Political Distortions in Climatology

Written by Dr. Tim Ball

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) claim with 95 percent certainty that they completed a 5000-piece puzzle using only eleven pieces. The pieces are shown in the Radiative Forcing diagram (Figure 1) from AR5. By their assessment, they have high confidence in only five of these pieces. Those ratings are questionable and self-serving. For example, they list CO2 as very high when their prediction of its function is undermined by the lack of temperature increase for the last 20 years.


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Figure 1

One of the strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) against me emerged from an article with the central theme that the IPCC set climate research back 30 years. This was inevitable given the definition of climate change in Article 1 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The definition, as they planned, predetermined the results.

“a change of climate which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over considerable time periods.”

By the time of the IPCC Assessment Report 4 (AR4) in 2007, they inserted a broader definition.

“Climate change in IPCC usage refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity.”

It appeared as a footnote in the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of AR4. Apparently the purpose is to let them say if challenged, that they changed the definition.  The problem is they didn’t and couldn’t because the Reports are cumulative. This action requires starting over.

The definition directed world attention and research focus to CO2 and temperature exactly as those controlling the political agenda of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) planned. The trouble is this enhanced already existing biases and inadequacies. The main element overlooked, ignored, or misapplied is water. It is not surprising considering the lack of proxy data and modern instrumental measures of water in all its forms.

One serious misdirection involved the use of tree rings as a proxy for temperature in the infamous ‘hockey stick’ graph in the 2001 IPCC Report. The sad part is tree rings offer a valuable proxy source that crosses the boundary between the secular (instrumental) record with the historic record of approximately 6000 years. Gradually people are producing long-term precipitation records from tree rings. A 2014 paper, “A 3,500-year tree ring record of annual precipitation on the northeastern Tibetan Plateau” is identified as

“the production and climatic interpretation of a tree-ring width chronology that is currently the longest, absolutely dated series produced for the northeastern Tibetan Plateau and one of the longest in the world.”

It concludes,

Precipitation in this region during the last 50 years has been historically high—likely higher than for any equivalent length period in at least 3,500 years, even when considering the chronology and interpretational uncertainty. Notable dry periods occurred in the 4th century BCE and in the second half of the 15th century CE.

Cross referencing these with other proxy records such as paleosols can provide a valuable history from which to determine changing climate mechanisms. Figure 2 shows the location of sand dunes in the Carberry desert or Brandon Sand Hills of southwest Manitoba.

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Figures 3a, b, and c show three distinct paleosols exposed in a cross section of one dune.

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Figure 3 a

The paleosols are visible at the top of the dune.

Note the microclimate with trees on the north slope where evaporation is less than on the south slope, leaving sufficient moisture for trees. (Author’s photos).

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3 b: This is the deepest most well-developed soil profile.

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3 c: The current top soil and two distinct lower paleosols related to wetter periods.

The authors conclude,

Most notable paleosol development occurred around 2300 to 2000, 1400 to 1000, and 600 to 500 cal yr BP with eolian activity occurring before and after each of these periods. Episodes of eolian activity may correspond to periods of regional drought, whereas paleosols mark periods of increased moisture availability and stabilization by vegetation.

These records indicate how much more climate information precipitation data yields and are essential to understanding climate change.

Glaciation is another area where the temperature has overridden the role of precipitation in the life cycle. A glacier forms when some snow survives the summer melt for several years. It is assumed that a temperature decline is required. However, it is possible that the snow amount increases allowing some to survive the summer. Once the snow survives, the albedo changes increasing the chance for survival without a temperature change. As the snow layers accumulate and the ice becomes plastic, the ice begins to flow. Balance develops between the accumulation and the ablation zone (Figure 4).

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Figure 4

The glacier advances all the time internally as long as the ice is plastic (ductile). The snout of the glacier on the right side of the diagram advances or retreats: sometimes because of temperatures, but also if the snowfall in the Zone of Accumulation increases or decreases.

One of the interesting features of the end of the Pleistocene ice sheet was the rate at which melt occurred. Ablation was rapid as the change in sea level chart indicates (Figure 5). Meltwater Phase 1A occurred between 14,700 and 13,500 years ago. There is no doubt that the overall cause of melting was a temperature increase, but the rapid sea level rise is more likely due to a significant increase in rainfall. If you put a block of ice in the sink, it melts slowly. Run water over it and the melt rate increases significantly. Also, rotten ice on the surface has a lower albedo than snow or pure ice.

There are other issues like the amount of CO2 absorbed in the atmosphere by water droplets and raindrops. We don’t know how much because actual measures of the amount of water in the atmosphere and how it varies over time are not available.

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Figure 5

Is it possible that variation in the amount of water in the atmosphere and the CO2 it absorbs is equal to the amount humans add?

In a recent article, I examined the issue of aerosols and their role in atmospheric physics. All aerosols eventually fall out of the sky as a function of their size and weight. Gravity is the largest force removing aerosols from the atmosphere. However, two major mechanisms involve water. Aerosols are a nucleus around which water vapor condenses, and rain washes them out. Take a look at a surface after raindrops evaporate and see the residue. All these factors involve water that changes the transmissivity of the atmosphere. How much do they affect global climate mechanisms during wetter periods?

The IPCC deliberately limited the variables. They claim the 5000 – piece puzzle is effectively finished when science hasn’t identified the four corner pieces or most of the edge pieces. The number and complexity of those omitted are vast, and most of them exceed the IPCC claims for the role of human produced CO2. Despite this, they draw almost definitive conclusions that are the justification for devastating climate and energy policies. Their actions are beyond pseudoscience. The definition of which is,

“A collection of beliefs or practices mistakenly regarded as being based on scientific method.”

The key word is “mistakenly”. There is nothing mistaken in the deliberate, premeditated actions of the IPCC. Besides, if they were mistaken, then they are grossly incompetent.

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