Jaworowski 2003: A cornucopia of misinformation, Part 1

(Joint post with John Cross)

In recent polls, the question most often asked by both of this blog’s readers has been
What are Zbigniew Jaworowski’s chances of repeating his stunning 2005 performance in this year’s Golden Horseshoes?
It is our unfortunate duty to inform you that good ol’ Z, as he is affectionately referred to here at Boojum Labs, has been eliminated in the semifinals. Part of the reason is that 2006 has been an extremely strong year for distortion, exaggeration, misdirection, tendentiousness and obfuscation. The number of outstanding contenders is such that many extremely qualified truth-stretchers fell from the pack in the early rounds. Another factor may have been that good ol’ Z does not seem to have published anything in the last year. Or two. Whatever the reason, we feel it unfair and a disservice to the public to simply ignore this titan of mendacity, especially when he is an honored guest at this year’s Climate Crackpot Controversy Conference. For that reason alone, it seems appropriate to bring back a blast from the relatively recent past — Jaworowski’s classic The Ice Age is Coming! Solar Cycles, not CO2 , Determine Climate.
The paper appeared in the Winter 2003-2004 issue of Lyndon Larouche’s magazine 21st Century Science and Technology. This publication is so wacky that it deserves a post of its own — but suffice it to say that we’re not talking about the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences here. Jaworowski is a featured writer for the magazine, with articles in both the “Global Warming?” and “Go Nuclear” sections. His piece on CO2 in ice cores predates his testimony before an imaginary Senate hearing, and may warrant a closer look; also, his views on how Chernobyl showed that nuclear power is safe are sure to be interesting. But for now, let’s see what happens when good ol’ Z turns his attention to the larger topic of climate change. The result is … positively Jaworowskian. This article is such an epic work of misinformation that we are forced to break the review into segments. If the coffee holds out, we may be done before the next Ice Age.

Jaworowski opens by tenderizing the truth a bit, saying that

Since the 1980s, many climatologists have claimed that human activity has caused the near-surface air temperature to rise faster and higher than ever before in history. Industrial carbon dioxide emissions, they say, will soon result in a runaway global warming, with disastrous consequences for the biosphere. By 2100, they claim, the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration will double, causing the average temperature on Earth to increase by 1.9°C to 5.2°C, and in the polar region by more than 12°C.

If we were sticklers, we might ask for more specificity than “many climatologists”, or object that no one has predicted “runaway” warming. But the opener is, in parts, roughly consistent with what has actually been predicted. Then we get to the second paragraph, and the fun begins.

Just a few years earlier, these very same climatologists had professed that industrial pollution would bring about a new Ice Age. In 1971, the spiritual leader of the global warming prophets, Dr. Stephen H. Schneider from the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, claimed that this pollution would soon reduce the global temperature by 3.5°C.1

“[T]hese very same climatologists” turns out to be Stephen Schneider. He was at NCAR from 1973-1996, not in 2003, and was at NASA in 1971 when the cited paper was written. In fact, the lead author was S. Ichtiaque Rasool. Schneider was a post-doc at the time, little dreaming, perhaps, that he would one day be the “spiritual leader of the global warming prophets.” The relevant passage in the paper is

Even if we assume that the rate of scavenging and other removal processes for atmospheric dust particles remains constant, it is still difficult to predict the rate at which global background opacity of the atmosphere will increase with increasing particulate injection by human activities. However, it is projected that man’s potential to pollute will increase six- to eightfold in the next 50 years[24]. If this increased rate of injection of particulate matter in the atmosphere should raise the present global background opacity by a factor of 4, our calculations suggest a decrease in global temperature by as much as 3.5° K.

As it turned out, Rasool and Schneider’s predictions were off the mark because they had used too low a value for CO2 sensitivity:

From our calculation, a doubling of CO2> produces a tropospheric temperature change of 0.8° K[12]. However, as more CO2 is added to the atmosphere, the rate of temperature increase is proportionally less and less, and the increase eventually levels off. Even for an increase in CO2 by a factor of 10, the temperature increase does not exceed 2.5° K. Therefore, the runaway greenhouse effect does not occur …

So even the “many climatologists” cited by Jaworowski fail to predict a runaway greenhouse effect — or a “new Ice Age” for that matter. The statement that “climatologists had professed that industrial pollution would bring about a new Ice Age” is a canard, trotted out whenever someone wants to imply that projections of climatic change have been, and thus are, unreliable. In fact, there were no articles in peer-reviewed journals during the 1970s predicting a new Ice Age.
Jaworowski’s quotation from the National Science Board is second-hand and incomplete. The citation is actually to a statement by James Schlesinger[2] that quotes the Board as saying

[T]he present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end . . . leading into the next glacial age.

A more complete quote is

Judging from the record of the past interglacial ages, the present time of high temperatures should be drawing to an end … leading into the next glacial age. However, it is possible, or even likely, than human interference has already altered the environment so much that the climatic pattern of the near future will follow a different path. . ..

For some reason, James Schlesinger found it impractical to quote the second sentence in that passage along with the first. Perhaps he was out of space. This statement was the subject of commentary at the time by popular publications, including National Geographic. It has also been shamelessly misrepresented, over the years, by a motley cast of characters that now includes Jaworowski.

To sum up, then: We are now three paragraphs into a twelve-page paper. Jaworowski has already presented us with four misleading statements, three errors of omission, two outright errors of fact and a misattribution in a pear tree. Now that’s the kind of performance we have come to expect from a champion!

Next: Radiative balance.

[1]S. I. Rasool and S.H. Schneider, 1971, Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Aerosols: Effects of Large Increases on Global Climate, Science 173 (July 9), pp. 188-141 [Footnote numbering from Jaworowski (2003)]
[2]David Schindler wrote a pointed reply to Schlesinger that’s well worth a read.
[12] Our computed surface temperature increase for an increase in the amount of CO2 by a factor of 2 is less than one-third that of Manabe and Wetherald (11). There are three reasons for this difference: (i) The absorption coefficients for CO2 used by Manabe and Wetherald [from G. Yamamoto and T. Sasamori, Sci. Rep. Tohoku Univer. Ser. 510 (No. 2), 37 (1958) are higher than ours [from (4)]. (ii) In our calculations the temperature throughout the troposphere varies at the fixed critical lapse rate, whereas in Manabe and Wetherald’s calculations the increase in temperature is confined to the lower troposphere, and the upper troposphere and stratosphere show an actual decreasing temperature. (iii) Our method of calculation for the overlap of H2O and CO2 absorption bands and our evaluation of the radiative flux integrals are not identical with theirs. However, since we are interested in studying the very long-term effects of increasing CO2 up to a factor of 10 or more, the shape of the curves shown in Fig. 1, which indicates a leveling off of the temperature increase, is the major point of emphasis, rather than the absolute value of temperature change for a doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere. [Footnote numbering from Rasool & Schneider (1971) -- and no, I'm not going to copy the figure and the secondary footnotes at the moment.]
[24] J. H. Ludwig, G. B. Moran, T. B. McMullen, Eos Trans. Amer. Geophys. Union, 51, 468 (1970) [Footnote numbering from Rasool & Schneider (1971)]

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3 Responses to “Jaworowski 2003: A cornucopia of misinformation, Part 1”

  1. John Says:

    An excellent post in all aspects!

    Jon Kross

  2. Eli Rabett Says:

    Where do I get a Jaworowski Pinata?

  3. Eli Rabett Says:

    Even worse, the referees MADE Rasool and Schneider include a footnote stating that the climate sensitivity the used was probably too low. I would love to have THAT correspondence

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