Free Markets, Free People

Anthropogenic Global Warming is false science former "alarmist" scientist says

David Evans is a scientist.  He also has worked in the heart of the AGW machine and consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office (now the Department of Climate Change) from 1999 to 2005, and part-time 2008 to 2010, modeling Australia’s carbon in plants, debris, mulch, soils, and forestry and agricultural products.  He has six university degrees, including a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.  The other day he said:

The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic.

And with that he begins a demolition of the theories and methods by which the AGW scare has been foisted on the public.  The politics:

The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.

He makes clear he understands that CO2 is indeed a "greenhouse gas", and makes the point that if all else was equal then yes, more CO2 in the air should and would mean a warmer planet. But that’s where the current "science" goes off the tracks.

The science:

But the issue is not whether carbon dioxide warms the planet, but how much.

Most scientists, on both sides, also agree on how much a given increase in the level of carbon dioxide raises the planet’s temperature, if just the extra carbon dioxide is considered. These calculations come from laboratory experiments; the basic physics have been well known for a century.

The disagreement comes about what happens next.

The planet reacts to that extra carbon dioxide, which changes everything. Most critically, the extra warmth causes more water to evaporate from the oceans. But does the water hang around and increase the height of moist air in the atmosphere, or does it simply create more clouds and rain? Back in 1980, when the carbon dioxide theory started, no one knew. The alarmists guessed that it would increase the height of moist air around the planet, which would warm the planet even further, because the moist air is also a greenhouse gas. [emphasis mine]

But it didn’t increase the height of the moist air around the planet as subsequent studies have shown since that time. However, that theory or premise became the heart of the modeling that was done by the alarmist crowd:

This is the core idea of every official climate model: For each bit of warming due to carbon dioxide, they claim it ends up causing three bits of warming due to the extra moist air. The climate models amplify the carbon dioxide warming by a factor of three — so two-thirds of their projected warming is due to extra moist air (and other factors); only one-third is due to extra carbon dioxide.

That’s the core of the issue. All the disagreements and misunderstandings spring from this. The alarmist case is based on this guess about moisture in the atmosphere, and there is simply no evidence for the amplification that is at the core of their alarmism.

What did they find when they tried to prove this theory?

Weather balloons had been measuring the atmosphere since the 1960s, many thousands of them every year. The climate models all predict that as the planet warms, a hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up, as the layer of moist air expands upwards into the cool dry air above. During the warming of the late 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, the weather balloons found no hot spot. None at all. Not even a small one. This evidence proves that the climate models are fundamentally flawed, that they greatly overestimate the temperature increases due to carbon dioxide.

This evidence first became clear around the mid-1990s.

Evans is not the first to come to these conclusions.  Earlier this year, in a post I highlighted, Richard Lindzen said the very same thing.

For warming since 1979, there is a further problem. The dominant role of cumulus convection in the tropics requires that temperature approximately follow what is called a moist adiabatic profile. This requires that warming in the tropical upper troposphere be 2-3 times greater than at the surface. Indeed, all models do show this, but the data doesn’t and this means that something is wrong with the data. It is well known that above about 2 km altitude, the tropical temperatures are pretty homogeneous in the horizontal so that sampling is not a problem. Below two km (roughly the height of what is referred to as the trade wind inversion), there is much more horizontal variability, and, therefore, there is a profound sampling problem. Under the circumstances, it is reasonable to conclude that the problem resides in the surface data, and that the actual trend at the surface is about 60% too large. Even the claimed trend is larger than what models would have projected but for the inclusion of an arbitrary fudge factor due to aerosol cooling. The discrepancy was reported by Lindzen (2007) and by Douglass et al (2007). Inevitably in climate science, when data conflicts with models, a small coterie of scientists can be counted upon to modify the data.

Evans reaches the natural conclusion – the same conclusion Lindzen reached:

At this point, official “climate science” stopped being a science. In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory. But official climate science ignored the crucial weather balloon evidence, and other subsequent evidence that backs it up, and instead clung to their carbon dioxide theory — that just happens to keep them in well-paying jobs with lavish research grants, and gives great political power to their government masters.

And why will it continue?  Again, follow the money:

We are now at an extraordinary juncture. Official climate science, which is funded and directed entirely by government, promotes a theory that is based on a guess about moist air that is now a known falsehood. Governments gleefully accept their advice, because the only ways to curb emissions are to impose taxes and extend government control over all energy use. And to curb emissions on a world scale might even lead to world government — how exciting for the political class!

Indeed.  How extraordinarily unexciting for the proletariat who will be the ones stuck with the bill if these governments ever succeed in finding a way to pass the taxes they hope to impose and extend even more government’s control over energy.

While  you’re listening to the CEOs of American oil companies being grilled by Congress today, remember all of this.  They’re going to try to punish an industry that is vital to our economy and national security, and much of the desire to do that is based on this false “science” that has been ginned up by government itself as an excuse to control more of our energy sector and to pick winners and losers.  All based on something which is now demonstrably false.


Twitter: @McQandO

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Reddit
  • email
  • Print
  • Google Bookmarks

12 Responses to Anthropogenic Global Warming is false science former "alarmist" scientist says

  • In science, empirical evidence always trumps theory, no matter how much you are in love with the theory. If theory and evidence disagree, real scientists scrap the theory.

    Not really.  They take a good hard look at the theory and a good hard look at where the empirical evidence comes from because one of them is obviously wrong.  In my Master’s work, a lot of my initial experiments didn’t match up with theory well.  I thought the theory was wrong, but after looking at the empirical evidence I realized that a simplification I made to experimental setup altered the test results.  I fixed it and suddenly the theory looked great.  I just had to scrap my first three experiments and start over.  Thankfully the experiments were pretty cheap.

    • A theory is a model of what reality is thought to be and as such is acknowledged to be limited by the simplifications assumed. If your experiments do not conform to the theory then you have either (a) made an error in the design of your experiment or (b) run into the area where the theory does not hold. Often you will fix (a) only to find (b) anyway. But it is investigating where the theory does not hold that you make a name for yourself. I had a lecturer once who said the best way to have a career as a physicist was to develop a theory with enough simplifications in it that you could spend your life investigating them. What you don’t do is predict some giant f***ing atmospheric hotspot and when it fails materialize just ignore it (unless your faulty experimental design happens to be thousands of broken balloons and satellite measurements). Either your theory is valid within some limits but the predicted hotspot was outside its area of applicability, or the hotspot is correct within the theory but the theory itself is unphysical. I know which my money is on in this case.

    • Yeah, fair point, but I think he’s making a general statement that assumes having already done what you did.

    • Sorry, that was gnat-straining.  The quote was right.  You might want to qualify it by throwing in a “sound” or a “correct”, but I think it stands.  Empirical evidence DOES trump theory.

  • It is truly unfortunate that you dense, mean righties manage to intimidate more scientists into becoming sterile, inbred, Goebbels-like climate deniers. Shame on you. You used to have interesting perspectives, but because you disagree with the holy writ of climate change, it’s clear that you are heretics subversives working against the best interests of society.

    It’s a good thing your kind of thinking is being swept away. Obama of the christlike visage pays no attention to vicious deniers. He completely agrees with the holy words settled science on climate change, as does myself and everyone else here in the faculty lounge. We’re smart people with advanced degrees, as are the climate scientists all over the world, so we just can’t be wrong. We just can’t be. Suck on it.

    We’re going to regulate your lives to the point of telling you down to the ounce how much gasoline you can use and what temperature to make your house. For your own good, of course. And after we have finished indoctrinating educating your children in the holy writ of climate change, alongside all the other post-modern holy writs of the glorious leftism that will lead us to utopia, we will have no opposition except a few aging, sterile, inbred, Nazi-like thugs like the people around here.

    • Good thing you arrived – I was going to have to shout “settled science!” and “Scientific Consensus!” and stamp my little feet until they listened and agreed to enter into the breathing permit business I’ve created from whole cloth.

  • They’ve over promised (floods, hurricanes, dust bowls) and under delivered. Ironically, the same concern for the future that drives global warming concern is not shown by politicians when dealing with over spending. Cognitive dissonance anyone?

    • And like the people who believe Nostradamus predicts the future, when their predictions fall flat, they simply pretend they never made them, and proceed to make new predictions of disaster.

  • hot spot of moist air will develop over the tropics about 10 kilometres up

    This is what has been described as the AGW “signature”. Unfortunately, so far, they haven’t even seen fit to try to forge it.

  • And Dr. Roy Spencer’s MSU data has been ignored for how long?  His data showing no change to the lapse rate parallels the findings.  One often missed issue is latent heat contained in the water vapor and more importantly, the mass transfer of this water vapor latent heat.
    Most vigorous condensation processes happen in the flight levels, corresponding to less than half the total atmospheric mass.  This further diminishes the role of carbon dioxide in radiant heat rejection of the planet.  Below this, the troposphere is dominated by mixing, hence its name.  And that implies mass transfer as the predominant heat rejection mode.  Radiant blocking, the cornerstone of AGW through GHG, does not matter.