Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Isn't Funny Any More

One wonders if the IPCC got anything right.
More trouble looms for the IPCC. The body may need to revise statements made in its Fourth Assessment Report on hurricanes and global warming. A statistical analysis of the raw data shows that the claims that global hurricane activity has increased cannot be supported.

Les Hatton once fixed weather models at the Met Office. Having studied Maths at Cambridge, he completed his PhD as meteorologist: his PhD was the study of tornadoes and waterspouts. He's a fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society, currently teaches at the University of Kingston, and is well known in the software engineering community - his studies include critical systems analysis.

Hatton has released what he describes as an 'A-level' statistical analysis, which tests six IPCC statements against raw data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric (NOAA) Administration. He's published all the raw data and invites criticism, but warns he is neither "a warmist nor a denialist", but a scientist.

Hatton performed a z-test statistical analysis of the period 1999-2009 against 1946-2009 to test the six conclusions. He also ran the data ending with what the IPCC had available in 2007. He found that North Atlantic hurricane activity increased significantly, but the increase was counterbalanced by diminished activity in the East Pacific, where hurricane-strength storms are 50 per cent more prevalent. The West Pacific showed no significant change. Overall, the declines balance the increases.
There has been no warming in the last 15 years. Hurricanes did not increase or get worse. The glaciers will not be gone in a few decades. Polar bears are on the increase.

This wasn't science. This was religion.


Rose said...


tim eisele said...

Just a caution: While it sure looks like the IPCC is mainly a tool for scaremongers and political hacks, that doesn't mean there isn't anything to it at all. I've long been unhappy with the tendency in politics to paint issues as pure black/white when they are clearly shades of gray, and this is one of those.

There are some things that are definite:

Carbon dioxide levels are certanly increasing in the atmosphere, and have been for some time.

The "greenhouse effect" does exist, as without it the earth would be markedly cooler, and CO2 is a contributor to it.

Carbon dioxide emissions by humans is far from trivial

The long-term temperature changes may be pretty noisy, making it hard to get a statistically significant trend over times shorter than a decade, but the general upward trend is certainly suggestive that *something* is going on.

Where the uncertainties come up is when you get into questions of what the actual effects on people are going to be, and what if anything is worthwhile to do about it. I generally tend to think that there will be both good and bad results, and that for a lot of us the good will actually outweigh the bad. That doesn't mean that I think we aren't seeing changes, or that there won't be disruptions; I just think that it will be most effective overall to just adapt to changing conditions as and where it becomes necessary. Trying to force *everybody in the world* to pay money and be inconvenienced, so that *some fraction of the population* won't have problems, isn't really going to fly in the long run, anyway.

After all, if the main local effect of climate change is likely to be to move northern Michigan from Plant Hardiness Zone 4 to something more congenial, like Zone 6 or so, then what's my personal incentive to reduce my CO2 emissions? Particularly without a clear, unambiguous case for exactly who is going to actually suffer?

K T Cat said...

Tim, you make great points. What bothers me is that all dangers seem to lead to more government control. I think I'd feel differently if the climate scientists weren't being used to create massive new government programs or regulations. In such a world, the huge corporations can cement in their competitive advantages by helping government write legislation. That happens anyway, but why give them more and larger opportunities to do so?