While the headline at Breitbart was presumably assembled for the expressed purpose of attracting readership (mission accomplished, if so), it will be explicitly stated here that this compilation certainly does not assert that “Global Warming Is A Myth”. It isn’t. Large regions of the Earth have undergone a warming trend in the last century, rising out of the depths of the Little Ice Age.
It is also true that these papers are not claimed to literally “debunk” any positions currently held by those who advocate for the main “consensus” positions related to anthropogenic global warming. That particular d-word was used in another headline. Instead of using such ambitious and affirmative language, the nuanced words used to describe what this list is proposed to accomplish were carefully chosen so as not to assert it does more (or less) than actually claimed.
What the papers and graphs in this compilation actually do is support many of the main skeptical positions which question climate alarm. Namely, they support the position(s):
N(1) natural mechanisms play well more than a negligible role (as claimed by the IPCC) in the net changes in the climate system, which includes temperature variations, precipitation patterns, weather events, etc., and the influence of increased CO2 concentrations on climatic changes are less pronounced than currently imagined;
N(2) the warming/sea levels/glacier and sea ice retreat/hurricane and drought intensities…experienced during the modern era are neither unprecedented or remarkable, nor do they fall outside the range of natural variability, as clearly shown in the first 100 graphs (from 2017) in this volume;
N(3) the computer climate models are not reliable or consistently accurate, and projections of future climate states are little more than speculation as the uncertainty and error ranges are enormous in a non-linear climate system; and
N(4) current emissions-mitigation policies, especially related to the advocacy for renewables, are often ineffective and even harmful to the environment, whereas elevated CO2 and a warmer climate provide unheralded benefits to the biosphere (i.e., a greener planet and enhanced crop yields).
In sharp contrast to the above, the corresponding “consensus” positions that these papers do not support are:
A(1) Close to or over 100% (110%) of the warming since 1950 has been caused by increases in anthropogenic CO2 emissions, leaving natural attribution at something close to 0%;
RealClimate.org: “The best estimate of the warming due to anthropogenic forcings (ANT) is the orange bar (noting the 1𝛔 uncertainties). Reading off the graph, it is 0.7±0.2ºC (5-95%) with the observed warming 0.65±0.06 (5-95%). The attribution then follows as having a mean of ~110%, with a 5-95% range of 80–130%. This easily justifies the IPCC claims of having a mean near 100%, and a very low likelihood of the attribution being less than 50% (p < 0.0001!).”
A(2) Modern warming, glacier and sea ice recession, sea level rise, drought and hurricane intensities…are all occurring at unprecedentedly high and rapid rates, and the effects are globally synchronous (not just regional)…and thus dangerous consequences to the global biosphere and human civilizations loom in the near future as a consequence of anthropogenic influences;
A(3) The climate models are reliable and accurate, and the scientific understanding of the effects of both natural forcing factors (solar activity, clouds, water vapor, etc.) and CO2 concentration changes on climate is “settled enough“, which means that “the time for debate has ended“;
A(4) The proposed solutions to mitigate the dangerous consequences described in N(4) – namely, wind and solar expansion – are safe, effective, and environmentally-friendly.
The 400+ papers compiled so far support the N(1)-N(4) positions, and they undermine or at least do not support the “consensus” A(1)-A(4) positions. The papers do not do more than that. Unreasonable expectations that these papers should do more than support skeptical positions and undermine “consensus” positions to “count” are rooted in straw man argumentation.
Specifically, claiming that a scientific paper must assert that CO2 does not play a major role in climate to be characterized as a paper supporting a skeptical positions in N(1)-N(4) is disingenuous at best. The opposite wouldn’t ever stand, of course. Let’s say an author of a scientific paper did not explicitly state that she disagrees that natural factors play a significant role in modern climate change. Would that mean that we could say the paper affirms that climate changes are significantly natural? Of course not. And yet this very same non-sequitur is employed here with regularity when disingenuously arguing that these papers do not do what they claim to do – especially since what they are claimed to do has not been accurately characterized.
As an aside, if we were to look at the papers that Cook et al. (2013) used to concoct the 97% “consensus” document we would find that Cook and his colleagues actually classified papers (and magazine articles) about cooking stoves in Brazil, phone surveys, asthma-related ER visits in Montreal, TV coverage . . . as scientific papers “endorsing” the position that all or nearly all of the global warming occurring since 1950 has been human-caused (the “consensus” statement). Of course, none of the papers identified in the link below that were categorized as “endorsing” the clearly defined anthropogenic/post-1950 “consensus” statement actually used those specific words. And yet they were curiously counted anyway.
“The Cook et al. (2013) 97% paper included a bunch of psychology studies, marketing papers, and surveys of the general public as scientific endorsement of anthropogenic climate change.”
With that lengthy (but necessary) introduction, I will now take the time to carefully construct a response to the YouTube video critique of the 400+ papers list as authored by potholer54, who I shall hereafter refer to as PH54 for lack of a better title.
1. After having thoroughly criticized James Delingpole’s analysis and style for the first few minutes, PH54 digs in and correctly suggests that the NoTricksZone headline and emboldened first paragraph is more “nuanced” than Breitbart‘s. He attempts to summarize what the 400+ papers represent by claiming they are meant to cast doubt on the conclusion that CO2 is a major driver of climate change — and no more. Of course, as described above, there is far more to it than that, but soundbites are to be expected in short videos like this.
2. PH54 then, for reasons that are not clear, returns to using the Breitbart interface instead of using the NoTricksZone article and paper reference lists — which have far more detail and may include graphs that correspond to the paper. Perhaps the reasons why will become apparent.
3. PH54 spends some time providing visuals of electric heaters warming an indoor room. CO2 and the Sun are assumed to be just like two equally powerful heaters. The Sun drives climate when the CO2 is stable, which it was during much of the Holocene. Low solar activity causes cooling and high solar activity causes warming. And in modern times, PH54 asserts, the Sun has been “turned down” just as the CO2 heater has been turned up. So, during the modern era, CO2 drives climate. The Sun used to drive warming and climate changes, but it no longer does.
4. Li et al. 2017 is the first paper directly discussed. PH54 identifies what he calls the key words in the paper: Late Holocene. He writes that the paper only addresses the last 2200 years, and it does not address the impacts of solar activity on modern climate. He notes that solar forcing is not even mentioned in the title. (CO2 isn’t either.)
PH54 then starts in on his main theme (as introduced in 2. above). Yes, the Sun drives climate in the Late Holocene, and not CO2. How do we know this? Because CO2 was stable during the last 10,000 years – coasting between 250 ppm and 280 ppm. So PH54 agrees, apparently, that the cold temperatures occurring during centennial-scale solar minima (Maunder, Dalton) would allow us to conclude that the Sun was a main driver of climate during those periods. Likewise, the Medieval Maximum, a period of high solar activity, led to warm temperatures during the Medieval Warm Period, or Medieval Climate Anomaly (as it is preferred).
But it’s at that point – the Late Holocene – where the Sun apparently stops driving temperatures. Why? Because the CO2 heating machine took over.
5. But let’s get back to the Li et al. (2017) paper. Now, because PH54 used the Breitbart article for a reference instead of the more detailed NoTricksZone visuals, he apparently missed the graphs shown below that appeared in the paper. The top graph (red trend line) is a solar activity reconstruction for the last millennium. Notice the sharp uptick in solar activity during the modern era. This is referred to as the Modern Grand Maximum, with the levels of solar activity exceeding those occurring the Medieval Warm Period. Now notice the bottom graph (gold). It’s a graph of Northern Hemisphere temperatures. Interestingly, there appears to be a very close correlation between the solar activity and the hemispheric temperature, including during the 20th century, when CO2 is said to have been the temperature driver.
6. Another aspect of this Li et al. (2017) paper that was ostensibly missed by PH54 (apparently because he chose to use Breitbart‘s one- or two-sentence summary rather than NoTricksZone’s much more detailed summary complete with graphics) is the commentary about the impact of CO2 forcing relative to solar forcing. The authors conclude that CO2 may play a role in “partly affecting climate variability” in North China, but that the overall long-term control on temperature is “solar-dominated.”
“High volumes of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4 during the recent warming periods, may also play a role in partly affecting the climatic variability in NC, superimposing on the overall solar-dominated long-term control (e.g., Wanner et al., 2008; Tan et al., 2011; Kobashi et al., 2013; Chen et al., 2015a,b).”
7. The Li et al. (2017) paper also contains a graph of North China that shows the modern temperatures (which have been flat since about 1950) are no warmer now than they were during Medieval times. And, like the Northern Hemisphere in general, they appear to follow the general pattern of solar activity. In other words, this paper supports both N(1) and N(2), and it does not support A(1) and A(2). That’s why it was included on the list.
8. Then, continuing the Holocene-only theme introduced in 2. and 4. above, PH54 addresses the second paper on the Breitbart list (again ignoring what is shown on NoTricksZone), Yndestad and Solheim (2017) . He again claims these scientists were only talking about the Holocene in their paper, not the modern period. He even includes a visual of the abstract with underlined red lines over the years 1000 AD and 1700 AD. Had PH54 decided to read the rest of the paper – or even look at the NoTricksZone summary – he would have seen that the authors clearly referred to the modern period (multiple times), and they even referenced the coming solar minimum for the coming decades. They especially made note of the millennial-scale uniqueness of the very high solar activity for the 1940 to 2000 period, referring to it as a rare event with levels exceeding all but the grand maximum events of 4,000 and 8,000 years ago.
“Deterministic models based on the stationary periods confirm the results through a close relation to known long solar minima since 1000 A.D. and suggest a modern maximum period from 1940 to 2015. Studies that employ cosmogenic isotope data and sunspot data indicate that we are currently leaving a grand activity maximum, which began in approximately 1940 and is now declining (Usoskin et al., 2003; Solanki et al., 2004; Abreu et al., 2008). Because grand maxima and minima occur on centennial or millennial timescales, they can only be investigated using proxy data, i.e., solar activity reconstructed from 10Be and 14C time-calibrated data. The conclusion is that the activity level of the Modern Maximum (1940–2000) is a relatively rare event, with the previous similarly high levels of solar activity observed 4 and 8 millennia ago (Usoskin et al., 2003). Periods with few sunspots are associated with low solar activity and cold climate periods. Periods with many sunspots are associated with high solar activity and warm climate periods.”
9. Here is the solar activity reconstruction featured prominently in the Yndestad and Solheim paper (and in NoTricksZone):
Notice how well solar activity correlates with reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperature (Stoffel et al., 2015):
Schneider et al., 2015 also show an oscillation (warming-cooling-warming) in Northern Hemisphere temperatures for the 20th century.
Using 126 tree ring records, Xing et al. (2016) reconstruct Northern Hemisphere temperatures that follow trends in solar activity, as shown below.
10. Ignoring the Yndestad and Solheim TSI graph from the paper itself, which alternatively shows a net +3 W m-2 increase in solar forcing between 1900 and 2000, PH54 produced a graph showing declining sunspot numbers that did not appear in the Yndestad and Solheim paper. Why not use the Yndestad and Solheim reconstruction? Probably because it showed the opposite of what his graph of declining solar activity showed: That we have experienced a Modern Grand Maximum of solar activity, +3 W m-2 of forcing, since the beginning of the 20th century and continuing on through to about 2000. It’s rather odd that the author of a video “exposing” that a paper doesn’t say what is claimed would proceed to refuse to actually read the paper itself (that references the modern period), or that he would avoid using the graph that was provided in the paper or by NoTricksZone. Instead, PH54 chose to comment using a preferred graph of solar activity that supports his own viewpoints…and a summary provided by Breitbart.
11. PH54 concludes: “[Yndestad and] Solheim doesn’t debunk the theory that CO2 is a major driver of climate. It’s quite consistent with it.”
This is odd. The authors don’t comment on CO2 as the “major driver of climate” in their paper.
12. Then, after commenting on just those two papers (which were selected by James Delingpole), both of which suggest that solar activity has indeed contributed to modern climate in a significant way, PH54 states: “You get the point. The highlighted papers just looking at past warming…when CO2 levels were stable.”
This is false. While it’s true that many of the papers on the list do indeed only refer to past climates in asserting that solar activity drove centennial-scale temperature changes, there are also many that refer to the significant influence of solar activity on the modern climate, including the first two discussed by PH54.
13. PH54: “You can check the [Delingpole] list yourself. It’s not that hard. All you have to do is look at Delingpole’s summary.”
Delingpole only provided a handful of the examples from the papers. The full list of 110 solar-influence papers, with more complete summaries and temperature graphs, are found on the NoTricksZone list. It’s interesting that PH54 accuses Delingpole of not reading the papers himself, or relying on others to do the reading and summarizing for him…and then he goes ahead and relies on Delingpole for summaries of what the papers say.
14. PH54: Delingpole writes “Modern climate in phase with natural variability. But the two papers he cites are talking about precipitation.”
Interestingly, PH54 has ostensibly decided that precipitation patterns are not sufficient to count as climate. Apparently climate is about temperature, and temperature only. Drought periodicity isn’t indicative of climate. Decadal-scale flood events aren’t about climate. Variability in the East Asian Monsoon and their connection to ENSO events don’t qualify as climate. In ice cores, precipitation levels are often used as a proxy for temperature, with warmer/cooler temperatures corresponding to more/less precipitation. How odd to take this stance.
15. PH54: “Neither paper [chosen by Delingpole] is talking about global temperature.”
Of course these two papers weren’t talking about global temperature. The two papers selected from the compilation on natural variability were addressing regional rainfall patterns and their robust connections to solar activity. Nor was it ever claimed that these two papers were talking about global temperature. According to “consensus” science, though, drought and flood events and precipitation in general are expected to undergo significant shifts…due to changes in CO2 concentrations.
Miralles et al., 2014 “The hydrological cycle is expected to intensify in response to global warming. Yet, little unequivocal evidence of such an acceleration has been found on a global scale.”
These two papers, which do not support the A(2) “consensus” position, instead support the N(2) position that there is nothing unusual about the modern climate (precipitation) relative to past periods, when CO2 concentrations were much lower.
16. PH54: “During a period of La Nina, the Pacific ocean sucks in heat from the atmosphere, and during El Nino, it spits it back out.”
This is actually an incorrect way of putting it. The heat for ENSO events isn’t sourced by atmospheric heat. The heat source is from the ocean itself, and the ocean is heated by the Sun. The atmosphere contains just 1% of the Earth system’s heat. Therefore, the heat flux sequence is almost always from ocean to atmosphere, and not the other way around. The heat redistribution during ENSO events are from the deeper waters to the ocean surface and vice versa.
17. PH54: “None of these papers [Delingpole selected] suggest CO2 is not a major driver of global temperature.”
This is the same non-sequitur referred to in the introduction. Unless a paper expressly states that CO2 is not a major climate driver, it does not count as a paper supporting a skeptical position on climate alarm. This does not follow.
18. PH54: “Further down the list, the papers get more bizarre. Papers about bats being harmed by wind turbines and blade disposal. I’m struggling to see how any of these papers are casting doubt on CO2’s role in global warming.”
The non-sequitur, repeated. But this comment appears most disingenuous, as PH54 should probably understand that these particular papers addressing the harm to the environment and ineffectiveness of renewables-promoting policies were not selected from the literature to cast doubt on CO2’s role in climate change. Instead – and one would assume that most readers would understand this – these papers were selected because they support the position that the “consensus”-endorsed response to the perspective that humans are the dominant cause dangerous global warming is to promote wind and solar energies, and these may not be either effective or environmental friendly.
All PH54 needed to do was look at the introduction to the NoTricksZone article that addressed what these papers were designed to do, or to support. These papers have nothing to do with CO2’s role in global warming. They shouldn’t be expected to.
“Current emissions-mitigation policies, especially related to the advocacy for renewables, are often costly, ineffective, and perhaps even harmful to the environment. On the other hand, elevated CO2 and a warmer climate provide unheralded benefits to the biosphere (i.e., a greener planet and enhanced crop yields).”
19. Addressing the Tejedor et al. (2017) paper, PH54 once again wrongly claims that the paper only addresses the past climate, and makes no reference to the current one. Had he read the entire paper, or even the summary provided by NoTricksZone, he would (should) have noticed (since it is highlighted in bold red) that the paper does, in fact, mention the high solar activity of the last few decades. It also mentions that high solar activity is associated with periods with high temperatures, such as the warming occurring during 1986-2012.
“Reconstructed long-term temperature variations match reasonably well with solar irradiance changes since warm and cold phases correspond with high and low solar activity, respectively. … The main driver of the large-scale character of the warm and cold episodes may be changes in the solar activity. The beginning of the reconstruction starts with the end of the Spörer minimum. The Maunder minimum, from 1645 to 1715 (Luterbacher et al., 2001) seems to be consistent with a cold period from 1645 to 1706. In addition, the Dalton minimum from 1796 to 1830 is detected for the period 1810 to 1838. However, a considerably cold period from 1778 to 1798 is not in agreement with a decrease in the solar activity. Four warm periods – 1626–1637, 1800–1809, 1845– 1859, and 1986–2012 – have been identified to correspond to increased solar activity.”
Then, after asserting the paper fails to address the modern era, PH54 highlights (using red underlining) the mention of “anthropogenic forces” in the paper. Curiously, he claims that this particular sentence, as it reads, asserts that CO2 is a “major driver” of climate change.
“The study area [is] a potentially vulnerable region to anthropogenic climatic changes by anthropogenic forces, i.e,., increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases.”
But if this one rather mild sentence from the paper supports the position that CO2 is a major driver of climatic changes (and perhaps it does), then surely one can agree that the statement asserting the “main driver” of “warm periods” may be increases in solar activity (and the 1986-2012 period is specifically referred to in the paper as a warm period that “corresponds to increased solar activity”) could also be interpreted as support for the position that the Sun has more than a negligible role in modern temperatures for the region.
20. The NoTricksZone compilation contains two graphs from the Tejedor et al. (2017) paper, both of which would appear to support the N(1) position that the modern climate has been impacted by the high solar activity (notice how the warming and cooling events match up rather fittingly with solar activity)…
…and that there is nothing unusual or unprecedented about modern temperatures in the Iberian region to suggest that they have fallen outside the range of natural variability, an N(2) position.
21. Interestingly, the Rydval et al. (2017) paper contains several graphs from the Northern Hemisphere, all of which correspond quite well to the changes in solar activity, including the Medieval Maximum and Modern Grand Maximum. They generally show no net warming since the middle of the 20th century due to a severe cooling period between the 1940s and 1960s (wiping out much of the early 20th century warming), which is consistent with the pattern of solar activity shown earlier.
22. The strongest part of the video response is the section citing 4 or 5 other papers that, in addition to concluding that the Sun plays a role in climate changes, also conclude that CO2 concentrations play an important role too. Some of the identified papers even say that CO2 plays a larger role than natural factors do. While this may appear to fully destroy the position that these papers “debunk” global warming as a myth — a claim which has not been made here — these statements still do not seem to assert that the only, 100% cause of climate changes since 1950 is anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Indeed, even as they claim a significant role for CO2, they do not dismiss natural factors as having any role in climate changes. This is, after all, the “consensus” position as espoused by the IPCC. To support the consensus, then, there should be effectively no role for natural factors in climate change after 1950. Papers that allow natural factors to at least contribute some to the climatic changes would therefore not be supporting the “consensus”. That is why papers like these may still be included, despite the apparent inconsistency.
23. Williams et al. (2017) assert that temperatures warmed more and warmed faster (1.1°C, 0.008°C per year) from the 1660s to the 1800s — when CO2 did not change — than they did during the 1860 to 2007 period (0.8°C, 0.005°C per year). This would not be consistent with the perspective that CO2 emissions are a more dominant climate forcing factor than the non-CO2 factors eliciting temperatures changes during the 17th to 19th centuries. It undermines the A(2) position, and it would be consistent with N(2). Also, while Williams et al. (2017) do state that global temperatures “are exceeding estimates of natural variability”, this is not remotely the same thing as concluding that natural factors do not play a role in climate changes after 1950. Indeed, the opposite is said: natural factors are included as factors playing a role in climate changes “for the last 342 years.”
“Reconstructed SSTs significantly warmed 1.1 ± 0.30°C … from 1660s to 1800 (rate of change: 0.008 ± 0.002°C/year), followed by a significant cooling of 0.8 ± 0.04°C … until 1840 (rate of change: 0.02 ± 0.001°C/year), then a significant warming of 0.8 ± 0.16°C from 1860 until the end of reconstruction in 2007 (rate of change: 0.005 ± 0.001°C/year).”
“[T]hese data suggest a complex combination of solar irradiance, volcanic activity, internal ocean dynamics and external anthropogenic forcing explain the variability in Aleutian SSTs for the past 342 years.”
24. Zawiska et al. (2017) write that human emissions of CO2 are “considered” to be “the most important factor” in modern climate change. They do not conclude that CO2 emissions are effectively the only factor. Furthermore, they conclude that profound temperature changes for the region occurred far more abruptly between 1800 and 1875 than they have since, when the temperature changes have been slower and largely flat for the past 100 years (despite rising CO2 emissions). The abrupt warming event — 4.3°C within 75 years — for the region was said to be forced by “increased solar activity“ and the NAO. Again, this would appear to support the significant role of natural factors in climate changes, and less so the anthropogenic influence, thus supporting both N(1) and N(2). In the graph, notice how closely temperatures correspond to increases and decreases in solar activity.
“The temperature reconstruction from Lake Atnsjøen indicates that recent and ongoing climate warming began already in 1800 CE following the LIA. Temperatures increased very fast, from 8.5 to 12.8 °C during the first 75 years [1800-1875], but in the 20th century the increase became less pronounced.”
25. Abrantes et al. (2017), refer to the Modern Grand Maximum (1940-2000) of very high solar activity, and, like the other authors above, suggest solar activity is a driver of cooling and warming events.
“The coldest SSTs are detected between 1350 and 1850 CE, on Iberia during the well-known Little Ice Age (LIA) (Bradley and Jones, 1993), with the most intense cooling episodes related with other solar minima events, and major volcanic forcing and separated by intervals of relative warmth (e.g. (Crowley and Unterman, 2013; Solanki et al., 2004; Steinhilber et al., 2012; Turner et al., 2016; Usoskin et al., 2011). During the 20th century, the southern records show unusually large decadal scale SST oscillations in the context of the last 2 millennia, in particular after the mid 1970’s, within the Great Solar Maximum (1940 – 2000 (Usoskin et al., 2011))”
It would not appear that Abrantes et al. (2017) are dismissing solar activity as having any role at all in climate changes, which is what the “consensus” asserts.
Also, this paper provides multiple reconstructions from the region and for the entire Northern Hemisphere that would support N(2), and would not support A(2), as they show that modern temperatures do not fall outside the range of natural variability. All three graphs below even show a cooling trend beginning in the late 20th century, which would appear to be inconsistent with the perspective that CO2 changes are driving climate synchronously on a global scale. Most of the modern warming is shown to have occurred during the first half of the 20th century, when CO2 emissions were but a fraction of what they were after 1950. Again, this would not be consistent with the perspective that CO2 is driving up post-1950 temperatures at an unprecedented rate.
26. Wang et al. (2017) characterize the impact of GHGs on the regional signal for the last 1000 years as a “reasonable speculation”. “Reasonable speculation” that the millennial-scale changes may have been affected by GHGs would not appear to be a ringing endorsement. Furthermore, millennial-scale changes would appear to be distinct from the changes after 1950, as human emissions could not have been driving climate on that timescale. The authors also agree that their findings are consistent with Dr. Scafetta’s work, a scientist who has taken the position that the Sun has played a major role in climate changes, including during the modern era.
“The driving forces of climate change were investigated and the results showed two independent degrees of freedom —a 3.36-year cycle and a 22.6-year cycle, which seem to be connected to the El Niño–Southern Oscillation cycle and the Hale sunspot cycle, respectively. … Solar variability has been shown to be a major driver of climate in central Europe during the past two millennia using Δ14C records. Furthermore, this result is essentially in good agreement with the findings of Scafetta e.g. refs 17, 18, 19, who found that the climate system was mostly characterized by a specific set of oscillations and these oscillations (61, 115, 130 and 983 years) appeared to be synchronous with major astronomical oscillations (solar system, solar activity and long solar/lunar tidal cycles).”
27. Other than natural vs. anthropogenic attribution for warming temperatures, PH54 does not address any of the other positions detailed in the 400+ papers compilation…other than to poke fun at the bat extinction and turbine waste issues. The papers asserting the inadequacies of the models go unaddressed, as do the papers on the cryosphere, cloud variations and surface solar radiation. The much higher temperatures and sea levels of years past, when CO2 concentrations were in the “safe” range, would appear to be a topic with some cogency when discussing global-scale warming. None of the ~140 papers on the 2nd list were even touched on.
Apparently it is believed that all that is needed to “debunk” a compilation such as this is to point out that only a handful of the papers (Smirnov, 2017, Hertzberg et al., 2017, Kramm et al., 2017, Nikolov and Zeller, 2017, Harde, 2017, Lightfoot and Mamer, 2017. Blaauw, 2017, Allmendinger, 2017, Abbot and Marohasy, 2017 ) explicitly denounce anthropogenic CO2 as a main climate driver.
I disagree…for reasons that are nuanced.
A Response To potholer54’s Response
A commenter here has brought to my attention that potholer54 (for brevity, I will continue using PH54) has replied to my response to his rather underwhelming YouTube critique of our list of 400+ papers (which will likely reach 500 by year’s end).
Apparently PH54 still is under the impression that he has (a) correctly interpreted what the papers say about CO2 emissions as the main climate driver (even though many don’t even mention CO2 or anthropogenic influences), and (b) he doesn’t have to address what the bulk of the papers and graphs are supporting: that there is nothing unusual or remarkable about modern day climate changes (temperatures, glacier melt, sea level rise, weather events, precipitation patterns, etc.), and thus many of the modeled expectations that indicate there should be a clearly recognizable anthropogenic signal in the above parameters have been thoroughly undermined. I’ll address both points here.
PH54 writes: “Richards shows quite neatly in his rebuttal that they [the papers] don’t even say what Richards himself claims they say.”
Obvioiusly I will need to again address PH54’s claim that he has correctly interpreted what the papers say. We’ll start with his claim that Yndestad and Solheim (2017) have only referred to the Holocene in their paper. (In the video, he underlines in red the years 1000 A.D. and 1700 A.D. found in the abstract so as to support this contention.) PH54 claims these scientists do not refer to the current era. To support his claim that Yndestad and Solheim were only referring to the Holocene, PH54 decided to omit or ignore the part of the abstract where it says:
Deterministic models based on the stationary periods confirm the results through a close relation to known long solar minima since 1000 A.D. and suggest a modern maximum period from 1940 to 2015. The model computes a new Dalton-type sunspot minimum from approximately 2025 to 2050 and a new Dalton-type period TSI minimum from approximately 2040 to
So the authors not only refer to the 20th and 21st century in the paper’s abstract, they forecast a solar minimum and cooler temperatures for the coming decades. Nowhere in the paper are there references made to CO2 or anthropogenic influences on climate, as PH54 falsely contends. Furthermore, one of the scientists’ main points is that the very high solar activity that we have enjoyed in recent decades is only now declining. The Modern Grand Maximum did not begin to decline in the 1950s, as claimed, but only after the year 2000. In fact, the year 2000 is characterized as the peak of the current grand maximum.
“[T]he activity level of the Modern Maximum (1940–2000) is a relatively rare event, with the previous similarly high levels of solar activity observed 4 and 8 millennia ago (Usoskin et al., 2003). … A cold period was also observed during the time of the Dalton minimum. The Maunder and the Dalton minima are associated with less solar activity and colder climate periods. … Studies that employ cosmogenic isotope data and sunspot data indicate that we are currently leaving a grand activity maximum, which began in approximately 1940 and is now declining (Usoskin et al., 2003; Solanki et al., 2004; Abreu et al., 2008). … A visual inspection of the TSI wavelet spectrum reveals the dominant periods in the TSI data series in the time window between 1700 and 2013. The long wavelet period has a maximum in 1760, 1840, 1930, and 2000, with a mean gap of approximately 80 years”
Not only this, but contrary to PH54’s claims that Yndestad and Solheim do not connect solar activity to modern-day temperatures, these scientists indicate that the Hoyt-Schatten/Scafetta-Wilson TSI reconstruction shows a “strong correlation“ with Northern Hemisphere temperatures extending from 1880 to 2013, citing the work of Soon et al. (2015) in affirming a “a strong solar influence on the temperature of the Northern Hemisphere“.
“Periods with few sunspots are associated with low solar activity and cold climate periods. Periods with many sunspots are associated with high solar activity and warm climate periods. … The Hoyt-Schatten irradiance model has been calibrated and extended with the newest version of ACRIM TSI observations (e.g. Scafetta and Willson, 2014, Fig. 16); it is employed in this analysis. In the following section, this reconstruction is referred to as TSI HS. A mostly rural Northern Hemisphere composite temperature series 1880–2013 shows strong correlation with the TSI-HS reconstruction, which indicates a strong solar influence on the temperature of the Northern Hemisphere (Soon et al., 2015).”
It should be noted that Soon et al. (2015) found a very strong correlation between solar activity and Northern Hemisphere rural temperatures since 1880 – as the rural instrumental data are less affected by artificial or non-climatic warming.
“Finally, we compare our new composite to one of the solar variability datasets not considered by the CMIP5 climate models, i.e., Scafetta & Willson, 2014’s update to the Hoyt & Schatten, 1993 dataset. A strong correlation is found between these two datasets, implying that solar variability has been the dominant influence on Northern Hemisphere temperature trends since at least 1881.”
“The first paper Richards cites in his rebuttal – a paper by Li et al. – is itself a good example of this. Citing that paper, Richards concludes: “There appears to be a very close correlation between the solar activity and the hemispheric temperature, including during the 20th century, when CO2 is said to have been the temperature driver. “There APPEARS to be” means this is what Richards thinks – it is not the conclusion of the paper.”
PH54 also once again claims that Li et al. (2017) support his claim that CO2 emissions from humans are what have driven temperature increases for the region since about 1950, and that solar activity has not driven the temperature increase. But, as mentioned above, the authors cite a graph of temperatures for North China that, yet again, does not show any net warming since about 1940. While this is somewhat problematic in supporting the contention that CO2 has driven the warming trend there, the authors also point out that the increase in greenhouse gases may “partly” play a role in the variability during “the recent warming periods”, but that partial role in influencing variability is only superimposed on the solar-dominated control. Once again, this would not appear to support PH54’s claim that Li et al. (2017) endorse the position that CO2 increases are the main, close-to-100% control on temperature changes for the region during the “recent warming periods”.
“[H]igh volumes of greenhouse gases such as CO2 and CH4 during the recent warming periods, may also play a role in partly affecting the climatic variability in NC, superimposing on the overall solar-dominated long-term control (e.g., Wanner et al., 2008; Tan et al., 2011; Kobashi et al., 2013; Chen et al., 2015a,b).”
“[T]he 103, 50, and 22 year periods for TANN [annual temperatures] correlate well with the 100, 50, 23 and 22 year cycles for the solar activity observed in various solar parameters (e.g., Wilson et al., 1996; Li et al., 1996; Chowdhury et al., 2009; Zhang et al., 2014), therefore implying an in-phase relationship between the climatic oscillation in NC [North China] and solar activity.”
PH54: “The reason Richards got it wrong is that he was trying to discern solar fluctuations over the last 50 years in a graph that spans 1,000 years, so the curves over that narrow period are very small and indistinct. Perhaps Richards wasn’t wearing his glasses.”
As shown in the initial response above, several other reconstructions of Northern Hemisphere temperature show strong consistencies with trends in solar activity. The above criticism assessing an inability to discern solar fluctuations would not appear to be valid here.
But these graphs, and the main problem with PH54’s analysis in general, is that he thinks that by directly referencing a grand total of 9 papers in his video, he has comprehensively assessed and correctly interpreted the entire volume of 400+ papers accurately, and that they all affirm his presuppositions that in about 1950 CO2 emissions became the dominant cause of climate change, and the natural factors that used to be the dominant causes of climate change figuratively took a backseat. That’s why he curiously writes, without obviously having even read even close to “many” of these papers, that:
PH54: “Many of the 400 papers explicitly ENDORSE the conclusion that CO2 is a powerful greenhoue gas.”
Of course, this claim is an assumption, not rooted in actual analysis of the 400+ papers. It’s also an example of how the definition of what is necessary to affirm an endorsement of the “consensus” changes mercurially to fit the presupposition. Now all that’s needed to affirm that these papers are invalid as evidence supporting a skeptical position on climate alarm is that an author need only write (explicitly) that CO2 is a “powerful greenhouse gas.” PH54 claims that there are “many” such papers here…after having “analyzed” about 9 of them. Of course, whether or not CO2 is a “powerful greenhouse gas” — interestingly, water vapor is also a “powerful greenhouse gas” — is not even the question being affirmed or questioned here. It’s just moving the pea.
The question is this: To what extent, or how much, are trends in weather extremes, surface temperatures, ocean heat content, glacier melt, sea level rise, floods, droughts, etc., influenced by parts per million (0.000001) changes in atmospheric CO2 concentrations and human emissions vs. the extent to which identifiable trends vary naturally, or without anthropogenic influence?
The “consensus” position, as endorsed by the IPCC, is that close to 100% of the climate change that has occurred since 1950 is human caused.
If that’s the case, then human-caused climate change doesn’t look much different than the one produced by natural variations. The changes in modern climate indices are so negligible, so trivial, that finding an anthropogenic signal amid the noise of natural variability is quite difficult. That’s what most of these papers say. And that’s exactly what PH54 writes nothing about in his “critique” of our list.
And yet PH54 apparently thinks that all he must do is claim that “many” of the papers support (actually, “explicitly ENDORSE”) the position that CO2 is a “powerful greenhouse gas”, and, just like that, the 400+ papers will . . . go away.
No, that’s just not how it works.
The following are just a tiny fraction of the papers from 2017 supporting a skeptical position on climate alarm . . . that PH54 never even bothered to read.
• There has been no detectable long-term acceleration in sea level rise (Parker and Ollier, 2017), and sea levels may only be rising between 0.25 and 1.04 mm/year.
“[L]ocal sea-level forecasts should be based on proven local sea-level data. Their naïve averaging of all the tide gauges included in the PSMSL surveys showed ‘‘relative’’ trends of about + 1.04 mm/year (570 tide gauges of any length). By only considering the 100 tide gauges with more than 80 years of recording, the average trend was only + 0.25 mm/year [2.5 centimeters per century].”
“….does not support the notion of rapidly changing mass of ice in Greenland and Antarctica“
“loud divergence between sea level reality” and “the climate models [that] predict an accelerated sea-level rise driven by the anthropogenic CO2 emission.”
“Notably, the three studies [Jackson et al., 2016; Böning et al., 2016; Robson et al., 2016] report an absence of anthropogenic effects on the AMOC, at least so far: the directly observed AMOC weakening since 2004 is not consistent with the hypothesis that anthropogenic aerosols have affected North Atlantic ocean temperatures. The midlatitude North Atlantic temperature changes since 2005 have greater magnitude and opposite sign (cooling) than those attributed to ocean uptake of anthropogenic heat. The anthropogenic melt from the Greenland ice sheet is still too small to be detected.
“The recent warming trend in North Greenland … We find that δ 18O [temperature/climate proxy] has been increasing over the past 30 years, and that the decade 1996-2005 is the second highest decade in the 287-year record. The highest δ 18O [temperature/climate proxy] values were found in 1928, which is also an extreme year in GISP2 and NGRIP ice cores, and in a coastal South Greenland composite (Vinther et al., 2006; Masson-Delmotte et al., 2015), but the decadal average (1926-1935) is not statistically different from the decade (2002-2011). … The surface warming trend has been principally attributed to sea ice retreat and associated heat fluxes from theocean (Serreze et al., 2009; Screen and Simmonds, 2010a, b), to a negative trend in the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) since 1990, increasing warm air advection on the West Coast of Greenland and Eastern Canada (Hanna et al., 2012; Fettweis et al., 2013; Ding et al., 2014), and to an increase in the Greenland Blocking Index [Hanna et al., 2013]. These latter mechanisms could be dominated by natural variability rather than forced response to the anthropogenic increase in greenhouse gases (Fettweis et al., 2013; Screen et al., 2014).”
• The Greenland ice sheet (GIS) has been melting so slowly and so negligibly in recent decades that the entire ice sheet’s total contribution to global sea level rise was a mere 0.39 of a centimeter (0.17 to 0.61 cm) between 1993 and 2010 (Leeson et al, 2017).
• The Western Antarctic Peninsula has been rapidly cooling since 1999 (-0.47°C per decade), reversing the previous warming trend and leading to “a shift to surface mass gains of the peripheral glacier” (Oliva et al., 2017).
• Since 1800, the Surface Mass Balance for the entire Antarctic Ice Sheet has increased. (Thomas et al., 2017).
“Our study suggests an overall increase in SMB [surface mass balance] across the grounded Antarctic ice sheet of ~ 44 GT since 1800 AD, with the largest (area-weighted) contribution from the Antarctic Peninsula (AP).”
• There has been no continent-scale warming trend for Antarctica since CO2 emissions began rising. (Stenni et al., 2017)
“[N]o continent-scale warming of Antarctic temperature is evident in the last century.”
• According to Fettweis et al. (2017), the Greenland ice sheet contributed a grand total of 1.5 centimeters of sea level rise between the years 1900 and 2010, with most of that contribution coming prior to 1940 (since there was no contribution at all between 1940 and 2000). The ice sheet gained mass between 1961 and 1990, or during the same period of time that CO2 emissions were skyrocketing.
“The period 1961–1990 has been considered as a period when the total mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet was stable (Rignot and Kanagaratnam, 2006) and near zero. However, at the last century scale, all MAR reconstructions suggest that SMB [surface mass balance] was particularly positive during this period [1961-1990] (SMB was most positive from the 1970s to the middle of the 1990s), suggesting that mass gain may well have occurred during this period, in agreement with results from Colgan et al. (2015). … Finally, with respect to the 1961–1990 period, the integrated contribution of the GrIS SMB anomalies over 1900–2010 is a sea level rise of about 15 ± 5 mm [1.5 cm], with a null contribution from the 1940s to the 2000s”
• Greenland is currently about 3 degrees C colder than it was just a few thousand years ago (Kobashi et al., 2017).
“Greenland temperature reached the Holocene thermal maximum with the warmest decades occurring during the Holocene (2.9 ± 1.4 °C warmer than the recent decades [1988-2015]) at 7960 ± 30 years B.P.”
• The Greenland ice sheet has been cooling (slightly) since 2005 (Kobashi et al., 2017).
“For the most recent 10 years (2005 to 2015), apart from the anomalously warm year of 2010, mean annual temperatures at the Summit exhibit a slightly decreasing trend in accordance with northern North Atlantic-wide cooling.”
“Occupying about 14% of the world’s surface, the Southern Ocean plays a fundamental role in ocean and atmosphere circulation, carbon cycling and Antarctic ice-sheet dynamics. … As a result of anomalies in the overlying wind, the surrounding waters are strongly influenced by variations in northward Ekman transport of cold fresh subantarctic surface water and anomalous fluxes of sensible and latent heat at the atmosphere–ocean interface. This has produced a cooling trend since 1979.”
“Concomitant with this positive trend in Antarctic sea ice, sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the Southern Ocean south of approximately 45°S have cooled over this period [since 1979].”
• Sea ice for the entire Southern Hemisphere has been growing, defying climate models (Comiso et al., 2017).
“The Antarctic sea ice extent has been slowly increasing contrary to expected trends due to global warming and results from coupled climate models.”
“According to this new dataset, the recent period of Arctic sea ice retreat since the 1970s followed a period of sea ice growth after the mid 1940s, which in turn followed a period of sea ice retreat after the 1910s. Our reconstructions agree with previous studies that have noted a general decrease in Arctic sea ice extent (for all four seasons) since the start of the satellite era (1979). However, the timing of the start of the satellite era is unfortunate in that it coincided with the end of several decades during which Arctic sea ice extent was generally increasing. This late-1970s reversal in sea ice trends was not captured by the hindcasts of the recent CMIP5 climate models used for the latest IPCC reports, which suggests that current climate models are still quite poor at modelling past sea ice trends.”
HadCRUT4 Data – Graph Source: climate4you
•The North Atlantic has been rapidly cooling since 2005 (Piecuch et al., 2017)
“The subpolar North Atlantic (SPNA) is subject to strong decadal variability, with implications for surface climate and its predictability. In 2004–2005, SPNA decadal upper ocean and sea-surface temperature trends reversed from warming during 1994–2004 to cooling over 2005–2015.”