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February 8, 2010
Droughtgate: Study Finds IPCC had Temperature - Drought Connection Backwards
Add another to the growing list of IPCC outrages.
As I mentioned in last week’s IPCC: International Pack of Climate Crooks, in Chapter 9 of Assessment Report 4’s (AR4) Working Group One (WG1) Report, the IPCC claimed that manmade CO2-driven higher temperatures drive higher evaporation, and thereby cause droughts. As readers are all too aware, droughts are favorite ingredients in most alarmists’ recipes for manmade climate disaster. But a paper published last month in Geophysical Research Letters lays out a compelling argument that the IPCC has it completely backwards – that droughts are actually causing warming, not the other way around.
In Section 9.1.2, the IPCC states that: [emphasis mine throughout]
That statement is attributed to the same Neville Nicholls who wrote in his 2004 paper, The Changing Nature of Australian Droughts, that:
Later in the paper, Nicholls concluded that “the warming has meant that the severity and impacts of the most recent drought have been exacerbated by enhanced evaporation and evapotranspiration.”
Not surprisingly, as with many other AR4 irregularities that have recently surfaced, this too has a non-peer-reviewed World Wildlife Fund link to it. Nicholls’ was an extension of the work of fellow Aussie alarmist, David Karoly, whose 2003 WWF report, Global warming contributes to Australia's worst drought [PDF], studied the 2002 drought in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin and found that:
"This drought has had a more severe impact than any other drought since at least 1950, because the temperatures in 2002 have also been significantly higher than in other drought years (see Table 1 and 2). The higher temperatures caused a marked increase in evaporation rates, which sped up the loss of soil moisture and the drying of vegetation and watercourses. This is the first drought in Australia where the impact of human-induced global warming can be clearly observed."
So then, the basis for the claim that anthropogenic warming causes droughts put forth in the IPCC’s AR4 was a WWF report and its follow-up written the next year.
But that basis, conclude Natalie Lockart, Dmitri Kavetski and Stewart W. Franks, authors of On the recent warming in the Murray-Darling Basin: Land surface interactions misunderstood, is bogus. As stated in its opening, their study “demonstrates that significant misunderstanding of known processes of land surface – atmosphere interactions has led to the incorrect attribution of the causes of the anomalous temperatures, as well as significant misunderstanding of their impact on evaporation within the Murray-Darling Basin.” And after deconstructing the claims of both Nicholls and Karoly, concludes that:
As coauthor Stewart Franks explained to me in an email, “this is a confusion of the well known physics of evaporation - as higher air temperatures are driven by the lack of evaporation (as occurs during drought).” He explained further in a subsequent correspondence:
But amazingly, the story doesn’t end with how wrong the chapter was.
Professor Franks also pointed out that Neville Nicholls was one of the chapter’s Lead Authors, and David Karoly, whose work was also heavily cited in WG1 Chapter 9, was its Review Editor.
Quipped Franks: “Hence they cite and review their own papers as part of the clearly flawed IPCC process.”