Academy of alarm

Academy Of Science Climate PamphletWhat does the Aus­tralian Acad­e­my of sci­ence think their role should be? To inform or to fright­en? To elu­ci­date pub­lic pol­i­cy issues from a sci­en­tif­ic view­point? Or to indulge them­selves in scare­mon­ger­ing so unsup­port­ed by facts that it bor­ders on irre­spon­si­ble?

Their lat­est cli­mate-alarm pam­phlet con­tains appalling rub­bish, includ­ing claims that the world will warm by up to 7° C in the next nine­ty years! This goes beyond mar­ket­ing (for their research grants) and beyond beyond ratio­nal science. 

Cli­mate mod­els esti­mate that, by 2100, the aver­age glob­al tem­per­a­ture will be between 2°C and 7°C high­er than pre- indus­tri­al tem­per­a­tures, depend­ing on future green­house gas emis­sions and on the ways that mod­els rep­re­sent the sen­si­tiv­i­ty of cli­mate to small dis­tur­bances.” Extract from The Sci­ence of Cli­mate Change

The sci­en­tists of the Acad­e­my must be aware that, as fore­casts, the IPCC mod­els are bunkum: they are “sce­nario pro­jec­tions” not ini­tialised to obser­va­tions of the cli­mate as Ken­neth Tren­berth, one of their chief defend­ers, acknowl­edges. In oth­er words, they have a ten­u­ous con­nec­tion with real­i­ty; they are noth­ing more than pol­i­cy ‘what-ifs’ not the basis for any real­is­tic ‘esti­mates’ such as the Acad­e­my pretends.

The mod­els exclude details of known key dri­vers of the cli­mate such as clouds (!!), aerosols, albe­do and (any men­tion of) the Pacif­ic Decadal Oscil­la­tion that is known to have a sig­nif­i­cant effect on medi­um-term vari­abil­i­ty. For the Acad­e­my to base alarm­ing ‘esti­mates’ of a 7° C increase in tem­per­a­ture on the IPCC mod­els, as they have done would be noth­ing more than laugh­able spin if it were not for the fact that we are sup­port­ing these peo­ple with pub­lic fund­ing. This pam­phlet dam­ages their author­i­ty and their credibility.

Even when they stick to the facts, the Acad­e­my can’t resist breath­less alarm Here’s what they have to say about sea-levels

The rate of rise increased from the 19th to the 20th cen­turies, with the result that ocean lev­els are now more than 20 cm high­er than in 1870 

Wow! Real­ly?! That’s 20cm in 140 years? That’s about 1.4 mil­lime­tres a year dur­ing a peri­od when the world warmed by about 0.7° C. … Um, hold on! Is that real­ly some­thing to wor­ry about? 1.4 mil­lime­tres is thin­ner than a pad­dle-pop stick (with a big mar­gin for error). Nope, no cause for alarm. We’re talk­ing about a pad­dling depth sea rise over the next cen­tu­ry at best. 

Official US DOE data on global carbon emissionsAnd, as for their inces­sant claims, echo­ing the IPCC, that it is ‘most like­ly’ that car­bon emis­sions are the cause of warm­ing, the Acad­e­my has not addressed the ordi­nary implau­si­bil­i­ty of the case. Car­bon emis­sions show no cor­re­la­tion with the warm­ing trends over the past cen­tu­ry and a half. As the graph­ic from the offi­cial US source shows, hey have grown rapid­ly since about 1945, accel­er­at­ing all of that time. Before 1920 they were negligible. 

HADCRUT temperature record, marked up to show oscillations around the trendYet glob­al aver­age ter­res­tri­al tem­per­a­ture trends — here rep­re­sent­ed by the UK’s HADCRUT series — have fol­lowed a very dif­fer­ent path. They have grown over­all since 1850 at a steady rate of about 0.5° C per cen­tu­ry but with marked oscil­la­tions (about 30 years dura­tion) around the main trend (pos­si­bly due to the PDO cycles). The tem­per­a­tures were ris­ing at this rate in the peri­od before there were any man-made emis­sions (up to, say, 1920). Tem­per­a­tures have ceased to rise since about 1995 (see CRU’s Phil Jones’ acknowl­edge­ment that, sta­tis­ti­cal­ly, there has been no warm­ing since 1995). Tem­per­a­tures have been flat or declin­ing slight­ly since 2001, even as car­bon emis­sions con­tin­ued their rapid climb.

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