The most damning thing about Christopher Monckton’s testimony to the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming on global warming science (video here), is the fact that the Republicans could not or would not get a single scientist to testify.
His main argument is based on the same confusion that I dealt with in my debate with him — the idea that Pinker (2005) which found an increase in short wave radiation at the surface, actually found an increase in radiative forcing. Rachel Pinker herself explained the difference: (my emphasis)
The CO2 “radiative forcing” value that Mr. Christopher Monckton is quoting refers to the impact on the Earth’s Radiative balance as described above. The numbers that we quote in our paper represent the change in surface SW due to changes in the atmosphere (clouds, water vapor, aerosols). These two numbers cannot be compared at their face value.
But Monckton ignored this correction from Pinker in his testimony:
“This is from a paper by Dr Claire Pinker and her colleagues in 2005 showing a very rapid increase in global brightening, the amount of sunlight reaching the surface of the Earth. Enough global brightening to cause a warming of one Celsius degree, though only 0.37 Celsius degrees of warming was observed over that 18 year period. So if anyone tries to tell you that we cannot explain the global warming of the past 30 years except by reference to carbon dioxide, this graph, and many others like it in the scientific literature should suggest otherwise. And if we now include that data from Dr Pinker together with the various forcings and temperature increases from the individual greenhouse gasses, what we end up with is a fourfold overstatement of the rate of increase in global temperature over what was actually observed — if we use the IPCC’s methods to calculate what the warming would have been.”
He did correct his mistake about her gender, but got her name wrong. Monckton also made a change to his key graph:
While he is still wrongly interpreting an increase in short wave radiation as radiative forcing, he has multiplied the number by 67%. To figure out why, I looked at his written testimony:
Allowing for the fact that Dr. Pinker’s result depended in part on the datasets of outgoing radiative flux from the ERBE satellite that had not been corrected at that time for orbital decay, it is possible to infer a net increase in surface radiative flux amounting to 0.106 Wm2year over the period, compared with the 0.16 W m-2 year-1 found by Dr. Pinker. Elementary radiative-transfer calculations demonstrate that a natural surface global brightening amounting to ~1.9 W m-2 over the 18-year period of study would be expected – using the IPCC’s own methodology – to have caused a transient warming of 1K (1.8 F). To put this naturally-occurring global brightening into perspective, the IPCC’s estimated total of all the anthropogenic influences on climate combined in the 256 years 1750-2005 is only 1.6 W m-2.
OK, the ERBE correction for orbital decay is this
During an instrument performance study, Lee et al. (2003) discovered that the ERBE nonscanner inversion algorithm did not correctly account for the decay in the ERBS altitude over its mission lifetime; this can have a small but significant effect on the reported decadal changes of nonscanner TOA fluxes. The ERBE nonscanner inversion algorithm is used to convert nonscanner measurements at satellite altitude (approximately 611 km at the start of the mission) to TOA measurements at a reference altitude of 30 km. While these altitude changes over the 15-year period are small (on the order of 25 km) and do not affect the overall quality of the large regional fluxes, they do, however, have significant effect on the smaller changes associated with the observed large scale decadal changes in Earth radiation budget (Wong et al., 2005).
But the graph Monckton uses, figure 1 of Pinker (2005), isn’t based on ERBE data:
Specifically, the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) (14, 15) data have been used to derive surface radiative fluxes for about 20 years.
So instead of correcting the error explained by Pinker, Monckton added a new one of his making.
The rest of Monckton’s science is just as bad. He repeats his wildly false claim that “Snowball Earth” proves that CO2 has little warming effect:
If the warming effect of CO2 were anything like as great as the vested-interest groups now seek to maintain, then, even after allowing for greater surface albedo and 5% less solar radiation, those glaciers could not possibly have existed
In our debate, I challenged Monckton to do the calculation of the forcing from the albedo change, but apparently he still hasn’t managed it. If we increase the Earth’s albedo from 0.3 (current value) to 0.5 (sea ice), the forcing is 342*(0.5-0.3) = 68 W/m2. Compare with the forcing from a factor of 1000 increase in CO2. That’s 10 doublings or 37 W/m2, so the planet is much colder, even with 1000 times as much CO2 in the atmosphere.
And look at this howler:
It has been suggested that the oceans have “acidified” – or, more correctly, become less alkaline – by 0.1 acid-base units in recent decades. However, the fact of a movement towards neutrality in ocean chemistry, if such a movement has occurred, tells us nothing of the cause, which cannot be attributed to increases in CO2 concentration. There is 70 times as much CO2 dissolved in the oceans as there is in the atmosphere, and some 30% of any CO2 we add to the atmosphere will eventually dissolve into the oceans. Accordingly, a doubling of CO2 concentration, expected later this century, would raise the oceanic partial pressure of CO2 by 30% of one-seventieth of what is already there. And that is an increase of 0.4% at most. Even this minuscule and chemically-irrelevant perturbation is probably overstated, since any “global warming” that resulted from the doubling of CO2 concentration would warm the oceans and cause them to outgas CO2, reducing the oceanic partial pressure.
Monckton doesn’t seem to be aware of what Roger Revelle found. The oceans aren’t well mixed — it’s just the surface water that will be acidified.
Monckton continued to dissemble about his claims to being a member of the House of Lords.
I have never sat or voted in the House of Lords. Nor have I pretended otherwise.
Compare with his earlier statements:
Finally, you may wonder why it is that a member of the Upper House of the United Kingdom legislature, wholly unconnected with and unpaid by the corporation that is the victim of your lamentable letter, should take the unusual step of calling upon you as members of the Upper House of the United States legislature either to withdraw what you have written or resign your sinecures.
I’m a member of the House of Lords, though, being merely hereditary, I don’t have a seat there