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No, Roy, Carbon Dioxide ‘Climate Sensitivity’ Falling to Zero

Written by John O'Sullivan

In his latest blog post Dr Roy Spencer admits climate lukewarmists are in bad shape. Why so? Roy says it’s because lukwarmism is “boring” and us “deniers” are winning the blog war on click bait. But the truth is we are winning because the mainstream carbon dioxide-controlled climate theory is being slowly discredited in peer-reviewed science literature. This is spectacularly exposed in the revealing graph above.

From left to right the gray tramlines of the graph are headed downwards. It shows the direction where  the latest peer-reviewed science is going on the issue of whether carbon dioxide is the ‘control knob’ of earth’s climate. Heading to the bottom right corner we see the consensus is parachuting down to land on zero sensitivity.

This is the opposite of what the greenhouse gas theory (which Roy, the ‘lukewarmists‘ and climate alarmist academe has defended for decades) tells us. In their version of reality CO2 controls climate. Lukewarmists, just like alarmists, have clung to the fake metric of measuring climate sensitivity to a doubling of carbon dioxide. But experts from the ‘hard’ sciences are increasingly mocking that metric (see ‘The Junk Science Of A Supposed Climate Sensitivity Formula‘).

Since 2001 researchers have been detecting a steep and inescapable decline in the predicted impact of CO2 on global temperatures – the supposed ‘climate sensitivity’ is vanishing before our eyes. This is an inconvenient truth for those who have invested their whole careers defending the CO2 climate forcing scare story orthodoxy.

And Roy is feeling the pain. As he admits on his blog his message is getting  “lost in the noise.” Roy helpfully provides his readers with a diagram of where his “too boring” ilk is slipping towards irrelevancy in the Great Greenhouse Gas Debate:

As much as Dr Spencer avoids admitting it, more scientists are agreeing our planet’s ‘sensitivity’ to the effects of atmospheric CO2 is edging towards zero. Even CO2-alarmist-in-chief James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (now retired) admits “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.”

Even sections of the usually ‘on message’ mainstream media are waking up to this. As The Economist admits,

“The mismatch between rising greenhouse-gas emissions and not-rising temperatures is among the biggest puzzles in climate science just now.”

Referring to Earth as an “insensitive planet” The Economist explained, “The term scientists use to describe the way the climate reacts to changes in carbon-dioxide levels is “climate sensitivity”. This is usually defined as how much hotter the Earth will get for each doubling of CO₂ concentrations.

And even climatologists are growing skeptical. As renowned Canadian climate expert Dr Tim Ball noted:

“The concept of climate sensitivity was first derived, as with so much done on climate, to overcome a perception problem not a scientific one. Who did the actual calculations of climate sensitivity is not documented to my knowledge. The earliest paper I have is the 1984 paper by James Hansen and Takahashi referenced in this paper.”

Nature Quietly Proving Carbon Dioxide Not Climate ‘Control Knob’

For a whole generation, we have been taught more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is a bad thing because it was the ‘control knob’ of nature’s climate thermostat. The concentration of CO2 in the air is claimed to have risen from 350 ppm (parts per million) to over 400 ppm since the mid 20th century. Some scientists claim that the pre-industrial level (1750-1800) was as low as 280 parts per million.

Certainly, it does appear that levels of carbon dioxide have risen. And you know the well-worn alarmist mantra – ‘more carbon dioxide causes more global warming.’ The ‘experts’ have long told us we are in grave danger if we don’t ‘act on CO2‘ and ‘get off ‘fossil’ fuels.’

Decades of schoolchildren were raised on a dystopian green diet of energy self-denial, told to cut their ‘carbon footprint’ to help reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. Our selfish and heavy human hand was on the climate control knob and we must scale it back.

But what if the theory is wrong? What about the null hypothesis? What if more CO2 doesn’t change temperature and doesn’t do anything, nada, zip, zilch?

If we follow the trajectory of those downward gray sloping tram ways we will hit zero degrees sensitivity on or around 2020.  As American Climate analyst, Dr Norman Page says,

“There has been no net warming since 1997 with CO2 up 8+%. The earth entered a cooling trend in about 2003 which is likely to last 30 years and maybe for hundreds of years beyond that.The IPCC climate models on which the entire CO2 phobia depends were and are so badly structured as to be inherently useless for temperature prediction.”

20th Century Temperatures Don’t Follow CO2 Levels

Now let us fairly praise Dr Spencer.  He has pioneered crucial work and is Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.  He deserves enormous credit there.

Scientists like Dr Spencer have helped us get a better picture of where the temperature trends are. We can see temperatures in the 20th century also correlate poorly with atmospheric CO2 levels, which increased throughout that century. We know most of the observed warming in the 20th century occurred before 1940; there was cooling from 1940 to 1975 and more warming after 1975. Since 80 per cent of man-made CO2 was produced after 1940, why did much of the warming occur before that time? Also, why was there cooling between 1940 and 1975 while CO2 levels were increasing? Again, these warming and cooling trends correlate well with variations in solar activity. Dr Spencer is with us ‘Deniers’ – at least on admitting the major forcing effect from the sun.

Only since 1975 does warming correlate with increased CO2, but solar activity also increased during this period. Surely, changes in our hot sun point to a better ‘climate forcing’ metric.  This warming has only been measured at the earth’s surface, and satellites have measured little or no warming at altitudes of 1.5 to eight kilometers. This pattern is inconsistent with CO2 being our climate’s ‘control knob.’

Tracking the Downward Path: CO2 Climate Sensitivity Targets Zero

Like Dr Tim Ball, let’s take a look back at some of the history. The Ad Hoc Study Group on Carbon Dioxide and Climate, a U.S. government committee on anthropogenic global warming, was convened in 1979 by the National Academy of Sciences and chaired by Jule Charney. They estimated climate sensitivity to be 3 °C, plus or minus 1.5 °C.

In 1988, NASA’s world-leading climate scientist Dr James Hansen assumed a rather high climate sensitivity of 4.2°C for a doubling of CO2. His assumptions were also wrong. But based on Hansen’s scary scenario world governments enacted binding climate treaties and committed trillions of dollars to address the problem.

Fast forward to 2013 and publication of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fifth Assessment report (AR5), the very source of the ‘best science’ relied upon by governments. The report gave the first clue that things were going in awry in the theory.

From the data collected in AR5 scientists saw the greenhouse gas theory wasn’t going to plan. CO2 was looking less and less like our climate’s ‘control knob.’  Independent UK climate scientist Nic Lewis and Dutch science writer Marcel Crok were both expert reviewers of the IPCC report, and Lewis was an author of two relevant papers cited in it. They exposed this inescapable fact in their publication, Oversensitive: how the IPCC hid the good news on global warming.’ [1]

“The observational evidence strongly suggest that climate models display too much sensitivity to carbon dioxide concentrations and in almost all cases exaggerate the likely path of global warming,” says Nic Lewis. Lewis confirmed that even based on the IPCC’s second worst emissions scenario no warming over the international target of 2°C in 2081-2100 was likely. So, even towards the extreme end of the doomsaying, crisis-obsessed IPCC’s numbers we aren’t likely to exceed that much-hyped two degrees ‘tipping point.’

In his latest blog post Dr Spencer is firmly lukewarm: “If I had to choose a number, I’d go with about 1.5 deg. C.”

Those numbers aren’t ‘measurements’ but are actually estimates – guesswork you just “go with.” And they are all across the board, from 6ºC, down to almost 0ºC (‘Miskolczi’ says sensitivity is 0.00ºC.) But can climate sensitivity really be zero? it most certainly can. Just look at the ice ages. The Antarctic Ice Core Data (graph below) proves the levels of CO2 in the atmosphere LAG temperatures, not the reverse i.e. temperature controls CO2, not the other way round.

At the start of the current Holocene Period, around 15,000 years ago, CO2 was low and then temperatures shot up dramatically. And then looking further back to 100,000 years ago, when CO2 was at its highest, temperatures began to fall.

Carbon Dioxide Causes Cooling, not Warming

What this tells you (and Roy!) is that if you want temperatures to skyrocket, low CO2 is required. And if you want temperatures to start falling, you need high CO2. This is prima facie evidence that CO2 causes cooling.

Experts are beginning to say that carbon dioxide will cause cooling – especially experts trained in the ‘hard’ sciences such as chemistry and physics. At Principia Scientific International they argue that CO2 sensitivity is in fact a negative number. It is certainly an arguable hypothesis.

But no one really knows, and CO2 ‘forcing’ has never been accurately quantified. All we know for sure is that the collective view of scientists is a diminishing expectation of a clear CO2 effect. It just isn’t a climate ‘control knob’ so please stop taxing it.

It is we ‘deniers’ of the greenhouse gas theory who say the empirical evidence is with us.  Earth’s climate is primarily caused by natural forces especially the sun (with cosmic rays – see Svensmark et al) and that primarily drives Earth’s water cycle, climate, biosphere and last but not least, atmospheric CO2.

As climate writer, Mervyn Sullivan wrote:

“There comes a time when people must also accept that the corner stone underpinning the IPCC’s hypothesis – the greenhouse effect – is not evident in the scientific literature as a scientific phenomenon, and in any case, a greenhouse has no resemblance, whatsoever, to the manner in which heat transfer actually occurs in the atmosphere.”

Since theoretically there should be some correlation, all that can be concluded is that if something isn’t being detected then it doesn’t exist.  Null hypothesis. No greenhouse gas effect, the theory is dead. So come on, Roy, admit the game is up!


[1] Full report: Short version Long version: A Sensitive Matter: How The IPCC Buried Evidence Showing Good News About Global Warming 


Comments (1)

  • Avatar

    Joseph A Olson


    In July 2010, Roy posted his ridiculous “Cold Makes Hot” article, I replied….

    “Rocket Scientists Need Not Apply” at CanadaFreePress.com

    After meeting Roy at Heartland ICCC-9 and at Heritage Crossroads Summit, I wrote….

    “Spencer Sorcery on Magic Gas” at FauxScienceSlayer.com

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