There should really be no surprise here — nor reason for alarm either.
In advance of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) “last chance once again to save the planet” COP 26 meeting in Glasgow, Scotland, next month we’re seeing lots of scary hair-on-fire stuff in the media.
Predictably, preliminary findings of IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report, or AR6, Summary for Policymakers (SPM) are even — gasp — more dire than previously imagined seven years ago in their previous AR5 report.
And it’s all due to Donald Trump and the Republicans.
In case you doubt this, check out the June 30 New York Times article: “Democrats Have a Year to Save the Planet.”
So, what has changed since 2014, or even since the IPCC’s first report almost 30 years ago?
The answer is, other than hotter models … very little.
New climate scenarios of up to 5°C (9°F) temperature rise from 1850 by 2100 are inconsistent with observed current warming of about 0.15°C (.27° F) per decade, implying a further rise of only 1.2°C (2.16° F) by 2100.
Recent satellite data reveals a linear warming trend since January 1979 remains at plus 0.14 C/decade (+0.12 C/decade over the global-averaged oceans, and +0.18 C/decade over global-averaged land).
Even many IPCC scientists are admitting that the new generation of models are running too high to trust as instruments of policy.
As Gavin Schmidt — director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies — told the renowned journal Science: “It’s become clear over the last year or so that we can’t avoid this admission… You end up with numbers for even the near-term that are insanely scary — and wrong.”
Titled “U.N. climate panel confronts implausibly hot forecasts of future warming,” the Science article observes: “[A]s climate scientists face this alarming reality [of a warming world], the climate models that help them project the future have grown a little too alarmist. Many of the world’s leading models are now projecting warming rates that most scientists, including the modelmakers themselves, believe are implausibly fast.”
The story goes on to conclude that many of IPCC’s the worst-case warming model predictions — of more than 9 degrees Fahrenheit — are likely at least twice too high.
The journal Science pointed out that IPCC’s climate models have been out of step with records of past climate, noting for example, that whereas extensive paleoclimate records suggest that Earth cooled nearly 6°C compared with preindustrial times, a model, fed with low Ice Age CO2 levels, had temperatures plummeting by nearly twice that much, suggesting it was far too sensitive to the ups and downs of CO2.
Jessica Tierney, a paleoclimatologist at the University of Arizona and a co-author of the work, which appeared in the highly respected Geophysical Research Letters, commented, “That is clearly outside the range of what the geological data indicate... It’s totally out there.”
After all, throughout Earth’s history, atmospheric carbon dioxide that is popular to hype as the driving cause of climate change has typically been several thousand parts per million, not the 420 ppm today.
Nevertheless, despite those higher past CO2 levels, temperatures are lower now than they’ve been throughout most of human civilization.
David Whitehouse, Science Editor for the UK’s nonprofit Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), observes that the data for this century shows a long hiatus between 2002-2014 that was acknowledged by IPCC; an intense multi-phased El Nino cooling event and its aftermath; and a recent decline to levels that were recorded in its previous report.
So far, it looks like 2021 temperatures are set to be the coldest year since 2014 — possibly cooler than 2010 and 2005.
And while it’s true that this year’s global temperatures have been depressed by a La Nina ocean event, warmer temperatures between 2015-2020 were boosted considerably by the warmth of a record-setting El Nino.
The IPCC’s latest SPM also makes entirely unsupportable claims that human activity was “unequivocally” the cause of rapid changes to the climate, including sea level rises, melting polar ice and glaciers, heatwaves, floods and droughts.
GWPF’s Dr. Whitehouse explains that “[E]very summer, as regular as clockwork, we get the ‘Greenland Meltdown’ scare, replete with warnings that the Greenland ice sheet contains enough [water] to raise sea levels by 7.5 meters (about 25 ft-7 ins.)”
“These stories,” he adds, “are always occasioned by a few days of sunny weather, which melts a bit of ice…in fact, every summer Greenland loses about 200 billion tons of ice, and every winter it puts it all back again with new snowfall.”
If the ice didn’t melt in summer, the ice cap would never stop growing. Greenland’s ice mass balance was still well above average for this year, and as for “heatwaves,” Greenland is no warmer now than it was during the 1930s and '40s.
As for heat waves and droughts, U.K. Met Office data shows that the United Kingdom stopped getting warmer a decade and a half ago, following a rise in temperatures during the 1980s and '90s, while also becoming notably wetter in Scotland than it used to be.
Long-term rainfall trends in England and Wales, however, have barely changed since the 19th century, with the wettest decade in the 1870s, the wettest year 1872, the wettest month October 1903, and the wettest day in 1955.
Regarding the future influence of greenhouse and other emissions, the IPCC’s Special Report on Emission Scenarios (SRES) published in 2000, concluded: “The broad consensus among the SRES writing team is that the current literature analysis suggests the future is inherently unpredictable and so views will differ as to which of the storylines and representative scenarios could be more or less likely.”
“Therefore,” the authors stated, “the development of a single ‘best guess’ or ‘business-as usual’ scenario is neither desirable nor possible.”
Scientists Roger Pielke Jr. and Justin Ritchie summarize the results in an article titled “How Climate Scenarios Lost Touch with Reality” which appears a recent issue of Arizona State University’s Issues in Science and Technology.
They write: “And so, with any attempts at scientific nuance lost in technical language, these implausible projections of apocalyptic impacts decades hence are converted by press releases, media coverage, and advocates — as in an extended game of telephone — into assertions that climate change is now catalyzing dramatic increases in extreme events such as hurricanes, droughts, and floods, events that foreshadow imminent global catastrophe.”
And unlike climate, it never changes for the better.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 10 books, "What Makes Humans Truly Exceptional," (2021) is available on Amazon along with all others. Read Larry Bell's Reports — More Here.
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