[Discussion document] Global Warming: A Socialist Perspective - Part Two

So what drives the Climate? The real answer is no one knows. There are theories in abundance, computer simulations by the score. But as Gershwin described the Mississipi "It just goes on trundling along." Before attempting to answer the question it is probably worth reviewing the limitations of computer modelling.

Note: The position expressed in this article is not the position of the International Marxist Tendency. It is the opinion of one of our readers. We believe he has raised some interesting points that are worth discussing. The purpose of publishing this article is to stimulate debate on an important question. We invite our readers to participate in this debate. Please send any contributions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Population Bomb

Probably this section should be titled "The War for Resources", but it was the title of a book by Paul Erlich who was a member of the Club of Rome that produced the infamous tract "The Limits to Growth". The first aspect that comes to mind with all of this analysis is that they forget the basic tenet of Marxism in that it is labour that produces wealth. The greater the population of the world, the greater the resource. None of the people who are involved with the doomsday scenarios have ever worked in manufacturing industry for a living. The worker knows how the boss extracts surplus value, by simply getting him to produce today more with less effort and material input than he did yesterday. Wages are of course irrelevant to this argument.

Starting with the concept of a "finite" material resource there is a general concept among the petit bourgeois that the world contains finite resources. However they forget that there are infinite possibilities of how these resources can be put together. Hence they teach "sustainability". Sustainable Development is the canard rule. Another religion.

A little aside in the Al Gore film "An Inconvenient Truth" was the graph that showed the explosion of the population of the world shown against the backdrop of increasing CO2 emissions. This spectre haunts all the petit bourgeois, such that they look for an optimum population of the planet. Zac Goldsmith who is an advisor to David Cameron is fully signed up to his uncle's position in that the optimum population of the planet is 40,000. His uncle has bought vast tracts of land in Mexico in order to maintain its pristine nature. No people allowed. Of course it is worth remembering that Zac's father was the billionaire owner of Cavendish Foods, one Sir James Goldsmith. It must be a guilt trip of those that have, to deny to those that have not.

But this section of the petit bourgeois is signed up fully to the Limits to Growth. It's a Malthusian concept whereby Malthus thought that the only way humanity could survive the exponential growth of its population, was by eating the contents of the produce that an individual produced in his own flowerpot. To these people a cottage industry is going to solve the problems of the planet. Hence the drive by environmentalists for organic produce, without the benefits of the chemical or microbiological industry. Or for that matter industry in general. Certainly Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) has no place in this scenario. The fact that science has proved that GMO produce is safe, and the fact that vast quantities of the produce are grown around the world, without any adverse side effects is irrelevant to these people. The response might as well have been that of the Greenpeace spokesman for Southern Africa describing the proposal to build a hydroelectric power station in Mozambique:

"What do they need this for? They are only going to buy jeans and cell phones."

It needed the capitalist economist Julian Simon to restore some sort of sanity. He placed a wager with the members of the Club of Rome that any ten commodities that they chose would be cheaper in ten years than they were in 1980. At $1,000 per commodity the Club of Rome lost on every item. Needless to say not one of the predictions of the "Population Bomb" has become true.

Likewise with the Erlich's book on "Betrayal of Science and Reason: How Anti-Environmental Rhetoric Threatens Our Future", now in the remainders list at $1.88, these Cassandras of ecohondria have shown their misanthropic view of humanity to the full. Written before evidence was obtained of the Medieval Warm Period, they stated categorically that it was not possible to determine, "with any certainty" the climate prior to 1200AD. That is of course before Michael Mann showed them that the temperature prior to the industrial revolution was constant, plus or minus 0.2 of a degree centigrade!

Computer Simulations of the Climate

So what drives the Climate? The real answer is no one knows. There are theories in abundance, computer simulations by the score. But as Gershwin described the Mississipi "It just goes on trundling along." Before attempting to answer the question it is probably worth reviewing the limitations of computer modelling.

Climatologists place great store on simulation programs that purport to model the interactions of the many variables that affect the climate on earth. My own speciality is in deposition technologies whereby mixtures of gases are used to control what is deposited on a substrate in a closed vacuum system. In other words the problem is bounded.

Almost all semiconductor-manufacturing processes occur in closed vessels. This permits the engineers to precisely control the input chemicals (gases) and the pressure, temperature, etc. with high degrees of precision and reliability. Closed systems are also much easier to model as compared to systems open to the atmosphere (that should tell us something already). Computer models are used to inform the engineering team as to the design the shape, temperature ramp, flow rates, etc, etc, (i.e. the thermodynamics) of the new reactor.

Nonetheless, despite the fact that,

1) the chemical reactions are highly studied,

2) there exists extensive experience with similar reactors, much of it recorded in the open literature,

3) the input gases and materials are of high and known purity, and

4) the process is controlled with incredible precision,

the predictions of the models are often wrong, requiring that the reactor be adjusted empirically to produce the desired product with quality and reliability.

The fact that these artificial "climates" are closed systems far simpler than the global climate, have the advantage of the experimental method, and are subject to precise controls, and yet are frequently wrong, should lend some humility to those who make grand predictions about the future of the earth's atmosphere.

The fact also that these processes control one of the world's largest industries with billions of dollars at stake as compared to climate modellers whose proof exists in the dim and distant future, reminds one of the Bulgarian peasant. At the end of the last war the victorious Red Army sent commissars into the villages to tell the peasantry that socialism was on the horizon. It took 10 seconds for one the locals to find out from a dictionary that the horizon was an "ever decreasing line, the closer you get to it the further it is away."

The starting point for an understanding of the approach to modelling the climate is the statement from Chris Folland of the UK Meteorological Office:

"The data don't matter. We're not basing our recommendations [for reductions in carbon dioxide emissions] upon the data. We're basing them upon the climate models"

In science it is so easy to be misled on the output of computer modelling. It is after all what we want to happen. But how well do the models replicate the earth's climate. One of the best, Model E from the Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS), has of their own admission the following deficiencies.

"Model E (2006) compares the atmospheric model climatology with observations. Model shortcomings include ~25% regional deficiency of summer stratus cloud cover off the west coast of the continents with resulting excessive absorption of solar radiation by as much as 50 W/m 2 , deficiency in absorbed solar radiation and net radiation over other tropical regions by typically 20 W/m2 , sea level pressure too high by 4-8 hPa in the winter in the Arctic and 2-4 hPa too low in all seasons in the tropics, ~20% deficiency of rainfall over the Amazon basin, ~25% deficiency in summer cloud cover in the western United States and central Asia with a corresponding ~5 ° C excessive summer warmth in these regions. In addition to the inaccuracies in the simulated climatology, another shortcoming of the atmospheric model for climate change studies is the absence of a gravity wave representation, as noted above, which may affect the nature of interactions between the troposphere and stratosphere. The stratospheric variability is less than observed, as shown by analysis of the present 20-layer 4°×5° atmospheric model by J. Perlwitz (personal communication). In a 50-year control run Perlwitz finds that the interannual variability of seasonal mean temperature in the stratosphere maximizes in the region of the subpolar jet streams at realistic values, but the model produces only six sudden stratospheric warmings (SSWs) in 50 years, compared with about one every two years in the real world.

"The coarse resolution Russell ocean model has realistic overturning rates and inter-ocean transports (Sun and Bleck, 2006), but tropical SST has less east-west contrast than observed and the model yields only slight El Nino-like variability (Fig. 17, Efficacy , 2005). Also the Southern Ocean is too well-mixed near Antarctica (Liu et al., 2003), deep water production in the North Atlantic Ocean does not go deep enough, and some deep-water formation occurs in the Sea of Okhotsk region, probably because of unrealistically small freshwater input there in the model III version of modelE. Global sea ice cover is realistic, but this is achieved with too much sea ice in the Northern Hemisphere and too little sea ice in the Southern Hemisphere, and the seasonal cycle of sea ice is too damped with too much ice remaining in the Arctic summer, which may affect the nature and distribution of sea ice climate feedbacks.

"Despite these model limitations, in IPCC model inter-comparisons the model used for the simulations reported here, i.e., modelE with the Russell ocean, fares about as well as the typical global model in the verisimilitude of its climatology. Comparisons so far include the ocean's thermohaline circulation (Sun and Bleck, 2006), the ocean's heat uptake (Forest et al., 2006), the atmosphere's annular variability and response to forcings (Miller et al., 2006), and radiative forcing calculations (Collins et al., 2006). The ability of the GISS model to match climatology, compared with other models, varies from being better than average on some fields (radiation quantities, upper tropospheric temperature) to poorer than average on others (stationary wave activity, sea level pressure)."

A small point worth mentioning is that the above-listed errors of 20-50 W/m2 are an order of magnitude greater than the possible increase in forcing from a doubling of pre-Industrial Revolution levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide and the climate sensitivity to said forcing is an absurdly high ~3 °C for ~4 W/m2! Why is this absurd?

As just mentioned, a doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide (from the pre-Industrial value of 280 parts per million) in the global atmosphere causes a forcing of 4 W/m2. The central value of the climate sensitivity to this change is a global average temperature increase of 3°C (5.4°F), but with a range from 1.5°C to 4.5°C (2.7 to 8.1°F). The central value of 3°C is an amplification by a factor of 2.5 over the direct effect of 1.2°C (2.2°F).

So, an estimated direct sensitivity of 1.2 °C, subjected to 'an amplification factor' of 2.5 yields 3 °C potential warming and yet the IPCC's own numbers suggest there has already been an increase in forcing of 2.4 W/m2 yielding just 0.65 °C warming over 125 years and leaving a balance of 1.6 W/m2 to deliver a further 2.35 °C warming. Yet as has already been shown, the climate's response to increasing CO2 concentrations is logarithmic not exponential or a power series.

However, the primary criticism of the present General Circulation Models (GCMs) comes from one of NASAs own researchers Miskolczi who has produced a number of papers that from a fundamental mathematical point of view destroys the basis of the models. For his pains he was forced to resign! This in his own words:

"NASA refused to release the results. Miskolczi believes their motivation is simple. ‘Money'" he tells DailyTech. "Research that contradicts the view of an impending crisis jeopardizes funding, not only for his own atmosphere-monitoring project, but all climate-change research. Currently, funding for climate research tops $5 billion per year. Miskolczi resigned in protest, stating in his resignation letter, "Unfortunately my working relationship with my NASA supervisors eroded to a level that I am not able to tolerate. My idea of the freedom of science cannot coexist with the recent NASA practice of handling new climate change related scientific results."

The interesting aspect of this is that James Hansen, the father of the present Anthropogenic Climate Scare is wont to rush to the press every time he perceives that his work is being censored for political purposes. And yet here we have a researcher in the same organisation that produces work directly contradicting his scary scenarios, being censored by the self-same organisation.

And what did his theoretical work, based on the laws of physics and chemistry show?

"... a hypothetical CO2 doubling will increase the optical depth (of the global average profile) by 0.0241, and the related increase in the surface temperature will be 0.24 K."

0.24oK!!! And further that the feedback mechanism, which Hansen relies on, is negative not positive. According to Miskolczi, the climate system makes regulatory adjustment to compensate for changes in CO2 with changes in humidity and clouds, in order to most efficiently convert short wave incoming solar energy, into long wave outgoing energy. The problem with radiative models used until now is a discontinuity between the atmospheric and surface temperatures. This violates Kirchhoff's law, that two bodies in thermal equilibrium must have equal temperatures (over time) and is one of the reasons for mysterious unphysical behaviour of climate models. Incorporating this simple constraint introduces an energy minimization principle that makes runaway greenhouse warming impossible. This corrects a major deficiency in the current theory, which explain why "runaway" greenhouse warming hasn't happened in the Earth's past.

This new understanding backs up what to the ordinary working person finds intuitively obvious that the world self-regulates.

Miskolczi goes on to criticise the present popular explanation for the greenhouse effect stating that is not the result of the LW atmospheric absorption of the surface radiation and the surface heating by the atmospheric downward radiation, since the involved flux terms are always equal. Since the fluxes are equal, the earth, which has a much higher specific heat than the atmosphere controls the temperature of the atmosphere. Consequently it is the oceans and the landmass that affect the air and not the other way around.

Many billions of dollars have been expended by major climate research groups around the world on honing complex General Circulation Models (GCMs) of the ocean and atmosphere. Each of these models comprises more than a million lines of code and all are deterministic, which is to say that they specify the climate system from the first principles of physics. The models are a great intellectual accomplishment, and their application helps us to understand environmental and climatic change in many different ways. GCMs are, however, not predictive tools, which is why even their proponents refer to their output as climate "scenarios" and not "predictions". For many parts of the climate system, such as the behaviour of turbulent fluids or the processes that occur within clouds, our knowledge of the physics is incomplete, which requires the extensive use of parameterisation (read "educated guesses") in the computer models. As Hendrik Tennekes remarked recently, "a (GCM) prediction fifty or a hundred years into the future is an idle gesture". That the IPCC relies so heavily upon complex GCM-generated scenarios as the basis for its climate alarmism is in point of fact alarming in its own right; it also reflects the absence of any strong empirical evidence for human-caused climate change.

It has been estimated that as much as $500Billion has been spent on this latest environmental scare. For this money the world could have solved the problems of disease and water delivery for the whole of Africa. But environmentalists are not interested in people. As has already been stated they are misanthropes who think that mankind is a plague on the planet, and a disease that must be greatly reduced.

Cosmic Rays and the Variation in Cloud Cover - the Sun & the Clouds 1

Ten years ago Dr Jasper Kirkby whilst working at CERN, postulated that the sun and cosmic rays "will probably be able to account for somewhere between a half and the whole of the increase in the Earth's temperature that we have seen in the last century." Global warming, he theorized, may be part of a natural cycle in the Earth's temperature.

He proposed a research programme consisting of atmospheric physicists, solar physicists, and cosmic ray and particle physicists from 18 institutes around the world, including the California Institute of Technology and Germany's Max-Planck Institute.

Unfortunately he ran into intense opposition and Dr. Kirkby was immediately condemned by climate scientists for minimizing the role of human beings in global warming. Stories in the media disparaged Dr. Kirkby by citing scientists who feared oil-industry lobbyists would use his statements to discredit the greenhouse effect. And the funding approval for Dr. Kirkby's path-breaking experiment ‑ seemingly a sure thing when he first announced his proposal ‑ was put on ice.

It has taken 10 years for the project to be refunded as the CLOUD (Cosmics Leaving OUtdoor Droplets) laboratory experiment, which CERN believes will show the mechanisms through which the sun and cosmic rays can influence the formation of clouds and thus the climate. The CLOUD project will use a high-energy particle beam from an accelerator to closely duplicate cosmic rays found in the atmosphere.

But there are a large body of scientists around the world who have pointed to the influence on the climate of the sun and clouds. Those with closed minds like David Viner of the Climate Research Unit of the University of East Anglia have this to say about the science of cosmic ray cloud formation:

"... we can explain the temperature discrepancy between the surface and the low atmosphere without recourse to this proposal."

And of course it is this attitude that held back research into this area for years.

Figure 10
Figure 10: Solar activity (left panel), not CO2 levels (right panel), highly
correlate with Arctic temperature anomalies

Knowledge of the linkage between the sun and the clouds is not new. In the "Influence of Solar Activity on State of Wheat Market in Medieval England" (Pustilnik, 2003), we find a seemingly radical hypothesis dating from British astronomer William Herschel, who suggested a link between sunspots and wheat prices in 1801. He noticed an inverse correlation between the number of sunspots in the 11-year cycle and the price of grain on Earth. The more sunspots, the finer the weather, and the finer the weather the more the grain grows, and the more the grain grows the lower the price.

Figure 11
Figure 11: Svenmarks Cosmic Ray Interaction Diagram

It was resurrected in 1959 by US researcher Edward Ney, but it remained a hypothesis even though it could be supported by historical records and statistical associations but were not empirically demonstrated. However at the same time as Kirkby proposed his programme Henrik Svensmark and the team at the Danish National Space Center, commenced a programme to investigate the relationship between Clouds and Solar Winds.

Svensmark used a cloud chamber to determine the interaction between cosmic rays and clouds. He estimated that the indirect cloud effect in just 5 years was responsible for a 2% decrease in low clouds (the kind that reflect incoming solar radiation by day) which, in turn, equates to an increase in surface warming of 1.2 Wm-2 from incident radiation ‑ equivalent to some 85% of the IPCC's estimate for the effect of all carbon dioxide increase since the Industrial Revolution.

Significantly, the "Svensmark Effect" only operates in the lower troposphere because there is always more than sufficient ionization of the upper atmosphere to ensure no shortage of cloud nuclei. This is important since high, thin clouds do not reflect incoming sunlight and are a net warming influence while the reverse is true of low, bright clouds. The effect then directly influences cooling cloud cover.

However, there is also a counterintuitive parallel effect ‑ condensation and precipitation will likely reduce the total lower atmospheric concentration of that ubiquitous greenhouse gas, water vapour, so increasing clear sky radiative cooling. It's true that clouds account for roughly one-fifth of the greenhouse effect but gaseous water vapour accounts for more than one-half of the total effect. Reduced condensation then would leave an increased proportion of gaseous water vapour with corresponding increase in clear sky greenhouse effect. Increased solar activity acts directly on the Earth with a small increase in radiation, a small heating effect and an associated increase in evaporation. This same increase in activity suppresses cosmic ray penetration of Earth's atmosphere, thus reducing available low cloud condensation nuclei. This sequence of events increases clear sky and incoming radiation while increasing the already dominant clear sky greenhouse effect from gaseous water vapour.

The reverse effect of a more quiescent sun reduces direct solar warming and, by permitting the penetration of cosmic rays, facilitates low cloud formation, which increases reflection of already reduced solar radiation, reduces clear sky, reduces evaporation and simultaneously reduces the availability of the most important greenhouse gas, water vapour, through condensation and precipitation.

Thus solar activity has associative positive feedback when more active and negative feedback when less active, dramatically magnifying Earth's thermal response to changes in solar activity and explaining how fractions of Wm-2 change in direct solar radiation translate to many Wm-2 effect between positive and negative phases of relative solar activity.

Good cloud data is in short supply and covers only the recent decades but we can derive cosmic ray intensity and deduce there has been a general reduction in cloud cover during the 20th Century. While Svensmark is hesitant to extrapolate from very short data series (always a dubious procedure) it is entirely plausible that reduction in low cloud over the period could conservatively be estimated to have increased heating at Earth's surface by 5-10 Wm-2, an amount more than sufficient to account for all the estimated warming over the period.

Svensmark theory makes some intuitive sense because over the last century the Sun has been unusually active - which means fewer cosmic rays, and a warmer climate on Earth. The sun still, except for the normal variation due to sun spot activity which at present is nearing the end of an 11-year cycle, is also coming to the end, in 2 to 3 years, of what is called the "Grand Maximum". (This also will occur when results are expected from Kirkbys CLOUD experiments.) As Richard Black, Environment Correspondent for the BBC states,

"If it does, and if Henrik Svensmark is right, we should then see cosmic rays increase and global temperatures start to fall; if that happens, he can expect to see a Nobel Prize and thousands of red-faced former IPCC members queuing up to hand back the one they have just received."

I can't wait!

But although results from the CLOUD experiments have not yet been published, the Svensmark theory has been subjected to many attacks, from Lockwood, Frohlich and from Professor Terry Sloan of Lancaster University. One would have thought that the best approach from a controversial theory would be to wait until the CLOUD experiments reported results one way or the other. But that is not the method of global warming science. Every alternative theory has to be trashed in the manner of the ‘quick rebuttal unit' perfected by New Labour.

Even Nir Shaviv, an astrophysicist who previously considered that CO2 was the main driver of climate change, now considers that the sun is responsible for ‘between 2/3rds and all of the temperature change on the planet'.

However, a new statistical analysis by Copeland has provided further confirmation by subjecting the HadCRUT temperature data to a digital filter that was programmed to look for periodic events (Figure 12) corresponding to sunspot cycles and found the fingerprint of the solar cycles in the data.

Figure 12
Figure 12: Correlation between peaks in the change
of the global temperature record and the sun

Sun Spot Cycles and Maunder Minimum- the Sun and the Clouds II

One of the best explanations for the causes of the present climatic variation comes from the astronomer, Dr David Whitehouse. In a recent article in The Independent he wrote:

"Sunspots - dark magnetic blotches on the Sun's surface - come and go in a roughly 11-year cycle of activity first noticed in 1843. It's related to the motion of super-hot, electrically charged gas inside the Sun - a kind of internal conveyor belt where vast sub-surface rivers of gas take 40 years to circulate from the equator to the poles and back. Somehow, in a way not very well understood, this circulation produces the sunspot cycle in which every 11 years there is a sunspot maximum followed by a minimum. But recently the Sun's internal circulation has been failing. In May 2006 this conveyor belt had slowed to a crawl - a record low.

"Sunspots can be long or short, weak or strong and sometimes they can go away altogether. Following the discovery of the cycle, astronomers looked back through previous observations and were able to see it clearly until they reached the 17th century, when it seemed to disappear. It turned out to be a real absence, not one caused by a lack of observations. Astronomers called it the "Maunder Minimum." It was an astonishing discovery: our Sun can change. Between 1645 and 1715 sunspots were rare. About 50 were observed; there should have been 50,000.

"Ever since the sunspot cycle was discovered, researchers have looked for its rhythm superimposed on the Earth's climate. In some cases it's there but usually at low levels. But there was something strange about the time when the sunspots disappeared that left scientists to ponder if the sun's unusual behaviour could have something to do with the fact that the 17th century was also a time when the Earth's northern hemisphere chilled with devastating consequences.

"Astrophysicists call that event the "Little Ice Age" and it affected Europe at just the wrong time. In response to the more benign climate of the earlier Medieval Warm Period, Europe's population may have doubled. But in the mid-17th century demographic growth stopped and in some areas fell, in part due to the reduced crop yields caused by climate change. Bread prices doubled and then quintupled and hunger weakened the population.

"Almost everyone agrees that throughout most of the last century the solar influence was significant. Studies show that by the end of the 20th century the Sun's activity may have been at its highest for more than 8,000 years. Other solar parameters have been changing as well, such as the magnetic field the Sun sheds, which has almost doubled in the past century. But then things turned. In only the past decade or so the Sun has started a decline in activity, and the lateness of cycle 24 is an indicator."

These events, known by astrophysicists, anthropologists, geologists and archaeologists are denied by climatologists. At every foray by real science into their domain, the answering refrain has been "Ah but you're not a climatologist," but it does not stop them invading the other more plentiful areas of science with a circumventional analysis of the science that portrays ignorance of the wider subject writ large.

Mathematicians and Statisticians likewise despair at the complete abandonment of the scientific analysis in the climatologists dalliance with their area of expertise. But then the chickens are coming home to roost. The warming from the Little Ice Age is coming to an end. The oceans and satellite records show no net warming since 1998 and the sun spot cycle indicates the onset of another ice age. A fact that is endorsed by both the Chinese and Russian Academy of Sciences, who never bought into the present ecohondriacs' dream.

The big danger now is the onset of a little ice age. The sunspot cycles indicate that something momentous is happening, far greater than the puny influence of man whose input onto the plane of these galactic events is in the reaction of a small trace gas at the margins. As Dr Whitehouse warns:

"It's (cycle 24 lateness) something we must take seriously because what happened in the 17th century is bound to happen again some time. Recent work studying the periods when our Sun loses its sunspots, along with data on other Sun-like stars that may be behaving in the same way, suggests that our Sun may spend between 10 and 25 per cent of the time in this state. Perhaps the lateness of cycle 24 might even be the start of another Little Ice Age."

So we are left in a situation where the Svensmark effect plus the reduction of solar activity will lead to a global cooling not seen since the Maunder Minimum (1645 - 1715). Those that have stated as a scientific absolute that anthropogenic causes are responsible for 20th century warming will look as ridiculous as those like Stephen Schneider who predicted an Ice Age based on a few years analysis of temperature records. But the social ramifications will hit many more than just the scientific community.

But what is the response from the official scientific establishment? Jones and Stott from the Met Office Hadley Centre submitted this letter the following day:

"Solar activity, as measured by sunspots, peaked in the late 1950s, and has been fairly stable over the past 30 years. In addition, recent research suggests that volcanic eruptions may have as big or bigger influence on cooler periods, such as the so called "Little Ice Age", than solar activity."

The so called (sic) "Little Ice Age" and sunspots peaked in the 1950s! Jones and Stott know their audience in The Independent like to believe in fairy stories and will take as gospel their pearls of wisdom, but scientists check data. The following plot of Sun Spot numbers is from the NOAA site.

Figure 13

The 20th century was indeed far more active with 72,645 sunspots compared with 51,057 for the 19th century. But that had nothing to do with the 20th centuries warming! And the 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd cycles were stable! It is also just a coincidence that the lull in sunspot activity occurred in the early 1800's when the Thames froze for 3 months at a time.

CO2 the driver of Climate Change?

In Al Gore's film "An Inconvenient Truth" he lays great emphasis on a plot of CO2 emissions and the Antarctic Vostok Ice Core, which he purported to show that CO2 correlated with the rise in temperature. He stated that CO2 was the driver for the temperature. Further analysis of the cores shows that for the last 450,000 years the temperature rose some 500-800 years before the rise in CO2. When questioned about this on television he stated, "that CO2 and temperature are what scientists call a coupled system." Too right! But not in the way he showed. Correlation does not imply causation.

It is worth pointing out at this stage that Charles Keeling whilst working for the Scripps Institute of Oceanography began CO2 measurements for the present era in 1958 at Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii. The data plotted at this observatory, and other sites around the world shows a steady increase in emissions of CO2 from that time until the present day. But the Observatory measures the effective absorption and transmission of CO2 by Infrared photometry. Keeling criticised previous methods that had taken place in the preceding two centuries using chemical analysis. He suggested that these methods were prone to the noise of the instrumental method. However one thing is apparent from a plot of these measurements is that it shows the increase, as demonstrated by the Mauna Loa Observatory but the assumption that the Keeling Curve is parabolic from the 1840's and then flat from there to minus infinity could be wrong.

Figure 14
Figure 14: Comparison between Chemical and Infrared Measurements of CO2 Concentrations

Beck has reanalysed the chemical methods used for measuring the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and has replotted the results achieved from a number of prominent investigators. If the Beck curve is correct, then we do not have to look back into the dim and distant past to find CO2 "levels 20% higher", just 1940. But the more important aspect is that the temperature since 1820 has, "on average" changed by 0.837oC as is witnessed by the following graphs. The first is the Central England Temperature record, which spans the years 1659 - present day, and the second from 1820 - present day.

Figure 15
Figure 15: Central England Temperature Records

To illustrate the absurdity of a regression on both sets of data shows that the slope of the graph from 1820 to the present day is twice what it is for the period 1659 to the present day. But the real figure to look at is the R2 significance, which is ridiculously low in both cases. But this is the problem with statistical analysis in the present era. Meaningless extrapolations are presented as scientific facts and it does not matter whether it is in the world of climatology, the environment or health. If it produces a good scare then it achieves the objective of keeping the population in a permanent state of fear! They have learnt much from the methods of Tomas de Torquemada.

However it would be very interesting to try and correlate the CO2 concentration from the chemical method of measuring CO2 with the CET temperature profile. There would be absolutely no significance whatsoever. But equally the projections of future rises in CO2 levels are based in part on a linear mathematical projection of the Keeling curve, which immediately shows a problem with modelling non-linear events. If for example one were to curve fit a portion of the chemical method curve between 1820 to 1860, and make projections based on that model to 1900 one could say that the levels of CO2 were dropping to such levels that life on earth would become impossible. Not only would there be a big reduction in agricultural output, but because of the logarithmic nature of the relationship between CO2 and temperature shown in Figure 7, the world would become much colder. More people always die from cold and starvation then have ever succumbed to a heat wave.

See also: