Thongchai Thailand

SPACE AGE CLIMATE SCIENCE

Posted on: November 9, 2020

30 Years On, Remembering James Hansen's 1988 Congressional Testimony - The  Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

THIS POST IS A CRITICAL REVIEW OF CLAIMS MADE BY JAMES HANSEN IN HIS 1988 CONGRESSIONAL TESTIMONY THAT IS THOUGHT TO BE WHEN AND HOW THE ERA OF THE CLIMATE CRISIS GOT STARTED.

The Greenhouse Effect and Its Effect on Climate | The Alabama Weather Blog  - Mobile

FROM A RELATED POST: LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/09/11/a-climate-industrial-complex/

  1. CLAIM: Number one, the earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements that goes back 100 years. RESPONSE-1: Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is a theory about long term trends in global mean temperature. A one-year temperature event has no interpretation in this context. RESPONSE-2: In your paper Hansen 1988 and also in the official position of your NASA GISS organization you state that AGW started in 1950 because from then the relationship between CO2 and temperature we see in the climate models closely matches the observational data. If AGW started in 1950, then what is the relevance of the 100-year instrumental record reference period for the temperature record in 1988?
  2. CLAIMCausal association requires first that the warming be larger than natural climate variability and, second that the magnitude and nature of the warming be consistent with the greenhouse mechanism. RESPONSE: Neither that the warming is larger than natural climate variability nor that the magnitude of the warming is consistent with the greenhouse mechanism proves causation. For that it must be shown that a statistically significant detrended correlation exists between the logarithm of atmospheric CO2 concentration and mean global surface temperature over a sufficiently long time span. The choice of 30 years as the time span for this evaluation is not supported by the literature where we find that longer time spans are required, preferably longer than 60 years.
  3. CLAIM: The warming is more than 0.4 degrees Centigrade for the period 1958-1988. The probability of a chance warming of that magnitude is about 1 percent. So with 99 percent confidence we can state that the warming during this time period is a real warming trend. RESPONSE: The probability is more likely to be 100% that it is a REAL warming trend but none of this serves as evidence that the warming was caused by the greenhouse effect of atmospheric CO2 concentration attributed to fossil fuel emissions.
  4. CLAIM: The data suggest somewhat more warming over land and sea ice regions than over open ocean, more warming at high latitudes than at low latitudes, and more warming in the winter than in the summer. In all of these cases, the signal is at best just beginning to emerge, and we need more data. RESPONSE: If the signal is just beginning to emerge and you need more data to figure it out then you don’t really know and your claim to 99% confidence has no basis.
  5. CLAIM: Some of these details, such as the northern hemisphere high latitude temperature trends, do not look exactly like the greenhouse effect, but that is expected. There are certainly other climate factors involved in addition to the greenhouse effect. RESPONSE: Lip service to internal climate variability { LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/07/16/the-internal-variability-issue/ } is paid but the issue is completely ignored in the invocation and assessment of the greenhouse effect of CO2 and its alleged dangerous consequences such as extreme weather that places an enormous cost burden on all of humanity to overhaul their energy infrastructure.
  6. CLAIM: Altogether the evidence that the earth is warming by an amount which is too large to be a chance fluctuation and the similarity of the warming to that expected from the greenhouse effect represents a very strong case. In my opinion, that the greenhouse effect has been detected, and it is changing our climate now. RESPONSE: “too large to be chance fluctuation” and “similarity of the warming to that expected from the greenhouse effect” do not constitute ” strong case”. Such suspicions may be sufficient to construct a hypothesis to be tested with data in a hypothesis test in which what is suspected is the alternate hypothesis and its absence is the null hypothesis. No such empirical evidence is presented possibly because none exists.
  7. CLAIM: we have used the temperature changes computed in our global climate model to estimate the impact of the greenhouse effect on the frequency of hot summers in Washington, D.C. and Omaha, Nebraska. A hot summer is defined as the hottest one-third of the summers in the 1950 to 1980 period, which is the period the Weather Bureau uses for defining climatology. So, in that period the probability of having a hot summer was 33 percent, but by the 1990s, you can see that the greenhouse effect has increased the probability of a hot summer to somewhere between 55 percent and 70 percent in Washington according to our climate model simulations. RESPONSE#1: The weather bureau does not use the period 1950 to 1980 to define climatology. It simply specifies that the distinction between weather and climate is that weather is short term but climate can only be assessed over periods longer than 30 years. The period 1950 to 1980 has been arbitrarily selected by NASA and by Hansen because, in their own words, “Hansen: because in the 30-year period 1950-1980 there is a strong measurable warming rate with 99% probability for human cause” , “NASA: We start in 1950 because from then the relationship between CO2 and temperature we see in the climate models closely matches the observational data“. This kind of bias in the selection of the time span when the theory being tested is the warming “since pre-industrial” caused by the industrial economy is a form of circular reasoning and confirmation bias. It is not science. RESPONSE#2: AGW is a theory about long term trends in global mean temperature. It is not possible to relate that warming trend to the extreme form of geographical localization implied in the claim about heat waves in specific cities of the USA as in “frequency of hot summers in Washington, D.C. and Omaha, Nebraska“. Internal climate variability dominates in geographical localization of this kind. Internal Climate Variability is described in a related post. LINK: https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/07/16/the-internal-variability-issue/ where we find that “Internal variability in the climate system confounds assessment of human-induced climate change and imposes irreducible limits on the accuracy of climate change projections, especially at regional and decadal scales“. It is noted that these internal climate variability studies find that 30-years is too short a time span for the study of AGW climate change and state that the time span must be longer than 30 years preferably 60 years.
  8. CLAIM: A study of the temperature in July, for several different years between 1986 and 2029 is computed with our global climate model for the intermediate trace gas scenario B. The results show that there are areas that are warmer than what the greenhouse model predicts and areas that are colder than what the greenhouse model predicts. This is because in the 1980s the greenhouse warming is smaller than the natural variability of the local temperature. This appears to be anomalous with the greenhouse effect but the data for a few decades later in the 1992 show warmer temperatures across the board. RESPONSE: The NASA and the Hansen position on AGW to this day (2020) holds that “Hansen: AGW started in 1950 because in the 30-year period 1950-1980 there is a strong measurable warming rate with 99% probability for human cause”, NASA: “AGW started in 1950 because from then the relationship between CO2 and temperature we see in the climate models closely matches the observational data”. But the analysis presented by Hansen appears to be AGW went missing in the 1980s only to return in the 1990s. However this analysis by Hansen is flawed because AGW is not a theory about temperature at any given time or place or any given decade or place. It is a theory only about long term trends in global mean temperature at time scales longer than 30 years preferably 60 years or more.
  9. CLAIM: in the late 1980s and in the 1990s our model yields greater than average warming in the Southeast United States and the Midwest. This anomalous result can be explained if the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of the United States warms more slowly than the land. This leads to high pressure along the east coast and circulation of warm air north into the Midwest or southeast but there is evidence that the greenhouse effect increases the likelihood of heat wave drought situations in the Southeast and Midwest United States even though we cannot blame a specific drought on the greenhouse effect. Therefore, I believe that it is not a good idea to use the period 1950 to 1980 for the study of AGW climatology. We should see better evidence of the greenhouse effect in the next 10 to 15 years than they were in the period 1950 to 1980. RESPONSE: That he believes that it is not a good idea to use the period 1950-1980 to study climatology is inconsistent with NASA position and that AGW started in 1950 because from then the relationship between CO2 and temperature we see in the climate models closely matches the observational data.
  10. CLAIM: There is a need for improving these global climate models, and there is a need for global observations if we’re going to obtain a full understanding of these phenomena. RESPONSE: This statement is an admission that the assessment of the AGW presented above as an impact of fossil fuel emissions that has dangerous consequences and that therefore we must stop using fossil fuels to fight climate change was made without the information or the scientific data and arguments needed to make that assessment.
bandicam 2020-02-20 09-47-57-981

FROM A RELATED POST: LINK  https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/02/20/nasa-climate/

CLAIM: NASA has unique capabilities because we have the point of view from space. With NASA’s carbon monitoring system you can see the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere decreasing in the spring and the summer. Plants and the oceans and the land surface are greening up and pulling the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. And then in the fall and in the wintertime you’ll see the CO2 in the atmosphere increasing because plants and animals are releasing the carbon dioxide that was captured during the growing season. RESPONSE: The seasonal cycle in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is well known and has been well known for some time simply from Mauna Loa data. The red and yellow video displays created by a space exploration agency with a $20 billion annual budget are surely more colorful and more entertaining but raw data themselves in their native form is a clearer expression of the essential data for the seasonal cycle in atmospheric CO2, particularly so in terms of the magnitudes and numerical values in these cyclical changes.

bandicam 2020-02-20 10-41-41-249

CLAIMNASA has unique capabilities because we have the point of view from space. With NASA’s carbon monitoring system you can see the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere decreasing in the spring and the summer. Plants and the oceans and the land surface are greening up and pulling the carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. And then in the fall and in the wintertime you’ll see the CO2 in the atmosphere increasing because plants and animals are releasing the carbon dioxide that was captured during the growing season.

bandicam 2020-02-20 09-59-21-908
bandicam 2020-02-20 10-00-53-572

RESPONSE:  The seasonal cycle in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration is well known and has been well known for some time simply from Mauna Loa data as explained in a related post [LINK]  and as shown in the video display in the source post:LINK  https://tambonthongchai.com/2020/02/20/nasa-climate/ . The red and yellow video displays created by a space exploration agency with a $20 billion annual budget are surely more colorful and more entertaining but the simple video linked above is a clearer expression of the essential data in this seasonal cycle particularly so in terms of the magnitudes and numerical values in these cyclical changes. https://video.wordpress.com/embed/IARRwbKS?hd=0&autoPlay=0&permalink=0&loop=0

CLAIM There is a graph called the Keeling Curve where you can see the summer and winter cycles. This process is very natural. Contrast that with old slow carbon. So this is a chunk of coal (speaker holds up a large chunk of coal). It was also made by plants. It also contains carbon dioxide that was in the atmosphere, but the carbon in this chunk of coal was taken out of the atmosphere 350 million years ago. And since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve been taking it out of the ground and using it for fuel. The burning of fossil fuel, whether it is coal, oil, or natural gas, has released this very very old carbon back into the atmosphere a lot faster than the plants and the oceans can take it out of the atmosphere. Bit by bit it is moving the Keeling Curve up. 1989 was the last time we saw atmospheric CO2 below 350 ppm. And it appears that 2016 will be the last time we see CO2 below 400 ppm.

bandicam 2020-02-20 10-55-59-172
bandicam 2020-02-20 10-41-41-249

RESPONSE-A:  The NASA animated graphics showing the Keeling curve from 1979 to 2014 is very impressive and certainly useful in evaluating this system in terms of fossil fuel emissions. However, it is not clear that we need a $20 billion dollar space exploration agency to provide us with this kind of information when the same information is readily available from the University of California, San Diego in formats that are just as useful if not more so. In science, the value of graphics derives from their clarity and information content and not from their beauty. The Keeling curve made freely available by the Scripps Institution, where the late great Charles David Keeling had worked, is shown below. There is nothing lacking in this chart in terms of information or useful presentation of information that suggests the need for technical assistance from a space exploration agency .  

RESPONSE-B:  This is a response to the statement that “the carbon in this chunk of coal was taken out of the atmosphere 350 million years ago. And since the Industrial Revolution, we’ve been taking it out of the ground and using it for fuel. The burning of fossil fuel, whether it is coal, oil, or natural gas, has released this very very old carbon back into the atmosphere a lot faster than the plants and the oceans can take it out of the atmosphere. Bit by bit it is moving the Keeling Curve up“.  This argument is the the essence and the foundation of the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming and Climate Change. It claims that since the carbon in fossil fuels is not part of the current account of the carbon cycle and therefore external to the carbon cycle, its introduction into the atmosphere is a perturbation of the carbon cycle such that the extra and external carbon from fossil fuels causes atmospheric CO2 concentration to rise as seen in the Keeling Curve 1979-2014 presented by NASA and 1960 to 2015 presented by Scripps. The evidence presented for this causation hypothesis is that atmospheric CO2 concentration has been going up during a time when the industrial economy was burning fossil fuels. In terms of the principles of statistics, this argument does not provide evidence of causation. Tyler Vigen’s collection of spurious correlations sheds some light on this issue [LINK] . Correlation between time series data arises from two different sources. These are (1) shared trends and (2) the responsiveness of the object time series to the causation time series at the time scale at which the causation is supposed to occur. Only the second source of correlation has a causation interpretation. The first source, shared trends, is what creates all those spurious correlations demonstrated by Tyler Vigen. Therefore, to show that atmospheric CO2 concentration is responsive to fossil fuel emissions, we must first remove their trends. And if the causation occurs at an annual time scale, that is if year to year changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration is explained by annual fossil fuel emissions, then the detrended correlation between the two detrended series will show a statistically significant correlation at an annual time scale. Only this detrended correlation and not the observation that atmospheric CO2 concentration has been rising during a time of fossil fuel emissions, serves as evidence of causation, i.e., that fossil fuel emissions cause atmospheric CO2 concentration to rise at an annual time scale. Detrended correlation analyses of this nature are presented in related posts on this site. No evidence is found that the observed changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration during a time of fossil fuel emissions are caused by fossil fuel emissions  [LINK] . A further investigation of the effect of fossil fuel emissions on atmospheric composition is presented in terms of the the carbon cycle. Carbon cycle flows are an order of magnitude larger than fossil fuel emissions. These flows are not directly measured but inferred and they therefore contain very large uncertainties. Although these uncertainties are declared, they are ignored when carrying out the mass balance that shows  what’s called the “airborne fraction” of fossil fuel emissions, that is the portion of fossil fuel emissions that is thought to remain in the atmosphere and thereby explain the observed rise in atmospheric CO2 driven by fossil fuel emissions. However, this computation is flawed because it does not include the uncertainties declared by climate science to exist in the estimation of carbon cycle flows. In a related post it is shown that when the uncertainties in carbon cycle flows declared by the IPCC are taken into account, it is not possible to detect the much smaller fossil fuel emissions because the carbon cycle balances with and without fossil fuel emissions. [LINK] . The carbon cycle mass balance and the detrended correlation analyses taken together show that no evidence exists to attribute observed changes in atmospheric CO2 concentration to fossil fuel emissions.

RESPONSE-C: It is noted that in this presentation NASA embraces the theory that AGW climate change began after the Industrial Revolution when the Industrial Economy began to burn coal but their official position is that AGW climate change began in 1950. This contradiction requires an explanation.

CLAIM And what the heck is 400 parts per million? What does that even mean? Well, we know from the analysis of ice samples from Antarctica that before the Industrial Revolution the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was about 275 parts per million (ppm). It had been there for thousands of years. Something has increased the number from 275 to 400. We are quite certain that it is due to the human activity of burning fossil fuels.

bandicam 2020-02-20 16-30-43-363

RESPONSE : It is claimed that the observed rise of atmospheric CO2 concentration from 275ppm to 400pppm was caused by fossil fuels. No evidence is provided to support that claim. Instead, the claim is supported by the statement that “We are quite certain that it is due to the human activity of burning fossil fuels“ simply because it had been stable at 275ppm before then. Perhaps this claim is a reference to the scientific credentials of an AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION such that if scientists in such high places are “quite certain” it must be so. This claim is an Ad hominem fallacy. The implication is that if the very knowledgeable scientists at NASA are “quite certain” it must be true. This conclusion is rejected because of the absence of evidence and the ad hominem fallacy.

bandicam 2020-02-20 16-47-18-071

CLAIMWe take these satellite measurements, and the variation over time of how the world is changing as facts. We’ve seen warming over the last century and a half …. very very meticulous measurements … and it shows a really sharp acceleration in the warming over the last four decades.

bandicam 2020-02-20 17-16-23-040

RESPONSE  Presumably, the first two sentences are not related because taken together they imply the impossibility that satellite measurements have seen warming over the last century and a half. But perhaps the real message of this claim is the acceleration in warming seen by NASA with satellite measurements that they take as facts. Below are decadal warming rates for the twelve calendar months found in the global mean lower troposphere temperature measured by satellites for the four decades 1979-2018. The charts for the twelve calendar months are presented as a GIF animation that cycles through the twelve calendar months. Acceleration in the rate of warming will be evident in these charts as a rising trend in decadal warming rates. Such a rising trend is seen for the months of January, February, October, and perhaps November. No acceleration is seen in the other eight months of the year. The annual mean decadal warming rates are seen in the chart below the GIF animation. No evidence of acceleration is found in the annual mean decadal warming rate. These data are inconsistent with the claim of a “a really sharp acceleration in the warming over the last four decades“. 

nasa-gif
annualMean

CLAIM:  People have a hard time understanding what’s the big deal for a planet that it is warmer by 1C or warmer by 2C. The impact that we are worried about is being treated not at a 20-degree warmer world but they are being treated at a one degree warmer world.

RESPONSE: The claim that that 2C is 100% higher than 1C and that 21C is only 5% higher than 20C assumes that these are absolute temperatures in degrees Kelvin but they are not and therefore these ratios have no interpretation, but the AGW issue here has nothing to do with these ratios. The issue is that climate science had initially marked the point of “irreversible climate change” at 5C and proposed plans to limit warming to 5C. Later that danger point of warming that must be avoided was dropped to 4C and then again to 3C and then again to 2C and finally in 2018 IPCC released a special report lowering the “do not cross” line to 1.5C – only 0.5C warmer than today. If rocket scientists at NASA really understand this warming phenomenon well enough to demand an overhaul of the world’s energy infrastructure, this slide from 5C to 1.5C requires a rational explanation.

CLAIM:  Over the last decade (2007-2016) we’ve seen the ice melting. We’ve seen the melting in both Poles, we’ve seen the ice melt really fast on Greenland. They’ve fallen off Greenland into the ocean. We’ve had Pacific Islands that have already had to be abandoned because of sea level rise. We can combine our data with global climate models and say how is sea level rise going to change in the next 5, 10, 15 years because if we continue on the path we’re doing there’s going to be a lot of coastal communities all around the world that are going to be flooded. As scientists, we’re taking the most precise data that we can. It’s open data. It’s factual. For instance the enormous droughts and fires that we have around the world that are directly related to a warmer climate. That has a huge impact on people, was unprecedented. If you have a warmer atmosphere that can hold more moisture. That’s what warmer atmospheres do, they can suck up more moisture. That means more convection, more big thunderstorms, more hurricanes, more extreme weather. That’s one of the likely outcomes of a warming world. We built our civilization around the current planet, our coastal cities, our food resources, our water resources … they’re all pegged to the climate … and there’s not much slack in the system. We’re already seeing the impacts and the impacts are going to increase. In a 2-degree warming world there will be more. And in a 3-degree warming world there’ll be even more … and when you’re looking at those kinds of scenarios, 3, 4, 5 degrees warmer – that are totally plausible.  If we go down that path, we’ll be looking at a different planet.

RESPONSE: Claim#6 reads like the usual alarming climate scare stories we read in the newspapers everyday and does not appear to be a scientific argument from rocket scientists. For example in the large fluctuations in Greenland ice melt from gain to loss what is the significance that there was a loss in a specific decade?  And if there are Pacific Islands that have already had to be abandoned because of sea level rise, why have those islands not been identified and the data provided? And that sea level is going to change in the next 5, 10, 15 years also requires data and their interpretation. Is the sea level going to change in 5 years or 10 years or is it 15 years? and by how much will that change and how was that change interpreted as a calamity? And statements like this “We’re already seeing the impacts and the impacts are going to increase. In a 2-degree warming world there will be more. And in a 3-degree warming world there’ll be even more … and when you’re looking at those kinds of scenarios, 3, 4, 5 degrees warmer – that are totally plausible.” contain no useful information and suggest that the speaker has none to offer.

CONCLUSION: It does not appear from this presentation that NASA has the climate science expertise it claims to have and to which it apparently aspires. In terms of their aeronautics and space expertise, their role in AGW climate change that would best serve climate science and taxpayers is their priceless technology used for collecting the relevant data from space and making that data available to both taxpayers and climate scientists. Rocket scientists should not be involved in climate action strategies any more than climate scientists should be involved space exploration strategies.

4 Responses to "SPACE AGE CLIMATE SCIENCE"

Has the data from the Orbiting Carbon Observatory satellite produced anything other than a few multicolored computer generated charts? I have searched in vain for any conclusions reached based on OCO.

Absolutely brilliant and insightful comment. Thank you.

Trump was committed to landing people on the Moon again. Bridenstine helped launch the Artemis program. In 2019, the program promised to land the first woman and the next man on the surface of the moon by 2024.

https://www.kvue.com/article/news/nation-world/nasa-head-to-step-down-when-biden-becomes-president/507-c0ac6682-c936-4440-b6a6-e6898d544ba7

He will be out if Biden is elected and you can bet that NASA will be all in on climate again, sadly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: