Nova’s “Evidence”

Joanne Nova claims that Global Warming has been disproved and lists 9 “Major Flaws” – or so she says.

  1. The missing heat is not in the ocean.
  2. Satellites show a warmer Earth is releasing extra energy to space.
  3. The models get core assumptions wrong – the hot spot is missing.
  4. Clouds cool the planet as it warms.
  5. The models are wrong on a local, regional, or continental scale.
  6. Eight different methods suggest a climate sensitivity of 0.4°C.
  7. Has CO2 warmed the planet at all in the last 50 years? It’s harder to tell than you think.
  8. Even if we assume it’s warmed since 1979, and assume that it was all CO2, if so, feedbacks are zero — disaster averted.
  9. It was as warm or warmer 1000 years ago. Models can’t explain that. It wasn’t CO2. The models can’t predict past episodes of warming, so why would they predict future ones?

It’s the usual stuff from Nova, so lets take a quick look at why Nova is wrong on all nine points.

1. Missing Heat

Nova claims the heat is missing, but she fails to use all available data. She refuses to look at older XBT data, refuses to use more recent Argo data and refuses to use any data below 700 meters because she can’t understand how heat can be transported to depth. For those that follow the science, then yes, there are ways for the heat to be transferred to depth.

As noted earlier, even with her extreme cherry picking, the graph still shows the ocean gaining heat. Nova confirmed her belief that the deeper heat is likely coming from a subterrainean source rather than from downwelling of warmer water (“I find subterranean heating more believable. Whatever.“) despite the science that says otherwise.

2. Satellites show a warmer Earth is releasing extra energy to space.

Joanne Nova’s second argument has a strange title. In physics, a warmer body, by definition, will emit more radiation so it’s no surprise that a warmer Earth emits more energy. The energy balance is what matters, and the Earth is gaining energy (as even Jo agrees).

Jo believes that one paper counters the entire IPCC works, however there are two problems with Jo’s argument. Firstly, by using this paper from Lindzen, she is also conceding that the planet has warmed, something that contradicts many of her posts casting doubt on the temperature record.

Secondly, the paper has serious flaws when it was first published (and the authors agreed), and the more recent version has yet to address most of those problems.

3. The hot spot is missing

As discussed before, Nova ignores evidence of the hot spot and relies on only one set of data, which comes from weather balloons that were not designed to examine climatic changes. The data is scarce for long term trends, calling it missing is premature.

Nova also misplaces the importance of the hotspot, it is not critical to climate models, nor to the theory of AGW, but instead critical to the physics of the adiabatic lapse rate, the shape of the warming of the atmosphere in response to any surface warming.

4. Clouds cool the planet as it warms

The impact from clouds is uncertain at best, however there is good evidence to show that clouds might have a positive feedback effect and are unlikely to be strongly negative.

Nova relies on just a few climate skeptics for her information and unfortunately for them, their research was shown to be incorrect. In essence they confused the tail with the dog …

the heating of the climate system through ocean heat transport is approximately 20 times larger than the change in top of the atmosphere (TOA) energy flux due to cloud cover changes. Lindzen and Choi assumed the ratio was close to 2, while Spencer and Braswell assumed it was close to 0.5.

5. The models are wrong on a local, regional, or continental scale.

Nova missed out on the most important one, GLOBAL scale. Global Climate models (GCM’s) are designed to work out what will occur GLOBALLY to the CLIMATE on long timescales. As Real Climate point out, it’s no surprise to climate modellers that Koutsoyiannis found that a single run in a model didn’t replicate local weather.

The models do replicate global warming, but only if man-made forcgins are considered. Natural forcing alone cannot explain the recent change in climate.

Nova and her Ouija board have yet to provide a projection.

6. Eight different methods suggest a climate sensitivity of 0.4°C

Idso’s old climate sensitivity again. Nova’s desperate. The silliest part of Nova’s argument is that we’ve already warmed about 0.8°C and that’s without even doubling CO2, nor allowing enough time to come to an equilibrium state.

7. Has CO2 warmed the planet at all in the last 50 years? It’s harder to tell than you think.

Actually it’s not. Attribution has been calculated and we know that our greenhouse gases, especially CO2, are mostly responsible.

Joanne Nova thinks by breaking the graph into two sections, it reduces the warming. Hmmm. It does also leave a rather large unexplained one-off jump in temperatures, that occurred globally. The heat involved in such a jump would be the equivalent to several million nuclear weapons going off in the one year, but somehow Nova can’t explain exactly what might have caused this sudden jump.

8. Even if we assume it’s warmed since 1979, and assume that it was all CO2, if so, feedbacks are zero.

Nova’s problem start with her idea of “generosity” within her very first statement. If you assume one thing caused all of the warming, then of course there’d be nothing else that could contribute.

But we’ve already covered this.

9. It was as warm or warmer 1000 years ago.

No,, it’s not Nova.

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