Open Letter to Lewis Black and George Clooney

Date:  November 26, 2013

From:  Bob Tisdale

To:  Lewis Black and George Clooney

Subject:  Human-Induced Global Warming


First, let me congratulate and thank you for your efforts in disaster relief and other charities.

With that said, I’ve written to you both because a recent statement about climate change by George reminded me of a couple by Lewis.

At the Britannia Awards, in a response to what must’ve been a question about the recent typhoon that stuck the Philippines, George, you said in part:

If you have 99 percent of doctors who tell you ‘you are sick’ and 1 percent that says ‘you’re fine,’ you probably want to hang out with, check it up with the 99. You know what I mean?

Let me ask:  Would you see a podiatrist or a proctologist for a sore throat?

The climate science community, under the direction of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), has only been tasked with determining whether manmade factors, primarily carbon dioxide, could be responsible for the recent bout of global warming, and what the future might bring if the real world responds to projected increases in manmade greenhouse gases in ways that are similar to climate models.  They were not asked to determine if naturally caused, sunlight-fueled processes could have caused the global warming over the past 30 years, or to determine the contribution of those natural factors in the future—thus all of the scrambling by climate scientists who are now trying to explain the hiatus in global warming.  Refer to the IPCC’s History webpage (my boldface):

Today the IPCC’s role is as defined in Principles Governing IPCC Work, “…to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation…”

It is not the IPCC’s role to understand the scientific basis for naturally caused climate change, which the Earth has experienced all along.  As a result, even after decades of modeling efforts, climate models still cannot simulate naturally occurring ocean-atmosphere processes that contribute to global warming or stop it.   So a “doctors” example falls flat because it relies on experts whose understandings of climate are extremely limited in scope.  We’ll expand on this later.

You also appealed to authority, Lewis, in your appearance on the Weather Channel with Al Roker and Stephanie Abrams.

Lewis, let’s drop back a year or so to your interview with Piers Morgan.  Piers asked you about the republican candidates in the 2012 presidential election.  In part, you replied:

No grip on science.  Science?  No. No science.  Did these people ever look…  Did they all flunk it? Is that their fear?  Do they think science is a lobby—that the democrats had funded this lobby called science?  I mean, how do you not… Global warming is real.

I agree that global surface temperatures have warmed, but satellite-enhanced sea surface temperature data and ocean heat content data both indicate the oceans warmed via naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled, ocean atmosphere processes—not via manmade greenhouse gases.  More on that later.

Lewis, you have said in the past:

The only thing dumber than a Democrat or a Republican is when those pricks work together. You see, in our two-party system, the Democrats are the party of no ideas and the Republicans are the party of bad ideas. It usually goes something like this. A Republican will stand up in Congress and say, “I’ve got a really bad idea.” And a Democrat will immediately jump to his feet and declare, “And I can make it shittier.”

Climate science is funded by the politicians…and in the United States that means by Democrats and Republicans working together.  As I noted above, government-funded climate science has only been focused in one direction: to determine if manmade greenhouse gases could be the cause of the warming since the mid-1970s. And the answer is, it could be…in the virtual world of climate models, which, by the way, bear no relationship with the real world. None whatsoever.  Was the warming actually caused by greenhouse gases?  The climate science community hasn’t a clue, because they still do not understand how natural climate variability works. And we know this because climate scientists can’t model those processes.

This failure to properly simulate the timing and strength of internal variability caused a former lead author of the IPCC (Kevin Trenberth) to remark in David Appell’s article “W(h)ither global warming?  Has global warming slowed down?

“One of the things emerging from several lines is that the IPCC has not paid enough attention to natural variability, on several time scales,” he [Dr. Trenberth] says, especially El Niños and La Niñas, the Pacific Ocean phenomena that are not yet captured by climate models, and the longer term Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) which have cycle lengths of about 60 years.

I have stated, and will state, a number of times that climate models cannot simulate coupled ocean-atmosphere processes, as noted by Dr. Trenberth. If you have scientific backgrounds, I’ll suggest some further reading:

The take-home statement from Ruiz-Barradas, et al. (2013) is:

If climate models do not incorporate the mechanisms associated to the generation of the AMO (or any other source of decadal variability like the PDO) and in turn incorporate or enhance variability at other frequencies, then the models ability to simulate and predict at decadal time scales will be compromised and so the way they transmit this variability to the surface climate affecting human societies.

(AMO = Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.  PDO = Pacific Decadal Oscillation.  Both are forms of long-term natural variability.  I have recently confirmed that climate models cannot simulate them in the post Questions the Media Should Be Asking the IPCC – The Hiatus in Warming.)

For Bellenger, et al. (2013) it is (my boldface):

Much development work for modeling group is still needed in order to correctly represent ENSO, its basic characteristics (amplitude, evolution, timescale, seasonal phaselock…) and fundamental processes such as the Bjerknes and surface fluxes feedbacks.

(ENSO = El Niño-Southern Oscillation. In this context, ENSO represents the processes that drive El Niño and La Niña events, which are the naturally caused, sunlight-fueled, phenomena that have the greatest impact on global climate on annual, decadal and multidecadal timescales.)

And for Guilyardi et al. (2013), the key statement is:

Because ENSO is the dominant mode of climate variability at interannual time scales, the lack of consistency in the model predictions of the response of ENSO to global warming currently limits our confidence in using these predictions to address adaptive societal concerns, such as regional impacts or extremes.

Additionally, the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) recently prepared and presented their recommendations for the future of the IPCC.  [Refer to their document titled Submission by The Netherlands on the future of the IPCC.]  Under the heading of “The IPCC needs to adjust its principles”, KNMI begins:

We believe that limiting the scope of the IPCC to human-induced climate change is undesirable, especially because natural climate change is a crucial part of the total understanding of the climate system, including human-induced climate change.

In short, research for the IPCC, and all of the like-minded government-funded climate research, has been very limited in scope, neglecting natural factors—just what one would expect from Democrats and Republicans working together.  To paraphrase Lewis:  someone had a bad idea, and someone else made it shittier.

Here’s a quick little tidbit: The climate models used by the IPCC for their 5th Assessment Report have to double the rate of the observed warming of the surface temperatures of the global oceans over the past 30+ years in order to warm modeled land surface air temperatures at a rate that was close to observations.  See my Figure 1.

Figure 1

Figure 1 (Graphs are from Open Letter to the Honorable John Kerry U.S. Secretary of State.)

Climate models are…to put it bluntly…crap, and they are the tools the IPCC uses for its forecasts of future gloom and doom.  Also see the posts here and here for further information about the failures of climate models.  Those posts are only the tip of the climate-model-failure pyramid.  I’ve presented numerous posts about climate model failings at my blog, at WattsUpWithThat.  Climate models cannot simulate surface temperatures, precipitation or sea ice area.  See the posts:

Those topics and others were discussed in my ebook Climate Models Fail.

I’ve recently come to the conclusion that, when climate scientists are claiming typhoons and hurricanes are being impacted by manmade global warming, they’re referring to the virtual worlds of climate models, not the real world.  In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, NCAR’s Kevin Trenberth stated in an Op-Ed (my boldface):

The super storm Sandy follows on the heels of Isaac earlier this year and Irene last year, both of which also produced widespread flooding as further evidence of the increased water vapor in the atmosphere associated with warmer oceans.

Figure 2 presents the average outputs of two variables from all of the simulations of the climate models prepared for the IPCC’s 5th Assessment Report.  They cover the period of January 1979 to August 2013:

  • (upper left-hand graph) sea surface temperatures in deg C.
  • (upper right-hand graph) global precipitation in mm/day.
  • (lower left-hand graph) a comparison of the two datasets after they’ve been normalized (by dividing the data by their standard deviations).

Figure 2

Figure 2 (Click to enlarge)

It’s very obvious in the virtual worlds of climate models that surface temperatures of the global oceans and global precipitation are increasing hand-in-hand. So, the climate models support what Kevin Trenberth said.

In Trenberth’s recent article for the Royal Meteorological Society, he uses 2001 as the start year for the recent hiatus in global warming.  Figure 3 includes graphs of the same model outputs of sea surface temperature and precipitation, but with a start date of January 2001. Still, the models show an increase in global sea surface temperatures and an increase in precipitation, still supporting Trenberth’s claim.

Figure 3

Figure 3 (Click to enlarge)

On the other hand, data from the real world, based on actual measurements, contradict the models, and do not support Trenberth’s claims.  Satellite-enhanced global sea surface temperature data and satellite- and rain gauge-based precipitation data both show declines since 2001.  See Figure 4.  So, there is no evidence that global sea surface temperatures have warmed over the past 12+ years, and there is no evidence that the mythical additional moisture in the atmosphere even exists, because global precipitation has also declined.

Figure 4

Figure 4 (Click to enlarge)

Notes:  My response to Kevin Trenberth’s article for the Royal Meteorological Society is here.  Also see the discussions of Hurricane Sandy here.

Now, you may be saying to yourselves that global sea surface temperatures have increased since 1982, as shown above in my Figure 1.  That’s very true.  But when you divide the global oceans into logical subsets, the ocean heat content data for the top 700 meters of the global oceans over the past 55+ years and the satellite-enhanced sea surface temperature data (32 years) both indicate the oceans warmed via naturally occurring, sunlight-fueled, ocean–atmosphere processes. I won’t go into details in this letter, but I’ve prepared an overview in the illustrated essay “The Manmade Global Warming Challenge” (42mb).   Further information can be found in the 2-part YouTube series “The Natural Warming of the Global Oceans”.  See Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  And if you’re really interested in the topic, you can refer to my ebook Who Turned on the Heat? – The Unsuspected Global Warming Culprit:  El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

George, your response to Typhoon Haiyan prompted this memo.  Are you aware that tropical cyclones that made landfall in the western North Pacific had declined from 1950 to 2010?  See Figure 5, which is from Roger Pielke, Jr.’s post Are Typhoon Disasters Getting More Common?  Roger was one of the co-authors of the Weinkle et al. (2012) paper Historical Global Tropical Cyclone Landfalls.

Figure 5 WPAC_50-10_Weinkleetal

Figure 5

Also refer to Roger’s recent post Graphs of the Day: Major US Hurricane Drought Continues.  My Figure 6 is from that post, and it definitely shows a decrease in the landfalls of North Atlantic Hurricanes in the United States since 1900.

Figure 6 uslandfalls1900to2013

Figure 6

Sea surface temperatures are a major component of typhoons.  The sea surface temperatures of the Indian and Pacific Oceans (from pole to pole) have shown little to no warming in almost 2 decades.  See my Figure 7, which is from the post Reality is Absent from Michael Mann’s Activist Article on Typhoon Haiyan.  On the other hand, the climate models used by the IPCC for their 5th Assessment Report indicate the sea surface temperatures there should have warmed about 0.35 deg C since 1994…if they were warmed by emissions of manmade greenhouse gases.

Figure 7

Figure 7

Rising sea levels are also tied to tropical cyclone damage. But as I wrote in the Introduction to my book Climate Models Fail:

Many readers probably consider rising sea levels a done deal anyway.  Sea levels have climbed 100 to 120 meters (about 330 to 390 feet) since the end of the last ice age, and they were also 4 to 8 meters (13 to 26 feet) higher during the Eemian (the last interglacial period) than they are today. (Refer to the press release for the 2013 paper by Dahl-Jensen, et al. “Eemian Interglacial Reconstructed From a Greenland Folded Ice Core”.)  Whether or not we curtail greenhouse gas emissions (assuming they significantly affect climate at all), if surface temperatures remain where they are (or even if they resume warming, or if surface temperatures were to cool a little in upcoming decades), sea levels will likely continue to rise.  Refer to Roger Pielke, Jr.’s post “How Much Sea Level Rise Would be Avoided by Aggressive CO2 Reductions?”  It’s very possible, before the end of the Holocene (the current interglacial), that sea levels could reach the heights seen during the Eemian.  Some readers might believe it’s not a matter of if sea levels will reach that height; it’s a matter of when.

Then again, sea level data even during the satellite era is problematic.  The final sentence of Wunsch, et al. (2007) “Decadal Trends in Sea Level Patterns: 1993–2004” reads:

It remains possible that the database is insufficient to compute mean sea level trends with the accuracy necessary to discuss the impact of global warming—as disappointing as this conclusion may be. The priority has to be to make such calculations possible in the future.

Considering that sea level has been studied for decades, that’s not very encouraging. 

A recent blog post by one of the global warming enthusiasts/climate scientists at RealClimate confirms that it’s not a matter of if sea levels will rise in the future, but when they will reach certain heights.  Stefan Rahmstorf writes in his post Sea level rise: What the experts expect  (my bracketed conversions to inches and feet).

A just-published survey of 90 sea-level experts from 18 countries now reveals what amount of sea-level rise the wider expert community expects. With successful, strong mitigation measures, the experts expect a likely rise of 40-60 cm [about 16 to 24 inches] in this century and 60-100 cm [about 24 to 39 inches] by the year 2300. With unmitigated warming, however, the likely range is 70-120 cm [about 28 to 47 inches] by 2100 and two to three meters [6.5 to 10 feet] by the year 2300.

To put that in perspective, as noted earlier, sea levels were 13 to 26 feet higher during the last interglacial.

Keep in mind these expert opinions are based on assumptions they’ve made about the effects of anthropogenic carbon dioxide on sea level when they programmed their flawed climate models.  And the warming scenarios they’re referring to (mitigated versus unmitigated) are also based on assumptions about the future emissions of greenhouse gases and other factors.  So the climate scientists are presenting assumptions about assumptions.

Bottom line on sea level:  according to the sea levels presented by climate models, strong mitigation strategies only delay the inescapable—they only buy time, which seems to me to be money poorly spent.  Phrased another way, coastal communities will have to bear the costs of adapting to sea level rise at some time in the future regardless of the strength of the mitigation measures.

As I was writing this, I ran across a partial translation of a recent interview with climate scientist Hans von Storch.  What Hans von Storch is reported to have said is quite remarkable:

He finds climate models too CO2-centric in general. Here he appeals for more patience to let the science unfold.

“…let the science unfold”?

For decades, the IPCC has presented climate science as an established field.  Now we’re being asked to have “more patience to let the science to unfold”?  Climate scientists have had two decades to program their models, and they still cannot simulate naturally occurring, naturally fueled, coupled ocean-atmosphere processes that can cause global temperatures to warm or can halt that warming.

People are being driven to fuel poverty—pensioners haven’t been able to afford heating energy costs and they’ve frozen to death in their own homes—because the climate science community, under the direction of the IPCC, has presented certainty in their findings, and politicians have acted on that certainty, needlessly driving up energy costs. And now a longstanding member of the climate science community has the gall to ask for patience due to uncertainties that many knew existed all along?

George and Lewis, I suspect you’re open minded, but you haven’t really examined or been introduced to the fatal flaws in the hypothesis of human-induced global warming.  Are you willing to research and discuss this topic?  I have presented data and climate model outputs for the past 5 years, and I’ve discussed what I’ve found. Data and climate model outputs are available to the public, in easy-to-use formats, through a number of sources.  Most of my blog posts are also cross posted at the award-winning science blog, WattsUpWithThat, which is the world’s most-viewed website about climate change and global warming.  I’ve also presented my findings in my ebooks.   Please feel free to ask questions at my blog. I believe I can show you that climate models do not support the hypothesis of human-induced global warming.  You may even come to understand the models contradict it.

In closing, I want to thank you again for your efforts in disaster relief and other charities.  It’s unfortunate that there aren’t more proactive organizations that help developing nations create infrastructures, warning systems, evacuation plans, temporary storm shelters, etc., so that people around the globe are capable of moving out of harm’s way.  Cleaning up the Earth a little bit is not going to stop tropical cyclones or the death toll associated with them.  Moving people away from the coasts during cyclones definitely helps, though.  See the article Why no one died on island in Cebu.


Bob Tisdale

About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
This entry was posted in CAGW Proponent Arguments, Celebrities on Climate. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Open Letter to Lewis Black and George Clooney

  1. John in Oz says:

    If George has not yet found the reasons against AGW, what makes you think he will bother to read your information?
    Whilst persons with counter arguments (and the data to back them up) such as yourself are ignored as you are not a ‘climate scientist’, being a lover of Nescafe coffee and having many FaceBook ‘friends’ makes George an authority who should be listened to.
    It’s a weird world we live in.

  2. catweazle666 says:

    Nice piece Bob.

    Unfortunately I think you’ll find that, as it involves maths more complex than that required to add up a darts score, it’s above Clooney’s head, he’s never struck me as the sharpest knife in the block!

  3. Russell Seitz says:

    Considering where Bob keeps putting his foot, and what comes out of his mouth, his podiatrist and proctologist must be very busy men .

  4. Bob Tisdale says:

    Russell Seitz, I’m not that flexible.

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  11. Truth Disciple says:

    No one reads opinions longer than 250 words. A Merrell-Lynch VP told me that 30 years ago. Unfortunately scientists have never subscribed to that philosophy. They forget they’re talking to the average US adult who reads on a fifth grade level and understands on a third grade level.
    Not my statistics—just say-in.

  12. Franz Hoffmann says:

    I hope that I am not too late giving my comment.
    First, I agree with Truth Disciple, keep it short, talking to people without scientific knowledge.
    My answer would be: You could hang around with the 99, I would prefer the 1 left, Dr. House.
    Like that.
    Or remind him to his engagement for Darfur:
    Do you agree with the statements of Sudanese diplomats, saying that the Darfur conflict’s main cause was global warming?

    But, aside of that, Thanks for your great work, I appreciate that very much.

    Greetings from Germany!

  13. Interested Observer says:

    I believe a more appropriate analogy would be: Would you listen to 99 first-year medical students or the one doctor who happens to specialize in whatever ails you?

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