Science Heresy

March 2011


Alarmists and Deniers

Australian Prime Minister
Julia Gillard

Leader of the Opposition
Tony Abbott

The climate debate came to a head in the Australian Parliament this week when the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard. labelled the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, a "Denier"

Apart from the nasty, subliminal association with "Holocaust Denier" there is another aspect to this word, viz.: it is only possible to deny facts. The accused cannot defend himself without somehow conceding that there are indeed facts being denied. It is a variation of "do you still beat your wife?"

The Climate Change Minister, Greg Combet, then said: "When you stop denying the climate science, we'll stop calling you a denier." Once gain "Climate Change", "Climate Science". How can a mere politician argue with this? Climate Change is so real, so factual, it even has a whole Federal Government department named after it.

Poor Mr Abbott. Every Australian Government science agency supports the Alarmist view so what could he do other than concede, somewhat lamely, that he really does "believe in climate change" and that human produced carbon dioxide is somehow warming the planet.

What Mr Abbott needs to know is that Climate Change Alarmism is only a theory, a speculation. It is a theory that is not well grounded in the facts. It is a theory that has proved to be extremely rewarding to its promoters in terms of research funding.

The scientific basis for Climate Change Alarmism is suspect because:

  • Gases are not very good at holding heat. Convection always predominates whatever the radiative properties of the gases may be. Hot air rises.
  • The temperature of the upper atmosphere is controlled by the Stefan-Boltzman Law which determines the temperature at which the earth radiates heat into space.
  • The temperature of the lower atmosphere is controlled by convection alone, i.e. by the "adiabatic lapse rate".
  • For these reasons absorption of radiation by CO2 is not important.
  • The infra-red absorption band of CO2 is already saturated. Any further increase in CO2 concentration will make little difference. This is a second reason why CO2 is not important.
  • It is true that if there were no atmospheric CO2 the earth would be much cooler. It is the unwarranted extrapolation of this idea to high CO2 concentrations which provides the basis for Climate Alarmism.
  • There are no "tipping points". This is pure fear-mongering.
  • The increase in global average temperature during the 20th century can be entirely attributed to natural processes because the warming began well before the industrial era, as pointed out by Akasofu, below.
Climate Change Alarmism is the biggest furphy in the history of science. It is the means by which unelected technocrats hold sway over elected governments.

A Scientist Looks at Climate Change

In a recent statement the Royal Society said: It is certain that increased greenhouse gas emissions from the burning of fossil fuels and from land use change lead to a warming of climate, and it is very likely that these green house gases are the dominant cause of the global warming that has been taking place over the last 50 years.

Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu is a physicist. His credentials are impeccable.

Dr Akasofu has amassed considerable evidence which clearly demonstrates that the recent warming trend can be attributed to natural variations, the recovery from the Little Ice Age which began well before the modern era of high carbon dioxide emissions. It follows that it is not likely that greenhouse gasses are the dominant cause of global warming over the last 50 years.

Natural Components of Climate Change

"The Science"

The catch cry of Climate Alarmism goes "The Science is in", "The Science says ...", "The Science predicts ...". The use of the term "The Science" in this way is revealing; it implies an appeal to some ultimate, irrefutable authority rather like people once used to say "The Bible ..." or "The Church ... ".

In reality science is a process and so a better description of what "the Science says" would come from conclusions that have been arrived at via such a process, that is, via experiment, observation, reason and the rigorous testing of hypotheses. "The Science" of anthropogenic global warming does not satisfy these criteria. The term is misapplied.

In fact what has happened is that a self-appointed elite have captured the high ground on the climate issue and now receive all the research funding and all the kudos. They may not be outstanding as scientists but they are truly adept at pulling research money. They use the oldest trick in the book - FEAR. They scare the living daylights out of us with their talk of tipping-points and melting ice sheets and the cash keeps rolling in.

Unfortunately many scientists who are not themselves directly involved with climate tend to support the climate people, perhaps from a misplaced sense of loyalty and because they do not realize how bad "The Science" really is.

According to Jo Nova: Exxon Mobil is still vilified for giving around 23 million dollars, spread over roughly ten years, to skeptics of the enhanced greenhouse effect. It amounts to about $2 million a year, compared to the US government input of well over $2 billion a year. The entire total funds supplied from Exxon amounts to less than one five-thousandth of the value of carbon trading in just the single year of 2008.

The endless river of cash flowing into "The Science" is described by Jo Nova here

The Models

Where does all the money go?

Much of it goes into numerical modeling. There are 30 or more large numerical models, (i.e. computer models) run by various institutions around the world. They are technically known as OAGCMs, coupled ocean-atmosphere general circulation models. The ocean and atmosphere are divided up into little boxes each perhaps 2 degrees of latitude and longitude on a side with, say, 20 or 30 levels in the atmosphere and 20 or so levels in the ocean. Each box has various physical quantities, temperature, pressure, humidity, fluid velocity and so on associated with it. The laws of physics, as encapsulated in forward difference equations, are used to determine what new values each box will take after a single time step (say 20 minutes). The new values are then plugged into the equations to predict the values after the next time step and so on.

It would be a mistake to think that numerical models correspond one-to-one with the real world. They do not. They part company with the real world very rapidly which is why weather forecasts are useless more than a week or two ahead. In addition, because the models are so big and cumbersome, there are many things that can go wrong with them. Numerical models must be tested before we can have any faith in them at all. Such testing is called hindcasting whereby model predictions are compared with real world values. Hindcasting is an essential step in the development of a numerical model.

Hindcasting outcomes are rarely published by climate modelers, and, when they are published, the models can be seen to fail such tests abysmally. Two examples are shown here.

Furthermore there are good statistical reasons for not trusting OAGCM predictions which are discussed further here.