SAR, the Turning Point

By Andy May
SAR is an abbreviation for the second IPCC assessment report, Climate Change 1995 (IPCC, 1996). As explained in my new book, Politics and Climate Change: A History, this IPCC report was a turning point in the debate over catastrophic human-caused climate change. The first IPCC report, “FAR,” was written under the chairmanship of Bert Bolin. At the time FAR was completed and published, circa 1990, Margaret Thatcher, the “Iron Lady,” was Prime Minister of the U.K. and a fervent climate change alarmist. Bert Bolin thought she was “seriously misinformed.” The conclusion of FAR was:

“global-mean surface air temperature has increased by 0.3°C to 0.6°C over the last 100 years … The size of this warming is broadly consistent with predictions of climate models, but it is also of the same magnitude as natural climate variability. … The unequivocal detection of the enhanced greenhouse effect from observations is not likely for a decade or more.” (IPCC, 1992, p. 6)

Continue reading

CMIP6 and AR6, a preview

By Andy May

The new IPCC report, abbreviated “AR6,” is due to come out between April 2021 (the Physical Science Basis) and June of 2022 (the Synthesis Report). I’ve purchased some very strong hip waders to prepare for the events. For those who don’t already know, sturdy hip waders are required when wading into sewage. I’ve also taken a quick look at the CMIP6 model output that has been posted to the KNMI Climate Explorer to date. I thought I’d share some of what I found.

Continue reading

A New Millennial Global Surface Temperature Reconstruction

By Andy May

Nicola Scafetta has written a new paper (Scafetta, 2021) in Atmosphere on a new millennial surface temperature reconstruction. This is his latest “what if the models are accurate?” analysis. Scafetta’s idea is, let’s assume a model is correct, what are the implications?

Previously, he examined the PMOD solar model, by assuming it was correct and the Sun is invariant long-term, does this make sense? Another example, if we smooth through the urban heat island effect (UHI), do we eliminate it, or just smear it out, so the data looks better, but is just as inaccurate? In the latter post, on UHI, I wrote:

“Relative to 1940 to 1960, the original HadCRUT curve shows 0.59°C of warming and 0.48°C using Scafetta’s corrections. The UAH record shows 0.44°C. The CMIP5 climate models show 0.78°C of warming.

It is possible, according to Scafetta’s correction, that non-climatic biases may have contributed a fifth of the reported HadCRUT global warming since 1940-1960. It is also possible that the CMIP5 climate models may overestimate warming by a third. These are significant problems.”

Computer models have a downside. They can be used by those on the other side of the debate. If they lead to absurd or inconsistent conclusions, they make you look foolish. What if Scafetta assumed that the HadCRUT recent temperature record is correct? Then he further assumes that the CMIP5 (Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5) ensemble mean is correct, what does this mean for past temperatures? Do we find inconsistencies?

Continue reading

A New Look at the Urban Heat Island Effect

By Andy May

Nicola Scafetta has just published a new paper in Climate Dynamics examining evidence of the urban heat island (UHI) effect (Scafetta, 2021). The paper is not paywalled and can be downloaded here. In summary, Scafetta shows that part of the recent warming shown in the HadCRUT 4 global temperature record may be due to the UHI effect. He uses an analysis of diurnal maximum (Tmax) and minimum (Tmin) temperatures, climate model output, and a comparison of sea surface temperatures (SST) to land temperatures to estimate the possible influence on the HadCRUT 4 record.

Continue reading

IPCC Politics and Solar Variability

By Andy May

This post is about an important new paper by Nicola Scafetta, Richard Willson, Jae Lee and Dong Wu (Scafetta, Willson and Lee, et al. 2019) on the ACRIM versus PMOD total solar irradiance (TSI) composite debate that has been raging for over 20 years. ACRIM stands for Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor, these instruments recorded solar irradiance from space for many years. Richard Willson is the principle investigator in the laboratory that studied the results, Nicola Scafetta worked in the laboratory, until he accepted a position as a professor at the University of Naples Federico II.

The paper casts a spotlight on the political problems at the IPCC. In order to properly put the ACRIM vs PMOD debate into context and to show why this obscure and complicated scientific and engineering debate is important, we need to also discuss the messy politics within and between the IPCC and the UNFCCC.

Continue reading

#acrim, #pmod, #tsi

The Rational Climate e-Book

By Andy May

Patrice Poyet has just published a new 431-page eBook entitled, The Rational Climate e-Book, it is free to download here. Dr. Poyet studied geochemistry, remote sensing, and computer science at Ecole des Mines de Paris / Nice University. He received his doctorate in 1986. As an expert computer modeler, he spends much of the book evaluating climate computer models and uncovers their often-unstated underlying assumptions.

Continue reading

May/Middleton: Rebuttal to Geological Society of London Scientific Statement on Climate Change

Guest essay by David Middleton and Andy May

A pdf version of this post can be downloaded here.

The Geological Society of London recently published a statement on climate change:

Geological Society of London Scientific Statement: what the geological record tells us about our present and future climate

Geologists Andy May and David Middleton have spent the past few days reviewing the Geological Society of London Scientific Statement and have assembled a rebuttal to some of the more questionable items in the paper.

Continue reading

Poverty and Energy

By Andy May

Poverty and access to energy are closely related. Although it probably isn’t possible to show that access to energy is the key reason so many have been lifted out of poverty in recent decades, the data and logic suggests that this so. In the United States, the average person uses about 300 million BTUs of energy per year according to the EIA. This is equivalent to the manual labor of 69 healthy people working hard for 6 hours per day. Worldwide, the average person uses 73 million BTUs, the equivalent of 16 hardworking people.

Prior to the industrial age, which began with the first practical coal- and wood-fired steam engines between 1712 and 1776, slavery, bonded servants and serfs were common, this group made up over 90% of the world’s population in 1800. For a few people to live well they needed lots of servants and domestic animals to do the manual labor for them. Now, in the age of electricity, petroleum and nuclear powerplants, most manual labor can be done by machines. No longer do a few wealthy people live from the labor of others, everyone who has access to energy can live well. Before the industrial age, nearly everyone was extremely poor as seen in Figure 1, today fewer than 10% are extremely poor. Continue reading

A Holocene Temperature Reconstruction Part 4: The global reconstruction

By Andy May

In previous posts (here, here and here), we have shown reconstructions for the Antarctic, Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, the tropics, the Northern Hemisphere mid-latitudes, and the Arctic. Here we combine them into a simple global temperature reconstruction. Continue reading

Changing Climate Debate History

By Andy May

While researching my next book, I found a bit of interesting deception on the Intelligence Squared web site. This is the organization that hosted the famous March 14, 2007 global warming debate on the motion “Global Warming is not a Crisis.” Debating in favor of the motion were the late Michael Crichton, Professor Richard Lindzen (MIT, now emeritus), and Professor Philip Stott (University of London, emeritus). Against the motion were Dr. Brenda Ekwurzel of the Union of Concerned Scientists, Dr. Gavin Schmidt of NASA, and Professor Richard Somerville of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

The debate was held at the Asia Society and Museum in New York City. Their auditorium holds 258 people and, I presume, every seat was filled. The audience was polled on the assertion before the debate and after. According to the verbatim transcript of the debate (one of the tabs on the Intelligence Squared link above), moderator Brian Lehrer, announced the results at 1 hour 37 minutes:

“And now the results of our debate. After our debaters did their best to sway you…you went from, 30% for the motion that global warming is not a crisis, from 30% to 46%. [APPLAUSE]


Against the motion, went from 57% to 42%… [SCATTERED APPLAUSE, MOANS] And “undecided” went from 13% to 12%. The hardcore ambivalent are still among us. [LAUGHTER] So, in terms of opinion change, those in favor of the motion, have carried the day, congratulations to the team for the motion.”

You can hear the debate and the results on an NPR recording as well.

Gavin Schmidt was intensely embarrassed at their clear defeat in the debate. As Anthony Watts wrote in 2018, eleven years after the debate, Schmidt was so demoralized and defeated he still would not appear on stage with skeptical scientists, like Dr. Roy Spencer. Schmidt reportedly said debates are not worthwhile, regardless of the outcome. This is quite shocking to hear, debate is at the heart of scientific research. If you will not debate your points, you are not doing scientific work.

As you can probably imagine, I was nearly knocked to the floor when I clicked on the Intelligence Squared tab for the debate results on 28 December 2020. This was after I had listened to the debate and read the transcript. Under the tab on December 28 and still there January 6th, I read the winner, post-debate, was Against the motion, by 89%! Someone with access to the Intelligence Squared web site had radically changed the results from a win for the climate skeptics to a win for the alarmists. You may still be able to see this when you go to the web site. I wrote to them about this error December 28, and have received no answer.

There is certainly no excuse for lying about the results of this famous debate, but someone did.