Just when the 'Warmers' thought they had enough collaborators to sit firmly on the lid of any opposition to their propositions that the earth was warming and it was all our fault, one of their collaborators (oh, alright, yet another of their collaborators) has turned 'milky', shall we say. Well, normally they would just shove them overboard and carry on regardless but this one is a bit hefty for that. I refer to the American Physical Society (APS), the second biggest association of physicists in the world, founded in 1899, so not an organisation whose views can be lightly dismissed. Not that the 'Warmers' wanted to dismiss them because in 2007 they had stood full-square behind the 'Warmers' and although in 2010 they were somewhat humiliated by being forced to reword certain passages in their supportive paper, nevertheless they were still 'on side', so to speak. However, their rules state that any papers issued in the name of the society must be subject to re-appraisal every five years and it this that is causing the brown stuff to hit the fan!
According to a contributor to the always excellent Tallbloke's Talkshop, a sub-committee of six scientists has been chosen to investigate and review the 'Warmer' claims that had previously been blessed by the APS. Three of them are, by and large, 'Warmers' but the other three are 'sceptics', including the redoubtable Ms. Judith Curry, a lady well-known to followers of this long war of the swots! As a consequence, I suppose, of the presence of these three 'sceptics' some very interesting questions are being posed to people who supported the original theory. Here are just a few of them:
While the Global Mean Surface Temperature (GMST) rose strongly from 1980-98, it has shown no significant rise for the past 15 years…[The APS notes that neither the 4th nor 5th IPCC report modeling suggested any stasis would occur, and then asks] …
To what would you attribute the stasis?
If non-anthropogenic influences are strong enough to counteract the expected effects of increased CO2, why wouldn’t they be strong enough to sometimes enhance warming trends, and in so doing lead to an over-estimate of CO2 influence?
What are the implications of this stasis for confidence in the models and their projections?
What do you see as the likelihood of solar influences beyond TSI (total solar irradiance)? Is it coincidence that the statis has occurred during the weakest solar cycle (ie sunspot activity) in about a century?
Some have suggested that the ‘missing heat’ is going into the deep ocean…
Are deep ocean observations sufficient in coverage and precision to bear on this hypothesis quantitatively?
Why would the heat sequestration have ‘turned on’ at the turn of this century?
What could make it ‘turn off’ and when might that occur?
Is there any mechanism that would allow the added heat in the deep ocean to reappear in the atmosphere?
IPCC suggests that the stasis can be attributed in part to ‘internal variability’. Yet climate models imply that a 15-year stasis is very rare and models cannot reproduce the observed Global Mean Surface Temperature even with the observed radiative forcing.
What is the definition of ‘internal variability’? Is it poorly defined initial conditions in the models or an intrinsically chaotic nature of the climate system? If the latter, what features of the climate system ARE predictable?
And so on and on . . . I have no idea what the answers will be but I am jolly glad that at last a serious scientific organisation has posed them, so unlike our very own, dearly beloved-not Royal Society!