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

Richard Lindzen attacked for dissention

Rather than substantiating the weaknesses in their own case, the climate community is continuing their attack on the dissenters. The latest is in the New York Times on Prof Richard Lindzen of MIT. I have posted the following on Prof Roger Pielke Jnr’s blog

Having listened to some of Prof Lindzen’s speeches and read some of his more populist articles, this attack on him leaves out 2 things. First, it omits one of his favourite words “feedbacks”. Second it leaves out the scale of the difference. Lindzen claims agreement with mainstream scientists that a doubling of CO2, on its own, would raise temperatures by around 1.2 celsius. Whereas Lindzen claims evidence that cloud “feedbacks” more than halve the impact, the consensus of climate models such positive feedbacks of up to three times – with wide variation. The evidence supporting this is patchy, a message implicitly admitted in the article. The lack of substantiation in this key area is crucial. If makes the extreme warming claims uncertain. If one the looks at the expected economic costs of “doing nothing” (like the Stern Review) this uncertainty in the projections should carry a risk weighting.

As a comparison, I would direct readers to Prof Lindzen’s talk at the House of Commons in February of this year. On Youtube, a response here, and Lindzens rebuttal reply at the GWPF.

When the main effort is on silencing dissent, rather than substantiating their own case, it implies to me that the climate consensus has a weak case – and they know it.

Climate Change Impacts – UNIPCC and the Skeptics

Climate feedbacks are crucial to climate change forecasts. As Richard Lindzen1 said in his congressional testimony last year

  1. A doubling of CO2, by itself, contributes only about 1C to greenhouse warming. All models project more warming, because, within models, there are positive feedbacks from water vapor and clouds, and these feedbacks are considered by the IPCC to be uncertain.
  2. If one assumes all warming over the past century is due to anthropogenic greenhouse forcing, then the derived sensitivity of the climate to a doubling of CO2 is less than 1C. The higher sensitivity of existing models is made consistent with observed warming by invoking unknown additional negative forcings from aerosols and solar variability as arbitrary adjustments.

As Roy Spencer has recently claimed2,

In fact, NO ONE HAS YET FOUND A WAY WITH OBSERVATIONAL DATA TO TEST CLIMATE MODEL SENSITIVITY. This means we have no idea which of the climate models projections are more likely to come true.

Warren Meyer3 comments that

70-80% or more of the warming in catastrophic warming forecasts comes from feedback, not CO2 acting.

The impact is worse than that. It is not predicted temperature rise that is important. It is the catastrophic consequences that follow. These rise exponentially with temperature, so without the feedbacks more than 95% of the catastrophe does not happen. This is illustrated by the Climate Impacts table on page 10 of the UNIPCC Summary for policy makers4, where most of the impacts dramatically – almost exponentially – increase with temperature.

To illustrate this simply, the consequences of global warming will create costs. The reduced water availability, or crop failures will lead to increased hunger and in the extreme lead to deaths. The costs could also include the loss of species, both plant and animal.

To illustrate this graphically, plotting temperature increase against climate change costs, gives a Climate Change Impact curve as illustrated below.

There is no scale. There is no firm forecast of how high temperatures could go. The Stern review (Page 12) even saw fit to include a study with an upper estimate of 17.1oC maximum increase, and the UNIPCC AR4 has outlier estimates of 10oC. Neither do we know the costs. However, without the feedbacks, there is a temperature increase of around 1oC and so no hardly any noticeable costs. It is the pink line CCIS (S for skeptic) below.



  1. Quoted by Warren Meyer at http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2010/11/lindzen-testimony.html.

  2. Roy Spencer on 28th January 2011 http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/01/update-further-evidence-of-low-climate-sensitivity-from-nasas-aqua-satellite/.
  3. http://www.climate-skeptic.com/2011/01/my-favorite-topic-feedback.html
  4. UNIPCC Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) reached from http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/syr/en/spms1.html