Category Archives: Climate change

Attributing the blame for global warming

Those who believe that man-made greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming are also firm in the conviction that it was caused dominantly by CO2 emissions from the developed countries (inset). However, a little-known analysis from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), concludes that greenhouse gas emissions from the developed countries in fact caused significantly less than half of the global warming through 2000. In this post I briefly review this analysis and its implications. Continue reading

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Death and Climate Change

According to various studies and numerous web postings climate change is already causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and will cause millions more in the future, dominantly in poor countries. In this post we take a brief look at how these estimates were arrived at and whether they have any firm observational or statistical backup. Continue reading

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Atmospheric carbon dioxide – a tale of two timescales

One of the most controversial topics in understanding the build-up of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is the question of timescales – the effect of the build-up depends not only on the amounts being released by human(-related) activities but also on how long the gas stays in the atmosphere.

In fact much of the controversy/confusion stems from the fact that there are two relevant timescales, one which determines how the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere equilibrates with other reservoirs (notably physical exchange with the oceans, and biological exchange via photosynthesis and respiration), and another which determines the exchange of carbon atoms. Continue reading

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Climate science and the UK Climate Change Act

The Climate Change Act of 2008 is, supposedly, underpinned by the findings of climate science, and riding herd on these findings is the Climate Change Committee (CCC), which reviews the state of climate science whenever a new carbon budget is published to see whether any significant changes have occurred. Here we briefly review the CCC’s latest assessment, which accompanies the fifth carbon budget. We find that few if any of the CCC’s conclusions are backed up by hard evidence and that some of them are the opposite of the truth. Yet they still underpin the Climate Change Act, which continues to govern the UK’s long-term energy policy. Continue reading

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Climate change claims its first species – or does it?

This post briefly reviews the demise of the Bramble Cay melomys, a rat-like mammal that is no longer to be found on Bramble Cay, a tiny coral atoll between Australia and Papua-New Guinea and the animal’s only known habitat. The acknowledged cause of the extinction – which appears in this case to be real – was a series of storm surges that inundated Bramble Cay and killed off the vegetation. There is, however, no evidence linking these storm surges to human-induced climate change. The University of Queensland’s claim that the Bramble Cay melomys ….. is the first mammal to go extinct due to human-induced climate change must therefore be considered invalid as well as grossly misleading. Continue reading

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Do clouds control temperature, or does temperature control clouds?

Previous Energy Matters posts that have dealt with the cloud/temperature relationship (here and here) have concluded, as have most other studies, that cloud cover acts as a control on global surface temperatures. In this post I dust off a widely ignored but apparently robust cloud cover series – the ICOADS ocean series – which suggests that ocean surface temperatures may in fact be acting as a control on cloud cover rather than the other way round. Continue reading

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Periodicities in solar variability and climate change: A simple model

The Sun is a variable star and periodically changes its activity levels producing variations in radiation emission, magnetic field intensity, magnetic polarity, particle emissions, and surface convection. These changes affect the Earth in several ways that manifest through auroras, magnetic storms, changes in galactic (GCR) and solar cosmic rays, and a generally agreed small climate effect. Solar variability is included in some coupled general circulation climate models. Continue reading

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Drought, El Niño, Blackouts and Venezuela

It’s fashionable these days to blame everything that goes wrong with anything on human interference with the climate, and we had yet another example last week when President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela fingered drought, El Niño and global warming as the reasons Venezuela’s lights keep going out. In this post I show that his Excellency has not a leg to stand on when he makes these claims, but that because no one ever looks at the data everyone believes him. Continue reading

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Bond Cycles and the Role of The Sun in Shaping Climate

Bond cycles are defined by petrological tracers from core samples in the N Atlantic that link to the pattern of drift ice distribution. They provide a record of shifting ocean currents and winds, in particular periodic weakening of the North Atlantic current and strengthening of the Labrador current. These cycles shape what we perceive as climate change in the circum North Atlantic realm, for example the Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period. These cycles MAY NOT leave a significant mark on global average temperatures since cooling one place may be compensated by warming elsewhere. Continue reading

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Can Geology Tell Us What is Warming the Climate?

On Monday this week, and rather late in the day, Dr Colin Summerhayes from the Scott Polar Institute, Cambridge University, left this lengthy comment at the end of the thread on Prof. Richard Lindzen’s post called Global Warming and the Irrelevance of Science. I wanted to respond to some of the points raised…. Continue reading

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Is Global Warming Quickening?

On Monday 14th March, Channel 4 News (UK terrestrial news channel) carried a report on catastrophic February warming and involved two distinguished UK climate scientists. What was said was so far away from the physical reality that I experience here on Earth that I was left wondering if they were talking about the same planet. So I have done a little digging. Continue reading

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The origins of the 2008 UK Climate Change Act

The UK Climate Change Act was at bottom a product of the “green revolution” that gained momentum during the 1960s and 1970s, and it’s difficult to say exactly who initiated the chain of events that led to it. As good a candidate as any, however, is Sir Crispin Tickell. Sir Crispin, a dedicated environmentalist…… Continue reading

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Global Warming and the Irrelevance of Science

Guest essay by Richard S. Lindzen, Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Sciences (Emeritus) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. This is the text of a lecture delivered on August 20, 2015 to the 48th Session: Erice International Seminars on Planetary Emergencies

In many fields, governments have a monopoly on the support of scientific research. Ideally, they support the science because they believe objective research to be valuable. Continue reading

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Surface versus satellite; the temperature data set controversy

This post follows on from Euan Mearns’ recent posts on record heat and the Ratpac data set. My goals are:
* To clarify some points regarding what the satellite and “surface” temperature records are really telling us.
* To see if we can define which temperature sets are reliable and which aren’t. Continue reading

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The record of recent Man-made CO2 emissions: 1965 -2014

If Greens wants to save the world from CO2 emissions this data wholly vindicates the use of Nuclear power for electricity generation. Their preference for Renewable Energy, with the closure of fossil fuel generation, may destroy the progress and benefits of western civilization. Continue reading

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RATPAC – an initial look at the Global Balloon Radiosonde Temperature Series

This post presents the RATPAC A weather balloon temperature profiles through the atmosphere from 85 sampling stations around the globe. The data from troposphere levels confirms the warming trend already known from surface thermometers. The data from stratosphere levels show substantial stratosphere cooling since 1958. The stratosphere is significantly warmed during large volcanic eruptions and this is followed by substantial cooling. The simplest explanation for the cooling trend is ozone depletion. A cooling stratosphere means less UV radiation being captured at high altitude and more UV arriving at surface and this may enhance the greenhouse effect. Continue reading

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2015: record hot or not?

In this post I update summary charts of lower troposphere temperatures with the recently released 2015 data. Surface thermometers are compared with satellite data and claims that 2015 set a new record for surface temperatures are examined. Continue reading

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Is UK precipitation really becoming more extreme?

What is extreme weather and how is it defined? Is weather in the UK becoming more extreme as is increasingly claimed by prominent climate scientists? Roger Andrews takes a look. Continue reading

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Unprecedented Weather: is Climate Change Happening Now?

Scotland, and in particular NE Scotland where I live, has been battered by winter storms during December 2015 and January 2016 leading to widespread flooding, destruction of property and misery for thousands of people. The Met Office warns that wide-spread frosts are now on the way.

Are these conditions unusual? If they are, what is the cause? Are snow clad mountains and freezing flood waters the stuff of global warming? Or could it all be linked to The Sun’s activity declining to levels not seen since the 18th and 19th centuries when conditions experienced today seemed to be the norm. Continue reading

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How unprecedented was the UK’s recent wet weather?

December 2015 was the wettest month on record in Scotland since records began in 1931, but only by a small margin. The margin is not large enough to pass as an extreme event.

In England and Wales, records begin in 1766. December 2015 was the 129th wettest month on record. Continue reading

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