31 Jul 2010

Response to allegations regarding 'climategate'

A wee while back I was sent the Science Insider piece with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)'s 10 answers to allegations that 'Climategate' disproves warming. Anyhow I enclose that below - I think it is a useful reminder that this is the issue. It may not be in the news so much but all the evidence coming forward only confirms the scientists fears.

See also previous blogs like the 'climategate videos' that explain what went on and another post re comments in the SNJ at the time.

Photo: Enjoyed this pic of Al Gore and the suggestion he was from the Church of Climatology!

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released a report (29th July) on 2009's climate, which says the decade of the 2000s was the warmest since readings were first kept. In a phone interview with reporters today, Peter Stott of the U.K. Met Office, a contributor to the 224-page report, said the scientists who wrote it had sought, among other things, to draw attention to 10 variables he said "most intuitively" reflect temperature. He called that part of the report a "response" to allegations in recent months that scientists at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia or NASA—or both—could jigger the record to fake warming, particularly by purportedly skewing records of land surface temperature. From the report:
"If the land surface records were systematically flawed and the globe had not really warmed, then it would be almost impossible to explain the concurrent changes in this wide range of indicators produced by many independent groups."
What follows are the 10 variables that show warming, according to the report:

Air Temperature Near Earth's Surface: The 1960s and 1970s were cooler than the 2000s by about 0.6°C, the 1980s cooler by about 0.35°C, and the 1990s cooler by 0.2°C. Seven sets of data were used to come to that conclusion, with some of the same raw data in several of those sets (p. 28).

Humidity: A warmer atmosphere means a moister one, and three sets of data each show a steady rise since 1970, with peaks in "1987/88, 1997/98, 2002, 2006/07, and 2009 (/10)" (p. 31).

Glaciers: A negative "mass balance" means that glaciers lost more mass than they gained; 2008 was the 18th straight year this number was negative for the world's alpine glaciers. For example, the report says "of 93 Austrian glaciers surveyed in 2009, 85 receded, 7 were stationary, and 1 advanced"; most glaciers receded by more than 14 meters in 2009, "slightly higher than in 2008" (p. 47). Meanwhile, the "34 widest marine-terminating glaciers in Greenland lost 101 km2 ice area in 2009" (p. 107). Meanwhile, Antarctica's climate has largely warmed in the past year-although "significant ice loss has occurred along the Antarctic Peninsula and West Antarctica in the last decade." Scientists cannot link the loss to regional warming (p. 126) but say warmer seas may be the culprit.

Snow Cover: Each decade since 1970, the extent of spring snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has fallen more and more below the 40-year average. Winter snow cover fell in the 1980s and 1990s but rose slightly in the 2000s (p. 34).

Temperatures Over Oceans: Analysis of five sets of data shows that the air temperatures over the world's seas have risen steadily since 1970 (p. 26).

Temperatures Over Land: Four sets of data show the same trend, with slightly less warming in the past few years (p. 26).

Ocean Temperatures: The water temperature at the surface of the ocean has risen more or less steadily since roughly the 1980s. Compared with the 1971-2000 average, 2009 was the fourth warmest year for sea temperatures, "behind 1998, 2003, and 2005, the top three warmest [ocean temperature] years since 1950" (p. 55).

Sea Level: Since 2003, seas have risen by 2 to 3 mm a year (p. 71).

Sea Ice: The total area in Arctic seas covered by floating ice has dropped by roughly 4% per year; around Antarctica, sea ice has increased by roughly 1% per decade (details here).

Ocean Heat Content: The stored heat in the world's seas has risen steeply since roughly 1990, according to three separate data sets (p. 58).


dranreb said...

It is interesting that this report shows warming to have occurred since the 1970s. Prior to this the earth was in a cooling period. It also shows a levelling off in warming over the last few years.

There is no mention of the fact that Arctic ice melt has now declined to near average levels. Antarctica has been getting steadily colder for at least 10 years despite ice melting on the peninsula.

There is also no evidence of global sea level rise though local fluctuations are apparent.

Perhaps we are experiencing a trend change and in the next few years we may be discussing the phenomenon of global cooling.

There are so many disastrous things which are being done to the environment which will cause huge problems if they are not addressed. Deforestation is a huge problem and causes local climate change everywhere.

Global warming caused by CO2 emmissions? The jury is still out.

We need to observe phenomena over a long period. We don't need to join Al Gore's Church of Climatology.

Andy said...

Dranreb sEe this site:http://www.grist.org/article/series/skeptics/

It answers some of your questions about ice.

What impact would all the CO2 have on the environment? I agree we must also look at deforestation that is adding to problems - and all the concrete roads and cities we build.