It’s time to beat up on Dr. Hansen some more. My last post only dealt with the introduction of a new article published by Dr. Hansen and 17 other authors. “Dangerous Climate Change”: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature is the less than catchy title. This post deals with the first section of the body of the article, the section that deals with temperature.
Oh! First a sidebar…NASA (Dr. Hansen’s employer) Climate Research Funding and Columbia University funding helped pay for the project. I don’t mind NASA funding research, but I’d rather have them not use their own employees….it feels like we (the people of the United States) are paying them twice.
In part 1 of this discussion I mentioned that Dr. Hansen had been somewhat cavalier with his data selection. I accused him of using regional data, and of cherry picking data. But Dr. Hansen does so much more. He uses old data, he misrepresents data and uses his own work as a resource.
He does all that within the first major section of the article, which is called Global Temperature and Earth’s Energy Balance. In a subsection titled Temperature, he begins by showing temperature graphs. The following graphs are displayed:
I find those charts difficult to read and I think they misrepresent the recent past. Here are three other charts that better tell the story. First is the East Anglia University chart that was prepared in 2010:
The total amount of temperature variation shown is less on the East Anglia chart than on the charts provided in the article. A lot less. Dr. Hansen has a rationale for using only average data, but I don’t like the choice. The 13 year average data masks all recent data and makes details much more difficult to interpret. It in effect spreads the El Nino data out for a long period of time.
I like the older (pre 2013) East Anglia charts. The University changed something in 2013 that made 1998 look cooler relative to the rest of the chart. I suspect data fudging and prefer the older charts.
Next is a 45 year chart I used in my last post. It shows East Anglia data, and 2 satellite sets of data:
and finally the current UAH chart:
I like the UAH data best. It is the most current and the most detailed. I am fascinated by the changes in data from month to month. The data Dr.Hansen chose makes it look like there is a steady march upward with a small pause at the end of the chart; the other charts tell a different, less ominous sounding story.
In the text that appears with the graphs, Dr. Hansen tells his story complete with multiple cites, including one to an article by an expert. Yep, he cites himself. He does that on 3 different occasions within the first two sub-section of the article.
A little further into the piece we get this statement:
The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets began to shed ice at a rate, now several hundred cubic kilometers per year, which is continuing to accelerate.
An article by Edward. Hanna et al. is cited as the source material for the statement. The article was published in Nature in June of 2013 and the article has this to say about Antarctica:
It remains unclear whether East Antarctica has been gaining or losing ice mass over the past 20 years, and uncertainties in ice-mass change for West Antarctica and the Antarctic Peninsula remain large.
Parts of Antarctica are losing ice, other parts are not. And there is lots of uncertainty. Surface ice adjacent to Antarctica is at record high levels according to the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
I am sure that if the world warms, ice will melt. If enough melts it could become a serious problem. But Dr. Hansen overreached in this area.
The next sentence of the report (after the Greenland stuff) is as follows:
Mountain glaciers are receding rapidly all around the world with effects on seasonal freshwater availability of major river.
Dr. Hansen provided two cite references for the Mountain glacier section. Both were published in 2007. That’s really old data in this field. Recent studies blame some of the melting not on carbon dioxide, but on particulate matter. Air pollution turns the snow a slightly grey color, which causes it to melt faster. It’s still a man caused problem, but the solution to the problem is to clean the air, not to eliminate carbon dioxide.
Oh…carbon black impacts melting in Greenland and the Arctic too.
The first of two cites supporting his argument for rapid melting referenced an article about the Andes; a part of the world that has not experienced significant warming. The second site was the 2007 IPCC Climate Change Report. I was surprised to see this cite. This part of the IPCC report is famous…or should I say infamous. The Guardian ran a story on it in 2010. The Guardian reported the following:
The UN’s climate science body has admitted that a claim made in its 2007 report – that Himalayan glaciers could melt away by 2035 – was unfounded.
The admission today followed a New Scientist article last week that revealed the source of the claim made in the 2007 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was not peer-reviewed scientific literature – but a media interview with a scientist conducted in 1999. Several senior scientists have now said the claim was unrealistic and that the large Himalayan glaciers could not melt in a few decades.
In a statement, the IPCC said the paragraph “refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures, were not applied properly.”
So, in 2010, the IPCC admitted the cite referenced by Dr. Hansen was flawed. And his other cite was both regional and at an odd location.
The IPCC makes several statements in their 2007 Synopses report. Two are applicable here. 1) Warming has been regional with most warming occurring over land in the Northern Hemisphere and 2) climate on a less than continental scale is subject to wild swings which makes it difficult to predict.
In finishing up the temperature section of the paper, the article discusses the changes seen in the world. We are told the following:
Mega-heatwaves, such as those in Europe in 2003, the Moscow area in 2010, Texas and Oklahoma in 2011, Greenland in 2012, and Australia in 2013 have become more widespread with the increase demonstrably linked to global warming
The world is a big place. I can make any argument I want to by picking my location. If I want to sound alarmist about tropical storms, I can discuss the disastrous impacts of the Typhoon that destroyed so much of the Philippines. If I want to sound calming, I can discuss the record low number of hurricanes in the Atlantic during the same period.
Both events happened. Both are regional. And both happened in a part of the world that has not warmed significantly in the last 30 years.
The article provides two cites for the statement saying these items are demonstrably linked to global warming. One cite provides a statistical argument for extreme weather whenever there is any warming or cooling. It is in effect an argument that says extremes will appear whenever the average weather changes. Climate has not been changing recently, so Dr. Hansen’s conclusion seems to be unsupported by the cite. The second site deals with one event, the 2013 drought in Australia. No link was provided to that reference.
In Part 3, I’ll look at Dr. Hansen’s evaluations as to why climate politics has stalled and what needs to be done. Stay tuned.