MAY 18TH  2006
I spent the morning at the US Embassy where they had a power point slide show on Climate Change presented by  Kevin Trembath from the telephone.
It was fairly comprehensive, but it could be noted that in many of the graphs. the supposed effects of greenhouse gases took place only towards the end of the record, associated with the very large temperture peak ("since records began") in 1998. I continue to wonder why the greenhouse effect would take so long before it becomes noticeable, and why an effect which seems generally to be attributed to the El Niño ocean event is now recruited to support greenhouse forcing.
I had a fairly lengthy exchange with him on the subject, citing his paper  (Trenberth et al ) in J of Geophysical Research 2002 Vol 107. No D8, 10.1029/2000JD000298 AAC 5-1 to 5-19. (Incidentally, I hate this overblown reference system which makes it almost impossible to find anything)
This paper attempts to evaluate the influence of the Southern Oscillation ( SOI or El Niño) ocean phenomenon on the global surface temperature. The SOI is calculated  from the monthly or seasonal fluctuations in the air pressure difference between Tahiti and Darwin. Sustained negative values of this index often indicate El Niño episodes, with a sustained warming of the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean
In his paper, Trenberth  starts his Introduction by the following
"Following an El Niño the global surface air temperature typically warms up by perhaps 0.1ºC with a lag of `6 months" . In the paper he finds that El Niño accounts for 0.06ºC of global temperature increase between  1950-1998 with a time lag of three months.
When he corrects the surface temperature record for these El Niño effects he gets the graph (Figure 3) which I attach.
You will note that the corrected graph shows no overall temperture change whatsoever between 1950 and 1985, with a depressed period from 1964 to 1980 which is called the great climate shift.  Th 1950- 1985  period is supposed to have had a large increase in greenhouse gases, but there was no detectable evidence of this on the temperature record once the effects of El Niño were removed. After 1985 there is an upwards blob, that goes back down to zero in 1994. It seems difficult to claim that this could have been due to a sudden, temporary influence of greenhouse gases. After 1995 the temperature goes up to the large El Niño in 1998 which obviously falls outside the scope of the "linear trend" of the previous El Niños.
I took this up with Trenberth but his answer was muddled. He seemed to think he was wrong even to try to "correct" the surface record for El Niños because it was really much more complicated. Also parhaps the El Niño effect itself was caused by increases in greenhouse gases. Perhaps volcanoes,  sunspots and easrthquakes are caused by greenhouse gases, too?
I think I have resolved what I am allowed to say about this report. The report has been "released for review purposes" which means that even if anybody can apply to "review" it, you  still have to sign a pledge that you will not cite or quote it. This does not seem to have stopped Mark Henderson in the Wellington "Dominion Post"  the "Guardian Weekly" and several others from quoting freely, It is about time I said something about it but I will be cautious.
Commenting on the general report, eleven chapters and two "summaries" has taken me about a month. Kevin Trenberth has already read my contribution to Chapter 3, and he criticised me for suggesting amendments without saying why. Well, you have a choice; either you suggest an amendment  or you write general comments. I figure they can ignore comments more easily than amendments, because some of my amendments were for grammar or inaccuracy, so they have to go through them.
I freely admit that I don't like the words "anthropogenic, "climate chnage", "robust" "very likely" and a number of others and they appear so often that you cannot say why each time, though I made use of copy and paste
I think it was more one-sided than usual, and used far more :"public relations" language which is usually absent from proper scientific papers.
I have the impression of interminable repetition. There is the Summary for Policymakers, the Technical Report, the Summary at the beginning of each Chapter, the Conclusion and then at the end of each Chapter a series of "Questions" which summarise the summary. Answering the same allegation over and over again was extremely tedious.
I continue to upbraid them for frequently  using only one standard deviation as a measure of accuracy. They use the proper method , two standard deviations. 95% confidence in some cxhapters but the lower confidence, 60%  tends to be used where they want to mke the results look better.
The message is less strident than the last IPCC report. The attack made by McIntyre and McKitrick on the "Hockey Stick" temperature presentation has had its effects. M and M showed that the calculations of past tempertures had mathematical errors. The IPCC won't admit this, of course,  but they do produce a modified "hockey stick" which is much less persuasive,
Chapter One "The Climate System: an Overview" has been abolished and replaced by a Chapter called "A Historical Overview of Climate Change Science"". This has been done in order to eliminate the embarassing statement which appeared in "Climate Change 2001
"The fact that the global mean temperture has increased since the late nineteenth centiry and that other trends have been observed. does not necessartily mean that an anthropogenic effect on the climate has been identified. Climate has always varied on all time-scales, so the observe change may be natural"
The new chapter is largely yet another boost for themselves with even more tedious repetition, and even includes a "historical" temperature record that goes on to the year 2007.
their "projections" for the year 2100 are also much less clear. They take the form of an entire page of forty graphs showing the results of many climate factors and the six scenartios using only one "simple" climate model instead of five of them. . It makes it possible to reject a projecxtiont if you find out that that particular scenario is ridiculous. Still they tend to keep to the same temperture range for the year 2100. These graphs are examples of using only one standard deviation to make them look better.
The claimed identity of all the current temperature records has been published by a NOAA report, so it is hardly secret; but I have already mentioned it as spurious. They print them on top of one another at small scale with a "filter" which blurs the differences. When you compare them at the same scale the lower atmosphere records show no warminng for long periods when the surface shows a rise.They have suppressed the paper by McKitrick and Michaels which shows the surface record is biased. I tried to put it in.the last draft, but nothing doing.
They follow the Framework Conventionon Climate Change in calling all climate influences except greenhouse gases "climate varaibility". Only greenhouse gases are allowed to be "Climate Change". They divide the other influences into "internal climate variability" and "external climate variabil;ity" In this way they manage to eliminate the El Niño ocean event from an influence on the atmosphere, since it is an "internal cliamte variability" They do not even include it in "natural" forcings when trying to simulate past temperatures with their models.
It is truly amazing how many people are working on models  and how none of them has ever succeeded in forecasting any future climate. They think that "simulations, which involve adjustment of parameters to fit the climate as "evidence" that the models "work" The models only "project" the future, but never "predict" it.
The openng up to indefinite numbers of "reviewers" is probably an attempt to turn it into a popularity contest. Any red blooded member of Greenpeace must surely be expected to submit a favourable review. It is rather like the way that in this country  opinion polls. or Select Committees are deluged with printed postcards of support.
Vincent Gray
75 Silverstream Road
Crofton Downs
Wellington 6004
New Zealand
Phone/Fax 064 4 9735939
"It's not the things you don't know that fool you.
It's the things you do know that aint so"
Josh Billings