28 February 2012

Professor Lindzen's seminar on Global Warming at Westminister in February 2012

Professor Richard S. Lindzen of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, gave a seminar to the House of Commons Committee Rooms in Westminster, London on 22 February 2012.

Here is the link to the PDF of the slides he used at that seminar.

There are many interesting quotes from these slides. This is one which took my fancy:

“Future generations will wonder in bemused amazement that the early 21st century’s developed world went into hysterical panic over a globally averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree, and, on the basis of gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference, proceeded to contemplate a roll-back of the industrial age.”

Of the many new things I learnt from this, one is a better understanding of the importance of the scale of the attributed amplification effect of "forcings" from alleged positive feedbacks on the amount of temperature increase that is said to arise from a doubling in CO2 concerntrations in the atmosphere. The agreed position of both sceptics like Professor Lindzen and Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming ("CAGW") proponents like the IPCC, appears to be that a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere causes a direct, unamplified, 1 degree C increase in the global surface temperature. It is clear there is Greenhouse effect and that CO2 is a contributor to warming but the degree and scale of that effect over and above the base case 1 degree C per doubling in concertration is this key issue. The uncertainty is  over the extent of the effects, if any, of feedbacks on this base case temperature effect of a doubling of CO2 concertrations.
The CAGW and IPCC position appears to be that a positive feedback from an additional "forcing" from alleged consequential additional increases in water vapour, which is the most important Greenhouse Gas, from CO2 increases, is assumed to produce a further 3 fold increase in the temperature effects over the base case. This increased temperature effect apparently caused by related increases in water vapour from the increases in CO is alleged to triple the temperature effects of the base case of 1 degree C per doubling in CO2 concerntration, to a 3 degree C increase per doubling in CO2. Professor Lindzen suggests there is no empirical evidence for this very large "forcing" assumption in the observed temperature and CO2 concerntration data. He seem to suggest that if anything there appears to be a slight dampening (negative feedback) in the temperature effect of a doubling of atmospheric CO2 concerntrations from feedbacks from other factors.
The 15 year period of no statistically significant change in averaged global temperatures that we are currently experiencing, despite accelerating increases in CO2 concerntrations in the atmosphere over the same period, seem to support Professor Lindzen's position on this.

This does seem to leave the credibility of the IPCC's models' (which assume the 3x forcings) predictions of climate catastrophe from runaway temperature increases with CO2 increases looking overblown.

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