Arch Warmers Tacitly Acknowledge Any Human Effect on Climate is Lost in Noise

Posted: January 7, 2013 by Rog Tallbloke in climate, cosmic rays, Cycles, flames, Incompetence, Natural Variation, propaganda, solar system dynamics, Uncertainty, volcanos

My thanks to Ned Nikolov, who has alerted me to a new paper by Ben Santer et al entitled ‘Identifying human influences on atmospheric temperature’. The co-author list reads like a who’s who of the senior echelon of the IPCC warmers: Susan Solomon, Tom Wigley, Julie Arblaster and Peter Stott, to name a few among them.

So what do the climate Cluesos have to tell us this time? Have they now successfully identified a human influence on the climate system? The Fun thing about the title is that it is immediately contradicted by the abstract, in which we find this telling passage:


Inspector Clueso on the trail

We use simulation output from 20 climate models participating in phase 5 of the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project. This multimodel archive provides estimates of the signal pattern in response to combined anthropogenic and natural external forcing (the finger- print) and the noise of internally generated variability. Using these estimates, we calculate signal-to-noise (S/N) ratios to quantify the strength of the fingerprint in the observations relative to fingerprint strength in natural climate noise.

Watch the pea, very, very carefully.

First of all, notice the interesting new twist on the use of “finger-print“. Previously, this non-scientific term has been employed to refer to the non-appearing tropical tropospheric ‘hotspot’ as the ‘finger-print of anthropogenic global warming’. But now, apparently, it refers to “combined anthropogenic and natural external forcing”. So this term, ‘finger-print‘ implying as it does a unique and specifically human identity, now refers to a putative human influence and solar/cosmic influence lumped together. What kind of ‘fingerprint’ is that?

The main bone of contention in the climate debate is the question of whether the late 20th century warming was predominantly caused by the more active than average Sun, some longer term modes of internal variability, or by increasing human emission of carbon dioxide. Now the ‘Team’ is trying to conflate the solar influence with human influence and contrast these two entirely different factors with internal natural variability, which they call ‘noise’.

Do they think no-one will notice this less than adroit reframing of the climate question which now leaves the main issue wide open? Following this conflation of natural and human influence, will they really continue to tell us that they are still of the opinion that it is ‘very likely’ that human emission of carbon dioxide is responsible for more than half of the (gentle and beneficial) warming of the Earth’s atmosphere (and oceans) since around 1979? Speaking of the oceans, you’ll notice that they don’t speak of the oceans. The title and abstract refers only to the atmosphere. This is a tacit admission by omission – back radiation can’t heat oceans. But something did. That would be the Sun then. At the end of the abstract we get this:

On average, the models analyzed underestimate the observed cooling of the lower stratosphere and overestimate the warming of the troposphere. Although the precise causes of such differences are unclear, model biases in lower stratospheric temperature trends are likely to be reduced by more realistic treatment of stratospheric ozone depletion and volcanic aerosol forcing.

In my opinion they’d be reduced by a lot more if they faced the fact that solar variation has a much bigger effect on stratospheric ozone levels than anything man gets up to. But once again, we see that the Sun has been elbowed out of consideration, it’s all about volcanoes and atmospheric ‘greenhouse gases’. On the upside, there is now top-tier acknowledgement that the models have overestimated tropospheric warming. Unfortunately, there is little indication that the climate Cluesos are going to pick up the trail of the real warming culprit looking at any ‘finger-prints‘ through their distorted and dusty magnifying glass.

  1. Peter Whale says:

    Maybe if they washed their hands, data would be less messy and show none of their fingerprints over the rearrangements.

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  3. Paul Vaughan says:

    “simulation output from 20 climate models”

    There’s a whole generation of climate scientists coming up who have only done “research” on computer simulation output.

    This path leads to a dark age if not corrected.

    These young people need help from NASA JPL & IERS to learn how to see observed aggregate constraints. Just ask any one of them in conversation how the models are constrained to be consistent with earth orientation parameters (not to be confused with earth orbital parameters) and see what a very encouraging (tragic sarcasm) response you get. (You’ll realize very quickly what an inconvenient question it is, if the young person has enough awareness to even recognize the fundamental validity of the question. It’s something even their mentors would rather not have to deal with — and yet, there’s no escaping it. This is their Achilles Heel.)

  4. Stephen Wilde says:

    One more step is required to bring them into line with my New Climate Model.

    They need to recognise that an active sun is associated with reducing ozone and a cooling stratosphere whilst a less active sun results in increasing ozone and a warming stratosphere.

    That is opposite to the conventional wisdom but the only way to get the observed climate shifting whereby the jets and climate zones move poleward when the sun is active and equatorward when the sun is inactive.

  5. oldbrew says:

    ‘back radiation can’t heat oceans’

    Good point. Keep up the pressure on the attribution problem.

  6. Joe's World {Progressive Evolution} says:


    I have a problem…

    Glaciation theory is based on the hypothesis(guess) on the movement of rocks and pressure differences on landmasses. Geology 101.
    Unless gravity changes, that would be impossible for a wave of ice to move from the poles on downward.
    At the 48 degree latitude, water changes directions…
    Even if you speed up the planet , this ONLY changes the distance marginally to about the 49 degree latitude. Slowing, brings it down to the 47 degree latitude.

    How can ice and snow melt magically change the gravity?
    It cannot.
    Scientists still neglected looking at water loss to space and vastly more water in the past.
    A great many of our minerals and fossils did NOT exist 4.5 billion years ago. Time and Evolution changed and created MANY of our compounds along with species changes.

  7. Edward Martin says:

    They are inching in off the limb, n’est pas?

  8. J Martin says:

    now refers to a putative human influence and solar/cosmic influence lumped together. What kind of ‘fingerprint’ is that?

    After 16 years of no warming as not predicted by their failed models they either know they are wrong about CAGW by now, or they are beginning to worry that time will soon prove them wrong and they need to find an exit strategy.

    A successful exit strategy will allow them to not only largely keep their reputations intact, if not among their peers, then at least in the mainstream press, but also allow them to claim that they discovered the influence of natural causes (aka fingerprints), namely the sun.

    As the AMO moves into it’s cold phase and storms increase the co2 alarmists will say “we told you so”, proof that co2 causes bad weather.

    When temperatures decline, the co2 alarmists will no doubt try to find a way to blame co2 for that.

    We will be seeing more and more double speak as co2 alarmists seek to re-invent themselves.

  9. So the “fingerprint” is not just that of the primary suspect (human influence)”, but has superimposed on it “natural external forcing”, with the entire “exhibit A” being rather smudged by “natural climate noise”.

    Your Honour – in the light of the total disagreement amongst the fingerprint experts concerning exhibit A, I would submit that the fingerprint evidence has no credibility, and respectfully request that the case against my client be summarily dismissed. There is of course the question of defence costs, which must therefore be awarded to my client, who will leave court without a stain on his character. I would also submit that the prosecution should never have brought this case to court in the first place.

  10. Greg Goodman says:

    And so, with the dry sqeaking of an old lady’s bicycle, the sound of back peddling became louder and louder….