Update on the Latest Climate Change Science and Local Adaptation Measures
Summer Hearings:As mentioned last week, the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee held an August 1 hearing titled "Update on the Latest Climate Change Science and Local Adaptation Measures" and Senator Boxer's questioning of John Christy was worthwhile watching. She was trying to bait Christy into improper or inaccurate statements and Christy was not biting. Senator Boxer brought up the new study by Anthony Watts, et al., which was part of Christy's written testimony.
When Christy explained the bias in the surface thermometers, Boxer immediately asked are people lying, who was guilty? Apparently the concept of instrument bias is unknown to her. She then asked if the Watts et al. study was peer review and Christy confirmed it was not.
Then Senator Boxer showed a report by the California Climate Change Center titled "Our Changing Climate 2012" and asked Christy if he had seen it and Christy stated he may have seen an earlier draft. At this point Boxer commented the study came out the day before [just in time for the hearing]. Boxer emphasized that the study was based on over 30 peer reviewed studies and question why shouldn't state and local officials accept this report rather than the Watt's team study. Here Christy excelled. He pointed out that just released study probably does not contain his peer reviewed papers on climate change in California which show no change in snowfall for over 100 years and which show contamination of the surface temperature data.
She countered by asking isn't Christy in the 1 to 2% of the scientists who do not agree with global warming as stated in a recent poll. Christy pointed out that the poll was based on 77 respondents and that the questions were "milk toast." Do you agree that climate change is happening, and is the world is warming? He would probably have responded affirmatively. The poll is not meaningful. This episode was ignored in many articles reporting on the hearing. It shows how deceitful opinion polls of scientific issues can be. Christy's comments can be found starting about 130 on the Archived Flash Video at:
During the hearing, the current drought and the recent heat wave in the US were emphasized by the Democrats and their witnesses. In the 1930s, particularly in 1934 1936, the US had a more extreme drought that lasted several years (the Dust Bowl) and a worse heat wave in terms of setting state-wide record temperatures. (Christy produced a chart similar to Figure 25 in
One can speculate how senators would have reacted then if many government-funded scientists proposed that the drought and heat wave were caused by carbon dioxide emissions and, in response, a government agency (EPA today) was forcing the closure of coal-fired power plants.
Many of the Senators of that time would have remembered what a benefit the electrification of America was and that many Americans without electricity were then demanding the expansion of the grid with coal-fired central plants. The dominant fuel was coal as it was from about 1885 when it exceeded wood to about 1950 when it was eclipsed by petroleum (today a transportation fuel). Most likely, the Senators of that day would have been horrified by the suggestion that burning coal was causing unprecedented and dangerous global warming, and droughts. They would have demanded hard proof rather than speculation. Times have changed. Many politicians do not recognize what life was like before affordable, reliable electricity.
The Watts Team: In discussing the work of the Watts team last week, TWTW did not report that the airport temperature data was excluded because the current instruments in use give unrealistically high readings. The team also reports that it is working on the Time of Observation Bias. If a warming bias is still confirmed, it applies to only a small part of the earth's surface. However, other surface temperature would have to be checked for such a bias. The findings of Steirou and Koutsoyiannis indicate it is a global problem. (TWTW 12-07-21)
The BEST Affair: One of the amusing items coming out of reports on the BEST temperature findings is the emphasis many reporting entities placed on the fact that BEST was partially funded by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation ($150,000 out of $623,087 for the first phase). This is amusing because many of these reporting entities often accuse (often wrongly) other entities of receiving funds from coal, oil, and gas interests, when they disagree with the Climate Establishment (John Christy's term). Koch Industries is the second largest private corporation in the US and is heavily involved in fossil fuels. Once again, the BEST affair demonstrates that the source of funding does not necessarily influence the results. For link please see: here
Other Surface Temperature Data: Roy Spencer posted a new analysis of US temperature trends since 1943 using only stations that report four times at daily, at specific times. This data set is from only about 50 stations, but is roughly equally distributed throughout the country. The data set avoids the Time of Observation Bias. When tested for the Urban Heat Island (UHI) effect using population as the proxy, it appears that UHI gives a warming bias. Please see links under Measurement Issues.
Hyperbole by Hansen: James Hansen of NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies made another media splash by announcing his surface data confirms that climate change is worse than he thought when he testified at the famous Senate Hearing in 1988. Yet, Mother Nature failed to fulfill his predictions. Somewhat surprisingly, the New York Times article on Hansen's announcement included comments by Martin Hoerling of NOAA dismissing the Hansen's findings.
Among other issues, the findings ignore the 1930s, the Southern Hemisphere, and temperature trends after 1999. Hansen uses a normal (Gaussian) distribution for climate events. Contrary to his statements, if warming causes a shift in the distribution, that extreme cooling should become more unlikely.
The timing of the NASA press release was curious. It was posted by a Kathryn Hansen (relationship unknown) a few hours after the successful landing of the new Mars exploration rover. Perhaps this is something the "Right Climate Stuff" team will explore. Please see links under Challenging the Orthodoxy and Defending the Orthodoxy.