I worked with
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) from 1988 to 2000 on
five impact analyses: Fisheries (Convening Lead Author), Polar Regions (Co-Chair),
Oceans (Lead Author), and Oceans and Coastal Zones (Co-Chair/2 reports).
I support the IPCC process. It is a reasonable way to coordinate
the development of policy advice on global issues. I believe the technical
chair persons are able to exert enough authority to keep the reports from becoming
merely political statements. However, there does appear to be "cherry
of science and results to advance some policy agendas or anthropogenic greenhouse
I would like to see better treatment of alternative views
and greater numbers of dissenting scientists participating. This latest report
on the Science of Climate Change covered the key aspects of concern to those
not part of the IPCC consensus, but did not involve them sufficiently, if at
all, in developing the material and the result seems to be an official dismissal
of the literature rather than a thorough development as is common for ideas
necessary for the consensus view to be valid. IPCC
should not state that the findings are supported by the thousands of scientists
who participated without querying them. Many provided input on things germane
to their work, such as the impact of sea level rise on a marsh. They have no
idea if the sea level rise projection they were asked to address makes sense
or not. People who reviewed the report and who disagreed through their comments
or provided materials are included in the list of experts or authors, even
if their materials were rejected. They should not all be considered part of
CO2 (the most important gas) has risen from 280 ppm to
379 since pre-industrial times and its growth seems to be accelerating. Whether
it does or not is the basis for 7 assumptions about future temperatures.
Temperature increase. For the next 2 decades, temperature
will rise 0.2 deg.
C (0.4 F) per decade, slightly higher later in most models. The models are
all different and respond differently to different assumptions. For the end
of this century, IPCC provides 7 best estimates (for 7 assumptions) ranging
from 0.6 - 4.0 C (1.1-7.6 F). Warming is likely to lie in the range 2-4.5
deg. C (3.8-8.6 F), with a most likely value of about 3 deg. C (4.7 F). Since
the 1800s the temperature has risen 0.76 deg.C (1.4 F). The warming is to
be greater on land, in high northern latitudes.
Sea level rise. For 6 sets of assumptions, the mid-points
are about 0.3 meters ( 1 ft.) Since 1850 sea level has risen about
200 mm (9 in.), a little less than 2 mm/yr. More recently the rate appears
to be 3.1 mm/yr.
Other attributes. There should be: higher ocean acidity
(but still basic); more intense, less numerous hurricanes; more heat
waves and heavy precipitation; less sea ice and
snow cover; higher westerly winds in mid-latitudes; and more precipitation
in high latitudes, less in sub-tropics inland areas.
The IPCC Projections do not Comport with Reality
CO2 has usually been associated with temperature rise throughout the history
of the Earth. It is indeed a greenhouse gas but it operates on a logarithmic
function. The Earth's natural processes also contribute, and remove, copious
amounts of CO2. Since plants first appeared on the
Earth, they have converted nearly all available CO2 to oxygen, fossil fuels,
and other longterm removals from the atmosphere. Today less than 4/100
of 1% (379 ppm) of our atmosphere is CO2. This pales in comparison with other
periods in Earth's history. Common IPCC scenarios
rely on an increasing supply of fossil fuels, yet we know that this is not
possible and that production will soon peak (if not already) while prices
rise in response, as they are doing already. It is absolutely unrealistic
to think CO2 emissions will rise for the duration of this century.
The projected temperature rise is unrealistic, given that the USA and
global temperatures have risen by only 1 deg F (.5 C) in 100 years (revised,
NOAA, 1 May 2007 ), (or 150 years using the full instrumented data
set) during the height of industrial expansion. Even if all this rise is
correct, and is
attributable to human causes, it is a trivial amount in the natural variation
of the Earth, and to suggest the rise would accelerate 5 fold (IPCC best
estimate) in this century is incredible. Even after the release of the
new data set and procedures by NOAA on May 1, which addressed some of the
urban heat island issues and dropped the warming 44% (below IPCC 2007),
significant other urban heat island issues still remain. There are also
issues of calibration as measurement protocols have changed, issues
about the design and placement of the temperature stations, and even the
strongly held view by many skeptics that this is a natural rise as the
Earth recovers from the Little Ice Age (circa 1500-1900).
Sea level rise may have increased recently, but other studies have consistently
shown no increase. Even if there is an increase, it is in the order of
1 mm per year on top of the 1-2 mm per year that has been happening
for the last century, this additional amount is 4 inches (10 cm) over the
century. This is not trivial if you are in a low-lying region wrestling with
land subsidence, but it is barely more than what would be coming anyway.
The other forecasts, such as for hurricanes, rainfall, and snow cover,
are not significantly different than under natural variability, and will
advance more slowly than the decadal oscillations. In particular, if ocean
acidity were a problem for shell formation, it would have shown up already
in areas where there are naturally high levels of CO2. It has not.
The IPCC Impacts are Overstated Relative to Benefits
The IPCC Impact Assessment significantly discounts the benefits that come
with a warming climate and accentuates the negatives. Most negatives lie
within the unrealistic worst case climate scenarios and this is forgotten
by readers and the press. Human populations have expanded the most when the
Earth warmed and turned greener, whether during the middle ages or durning
the last 2 decades. Whether it is a fish in the ocean, a shrimp in
an aquaculture pond, or a bean on a vine,
it will grow faster when it is warmer, all things being equal. Humans will be
quick to take advantage of a warmer climate and to adjust if it gets too
warm in an area. More crops grow where it is warm or hot than in frozen ground,
and CO2 is a primary food of plants - basic facts that seem forgotten.
However, the vegetative impact is visible to NASA
satellites, which have detected a 6% greening
of the Earth in the last 2 decades from a warmer, wetter, higher-CO2 Earth.
This is pretty much the opposite of the IPCC thrust. Positive findings are
not brought forth at the level of the negatives.