National Climate Assessment

Trump, the National Climate Assessment report, and fake news

The New York Times recently obtained a draft of the up-coming National Climate Assessment report. NYT is worried that the Trump administration will suppress the report. However, according to scientists who worked on the report, it has been available online since last January. (See Daily Caller story) You can download the 545-page 3rd draft report here, but don’t bother.

Besides the “fake news” story in the New York Times, we have a “fake news” story from the Associated Press printed by the Arizona Daily Star. Within that story is this sentence: Contradicting Trump’s claims that climate change is a “hoax,” the draft report representing the consensus of 13 federal agencies concludes that the evidence global warming is being driven by human activities is “unambiguous.”

Definition of unambiguous: “Admitting of no doubt or misunderstanding; having only one meaning or interpretation and leading to only one conclusion.”

Because of that statement and this one: “In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC, I downloaded the report to see just how unambiguous the evidence is. Here is what I found.

1) All their evidence consists of computer modeling. There is no physical evidence. That’s just like the previous National Climate Assessment report. They are, in essence, claiming that evidence of warming is evidence of the cause of warming.

2) On page 139, they discuss how they attribute causes:

Detection and attribution of climate change involves assessing the causes of observed changes in the climate system through systematic comparison of climate models and observations using various statistical methods. An attributable change refers to a change in which the relative contribution of causal factors has been evaluated along with an assignment of statistical confidence.

3) Beginning on page 144, they discuss “major uncertainties.” Oops, not so “unambiguous.”

The transient climate response (TCR) is defined as the global mean surface temperature change at the time of CO2 doubling in a 1%/year CO2 transient increase experiment. The TCR of the climate system to greenhouse gas increases remains uncertain, with ranges of 0.9° to 2.0°C (1.6° to 3.6°F) and 0.9° to 2.5°C (1.6° to 4.5°F) in two recent assessments. The climate system response to aerosol forcing (direct and indirect effects combined) remains highly uncertain, because although more of the relevant processes are being in included in models, confidence in these representations remains low. Therefore, there is considerable uncertainty in quantifying the attributable warming contributions of greenhouse gases and aerosols separately. There is uncertainty in the possible levels of internal climate variability, but current estimates likely  range of +/- 0.1°C, or 0.2°F, over 60 years) would have to be too low by more than a factor or two or three for the observed trend to be explainable by internal variability.

Does that sound like the evidence is unambiguous?

“There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.” – Mark Twain, Life on the Mississippi

UPDATE: The material above refers to the third draft of the report. The fifth draft has just become available. One analyst noticed “that the latest draft climate report, published in June, had seemingly left out a rather embarrassing table from the Executive Summary, one that had previously been written into the Third Draft, published last December.” What has been omitted is the fact “that the hottest temperatures, (averaged over the US), were not only much, much higher in the 1930s. They were also higher during the 1920s. Indeed there have been many other years with higher temperatures than most of the recent ones.” (Source)

I would not call it a hoax as does President Trump; I’d call it a scam. The National Climate Assessment itself is fake news; a political, rather than a scientific document.

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.” – Upton Sinclair.

Additional reading:

Alan Carlin, a former senior EPA analyst, says computer models fail because: The bottom-up GCM was a bad approach from the start and should never have been paid for by the taxpayers. All that we have are computer models that were designed and then tuned to lead to the IPCC’s desired answers and have had a difficult time even doing that.

So not only are the results claiming that global temperatures are largely determined by atmospheric CO2 wrong, but the basic methodology is useless. Climate is a coupled, non-linear chaotic system, and the IPCC agrees that this is the case. It cannot be usefully modeled by using necessarily limited models which assume the opposite. Read more

Dr. Tim Ball: Uncovered: decades-old government report showing climate data was bad, unfit for purpose. In 1999, the National Academy of Sciences, the research arm of the National Research Council, released a study expressing concern about the accuracy of the data used in the debate over climate change. They said there are,

“Deficiencies in the accuracy, quality and continuity of the records,” that “place serious limitations on the confidence that can be placed in the research results.”

See also:

A Simple Question for Climate Alarmists – where is the physical evidence

Evidence that CO2 emissions do not intensify the greenhouse effect

My comments on the previous National Climate Assessment:



National Climate Assessment lacks physical evidence

Many people cite the latest National Climate Assessment report as an authority that proves human carbon dioxide emissions are the main cause of recent warming. But reading the report shows a different story.

The 2014 National Climate Assessment (NCA) claims on page 7: “Multiple lines of independent evidence confirm that human activities are the primary cause of the global warming of the past 50 years.”

What physical evidence does the NCA give as proof that human carbon dioxide emissions play a significant role in global temperature? In my opinion they present no unequivocal evidence.

NCA cites three main lines of “evidence” in the report (pages 23 & 24):

NCA: “The first line of evidence is our fundamental understanding of how certain gases trap heat, how the climate system responds to increases in these gases, and how other human and natural factors influence climate.”

My response: That’s a claim, not evidence. If their “fundamental understanding” is so good, why then do modeled atmospheric temperature projections diverge so widely from actual measurements? (Graph source)

Spencer models vs real temp

NCA: “The second line of evidence is from reconstructions of past climates using evidence such as tree rings, ice cores, and corals. These show that global surface temperatures over the last several decades are clearly unusual, with the last decade (2000-2009) warmer than any time in at least the last 1300 years and perhaps much longer.”

My response: First, evidence of warming does not constitute evidence of the cause of warming. Second, physical evidence shows that current warming is not unusual.

The temperature reconstruction below using tree ring data shows current temperatures are not unusual, and, in fact cooler than the past.

09_geo_tree_ring_northern_europe_climate1.jpg  1873×726

A closer look at the reconstructed temperature shows the current warming is nothing unusual.

2000 year reconstructed tempJPG


NCA: “The third line of evidence comes from using climate models to simulate the climate of the past century, separating the human and natural factors that influence climate.”

My response: Again, computer model simulations are not physical evidence, they are merely speculations that depend on input assumptions. The computer simulations were exercises in curve fitting, massaging the data until it produced the desired result. To show how ridiculous this is, an Australian science writer produced a “tongue-in-cheek” correlation between U.S. First Class postal rates and temperature. (Source) The correlation of postal rates with temperature is better than that of CO2. The graph runs from 1880 to 2009. This demonstrates that correlation does not prove causation.



NCA also claims additional “evidence” in Appendix 3 which begins on page 735. Let’s take a look.

NCA Supplemental message 1:
“…the natural greenhouse effect is being artificially intensified by human activities.”

My response: If the greenhouse effect has been intensified, then we should see a decrease in outgoing long-wave infrared radiation. However, satellite measurements from NOAA show a slight increase. (See discussion here).

Outgoing radiation vs temp NOAA

While more infrared radiation is escaping to space, there has been a decrease in down-welling infrared radiation from greenhouse gases, that is radiation from the atmosphere to the surface. An independent study, published in the Journal of Climate, based on 800,000 observations, find there has been a significant decrease in long-wave infrared radiation from increasing greenhouse gases over the 14 year period 1996-2010 in the US Great Plains. CO2 levels increased about 7% over this period and according to AGW theory, down-welling long-wave infrared radiation should have increased over this period with buildup of carbon dioxide.

Two independent measures of the “greenhouse effect” show that it is weakening even though we are putting more CO2 in the atmosphere. Why is this happening? In my opinion it is happening because a much stronger greenhouse gas, water vapor, is decreasing. That alone shows that CO2 has very little influence on global temperature.  The graph below shows how relative humidity has been decreasing since 1948 (humidity data from NOAA).


NCA Supplemental Message 2:
“Global trends in temperature and many other climate variables provide consistent evidence of a warming planet.”

My response: As stated above, evidence of warming does not speak to cause.

NCA Supplemental Message 3:
“Natural variability, including El Niño events and other recurring patterns of ocean-atmosphere
interactions, influences global and regional temperature and precipitation over timescales ranging from months up to a decade or more.”

My response: I agree.

NCA Supplemental Message 4:
“Human-induced increases in atmospheric levels of heat-trapping gases are the main cause of observed climate change over the past 50 years. The ‘fingerprints’ of human-induced change also have been identified in many other aspects of the climate system, including changes in ocean heat content, precipitation, atmospheric moisture, and Arctic sea ice.”

My response: According to climate models, the rate of warming should increase by 200-300% with altitude in the tropics, peaking at around 10 kilometers – a characteristic “fingerprint” for greenhouse warming. However, measurements by weather balloons and satellites show the opposite result: no increasing temperature trend with altitude.  In the graphic below, the computer predicted temperature distribution is on the left; measured observations, i.e., reality is on the right.

Models vs data

 The remainder of the “messages”  deal with computer modeling and some propaganda, not evidence.
Bottom Line: NCA presents no unequivocal evidence that supports their contention of significant human induced warming.

P.S. It should be noted also that the UN’s IPCC, in the thousands of pages that constitute five major reports, similarly fails to provide any physical or observational evidence supporting the contention that human carbon dioxide emissions play a significant role in global climate change.

Obama and bad weather

The Obama administration has recently claimed that climate change “once considered an issue for the distant future, has moved firmly into the present” and “climate-related changes are outside of recent experience.” President Obama was referring to extreme weather events and claims that recent extreme weather is unprecedented.

Obama’s contention is demonstrably false.

The folks at C3Headlines have compiled a list of extreme weather events documented in news stories (links to stories are provided). This list begins in 1801, before the current buildup of carbon dioxide. See the list here:

Steven Goddard, proprietor of the blog Real Science also has a list which is presented in reverse chronological order. His oldest documented incident is in the year 763 A.D. Goddard provides scans of the actual stories. See his list here:

James Marusek has published a huge list of historical weather incidents beginning in the year 2 A.D. His PDF file is 1400 pages (18Mb).

See it here:

Alan Caruba comments “Even though President Obama continues to lie about ‘climate change’ and employs the many elements of the federal government to repeat those lies, this huge hoax is dying…The White House recently released its latest ‘National Climate Assessment.’ It is 841 pages of outlandish claims that reflect the lies generated by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. When you consider that the federal government spends an estimated $2.6 billion annually in grants for climate research, about the only beneficiaries are those ‘scientists’ employed to further the hoax.”

Clearly, extreme weather such as droughts, floods, and storms that are occurring now are nothing new and contrary to Obama’s claims, the frequency and intensity of these events are not on the rise, see my post: National Climate Assessment = science fiction and politics.


National Climate Assessment Report = science fiction and politics

The new National Climate Assessment report (NCA) is an attempt by the Obama administration to scare us with dire predictions of gloom and doom and thereby justify his climate action plan and ruinous energy policy. It is sad to see such a perversion of science.  Here is a sampling of comments:

Follow the money:

Frank Beckmann writes in the Detroit News, “The administration, anxious to continue taxpayer-provided subsidies to politically-favored green energy firms that return the favor with campaign contributions to Democrats, claims it used the expertise of hundreds of ‘experts’ to come up with the findings. A cursory glance of the participants shows no participation by climate realists but leading report authors from environmental political action groups like Second Nature, The Nature Conservancy, Planet Forward, and the misnamed Union of Concerned Scientists, a group that is not made up of scientists at all and which also advocates for unilateral U.S. nuclear disarmament.”

Follow the science:

Paul C. Knappenberger of the CATO Institute succinctly sums up the theme of the report in a Washington Times Article: “Let’s get one thing clear: The National Climate Assessment is a political call to action document meant for the president’s left-leaning constituency. What pretense of scientific support that decorates it quickly falls away under a close and critical inspection.”

Knappenberger also debunks the NCA claim that heat waves are causing more deaths.

Dr. Roy Spencer, Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville and former Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, takes on the NCA point by point here. Among his points are:

“..there is no way to know whether the global warming of the past 50 years is primarily due to human activities [as claimed by NCA, because there is no fingerprint of human-caused versus naturally-caused climate change. To claim the changes are ‘unprecedented’ cannot be demonstrated with reliable data, and are contradicted by some published paleoclimate data which suggests most centuries experience substantial warming or cooling.”

There is “no sign of climate change impacts on agricultural yields. There are always natural fluctuations, but if there is any negative human-induced impact, it is swamped by the increasing yields due to improved agricultural practices, seed varieties, and very likely CO2 fertilization.”

Dr. Judith Curry, Professor and Chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, comments:

“My main conclusion from reading the report is this: the phrase ‘climate change’ is now officially meaningless. The report effectively implies that there is no climate change other than what is caused by humans, and that extreme weather events are equivalent to climate change. Any increase in adverse impacts from extreme weather events or sea level rise is caused by humans. Possible scenarios of future climate change depend only on emissions scenarios that are translated into warming by climate models that produce far more warming than has recently been observed.”

Wryheat comments:

The National Climate Assessment claims that effects of global warming are already happening and causing increases in extreme weather events and wildfires. Well, let’s look at the data.
Wildfires: Data from the National Interagency Fire Center shows that the number of wildfires has been steadily decreasing since 1960. The number of acres burned, however, has been increasing since about 1995 due in part to changes in forest management under the Endangered Species Act. For more details see Wildfires and Warming.
Heatwaves: Looks like the 1930s surpass any we’ve experienced recently.

Heatwave Index

Droughts: No trend since 1900



Unusually wet weather: No trend since 1900



Hurricanes: Variable, but decreasing trend since 1993


For more data on extreme weather see the WUWT extreme weather page.
The National Climate Assessment also worries about sea level rise, although sea level has been rising naturally for the past 18,000 years. The rate of sea level rise is cyclical on decadal and multi-decadal time scales, but overall, the rate is decreasing even as the planet warms, (see Sea Level Rising?).

For real, peer-reviewed science, see Climate Change Reconsidered II (CCR-II), an independent, comprehensive, and authoritative report on the current state of climate science. It is produced by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC), an international network of climate scientists sponsored by three nonprofit organizations: the Science and Environmental Policy Project, Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change, and The Heartland Institute.

I provide summaries of and links to these reports here:
Climate Change Reconsidered II- Physical Science
Climate Change Reconsidered II – Biological Impact


UPDATE: Dr. Don J. Easterbrook takes the NCA apart by showing how the assertions and claims have no basis in fact.  Easterbrook concludes:

How well do the NCA assertions compare with real data? As can be seen from the data above, they diverge wildly from real data. The report is filled with wild distortions and outright fabrications. If we apply Feynman’s scientific method (if an assertion disagrees with observations or data, it is wrong) to the NCA report, we can only conclude that the report fails badly. One can only wonder why the so-called scientists who wrote the report could possibly justify making such unsupported assertions contrary to hard data.

A substantial part of the report emphasizes weather events (drought, hurricanes, tornadoes, storms, etc). The authors don’t seem to know the difference between weatherand climate. None of the ‘extreme events’ they cite have any meaning whatsoever to climate. Single weather events can happen at any time, regardless of the climate.

The authors also don’t seem to be able to distinguish cause-and-effect relationships from artificial scenarios. They frequently point to ‘global warming’ as if that somehow proves it was caused by CO2,totally ignoring vast amounts of data showing that CO2 always lagswarming, even on a short term basis. If COlags warming, it can’t be the cause of the warming!

The most obvious shortcoming of the NCA report is all of the assertions that are contrary to hard data. But the report is also weakened by the wholesale ignoring of relevant data. Rather than discussing data and justifying their assertions, the authors simply disregard any data that doesn’t fit their scenarios.

From these observations, one can only conclude that the report is really not a scientific document at all, but rather a huge political propaganda effort.   Read full post here.