The Weakness of the AGW Theory

The “American Thinker” blog has an article by John McLaughlin that shows the weakness of the man-made global warming (AGW) theory.  The article Global Warming ‘Science’ discusses the fact that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, sponsored by the UN, was ..

Since its inception in 1988, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has sought to evaluate the risk of climate change brought about by human activity.  There has never been a requirement to also evaluate potential natural causes.”

The author discusses the impact the infamous Hockey Stick Temperature Graph had on the IPCC reports.

Their reports include a graph derived from mathematical models showing average global temperatures back to 1000 AD.  The graph appears relatively flat for over 900 years.  Then, about 1920, temperatures begin to rocket upward with but a brief pause around 1970 before heading still higher with no relief in sight.  So startling was this graph when it first appeared, it became known as the “Hockey Stick” chart.  The IPCC concluded the graph’s sudden change in character during the early 20th Century correlated with the introduction and increasing use of fossil fuel energy in that period, and that production of carbon dioxide (CO2) represented the principal man-made greenhouse gas culprit.

hockey stick graph

The Hockey Stick Temperature Graph

(Note, no medieval warm period & the “hockey stick” jump in temperatures)

Then he walks you through the story of how the Graph was exposed as a fraud:

As political hysteria over “man-made” or anthropogenic global warming (AGW) increased, other scientists began checking the mathematical analysis and measurements behind the hockey stick chart because it did not correlate with other known historical temperature data.  In 2003 Professor McKitrick teamed with a Canadian engineer, Steve McIntyre, in attempting to replicate the chart and finally debunked it as statistical nonsense.  They revealed how the chart was derived from “collation errors, unjustified truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, incorrect principal component calculations, geographical mislocations and other serious defects” — substantially affecting the temperature index.

And perhaps worse,  the National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics concluded that:

“……the statistical methodology underpinning the hockey stick version was, indeed, profoundly flawed.  The Wegman panel submitted a report to the U.S. House of Representatives (which should have been available to all House members including Rep. Waxman) which cited results of an earlier National Research Council panel endorsing the work and results of McIntyre and McKitrick.  Wegman’s work also found the McIntyre and McKitrick analysis independently verifiable, their observations of the IPCC flaws correct and “valid,” and their arguments “compelling.”

McLaughlin also demonstrates that man-made carbon dioxide (CO2) can not be a significant cause of global warming.

Numerous gases make up the Earth’s atmosphere.  Of these, nitrogen represents about 78% by volume,  oxygen comprises just under 21%, and other gases (including “greenhouse gases”) make up slightly over 1% by volume remaining.  Of the principal greenhouse gases, water vapor is by far the most prevalent.  Second place belongs to carbon dioxide (CO2) at 0.04% with methane and nitrous oxide finishing a very distant third and fourth.

What complicates analysis of any manmade greenhouse effect is the relatively overwhelming prevalence of water vapor — a gas ignored by the IPCC.  The U.S. Department of Energy estimates water vapor makes up 95% of identified greenhouse gases and, of that amount, less than 0.001% can be attributed to manmade causes.  Thus, the IPCC and AGW proponents have focused on CO2 as the principal anthropogenic greenhouse gas.”

And :

Put another way, if accumulation of greenhouse gases has any impact on global warming, Department of Energy data indicates nearly 99.9% would have to be attributed to natural causes.  Nevertheless, AGW proponents blame approximately 1/1000 of all produced planetary CO2 — this trace gas  which, in its totality, comprises less than 4/10,000 of the atmosphere — as the principal cause of climate change because it provides the only way to link global warming to human activity.

Numerous scientists and climatologists point to the terrible flaw that the IPCC analysis totally ignores the impact upon climate of solar activity, water vapor, and effects of cloud formation on global air pressure, temperature and winds.  As Dr. Tim Ball, a former climate scientist at the University of Winnipeg, put it:  “The analogy that I use is that my car is not running that well, so I’m going to ignore the engine (which is the sun) and I’m going to ignore the transmission (which is the water vapor) and I’m going to look at one nut on the right rear wheel (which is the human-produced CO2) … the science is that bad!

He discusses that fact that actual data regarding global warming and sea level rise contradict the alarmists’ scare stories;  the fallacy of the “Consensus “ argument; and finishes with conclusions that contradict the thinking ChairmanWaxman used to justify the House of Representatives passing of the Cap and Trade bill.  To read the article in its entirety,  click here

Many things have recently come to light that further contradict the man-made global warming theory.    I will try to bring those to you in future blogs.

See    The Weakness of the AGW Theory-Part 2

The Weakness of the AGW Theory-Part 3


13 responses to “The Weakness of the AGW Theory

  1. I would suggest actually reading the IPCC report. They do investigate all the usual natural causes of climate change – solar variations, volcanic activity, etc. They find that the sum of all the natural causes actually have a slightly cooling effect over the past century.

    As for the supposedly debunked hockey stick, since the hockey stick paper in 1998, there have been a number of proxy studies analysing a variety of different sources including corals, stalagmites, tree rings, boreholes and ice cores. They all confirm the original hockey stick conclusion: the 20th century is the warmest in the last 1000 years and that warming was most dramatic after 1920:

    As for water vapour, yes, it is the most dominant greenhouse gas. It’s also the dominant positive feedback in our climate system and amplifies any warming caused by changes in atmospheric CO2. In other words, the greenhouse effect from water vapour is the major reason why climate is so sensitive to changes in CO2:

  2. When an analogy like this is given, it means the author thinks the readers are idiots, and is not clear on the physics himself anyway.

    “As Dr. Tim Ball, a former climate scientist at the University of Winnipeg, put it: “The analogy that I use is that my car is not running that well, so I’m going to ignore the engine (which is the sun) and I’m going to ignore the transmission…”

    • Thank you for your revealing comment. You suggested that Dr Ball is not clear on the physics of his analogy used in this entry. Based upon Dr Ball’s writings, I can assure you that he is fully knowledgeable about the physics. No, my readers are not idiots. Perhaps you are the one that does not comprehend what Dr Ball was saying. No matter what the IR absorption is for each greenhouse gas, the amount of ManMade CO2 is such a small fraction of the total CO2 released to the atmosphere, it has to be inconsequential forcing agent.

  3. The statement “ManMade CO2 is such a small fraction of the total CO2 released to the atmosphere” betrays a poor understanding of how the carbon cycle works. Humans emit around 26 gigatonnes of CO2 per year. Meanwhile, nature emits around 550 gigatonnes of CO2 via the ocean and vegetation. But that’s only part of the picture. Nature also absorbs around 550 gigatonnes of CO2 – again via the ocean and vegetation. So the net contribution of CO2 from nature is close to zero. In fact less than zero as nature also absorbs a great portion of the human CO2.

  4. Well done John Cook! It’s nice to know that at least some one has actually read the IPPC. Clutching at straws and poking criticisms at one graph to try and get away from the fact humans are releasing Co2 from stores (fossil fuels) back into the atmosphere and therefore carbon cycle at a rate faster that they can be returned. The question is how these systems will evolve with the change in Co2 in time and yes a climate has experienced this kind of thing in the past and on much larger scales but the issue here is the speed at which we are doing it. Yes there are feedback mechanisms that may reduce the effect such as the increase in rates of photosynthesis in higher Co2 environments and increased co2 sequestration as a result of increased erosion through increasing precipitation as a result of temperature rise. But much more worryingly are the feedback mechanisms of the unstable West Antarctic ice sheet and how analogous the ice streams of Antarctica are to the ones thought to be responsible for the heinrich events associated with Hudson Bay and the onset of the last ice age.

  5. I have read (I don’t recall exactly where) that an incremental amount of CO2 above current levels will not impact the net radiation absorbed in the atmosphere since the absorption bands for CO2 are already fully saturated by existing CO2 ppm levels. Does anyone have any sources that would have satellite data on the IR emissions from the planet’s atmosphere to test this statement about the saturation.

  6. thats an intresting point garry. and i’m not sure myself. i have been doing some work on martian climate recently. a co2 dominated atmosphere, 95% , where it seems co2 is not the only greenhouse gass to be considerd. This is because, in the case of mars, when the atmosphere becomes saturated the production of fogs, hazes and clouds act to increase albedo and therfore reduce surface temperatures.

  7. Gary, a summary of the observational data on the greenhouse effect happening in our atmosphere can be found at:

    Basically, satellites are measuring less heat energy escaping out to space – specifically at the wavelengths that CO2 absorb energy. Independent confirmation of this comes from surface measurements which find more heat energy returning back to Earth at these same wavelengths.

  8. Glen, I hadn’t thought about the Mars situation. I wonder if the Mars Orbiter data shows a saturation in the CO2 IR spectrum or if some IR escapes. I’ll look into that. Thanks!

  9. John, I was disappointed in the (Chen) satellite article you referred me to. The authors conclude that changing spectral signatures are observed for the region and times chosen. The significance of those changes is not at all clear. We cannot infer anything about IR saturation from this work.

    Granted, the data sets they had to deal with required a somewhat torturous manipulation to gain normalization, but the case was not compelling. A difference in readings is just not as convincing as a trend or a correlation. For example what if I chose two different dates for the comparison? The sampling was limited, specifically over the central Pacific region, and for a short time–April, May and June. Nor did they ascribe any measure of error to their data. To be convincing evidence of changing IR spectra, we’d need to do a similar analysis for each year we have the data. From that we could not only detect a trend, but also put a value on the error in the data. With that approach we’d have the statistical confidence to make a statement about the likelihood of correlation between ppm levels of CO2 and IR absorption. Yet this still does not address “saturation”.

    So, in balance, I’d have to hold the conclusion presented by Chen in suspension until it can be corroborated. And we still need to find data about the effect of incremental CO2 on incremental IR absorption.

    Again, thanks for the link. I enjoyed the reading.

  10. Pingback: The Weakness of the AGW Theory–Part 3, The Great Global Warming Hoax « Climate Change Sanity

  11. Pingback: Weakness of the AGW Theory –Part 2, Fact-based Climate Debate « Climate Change Sanity

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