November 6, 2008


Who are the best skeptics to read on the global warming question?

There's Lord Monckton, at the Forum on Physics and Society, appearing alongside the disclaimer that the "American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007: 'Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate.'" So they let him have his say. But they think he's a heretic.

Let's look at three Monckton charts, followed by his explication. The first shows a pronounced downtrend in global surface temperatures.

"Since the phase-transition in mean global surface temperature late in 2001, a pronounced downtrend has set in. In the cold winter of 2007/8, record sea-ice extents were observed at both Poles. The January-to-January fall in temperature from 2007-2008 was the greatest since global records began in 1880. The figure below shows mean global surface temperature anomalies (°C), 2001-2008"

The next chart compares predictions of Hansen (1988) and IPCC (1990) with actual changes in temperature.

"Hansen (1988) projected that global temperature would stabilize (A) if global carbon dioxide concentration were controlled from 1988 and static from 2000: otherwise temperature would rise rapidly (B-C). IPCC (1990) agreed (D). However, these projections proved well above the National Climate Data Center’s outturn (E-F), which, in contrast to the Hadley Center and UAH records (Fig. 1), show a modest rise in temperature from 1998-2007. If McKitrick (2007) (G,H) is correct that temperature since 1980 has risen at only half of the observed rate, outturn tracks Hansen’s CO2 stabilization case (A), although emissions have risen rapidly since 1988."

The third chart below shows fluctuating carbon dioxide levels but stable temperatures for 600m years.

"Throughout the past 600 million years, almost one-seventh of the age of the Earth, the mode of global surface temperatures was ~22 °C, even when carbon dioxide concentration peaked at 7000 ppmv, almost 20 times today’s near-record-low concentration. If so, then the instability inherent in the IPCC’s high-end values for the principal temperature feedbacks has not occurred in reality, implying that the high-end estimates, and by implication the central estimates, for the magnitude of individual temperature feedbacks may be substantial exaggerations. Source: Temperature reconstruction by C.R. Scotese; CO2 reconstruction after R.A. Berner; see also IPCC (2007)."

Monckton is no fan if the IPCC, as the following passage attests: "Such solecisms throughout the IPCC’s assessment reports (including the insertion, after the scientists had completed their final draft, of a table in which four decimal points had been right-shifted so as to multiply tenfold the observed contribution of ice-sheets and glaciers to sea-level rise), combined with a heavy reliance upon computer models unskilled even in short-term projection, with initial values of key variables unmeasurable and unknown, with advancement of multiple, untestable, non-Popper-falsifiable theories, with a quantitative assignment of unduly high statistical confidence levels to non-quantitative statements that are ineluctably subject to very large uncertainties, and, above all, with the now-prolonged failure of TS to rise as predicted (Figures 1, 2), raise questions about the reliability and hence policy-relevance of the IPCC’s central projections."

Here are some other sources on the skeptics and deniers:

Foreign Policy's Guide to Climate Skeptics, February 26, 2010

Richard Lindzen, Testimony before the House Committee on Science and Technology, November 17, 2010

Warren Meyer, a.k.a. Climate Skeptic: A Layman's Guide to Global Warming (2007)

Also by Meyer, Climate Presentation (Powerpoint)

The Medieval Warm Period: A Global Phenomenon (has links to multiple scientific papers showing the existence of a medieval warm period). See also this collection of refereed papers from The Resilient Earth on the medieval warm period.

John L. Daly, "The 'Hockey Stick': A New Low in Climate Science"

Thomas Gale Moore, "Global Warming: A Boom to Humans and Other Animals" (Hoover Institution, 1995)

Rudolf Kipp: Medieval Warm Period

National Post series on the Climate Skeptics

Freeman Dyson, "Heretical Thoughts About Science and Society"

Christopher Monckton, "'2010 Was the Warmest Year on Record'"

The Resilient Earth, "The Case for Doing Nothing about Global Warming"

Don J. Easterbrook, "2010: Where Does it Fit in the Warmest Year List?"

Alexander Cockburn, "From Papal Indulgences to Carbon Credits: Is Global Warming a Sin?"

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