Climate Change – The Facts

Written by Paul Homewood

Activist glues himself to train in London climate protest ...

I have been asked by a couple of people to produce a simple climate change factsheet, and it might be worth bookmarking for future use.

I have kept it simple, with no graphs or references. As those familiar with this blog, everything below has been fully covered a number of times. Anybody who needs more explanation on a particular item only needs to ask.

Any comments are welcome.

CLIMATE CHANGE – THE FACTS 

1) Global Temperatures

It is generally reckoned that global temperatures have risen by about 1C since the late 19thC. This, however, is only a guesstimate at best, as most of the world had very little climate data in those days

According to satellite data, temperatures have not increased since 1998.

2) Little Ice Age

Any discussion of temperature rise since the 19thC needs to be put in the context of the Little Ice Age, which lasted around 500 years and ended in the late 19thC.

Scientists believe that this was the coldest period since the end of the Ice Age, and evidence shows that it was a worldwide event, although timings were not always the same.

The Little Ice Age succeeded the Medieval Warm Period, which again appears to have been a global event, during which temperatures were at similar levels as today.

3) Glaciers

Melting of glaciers is often held up as “proof” of global warming. But in fact, they began retreating in the 19thC, long before current “man-made” global warming. There is particularly strong evidence of this fact, as Alaskan and Alpine glaciers were already being closely surveyed as early as the late 18thC.

As the glaciers in Alaska retreat, they are uncovering the remains of ancient forests, which have been carbon-dated back to the Middle Ages, indicating the glaciers were much smaller then. Exactly the same has occurred in Patagonia.

Evidence from around the world, including South America and New Zealand, confirms that there was a massive growth in the size of glaciers between the Middle Ages and the end of the Little Ice Age.

Glaciologists have established that many glaciers in both Greenland and Iceland reached their post ice age maxima during the 18th and 19thC.

4) Arctic

We hear a lot about temperatures rising in the Arctic, and icecaps melting.

In fact, temperatures around the Arctic show little difference now to what they were in the 1930s and 40s. Subsequently, they fell sharply in the 1970s and 80s, before rising again. This cycle appears to be connected to multi-decadal ocean cycles

Arctic sea ice retreated as a result until 2007, since when it has remained stable. Satellite data for sea ice extent is only available since 1979, in the middle of the colder interlude, and therefore cannot provide reliable long term trends.

The ice cap in Greenland has also been slowly melting, but the amounts involved are extremely tiny in relation to the total ice mass. Again, long term temperature records in Greenland show that temperatures were as high in the 1930s and 40s.

On a longer timescale, scientists also know that temperatures throughout the Arctic have been much higher than now for the last 10000 years.

5) Antarctica

Sea ice around Antarctica has been stable since 1979 if anything increasing slightly.

NASA has established that the Antarctic ice cap has actually been growing since 1992 because snowfall has more than offset thinning glaciers.

6) Sea levels

Since the ending of the Little Ice Age in the late 19thC, global sea levels have risen by about 8 inches. Sea levels around the UK give a similar result, after allowing for vertical land movement. (Most of England has been sinking since the ice age).

The recent rate of rising has been slightly higher, about 10 inches per century, sea levels were also rising at a similar rate in the mid 20thC.

7) Extreme weather

There is no persuasive evidence that extreme weather is getting either more common or severe:

a) According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is no evidence of any long term increase in hurricane activity.

b) US data confirms that tornado activity has declined since the 1970s when proper records began. Notably, data also shows that there are now fewer of the most violent tornadoes.

c) The IPCC also report little evidence that flooding is getting worse.

d) Equally, they find little proof that droughts are becoming worse globally, though there inevitably regional differences.

e) Wildfires, contrary to popular myth, are claiming many fewer acres than they did in the past.

One of the biggest sources for the myth of extreme weather is 24/7 media coverage, which now brings events into our homes which would have gone unreported not long ago.

In the UK, long term data also provides no evidence of an increase in extreme weather, such as storms, floods, and droughts.

8) UK climate trends

According to official Met Office data, UK temperatures stopped rising about fifteen years ago. The summer of 1976 remains the hottest on record, as well as having the most intense heatwaves.

Furthermore, there is no evidence of any significant changes in rainfall trends, other than in Scotland which has experienced higher rainfall in recent decades.

9) Climate projections

All of the scary forecasts concerning temperatures, sea-level rise, etc., are based on computer modeling of the climate. However, these models have consistently grossly overestimated the small rise in temperatures actually experienced.

10) UK Climate Change Act

The 2008 Climate Change Act committed the UK to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases by 80% from 1990 levels by 2050.

Since the Act was passed, the UK’s CO2 emissions have reduced by 183 Mt, representing 31% of 1990 levels. However, this has come at a great cost.

This year, subsidies for renewable energy are forecast to hit £12.2bn, equivalent to about £450 per household.

This year, however, Parliament approved changes to the Act which alter the target from an 80% cut to 100%. Official estimates put the cost of this at £50bn a year by 2050, some £1800 per household.

11) Global emissions

While UK emissions have dropped by 183 Mt since 2008, global emissions have increased by 3389 Mt. UK emissions are now only a tiny 1% of global ones.

Despite the hype, the Paris Climate Agreement, signed in 2015, won’t do anything to reduce emissions, as most countries plan to carry on increasing them until at least 2030. Notably, these include China and India, which account for 35% of the world’s carbon dioxide.

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Comments (12)

  • Avatar

    Matt Holl

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    Hi Paul.
    This is a very good article that could serve as a template for further evolution and annual update. It could be described as foundational.
    Thank you and best wishes.
    Matt

    • Avatar

      jerry krause

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      Hi Matt,

      Good to see your full name because I frequently wonder if you are also just plain Matt. And I certainly would like to read a comment or two of yours about my two must recent essays which, given the daily number of postings, are not really recent.

      Have a good day, Jerry

      • Avatar

        Matt Holl

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        Hi Jerry
        That naughty person “just plain Matt” is me as well, making comments that no dignified person would want to put their name to.
        Congratulations on your recent articles, I recall encouraging you to “keep writing”.

        Pertinent to prehistoric glaciers forming could be;
        The McMurdo Dry Valleys are a row of largely snow-free valleys in Antarctica, located within Victoria Land west of McMurdo Sound. The Dry Valleys experience extremely low humidity and surrounding mountains prevent the flow of ice from nearby glaciers. Wikipedia

        In other words glaciers are forming at the extreme Pole other than the Dry Valleys where high Surrounding mountains capture the precipitation thus no snow in the Dry Valleys.

        Kind regards
        Matt

        • Avatar

          jerry krause

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          Hi Matt,

          Thank you very much for informing me. You should enter into a conversation with Michael Clarke. A very interesting, sincere, person who has always tried to ‘understand’ but as he admits time again, he has little to no experience (besides what he reads that many non-scientists have written). I need to define whom I refer to as being non-scientists. Many articles are not written by the scientists who actually wrote the scientific article which was written in a peer-reviewed scientific journal because such articles are not written for the ‘general’ reader and would seem to be very boring and hard to understand by anyone not already having knowledge about the specific topic of these ‘scientific’ articles.

          So there are ‘writers’ who have ‘general’ writing skills and summarize these articles in such a way that a general reader, interested in the ‘general’ can ‘understand’ and enjoy reading and actually not understand why the scientist cannot write like the writer who generalizes and does not really often consider the important boring details.

          Do you agree with what I have just generally written?

          Have a good day, Jerry

  • Avatar

    geran

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    Let’s make it an even dozen.

    12) The AGW/GHE nonsense is pure pseudoscience.

    CO2 is NOT a thermodynamic heat source. It brings no new energy into the system. It does NOT “trap heat”. It does NOT absorb energy from a warmer surface, then send that energy back to warm the surface. It can NOT raise surface temperatures.

    The AGW/GHE nonsense violates the laws of physics. That’s why it is pseudoscience.

    • Avatar

      Zoe Phin

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      You know what else is pseudoscience?
      Ignoring the temperature 20 meters below your feet that the sun doesn’t touch, but must go somewhere when the sun is down. Your geothermal dead-end belief is exactly the same as that of alarmists.

      • Avatar

        geran

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        Resorting to trolling and false accusations now?

        The way down is fast and easy….

        • Avatar

          Zoe Phin

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          OK! Glad you agree with me then. Nice to have you onboard.

  • Avatar

    Andy Rowlands

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    Good article Paul, I shall save it for future reference 🙂

  • Avatar

    "futuristy"

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    Amazing! Its in fact amazing article, I have got much clear
    idea concerning from this paragraph.

  • Avatar

    tom0mason

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    And the biggest mistake of all — the hubristic belief that we know all the factors of the climate and so can mathematically work out how the climate works.
    It doesn’t ‘work’, it is not clockwork system.
    To be able to understand the climate we will have to have a good grasp of the chaotic drivers involved in the continual evolution of our climate.

    • Avatar

      Søren Toft

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      Hi Paul.
      You write
      “According to satellite data, temperatures have not increased since 1998.”
      Please read the curves at http://www.climate4you.com.
      The temperature HAS increased after 2014.
      Yours
      Søren Toft

Comments are closed