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James Hansen : More Right Than Wrong

You know, back in 1988, James Hansen had some fairly basic FORTRAN computing code and an embarrassingly uncomplex model of the World Ocean, and yet he still came up with shockingly accurate projections of Global Warming.

The data is in. The models were right (more or less).

5 replies on “James Hansen : More Right Than Wrong”

He was using a 4.2 deg celsius increase in temperature for a doubling of CO2. That is a much larger value than the current best estimate of 2.8-2.9. So it is not surprising that his model is trending higher than the measurements.

[ NOTE FROM JOABBESS.COM : This commenter has not understood what “forcing” means. There is a very big difference between “greenhouse climate forcing ceases to increase” and this commenter’s assertion that Greenhouse Gases have not forced any Global Warming since the year 2000. Under James Hansen’s Scenario C, he projected that the greenhouse gas forcing would not increase, but it would remain the same, because the greenhouse gases would stay in the atmosphere, and the Earth would continue to warm, but that the rate of warming would not increase. Reading the IPCC Report from 2007 indicates that James Hansen’s Scenario C did not occur; that in fact Greenhouse Gases have continued to accumulate faster and that the rate of Global Warming has increased. In other words, it has accelerated…]

Tell me if I’m reading this right. Hansen is about 100% wrong with scenario A, 50% wrong with scenario B and just 16% or so wrong with scenario C? If so, that’s, how do we say it, cr@p? Or would you prefer “shockingly inaccurate”. You seem to have forgotten that Hansen’s scenario C was what he thought would happen if CO2 did not influence climate. In his presentation to Congress he said, “Scenario C drastically reduces trace gas growth between 1990 and 2000 such that greenhouse climate forcing ceases to increase after 2000.” So, by his own words, CO2 forcing has not happened since 2000.

I loved the bit from Gavin Schmidt as well when he talks about one of the models predicting a levelling off of temperatures. Climate models churn out a raft of disparate statistics one or two of which, inevitably given the range of predictions, happen to coincide with what’s happening.

Gavin says, “The range of trends in the model simulations for these two time periods are [-0.08,0.51] and [-0.14, 0.55], and in each case there are multiple model runs that have a lower trend than observed (5 simulations in both cases). Thus ‘a model’ did show a trend consistent with the current ‘pause’. However, that these models showed it, is just coincidence and one shouldn’t assume that these models are better than the others. Had the real world ‘pause’ happened at another time, different models would have had the closest match.”

Wow, that’s really scientific, especially the last sentence! As a “scientist”, you must be really proud of that!! Why not just rig the models to pump out an even wider range of predictions and then AGW scientists will never be wrong. Or is that what they do anyway?

The computer models still can never exactly predict reality. Past records of climate change, from ice cores are the actual records of climate sensitivity in the past of the entire earth system (similar to its current though changing state). The actual records fall into the range predicted by modelling efforts. The rapidity with which warming and CO2 rise occurred in the past warns us to expect rapid changes now. It is really crunch time now. If goverments does not take serious anti carbon pollution measures it will be up to the people to take matters into there own hands until there is a government that does, all the way up to civil disobedience and wars.

Sorry, Jo, I should have said, “So, by his own words, increased CO2 forcing has not happened since 2000.” I understand perfectly well what forcing means but I suppose it was an excuse for you not to respond to the fact that Hansen got it so wrong.

Please justify your assertion that Hansen was more right than wrong when all three of his predictions were wrong and the one that he thought most likely was off by 50%. By any stretch of logic that’s still a h@ll3va lot more wrong than right!

[ NOTES FROM JOABBESS.COM IN BOLD ]

I’m really perplexed by the obvious discrepancies between the computer models, the real world records, and the basic tenets of climate science and your interpretation of Dr. Hansen’s research.

[ INTERESTINGLY, THERE IS A HIGH DEGREE OF CORRELATION BETWEEN THE COMPUTER MODELS, THE REAL WORLD RECORDS AND THE BASIC TENETS OF CLIMATE SCIENCE. ]

You do realize that real world tempertures have apparently levelled out at 0.5deg C above the refererence average?

[ YOU ARE MISTAKEN. THE REAL WORLD TEMPERATURES IN THE ATMOSPHERE AT THE EARTH’S SURFACE HAVE RISEN TO SOMEWHERE BETWEEN 0.7 deg C AND 0.8 deg C AND THEY ARE STILL RISING ACCORDING TO A STATISTICALLY SIGNIFICANT TREND. ]

The temperature rise is .1 deg below Scenario C, which assumes a zero increase in GHG gases since 1988?

[ THE RISING ACCUMULATION OF ATMOSPHERIC CARBON DIOXIDE IS A FACT EVIDENCED BY THE DATA. GO LOOK AT THE RESULTS FOR MAUNA LOA. THE AMOUNT OF CARBON DIOXIDE IN THE AIR IS RISING, AND SO IS METHANE, AND A NUMBER OF OTHER GREENHOUSE GASES. CHECK CDIAC. ]

This kind of results clearly shows that there is somethingelse going on that the model did not take into account.

[ JAMES HANSEN DID NOT HAVE TO HAND THE RESEARCH WE NOW HAVE ON NATURAL VARIATIONS IN WHAT ARE KNOWN AS “OSCILLATIONS” IN THE WORLD CLIMATE SYSTEMS. CLEARLY, THESE AFFECT THE INSTANTANEOUS SNAPSHOT AT ANY POINT IN TIME. ]

The results are no better when you compare the real temps to all the current models(see realclimate.org) The current models, even using the lowest levels of GHG forcings are still above the current temperatures.

[ YOU ARE ONLY LOOKING AT A VERY NARROW BAND OF MEASUREMENTS – YOU NEED TO INCLUDE OCEAN TEMPERATURES AS WELL. THIS IS WHERE MOST OF THE HEAT ENDS UP. ]

The data don’t validate anyone’s models, and “more right than wrong” is just blather.

In real terms Dr. Hansen’s original 1988 paper was the first published complex climate model. It certainly broke new ground and focussed attention on man-made CO2as a possible driver(forcing) of global temperatures. His historic testimony before Congress in 1988 more or less kicked off the interest in man-made global warming. A brilliant piece of political planning or luck, the testimony occured during one of the hottest August on record, so not surprisingly it was very warm weather and spurred a media furor. This paper was based onthe period 1958 to 1987(years with accurate CO2 measurements from Hawaii) and show just .25 deg C of temperature change, all of which is attributed to global warming caused by CO2. During that period the measured temperatures, CO2 data, and the model predictions all were highly correlated, although there are signficant discrepancies around 1975 when the real temps dropped .25 degC relative to the models, and again in when the models showed a .3degC drop and the real temps were .26degC higher.

The paper presented three scenarios, A) exponential growth of CO2 and other GHG, b) linear growth, and c) zero growth and predicted that the effects of man-made wacrming would be apparent by the mid 1990’s. Looking at follow up presentations(2006 and 2009) is is apparent that the real world temps have pretty closely followed scenario C while all the high end predictions found in IPCC AR4 and earlier reports were wildly pessimistic. Over the years the amount of global warming has consistently decreased from 4.5-6.0 deg C(IPCC 1990 in 60 yrs) to .8-3.0 deg (IPCC 1996 in 100 yrs) to .3 to 4.0 deg C(IPCC 2007, using a 0.2 deg C higher base average, in 100 yrs).

[ YOU ARE INCORRECT AS YOU ARE NOT QUOTING THE FULL RANGE OF POSSIBLE GLOBAL TEMPERATURE INCREASES. FOR THE IPCC 4TH ASSESSMENT REPORT, YOU CAN FIND THE LIKELY RANGE IN THE SUMMARY FOR POLICYMAKERS, WITH THE RISK PROFILE. MIT HAS PUBLISHED A ROULETTE WHEEL OF TEMPERATURES AND CHANCES OF THOSE TEMPERATURES. ]

Despite all the research since no one has produced concrete evidence that increased CO2 in the atmosphere has caused the increases in temperature.

[ IN POINT OF FACT, A LARGE PROPORTION OF THE RESEARCH CONDUCTED ON THE GLOBAL CLIMATE HAS CONCLUDED THAT THE ONLY POSSIBLE FACTORS IN GLOBAL WARMING ARE THE FORCINGS FROM GREENHOUSE GASES, PROBABLY LEADING TO FEEDBACKS IN THE CLIMATE SYSTEMS THAT ACCENTUATE GLOBAL WARMING. ]

All the models assume that CO2 concentration forces higher temperatures by increasing warming caused by water vapor.

[ YOU HAVE YOUR BASIC PHYSICS ENTIRELY WRONG. INCREASED WATER VAPOUR IS A FEEDBACK, A SIDE EFFECT OF GLOBAL WARMING. GLOBAL WARMING MOSTLY TAKES PLACE WHEN HEAT ACCUMULATES IN THE OCEAN. THIS STORE OF HEAT IS LONG-LIVED AND OVER THE LONG-TERM WILL OVERRIDE VARYING COOLING EFFECTS ON LAND AND IN THE ATMOSPHERE. ]

The models themselves are used to “validate” the CO2 effect by comparing model results with and without CO2, which really proves nothing.

[ THERE ARE SEVERAL MAJOR STUDIES THAT USE JUST THE DATA ITSELF TO DEMONSTRATE THE FORCING OF CARBON DIOXIDE, AND DO NOT RELY ON PROJECTION BASED ON MODELS. YOU ARE BEHIND THE TIMES. ]

It only shows that CO2 may be a driver of global warming. Unfortunately, no one has enough data about any of the other potential causes that can be used to test their effects.

[ THERE ARE MAJOR STUDIES THAT SHOW THAT OTHER POSSIBLE DRIVERS OF GLOBAL WARMING ARE NOT OF THE SUFFICIENT SCALE TO CAUSE THE EFFECTS SEEN – THEREBY AFFIRMING CARBON DIOXIDE AS A MAJOR GLOBAL WARMING FORCING. ]

The only report I am aware of is one from Dr Lindzen which shows, based on satellite infrared measurements of the atmosphere’s absorption and emissions, that it is unlikely CO2 is causing the temperature increase.

[ AH, I SEE. YOU ARE A FOLLOWER OF LINDZEN AND CHOI (2009). THEIR PAPER HAS BEEN SHREDDED BY REALCLIMATE AND OTHERS, SORRY TO SAY. ]

Given that all the IPCC scenarios are all “likely” (66% chance of being right) it seems that they do not carry much validity at all. In the IPCC’s own words: ” Communicate carefully, using calibrated language: 9) be aware that the way in which a statements is framed will have an effect on how it is interpreted.(a 10% chance of dying is interpreted more negatively than a 90% chance of surviving). Use neutral language, avoid value laden statements…….”

In another bit of advice to presenters(from advice to folks in charge of the political summaries) they choose the term “medium confidence” to indicate a 50% chance of being correct. This is just simply a bizarre use of terms. Very high confidence is termed 90% chance of being right, again at odds with statistical science. Much clearer advice would be “50:50 chance” is “flip a coin”, “90:10 chance” is “go ahead, bet on it”, and “99.9:0.01” is “virtually certain”.

[ YOU DO NOT APPEAR TO UNDERSTAND THE INTERPRETATION OF PROBABILITIES, NOR THE DESCRIPTIVE LANGUAGE THE IPCC ADOPTED TO TRY TO GET THROUGH TO PEOPLE. ]

In summary, has the world warmed? Undoubtedly. Is the current temperature “unprecendented”? NO(Lohle et al 2007). What is causing the current warming? Normal climate variations.

[ THE CURRENT GLOBAL TEMPERATURES ARE INDEED NOT ENTIRELY “UNPRECEDENTED”. IN FACT, THEY WERE A LOT HOTTER DURING PERIODS OF THE DISTANT PAST. WHAT IS UNPRECEDENTED IS THE RATE OF CHANGE OF TEMPERATURE, THE UNDERLYING TEMPERATURE TREND ONCE NORMAL CLIMATE VARIATIONS HAVE BEEN SMOOTHED OUT. THE DANGER IS THAT THERE IS A TIME LAG IN THE EARTH SYSTEM, AS IT TAKES TIME TO BALANCE OUT THE TEMPERATURE FROM THE GREENHOUSE GAS FORCINGS. THAT MEANS THAT EVEN IF NET EMISSIONS OF GREENHOUSE GASES BECAME ZERO TOMORROW, TEMPERATURES WOULD CONTINUE TO CLIMB. ]

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