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Lots of climate news over the past few days, and none of it is good if you're a global warming hysteric who wants to control our overall use of energy. Last week, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climage Change (IPCC) released its Fifth Assessment Report on Climate Change, stating that it is 95% certain that humans are causing global warming. Critics were quick to counter the claims, stating that the computer models have already been shown to be obsolete and founded on bad assumptions. In the midst of all this, it appears that the gatekeepers at peer reviewed journals are still doing everything possible to suppress or ignore evidence that the theory is just simply not holding up against observed facts.
On Monday, Chip Knappenberger of CATO said that the computer climate models really are a house of cards. In a phone interview, he stated that the known science is incomplete and that not nearly enough data exists to provide a complete picture of the climate as it exists now. In a blog post prior to the IPCC report, he pointed out why:
The central issue of climate change science is the earth’s equilibrium climate sensitivity (ECS)—that is, how much the earth’s average surface temperature will increase as a result of a doubling the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration. New and mutually consistent re-assessments of this important parameter are appearing in the scientific literature faster than the slow and arduous IPCC assessment process can digest them (presuming it even wants to—given that they are making the current AR5 look pretty bad).
Further, even if the IPCC is able to do an adequate job of assimilating this evolving and quite convincing science, the vast majority of the rest of the IPCC’s report will also have to be changed as it is highly dependent on the magnitude of the climate sensitivity.
Knappenbeger states that the IPCC knew about this, but cut off all literature review at a July 2012 deadline so that they could attempt to give a coherent review of the science. But that means that the report was doomed to be obsolete before it was even commissioned. This is why, he points out, the IPCC is a completely impotent body. It simply can't keep up with the available science due to its intergovernmental bureaucracy. He goes on to say that there is new science emerging that shows that the earth's climate is fully half as sensitive to increases in atmospheric CO2 as was previously assumed, meaning that the baseline assumptions of all the computer modeling on which this theory is built are completely incorrect. If only someone had examined the computer models ahead of time to help ensure that they were accurate.
In my best Maxwell Smart voice: Would you believe they've already done that? Knappenberger authored an article that was submitted to the peer reviewed journal, Geophysical Research Letters, examining the baseline assumptions of several leading computer models. They found the models to be lacking in credibility, as reported by Judith Curry (who knows a little bit herself about having data suppressed that would harm 'the cause'):
A few weeks ago, I ran a post Overestimated global warming over the past 20 years that referred to a recent paper published in Nature Climate Change by Fyfe et al. This paper starkly laid out the discrepancy between CMIP5 model projections and observations of global surface temperature change. This wasn’t exactly news to those of us who follow the skeptical blogosphere; we have seen similar analyses by John Christy (presented in his Congressional testimony) and the analysis of Ed Hawkins that was made famous by David Rose’s article.
My blog post on the Fyfe et al. paper triggered an email from Pat Michaels, who sent me a paper that he submitted in 2010 to Geophysical Research Letters, that did essentially the same analysis as Fyfe et al., albeit with the CMIP3 models.
The Michaels, Knappenberger et al paper casts serious doubt on computer modeling that projects future climate results: "Our results indicate cause for concern regarding the consistency between climate model projections and observed climate behavior under conditions of increasing anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions."
Curry reports the extraordinary steps this paper endured in the review process:
Drum roll . . . the paper was rejected. I read the paper (read it yourself), and I couldn’t see why it was rejected, particularly since it seems to be a pretty straightforward analysis that has been corroborated in subsequent published papers.
The rejection of this paper raised my watchdog hackles, and I asked to see the reviews. I suspected gatekeeping by the editor and bias against the skeptical authors by the editor and reviewers.
My own personal reaction to the rather lengthy reviews (12 pages worth) is that all of the reviewers rejected the idea that IPCC model projections could be compared in such a way that led to the conclusion that indicate cause for concern regarding the consistency between climate model projections and observed climate behavior under conditions of increasing anthropogenic greenhouse-gas emissions.
Three years later, it seems pretty obvious and widely acknowledged that climate models have been unable to correctly capture the earth’s surface temperature evolution over the past several decades. Lucia continues to do good work on this subject; head over to her blog for a technical discussion on this topic and the Michaels et al. paper.
And this gets us to the real nugget from the latest IPCC report - they completely gloss over the observed 'pause' in temperature changes. Indeed, it's been over 15 years since any rise in temperatures has been observed. Now granted, that's an infinitesimally small geological time period, but then again, that's exactly what the global warming hysterics are asking you to examine, while ignoring the rest of geological history as we presently understand it.
So a report that is obsolete before it's even released, that is built on a house of cards and faulty assumptions, that willfully ignores available science that doesn't agree with the preconceived theory - THIS is what we're supposed to take into account when shaping public policy?
No wonder the skeptic community is growing.