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30 December 2009

The Fatal Missing Atmospheric Hotspot of CO2 Alarmist Theory

Dr. David Evans has written a very good summary of the fatal problem of the climate computer models that claim to provide a good match to the increasing temperatures of the late 20th Century based on atmospheric CO2 concentrations.  What the modelers have done is taken a theory of greenhouse gases and added theories of sulfate aerosols, ozone, volcanic aerosols, and solar irradiance to plot the expected temperature changes as a function of altitude in the atmosphere and as a function of latitude over the Earth.  In reality, they have tuned the many variables and theories to produce results which they claim are predictive of the land surface temperatures for the period from 1958 to 1999.  If these theories are valid, then the predictions of temperatures at various altitudes and latitudes must also be correct.  The following plots show changes relative to the baseline temperatures prior to 1958 as modeled by Santer et. al in 2000 and are taken from Fig. 1.3. of a report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program in 2006, Chapter 1.  This data was also used in the UN IPCC AR4 report of 2007.


It should be noted that the upper left plot is for the measured increases in CO2 concentrations and those increases in water vapor which Santer and others believed would result from the warming caused by the CO2.  Most of the actual warming in this model is actually provided by the increase in the amount of water vapor, which is greatest in the Earth's warmer areas.  The warming of this extra water vapor over the Equator and nearby latitudes produces the hot spot over the equator and near it.  The enhanced warming due to water vapor is what is termed a positive feedback and is a situation which is inclined to be susceptible to run-away events in which a vicious cycle of CO2 and water vapor in the atmosphere lead to more and more heating, then more and more CO2 and water in the atmosphere and more and more heating.  This is an important assumption of this theory and forms its primary basis for the claim that catastrophe may result.

We should note that only direct changes in the solar irradiance are modeled here.  The changing flux of cosmic rays as solar activity varies with changing affects on cloud formation and the ozone layers are not included.  Many other natural effects are also not included since little was known about them in 2000 and not much more is known today, thanks to the misspending of most of the climate research funds due to the alarmist scare.  But, if the factors modeled are the most important factors pertaining to climate change, such features as the very prominent hot spot near and above the equator at altitudes of 8 to 12 km with elevated temperatures of 1.0 to 1.2C should be measured by balloons equipped with transmitters to send back temperatures measured as the balloon ascends to high altitudes in the atmosphere.  There are good records going back to the 1960s with hundreds of balloon flights having the ability to measure temperatures with an accuracy of better than 0.1C.

The actual measured warming from 1979 to 1999 in the atmosphere by balloons is shown below.  This is Part E of Fig. 5.7 on page 116 of the U.S. Climate Change Science Program Report of 2006.

The lower atmosphere, or the troposphere, is relatively uniformly warmed compared to the Santer model results used in the UN IPCC AR4 report of 2007.  Note that the entire range of variation in the plot with altitude and latitude is much less than in the alarmist model plot.  The cooling of the upper atmosphere, the stratosphere, is also less severe and is also more uniform.  The hottest warm areas are mostly in the northern hemisphere and only reach up to about 0.3C warmings, not the 1.2C of the models touted as good matches to reality by the UN IPCC.  Also, very notably, the major hot spot over the equator and latitudes nearby is missing.  This area is largely warmed only about 0.1C and parts of this area are cooled by -0.1C!  The warming is at least an order of magnitude less than in the alarmist model at 10 km altitude over the equator!

So, the UN IPCC model result, which is said by them to verify the theory of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming predicts much greater temperature changes due to their greenhouse gas theory in the atmosphere than is observed and the pattern of those changes is very different than that actually measured.  It is inescapable that the UN IPCC and Santer theory is wrong.  This is not a case of a theory that needs a bit of tuning yet.  This is clearly a case of a very wrongheaded theory.

So, if this theory is wrong, then there is no reason to believe that the rise in temperatures of the late 20th Century was caused in significant part by the increased concentration of CO2 during that period.  There is also no reason to believe that one of the affects of increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere must be an increase in water vapor which then causes more net warming than the CO2 increase itself did.  This means that the claim that increases in CO2 concentrations may cause runaway global warming are without basis!  In fact, this part of the model was clearly very dubious, since if it were correct, the Earth would have been likely to have had many such catastrophic run-ups of temperature in the past.  There is no evidence of this in the geological record.  In fact, recent work has established that the water vapor feedback to warming in general and to CO2 increases in particular is one of negative feedback.  The water cycle is a moderating effect on climate.

It is clear that the warming effect of CO2 is much, much smaller than that predicted by the Santer and other climate models touted by the UN IPCC.  In fact, it is very much more likely that it is not more than about a tenth as strong an effect as these models believed it to be.  In fact, now that we know that the land surface temperature data Santer, the UN IPCC, and other alarmists have been trying to explain was inflated with urban heat island effects and data manipulations, the CO2 greenhouse effect had to be exaggerated to match that falsely higher temperature data at the ground.  By manipulating data to create a sense of alarm due to large temperature increases, the alarmists also guaranteed that they could not explain real atmospheric temperature data with any theory that would match what they claimed the ground temperatures were.

Lies will always get you in the end.  It is especially foolish to lie about science.  Political lies may have a long lifetime, but science lies rarely do.  It is shameful that this science lie had as long a life as it did though.  It is painful that it has also had so much harmful impact on society and government.  Scientists will be paying a price in lost respect for a long time due to the lie that man's emissions of CO2 have created what is likely to be or might be a catastrophic climate future.  I know I am using strong language here, but any scientist worthy of the name should long ago have backed away from the embarrassing claims made by the anthropogenic global warming alarmists.  This episode has borne a strong resemblance to Stalinist science.

2 comments:

smsafri said...

It does bring to mind of the negative climatic quality resulting from these touted claims. My only wish is to get the science community to inform the public objectively and frequently so that the world population is not lulled away that they have great influence on the current world predicament. Differ in opinions or conclusions is good for as long as it does not create unwarranted global panic. Anyway, thanks for the deliberation.

smsafri said...

It does bring to mind of the negative climatic quality resulting from these touted claims. My only wish is to get the science community to inform the public objectively and frequently so that the world population is not lulled away that they have great influence on the current world predicament. Differ in opinions or conclusions is good for as long as it does not create unwarranted global panic. Anyway, thanks for the deliberation.