Lindzen And Choi 2011

Climate Changes, But Facts Don’t: Debunking Monckton

On the 19th of July in 2011 the National Press Club of Australia held a debate on climate change. In this video I will be analysing the claims Monckton made during the debate and if they are correct or not.

The reason I’m doing this is that Monckton challenges his critics to check his sources, or like he put it in this debate “to do your homework”. I’m going to follow him up on this to see if the scientific literature, and other available sources, corroborate what he’s saying.

23 - Lindzen And Choi 2011

Video description

On the 19th of July in 2011 the National Press Club of Australia held a debate on climate change. I will be analysing the claims Monckton made during the debate and if they are correct or not.

In this part of the debate Monckton cites a paper by Richard Lindzen and his colleague Yong-Sang Choi as evidence for a low climate sensitivity. What does this paper say and are these conclusions justified?

Transcript

It is not good enough merely to recite that there is a consensus of thousands of climate scientists. The number of climate scientists who, by measurement, observation and experiment, and by the application of established theory to the results have even attempted to determine climate sensitivity, which is how much warming we are going to get, numbers not in the thousands, but in the dozens.

And most of those have concluded that the matter is, indeed, highly uncertain and some of them, such as professor Richard Lindzen and his colleague Yong-Sang Choi in a paper published earlier this year have determined that the amount of outgoing radiation reaching space is far greater than that which would allow high climate sensitivity. And they estimate once again that there would be less than one Celsius degree of warming for a doubling of CO2 concentration.

Again Monckton states that there is no consensus on how sensitive our planet is to a doubling of CO2. Something that is simply not true, there is a consensus in the literature on what the number is.

But here we get a glimpse as to why Monckton says otherwise. What Monckton did here is pick one paper that agrees with his position and ignores the vast majority of papers that don't confirm his position. This is called cherry picking.

The paper in question is called “On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications”. It lists Richard S. Lindzen and Yong-Sang Choi as its authors and was accepted for publication on the 22th of may in 2011.

This paper is an attempt to address severe flaws in their 2009 version of this paper. Lindzen said that the 2009 version contained “some stupid mistakes” in his handling of the satellite data. Mistakes that he called “embarrassing”.

One of the problems in this study was that Lindzen only used temperature data from the tropics. Which he then used to calculate a global climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2. Remember my Ohio population analogy in one of the previous sections? This paper is the perfect example of why you don't do this.

The problem is that the climate has a phenomenon called polar amplification. What this means is that as the world warms it will do so more in the polar regions than in the tropics. Generally speaking the tropics will warm the least compared to other locations on the world. It's an effect you see if you look at how much, and where, the world has warmed.

This flaw, and many others, are the reason why this paper basically got torn to shreds in the scientific literature. The problem with the new 2011 version of this paper is that this problem, and several others, never were addressed. It's the reason the 2011 version was rejected for publication in the prestigious journals PNAS and AGU.

For the PNAS submission the peer-review comments are publicly available. And all four reviewers said that the paper wasn't of suitable quality and the conclusions weren't justified. This is the reason the paper was ultimately submitted and published in an obscure Korean journal.

The quality of the source Monckton cites here is very poor, and he ignored the majority of the literature on this matter, as such his conclusion that climate sensitivity is low is not justified.

Sources

  1. On the Observational Determination of Climate Sensitivity and Its Implications
  2. Constraining climate sensitivity with linear fits to outgoing radiation
  3. On the determination of climate feedbacks from ERBE data
  4. Clouds’ Effect on Climate Change Is Last Bastion for Dissenters
  5. Polar Amplification
  6. On the observational determination of climate sensitivity and its implications – review comments

Media resources

  1. NASA | NASA's Analysis of 2012 Global Temperature

Climate Changes, But Facts Don’t: Debunking Monckton