Many climate sites have looked at the recent Phil Jones interview and drawn some conclusions. I think some have drawn a bit more out than Jones’ answers provided (not the links above but others), but overall I do agree the interview was groundbreaking. Since others have looked at the interview in its entirety, I’m just going to focus on two questions. These answers show that the AGW theory is based on only twenty years of temperature increases.
Question D – Do you agree that natural influences could have contributed significantly to the global warming observed from 1975-1998, and, if so, please could you specify each natural influence and express its radiative forcing over the period in Watts per square metre.
This area is slightly outside my area of expertise. When considering changes over this period we need to consider all possible factors (so human and natural influences as well as natural internal variability of the climate system). Natural influences (from volcanoes and the Sun) over this period could have contributed to the change over this period. Volcanic influences from the two large eruptions (El Chichon in 1982 and Pinatubo in 1991) would exert a negative influence. Solar influence was about flat over this period. Combining only these two natural influences, therefore, we might have expected some cooling over this period.
Jones ignores the ‘if so’ part of the question by just stating that this isn’t his area of expertise. However, he must have feel as though he has some expertise because he continues with his answer. He says that we must take all possible factors into consideration of this change from 75-98, both natural changes and human changes. He then notes two possible natural changes, volcanoes and the Sun, that could have contributed to the change. He says that the volcanoes would have had a negative effect, and that the sun was ‘about flat’. Therefore, they should have had cooling but instead had warming. The main problem with his answer is the fact that he is making an assumption. He assumes the only natural factors that could have affected temperature were volcanoes and the Sun. This leads to the second question:
E – How confident are you that warming has taken place and that humans are mainly responsible?
I’m 100% confident that the climate has warmed. As to the second question, I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9 – there’s evidence that most of the warming since the 1950s is due to human activity.
The fact that there is even a question of whether warming has taken place is significant. This question was supposed to be settled years ago. The second question is one that seems fairly obvious, Phil Jones has been instrumental in creating the temperature record which has been crucial in the alarmist’s claims. However Jones’ answer is very weak. He says, “I would go along with IPCC Chapter 9”. This is a defensive answer, he isn’t making the claim that he really believes but simply that he agrees with another’s assessment. Also, he says ‘would go along with’ not ‘I do agree with’ or even a simple ‘yes, humans are responsible’. ‘Would’ is hypothetical. He ends by saying that there is evidence that most of the warming from the 50’s is due to humans. But he was just asked the same question before! He doesn’t give any evidence for human involvment, he simply argues that the Sun didn’t warm the earth. The assumption is, if the Sun didn’t do it then humans must have.
I view this as the most revealing part of the interview. Phil Jones gives no evidence for man causing climate change, he simply states that the warming can’t be explained by two natural processes, volcanoes or the Sun. The word carbon doesn’t even show up, once. This is the current state of climate science. All it would take right now to destroy the entire AGW hypothesis is a natural process other than the Sun that could have caused some of the warming since the 1950’s. Since Jones admits there has been no statistically significant warming since 1995, and since temperatures dropped from 1940 until about 1975, the whole theory is based on a twenty year period of warming. That bears repeating.
Here is the state of the AGW theory based on Phil Jones’ answers:
The theory that mankind has warmed the earth’s atmosphere by emitting greehouse gases is entirely based on the twenty year period between 1975 and 1995, and the warming in this period is only attributed to human changes because we didn’t see any natural factors that could have caused the warming.
Problem is, this falls apart when you look at the table Jones provides earlier in the interview. The twenty year period between 1860-1880 had a warming of 0.163 degrees, which is statistically significant. The period which AGW is based on, 1975-1998 (though Jones admits it is actually 1995, not 1998), had a warming of 0.166 degrees, which is statistically significant. They are essentially the same, even alarmists wouldn’t claim three-thousandths of a degree is significant. So why does Jones claim that the warming in the recent twenty year period was caused by humans when the same amount of warming took place in the same period of time long before humans emitted significant greenhouse gases? I don’t know.