Black Monday for the Climatistas

Most climatistas are going to call today “Black Monday,” because today has dealt a double-whammy of what Al Gore would call inconvenient news.

First, an article out today in Nature Geoscience ponders the problem of why observed temperatures in the troposphere are not matching up with what the climate models have predicted. The lead author, Ben Santer, is one of the leading climatistas, so this article can’t be written off as “denier” distortions. (One of the co-authors is Michael Mann.) The complete article is behind a paywall, and while it is evident that the authors have done all the necessary contortions that essentially say “our models are just a little off” so as to convey a “nothing to see here” conclusion, the abstract can hardly be reassuring because it has to concede the problem:

Causes of differences in model and satellite tropospheric warming rates

Ben Santer, et al.

Abstract

In the early twenty-first century, satellite-derived tropospheric warming trends were generally smaller than trends estimated from a large multi-model ensemble. Because observations and coupled model simulations do not have the same phasing of natural internal variability, such decadal differences in simulated and observed warming rates invariably occur. Here we analyse global-mean tropospheric temperatures from satellites and climate model simulations to examine whether warming rate differences over the satellite era can be explained by internal climate variability alone. We find that in the last two decades of the twentieth century, differences between modelled and observed tropospheric temperature trends are broadly consistent with internal variability. Over most of the early twenty-first century, however, model tropospheric warming is substantially larger than observed; warming rate differences are generally outside the range of trends arising from internal variability. The probability that multi-decadal internal variability fully explains the asymmetry between the late twentieth and early twenty-first century results is low (between zero and about 9%). It is also unlikely that this asymmetry is due to the combined effects of internal variability and a model error in climate sensitivity. We conclude that model overestimation of tropospheric warming in the early twenty-first century is partly due to systematic deficiencies in some of the post-2000 external forcings used in the model simulations.

Second, one of the heroes of the climate fantasists is Stanford’s Mark Jacobson, who has been arguing for some time now that the U.S. can get to 100 percent renewable electricity (wind, solar, and hydro) by the year 2050. His work is preposterous, and as I noted here once before, Jacobson is regarded as a joke by most of his Stanford colleagues. Some of them (along with heavyweight energy academics from Berkeley, MIT, and elsewhere—there are a total of 21 authors signed on) have joined a major article out today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that thoroughly rubbishes Jacobson’s fantasies:

Evaluation of a proposal for reliable low-cost grid power with 100% wind, water, and solar

Abstract

A number of analyses, meta-analyses, and assessments, including those performed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and the International Energy Agency, have concluded that deployment of a diverse portfolio of clean energy technologies makes a transition to a low-carbon-emission energy system both more feasible and less costly than other pathways. In contrast, Jacobson et al. [Jacobson MZ, Delucchi MA, Cameron MA, Frew BA (2015) Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112(49):15060–15065] argue that it is feasible to provide “low-cost solutions to the grid reliability problem with 100% penetration of WWS [wind, water and solar power] across all energy sectors in the continental United States between 2050 and 2055”, with only electricity and hydrogen as energy carriers. In this paper, we evaluate that study and find significant shortcomings in the analysis. In particular, we point out that this work used invalid modeling tools, contained modeling errors, and made implausible and inadequately supported assumptions. Policy makers should treat with caution any visions of a rapid, reliable, and low-cost transition to entire energy systems that relies almost exclusively on wind, solar, and hydroelectric power.

Translated from the politesse of formal academic writing, this means: Jacobson is full of crap. If you need confirmation, just consider that Jacobson has responded by attacking his critics in ad hominem fashion, rather than their arguments, telling the MIT Technology Review that “They’re either nuclear advocates or carbon sequestration advocates or fossil-fuels advocates. They don’t like the fact that we’re getting a lot of attention, so they’re trying to diminish our work.” (By the way—who has been giving Jacobson “a lot of attention”? Actor Mark Ruffalo and activist Van Jones in particular  Not exactly a compelling rebuttal. And totally incorrect about the authors of the new PNAS study, many of whom (I know some of them) are totally convinced climateers and dedicated energy decarbonizers. They just don’t like B.S.

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