James Hansen favouring Richard Lindzen over IPCC

Much has been made of James Hansen’s recent claim in a youtube video that runaway global warming will make the oceans boil. However, people have not picked up an earlier point, where the father of global warming alarmism clearly contradicts the consensus.

In the first minute of the clip, Hansen talks about the impact of ice sheets disintegrating in the polar regions. All this extra cold fresh water decreases ocean temperatures. This, in turn, increases the temperature gradient between the poles and the tropics. This, in turn, increases the strength of storms.

If Hansen looks his own GISSTEMP figures for global average temperatures, he will notice that the warming has been higher is the Artic than in the tropics. According to UNIPCC in 2007, the fastest warming in this century will be in the Arctic. I propose that cooling of the Arctic Ocean will have two effects. First it will counterbalance the most extreme warming of the planet, thereby reduce the total temperature rise. Also it will counter-balance some of the rise in temperatures, so reducing the impact of Greenland ice melt and slowing the reduction in sea ice. Second, it will reduce the impact of extreme storms. If melting ice cools the oceans, it is a negative feedback.

Sources of the boiling oceans comment are:-

WUWT comments 2 and 3 by Eric Worrall

http://carbon-sense.com/ on April 13th 2013

C3 Headlines

Forcings – Hansen et al 2000 v UNIPCC 2007

Two months ago I did an analysis of aerosols in the UNIPCC AR4 report, observing that

  1. That the IPCC can’t add up.
  2. The figures appear contrived to show that only CO2 was the problem.

Anthony Watts has a posting today “Shocker: The Hansen/GISS team paper that says: “we argue that rapid warming in recent decades has been driven mainly by non-CO2 greenhouse gases“. This is based on the James Hansen (and others) paper analysing natural forcings, with the following graphic.

Hansen et al Figure 1: Estimated climate forcings between 1850 and 2000.

I thought that I would do a quick the comparison between what the IPCC were saying in 2007, with what Hansen et al. were saying in 2000.

According to the UNIPCC

  1. Hansen underestimated CO2 component.
  2. Hansen overestimated the CH4 component.
  3. Hansen overestimated the impact of the sun.

However, Hanson could counter that the UNIPCC have completely forgotten about the impact of volcanoes.

It could be completely coincidental, that further analysis by climate scientists gives a greater role to CO2, and therefore even stronger justification for constraining CO2 emissions. However, although they became more certain on positive forcings, they are less certain than Hansen on aerosols. It gives even greater credence to the cynical view that the climate science community are exaggerating the influence of anthropogenic forcings on climate. Given the billions of dollars annually being poured into research one could reasonably expect a reduction in the uncertainties over time.

Aerosols – The UNIPCC AR4 adjustment factor

Scientific effort should be dedicated towards resolving the biggest unknowns. After feedbacks, the largest area of uncertainty in forecasting future global warming is the measurement of radiative forcing components.

A quick analysis of the radiative forcing components table in the 2007 AR4 Summary Figure 2.4, page 17 (4.1MB pdf) , would suggest a number of fudge factors have been used to arrive at the results.

I have summarised the table below, less the fancy bars, but with the uncertainty spreads and some check totals.

Radiative Forcing Components
Derived from AR4 (accessed March 2012)

RF Effect (W m-2)

Forcing Component Mid-point



Spread %

Carbon Dioxide










Nitrous Oxide










Ozone – Stratospheric





Ozone – Tropospheric





Stratospheric water vapour from CH4





Surface Albedo – Land Use





Surface Albedo – Black Carbon on Snow





Aerosol – Direct effect





Aerosol – Cloud lbedo effect





Linear Contrails





Net total





Of which:-
Positive Forcings





Negative Forcings





Assymetric Summing





Total per the Report





If these were financial figures, an external auditor might ask the following questions.

  1. Why do the columns not add up? The difference of 0.12 is the same as the figure for solar irradiance. I would guess that the error in the mid-point is due to someone having deducted this figure from the total, erroneously believing that they had previously included it.
  2. Given the breadth of uncertainty, is it more than a coincidence that the negative forcings almost exactly offset all the positive forcings with the exception of CO2? This conveniently reduces the language of the debate from discussing “anthropogenic greenhouse gases”, to “rising CO2”.
  3. Given the breadth of uncertainty, is it more than a coincidence that the range of negative forcings are exactly equal to 200% of the sum of the mid-points?
  4. Given the breadth of uncertainty, is it more than a coincidence that the range of postive forcings are almost exactly equal to 40% of the sum of the mid-points? Adjust any of the figures by .01, and the result becomes less exact.

This is an important issue, as this situation doubly increases the influence of CO2 on future warming. Firstly, it is the anthropogenic greenhouse gas that is consistently increasing. Others, like methane, levels, have stablised. Secondly, aerosols are likely to decrease in the future as countries develop and clean air legislation is enacted. Given the huge uncertainties in the other forcings, and possible fudge factors employed, it is possible that the significance of CO2 could be over-estimated a number of times. This is before water vapour feedbacks are considered.

Update June 3rd 2012.

Comparing with a paper published by James Hansen et al. in 2000, gives further circumstantial support to the fudge factors being employed.

NASA excludes an inconvenient figure on 2010 Temperatures

The NASA Earth Observatory has a nice graph to show average global surface temperatures.

I noticed a small anomaly with the 2010 figures. The blue line, for the British Hadley Centre, appears to be missing.

You can check this by downloading the HADCRUT3 data set from here. Popping these figures into an Excel graph I get the following.

Excel even defaulted to the correct colour! The 2010 average temperature anolmaly on this data set is .468, as against .474 in 2005 and .529 in 1998. This is significant in that the NASA GISS figures show 2010 to be the warmest year on record, something that was pre-announced by leader James Hansen before the year was half way through. Try Googling 2010 Warmest Year on record to see the number of hits. But inclusion of the HADCRUT figures refutes the headline. Statistically it may not be significant, but the headlines show that politically it is important. It is the difference between the claim that global warming stopped in 1998, and that it is continuing.

There is previous form in the climate community, as Steve McIntyre has noted. McIntyre has the following graphic (at page 28 of McIntyre, S. 2008b. How do we “know” that 1998 was the warmest year of the millennium?. Ohio State University Seminar, may 16, 2008.)

As Steve McIntyre states

“In the IPCC Third Assessment Report, they did worse than simply ignoring the problem.

They deleted the declining portion after 1960, thereby giving a false sense of coherence

between the proxies. In AR4, as a reviewer, I asked them to restore the deleted portion.

They refused saying that showing this information would be “inappropriate” (See

IPCC WG1 chapter 6 29 Review Comments) and the downward late 20th century portion

of the Briffa et al 2001 reconstruction was once again deleted in IPCC AR4.”