satellite datasets. The three terrestrial institutions – NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center (NCDC), NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), and the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit (CRU) – all depend on data supplied by ground stations via NOAA.” [emphasis added] [15a]
So there are two main ways of computing planetary temperatures: by using satellites and by using ground measuring stations. Those who claim there has been dramatic global warming—such as the now infamous University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit—use the surface station NOAA data. How accurate is NOAA? At one time, this was a reliable source of data. “The world’s surface observing network,” explain D’Aleo and Watts, “had reached its golden era in the 1960s-1980s, with more than 6000 stations providing valuable climate information.” But this is no longer true. “Now, there are fewer than 1500 [stations].” What happened?
“Around 1990, NOAA began weeding out more than three-quarters of the climate measuring stations around the world. They may have been working under the auspices of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It can be shown that they systematically and purposefully, country by country, removed higher-latitude, higher-altitude, and rural locations, all of which had a tendency to be cooler.
The thermometers were marched towards the tropics, the sea, and airports near bigger cities. These data were then used to determine the global average temperature and to initialize climate models. Interestingly, the very same stations that have been deleted from the world climate network were retained for computing the average-temperature base periods, further increasing the bias towards overstatement of warming by NOAA.” [emphasis added]
By contrast, the satellite data show only a moderate warming for the period 1979-1998. And yet, explain D’Aleo and Watts, “When the satellites were first launched, their temperature readings were in relatively good agreement with the surface station data. There has been increasing divergence over time, but the divergence does not arise from satellite errors.” The divergence is easily explained by the biased removal of terrestrial climate measuring stations in cold areas and the resulting bias in favor of urban ‘heat islands.’ Because the satellite data do not suffer from these biases, argue the authors, they can more readily be trusted.
There were warnings of these problems at least as far back as 2003, when “S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia and former director of the US Weather Satellite Service,” pointed out that:
[Quote from P.R. Newswire begins here]
“The UN-IPCC science panel... based its conclusions on three major claims. And although widely publicized, none of them pass muster. They have been or are being disproved by actual data.” For example:
-- The IPCC claims the 20th century was the warmest in the past 1,000 years. This is based entirely on a manhandling of the available data. Two Canadian scientists have just published a detailed audit that exposes a shocking set of errors; it permits anyone to independently verify their counter-claim.
-- The IPCC claims the climate is currently warming. radiosondes carried on weather balloons. In addition, proxy data from tree rings, ice cores, etc. confirm that there is no significant current warming.. It is contradicted not only by superior observations from weather satellites, but also by independent data from [15b]
[Quote from P.R. Newswire begins here]
I must emphasize that those who claim a dramatic temperature increase in the period 1979-1998, and who deny that we have begun cooling in the last decade, rely always on the NOAA surface station data. An example of this would be an April 2008 paper by Robert Fawcett and David Jones, from the National Climate Center, Australian Bureau of Meteorology, in Melbourne. They write:
“There is very little justification for asserting that global warming has gone away over the past ten years, not least because the linear trend in globally-averaged annual mean temperatures (the standard yardstick) over the period 1998-2007 remains upward. While 1998 was the world’s warmest year up to that point in time, 2005 was equally warm and in some data sets surpassed 1998.”
Fawcett and Jones go on to argue that it takes more than ten years to determine a trend. But it’s all moot if the temperature figures they rely on to defend their view cannot be trusted. As we see above, they are relying on the “surface-based instrumental record.”
When the bias in the surface weather stations is not enough, the data is simply invented, as happened when some ‘scientists’ invented nonexistent weather stations in the Antarctic with which to claim that the southern continent had been warming (instead of cooling as the satellite data show). Among the members of the team that produced this ‘magic’ was Michael Mann, at the center of the Climategate controversy.[17a]
Important conclusions in the scientific literature concerning global warming should now be called into question.
For example, a much-cited study by Usoskin et al. (2005) finds that “the long-term trends in solar [activity] data and in northern hemisphere temperatures have a correlation coefficient of about 0.7 – 0.8 at a 94% to 98% confidence level.” This is very high, and one obvious interpretation is that solar activity is mostly responsible for global temperatures. But the authors note that “the last 30 years are not considered, however. In this time, the climate [i.e. temperature] and solar data diverge strongly from each other.” This is because, according to these data, solar activity does not trend upward in the last three decades and yet the temperatures drastically do. To the authors this means that there is a “marked (or even dominant) solar effect on climate variability until the middle of the 20th century,” but “a non-solar origin of the most recent warming episode since about 1970.”[17b] The “non-solar origin” is by obvious implication human activity. Proponents of anthropogenic global warming have loudly claimed victory on the basis of these data: the sun does not explain global temperature in recent decades. This is, for example, the argument of the website Skeptical Science, whose motto is: “Getting skeptical about global warming skepticism.”[17c]
The problem with the Usoskin et al. paper is that “the terrestrial climate data we use are the reconstruction of the northern hemisphere temperature between AD 1000 and AD 1980 by Mann et al.(1999) (MBH99) and the reconstructions of northern hemisphere, southern hemisphere, and global temperatures for the period between AD 200 and AD 1980 by Mann and Jones (2003).” In other words, for a reconstruction of global temperatures Usoskin et al. are relying on the “surface-based instrumental record” which underpins the work of the very scientists at the center of the Climategate controversy: Michael Mann and Phil Jones. No wonder that the close correlation between solar activity and global temperatures disappears in the last 30 years: it was precisely in the last 30 that, according to the SPPI, surface-based measuring stations were removed from cold places to give measurements a warm bias. These kinds of studies need to be redone using the satellite data.
Many in the public believe there has been dramatic global warming because, explain D’Aleo & Watts, “in monthly press releases no satellite measurements are ever mentioned, although NOAA claimed that was the future of observations.” The satellite data do support moderate warming in the period 1979-1998. But that’s all. Nothing to write home about. So taking it as a whole, conclude D’Aleo and Watts, “it cannot be credibly asserted there has been any significant ‘global warming’ in the 20th century.”
Complementary research by Roy Spencer, a climate scientist formerly at NASA, concludes likewise that “Most U.S. Warming Since 1973 Could Be Spurious.” His reasoning is as follows. Even if we assume that there is no bias in the distribution of surface temperature stations, with the passage of time urban structures have been growing around many of them, and this will introduce an apparent warming in the measurements because it amounts to a growth of an urban heat island (UHI) effect around these thermometers. We cannot know how much of the reported increases in temperature reflect actual global warming until this spurious warming is corrected for. But this hasn’t been done.
But why? Why all this nonsense to convince us that there has been anthropogenic global warming threatening global catastrophe (no less)? This topic will be dealt with in a future HIR paper.
The next piece in this series is:
GLOBAL WARMING AND THE MEDIA
and Further Reading
 Michell, Joel (2009) “The psychometricians fallacy: Too clever by half?”, British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology (2009), 62. 41-55
 To buy the DVD:
To watch a trailer:
[2a] Plimer, I. (2009). Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science. New York: Taylor Trade Publishing. (pp.20, 452)
OF THE MOMENT; “Scientists abandon global warming 'lie' : 650 to dissent at
U.N. climate change conference”; World Net Daily; Posted: December 11, 2008
[3a] ES ‘FALSO’ QUE EL CO2 CAUSE EL CALENTAMIENTO: Un
miembro del IPCC destapa la "gran mentira" del cambio climático;
Libertad Digital; 1 de octubre, 2008
[3b] THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL ON
CLIMATE CHANGE (IPCC): SPINNING THE CLIMATE; by Vincent Gray
 A number of statisticians were given figures on global temperatures in the last 12 years to see if they could find a trend. They could not find one. This is generally accepted; what varies is the interpretation.
Some scientists have begun arguing that the warming
trend is over (or at least the present upward wobble in a larger warming
trend) and that a cooling trend has begun that will last a few decades. Don
Easterbrook, from the Department of Geology at Western Washington University,
has been a prominent exponent of this view:
To defend themselves from anything so catastrophic (to
their theory) as global cooling, the anthropogenic camp looks at the data for
the last 12 years and says, “Look: no trend. This means there is no global
cooling.” Here is an example of this interpretation:
The problem for the anthropogenic hypothesis,
however, is that the Earth has not been warming for the last 12 years. Why is
this a problem? Because the greenhouse models of the anthropogenic crowd,
based on the dramatic increase in human CO2 production that we have seen in
the last few years, predicted a dramatic acceleration of global warming
precisely during these 12 years in which we have seen no warming. This means
that something is wrong with their models. Here is an example of the
alternative interpretation of the same data:
At least, the slowdown in the warming—or the
beginning of cooling, or whatever it is that we are now experiencing—has
begun a debate:
[4a] “SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECORDS:
POLICY DRIVEN DECEPTION?”; Science and Public Policy Institute; January 7,
2010; by Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts
 “Greenhouse”; Wikipedia
[consulted 28 November 2009]
 “Greenhouse Effect”; Wikipedia
[consulted 28 November 2009]
[6a] The Advertiser (Australia), August 17, 2009 Monday, OPINION; Pg. 17, 635 words
[6b] “Science cooks the books, driving sensible people to screaming point”; Sydney Morning Herald (Australia), November 12, 2009 Thursday, NEWS AND FEATURES; Opinion; Pg. 17, 1057 words, Miranda Devine
[6c] “Who or what is the real culprit?; Not all experts agree that man is to blame; others point the finger at oceans or the sun.” The Straits Times (Singapore), May 1, 2007 Tuesday, REVIEW - OTHERS, 1625 words, Andy Ho, Senior Writer
[6d] Plimer, I. (2009). Heaven and Earth: Global Warming, the Missing Science. New York: Taylor Trade Publishing. (p.366)
 The lag between temperature and
CO2. (Gore’s got it right.); RealClimate; 27 April
2007; by Eric
[8a] Ice Core Records of Atmospheric CO2 Around the Last Three Glacial Terminations ; Science 12 March 1999, Vol. 283. no. 5408, pp. 1712 – 1714; DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5408.1712
Authors: Hubertus Fischer, Martin Wahlen, Jesse Smith, Derek Mastroianni, Bruce Deck
ABSTRACT: Air trapped in bubbles in polar ice cores constitutes an archive for the reconstruction of the global carbon cycle and the relation between greenhouse gases and climate in the past. . Despite strongly decreasing temperatures, high carbon dioxide concentrations can be sustained for thousands of years during glaciations; the size of this phase lag is probably connected to the duration of the preceding warm period, which controls the change in land ice coverage and the buildup of the terrestrial biosphere.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Geosciences Research Division, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0220, USA.
Previous studies of Antarctic ice cores (1-3) revealed that atmospheric CO2 concentrations changed by 80 to 100 parts per million by volume (ppmv) during the last climatic cycle and showed, together with continuous atmospheric measurements (4), that anthropogenic emissions increased CO2 concentrations from 280 ppmv during preindustrial times to more than 360 ppmv at present, an increase of more than 80% of the glacial-interglacial change. Variations in atmospheric CO2 concentrations accompanying glacial-interglacial transitions have been attributed to climate-induced changes in the global carbon cycle (5, 6), but they also amplify climate variations by the accompanying greenhouse effect. Accordingly, the relation of temperature and greenhouse gases in the past derived from ice core records has been used to estimate the sensitivity of climate to changes in greenhouse gas concentrations (7) to constrain the prediction of an anthropogenic global warming. This procedure, however, requires the separation of systematic variations representative for all climatic cycles from those specific for each event, as well as a more detailed knowledge of the leads and lags between greenhouse gas concentrations and climate proxies.
To resolve short-term changes in the atmospheric carbon reservoir, to constrain the onset and end of major variations in CO2 concentrations, and to test whether these variations are temporally representative, we expanded the Antarctic Vostok CO2 record over the transition from marine isotope stage (MIS) 8 to MIS 7 [about 210 to 250 thousand years (ky) before present (B.P.)] and analyzed the time interval around the penultimate deglaciation (about 70 to 160 ky B.P.) at a high resolution of 100 to 2000 years (8). This data set was supplemented by a CO2 record recently derived from the Antarctic Taylor Dome (TD) ice core (6, 9) covering the last 35,000 years. The internal temporal resolution of ice core air samples is restricted by the age distribution of the bubbles caused by the enclosure process (10). This age spread is about 300 years for Vostok (11) and 140 years for the TD ice core (9) at present but about three times higher for glacial conditions (11). The depth-ice age scale used for terminations II and III in the Vostok core is a recently expanded version of the extended glaciological time scale (12). The dating uncertainty (on the order of 10,000 years for termination III) is considerable; however, the absolute time scale is not so important as long as we consistently compare Vostok CO2 with the Vostok isotope temperature (D) record.
More important is the relative dating of ice and air at a certain depth. The ice age-air age difference (age) was calculated with a climatological firn densification model (11) and varies between about 2000 and 6000 years for warm and cold periods, respectively. The accuracy of the model is better than 100 years for recent periods but on the order of 1000 years for glacial conditions (11), which has to be kept in mind when interpreting the phase shift between ice and gas records of the ice core archive. In the case of termination I, recently published age scales derived by synchronization of CH4 variations in central Greenland and Antarctic ice cores (13, 14) were used. The precision of the CH4 correlation is about 200 years for periods of substantial CH4 change but is not very well constrained in the interval between 17 and 25 ky B.P., when only subtle CH4 changes occurred. The uncertainty of age varies between 100 and 300 years for central Greenland (13) and between 300 and 600 years for TD (14) during termination I. Further uncertainty is added because the TD CO2 record has been dated relative to the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP2) core (14), whereas the Byrd and Vostok isotope temperature records have been synchronized with respect to the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP) ice core record (13). This uncertainty is not relevant for the interval between 10 and 15 ky B.P., for which dating of GISP2 and GRIP is in good agreement; however, there is a shift of up to 2000 years between the two Greenland reference cores at the age of 20 ky B.P.
In Fig. 1, our data and previously published CO2 concentration records (1, 6, 9, 11, 15, 16) are compared with Antarctic isotope (temperature) ice core records (13, 17-19). Note that the CO2 concentrations represent essentially a global signal. In contrast, the geographical representativeness of isotope temperature records may vary from a synoptical to hemispherical scale and accordingly within different cores with increasing variability for shorter time scales. The Vostok and TD CO2 data presented here are in good agreement with previous CO2 values. On a 10,000-year time scale, CO2 covaries with the isotope temperatures with minimum glacial CO2 concentrations of 180 to 200 ppmv, glacial-interglacial transitions accompanied by a rapid increase in CO2 concentrations to a maximum of 270 to 300 ppmv, and a gradual return to low CO2 values during glaciation. On a shorter time scale, however, a much more complex picture evolves.
Fig. 1. Records of atmospheric CO2 concentrations and isotope temperature records derived from the Antarctic Byrd, Vostok, and TD ice cores during the deglaciation and glaciation events around the last three glacial terminations. Error bars in CO2 concentration data represent 1 of replicate measurements at the same depth interval. The long-term trend in CO2 concentrations is indicated by a cubic spline approximation (P = 5 × 109) of our data set. For convenience, marine isotope stages (22) are indicated as referred to in the text. [View Larger Version of this Image (48K GIF file)]
The onset of the atmospheric CO2 increase during termination I recorded in the TD record is at 19 to 20 ky B.P. The rise in the long-term trend in CO2 concentrations seems to be about 1000 years earlier than the rise in Vostok D values. In contrast, temperatures apparently started to rise at 20 ky B.P., as recorded in the Antarctic Byrd and the Greenland GRIP ice core (13). Again, CO2 concentrations in the Byrd record increase ~2000 ± 500 years later than those in the TD data. In view of the excellent agreement for the rest of the CO2 records, these discrepancies can be attributed to the insufficient age constraint during the onset of termination I induced by the different Greenland reference cores. No such dating uncertainties are encountered for the interval between 10 and 15 ky B.P. Maximum CO2 concentrations of 270 ppmv are reached at 10.5 ky B.P. (9), 600 to 1000 years after the isotope temperature maximum in the Byrd record (20). The CO2 peak is followed by a decrease of 5 to 10 ppmv until 8 ky B.P., after which CO2 concentrations gradually rise to the preindustrial value of 280 ppmv (9). A delay in the increase of CO2 concentrations with respect to the warming during deglaciation is also indicated by a brief 10-ppmv decline in CO2 concentrations found in seven samples during the interval 14 to 13 ky B.P. This distinct feature lags the Antarctic Cold Reversal (ACR) in the Antarctic isotope temperatures (21) by 300 to 500 years but occurs 1000 years before the Younger Dryas cooling event.
A dip in CO2 concentrations at 135 ky B.P. precedes the start of the increase in CO2 concentrations during termination II, which reaches a maximum of 290 ppmv at 128 ky B.P. Like in the Holocene, CO2 concentrations decrease after this initial maximum to ~275 ppmv. The onset of the major warming during termination II is hard to define, but during the penultimate warm period, CO2 concentrations reach their maximum 400 ± 200 years later than Antarctic temperatures. In the following 15,000 years of the Eemian warm period, CO2 concentrations do not show a substantial change despite distinct cooling over the Antarctic ice sheet. Not until 6000 years after the major cooling in MIS 5.4 does a substantial decline in CO2 concentration occur. Another 4000 to 6000 years is required to return to an approximate in-phase relation of CO2 with the temperature variations.
Finally, termination III starts with a CO2 concentration of 205 ppmv at 244 ky B.P., slightly higher than that for the beginnings of terminations I and II. At that time, temperatures had already increased since the glacial temperature minimum at ~260 ky B.P. CO2 concentrations rise slowly from 244 to 241 ky B.P. and then rapidly to more than 300 ppmv at 238 ky B.P. Keeping the rather coarse resolution of the D record before 238 ky B.P. in mind, the major increase in CO2 tends to lag temperature during the transition, reaching a maximum CO2 concentration 600 ± 200 years after the peak in D. In contrast to the case for the Eemian, high CO2 concentrations are not sustained during MIS 7 but follow the rapid temperature drop into MIS 7.4. Minimum CO2 concentrations as low as 210 ppmv are reached 1000 to 2000 years after the minima in isotope temperature during MIS 7.4. A short, warm event during the mild glacial interval at 224 to 228 ky B.P. appears to be reflected in a 30-ppmv increase in atmospheric CO2 concentrations with a phase lag of about 1000 ± 600 years relative to temperature. Another warm event at the beginning of the warm period MIS 7.3 is accompanied by a 30-ppmv increase in CO2 concentration, which appears to be in phase with the temperature record. The variations in CO2 concentrations during these events are much larger than anticipated from the Vostok isotope temperature changes and do not have any counterparts during MIS 5.
Comparison of the sequence of events for the three time intervals described above suggests that the carbon cycle-climate relation should be separated into (at least) a deglaciation and a glaciation mode. Atmospheric CO2 concentrations show a similar increase for all three terminations, connected to a climate-driven net transfer of carbon from the ocean to the atmosphere (6). The time lag of the rise in CO2 concentrations with respect to temperature change is on the order of 400 to 1000 years during all three glacial-interglacial transitions. Considering the uncertainties in age (between 100 and 1000 years for recent and glacial conditions), such a lag can still be explained by an overestimation of age for glacial conditions. The good agreement of the age model with the measured value for the present supports the idea that at least the lag at the beginning of the warm periods is real. The size of this lag is on the order of the ocean mixing time (for a well-ventilated ocean like today), which is the major control for the time constant of equilibration within the deep ocean-atmosphere carbon system after climate-induced changes. In the case of a recent anthropogenic warming, the external climate forcing by CO2 emissions due to combustion of fossil fuel leads climate variations, so the application of the CO2-climate relation deduced from the past on a recent global warming seems not to be straightforward.
The situation is even more complicated for the interglacial and glaciation periods. During the extended Holocene and Eemian warm periods, atmospheric CO2 concentrations drop by ~10 ppmv after an initial maximum, attributable to a substantial increase in the terrestrial biospheric carbon storage extracting CO2 from the atmosphere. In the case of the Eemian, CO2 concentrations remain constant after the initial maximum in MIS 5.5 despite slowly decreasing temperatures; during the Holocene, atmospheric CO2 concentrations even increase during the last 8000 years. Application of a carbon cycle model to CO2 and 13CO2 ice core data for the Holocene (9) shows that no equilibrium in the carbon cycle is established and that the waxing and waning of the terrestrial biosphere, possibly related to subtle climate variations and early human land use, are the most important factors controlling atmospheric CO2 concentrations over the last 10,000 years.
During further glaciation in MIS 5.4, CO2 concentrations remain constant, although temperatures strongly decline. We suggest that this reflects the combination of the increased oceanic uptake of CO2 expected for colder climate conditions and CO2 release caused by the net decline of the terrestrial biosphere during the glaciation and possibly by respiration of organic carbon deposited on increasingly exposed shelf areas. These processes, however, should terminate (with some delay) after the lowest temperatures are reached in MIS 5.4 and ice volume is at its maximum at 111 ky B.P. (22). In agreement with this hypothesis, CO2 concentrations start to decrease in the Vostok record at about 111 ky B.P. Another possibility to explain this delayed response of CO2 to the cooling during MIS 5.4 would be an inhibited uptake of CO2 by the ocean. In any case, about 5°C lower temperatures on the Antarctic ice sheet during MIS 5.4 (17) are difficult to reconcile with the full interglacial CO2 forcing encountered at the beginning of this cold period and again question the straightforward application of the past CO2-climate relation to the recent anthropogenic warming.
Another scenario is encountered during MIS 7, in which no prolonged warm period is observed. Although temperatures at the end of termination III are comparable to those at the end of termination II and CO2 concentrations are even slightly higher, a much shorter lag in the decrease of CO2 relative to the Antarctic temperature decrease in MIS 7.4 is found. Comparison with the SPECMAP record (23) shows that during the preceding interglacial MIS 7.5, ice volume was much larger than during the Holocene and the Eemian warm periods. Accordingly, the buildup of the terrestrial biosphere during MIS 7.5 is expected to be much less and sea level changes smaller, leading to a smaller net release of CO2 into the atmosphere during the following glaciation, which is not able to fully counterbalance the CO2 uptake by the ocean.
REFERENCES AND NOTES
D. Raynaud, et al., Science 259, 926 (1993) [Free Full Text] . Recent investigations in central Greenland have reported an in situ production of CO2 in the ice, possibly related to carbonate or organic species reactions (or both), and have strongly compromised the validity of the determined CO2 concentrations. However, Antarctic ice cores are (if at all) much less affected by this effect because of the very low abundance of reactive carbon species dissolved in Antarctic ice.
C. D. Keeling, T. P. Whorf, M. Wahlen, J. van der Pflicht, Nature 375, 666 (1995) [CrossRef] .
M. Leuenberger, U. Siegenthaler, C. C. Langway, ibid. 357, 488 (1992) [CrossRef].
M. Wahlen, D. Allen, B. Deck, A. Herchenroder, Geophys. Res. Lett. 18, 1457 (1991) . Air samples were extracted from Vostok 5G and TD ice with a dry extraction technique, and CO2 concentrations were determined with laser spectroscopy. The accuracy of a single measurement (as essentially determined by the standard deviation of multiple frequency tunings of the diode laser) is better than 5 ppmv. The laser spectroscopic method enables the use of very small samples (~4 g), allowing us to pick crack-free ice and to measure replicate samples at the same depth interval. In general, all given CO2 concentrations correspond to the average and standard deviation of at least three replicate samples. On average, the variability of such replicate measurements is 7.5 ppmv (1).
J.-M. Barnola, P. Pimienta, D. Raynaud, Y. S. Korotkevich, Tellus Ser. B 43, 83 (1991) [CrossRef].
Expanded ice age and air age time scales were kindly provided by J. Jouzel and J.-R. Petit. Ages were assigned to sample depths after slight depth corrections for the Vostok 5G core (17) by linear interpolation of the depth-age scale. A publication describing the calculation of the expanded time scales, which is essentially based on the procedure described by J. Jouzel et al. [Nature 364, 407 (1993)], is in preparation.
T. Blunier, et al., Nature 394, 739 (1998) [CrossRef] .
E. J. Steig, et al., Science 282, 92 (1998) [Abstract/Free Full Text] .
B. Stauffer, et al., ibid. 392, 59 (1998) [CrossRef].
J. R. Petit, et al., Nature 387, 359 (1997) [CrossRef] .
Phase relations were determined by comparison of maxima and minima in the long-term trend of CO2 concentrations and isotope temperatures as represented by spline approximations. Given errors reflect the uncertainty in the actual positions of the extrema, which are weakly dependent on the degree of smoothing. They do not take into account the uncertainty in age. This additional error is treated separately in the discussion of the data.
We thank J.-M. Barnola and D. Raynaud for helpful comments and for sharing with us their unpublished Vostok CO2 record of the last four glacial-interglacial cycles during our sample selection process. This study was funded by NSF grants OPP9615292, OPP9196095, and OPP9118534. Financial support of H.F. has been provided by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
30 November 1998; accepted 29 January 1999
 To see the video of Joe
Barton’s exchange with Al Gore, visit:
 What does the lag of CO2 behind
temperature in ice cores tell us about global warming?; RealClimate;
3 December 2004; by Jeff Severinghaus
[10a] Levitt, S. D., and S. J. Dubner. 2009. Super Freakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance. New York: HarperCollins.
[10b] HEAT OF THE MOMENT; “Scientists abandon
global warming 'lie' : 650 to dissent at U.N. climate change conference”;
World Net Daily; Posted: December 11, 2008
 John’s letter and Severinghaus’s response are both quoted in the first RealClimate article mentioned in this piece. To read
them, scroll down.
 To buy the DVD:
To watch a trailer:
[12a] The Great Global Warming
Swindle; Wikipedia [consulted 28 November 2009]
[12b] Here follows the excerpt from the complaint that deals with “two of the film’s contributors” who later complained about the film. As you will see below, these two contributors are Carl Wunsch and Eigil Friis-Christensen. My commentary, which follows the quotation, will deal with this and other issues.
[Quote from complaint to Ofcom begins here]
Presentation of graphs or figures which evidently have been manipulated or fabricated, most likely with the intent of aiding the arguments presented by the programme. Some examples:
1. The programme presented a graph (attributed to NASA) of global temperature over the last 120 years, and suggested that most of the warming in the 20th century actually occurred prior to the post–World War II industrial boom. However, the original source of the graph is unclear and, most importantly, it is obsolete as it ended in the mid-80s. Hence, it left out the warming from the last 20 years, the period in which the fastest rate of warming has occurred. The film makers extended the time axis of the graph to cover up this limitation, and later admitted that the original time axis was incorrect. A cursory glance at up-to-date temperature records from NASA would have revealed to the film maker that contrary to the programme’s claims, most of the warming in the 20th century occurred after World War II, so this appears to have been an intentional deception (see Comment 42, page 35 and Comment 43, page 38).
2. The film presents a graph, attributed to Eigil Friis-Christensen (also an interviewee) titled ‘Temp and Solar Activity 400 Years’. The original graph produced by Friis-Christensen and published in the scientific literature included a 100-year gap in the solar data. The graph presented in the film fills this gap (¼ of the graph) with solar activity data which exactly matches the temperature, artificially inflating the correlation between the two. The manner in which this occurred has led even Friis-Christensen to state that it is highly likely that it was filled with artificial data. Martin Durkin claims that this was a mistake (see Comment 60, page 55)
A total of 9 breaches fell into this category. See Appendix A.1.1, page 116 for details.`
1.6.3 Misrepresentations of People’s Views and Other Breaches of Section 7 of the Ofcom Code
1. The views of one of the programme’s participants, Carl Wunsch, were clearly misrepresented by the programme on both climate change and on modelling, through selective editing and use of context to make him appear to the audience to be saying the precise opposite of what he was actually trying to convey: see Comment 54, page 49; and Comment 94, page 79. In addition, Wunsch has stated publicly that he was misinformed by WagTV about the true nature of the programme (see Comment 53, page 48), in breach of Section 7 of the Broadcasting Code.
2. On April 27, 2007 another of the programme’s participants, Dr Eigil Friis-Christensen issued a joint statement with one of the lead authors of this complaint, Nathan Rive, stating specifically that Friis-Christensen’s views had been knowingly and fundamentally misrepresented by the film (see Comment 60, page 55).
3. The UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser Sir David King was attacked on the basis of a misquote in the closing statement of the film – see Comment 137, page 115 and Appendix H: page 167.
4.The views of both Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and of millions of ordinary people who are concerned about the environment were repeatedly misrepresented in a factually inaccurate and extreme way (see Comment 75, page 68; Comment 80, page 71; Comment 81, page 71; Comment 120, page 100; and Comment 136, page 114).
5. Serious allegations, many of them demonstrably false, were made about the IPCC without any evidence being offered to support the allegations, and without the IPCC being given a chance to defend itself on the programme (see Comment 17, page 21; Comment 113, page 94; and Comment 115, page 96). A passage from an IPCC report was selectively quoted in order to appear to the viewer to be stating the opposite of what it was actually stating (Comment 112, page 92) and other passages were seriously misrepresented by the film (for example Comment 73, page 66; Comment 74, page 67; and Comment 111, page 92). A Wall Street Journal article attacking IPCC processes was shown and quoted from, but it was not revealed that the writer of the article has never had any involvement with the IPCC, nor that he runs a lobby group that actively campaigns against greenhouse gas emissions reduction policies (see Comment 114, page 95).
6. Serious allegations of misappropriation of public funds by scientific funding bodies were made by the programme without any evidence being offered in support of the allegations and without any of the bodies being given a chance to defend themselves on the programme (see for example Comment 117, page 97).[a]
[Quote from complaint to Ofcom ends here]
Complaints that the opinions of Mr. X or Mr. Y were misrepresented is a very weak complaint. It is the scientific issues that really matter here. If the authors of the movie made Carl Wunsch appear to say something when he meant to say a different thing, bad for them, but can we please concentrate on whether the scientific data support or not what Wunsch now says is his real opinion? Is there, or isn’t there, anthropogenic global warming? Since this is the fundamental issue, it is curious that the authors of the complaint should seem so preoccupied with the question of Wunsch’s honor.
In any case, to the allegations concerning Wunsch, Martin Durkin, the film’s producer, replies: “Prof Carl Wunsch, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who appeared in the film, later claimed he was duped into taking part. He was not.”[b] I believe this. I have watched the movie again and paid special attention to Wunsch’s statements. It seems almost impossible that he was tricked into saying them. They are general statements about the speed at which various forces acting on global temperatures can act, and which have to do with his area of expertise. Certainly, the film used those statements to criticize the premises of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis, and this appears to be what now bothers Wunsch. Perhaps for this reason he now says that “he was misinformed about WagTV about the true nature of the programme.”
What matters in a scientific debate is not Wunsch’s honor, or that of “Sir David King,” who is “the UK Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser” (no less!). Neither is the fundamental issue the honor of the IPCC, or of the NGO’s, or of “millions of ordinary people who are concerned about the environment,” all of which the formal complaint to Ofcom rises valiantly to defend. (And the last one is curious, isn’t it? What does it matter whether millions of people think that global warming is man-made? A million Mohicans can’t be wrong? Are we to decide scientific issues by the democratic vote of the lay masses?) What matters is simply who is right concerning the state of the art of the scientific data. Why then so much emphasis on all this nonsense?
Let us focus, then, on the criticisms that at least purport to be about the scientific substance.
The quotation above is from the introductory summary, and it therefore limits itself to giving “some examples” (in fact, 2) of what will be 9 cases of “Falsification or Serious Misrepresentation of Graphs or Data.” This kind of accusation is naturally a very serious one, and the complaint means to be dramatic in its introductory summary, so the two examples given will obviously be the strongest ones. How strong are they?
About the first example, the complaint says: “the original source of the graph is unclear and, most importantly, it is obsolete as it ended in the mid-80s.” Using an obsolete graph would indeed constitute a relatively serious problem. However, a graph that ends in the mid-80’s is not obsolete but merely incomplete. We find here, then, that the complaint’s authors evince a certain intellectual indiscipline (or indifference)—not random, however, but slanted to sharpen the apparent seriousness of the film’s offense.
The complaint then says: “A cursory glance at up-to-date temperature records from NASA would have revealed to the film maker that contrary to the programme’s claims, most of the warming in the 20th century occurred after World War II, so this appears to have been an intentional deception.” An “intentional deception” to support what? The film doesn’t deny that there has been warming after WWII. What the authors of the complaint seem to forget is that during the 1970s (occurring after WWII) the widely disseminated media scare was that the planet was cooling and we were on the verge of an ice age. So there does not appear to be a clear relationship between human production of CO2 in the 20th c. and 20th c. temperatures, because these latter have gone up and down rather capriciously while human CO2 production has gone rapidly ever upwards. This is one of the film’s main observations, and the error of omission in the graph attributed to NASA (to which the film’s producers have stipulated) does not affect this point.
The weight of the criticism in this first example, therefore, does not constitute the refutation of a scientific argument, take note, but rather the imputation of a bad intention. Intentions, however, are quite irrelevant. What matters is who is right on the issues of climate science. To find such a strong emphasis on the supposed intentions of the authors of the movie suggests that the authors of the complaint don’t have very good scientific arguments.
Now let us consider the second example. There the complaint states that in Eigil Friis-Christensen’s work there was a 100-year gap for which data was unavailable, and that the film’s authors filled in the missing years with made-up data to show an enhanced correlation between solar activity and global temperatures. The film’s authors have confessed to this error. And yes, they should have left the graph as it was rather than represent data that we don’t have. The complaint then states that Eigil Friis-Christensen—who was interviewed in the movie—has added his name to the formal complaints against the film, something that is supposed to create a strong impression on us.
Now, but the scientific question is this: If we examine the graph as it was, with the missing 100 years of data for all to see, do the existing numbers now support a different argument? Not in the least. Eigil Friis-Christensen’s data, though it is missing those years, shows a clear correlation between the activity of the sun and planetary temperatures.
Martin Durkin, producer of The Great Global Warming Swindle, has stated:
“A critic claims that one of the graphs cited by us, illustrating the extraordinarily close correlation between solar variation and temperature change, has since been ‘corrected.’ It most certainly has not. The graph was produced by Prof Eigil Friis-Christensen, the head of the Danish National Space Centre, who says it still stands. But if the global-warmers don’t like that graph, there are plenty of others that say the same thing.”[b]
This is correct, as one can see from an article published in The Independent. My reading of this article is that the author takes a position in favor of the complaint and against the movie, referring us to Eigil Friis-Christensen’s criticisms. And yet, when the author quotes Friis-Christensen it becomes clear that the film’s sin on this point is really minor and does not affect the main argument. In fact, despite his criticisms, this is what Friis-Christensen himself says, as reported in The Independent:
“ ‘We have reason to believe that parts of the graph were made up of fabricated data that were presented as genuine. The inclusion of the artificial data is both misleading and pointless,’ Dr Friis-Christensen said.”[c]
Pointless? Why pointless? Because the fundamental argument hardly changes. Friis-Christensen continues:
“ ‘. . .the commentary during the presentation of the graph is consistent with the conclusions of the paper from which the figure originates. . .’ ”
Well in that case we are quibbling over a detail entirely marginal to the scientific controversy.
Friis-Christensen complains in the same comment that the film “ ‘incorrectly rules out a contribution by anthropogenic [man-made] greenhouse gases to 20th century global warming.’ ” It does? Incorrectly? Why incorrectly? In order to claim that the film’s authors are mistaken when they discard the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis we need an argument. It appears that Friis-Christensen did not provide one because, had he done so, The Independent, with its slant against the movie and in favor of the complaints, would not have failed to mention it. Notice what The Independent writes:
“Dr Friis-Christensen, a physicist, believes that solar cycles play an important role in climate change and that not enough effort has gone into addressing the theory. The fabricated data did not, he said, make any difference to the overall view he takes but he is still critical of the way the film handled the scientific evidence. Asked by The Independent whether the documentary was scientifically accurate, Dr Friiss-Christensen said: “No, I think several points were not explained in the way that I, as a scientist, would have explained them ... it is obvious it’s not accurate.’ ”
The complaint once more reduces to imputing bad intentions to the film’s authors, and to invoking the authority of “I, as a scientist,” of the complainer. But he is complaining of the film’s style, not its substance, for Friis-Christensen himself says 1) that the film’s statements concerning his work do reflect his conclusions; and 2) that the added data in truth don’t change a thing. So the decision to fill in the missing gap—though wrongheaded—was a cosmetic sin, the kind of thing a media producer does to keep the audience focused on the main message, rather than a fundamental deception that distorts the main conclusions of Friis-Christensen’s work.
We have now considered, then, the two most serious allegations against the film concerning the most serious accusation possible: fabrication and misrepresentation of data. And we have also considered the substance of the complaint that involves “two of the film’s contributors.” There isn’t much here.
SOURCES CITED IN THIS FOOTNOTE:
[b] ‘The global-warmers
were bound to attack, but why are they so feeble?’; Telegraph; 18
March 200; by Martin Durkin
[c] “C4 accused of
falsifying data in documentary on climate change”; The Independent; 8
May 2007; by Steve Connor, Science Editor
 Complaint to Ofcom Regarding “The Great Global Warming Swindle”; Lead
Authors: Nathan Rive, Dr Brian Jackson, Dave Rado;
last updated 11/06/2007; pp.44-45
to Ofcom Regarding “The Great Global Warming
Swindle”; Lead Authors: Nathan Rive, Dr Brian Jackson, Dave Rado; last udated 11/06/2007;
 “Climate Emails Stoke Debate:
Scientists' Leaked Correspondence Illustrates Bitter Feud over Global
Warming”; Wall Street Journal; NOVEMBER 23, 2009; by Keith Johnson
TEMPERATURE RECORDS: POLICY DRIVEN DECEPTION?”; Science and Public Policy
Institute; January 7, 2010; by Joseph D’Aleo and
Anthony Watts; pp.4-7, 33.
[15b] Science Behind Global Warming Doesn't Uphold Scrutiny; NCPA's Experts Available to Discuss Climate Change Science; U.S. Newswire, October 30, 2003 Thursday, National Desk, 495 words
 “WAITING FOR GLOBAL COOLING”;
by Robert Fawcett and David Jones; National Climate Centre, Australian Bureau
of Meteorology, Melbourne, Australia. (April 2008)
[17a] The following was reported in the Sunday Telegraph:
[Quote from Sunday Telegraph begins here]
“...[N]othing has been more disconcerting... than the methods used by promoters of the warming cause over the years to plug some of the glaring holes in their scientific argument.
Another example last week was the much-publicised claim, contradicting all previous evidence, that Antarctica, the coldest continent, is in fact warming up, Antarctica has long been a major embarrassment to the warmists. Al Gore and Co may have wanted to scare us that the continent, which contains 90 per cent of ice on the planet, is heating up because that would be the source of all the meltwater which they claim will raise sea levels by 20 feet.
However, to provide their pictures of ice-shelves "the size of Texas'' calving off into the sea, they have had to draw on one tiny region, the Antarctic Peninsula - the only part that has been warming. The vast mass of Antarctica, all satellite evidence has shown, has been getting colder over the past 30 years. Last year's sea-ice cover was 30 per cent above average.
So it predictably made headlines last week when a new study, from a team led by Professor Eric Steig, claimed to prove that the Antarctic has been heating up after all. The usual supporters were called in to whoop up its historic importance. It was made a cover story by Nature and heavily promoted by the BBC. This, crowed journalists such as Newsweek's Sharon Begley, would really be one in the eye for the "deniers'' and "contrarians''.
One of the first to express astonishment was Dr Kenneth Trenberth, a senior scientist with the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a convinced believer in global warming, who wryly observed "it is hard to make data where none exists''. A disbelieving Ross Hayes, an atmospheric scientist who has visited the Antarctic for Nasa, sent Professor Steig a caustic email ending: "With statistics you can make numbers go to any conclusion you want. It saddens me to see members of the scientific community do this for media coverage.''
But it was also noticed that among the members of Steig's team was Michael Mann, author of the "hockey stick'', the most celebrated of all attempts by the warmists to rewrite the scientific evidence to promote their cause. The greatest embarrassment for the believers in man-made global warming is the fact that the world was significantly warmer in the Middle Ages than now. "We must get rid of the Medieval Warm Period,'' as one contributor to the IPCC famously said in an unguarded moment. It was Dr Mann who duly obliged by getting his computer-model to produce a graph shaped like a hockey stick, eliminating the medieval warming and showing recent temperatures curving up to an unprecedented high.
This instantly became the warmists' chief icon, and made the centrepiece of the IPCC's 2001 report. But Mann's selective use of data and the flaws in his computer model were then so devastatingly torn apart that it has become the most discredited artefact in the history of science.
The fact that Dr Mann is behind the new study is, alas, all part of an ongoing pattern. But this will not prevent the paper being cited ad nauseam by everyone from the BBC to Al Gore. So, regardless of the science, and until the politicians wake up to how they have been duped, what threatens to become the most costly flight from reality in history will roll remorselessly on its way.
[Quote from Sunday Telegraph ends here]
SOURCE: The Sunday Telegraph (United Kingdom); January 25, 2009 Sunday; SCIENTISTS FIND GAPING HOLES IN POLAR ICE FACTS; by Christopher Booker; 748 words
Usoskin, I. G., Schüssler,
M., Solanki, S. K., & Mursula,
K. (2005). Solar Activity over the Last 1150 Years: Does it Correlate with
Climate? In F. Favata, G. Hussain,
& B. Battrick (Eds.), 13th Cool Stars Workshop.
 “SURFACE TEMPERATURE RECORDS:
POLICY DRIVEN DECEPTION?”; Science and Public Policy Institute; January 7,
2010; by Joseph D’Aleo and Anthony Watts; pp.4-7,
 “Society to review climate
message”; BBC News; Thursday, 27 May 2010; By Roger Harrabin
“The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists.
Their predictions – based on an analysis of natural cycles in water temperatures in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans – challenge some of the global warming orthodoxy’s most deeply cherished beliefs, such as the claim that the North Pole will be free of ice in summer by 2013.
According to the US National Snow and Ice Data Centre in Colorado, Arctic summer sea ice has increased by 409,000 square miles, or 26 per cent, since 2007 – and even the most committed global warming activists do not dispute this.”
War is peace.
Freedom is slavery.
Farmer’s Almanac (Jan 2010):
“Last year, the 2009 Farmers’ Almanac predicted an exceptionally long, cold winter for most regions. As promised, bitter cold and heavy snow punished much of the nation.
. . . The 193rd edition of the Farmers’
Almanac warns that this winter’s frigid forecast offers no respite in
sight. . .
National Wildlife Federation (Jan 2010):
“Global warming is having a seemingly peculiar effect
on winter weather. . .
Notify me of new HIR pieces!