November 3rd 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY What religious freedoms does the Government propose removing?

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Regions are in no state to accommodate immigrants

CANBERRA OBSERVED Wentworth swing least of Morrison's worries

CLIMATE CHANGE Good science contradicts IPCC's two-degree panic

GENDER POLITICS Inquiry needed into why so many kids are identifying as transgender

LIFE ISSUES Truth the first casualty of Victorian bubble-zone law

LIFE ISSUES Culture of death lands killer blow on Queensland

FOREIGN AFFAIRS High stakes in U.S. midterm elections

FREE SPEECH Are university chiefs growing backbones?

HISTORY Chicago: City of the Big Shoulders


EUTHANASIA Making death easier makes life harder


MUSIC Recipe for groove: pulse is best sign of life

CINEMA First Man; Ladies in Black; Bad Times at the El Royale

BOOK REVIEW FDR's bad example from Depression era

BOOK REVIEW Cartoon hero puts it in black and white



VICTORIAN ELECTION The left gets ready to scream 'haters'

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Good science contradicts IPCC's two-degree panic

by Peter Westmore

News Weekly, November 3, 2018

The latest report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) demanding an end to the use of coal for electricity production to stop runaway global warming, is contradicted by reliable scientific studies on the world’s climate.

The IPCC report argues that the world’s temperature has risen by one degree above pre-industrial levels, will rise to 1.5 degrees in 20 to 30 years, and by two degrees by the end of the century.

The claim that the world’s temperature has risen by one degree since the period 1850–1900 presupposes that the world’s temperature at that time was known. In fact, it was not. There were few reliable weather stations in Africa and Asia at the time, and temperature records for Latin America and the vast area of Russia were patchy, to say the least.

Additionally, there were no weather stations in the sea, which covers over 75 per cent of the world’s surface, nor in the Arctic or the Antarctic. Only in North America and Western Europe were reliable daily records kept; and even there, the quality varied from country to country.

So, there are no global temperature records from the 19th century, and to claim that there are is scientific nonsense at best, and fraud at worst.

Reliable data

Even since that time, it has been difficult to get reliable temperature data, not only because the number of temperature stations rose rapidly in the 20th century, but also because the location of these centres changed in particular countries.

For example, since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989, the number of weather stations in rural Russia has declined dramatically, making it difficult to compare the communist period with the post-communist era.

The IPCC hockey stick makes a return to the charts.

An additional problem with the “official” American and UK data is that both data sets have been “homogenised”, ostensibly to take account of different means of measuring average temperature and of changing locations. However, critics have shown that past temperatures have been systematically reduced in order to justify claims that temperatures are rising at an accelerating rate.

Fortunately, there is a way of resolving this contested issue, and that is by using the global temperature data that has been recorded by satellites for the past 40 years.

Leading American meteorologist, Dr Roy Spencer from the University of Alabama Huntsville (UAH), has published this data online every month at

This data is based on observations of the whole globe, including the polar ice caps and the oceans.

It shows that global temperatures today are just 0.13 degrees higher than the 30-year average from 1981–2010. The chart on his website shows that global temperatures have risen at the time of el Niño events such as those of 1998, 2009 and 2016, and gradually declined after each of these.

According to the satellite data, the global temperature is currently falling. This is the opposite of what the IPCC chart shows, which is an inexorable upward surge in global temperatures.

Dr Roy Spencer's graph.

Dr Spencer’s chart parallels data independently collected about the extent of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, which is also available online. The U.S. National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) records and posts information on sea ice on its website. It shows that in both the northern and southern hemispheres, the current area of sea ice is a little lower than the 1981–2010 average, but is higher than that recorded at the same time of year in the recent past.

Because ice melts at zero degrees, this data is a sensitive indicator of changing temperatures.

The IPCC report’s claim that temperatures are inexorably rising is contradicted by the satellite data. But what about its claims of an increasing number of extreme weather events?

Statistics on the number of extreme weather events are hard to gather, because they depend on definitions. For example, is a Category 1 hurricane “extreme”, or only a Category 3, 4 or 5? However, we do have some indicators. One of these comes from government agencies that record such events in countries with well-established meteorological data, such as the United States.

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has been recording information on hurricanes which goes back to 1854, but its information on wind speed only goes back to 1980.

However, the NOAA has concluded that the 1990s were the most active decade for hurricanes hitting the United States, with a total of 31 hurricanes affecting the nation. By contrast, the least active decades were the 1860s and 1970s, each with a total of only 15 hurricanes affecting the U.S.

A total of 33 years passed between 1854 and 2016 without an Atlantic hurricane affecting the country, the most recent of which was the 2015 season. Seven Atlantic hurricanes affected the country in the 1886 season, which was the year with the most U.S. hurricanes.

There is no trend towards increasing numbers of hurricanes in the U.S.

Rainfall data for the UK, which goes back over 100 years, also shows that there is no trend towards increasingly severe rain events in the UK over the period.

Claims of increasingly extreme weather events cannot be sustained, although more extensive media reporting means that today we know more about extreme weather than ever before.

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