Climate Science: Climate Change and Its Impacts

Policy Reports | Energy and Natural Resources | Global Warming

No. 285
Monday, May 15, 2006
by David R. Legates, Ph.D., C.C.M.


  1. James Hansen, Testimony before the U.S. Congress, June 23, 1988. See James Hansen, I. Fung, A. Lacis, D. Rind, S. Lebedeff, R. Ruedy, G. Russell and P. Stone, "Global climate changes as forecast by Goddard Institute for Space Studies three-dimensional model," J ournal of Geophysical Research, Vol. 93, 1988, pages 9,341-9,364.
  2. Syukuro Manabe, then at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Patrick Michaels, state climatologist and professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia .
  3. James E. Hansen, "A Brighter Future," Climatic Change , Vol. 52, No. 4, March 2002, pp. 435-40.
  4. M akiko Sato et al. , " Global A tmospheric B lack C arbon I nferred from AERONET ," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Vol. 100 , No. 11, May 2003, pages 6 , 319 - 6 , 324.
  5. Theodore L. Anderson, "Climate Forcing by Aerosols — A Hazy Picture," Science , Vol. 300, No. 5622, May 2003, pages 1,103-1,104.
  6. See Judith Lean and David Rind, "Evaluating Sun-Climate Relationships Since the Little Ice Age," Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics , Vol. 61, No. 1-2, January 1999, pages 25-36; and David Rind et al., "The Relative Importance of Solar and Anthropogenic Forcing of Climate Change Between the Maunder Minimum and the Present," Journal of Climate , Vol. 17, No. 5, March 2004, pages 906-929.
  7. Willie Soon et al., "Inference of Solar Radiance Variability from Terrestrial Temperature Changes, 1880-1993: An Astrophysical Application of the Sun-Climate Connection." The Astrophysical Journal , Vol, 472, pages 891-902.
  8. Judith Lean and David Rind, "Evaluating Sun-Climate Relationships Since the Little Ice Age,"
  9. For a more detailed discussion of these issues, see David R. Legates, "Limitations of Climate Models as Predictors of Climate Change," National Center for Policy Analysis, Brief Analysis No. 396, May 17, 2002.
  10. American Association of State Climatologists. Available online.
  11. Such biases include the effect of the wind (where rain and, particularly, snow is blown across the mouth of the raingage), evaporation from the gage, and problems associated with automatic recording techniques.
  12. Thomas R. Karl and Richard W. Knight, "Secular Trends of Precipitation Amount, Frequency, and Intensity in the United States ," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society , Vol. 79, No. 2, February 1998, pages 231-241.
  13. Kenneth E. Kunkel et al., "Temporal Variations of Extreme Precipitation Events in the United States : 1895-2000," Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. 30, No. 17, September 2003, pages 1,900-1,903.
  14. Another phenomenon the IPCC is unable to reproduce is the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, which arises from the interaction of ocean and wind currents, and other factors.
  15. The study concludes: "Not only do the [30] GCMs differ with respect to the observations, but the models also lack coherence among themselves. It is noted, however, [t]hat even the extreme models exhibit markedly less precipitation variability than observed … If the GCMs are in error, this deficiency would presumably reflect a more fundamental flaw common to all models." See Brian J. Soden, "The Sensitivity of the Tropical Hydrological Cycle to ENSO," Journal of Climate , Vol. 13, No. 3, February 2000, pages 538-549.
  16. Ann H. Henderson-Sellers et al., "Tropical Cyclones and Global Climate Change: A Post-IPCC Assessment," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Association , Vol. 79, No. 1, January 1998, pages 19-38.
  17. A more recent study concurs, "There have been various studies investigating the potential effect of long-term global warming on the number and strength of Atlantic-basin hurricanes … the results are inconclusive." See Stanley B. Goldenberg et al., "The Recent Increase in Atlantic Hurricane Activity: Causes and Implications," Science , Vol. 293, No. 5529, July 2001, pages 474-479.
  18. Kerry Emanuel, "Increasing Destructiveness of Tropical Cyclones over the Past 30 Years," Nature , Vol. 436, August 4, 2005, pages 686-688.
  19. Peter J. Webster et al., "Changes in Tropical Cyclone Number, Duration, and Intensity in a Warming Environment," Science , Vol. 309, September 16, 2005, pages 1,844-1,846.
  20. Roger A. Pielke Jr. et al., "Hurricanes and Global Warming," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society , Vol. 86, No. 11, November 2005, pages 1,571-1,575.
  21. "NOAA Attributes Recent Increase in Hurricane Activity to Naturally Occurring Multi-Decadal Climate Variability ," National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA News Online, November 29, 2005. Available online.
  22. Bruce P. Hayden, "Climate Change and Extratropical Storminess in the United States: An Assessment," Journal of the American Water Resources Association , Vol. 35, No. 6, December 1999, pages 1,387-1,398.
  23. Aiguo Dai, "Global Precipitation and Thunderstorm Frequencies, Parts I and II," Journal of Climate , Vol. 14, No. 6, March 2001, pages 1,092-1,128.
  24. Stanley A. Changnon and David Changnon, "Long-Term Fluctuations in Hail Incidences in the United States," Journal of Climate , Vol. 13, No. 4, February 2000, pages 658-664.
  25. P. Browning, "Tornado Trends," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society , Vol. 83, No. 12, December 2002, pages 1,768-1,769.
  26. Harry F. Lins and James R. Slack, "Stream Flow Trends in the United States," Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. 26, No. 2, January 1999, pages 227-230.
  27. Pavel Y. Groisman et al., "Heavy Precipitation and High Stream Flow in the Contiguous United States: Trends in the Twentieth Century," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society , Vol. 82, No. 2, February 2001, pages 219-246.
  28. Groisman's results are consistent with the earlier analysis of precipitation trends by Karl and Knight.
  29. Harry F. Lins, "Personal Communication," United States Geographical Survey , 2003.
  30. A recent assessment reexamined the conclusions reached by the two studies and concurred with the results of Lins and Slack. See Gregory J. McCabe and David M. Wolock, "A Step Increase in Streamflow in the Conterminous United States," Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. 29, No. 24, December 2002, pages 2,185-2,188.
  31. El Niño and La Niña are defined as a warming or cooling, respectively, of the ocean sea surface temperatures in the western equatorial Pacific Ocean and the associated changes in global weather patterns that result.
  32. Aigu Dai et al., "Global Variations in Droughts and Wet Spells: 1900-1995," Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. 25, No. 17, September 1998, pages 3,367-3,370.
  33. A large value of the Palmer Drought Severity Index was defined by Palmer as "an interval of time, generally in months or years in duration, during which the actual moisture supply at a given place rather consistently falls short of the climatically expected or climatically appropriate moisture supply."
  34. Nathan Wells et al, "A Self-Calibrating Palmer Drought Severity Index," Journal of Climate , Vol. 17, No. 12, June 15, 2004, pages 2,335-2,351.
  35. Connie A. Woodhouse and Jonathan T. Overpeck, "2000 Years of Drought Variability in the Central United States," Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society , Vol. 79, No. 12, December 1998, pages 2,693-2,714.
  36. "Impacts of a Warming Arctic," Arctic Climate Assessment ( Cambridge University Press, 2004).
  37. Petr Chylek et al., "Global Warming and the Greenland Ice Sheet," Climatic Change , Vol. 63, Nos. 1-2, March 2004, pages 201-221.
  38. Nancy S. Grumet et al., "Variability of Sea-Ice Extent in Baffin Bay over the Last Millennium," Climatic Change , Vol. 49, 2001, pages 129-145.
  39. Dennis Darby et al., "New Record Shows Pronounced Changes in Arctic Ocean Circulation and Climate," EOS, Transactions, American Geophysical Union, Vol. 82, No. 29, 2001, pages 601 and 607.
  40. Igor V. Polyakov et al., "Observationally Based Assessment of Polar Amplification of Global Warming," Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. 29, No. 18, September 2002, 10.1029/2001GL011111.
  41. Jonathan D. Kahl et al., "Absence of Evidence for Greenhouse Warming over the Arctic Ocean in the Past 40 Years," Nature , Vol. 361, January 1993, pages 335-337.
  42. Rajmund Przybylak, "Changes in Seasonal and Annual High-Frequency Air Temperature Variability in the Arctic from 1951-1990," International Journal of Climatology , Vol. 22, No. 9, July 2002, pages 1,017-1,032.
  43. Willie Soon, "Variable Solar Irradiance as a Plausible Agent for Multidecadal Variations in the Arctic-wide Surface Air Temperature Record of the Past 130 Years," Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. 32,doi:10.1029/2005GL023429.
  44. Rajmund Przybylak, "Temporal and Spatial Variation of Air Temperature over the Period of Instrumental Observations in the Arctic ," International Journal of Climatology, Vol. 20, No. 6, May 2000, pages 587-614.
  45. Petr Chylek et al., "Global Warming and the Greenland Ice Sheet."
  46. Greg Holloway, "Is Arctic Sea Ice Rapidly Vanishing? Fisheries and Oceans Canada-Pacific Region."
  47. Donald J. Cavalieri et al., Laboratory for Hydrospheric Processes, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.
  48. Stefan Norris et al., "Polar Bears at Risk," WWF International Arctic Programme, May 2002. Available online.
  49. It is unknown whether remaining distinct polar bear populations are stable, growing or declining.
  50. Note that changes in sea ice will not affect sea levels because, as the Archimedes principle states, an object floating in water will displace an amount of water equal to its weight — the melted sea ice will equal the amount of water it already displaced.
  51. Hengchun Ye and John R. Mather, "Polar Snow Cover Changes and Global Warming," International Journal of Climatology , Vol. 17, No. 2, February 1997, pages 155-162.
  52. Cecile Cabanes et al., "Sea Level Rise During the Past 40 years Determined from Satellite and in Situ Observations," Science , Vol. 294, No. 5543, October 2001, pages 840-842.
  53. Robert E. Davis et al., "A Climatology of Snowfall-Temperature Relationships in Canada ," Journal of Geophysical Research , Vol. 104, No. D10, May 1999, pages 11,985-11,994.
  54. Marilyn G. Hughes and David A. Robinson, "Historical Snow Cover Variability in the Great Plains Region of the USA: 1910 through to 1993," International Journal of Climatology , Vol. 16, No. 9, September 1996, pages 1,005-1,018.
  55. Richard L. Armstrong and Mary J. Brodzik, "Recent Northern Hemisphere Snow Extent: A Comparison of Data Derived from Visible and Microwave Sensors," Geophysical Research Letters , Vol. 28, No. 19, October 2001, pages 3,673-3,676.
  56. David A. Robinson, Global Snow Lab, Rutgers University . Available online.
  57. Andrew C. Baker, "Reef Corals Bleach to Survive Change," Nature , Vol. 411, June 2001, pages 765-766.
  58. Cynthia L. Lewis and Mary A. Coffroth, "The Acquisition of Exogenous Algal Symbionts by an Octocoral After Bleaching," Science , Vol. 304, No. 5676, June 2004, pages 1,490-1,492.
  59. Angela F. Little et al., "Flexibility in Algal Endosymbioses Shapes Growth in Reef Corals," Science , Vol. 304, No. 5676, June 2004, pages 1,492-1,494.

Read Article as PDF