Was the 1990 1st assessment report accurate?

December 11th, 2012 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Tom Hunt at Stuff reports:

The roughest storms are set to get rougher under predictions that already have two decades of proven reliability. …

It was possible events such as the floods in Nelson and Golden Bay last December could become more common, said New Zealand Climate Change Research Institute director David Frame.

Professor Frame is co-author of a report published in the latest edition of Nature Climate Change.

Along with Daithi Stone, from the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California, Prof Frame has compared predictions from the first Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report in 1990 with actual data from the past 20 years.

The comparison showed global climate change was happening as predicted in 1990. “Things are changing pretty much the way we thought – surprisingly so,” Prof Frame said.

Since 1990 the average global surface temperature rose by between 0.35 degrees Celsius and 0.39C, in line with 1990 predictions. This was in spite of unforeseen climate-altering events, such as the eruption of Mt Pinatubo in 1991, the collapse of Soviet bloc industries in the 1990s, and the recent fossil fuel-intensive growth in economies such as Asia.

“What we’ve found is that these early predictions seem pretty good, and this is likely due to the climate responding to concentrations of greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere at a rate broadly in line with what scientists in 1990 expected.”

The 1990 predictions looked ahead as far as 2030, and forecast that average temperatures would continue to rise by about 0.2C a decade.

You have to pay to see the full article, so I can only go on what is reported. There is no doubt the average global temperature today is significantly hotter than in 1990. But what did the 1st assessment report predict:

An average rate of increase of global mean temperature during the next century of about 0.3°C per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2—0.5°C per decade) assuming the IPCC Scenario A (Business-as-Usual) emissions of greenhouse gases;

So they actually said 0.3 per decade. The 0.2 figure referred to was not for the BAU scenario but a scenario of increasing levels of controls of emissions. And we have been told for the last 20 years that there has been no significant control of emissions – none of the major emitters joined Kyoto and that applied to 2008 to 2012 only. So I think this is a case of cherry picking the scenario which fits the data. The BAU prediction was clearly 0.3. Also the sea level rise was predicted to be:

Under the IPCC Scenario A (Business-as-Usual) emissions, an average rate of global mean sea-level rise of about 6 cm per decade over the next century (with an uncertainty range of 3—10 cm per decade).

Now what has been the increase? Well the NASA data says:

  • 1990 – 0.37 (above century average)
  • 2011 – 0.52

That’s an increase of 0.15, and the IPCC BAU prediction was 0.60. So again there is an increase but I wouldn’t hold the 1990 1st assessment report as an uncanny oracle that is flawless.  Again I can’t see the full report, to see which data they have selected to back their argument, but all I have done is choose the BAU prediction and the NASA global average data. I’ve not gone looking for a particular dataset to support the case that warming, while happening, has not been as fast as predicted.

There is no scientific debate about the fact that increased greenhouse gas emissions will increase the temperature. This aspect of the science is unchallenged. What is more uncertain is how does nature respond to this. What are the other factors that may either speed up warming, or mitigate it.

If China, India and the US do not control or reduce their emissions, then I have little doubt that the average temperature in say 2050 will be warmer than today. But I do have doubt over just how much warmer.

With the sea level rise prediction of 6 cm per decade, the data is that it has been 3 cm a decade. This is within their margin of error of 3 cm to 10 cm a year. So it can be consistent to say the 1st IPCC report predictions were accurate for sea level rise, but also that they are at the lower end.

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60 Responses to “Was the 1990 1st assessment report accurate?”

  1. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    Yep, such a wide uncertainty that although actual temperature and sea level rise has been half of the central prediction, technically they can claim to be accurate.

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  2. flipper (3,985 comments) says:

    David,
    Reality is is NOT the IPCC, nor it is Frame.

    The reality is R.C.E.Wyndham and all the real US/UK/Aus/Euro/Asian scientific (not panty waist “diplomats”) minds who say:

    1. Is the planet overall warming?
    As Jones [the "late" unlamented East Anglia Phud.] has now been forced publicly to concede, no, not since 1995 (ie 15 years), notwithstanding an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration of 4-5%.
    2. Has it warmed in the past?
    Yes, many times. It has also cooled – likewise many times.
    3. When it was colder, was there less CO2?
    On the contrary, atmospheric CO2 concentrations during the global ice age between the Ordivician/Silurian epochs were ten times those of today and during the Jurassic/Cretacious five times.
    4. Is it unusually warm now?
    No. Overall, the planet has warmed by a mere 0.7°C over the past 150 years or so, and even this is debatable; how do you measure? We’re emerging from the LIA, for which huge amounts of evidence exist (paintings, Thames ice fairs, literary allusions, etc), so a modest increase in global mean temperatures is anyway unsurprising. The LIA followed the MWP, also with lots of evidence – cathedral building, viniculture in Northern latitudes, Greenland etc. The phenomenon was worldwide. The MWP was a lot warmer than ambient temperatures today (again, as Jones has been forced publicly to acknowledge). Furthermore, surface temperature data collected from weather station thermometers have consistently failed to tally with satellite and weather balloon data. In addition, post Climategate, we now know with certainty that AGW climate scientists themselves have no confidence in their own temperature measurements, also unsurprising since many were simply concocted – see below qu.12. [Kevin Trenberth, a major AGW proponent in the USA: “Well I have my own article on “where the heck is global warming?” We are asking that here in Boulder where we have broken records the past two days for the coldest days on record. …

    The fact is that we can’t account for the lack of warming at the moment, and it is a travesty that we can’t. The … data published in the August … 2009 supplement on 2008 shows there should be even more warming: but the data are surely wrong. Our observing system is inadequate. ]

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  3. Doug (410 comments) says:

    Good snowfall gives new life to glaciers.

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-12-03/india/35569707_1_bara-shigri-glaciers-snowfall

    On 25 August 1948 a major tornado ripped through the suburb of Frankton in Hamilton causing horrendous damage.
    Killing three people must have been Global Warming?

    http://ketehamilton.peoplesnetworknz.info/hamilton_heritage/topics/show/83-frankton-tornado-of-1948

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  4. wreck1080 (3,884 comments) says:

    I’m becoming an anthroprogenic climate change believer.

    Technology will save the day — look at how far we’ve come in 100 years .

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  5. lastmanstanding (1,281 comments) says:

    We’re Doomed We’re Doomed We’re Doomed ( Corporal Fraser Dads Army) And the so called science and scientists around AGW are just as made as those in Dads Army

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  6. wreck1080 (3,884 comments) says:

    @flipper..

    Jones [the "late" unlamented East Anglia Phud.] has now been forced publicly to concede, no, not since 1995 (ie 15 years), notwithstanding an increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration of 4-5%.

    This is untrue incidentally. If it is the same study I’m aware of, they compared a peak temp from 15 years ago against a recent trough temp and came to that conclusion.

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  7. Redbaiter (8,551 comments) says:

    FOR GOD”S SAKE WAKE UP-

    Climate Change is not about climate change. Never has been. Never will be.

    Climate Change is about power and its about wealth redistribution.

    Its about taking power from citizens and shifting it to governments.

    Its about taking money from those perceived as wealthy and re-distributing that money to those perceived as poor.

    Why else do we see Climate Change so high on the agenda at organizations like Socialist International for example? An association that almost every leftist politician is part of and that every left wing government in the world answers to.

    Why do we see phrases like “Climate Justice”?

    I’ll tell you. Its not about climate.

    Its about advancing the global socialist political agenda.

    EOS.

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  8. Griff (7,517 comments) says:

    If you would like a second opinion DPF I suggest reading this site.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/rahmstorf-foster-cazenave-2012.html

    A new paper in Environmental Research Letters by Rahmstorf, Foster, and Cazenave (RFC12) takes a very interesting approach in testing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) global warming projections, and also examines its sea level rise projections. Consistent with the previous analyses at Skeptical Science, RFC12 finds that the climate models used in the IPCC 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR) and 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) predicted the ensuing global surface warming to a high degree of accuracy, while their central sea level rise predictions were too low by about 60%.

    [DPF: You need to read details better. That link is about the 3rd and 4th IPCC reports. This story is about the 1st one in 1990]

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  9. flipper (3,985 comments) says:

    Wreck..
    Jones conceded at the House of Commons…albeit reluctantly.

    And, no Wreck. If the temperature readings/graphs/locations (goal posts) don’t suit – move them, or adjust the size. That is the IPCC modus op, is it not?

    Richard Linzden et al would stand by their conclusions AND DISREGARD the other rubblish – until such time as the wafmistas prove the point over a meaningful period of time.

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  10. Alan Wilkinson (1,871 comments) says:

    These people are an absolute disgrace to science.

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  11. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    I know it’s mean of me to pick on the intellectually disabled people like you Griff, but did you fail to read the title of this post?

    “Was the 1990 1st Assessment report correct?”

    Not the third, or the fourth, assessment report. The FIRST assessment report.

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  12. Adolf Fiinkensein (2,888 comments) says:

    “There is no scientific debate about the fact that increased greenhouse gas emissions will increase the temperature. “

    Really?

    David, I thought you were an atheist.

    [DPF: The impact of increased GGs in the atmosphere in terms of keeping heat in, is very basic science. It is like gravity. Nothing to do with religious belief.

    The unknown is how nature responds to it.]

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  13. Nick K (1,231 comments) says:

    Point one five of one degree x 10 = just over a whole degree for the century.

    One degree!!!

    Who cares about one degree!!!

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  14. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    … where to begin … so many people still sucked in by the scam de jour …

    With the sea level rise prediction of 6 cm per decade, the data is that it has been 3 cm a decade. This is within their margin of error of 3 cm to 10 cm a year. So it can be consistent to say the 1st IPCC report predictions were accurate for sea level rise, but also that they are at the lower end

    The IPCC’s credibility is well ruined at their own hand .. yet their prognostications are still aired with reverence. Ridiculous! Back to sea levels, Professor Nils-Axel Mörner, who having secured his PhD in 1969, and with more than 500 published papers, most of these on sea levels disagrees:

    •At most, global average sea level is rising at a rate equivalent to 2-3 inches per century. It is probably not rising at all.

    •Sea level is measured both by tide gauges and, since 1992, by satellite altimetry. One of the keepers of the satellite record told Professor Mörner that the record had been interfered with to show sea level rising, because the raw data from the satellites showed no increase in global sea level at all.

    •The raw data from the TOPEX/POSEIDON sea-level satellites, which operated from 1993-2000, shows a slight uptrend in sea level. However, after exclusion of the distorting effects of the Great El Niño Southern Oscillation of 1997/1998, a naturally-occurring event, the sea-level trend is zero.

    •The GRACE gravitational-anomaly satellites are able to measure ocean mass, from which sea-level change can be directly calculated. The GRACE data show that sea level fell slightly from 2002-2007.

    •These two distinct satellite systems, using very different measurement methods, produced raw data reaching identical conclusions: sea level is barely rising, if at all.

    Sea level is not rising at all in the Maldives, the Laccadives, Tuvalu, India, Bangladesh, French Guyana, Venice, Cuxhaven, Korsør, Saint Paul Island, Qatar

    •In the Maldives, a group of Australian environmental scientists uprooted a 50-year-old tree by the shoreline, aiming to conceal the fact that its location indicated that sea level had not been rising. This is a further indication of political tampering with scientific evidence about sea level.

    •Since sea level is not rising, the chief ground of concern at the potential effects of anthropogenic “global warming” – that millions of shore-dwellers the world over may be displaced as the oceans expand – is baseless.

    As for temperatures, Global Warming Stopped 16 Years Ago Reveals Met Office report Quietly Released.

    Most of these MSM ‘reports’ are derived from the flurry of papers published by scientists, activists and bureaucrats in the lead-up to the annual Climate Change beach party, this year in Doha. Of course the direness of the future shouldn’t be limited by the harsh light of observed reality, lest the research funding gravy train become derailed.

    Of course none of this matters. The hapless taxpayer is simply required to stay feeling guilty for their part in something that is baseless, to keep his/her mouth shut, and to keep their wallet open.

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  15. alwyn (417 comments) says:

    I enjoyed the absolute certainty in the headline in the Dom/Post this morning when compared to the waffling in the story.
    The headline was “Climate change predictions right on the mark”
    The story included such gems as “It was possible events such as floods in Nelson and Golden Bay could become more common”.
    It also included “Further predictions for what rising temperatures could mean for New Zealand were difficult to make”.
    In other words, and as you suggest, just waffle and then claim that anything that happens was predicted by your model.
    I am willing to offer my really scientific forecasts. I guarantee to be absolutely correct.
    The weather will be different next year, unless it remains the same. I bet I am right.

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  16. Andrei (2,570 comments) says:

    The political class are still flogging this dead horse – I guess it is because it gives them cover to steal from us.

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  17. Manolo (13,580 comments) says:

    With the complicity of the gullible (Griff) and communists (toad, ross69, Luc), who love the idea of “saving” Gaia.

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  18. Alan Wilkinson (1,871 comments) says:

    “There is no scientific debate about the fact that increased greenhouse gas emissions will increase the temperature.“

    It doesn’t increase the temperature – it rearranges it. The earth still reaches an equilibrium (of sorts) where emitted energy = incoming energy. The arguments are about how the surface and atmospheric energy transport systems react.

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  19. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    First, the identification of a rising sea level is not going to be uniform because coastlines are sometimes rising and falling (tectonic plates).

    Second, the impact of a warming influence (from the emissions build up) on the planetary climate is not going to be uniform because of the variant impact on weather systems.

    Third, there are other things impacting on climate and weather systems than the emissions level. Temperature will be higher than it would have been, but this is no guarantee of a steady rise continuing

    (we could get lucky again – shale oil allows “economic” transfer from coal use to reduce emissions build up, and so could there be another sun cycle that counter-acts the temperature rise for a period of the century)

    Fourth, the highest temperature record (1990’s) – has been maintained in the years since. This means that the rising trend has been maintained, and is the new norm.

    Fifth, the major concerns about global warmings are greater variability in climate/weather and impact on the economy impacted by increased temperature (the cost of making the necessary adjustments to maintain food production for example).

    (incidently the problem of sufficiency of water is an unrelated problem, but climate change may exacerbate this – in terms of water resource organisation transformation).

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  20. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    The “greenhouse effect” being the process by which thermal radiation from a planetary surface is absorbed by atmospheric greenhouse gases, and then re-radiated in all directions – including back towards the surface and the lower atmosphere. This results in an elevation of the average surface temperature above what it would be in the absence of the gases.

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  21. JC (949 comments) says:

    First point.. its well accepted even by skeptics that prior to 1995 that scientists were more modest in their claims, so quoting from the 1990 report offers a more reasonable interpretation of AGW. So in a sense, the good professor is cherry picking from the most reasonable record because it best lines up with reality whilst ignoring the increasingly shonky reports from about 1995.

    Second.. one of the inevitabilities of the argument are that people on both sides start their timelines for temps from a year that best suits their argument. I think most of us are getting a good laugh from starting the graph at 1997 and proclaiming “16 years and no warming!!”.. or starting from about 1980 and proclaiming: “There’s now been as many years of flat temps as there has been of warming”. The professor is doing the same by picking the early 90s.. he can draw a line of 20 years that roughly lines up with the record.

    JC

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  22. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Now what has been the increase? Well the NASA data says:

    1990 – 0.37 (above century average)
    2011 – 0.52

    DPF, you’ve cherry picked the dates. There’s nothing special about 1990 or 2011. The climate doesn’t care whether a report was released in 1990 or that 2011 is the most recent year for which data is available.

    One could just as easily pick 1992 and 2002 as the reference dates and get the figures 0.13 and 0.58 respectively and then conclude that the rate of temperature rise was 0.45 per decade.

    You have to take a broader look at the trend. Consider the 11 year averages for 1990-2000 and 2001-2011 (inclusive) which are 0.33 and 0.55 respectively indicating a rise of 0.22 per decade which is significantly more than the 0.075 per decade which you conclude with.

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  23. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    Weihana, he did then go on to say
    “With the sea level rise prediction of 6 cm per decade, the data is that it has been 3 cm a decade.”

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  24. lilman (953 comments) says:

    YYYYYYAAAAAAAAAAAAAAWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWNNNNNNNNNNNN .

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  25. wreck1080 (3,884 comments) says:

    I’m sure redbaiter is right.

    Regardless of whether humans are warming the planet or not, a number of people in power are using scaremongering to enrichen themselves. The solution to climate change is not taxing carbon.

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  26. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    No the best way to manage Greenhous gas build-up is to tax carbon used in making tradeable goods (an incentive to better use of carbon in production or to base production where there is spare renewable capacity) and then to use the money to develop new technology in this field.

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  27. UrbanNeocolonialist (286 comments) says:

    sea level rise slowing down 1993-2003 about 34mm, 2002 to 2012 about 25mm rise.
    http://climate4you.com/images/UnivColorado%20MeanSeaLevelSince1992%20With1yrRunningAverage.gif

    Slowing sea level rise is a pretty formidable indicator of lack of warming. Along with static global temps that haven’t risen since last century and no increase in global ocean heat (ie the heat is not hiding):
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/b4/Argo_floats_measurement_of_ocean_temperature_from_2003_to_2012.png
    in another 2-3 years and the whole IPCC charade will be dead, both politically and scientifically. CO2 increases do cause slight temp rise, just not catastrophic rises IPCC predicted.

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  28. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    No clearly there is another factor at work blocking the continuance of the rising trend – now just a plateau.

    It may be simply a periodic ocean current system – so that the end of this will allow the rising trend to continue.

    Politically this will be exploited to prevaricate until the rising trend returns – this will allow those countries transferring from coal to shale gas to then make/keep some commitments. “Fast followers” may have some problems when the UK and USA agree on this and China is finally prepared to move into shale gas use.

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  29. Scott Chris (6,060 comments) says:

    That’s an increase of 0.15, and the IPCC BAU prediction was 0.60. So again there is an increase but I wouldn’t hold the 1990 1st assessment report as an uncanny oracle that is flawless.

    Oh ffs! A completely specious and unscientific observation. And this from a guy who purports to be a stats geek.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics/Escalator_10-12_med.gif

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  30. Kea (12,409 comments) says:

    What we’ve found is that these early predictions seem pretty good

    Here is one of those predictions, made in 2000, from no less than Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. (Remember this was 12 years ago and it was predicted to get warmer)

    within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”…

    But wait there is more “science” :)

    David Parker, at the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research in Berkshire, says ultimately, British children could have only virtual experience of snow. Via the internet, they might wonder at polar scenes – or eventually “feel” virtual cold.

    That was statement was made nearly 13 years ago. England has had some record cold winters since, with this winter set to be another freezer.

    Does Griff want to attack my source on this one? Please do Griff. Please attack the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, and the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia. :)

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  31. Kea (12,409 comments) says:

    Scott Chris, I checked out your link. Cute little computer animation thingy, that it was. You doomsdays folk really do like your computer models.

    It did succeed in making a good point though. The climate alarmists base their fear and hysteria on computer models (you know, like playstation and angry birds). The sceptics rely on empirical evidence (things that are real) and are far less concerned.

    Of course you may actually believe (as Griff does) that in fact there has been no snow in England for the past decade and our coastal cities are under water and the truth of this is hidden from us by BIG OIL, who own the main stream media !

    This post sponsored and paid for by Caltex

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  32. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    I love the SS escalator gif too. It says realists view global warming as a linear trend with a slope of roughly 1.5 deg C per century.

    So what’s the problem again?

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  33. rg (210 comments) says:

    ” there has been no significant control of emissions – none of the major emitters joined Kyoto and that applied to 2008 to 2012 only”

    You give Kyoto too much credit. NZ emissions increased 59.5% since 1990 yet met Kyoto target.Australia emissions uo 32% yet met Kyoto targets.
    The Kyoto Protocol was a sham because teh emissions we measure are net emissions and the target emissions from 1990 were groww emissions.
    Kyoto did not and wil not hav eany impact on reducing the emissions of the countries in it, it employs dodgy carbon accounting to make it appear so only.

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  34. Griff (7,517 comments) says:

    Actually I have given up on you nutjobs Time will show you to be sheep

    Very disappointed with DPF and his use of cheery picked dates he knows better.

    I well remember the last post like this DPF sometimes the explanation contains more information than it should :wink:

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  35. Manolo (13,580 comments) says:

    Until then keep paying higher taxes, Griff. I’m convinced you will save Gaia.

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  36. Griff (7,517 comments) says:

    Yes manolo twenty dollers a year is such a burden

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  37. Scott Chris (6,060 comments) says:

    So what’s the problem again?

    The problem is that you and many others measure the warming threat in terms relative to your own life-span. Typically human I guess.

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  38. Scott Chris (6,060 comments) says:

    Oh, and Rightnow, a 0.65 degree rise per 33 years equates to a 2 degree rise per century, (based on the trend incline not the time period indicated) which is in line with the 1990 predictions. ~What a coincidence..~

    Note: In climate science a 30 year trend is deemed to be a fairly reliable predictive tool whereas a 10 year trend means nothing. (what, with all that other shit going on)

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  39. Kea (12,409 comments) says:

    Time will show you to be sheep

    Griff, you have told readers, many times, that the overwhelming consensus supports AGW. So who is the sheep ?

    SC, as for your quip about measuring the threat in our own life-span, that is a strawman argument and untrue. It is the AGW promoters who deny the historical, and dramatic, changes of our climate. This was going on before modern man even evolved.

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  40. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    Scotty, “Oh, and Rightnow, a 0.65 degree rise per 33 years equates to a 2 degree rise per century”

    The SS Escalator gif you linked to spans 42 years.

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  41. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Kea,

    It did succeed in making a good point though. The climate alarmists base their fear and hysteria on computer models (you know, like playstation and angry birds). The sceptics rely on empirical evidence (things that are real) and are far less concerned.

    Although, as we have seen here, the model predictions of 1990 do in fact accord with observation.

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  42. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    Yes Weihana, within their uncertainty ranges they ‘accord with observation’.
    It could even have cooled a little since 1990 and that would hold true, within their uncertainty ranges.

    You didn’t miss the bit that the central prediction is about double the observation though, did you?

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  43. Sonny Blount (1,780 comments) says:

    Scott Chris (4,656) Says:
    December 12th, 2012 at 7:58 am
    Oh, and Rightnow, a 0.65 degree rise per 33 years equates to a 2 degree rise per century, (based on the trend incline not the time period indicated) which is in line with the 1990 predictions. ~What a coincidence..~

    Note: In climate science a 30 year trend is deemed to be a fairly reliable predictive tool whereas a 10 year trend means nothing. (what, with all that other shit going on)

    And a hundred year trend is better than a 30 year trend. Which 100 year period has had a 2 degree temperature rise?

    Even better is a 10,000 year period which shows us as still a few degrees colder than the Eemian and sea levels several metres lower. Why do you climate alarmists have a special preference for a 30 year period and not a 10 or 10,000 year one?

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  44. Sonny Blount (1,780 comments) says:

    Scott Chris (4,656) Says:
    December 12th, 2012 at 7:58 am
    Oh, and Rightnow, a 0.65 degree rise per 33 years equates to a 2 degree rise per century, (based on the trend incline not the time period indicated) which is in line with the 1990 predictions. ~What a coincidence..~

    Note: In climate science a 30 year trend is deemed to be a fairly reliable predictive tool whereas a 10 year trend means nothing. (what, with all that other shit going on)

    And a hundred year trend is better than a 30 year trend. Which 100 year period has had a 2 degree temperature rise?

    Even better is a 10,000 year period which shows us as still a few degrees colder than the Eemian and sea levels several metres lower. Why do you climate alarmists have a special preference for a 30 year period and not a 10 or 10,000 year one?

    Is it because you have only one brief period from 1980-2000 where there is any data that supports your ridiculous theories of catastrophy?

    If you include much outside of that period you have no case. Incidentally there was also a similar period of warming over a couple of decades in the late 1800’s. It didn’t lead to runaway anything.

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  45. Kea (12,409 comments) says:

    Weihana, these sorts of inaccuracies would not be tolerated in any other branch of science.

    When a theory does not accurately predict actual observation, the correct approach is to look at the theory and the assumptions made in forming that theory. What we see in “climate science” are models being adjusted, but the inaccurate theory remaining.

    The reasons are simple. If the theory is questioned, it would put the research funding in jeopardy. The “climate scientists” would be out of a job and out of the lime-light. A multi trillion dollar global industry would risk collapse. Powerful people would be revealed as fools or liars. The political left would lose this valuable tool in their mission to destroy democratic capitalist societies.

    They are simply not going to let the truth out. There is too much to lose.

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  46. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    RightNow (4,695) Says:
    December 12th, 2012 at 11:21 am

    Yes Weihana, within their uncertainty ranges they ‘accord with observation’.
    It could even have cooled a little since 1990 and that would hold true, within their uncertainty ranges.

    No. The uncertainty range does not encompass cooling, it ranges from 0.2-0.5. A rise of 0.2, at the low end, is not cooling.

    You didn’t miss the bit that the central prediction is about double the observation though, did you?

    DPF’s analysis of the temperature data was simplistic and flawed. As you should have seen from my own calculations a better estimate of the trend is closer to 0.22 per decade. The central prediction was 0.3 per decade ranging from 0.2-0.5. But even the calculation I provided is pretty limited in its usefulness given the short period of time being considered.

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  47. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Sonny Blount,

    Is it because you have only one brief period from 1980-2000 where there is any data that supports your ridiculous theories of catastrophy?

    If you include much outside of that period you have no case. Incidentally there was also a similar period of warming over a couple of decades in the late 1800′s. It didn’t lead to runaway anything.

    Given that the hypothesis concerns relatively recent additions of CO2 to the atmosphere of course recent time periods are of particular interest. But the reason there is a preference for (at least) 30 years is in order to be able to have enough data to filter out short term noise to gauge longer term trends which may be either natural or anthropogenic.

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  48. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    Kea (1,067) Says:
    December 12th, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Weihana, these sorts of inaccuracies would not be tolerated in any other branch of science.

    No scientific theory is exact. Even the best theories, such as Quantum Electrodynamics, are not exact and QED is in agreement with observation to within 10 parts in a billion. You have a fundamental misapprehension of science if you think errors are not an inherent feature of it.

    No secret has been made of the fact that estimates of climate sensitivity are not exact. The IPCC’s best estimate is between 2-4.5 degrees C for a doubling of CO2 with a best estimate of 3. The fact that they believe it could be as low as 2 is not a secret. It is also not an unreasonable range given the uncertainties in predicting the future climate. Moreover, to my knowledge no scientist has ever suggested that forces other than anthropogenic CO2 are not impacting the climate. Given that many of these forces are highly unpredictable it is expected that separating any possible anthropogenic warming from such a noisy signal would be a tough.

    When a theory does not accurately predict actual observation, the correct approach is to look at the theory and the assumptions made in forming that theory. What we see in “climate science” are models being adjusted, but the inaccurate theory remaining.

    You have failed to identify any inaccuracy. You just seem to expect exact answers based on your misapprehension of how science works.

    Moreover, it is surprising that you criticize models being adjusted when that is exactly what should happen if models fail to predict something. Models represent the theory so if a model is changed so has the theory.

    The reasons are simple. If the theory is questioned, it would put the research funding in jeopardy. The “climate scientists” would be out of a job and out of the lime-light. A multi trillion dollar global industry would risk collapse. Powerful people would be revealed as fools or liars. The political left would lose this valuable tool in their mission to destroy democratic capitalist societies.

    They are simply not going to let the truth out. There is too much to lose.

    Without discounting the fact that biases exist (on both sides), it sounds like your mind is already made up.

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  49. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    Weihana “No. The uncertainty range does not encompass cooling, it ranges from 0.2-0.5. ”
    Well in that case the prediction was outright wrong. The rise has been no more than 0.39 over 22 years, or 17.7 deg C per decade, according to UAH satellite observations. According to other data sets such as RSS it is even less.

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  50. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    missed my edit window, I should have said UAH observations average out to 0.177 deg C per decade

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  51. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    And if you want to claim I’m cherry picking, try any start point and see how much variance there is. As long as the end point is now, you’d have to do some serious cherry picking to get any trend substantially higher than 0.177 deg C per decade.

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  52. slijmbal (1,230 comments) says:

    @Weihana

    “No scientific theory is exact. Even the best theories, such as Quantum Electrodynamics, are not exact and QED is in agreement with observation to within 10 parts in a billion. You have a fundamental misapprehension of science if you think errors are not an inherent feature of it.”

    I would not accept this statement (the latter sentence) – with QED we have a physical model with clear maths and clear solutions to the mathematical equations and the measurements match the theory rather well. In fact, there are built in inaccuracies in measurement of the universe (terrible way of putting it but close enough for this discussion) that mean any theory will only match measurements to a specific amount.

    In the climate models we have a massive set of heuristics trying to model a complex and chaotic (in the mathematical sense) system. There is no predictive set of equations applied that enable testing of expected results where the equations have a well established and isolated theory that can be solved. An enormous amount of assumptions and ‘training’ of the model goes into the resultant predictions. ‘Training’ in this sense means using actual results to tune the literally thousands of constants required to come up with the results. It is a model. It is not a theory.

    Should we trust this model – definitely not until its predictive ability has more corroboration. Does the correlation between a specific model result and measurement mean we trust this model better than others – not really – there have been an awful lot of predictions and some are going to be closer than others. There are literally thousands if not millions of believable models that could predict the same results.

    We should be cautious of the scientific community. Experimenters bias is a well accepted problem within science the net result being that experiments tend to prove the desires of the experimenter no matter how careful one is to have an objective approach.

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  53. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    ‘The political left would lose this valuable tool in their mission to destroy democratic capitalist societies.’
    Still running with the conspiracy theory, eh?

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  54. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    “So since 1990 the average global surface temperature rose by between 0.35 degrees Celsius and 0.39C, in line with 1990 predictions.”

    The on-going prediction “An average rate of increase of global mean temperature during the next century of about 0.3°C per decade (with an uncertainty range of 0.2—0.5°C per decade) assuming the IPCC Scenario A (Business-as-Usual) emissions of greenhouse gases;”

    The modelling assumes an increase in the rate of warming.

    As to the idea of a plateau in temperature more recently. The 1990’s peak was with the strongest el nino ocean current of the century. There has also been a period of a cooling impact from the sun spot cycle.

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/solar-activity-sunspots-global-warming.htm

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-stopped-in-1998.htm

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  55. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    SPC, the fact the models assume an increase in the rate of warming is clearly not consistent with the fact the rate of warming, and also the rate of sea level rise, has decreased. It takes incredible contortions of data to contend otherwise. Then you have to believe that natural variation only counts when it is cooling.

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  56. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    That there has been a .2 degree per decade increase in temperature over the past 2 decades, despite an easing in sun spot activity over the past 35 years shows that a higher rate than this in the century ahead is quite plausible.

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  57. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    Plausible is a long way from probable.

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  58. Weihana (4,496 comments) says:

    RightNow (4,699) Says:
    December 12th, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    And if you want to claim I’m cherry picking, try any start point and see how much variance there is. As long as the end point is now, you’d have to do some serious cherry picking to get any trend substantially higher than 0.177 deg C per decade.

    Some randomly chosen periods: (UAH)

    1990-2012 – 0.18 C/Dec
    1992-2012 – 0.22 C/Dec
    1990-2008 – 0.23 C/Dec
    1995-2008 – 0.19 C/Dec
    1998-2012 – 0.06 C/Dec :)

    There’s a fair bit of variation in there so I think it’s a bit presumptuous to conclude it is “outright wrong” based on whatever period you have chosen.

    Appears that, roughly speaking, the observations are at the low-end of the 1990 prediction, if not just outside the lower bound. It would also appear the factors raised by SPC are also a plausible explanation why.

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  59. SPC (5,595 comments) says:

    I would put it in the more likely than not – based in what we currently know – category.

    There is however a rider – there is still stuff we do not know.

    We could get a major sun spot decline cycle this century for example.

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  60. RightNow (6,986 comments) says:

    If you want to argue that natural variation plays a bigger role than human contribution I won’t stop you.

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