Climate Change : Robust Findings

Image Credit : SkepticalScience.com

It should come as no surprise that the United Nations (under UNFCCC) commissioned a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), way back in 2007.

The revelation is that very few people appear to have read any of it.

So I thought I would present just a little about the “robust findings” of Working Group 1 (WG1 or WGI) of the Fourth Assessment Report (AR4). I think the IPCC’s science needs a wider public readership, and so I hope that this post in some way enables that.

The unpacking of the Working Group 1 report “Climate Change 2007 : The Physical Science Basis” could begin by looking at the Technical Summary, or the overall AR4 Technical Summary, or the Synthesis Report, or their respective Summaries for Policymakers.

These can all be found online, readable and downloadable without payment or subscription :-

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_and_data_reports.htm
http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/contents.html

http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr.pdf
http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/syr/ar4_syr_spm.pdf

http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_SPM.pdf

I’m going to home in on the Working Group 1 Technical Summary :-

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ts.html
http://ipcc-wg1.ucar.edu/wg1/Report/AR4WG1_Print_TS.pdf

looking at Section TS.6 “Robust Findings and Key Uncertainties”, and more specifically Section TS.6.1 “Changes in Human and Natural Drivers of Climate” :-

http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/tssts-6.html#ts-6-1


ROBUST FINDING (1)

“Current atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and CH4, and
their associated positive radiative forcing, far exceed those
determined from ice core measurements spanning the last
650,000 years.”

ROBUST FINDING (4)

“The sustained rate of increase in radiative forcing from
CO2, CH4 and N2O over the past 40 years is larger than at
any time during at least the past 2000 years.”

The IPCC report gives a chart with three main high Global Warming Potential (GWP) Greenhouse Gases (GHG), Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Methane (CH4) and Nitrous Oxide (N20) :-

This graph shows asterisks for the current values, but does not plot them. That could be a little confusing, so to illustrate the IPCC’s statement, here are some other diagrams that include more recent values of Carbon Dioxide :-

http://cses.washington.edu/cig/figures/ipccar4co2big.gif

Less of a Hockey Stick, more of an Moon Rocket, as you can see.

And yes, it’s unprecedented. A recent research paper by Etkin (2010) chose a novel way to depict just how far the Earth’s Atmosphere is out of the normal, natural variations. Here’s a summary :-

SkepticalScience.com on Etkin (2010)


ROBUST FINDING (2)

“Fossil fuel use, agriculture and land use have been the
dominant cause of increases in greenhouse gases over the
last 250 years.”


http://www.skepticalscience.com/human-fingerprint-in-global-warming.html

http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggccebro/chapter1.html


ROBUST FINDING (3)

“Annual emissions of CO2 from fossil fuel burning, cement
production and gas flaring increased from a mean of 6.4
± 0.4 GtC yr–1 in the 1990s to 7.2 ± 0.3 GtC yr–1 for 2000
to 2005.”


ROBUST FINDING (5)

“Natural processes of CO2 uptake by the oceans and
terrestrial biosphere remove about 50 to 60% of
anthropogenic emissions (i.e., fossil CO2 emissions and
land use change flux). Uptake by the oceans and the
terrestrial biosphere are similar in magnitude over recent
decades but that by the terrestrial biosphere is more
variable.”

The discussion of the Global Carbon Cycle is riven with unintelligible diagrams, for example :-

or even, plain fanciful ones :-

The simpler, the better, in my view :-

There is a possibility that the Carbon Sinks are becoming less able to absorb all the Carbon Emissions we make :-

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v462/n7271/edsumm/e091119-10.html

Carbon Sinks in detail :-
http://www.scidev.net/en/policy-briefs/the-lowdown-on-carbon-sinks.html


ROBUST FINDING (6)

“It is virtually certain that anthropogenic aerosols produce a net negative radiative forcing (cooling influence) with a greater magnitude in the NH than in the SH.”

NH = Northern Hemisphere
SH = Southern Hemisphere

To understand this finding, you do need to understand what “aerosols” are :-

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/Aerosols/

You also need to be clear about what “radiative forcing” means, and what the various contributions are from the various atmospheric components :-

The finding means, in colloquial terms, that “where there’s more stuff being burned, and there’s more gunk in the air, then warming is not so fast”.

The evidence for this comes from “Global Dimming” :-

US Version :-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUD66kjLVNw”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DZnnLnl8L2w
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLLsTdaVgsc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcSW-ZsmpIY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nucwkm1a1wA

BBC Version :-
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bLfBXRPoHRc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2e_XBwPHqz8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueaib127Ebk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayd5R2NkVcA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yA74df19bWs


ROBUST FINDING (7)

“From new estimates of the combined anthropogenic
forcing due to greenhouse gases, aerosols and land surface
changes, it is extremely likely that human activities have
exerted a substantial net warming influence on climate
since 1750.”

What is known as “attribution” has been gaining pace in other parts of the field as well :-

http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/05/on-attribution/


ROBUST FINDING (8)

“Solar irradiance contributions to global average radiative
forcing are considerably smaller than the contribution of
increases in greenhouse gases over the industrial period.”

And here’s the solar contribution compared to the volcanic contribution :-

Changes in the output of solar radiation have not been a major factor in the increased Global Warming seen in the last few decades. I think the two diagrams in this short paper make that absolutely clear :-

http://www.clas.ufl.edu

http://www.grist.org/article/its-the-sun-stupid

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2009/01apr_deepsolarminimum/

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/sun-brightness.html

8 thoughts on “Climate Change : Robust Findings”

  1. Hello left-handed change, climate and energy activist geek Joe of the (Note 1 – BTW I’m left –handed too). You seem to be confident about those “robust findings” quoted from the biblical tomb” used by supporters of The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis, the IPCC’s AR4 so lets have a debate about someo of them. Let’s do it one at a time so that we don’t too side-tracked.

    QUOTE: ROBUST FINDING (1): Current atmospheric concentrations of CO2 and CH4, and their associated positive radiative forcing, far exceed those determined from ice core measurements spanning the last 650,000 years UNQUOTE.

    Has that method used for reconstructng past atmospheric compositions using air recovered from ice cores, which Professor Richard Alley’s refers to as the “Gold Standard” (Note 2), been subjected to a proper assay showing that it is not in fact fools gold? Why do I ask this? It is because I have not yet been able to find any worthwhile research providing convincing evidence that air “trapped” for hundreds and hundreds of years within ice retains unchanged the composition that existed at the time of initial capture. As I understand it that air is first “trapped” in snow as it forms and falls and is then retained within the increasingly densified ice as it is compresses beneath more falling snow. As Jaworowski et al. have pointed out, most recently in 2007 (Note 3) at the time that the non-scientific AR4 SPM was issued – ahead of the finalised report upon which it was supposed to be based was written – there are numerous physical and chemical processes that distort the original composition.

    Although scientists who regard those reconstructions as Alley does claim to take account of these processes there is one about which little if any worthwhile research seems to have been undertaken. This is the preferential fractionation of CO2 and CH4 into higher levels during the many years in which firn exists. This fractionation arising from the smaller relative sizes of these gases compared with the major constituents, N2 and O2. The fractionation has the effect of increasing the concentration at higher levels in the firn at the expense of the lower levels, giving a false impression of lower concentrations levels of these smaller trace gases in earlier ice.

    Perhaps you’d like to point to convinving evidence that this effect either does not take place or is properly accounted for in the attempts to reconstruct atmospheric composition in the past, especially pre-industrialisation.

    Once we’ve properly covered that “robust finding” we should be able to address Robust Finding (4) quite quickly and move on to the next.

    NOTES:
    1) see http://www.joabbess.com/about/
    2) se http://climateprogress.org/2009/12/21/agu-richard-alley-explains-biggest-control-knob-carbon-dioxide-in-earths-climate-history/
    3) http://warwickhughes.com/icecore/zjmar07.pdf

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  2. Hi Jo (sorry about “Joe” previously), I did a search about you after posting and came across James Delingpole’s Telegraph article on you (Note 1). Just in case what he said about you being a “blog bully” is true I sent my comment off to recipients of the orignal E-mail that drew my attention to your existence. There are somehting like 50, including UK MPs (several were returned as removed following that excellent election result).

    Note 1) see http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jamesdelingpole/100011363/climate-fear-promoter-jo-abbess-has-a-science-degree-well-done-jo/

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  3. Hi Jo, I thought I’d check up a bit more of your background and came across an Oct. 2007 (wasn’t that when the UN published its most recent propaganda report, the IPCC’s AR4) article about the BBC, Roger Harrabin and biased reporting of global climate change news (Note 1). Your name crops in a couple of comments QUOTE:
    Well it smells a whole lot fishier now, given that Harrabin has been busted changing a published BBC report under pressure from global warming alarmist and certified loony Jo Abbess (who is a crony of the Moonbat… aka Monbiot) ..

    Gee… who would have believed that Harrabin would cave in to pressure from soap dodging loony environmental activist Jo Abbess? I think she’s one of the Moonbat’s (Monbiot) cronies. I understand that Monbiot is a patron/director of her Climate Change action??? group. UNQUOTE.

    Is that comment about Monbiot and your action group correct? Which of your groups would be the object of this coment do you think – Christian Ecology (Note 2) or The College of Global Change (Note 3)?

    NOTES: NB: I had to remove http:// from Note 1 and http://www. from the others
    1) see bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2007/10/12/roger-harrabin.html
    2) see christian-ecology.org.uk/
    3) see changecollege.org.uk/html/about.html

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  4. Brady, it is generally accepted that 10 years is insufficient time to determine anything about global climates. You failed to mention that global climates have been changing since the “creation” and will continue changing for most of the time that the world continues to exist and it’s nothing top do with our use of fossil fuels to power our expanding economies.

    Fossil fuels will be in use for many many decades yet, then it will probably be up to nuclear to take over.

    Keep enjoying life in this wonderful world of ours and the improvements that humans have made through their ingenuity.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

  5. Climate change is quite on the rise these days, so be prepaired for more weather disasters*’;

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