Further into Fairyland
Major Distortions in the IPCC Version of Global Warming / Greenhouse Science
A review of instances over the last decade where the IPCC has promulgated their own unique brand of "consensus science".
The core position of the IPCC is that "global warming" as measured by CRU is deemed to be caused by the enhanced greenhouse effect driven by increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide due to anthropogenic emissions from burning of fossil fuels. Since its inception in 1988 the UN based Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has taken the often shaky science of greenhouse and driven a political process aimed at mandatory reductions in fossil fuel emissions. This process manifests itself to the public by a series of conferences, such as the notable, Rio, Berlin, Kyoto, all aimed at cajoling sometimes reluctant governments into signing on to mandatory emission controls. Any enforced reductions in the use of fossil fuels is likely to increase energy costs to users which will reduce peoples overall standard of living.
There are three main pillars to the IPCC scientific position.
1 The content of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing due to burning of fossil fules and warming the planet due to the greenhouse effect .
2 Global temperatures are rising due to 1, which will also cause sea levels to rise due to polar ice melting..
3 Computer models predict even greater temperature and sea level rises than we have so far seen
Instances where the IPCC has got the science wrong have been numerous over the last 12 years but we will list some examples arranged by the subject groups above. A constant theme in IPCC model outputs / predictions from 1988 has been a steady reduction in the seriousness of indicated increases of temperature, sea level rise and carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere. The effect of this has been that politicians went to the Rio Conference in 1992 influenced by outdated exaggerated data and of course the IPCC nevers tells policymakers that the problem is not so severe after all.
1 Carbon Dioxide
[a] From the very start in 1988 the IPCC published graphics showing variations in atmospheric carbon dioxide content with temperature over a period extending back through some of the ice ages. Unfortunately for the IPCC they drew the wrong conclusion from the graphic which shows increasing temperature correlating with periods of increased carbon dioxide. The facts are that rising ocean temperatures coming out of a glacial period would cause release of carbon dioxide because as High School students know, more gas dissolves in cold water than hot. Of course the IPCC promulgated the propaganda that it was rising gas levels driving temperature which suits their version of the world, when in fact close examination of the data shows that the temperature rise (or fall) precedes the gas content rise (or fall).
[b] The IPCC has always overstated the importance of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas and under-estimated the importance of water vapour. This of course fitted their fairystory view of the science and filled the need for a simple version of the science to bring non-scientific politicians and policymakers onside. I mean you can hardly be convincing a politician of the need to restrict carbon emissions and at the same time give water vapour its due position as the most important greenhouse gas. This sort of pathetically inadequate science has lead to false model inputs and exaggerated model outputs, the damage just keeps on.
[c] Following on from global cooling induced by the June 1991 volcanic eruption of Mount Pinatubo, cooler ocean surfaces dissolved more carbon dioxide than prior to the eruption which reduced the annual increase in carbon dioxide for some years. In 1991 the IPCC was declaring that carbon dioxide was increasing at 1.8 ppm per year and it took the IPCC years to publicly change its position to the more reasonable 1.5 ppm. Politics of denial once again, and another cause of false model inputs & outputs, the old rubbish in - rubbish out principle.
[d] From the outset, the IPCC talked about the risk of a "runaway greenhouse effect" based on the premise that rising temperatures would warm ocean surfaces driving out carbon dioxide which would in turn drive temperatures higher leading to a "positive feedback". The only runaway climate changes apparent are the frequent ice ages that we are subjected to, frequent in terms of geological time. In all of earths known climate history there are no instances of runaway hot periods suggesting that warming might be buffered by negative feedbacks.
[e] You will not find the IPCC talking much about increased plant growth due to rising carbon dioxide levels. Increasing forest volumes will lead to an increase in the land carbon sink but you can be sure that research in these areas and reporting of research results will likely be warped by some scientists taking care not to question IPCC dogmas.
2 Temperature and Sea Levels
[a] The IPCC has never properly come to terms with the obvious fact that our planets climate has always gone through natural variations including in the recent geological past of the last million years, at least four major ice ages, all long before man was burning fossil fuels. These climate cycles are thought to be due to subtle cyclic variations in the earths orbit and spin; with solar fluctions superimposed. More recent climate fluctuations, all before the industrial era burning of fossil fuels include a warm period at the time of the Roman Empire, a cool period during the Dark Ages, the Medieval Climatic Optimum (warm period ) from about 1000 AD to say 1300 AD, then a cool period known as the Little Ice Age (LIA) extending with two cold troughs, from 1400 to say 1800 AD.
[b] From the start in 1988 the IPCC made a point about denigrating the role of variations in solar output in causing climate change. The IPCC position had developed to the silly point where climate change can only be through the agency of carbon dioxide variations. This has had the effect of pushing some solar scientists towards the greenhouse sceptics camp as they publish findings that clash with IPCC dogmas.
[c] The wild early IPCC estimates of sea level rise, as evidenced by pictures used in our schools of the sea a few floors up city buildings, was mainly due to the IPCC completely misunderstanding the infuence of movements of the earths crust on tide gauges. The poor dears would have been confused because many of the worlds great ports (and tide gauges) are in places where the crust is naturally subsiding, such as river estuaries and drowned coastlines where subsidence gives the appearance of rising sea levels. Over the decade estimates of sea level rise have been reduced so much that one suspects there must be a department there in Fairyland charged with getting the numbers up again. Of course now we have satellite measurements accumulating so in decades to come there will be worthwhile time series of data to analyse. Silly and exaggerated IPCC pronouncements eagerly promoted by the Media have lead to unreal claims by island states hoping to win compensation from the West. An example of these unscientific claims is from the Maldive Islands.
[d] The IPCC has always played down the importance of the LIA (Little Ice Age) because the last thing they want is for people to realize that since about 1800 temperatures have been rebounding in fits and starts from the LIA cool period. Their dogmas insist that this warming is due to increasing carbon dioxide levels but this notion is obviously spurious because most of the temperature rise was pre-1940 and most of the gas increase post 1940.
[e] The IPCC has always been happy promoting global temperature trends over the last 150 years based on land stations which include probably 30% of city stations where the Urban Heat Island (UHI) has exaggerated the trend. An issue that is exposed on this web site.
[f] The IPCC has always minimised the importance of the NASA satellite based temperature record that commences in 1979 and which to this day shows very little trend and thus is in disagreement with the Jones land based trend.. The integrity of the NASA data has for years been under attack from greenhouse industry funded scientists. However in recent times the satellite trends have become more accepted which leaves the thorny issue for the IPCC that the satellites do not pick up the warming found in the surface record. I would say that is because the satellites are measuring a layer several kilometers up while the surface data is severely compromised by having too many stations in UHI's. From a greenhouse theory point of view it is vital to note that the surface can only be warmed by the greenhouse first warming the atmosphere which can then warm near surface air layers. NASA now has a web site highlighting the differences in the two data sets so this issue is one that will continue to haunt the IPCC.
[g] One technique the IPCC has used to explain
away the small magnitude of land warming has been to invoke the
concept that it is aerosol particles from industrial
pollution that has cooled some of the warming. Like most
IPCC driven notions this one is easily shot down when you realize
that the satellite temperature trend for the southern hemisphere
shows slight cooling ( where aerolsols are weakest), while in the
more polluted Northern Hemisphere satellite trends show slight
On my Melbourne Air Quality page a graph is presented showing visibility data going back 45 years which demonstrates a steady improvement in visibility, hence reduction in pollutant aerosols over that time. Surely there is nothing exceptional about Melbourne as an industrial city and many First World cities could be expected to show a similar improving air quality trend.
[h] The Hockey Stick graph portraying temperature variations over the last millenium is derived from manipulation of tree ring data. It shows current temperatures as being higher than in the Medieval Climatic Optimum which is a liitle far fetched considering the Viking settlements farmed cattle before being wiped out in the LIA. I am not aware the dairy industry has yet re-established in Greenland to the extent of activity in Viking times 8-900 years ago.
3 Computer Models
Computer simulations of climate can not yet replicate the past
are based on unreasonably high IPCC inspired inputs and assumptions;
and as these imputs have been modified to be slightly less ridiculous over the last decade, so model results have improved slightly.
I know of no computer climate model results promoted by the IPCC that do not look to have come from Fairyland.
It has to be said that this entire IPCC /
Greenhouse / Global Warming paradigm could not have caused the
scientific infection it has, had climatology been a larger
and more mature branch of science in the 1980's. It
is only a few decades ago that climatology was only taught at a
handfull of universities and pioneers of the science could be
counted on a few fingers. Climatology over century and
millenial timescales was pioneered by geologists, not
meteorologists. The implications are that once the
greenhouse paradigm was picked up in the 80's by the coalition
of pink & green bureaucrats and the green
industry aided and abetted by the media; the scientific
establishment directly involved in climate studies was so small
that the usual checks and balances that moderate sciences's
interaction with politics, was ineffective in this case.
Throughout the 12 year history of the IPCC you can count on the fingers of two hands the scientists that have been the driving force behind greenhouse. Consider that the IPCC is at the center of a "greenhouse industry" siphoning of billions of dollars of taxpayer monies from schools & hospitals, to what was previously a minor science and you can understand why there has been a reluctance among most tenured climate / environment scientists to question the debatable underpinnings to the entire bandwagon.
Clearly the world would be a better place if the IPCC was disbanded; taxpayer funds could be more productively employed and science could settle down without these huge funding induced distortions.
Posted 19, February, 2001
© 2001 Warwick Hughes,
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