The Week That Was: November 9, 2019

Brought to You by The Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

Quote of the Week:
“It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards.

“You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.
“In summary, the idea is to try to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgment in one particular direction or another.” – Richard Feynman, Cargo Cult Science

Number of the Week: Down 66%. From 1.9 billion to 650 million.

By Ken Haapala, President, Science and Environmental Policy Project (SEPP)

The Buck Stops Here: President Harry Truman (1945 to 1953) was not well liked by the eastern political establishment, either Republican or Democrat. He was considered ill-educated, crude, and ill-suited for the job. Yet he was well read in history. He was ill-prepared for assuming office on April 12, 1945 because President Roosevelt hid his illness and did not include Truman in important discussions.

Truman was president during a turbulent time and made difficult decisions. For years, historians have criticized Truman for authorizing the dropping the uranium bomb on Hiroshima and the plutonium bomb on Nagasaki. Immediately after Nagasaki, Japan surrendered, ending World War II, formally on August 14, 1945. The US had no more atomic bombs. Much of the criticism of Truman for authorizing the bombing was based on early releases that the US was reading secret diplomatic messages urging surrender. It was not until much later that the US released files showing that it was also reading secret military messages, in a different code, urging continuing the war.

During Truman’s administration the UN was formed (charter signed on October 24, 1945); the US instituted the Marshall Plan, departing greatly from the usual practice of the victors economically punishing the losers of a war; the armed forces were integrated; NATO and other structures for facing the threat of the Soviet Union were formed; and the US entered the war in Korea.

Truman was fond of playing poker and telling stories with his friends. In the early 20th century a term in poker became to a US slang for blaming others for one’s failures – “passing the buck – possibly referring to the buck knife. Truman had a sign on his desk stating where he thought responsibility and accountability should lie – “the buck stops here.” In his farewell address Truman asserted: “The President–whoever he is–has to decide. He can’t pass the buck to anybody. No one else can do the deciding for him. That’s his job.” See…

California Control: There has been a great deal of “passing the buck” regarding responsibility for the electrical black-outs and the fires started by public utility lines in California. Yet, the Constitution of the State of California clearly assigns accountability and responsibility to the state government, namely the State Legislature. Section 3 of Article 12, the Public Utilities Section of the Constitution reads:

SEC. 3. Private corporations and persons that own, operate, control, or manage a line, plant, or system for the transportation of people or property, the transmission of telephone and telegraph messages, or the production, generation, transmission, or furnishing of heat, light, water, power, storage, or wharfage directly or indirectly to or for the public, and common carriers, are public utilities subject to control by the Legislature. The Legislature may prescribe that additional classes of private corporations or other persons are public utilities.
(Sec. 3 added Nov. 5, 1974, by Prop. 12. Res.Ch. 88, 1974.)
[Boldface added]

Yet, no leader in the legislature, or the executive office has stood up and said: “The Buck Stops Here.” See links under Energy Issues – US and California Dreaming;

Nature v. Models – The Greenhouse Effect: The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has avoided rigorously establishing a clear relationship between temperatures and greenhouse gases. Further, the IPCC attributes most change in temperatures to carbon dioxide, ignoring the major greenhouse gas water vapor, until the end, where it is tacked on. To disguise its lack of knowledge of the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperatures the IPCC relies on hypothetical Relative Concentration Pathways (RPC). These supposedly relate to the Earth’s energy imbalance, in watts per square meter, from increasing greenhouse gases. The IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report (AR5, 2013) defines these, in increasing order of energy imbalance, as RCP W/m2; 4.5 W/m2; 6.0 W/m2; and 8.5 W/m2. Most Global Climate Models are created to follow these pathways.

It is easy to demonstrate that the extreme RPC 8.5 yields absurd results, though many climate scientists and politicians consider the results feasible. What is far more meaningful is to see how US climate models using the modest RCP 4.5 compare with what is actually occurring in the atmosphere. John Christy of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville kindly provided TWTW with results of US model runs using the KMNI Climate Explorer, from the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), the Dutch national weather service.

The model runs include 10 runs using two NCAR / UCAR models funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF); 3 runs using the three Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) models, 1 run each funded by NOAA; and 34 runs using the two Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) models funded by NASA. The observations are the Tropical Mid-Tropospheric Temperatures from 1979 to 2018 (40 years) taken from 4 different balloon datasets; the average of 3 different satellite datasets; and the world-wide reanalysis datasets used daily for calibrating weather models. In the graph blow, the NCAR / UCAR models are identified as CCSM4 and CCSM1.

Starting about 1995, the models began to greatly overestimate the warming of the tropical mid-troposphere. Today, the overestimate of temperature trends for the RCP 4.5 scenario of low emissions is about twice that of what is occurring.

From balloon and satellite data, the average trend in increasing atmospheric temperatures is 0.12 ºC per decade. The average for the two GISS models is 0.25 and 0.26 ºC per decade; the GFDL model trends are 0.40; 0.32, and 0.33 ºC per decade; and the NCAR / UCAR models are 0.26 and 0.24 ºC per decade. Even under this low emissions scenario, none of the models come close to what is occurring in the atmosphere. Sadly, US funding entities consider this sloppy thinking “science.”