Two contributions to our understanding of climate change — and two books

Barely a day passes when I don’t see a reference to yet another article or scientific paper about ‘climate change’. I now recognise so many of them simply from the abstract — ‘global warming is a real problem facing the world, and we can see that this (bad thing — fill in your candidate) will happen to something‘. Because I am of a sceptical persuasion, there are not many papers from the orthodox side that seem to me to real add illumination. They seem to be always in support of the central thesis that more CO2 is bad for the world, warming is bad for the world, and we must get rid of fossil fuels. The RealClimate website, run by Gavin Schmidt, of GISS, doesn’t publish much, but its posts are usually worth paying attention to.

Another kind is the useful summary. Judith Curry is good at this, and so are Bob Tisdale and Willis Eschenbach, the latter two frequent contributors to Watts Up With That. Professor Curry has a good piece at Climate etc on ‘400 (?) years of warming’, where she sets outs out why she is unpersuaded by the IPCC’s bold claim, in AR5, that It is extremely likely that more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other anthropogenic forcings together. The best estimate of the human induced contribution to warming is similar to the observed warming over this period.

The IPCC doesn’t really give a satisfying general explanation for this link, which is hard to do anyway given the present ‘hiatus’. Judith Curry assembles a lot of material and argues that

  • There have been large magnitude variations in global/hemispheric climate on timescales of 30 years, which is the same duration as the late 20th century warming.  The IPCC does not have convincing explanations for previous 30 year periods in the 20th century, notably the warming 1910-1940 and the grand hiatus 1940-1975.
  • There is a secular warming trend at least since 1800 (and possibly as long as 400 years), that cannot be explained by CO2, and is only partly explained by volcanic eruptions.

This is an excellent summary, and is accessible to the general reader as well.

For those who are interested in the effects of el Nino and la Nina, and those who are just interested in measurement, Bob Tisdale runs a regular update on global surface and lower troposphere temperature trends. As you might expect, the various datasets are showing the effect of the current el Nino, with little upward movements over the last month or so. He also has done, and continues to do, a lot of work in reconciling the datasets, converting them into a single set that allows for easy comparison. What do you get? Nothing much. If you use the last thirty or so years as your benchmark, all the  datasets are showing a rise in temperature of about around 0.1 degrees C per decade, more according to the land-based datasets, less according to the satellites. If you use the period since 2001, then the satellites are showing a small cooling.

What is more, Tisdale points out, the longer the hiatus goes, the more the IPCC’s own projections sail away into the high distance, diverging even more from what is observed, no matter which dataset you use. It’s good stuff, and if there are faults in it, please copy me into the criticism you send to Tisdale at WUWT.

Books.  The sharp-eyed will have noticed that the cover image for  The Second Chair on my website page has been changed. I did this because I ran out of copies of the paperback, and indeed I had to undertake a complete second edition, not an easy thing to do because the original manuscript did not exist digitally. But the wonders of modern technology, and a little careful editing on my part, meant that The Second Chair and Turning Point are now free of inconsistencies. The new edition is also in a larger page size and a larger font. When Nobody’s Hero, the third novel in the Hogarth Trilogy, comes to the market in March it too will be in this larger size, and I will do a second printing of Turning Point, also in the larger size. As a result of the extra work, and the larger size, The Second Chair is now available at the same price as Turning Point ($29.95 , with p&p included).

The brand-new book is The Canonbury Tales, a set of short stories involving accountants and finance people. The plot is simple. There is one of those monster conferences in Sydney, and a few of the notable speakers are offered a free weekend at a new resort in the Hunter. It hasn’t been opened yet, but that’s only days away, and the staff need some practice. After dinner a small group of the guests goes to the new bar, built on a little island in a lake that has yet to be filled. The filling too will happen as soon as the new cantilever pedestrian bridge is put in place. While they are there there is a deluge, and although there’s no real danger they can’t get back to the main building during the evening — too dark, too much water and too much debris swirling around. It is also June…

So what are they to do? There is no light other than a few tea-lights, though the underfloor heating will last through the night. There are plenty of chairs, wine and nibbles. The most senior among them, a woman, suggests that they talk about the most important romantic attachment they formed, and not about money, business or the stick exchange. They begin to do so, reluctantly at first, and led by her But as the evening progresses, one by one they tell their stories. Some are sad, some joyous. Some are about loss. Some are about strife. The evening is cathartic, as some of the guests see the possibility of dealing with a ghost from the past. When they are ‘rescued’ the next morning, all they will say about the evening is that ‘we talked a bit’.

Why write about the love lives of accountants? Because on the whole accountants get a bad press, especially among the literati (‘bean-counters’, ‘people who know the cost of everything and the value of nothing’, etc). When I was V-C of the University of Canberra, I got to know my accounting staff, both those who taught it and those who practised it inside the University. They all seemed remarkably human to me. One outcome was this set of stories. I had a lot of fun writing it, and hope that readers enjoy it as well.

Oh, same price as the others, and in the larger size and font. There will be Kindle versions of both books very soon.

Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Colin Davidson says:

    The CO2_causes_dangerous_warming thesis is scientifically untenable, the following being the data which falsify the hypothesis:

    1. The predicted temperatures are nowhere near the measured temperatures.

    2. The hypothesis cannot explain the history since 1800.

    3. The hypothesis predicts a mid-tropospheric “hotspot” (higher than linear increase in temperature)”in the tropics, which has never been observed.

    Furthermore, David Evans, a Western Australian engineer, has just completed a series of 20 posts in which he outlines the orthodox theory, details an alternative which eliminates the majority of positive water vapour feedback, and thereby explains the lack of warming over the last 17 years, and the non-observation of the hotspot. His model appears to be superior to the orthodox crock, based on its conformity with the observations.
    It will be interesting to see how he explains the several sets of 20th century warming (detailed by Don above). This is promised for future posts at the same site.

    • Bryan Roberts says:

      I don’t think his views are likely to be readily accepted. See “Climate Misinformer: David Evans” at skeptical science, which lists about a dozen of his ‘supposed’ myths.

      • Doug Hurst says:

        Maybe so Bryan, but if the predictions continue to fall well short of the mark for much longer, David Evan’s views will be accepted by more and more people who believe that good science should lead to good predictions, and two decades of bad predictions strongly suggest we are not dealing with good science. Only time will tell, but my guess is that after the much anticipated failure of talks in Paris, “Climate’ will sink way down in most people’s list of concerns and the economy and terrorists will dominate for the majority.

  • Alan Gould says:

    Was it Jim Hacker, of the incomparable ‘Yes Minister’/Yes PM’ fame who reminded Sir Humphrey of ‘The Moral Dimension?’
    Well bless dr Judith Curry for her good nerve and inexorable patience in watching and countering the Orthodoxy serpent, whether IPCC, or other modellers.

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