The science isn’t settled: Climate claims floored by physics flaw

It seems that, for 50 years, the climate alarmists have been basing all their doomsday claims on some faulty physics and no one has revealed the error in the maths until now.

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This is the contention of Christopher Monckton and eight co-authors of a paper currently under peer review before publication and thus under embargo.  However, a brief of evidence filed in a court case in the USA has released the bones of this breakthrough into the public record.  You can read all about the court case and the background here. (You will also find all the maths and formulae there for those that like that sort of thing.)

Therefore, I am at last free to reveal what we have discovered. There is indeed an elementary error of physics right at the heart of the models’ calculations of equilibrium sensitivity. After correcting that error, and on the generous assumption that official climatology has made no error other than that which we have exposed, global warming will not be 3.3 ± 1.2 K: it will be only 1.2 ± 0.15 K. We say we can prove it.

OK, so what does any of that all mean?  Let’s see if we can break it down a bit.

At the heart of the Global Warming Scam is the premise that a doubling of CO2 will increase the temperature by x degrees.  The “equilibrium sensitivity” is defined in Wikipedia as:

“The equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS) refers to the equilibrium change in global mean near-surface air temperature that would result from a sustained doubling of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (ΔTx2).

Over the years there have been many different values computed for this equilibrium sensitivity number.  Wikipedia gives this graph of a summary of the various model results.

As the legend says, hardly any under 2°C, many over 4°C per doubling of CO2.    That is what “Paris” is all about.  The dreaded 2°C rise in temperature bogey-man that will happen when the CO2 levels double if all you people don’t stop using petrol and diesel etc.

Again from the Wikipedia page

Consensus estimates  [The alarmists love “consensus”]
A committee on anthropogenic global warming convened in 1979 by the National Academy of Sciences and chaired by Jule Charney estimated climate sensitivity to be 3 °C, plus or minus 1.5 °C. Only two sets of models were available; one, due to Syukuro Manabe, exhibited a climate sensitivity of 2 °C, the other, due to James E. Hansen, exhibited a climate sensitivity of 4 °C. “According to Manabe, Charney chose 0.5 °C as a not-unreasonable margin of error, subtracted it from Manabe’s number, and added it to Hansen’s. Thus was born the 1.5 °C-to-4.5 °C range of likely climate sensitivity that has appeared in every greenhouse assessment since.

Before we move on, let all that sink in. Estimate something, chose a random margin of error, check with a couple of other guys, take away the number you first thought of and the answer is your birthday or some such.  Highly technical stuff.

However, moving on …

The natural greenhouse effect and the feedback mechanism.

As you know from your last long-haul flight, once you get up to higher altitudes the outside temperature is mighty cold. We are kept warm by the earth’s atmosphere.  If the planet had no atmosphere at all, the temperature of the earth would be about 32°C colder than it is.  That 32 is the difference between the “natural temperature” and the “emissions temperature

The feedback mechanism is what has given rise to the scary words like “runaway global warming” and “tipping points” and so forth.

Monckton and his mates’ premise is: [chopping out chunks of maths and formulae, and the scientists work in degrees Kelvin not degrees C (add 273.15 to C to get K)]

The “natural greenhouse effect” is not 32 K: The difference of 32 K between natural temperature TN (= 287.6 K) in 1850 and emission temperature TE (= 255.4 K) without greenhouse gases or temperature feedbacks was hitherto imagined to comprise 8 K (25%) base warming directly forced by the naturally-occurring, non-condensing greenhouse gases and a 24 K (75%) feedback response. […], implying a pre-industrial feedback fraction ≈ 24 / 32 = 0.75 .  […]

The error: However, climatologists had made the grave error of not realizing that emission temperature TE (= 255 K) itself induces a substantial feedback.[…]

This is where the elementary error made by climatologists for half a century has had its devastating effect. […] the mistake made by the modelers was to assume […] that the entire difference of 32 K between the natural temperature TN in 1850 and the emission temperature TE was accounted for by the natural greenhouse effect, comprising a direct greenhouse warming = 8 K and a very large feedback response = 24 K.

However, in truth – this is the crucial point – the emission temperature TE (= 255 K), even in the absence of any greenhouse gases, induces a large feedback response. This feedback response to the input signal is entirely uncontroversial in electronic network analysis and in control theory generally, but we have not been able to find any acknowledgement in climatology that it exists.

[…] the modelers assumed that the industrial-era feedback fraction must be every bit as large as the pre-industrial feedback fraction that they had erroneously inflated by adding the large feedback response induced by emission temperature to the small feedback response induced by the presence of the naturally-occurring greenhouse gases.[…]

The true picture: How should the 32 K difference between emission temperature and natural temperature be apportioned? Approximately 23.4 K of the 32 K is the feedback response to emission temperature; 8 K is the directly-forced warming from the presence of the natural greenhouse gases; and just 0.7 K is feedback response to that 8 K warming.[…]

So, if I have followed this correctly:

There is a natural temperature of the planet in the absence of an atmosphere and that temperature, in and of itself, creates a feedback mechanism which adds 23.4K.  Add an atmosphere and the temperature is bumped up another 8K, which in turn generates a feedback addition of 0.7K and it is this last 0.7K that mankind may be affecting.

The current CAGW scam position is that there is a natural temperature of the planet in the absence of an atmosphere, add an atmosphere and the temperature is bumped up 8K, which in turn generates a feedback addition of 24 K it is this 24 K that mankind may be affecting.

So, the current method of deriving Charney sensitivity is based upon the elementary and significant physical error of assuming that the Earth’s large emission temperature induces no feedback response whatsoever, while the next few Kelvin of temperature forced by the presence of the naturally-occurring greenhouse gases is imagined to induce a large feedback. That contradiction is untenable. For half a century, climate science has simply been wrong.

Conclusion: The anthropogenic global warming we can now expect will be small, slow, harmless, and even net-beneficial. It is only going to be about 1.2 K this century, or 1.2 K per CO2 doubling. If the parties [to the court case] are not able to demonstrate that we are wrong, and if [the judge in the court case] accepts that we have proven the result set out publicly and in detail here for the first time, then the global warming scare was indeed based on a strikingly elementary error of physics.

The avowedly alarmist position too hastily adopted by governments and international bureaucratic entities has caused the most egregious misallocation of resources in history.

Ladies and gentlemen, we call time on a 50-year-old scam, in which a small number of corrupt and politicized scientists, paid for by scientifically-illiterate governments panicked by questionable lobby-groups funded by dubious billionaires and foreign governments intent on doing down the West, and egged on by the inept and increasingly totalitarian news media, have conspired to perpetrate a single falsehood: that the science was settled.

Well, it wasn’t.

So if our use of hydrocarbon energy (oil, petrol, diesel, gas etc) does cause a doubling of the CO2 concentration we may get a planet that is warmer by 1° – 1.4°C. There will be no tipping point, there will be no runaway catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. What we will get is a greener planet and greater food production.  I await with interest the response from the experts in the parties to the court case and the findings of the judge.


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In solidarity with the those in the world’s most despised demographic, WH has decided to ‘come out’ as an old, white, male. WH enjoys exercising the white male privilege, that Whaleoil provides for him, to write the occasional post challenging climate change consensus; looking at random tech issues that tweak his interest, as a bit of a tech nerd; or generally poking the borax at anyone in public life who goes on record revealing their stupidity. WH never excelled on the sports field because his coaches never allowed him to play in his preferred position on the right-wing.  WH also enjoys his MG.