Monday, August 13, 2012

14 September 2011 – Al-Reality


No, this is not about “Survivor: Cairo”.  This is a special-edition CoP message to remind you not to miss Al Gore’s “24 hours of Reality”, scheduled to air today and tomorrow!

The purpose of the “24 hours” is to raise awareness that catastrophic anthropogenic global warming is coming, and explain why it’s YOUR fault, as opposed to that of the 2,000 yotta-tonne thermonuclear sphere in the sky.  The project is being managed by; if you visit their website, you’ll notice that they’re soliciting donations because - as they put it - “the denial has hit the fan”.  Apparently $100B+ in government funding for climate change research doesn’t go quite as far as it used to.  Among other things, Gore, who commands $145,000 per speaking engagement (more, shockingly, than fellow warmist Bill Maher, although not quite as much as Bill Clinton) and whose investment firm owns large swathes of the deceased carbon credit market, will launch a “full-on assault on climate sceptics, exploring where they get their funding from.”  Okay, then.

The most interesting aspect of Gore’s return to the pulpit is not where the money’s coming from, but rather where US temperatures seem to be headed over the 24-hour period of the programme.  According to, this is how US temps are likely to change from Wednesday p.m. to Thursday a.m.:

That’s right, sports fans - US temperatures are expected to drop by 10-20 degrees F while Algore is selling his version of “reality”. Most of Texas appears likely to drop by 30 degrees or more, in fact.  And the above maps prove that it isn’t just due to diurnal temperature variation; Gore actually appears to be summoning a continent-wide mass of Arctic air down out of the far north. 

Jeez, where was he during this summer’s heat wave?

(Naturally, I realize that these are projections based on models - but the AGW true believers are all about the models, right?)

This is the phenomenon that has in recent years come to be known as “The Gore Effect”. []  Correlation is not causation, of course, and the wags citied in the Wiki piece toss off the decline in temperatures accompanying Gore’s appearances as “coincidence”.  But riddle me this: what exactly is the difference between the hypothesis that Al Gore’s global warming speeches cause temperatures to drop, and the hypothesis that increasing CO2 concentrations cause temperatures to rise?  Both are theories, after all, and thus both are subject to validation or falsification via observation.

The difference between the two theories is that observed data appear to support the Al-Gore-Makes-It-Colder hypothesis, but not the CO2-makes-it-warmer hypothesis.  Historical observations show that when CO2 goes up, sometimes temperature goes up, and sometimes temperature goes down (as happened, for example, from 1875-1905, from 1940-1975, and from 1998 to today). And since the warmists only care about CO2 resulting from human consumption of fossil fuels (cement manufacture accounts for only 10% of "emissions"), well, how does fossil fuel consumption correlate with temperature?

(Thin dashed line = annual temperature anomaly; bold line = annual temperature anomaly with 13-year smoothing; boxed grey line = world fuel consumption in Mt of nominal fuel.  Source: L.B. Klyashtorin and A.A. Lyubushin, “On the coherence between the dynamics of the world fuel consumption and global temperature anomaly”, Energy & Environment, Vol. 14, No. 6 (2003), 775.  Amongst other things, this chart demonstrates the utter lack of any statistically significant correlation between global temperature anomalies and fossil fuel consumption over the past 150 years.  And since fossil fuels account for 90% of anthropogenic CO2 emissions...well, you know the rest).

That's right - it doesn't.  As the above chart shows, there is no statistically significant correlation between world fuel consumption and global temperature change, period.  To put it mathematically,
Temperature Trend
Coefficient of Correlation
(Δt and WFC)
+ 0.92
- 0.71
+ 0.28
- 0.88
+ 0.94
Falling (?)
(Correlation between Δt and WFC in different time periods from 1861-2030, after Klyashtorin and Lyubushin)
So the alleged link between fossil fuel consumption goes from a strong positive correlation to a moderately strong negative correlation to a weak positive correlation to a strong negative correlation (1940-1975, when fossil fuel consumption was skyrocketing and temperatures were plummeting) to a strong positive correlation...up to 2000.  Of course, since 1998, temperatures have been declining while fossil fuel consumption continues to skyrocket, putting us back into a negative correlation regime.  Correlation is not causation, but the complete absence of correlation between two phenomena eliminates the possibility of a causal relationship between them.  This is a valid observation given that the IPCC has posited, as the key driver of global climate, a linearly-scaling relationship between human CO2 emissions and average global temperature.
By comparison, when Al talks about global warming, it almost always seems to get colder!  The coefficient of correlation - the “R-squared” - is thus empirically higher for the Gore Effect than it is for the AGW thesis.  There is, therefore, more observed evidence to support the hypothesis that Gore flapping his gums is a significant cause of global cooling than there is to support the notion that CO2 (let alone the 3% of atmospheric CO2 deriving from human activities) is a significant cause of global warming (or climate change, or climate disruption, or man-caused disasters, or whatever we’re calling it this week).

Even the long-term trends are illustrative; Al has been rattling on about AGW for close to 25 years now, but he didn’t really get into the climate prophet/profit business until his VP term expired at the end of 1999 and he was legally allowed to make money from his shenanigans (and he did, hand over fist).  As noted above, average global temperatures have fallen since the high of 1998, corresponding with the true onset of Al's climate evangelism. 

If there were this much empirical evidence for the AGW thesis, we’d already have cap’n’trade laws in place, electric cars would be mandatory, and the Chicago Climate Exchange would be churning out dividends instead of emulating a Norwegian Blue parrot.

Indeed, the slight increase in Gore-related activity that we’ve seen this year might already be having an impact on temperatures.  If you subtract the daily average satellite temperature measurements for 2011 from those for 2010, using the UAH (University of Alabama at Huntsville) satellite channel observational record, this is what you get:
(Source: [])

Every last result is positive.  This means that every single day in 2011 so far - every last one - was cooler than the corresponding day in 2010.  That must be the “historically unprecedented warming” we keep hearing about.  Moreover, the fact that temperatures are going down when all of the climate models - every last one - predicted that temperatures would rise in response to increasing CO2 concentrations...well, that can only be proof that something more powerful than human carbon dioxide emissions is controlling temperature. 

Could it be the Gore Effect? Empirical evidence doesn't lie, people! And if it isn't the Gore Effect, why then it must be something else!  But surely you aren't one of those whacked-out cranks who thinks temperatures are natural and cyclical and influenced mostly by something other than humans...for example, that giant ball of fusion up there?

Don’t feel bad if you can’t come up with a physical mechanism to explain how the Gore Effect works; we don’t have to understand how a system operates so long as it functions consistently and reliably.  An observably reliable phenomenon can achieve predictive validity even if you don’t fully comprehend its internal dynamics (you probably drive a car - can you sketch a fuel injection manifold?  I know I can't.  And yet, I've never had an accident).  On a more universal level, Higgs Bosons notwithstanding, nobody’s observed a graviton yet, but most of us don’t worry about the Moon suddenly crashing down on our heads or careening wildly off into space. 

But if Al were to be hired by NASA, all bets are off; if his mere presence can warp global weather patterns, I’m not convinced Newton’s laws of motion are safe.

The IPCC really needs to figure out how to work the Gore Effect into their climate models.  In the meantime, feel free to enjoy the forthcoming 24 hours of Al-Reality.  Just make sure you have a sweater handy.  If observed historical trends are any indication, the minute he opens his mouth, it’s going to get chilly.