Trump, The National Climate Assessment Report & Fake News

BY: JONATHAN DUHAMEL

“A draft government climate assessment The New York Times ‘obtained’ and claims is not yet public has actually been available online since December, according to scientists who worked on the report.” (Read 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.”

I did download 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?

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.

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

Additional reading: Why computer models are the wrong approach – an essay by Alan Carlin (former senior EPA analyst) :

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

See also:

My comments on the previous National Climate Assessment:

Note to readers:

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