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John O'Sullivan: How CIA evidence exposes the greatest climate change error
Wednesday, March 6th 2013, 6:51 PM EST
Co2sceptic (Site Admin)
Critics of the greenhouse gas theory and it's supposed role in climate change have presented a fresh analysis of a CIA report that suggests climatologists created a false scientific basis to link global warming to levels of carbon dioxide. An assumption that wrongly fixed cloud cover as a constant factor encouraged scientists to incorrectly assume changes in CO2 rather than changes in cloud cover determine temperatures.

Researchers at Principia Scientific International have put under the microscope an important but widely overlooked 1970's U.S. government climate report by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). ‘A Study of Climatological Research as it Pertains to Intelligence Problems' offers a wealth of evidence to prove the greenhouse gas effect (GHE) was disregarded by the best brains in climatology and the document shows no indication as to why the GHE was trumpeted as the accepted 'theory' on climate a mere half dozen years later. The CIA in-depth study dates from August 1974 and was uncovered by Maurizio Morabito in 2009 and despite tens of thousands of words not one mention is made anywhere of a supposed greenhouse gas effect. [1]

The CIA study was regarded by the U.S. Government as a highly accurate appraisal of the best peer-reviewed climate science of the day on concerns of global cooling. This document starkly contradicts a report by Peterson, Connolley and Fleck who misused the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in September 2008 to paint a different picture about global warming. [2]

When contrasting and comparing the CIA study from 1974 with the 'science' of NASA's lead climatologist, Dr. James Hansen, a mere seven years later (1981), we see a very abrupt and inexplicable switch around from fears of global cooling and no mention of any 'greenhouse gas effect' (GHE) to a scenario of runaway global warming all attributed to a human-accelerated 'greenhouse gas effect.' [3]

Hansen's dominant position as a leader of the “hot earth” alarmists was achieved after an inexplicable flip flop in intellectual reasoning by Hansen over the roles of dust particles and carbon dioxide. For the earlier part of his career Hansen was touting concerns over dust and aerosol pollution and never made any link with CO2 and the GHE. Most scientists at that time held the view that from at least 1950 no credence was given to the long-discredited GHE as disproved independently by Swedish physicist, Knut Johan Ångström and American professor, R W Woods. What marked Hansen out from the crowd was his belief that an increase in dust particles (not carbon dioxide) could generate a 'greenhouse effect.'

The latest analysis of Hansen's work suggests he may have intentionally and deceitfully sought to help build his case for a greenhouse effect repackaging it as “the greenhouse effect of gases and clouds” with clouds being the operative word. Even scientists who today dismiss the GHE as a driver of climate fully accept the crucial role clouds (and the water cycle) play in climate. Thus by conflating seperate physical phenomena Hansen’s 1981 paper gave the climate science community a catch-all definition of the greenhouse effect that could tie in a whole host of other unquantifiable variables and attribute to them a driving force more appropriately attributable to natural variance in cloud cover, latent heat and the hydrological cycle.

Skeptic climate researcher, Norm Kalmanovitch explains why the role of clouds is key, “Because incoming energy from the sun only illuminates half the world at a time but radiation from the Earth is from the entire surface so changes in cloud cover have twice the effect on incoming and outgoing radiation energy. The change in cloud cover has the opposite warming effect on incoming energy than on outgoing energy with a decrease in cloud cover allowing more energy in causing warming while a decrease in cloud cover allows more energy to escape causing cooling with the net effect of decreased cloud cover being net warming because of the 2:1 imbalance.

This imbalance is even more than 2:1 because the incident energy from the sun must travel through a thicker and thicker section of atmosphere as it reaches its tangential limit at the half globe mark giving changes in cloud cover an even stronger effect on incoming energy while outgoing energy is perpendicular to the Earth surface facing essentially constant atmosphere thickness.

This provides a simple alternative to the greenhouse gas theory in that warming could be strictly related to a decrease in cloud cover with the enhancement of the 'greenhouse effect' from gases negated by cooling from reduced cloud cover.

Volcanoes, Albedo and Solar Variance

In 1974 the United States government had already attributed changes in climate to variations in solar radiance modified by changes in albedo and at that time the scientific community largely believed this was due to volcanoes. But from 1981 the term 'greenhouse gas effect' began to re-emerge to compete against other theories on climate. What Hansen succeeded in doing was persuading his colleagues to focus attention increasingly on the supposed amplifying effect from carbon dioxide (CO2), an effect that the AMS, itself, declared was impossible a quarter of a century earlier.

It appears Hansen was able to exploit disunity among scientists as evidenced six years before, in 1974. The CIA report stated that there were no fewer than three quite distinct schools of thought in climatology. There was no certainty or consensus and the CIA were at pains to point this out. Their report defined the fragmented community as ostensibly split into the Lambian, Smagorindkyian and Budykoain schools (p.15, 16 & 19). The “Lambian” group were those researchers following the approach of Professor H H Lamb at the University of East Anglia, England who argued that to understand climate we must first study the past to help gain insight about the future. Against that was the “Smagorindkyian” school that refers to the approach of Dr. J. Smagorinsky of Princeton University who sought greater reliance on computer models and numerical weather prediction. The third, “Budykoai” approach refers to Dr. M. I. Budyko, who the CIA refer to as “an eminent Soviet climatological theoritician” who put great emphasis on understanding the total distribution of thermal energy. None of the “three methodological schools” of climate (p.21), tellingly shows the CIA report, factored in any “greenhouse gas effect”

To help resolve the conflict and uncertainty came the new “National Climate Plan.'' To that end the CIA report states that a conference was organized in San Diego in April that year (1974) where climatologists “argued, discussed and defended their approaches.” Involved was the National Security Council, NOAA, National Science Foundation and the National Academy of Sciences. The admission was made that ”Climatology is a budding science that has only recently given promise of fruition.” (p.31)

The most telling of conclusions from the CIA's 1974 report is that “the United States has a limited capability in climate forecasting.” (p. 31). What was being signaled was a new commitment to move away from mere historical attribution studies and data recording instead to focus on actual forecasting using models. But the admitted abandonment of "Lambian" philosophy requiring more and better understand of the past is perhaps a clue that corners were about to be cut in the march towards perceived certainty that the allure of the rapidly advancing computer age promised.

Nonetheless, one clear conclusion stood out (Page 21) and that was how a warmer climate is historically proven to be more favorable to human advancement. The CIA thus urged policymakers to consider this was “food for thought.” (p.23)

But in general, said the CIA, scientists agreed that clouds and surface albedo was a key factor causing 25 percent of all solar energy to be reflected directly back into space before it can reach our planet's surface (p.9) and when cloud cover and albedo are altered “Climate change is sharp and dramatic.”(p.16).

With the report's clear tone that global cooling is the real threat and that changing the cloud and albedo was a potential solution, we see an affirmation that the best and brightest minds of 1970's climate scientists “are confident that unless man is able to effectively modify the climate, the northern regions, such as Canada, the European part of the Soviet Union, and major areas in northern China, will again be covered with 100 to 200 feet of ice and snow.”

The 1974 report warned that a return to the cold temperatures seen during the “Little Ice Age” period from the 1600's to the 1850's (when the modern warm period began) would be catastrophic. They predicted a major famine in India “every four years” in which 150 millions could die while Europe would “lose 25 to 30 percent of its product capability.”

But above all else, said the CIA, “It is not obvious how the Earth maintains its energy balance.” (P.9) Yet despite not one word of mention of the GHE all the admitted uncertainty disappeared just a handful of years later when the cream of American climate researchers placed the GHE and CO2 center stage.

This astonishing turn around begs the obvious question: what amazing scientific breakthrough post-1974 triggered the GHE paradigm shift? Answer: there was none. Only one constant remained and that was the important and undeniable role of cloud cover that Hansen had now subsumed within his new re-formulation of the "greenhouse effect of gases and clouds." Certainly, Hansen's re-packaging of the science had appeared to circumvent concerns such that all researchers, whether for and against the GHE, could not disagree that the reduction in net cloud cover fits well with the increase in global temperature during the period from 1975-1998. As long as Hansen and others could have us believe it was CO2 and not cloud variances behind it all then his GHE gambit looked sound.

And with Hansen's ideas taking center stage increasingly throughout the '80's the idea of “back radiation” heating (or as critics call it, a perpetual motion machine) became fixed. It reached it's more iconic acceptance in the IPCC's own version of an earth energy budget (revised 2009) as shown below:

Image Attachment

Crucially, the area outlined in red above was never included in global circulation models until Hansen added it by fabricating a CO2 forcing parameter.

As critics have pointed out, all the red outlined portion of the diagram does is to include a fabricated factor ("back radiated" heat) that produces the required forcing to support the false concept of CO2 increases somehow creating energy out of nothing. As such, it is a violation of the second law of thermodynamics as it has the cold atmosphere warming the warmer earth surface with this downward forcing.

Certainly, even critics of the GHE agree that increased cloud cover at night will inhibit heat loss from the surface, this is why the “blanket analogy” effect wins acceptance. But this so-called "blanket effect" that supposedly adds or traps heat does the opposite during daytime cloud cover (albedo) which more cloud actually REDUCES surface temperature. Scientists from 1974, just as today, don't disagree that cloud cover is responsible for about 76 percent of the Earth’s albedo. As such, any decrease in cloud cover will translate into a decrease in the amount of incoming energy reflected back into space (albedo) leaving more energy to come in and warm the Earth during the day.

Greenhouse Gas 'Theory' Dismissed by Mainstream Science Prior to 1950

So, why wasn't the “greenhouse gas theory” and CO2 not an issue for leading climate researchers in the 1970's? Well, there is plenty of evidence to show that scientists appreciated that CO2 is limited in effect to a single band of thermal radiation from the Earth centred on the 14.77µ wavelength resonant with the vibration along the length of the CO2 molecule. That provides the dipole moment necessary for interaction with electromagnetic radiation. At very low atmospheric concentrations of CO2 a large percentage of the available energy radiated by the Earth in this 14.77µ band is already affected leaving very little energy for increased CO2 concentrations to affect. This is basic physics and was why the American Meteorological Society (AMS) wrote in 1951 that this was the reason why the GHE hypothesis was not given any credence by mainstream science. [4]

Back then the AMS had stated that the idea that CO2 could alter the climate “was never widely accepted and was abandoned when it was found that all the long-wave radiation [that would be] absorbed by CO2 is [already] absorbed by water vapor.” The AMS has never since published anything that scientifically refutes that statement yet, like other august national science academies merely goes along with the Hansen narrative of the "settled science" of the GHE.

U.S. Government Saw Volcanoes not Greenhouse Gases More Dominant in Climate

The travesty of moden times is the huge and unexplained disconnect in the reasoning on show when we properly address this 1974 U.S. Government. The CIA concede how the Russians, led by Budyko's science were adamant global cooling was imminent. Indeed, Budyk's numbers indicated that a 1 2.8F drop in the average global temperature would trigger a new ice age. Budyko's work was taken so seriously that even in 1977, just before the start of the man-made global warming campaign by environmental activists, publishers Random House launched their book 'The Weather Conspiracy, the Coming of the New Ice Age.' [6]

As Italian climate researcher, Alberto Miatello , recalls there is one prominent piece from 1976 by Samuel W. Matthews, from National Geographic (November 1976) that regurgitates a possible link with the GHE but as Miatello noted, this “was NOT of the possibility of global warming, but for a new Ice Age.”

Budyko made no mention of any 'greenhouse gas effect' and instead referred to climate change as being due to the variation of incoming solar radiation being modified by volcanic activity. Pointedly, even James Hansen has never offered us any clue as to why he abandoned his own view that aerosols, not CO2 drove climate.

Hansen's Worst Assumption about Albedo

Today, as independent scientists take a closer look at Hansen, Canadian analyst, Norm Kalmanovitch has identified the key false assumption in Hansen's GHE conjecture (see image below). Hansen's 1981 paper assumed a value of 0.3 for albedo. While the number 1367 is the standard solar constant used for So resulting in Te of 255 K which subtracted from 288 K for Ts gives the standard 33°C greenhouse effect. But the “trick” that Hansen got away with for so long was just using a single value for albedo. By doing this Hansen was able to give the false impression that Te is constant so the entire observed warming observed in increased Ts is due to the greenhouse effect from increased CO2. QED! (or so the alarmists thought).

Image Attachment

Kalmanovitch then played along with Hansen's faulty reasoning and notes, “All that I did was use the same formula with actual measured data to show that the “greenhouse effect” was decreasing and not increasing as claimed by AGW orthodoxy.”

Principia Scientific International (PSI) has peer-reviewed Kalmanovitch's analysis and agrees that Hansen manufactured “a fraudulent basis for a claim that the surface temperature is increasing because of CO2 because Te is [falsely] made constant.”

In conclusion, climate science offers no explanation for why it flipped full circle in the 1980's from claiming the GHE was not real and that CO2 could have no effect in climate to declaring the opposite.

Absent any scientific explanation for the 1980's switch in climate change attribution we are left to conclude it was Hansen's unexplained errors that gave an academic veneer to a monumental waste of hundreds of billions of dollars. The mistakes are obvious and if not now admitted to by NASA we may assume they are being intentionally maintained to serve a political rather than scientific agenda.

Indeed, science would be better served by seeking to find out what caused the cloud cover reduction that reduced the albedo. For that we have a good start with the work of Svensmark. His theory of cloud nucleation from cosmic rays with increased solar wind deflecting cosmic rays and decreasing cloud nucleation was recently verified at the CERN accelerator and shows what a more empirical approach can achieve.


[1] CIA:'A Study of Climatological Research as it Pertains to Intelligence Problems,' (August 1974)
[2] Peterson, Thomas; Connolley, William and Fleck, John (September 2008). "The Myth of the 1970s Global Cooling Scientific Consensus". Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (American Meteorological Society) 89(9): 1325-1337. Bibcode 2008BAMS...89.1325P.doi:10.1175/2008BAMS2370.1.
[3] Hansen, J., et al, 'Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide,' Science, Vol. 213 no. 4511 pp. 957-966, August, 28, 1981.
[4] Brooks, C.E.P. (1951). “Geological and Historical Aspects of Climatic Change.” In Compendium of Meteorology, edited by Thomas F. Malone, pp. 1004-18 (at 1016). Boston: American Meteorological Association.
[5] Budyko, M. I., (1969), 'The Effect of Solar Radiation Variation on the Climate of the Earth,' Tellus 21: 611-619
[6] 'The Weather Conspiracy, the Coming New Ice Age,' Random House (1977)

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