by Bob Endlich
[Meeting the Convening Lead Author, Southwestern States Chapter, National Climate Assessment at NMSU’s Climate Change lecture.]
This post is in four sections: before Convening Lead Author Dr Gregg Garfin arrived at NMSU, the lecture itself, the question I asked during the “Q and A” session and concluding thoughts. There is also an addendum.
BEFORE THE LECTURE:
It started on Friday the 13th.
On Friday the 13th of April 2018, after reading a notice in the Las Cruces Sun-News, “NMSU to host spring climate change seminar,” I emailed the NMSU professor and point of contact for this seminar, Dr. Gary Roemer. I asked to participate in the seminar as a presenter and sent him my resume’ with information on my course, “Weather, Climate, and Climate Change, what the Data Say,” from OLLI UTEP last year.
Within hours Dr Roemer replied that the spring series was only two lectures long and when the series resumed in the fall I might be allowed a session as a presenter; he invited me to the 25 April presentation by Dr Garfin.
My Google search on Gregg Garfin found he’s an associate professor at U of A, http://www.environment.arizona.edu/gregg-garfin : “He is university director of the Southwest Climate Science Center. He led a 120-author assessment on climate change and its impacts in the Southwest (http://swcarr.arizona.edu ) and was co-convening lead author for the Southwest chapter in the 2014 Third National Climate Assessment. “
My first thought was, “Wow, this guy must really know both his stuff and a lot about the entire Third National Climate Assessment,” so I studied the Assessment and the southwestern states chapter.
Within an hour I found discrepancies between what that report said and the literature I had read and worked with. I emailed Dr Garfin, introduced myself, and asked if he’d be ready to answer some questions that I had, based on my reading of the report.
DISCREPANCIES I FOUND IN THE NCA SOUTHWEST STATES CHAPTER, https://data.globalchange.gov/report/nca3/chapter/southwest:
In this introductory Paragraph: https://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/regions/southwest#intro-section-2, there is discussion of increasing temperatures, but no mention of the 1000-year long “Bond Cycles,” sometimes called Eddy Cycles, no mention that data from the Alps, California’s White Mountains and Sequoia National Park tree studies show much higher tree lines, and accompanying warmer temperatures, in the western USA recently, and no mention of Greenland Ice Cores showing Minoan, Roman and Medieval Warm Periods implying much warmer temperatures than today had occurred in the recent past.
That first email to Dr Garfin contained a graphic from the Greenland Ice Cores showing warmer periods 1000, 2000, and 3500 years ago. Specifically, I sent him these:
I also sent him graphics showing urban heat island effects in urban counties of California, a plot of Las Cruces 4F Urban Heat Island Jon Kahler and I made in 2013, and graphics showing satellite-based temperatures increasing slowly but surface temperatures rising much faster and asked him to explain the difference.
In my email to Dr Garfin, I noted an apparent error in this section https://nca2014.globalchange.gov/report/regions/southwest, specifically, this quote:
“There is mounting evidence that the combination of human-caused temperature increases and recent drought has influenced widespread tree mortality, increased fire occurrence and area burned, and forest insect outbreaks (Ch. 7: Forests).”
These are data I obtained from the National Interagency Fire Center, NIFC, web site on number of fires:
This is a quote from what I sent Dr Garfin:
“Clearly the statement, “increased fire occurrence” is wrong. I see from your CV that earlier in your career you had association with NIFC. How could such an obviously incorrect statement get into the NCA? You are the convening lead author; how could such a glaring error occur?
The lecture is posted on the internet here: Title of the talk: “A look ahead for the Southwest—Hotter and More Arid.” The lecture was about 51 minutes long, with about 40 more minutes for questions and answers.
Dr. Garfin’s first surprise for me was his pronouncement that the “NCA was policy neutral;” perhaps if you get into the weeds it doesn’t prescribe wind or solar, but it clearly presents as a climate alarmist threat and never mentioned the notion of climate cycles.
Garfin started out with an image from a satellite which showed earth’s limb and the atmosphere as a thin shell. There was an image of John Tyndall, whose experiments proved water vapor was the strongest greenhouse gas, and a brief discussion of the greenhouse effect as described in the 19th century.
Around the 9-minute mark there was an image of stacked ice cores and his brief comment along the lines of “we have knowledge of the past climate, the paleoclimate, from proxy studies of gases in the air bubbles trapped in the ice and directly counting the annual ice layers.”
About the 10:30 mark, he showed a temperature and carbon dioxide curve beginning at 1880 which showed parallel paths, with early temperatures in blue and higher later temperatures in red, implicitly saying that warmer temperatures are bad.
He tried to bring this presentation home by using Las Cruces, Dona Ana County, and Southern New Mexico in measurements and projections of future climate here.
For observed precipitation he showed a Dona Ana County precipitation history which actually shows precipitation increasing slowly, but for Dona Ana County temperatures he showed dramatic warming from 1985-2000, and recent maxima, which disagrees violently with Western Regional Climate Center data for Orogrande, NM, and Columbus, NM, that show warmest temperatures in the Dust Bowl Years of the 1930s.
He displayed the RCPs, the Representative Concentration Pathways, and global temperature increases up to 10F by year 2100.
One graphic showed a dramatic increase in the number of days with surface temperatures over 95F for Las Cruces.
<which starts about 1:03:30, and his reply, both roughly paraphrased>
“Dr Garfin, I am a retired operational weather forecaster; you mentioned El Nino and La Nina, but these are not mentioned in the National Climate Assessment. Thank you for at least mentioning El Ninos during your talk. There is a tendency for El Ninos to bunch up, and for La Ninas to bunch up; the whole cycle is called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and it’s 60 years long. Since about 1999 or 2000 the cycle flipped to PDO-cold, so of course we’ve recently had drought conditions here. Neither your talk or the NCA mention the thousand-year Bond Cycles. The Medieval Warm Period was a thousand years ago, warmer than today, the Roman Warm Period was two thousand years ago, warmer than today, and the Minoan Warm Period was 3500 years ago much warmer than today. One of your graphics showed a temperature and CO2 curve starting about year 1900, which I think is way too short; but the paleo data from the Ice Cores show conditions warmer than today with much less CO2 in the air than today, which disagrees with your presentation showing that CO2 causes warming; please explain.”
Dr Garfin started by thanking me for my email to him introducing myself and my area of questioning. He did say that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation contributes to climate variability. He seemed puzzled by my saying that HE said we were experiencing drying during the talk, but reiterated present aridity caused by warming with decreasing soil moisture.
<This reply did not make sense to me during the lecture, and after replaying the video, it still puzzles me>
Garfin’s next comment in his reply was astonishing to me, “we have to get the science right,” and “my understanding is that the temperatures in the Minoan, Roman and Medieval warm periods were not warmer than today.”
Then he continued, speaking about “your science,” apparently meaning what I had emailed him and asked in my question, “my science,” and “the science of the National Climate Assessment.”
“This Assessment has had about half a dozen reviews, it has been through two reviews by Federal Agency scientists, it has gone through a 90-day public review, and was reviewed by the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the National Institutes of Health, and finally, this it has gone to the Office of the White House Science and Technology Policy, so there have been a lot of eyes on this, and if anything, we are understating the situation.”
The lady sitting to my right was Fran Lavery, who is a member of our climate study group. During Dr. Garfin’s reply Fran wrote on the sheet of paper onto which I had been keeping lecture notes —she wrote, “Not Science. Appeal to Authority.”
Dr. Garfin’s manner was polished, professional and well spoken. Yet when he started speaking about, “your science,” “my science,” and “the science of the National Climate Assessment,” I was struck that he had no answer to provide other than “I hope to read up on the sources you sent me and provide a thoughtful reply by email.”
I should not be particularly surprised by this reaction of Dr. Garfin. The Climategate emails revealed that there is an activist “Hockey Team” within the “Climate Science” community which acts as gatekeepers to keep out of the peer-reviewed literature those papers skeptical of the catastrophic global warming narrative, so that for the most part the climate skeptic community has resorted to publishing in the climate skeptical blogs, among which are: https://wattsupwiththat.com/ , http://www.drroyspencer.com/ , https://judithcurry.com/, https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/, http://joannenova.com.au/, and, for our group, https://casf.me/.
So, that Dr Garfin would not know about the numerous paleoclimate reconstructions which I was using as the basis for my question, is perhaps understandable.
My studies of meteorology and climate have been punctuated with discovery of numerous multi-year weather events and cycles: El Nino’s formal name is El Nino Southern Oscillation; the term oscillation brings to mind a cyclical pattern. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation, some 60-years in length has a precipitation and drought pattern which makes the present droughts seem one 60-year cycle past the 1950s droughts so common in the USA, as this plot of the Palmer Drought Severity Index, PDSI, of the USA seems to show:
Length of the orange bars shows the intensity of drought using the PDSI, green bars show when PDSI shows excess rainfall. Strongest Drought was in the 1930s Dust Bowl Years, 1950S drought seems to be mimicked with the post 2000 dry period, an indication of the PDO-cold cycle which began then.
That a Lecture on Climate and Climate Change would not mention the most severe drought episode in the nation’s history, the Dust Bowl Years of the 1930s, shown by the bunched-up orange bars from 1931-1940 in the PDSI chart above, during which many to most of the 50 states Extreme Maximum Temperature Records were set, map below, is disappointing.
Within the paleoclimate community the seminal paper, Bond, G., et al, A Pervasive Millennial-Scale Cycle in North Atlantic Holocene and Glacial Climates, SCIENCE, Vol. 278, 14 November 1997, has in its very title, millennial-scale cycle, and for Dr Garfin not to be conversant with or mention these cycles, especially after my giving him a heads-up that I would ask about them, is also disappointing to me.
The fact that the very phrase “climate cycle” wasn’t mentioned at any time during the lecture indicates that the term “climate science” as a methodology seems to me to lack in the scientific method.
Here is a more detailed explanation of the references I sent Dr Garfin:
The Ice Core data I referenced were from the data used by Richard Alley, The Younger Dryas Cold Interval as Viewed from Central Greenland, available on-line http://www.klimarealistene.com/web-content/Bibliografi/Alley2000%20The%20Younger%20Dryas%20cold%20interval%20as%20viewed%20from%20central%20Greenland%20QSR.pdf .
The ice core data itself is on-line at this ftp site: ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/icecore/greenland/summit/gisp2/isotopes/gisp2_temp_accum_alley2000.txt
Dr. Don Easterbrook, emeritus from Western Washington University, has written on his exploitation of the data from the above ftp site, and some of his posts are on line here:
There are literally dozens of paleoclimate references and temperature time series posted in the Reference Pages, at the Paleoclimate Page, here, https://wattsupwiththat.com/paleoclimate/
This dramatic graphic is based on the GISP2 core’s O16/O18 ratio data:
Another source of Dr, Spencer’s 2000-year climate history from Ljungqvist: http://www.drroyspencer.com/2014/05/ill-see-your-97-percent-and-raise-you-3-percent/
The reference: A New Reconstruction of Temperature Variability in the extra-tropical Northern Hemisphere during the last Two Millennia, Ljungqvist, F. C., https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1468-0459.2010.00399.x
My graphic above, showing the higher tree lines in California the past 6000 years is from Hubert Lamb’s book, Climate, History, and the Modern World, page 142.
Here is another version, from the Kindle on my PC, NB, higher tree levels in the White Mountains of California came from Dr Garfin’s own university, the Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson.
More about Dr. Hubert Lamb, Father of British Climatology:
“After leading and establishing historical climatology during the 1960s, Hubert Lamb became the founding Director of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia (CRU)…”
Continuing, perhaps, is why Dr Garfin is unfamiliar with Dr Lamb… continuing the quote above,
“What is not widely known is that, in contrast to current research directions at CRU, its founding director was an early and vocal climate sceptic.
Against the idea that greenhouse gas emissions were (or would soon be) noticeably warming the planet, Lamb raised objections on many levels. “His greatest concern was not so much the lack of science behind the theory,” Mr. Lewin said, “it was how the growing preoccupation with man-made warming was distorting the science.”