The Studies Do No Such Thing

Today the USA Today announced in a headline:

Studies Link Man-Made Causes to Rise in Humidity

From the article:

One study, published in today’s edition of the journal Nature, found that the overall increase in worldwide surface humidity from 1973-99 was 2.2%, which is due "primarily to human-caused global warming," according to study co-author Nathan Gillett of the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, U.K.

Here is what makes me immediately suspicious, even at this point in the article:  No one can acurately come up with an empirical proof of how much of the warming from 1973-99 was due to man’s activities and how much was due to natural effects (the best you can find are studies that say "most" or "a lot of" or "some".  Therefore, it is impossible that anyone was able to attribute a humidity rise just to the man-made portion of the warming, since we don’t know how much that was.

Second, there are been a number of good studies that have shown that man can have a substantial effect on air humidity, but that these effects tend to be due to land use (e.g. agriculture, irrigation, urbanization, and even swimming pools) rather than CO2 caused warming.  To throw all of the humidity rise only on CO2, and not these other anthropogenic effects, seems facile.

So how did the study author’s get to their conclusions?

It turns out the only empirical work anyone did was measure humidity.  And yes, humidity did seem to go up over the these decades.  But this is the end of the empirical work in the studies. 

Both studies relied primarily on computer models of the Earth’s climate system to reach their conclusions.

Great.  For years I have called these computer models scientific money-laundering.  They take unproven assumptions, plug them into something they call a model, and then get results they claim to be proven.  They are washing garbage unproven assumptions through these black boxes and then calling them clean results on the back end.  Garbage In – Scientific Proof Out. It is crazy.  The models are built on the assumption that anthropogenic effects drive the climate, and so they therefore spit out the results that… anthropogenic effects drive the climate.

Roy Spencer, principal research scientist at the University of Alabama-Huntsville, says, "The main thing they’re trying to show is that the recent warming and moistening in the last 30 years is outside the range of natural variability, and that man is causing the warming. The use of climate models to do this is not convincing. … The idea that you can use climate models as a surrogate for reality is circular reasoning."

I often tell my friends that when you really flay away all the bullshit, the main argument by climate catastrophists for anthropogenic origens of climate change is that scientists "can’t think of anything else it can be."  In other words, having exhausted all the natural causes the current state of the science knows about, they assume the cause must be man.  My friends never believe me when I say this, but here is a climate scientist in his own words:

"Natural variability in climate just can’t explain this moisture change. The most plausible explanation is that it’s due to the human-caused increase in greenhouse gases," Santer says. His study also discounted influences from solar activity and the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo.

This is the heart of the "link" trumpeted in the article’s headline — that scientists can’t imagine that the cause is natural varaiblity and that it is plausible man is the cause.  Wow, that’s good science.  And by the way, can you imagine if, say, astrophysics took the same approach?  "We don’t know of any natural phenomenon that would cause pulsars so they must be man-made."  This is science Percival Lowell would have loved.

  • Larry Sheldon

    “all the natural causes the current state of the science knows about”

    I am not a professional scientist, although I could make some claim to being an amateur….

    But that may not be relevant. Among the things I do do is read some, and when I moved to Nebraska some years ago (after living on the Left coast most of my 50-odd years) I read up a little about the Great Plains and one of the things that struck me (even before I read it explicitly somewhere) was that as the immigrants moved west, the climate changed apparently in concert with plowing under the prairies and irrigating farmland.

    So I’m not sure the AGW folks even use _all of “the natural causes the current state of the science knows about”.

    And in the 18 or so years that we have lived here, the city (which extended to the low 100 blocks from the river) has moved out to the middle 200’s and it seems to me (anecdotally) that things have changed as you move west from the river.

    I have not tried to mount any kind of a scholarly reading of the records, and I’m not sure how to do that since the NOAA office has apparently moved west faster than the city limits did (I think it was in an old NIKE base on 72nd when we moved here, now “OMA” is clear out in Valley–what is that 400th? I don’t know.

  • The other “hard and fast” argument that seems to remain is that “we know the physical properties of CO2, and it’s definitely a greenhouse gas.”

    In other news, water is wet.

  • Bernd Felsche

    After seeing the 2.2% figure a couple of days ago, I wondred 2.2% of what? Humidity varies almost 10-fold some days, in a number of places. (e.g. monsoonal showers hitting the Australian outback) Even a “normal” day can see 5-fold (500%) over large land areas of the globe.

    I pointed out on Nature’s website that their published “variation” of 0.07 g/kg is completely insignificant. Noise.

    The moisture content of air typically varies between as little as 4 g H2O per kg of dry air to reach perhaps 35 to 40 g/kg on the same hot, humid day. These are figures that airconditioning and cooling tower Engineers deal with every day.

    To call 0.07 g/kg a significant rise in that perspective is delusional insanity. Such a rise cannot even be measured in practice; especially not on a large (“global”) scale.

    Such a “rise”, if it were detectable, would make no appreciable difference to the climate system. The change in enthalphy is trivial. There is no way it’d make a measureable or significant difference.