Monthly Archives: June 2009

Republican Comment On EPA Endangerment Findings

Last year, I testified before a House Subcommittee on the

Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing “Climate Change: Costs of Inaction” – Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp. [View PDF of Oral Summary].

I am pleased that my testimony was referred to in the Republican comment on the Proposed Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases Under the Clean Air Act issued by the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). 

More importantly, the comments provide further documentation in the public record as to major issues with regulating CO2 and several other well-mixed greenhouse gases as pollutants. Of particular relevance to my expertise, the EPA Findings are not scientifically robust; e.g. see

Brief Overview Of Several Climate Science Research Findings

Comments On The EPA “Proposed Endangerment And Cause Or Contribute Findings For Greenhouse Gases Under The Clean Air Act”.

As I wrote in the last weblog listed above

In conclusion, the EPA Endangerment findings is the culmination of a several year effort for a small group of climate scientists and others to use their positions as lead authors on the IPCC, CCSP and NRC reports to promote a political agenda.”

I look forward to reading how EPA responds to the issues that are raised in the comments by the House Members.

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Filed under Climate Change Regulations

Real Climate’s Misinformation

Real Climate posted a weblog on June 21 2009 titled “A warning from Copenhagen”.  They report on a Synthesis Report of the Copenhagen Congress which was handed over to the Danish Prime Minister Rasmussen in Brussels the previous week.

Real Climate writes  

“So what does it say? Our regular readers will hardly be surprised by the key findings from physical climate science, most of which we have already discussed here. Some aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago – such as rising sea levels, the increase of heat stored in the ocean and the shrinking Arctic sea ice. “The updated estimates of the future global mean sea level rise are about double the IPCC projections from 2007″, says the new report. And it points out that any warming caused will be virtually irreversible for at least a thousand years – because of the long residence time of CO2 in the atmosphere.”

First, what is “physical climate science”? How is this different from “climate science”. In the past, this terminology has been used when authors ignore the biological components of the climate system.

More importantly, however, the author of the weblog makes the  statement that the following climate metrics “are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago” ; 

1. “rising sea levels”

NOT TRUE;  e.g. see the University of Colorado at Boulder Sea Level Change analysis.

Sea level has actually flattened since 2006.

2.  “the increase of heat stored in the ocean”


Update On A Comparison Of Upper Ocean Heat Content Changes With The GISS Model Predictions.

Their has been no statistically significant warming of the upper ocean since 2003.

3. “shrinking Arctic sea ice”

NOT TRUE; see the Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly from the University of Illinois Cyrosphere Today website. Since 2008, the anomalies have actually decreased.

These climate metrics might again start following the predictions of the models. However, until and unless they do, the authors of the Copenhagen Congress Synthesis Report and the author of the Real Climate weblog are erroneously communicating the reality of the how the climate system is actually behaving. 

Media and policymakers who blindly accept these claims are either naive or are deliberately slanting the science to promote their particular advocacy position.



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Weblog On The Resilient Earth Titled “Seven Climate Models, Seven Different Answers” By Doug J. Hoffman

There is a very informative summary of a number of the issues raised on my website in a post on weblog The Resilient Earth by  Doug L. Hoffman on june 16 2009.  The post is titled

Seven Climate Models, Seven Different Answers 

The post is worth reading and their website should be bookmarked. The conclusion of their weblog states

“Earth’s climate system is amazingly complex and modeling is fraught with pitfalls and danger for even the most experienced computer scientists. No climate model predicted the current downturn in global temperatures, though many are now scrambling to predict possible decades of unchanging or cooling climate “within the general warming trend.” Still, climate science remains enthralled by its computerized playthings. I have to echo Professor Pielke’s question, how many years of wrong results are necessary before we reject the IPCC reports and the models they are based on?”

The plan to regulate CO2 by the EPA, and the intent of Congress and the President to introduce a “cap and trade” program for carbon emissions, in order to regulate climate, should require that the basis for these policy decisions be scientifcially robust.  It is essential to include all human climate forcings on climate (including land use/land change effects) in assessing the ability of their plans to actually alter climate.  They clearly have ignored doing this, and we will have a costly yet ineffective climate policy as a result.

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Filed under Climate Change Forcings & Feedbacks, Climate Change Regulations

Recommended Weblog By Tom Fuller “Next Generation Questions For Global Warming”

Their is an excellent weblog by Tom Fuller on the website titled “Next generation questions for global warming“. 

He identifies the need for testing the science in his text

“As with all scientific hypotheses, global warming will have to stand up under scrutiny over time. As there is no recognised clearinghouse that presents objections and answers in a structured fashion, this leads to scattergun efforts where multiple objections are raised and only partially addressed in the same forum.”

The negative comments that he has received on his post just illustrate the attempt to silence the scientific method (e.g. see). Readers of my weblog are encouraged to read his excellent set of posts on the climate science issues.

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Potential Climatic Impacts Of Vegetation Change: A Regional Modeling Study By Copeland Et Al 1996

This paper documents that landscape change is a regional first oder climate forcing in the United States. For more recent studies on this subject from our research group (see).

Copeland, J.H., R.A. Pielke, and T.G.F. Kittel, 1996: Potential climatic impacts of vegetation change: A regional modeling study. J. Geophys. Res., 101, 7409-7418.

The abstract reads

“The human species has been modifying the landscape long before the development of modern agrarian techniques. Much of the land area of the conterminous United States is currently used for agricultural production. In certain regions this change in vegetative cover from its natural state may have led to local climatic change. A regional climate version of the Colorado State University Regional Atmospheric Modeling System was used to assess the impact of a natural versus current vegetation distribution on the weather and climate of July 1989. The results indicate that coherent regions of substantial changes, of both positive and negative sign, in screen height temperature, humidity, wind speed, and precipitation are a possible consequence of land use change throughout the United States. The simulated changes in the screen height quantities were closely related to changes in the vegetation parameters of albedo, roughness length, leaf area index, and fractional coverage.”

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Evidence That Local Land Use Practices Influence Regional Climate And Vegetation Patterns In Adjacent Natural Areas By Stohlgren Et Al. 1998

This paper provides observational examples of the interaction between the atmosphere and the landscape which was discussed in yesterday’s weblog. 

Stohlgren, T.J., T.N. Chase, R.A. Pielke, T.G.F. Kittel, and J. Baron, 1998: Evidence that local land use practices influence regional climate and vegetation patterns in adjacent natural areas. Global Change Biology, 4, 495-504.

The abstract reads

“We present evidence that land use practices in the plains of Colorado influence regional climate and vegetation in adjacent natural areas in the Rocky Mountains in predictable ways. Mesoscale climate model simulations using the Colorado State University Regional Atmospheric Modelling System (RAMS) projected that modifications to natural vegetation in the plains, primarily due to agriculture and urbanization, could produce lower summer temperatures in the mountains. We corroborate the RAMS simulations with three independent sets of data: (i) climate records from 16 weather stations, which showed significant trends of decreasing July temperatures in recent decades; (ii) the distribution of seedlings of five dominant conifer species in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado, which suggested that cooler, wetter conditions occurred over roughly the same time period; and (iii) increased stream flow, normalized for changes in precipitation, during the summer months in four river basins, which also indicates cooler summer temperatures and lower transpiration at landscape scales. Combined, the mesoscale atmospheric/land-surface model, short-term trends in regional temperatures, forest distribution changes, and hydrology data indicate that the effects of land use practices on regional climate may overshadow larger-scale temperature changes commonly associated with observed increases in CO2 and other greenhouse gases.”

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Interactions Between The Atmosphere And Terrestrial Ecosystems: Influence On Weather And Climate By Pielke et al. 1998

Today’s weblog reviews how the atmosphere and landscape are coupled together, and that the climate system is an interactive nonlinear system.

Pielke, R.A., R. Avissar, M. Raupach, H. Dolman, X. Zeng, and S. Denning, 1998: Interactions between the atmosphere and terrestrial ecosystems: Influence on weather and climate. Global Change Biology, 4, 461-475.

The abstract reads

“This paper overviews the short-term (biophysical) and long-term out to around 100 year timescales; biogeochemical and biogeographical) influences of the land surface on weather and climate. From our review of the literature, the evidence is convincing that terrestrial ecosystem dynamics on these timescales significantly influence atmospheric processes. In studies of past and possible future climate change, terrestrial ecosystem dynamics are as important as changes in atmospheric dynamics and composition, ocean circulation, ice sheet extent, and orbit perturbations.”

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On The Impact Of Snow Cover on Daytime Pollution Dispersion By Segal Et Al. 1991

Yesterday’s paper discussed how  adjacent snow and snow free areas could generate mesoscale circulations. Today’s post (and yesterday’s as well) shows that not only does this affect air quality, but temperatures near the ground (such as used to monitor long term temperature trends) are very significantly affected. Even if the atmosphere above was not warming over time, a series of winters with less snow in a region would report  higher surface air temperatures.

Segal, M., J.R. Garratt, R.A. Pielke, P. Hildebrand, F.A. Rogers, and J. Cramer, 1991: On the impact of snow cover on daytime pollution dispersion. Atmos. Environ., 25B, 177-192.

The abstract reads

“A preliminary evaluation of the impact of snow cover on daytime pollutant dispersion conditions is made by using conceptual, scaling, and observational analyses. For uniform snow cover and synoptically unperturbed sunny conditions, observations indicate a considerable suppression of the surface sensible heat flux, the turbulence, and the development of the daytime atmospheric boundary layer (ABL) when compared to snow-free conditions. However, under conditions of non-uniform snow cover, as in urban areas, or associated with vegetated areas or bare ground patches, a milder effect on pollutant dispersion conditions would be expected. Observed concentrations of atmospheric particles within the ABL, and surface pollutant concentrations in urban areas, reflect the impact of snow cover on the modification of ABL characteristics.”

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Observational Evaluation Of The Snow Breeze By Segal et al. 1991

Today’s weblog documents that the areas of snow and adjacent snow free areas can result in signifcant mesoscale circulations. This is yet another example of a the role of landscape within the climate system.

Segal, M., J.H. Cramer, R.A. Pielke, J.R. Garratt, and P. Hildebrand, 1991: Observational evaluation of the snow-breeze. Mon. Wea. Rev., 119, 412-424.

The abstract reads

“An observational evaluation of the daytime thermally induced flow between the snow and snow-free areas (termed snow breeze) has been carded out. Aircraft measurements within the lower atmosphere made in the winter of 1988 reveal large temperature reductions over the snow cover relative to the bare ground implying the potential for snow-breeze generation. The aircraft flights were generally made under unfavorable synoptic conditions although in one particular case with a moderate synoptic flow, a snow breeze was clearly identified. A less distinctive snow breeze was indicated in a second case. Observed features and a scaling analysis of relevance to snow breezes are presented.”

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Influence Of Landscape Structure On Local And Regional Climate by Pielke and Avissar 1990

The weblogs of our research papers present observational and modeling evidence of the significant role of landscape processes on weather and climate Today’s paper summarizes why these effects have significant consequences on local and regional climate.

Pielke, R.A. and R. Avissar, 1990: Influence of landscape structure on local and regional climate. Landscape Ecology, 4, 133-155.

The abstract reads

“This paper discusses the physical linkage between the surface and the atmosphere, and demonstrates how even slight changes in surface conditions can have a pronounced effect on weather and climate. Observational and modeling evidence are presented to demonstrate the influence of landscape type on the overlying atmospheric conditions. The albedo, and the fractional partitioning of atmospheric turbulent heat flux into sensible and latent fluxes is shown to be particularly important in directly affecting local and regional weather and climate. It is concluded that adequate assessment of global climate and climate change cannot be achieved unless mesoscale landscape characteristics and their changes over time can be accurately determined.”

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