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UNVERIFIED HYPOTHESES by Professor Will Alexander January 23, 2009

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UNVERIFIED HYPOTHESES

Professor Will Alexander

Professor Will Alexander

By Professor Will Alexander

Via Email, January 22, 2009

What is our Minister hoping to achieve at the Midrand Summit?

The Summit is a closed event with no debate allowed on the science on which it is founded. Why is this? It must be obvious that there is something that the Minister’s advisers wish to withhold from public scrutiny. Some examples are given in the attached memo. There are more to follow.

Climate alarmists repeatedly claim that the science is settled. This statement is false. In this memo I demonstrate the opposite.

Our Minister and the people of this country are being seriously misled by corrupt science. It is practised by a handful of individuals who appear to have no concern for the welfare of our nation or its peoples.

Let me continue.

The opening sentence of the Summit information brochure is:

The South African government regards climate change as one of the greatest threats to our planet and our people.

Unfortunately the statement in itself is demonstrably false. If the situation is indeed so serious, why has the Minister not followed the normal procedure of appointing a multi-disciplinary commission of enquiry consisting of representatives of all the affected groups of our society, to advise him?

Instead he has chosen to rely on the advice of a few climatological and environmental extremists. It has become obvious that they have no wider knowledge in the engineering and applied sciences. They have no knowledge of all the economic and sociological consequences of their recommendations.

Furthermore, we are a rainbow nation struggling to overcome the inequalities of the past. Our nation is already suffering from the consequences of Eskom’s failure to keep up with the rising electricity demand. We are on the brink of running out of water as the demand exceeds the availability. Our rivers are becoming increasingly polluted. The economic recession has already resulted in job losses as mines and businesses start closing down.

Poverty is increasing, not decreasing. Crime and racial conflicts within the poorer communities are increasing.

Against all this background, the imposition of restrictions on emissions from our coal burning power stations, transport and other activities can only worsen the situation.

Moving to the international scene, all you have to do is to look at a map of the world. Note South Africa’s position surrounded by oceans at the southern tip of the African continent.

Can any sane person believe that any action that we take can have even the remotest effect on the world’s climate? Compare our emissions with the emissions of the countries in the northern hemisphere from the USA in the west, through Europe in the middle, and on to India and China in the east.

Why does the Minister not instruct his advisers to present him with the comparison of South Africa’s emissions in units, not percentages, with each of those of the world’s largest emitters? Don’t let them say that South Africa is the world’s 16th largest emitter. Insist that they provide the actual quantities. They will be very instructive.

I love my country and its people. I am not prepared to remain silent while a small group of intellectually challenged individuals are intent on forcing South Africa to its knees.

Memo 06/09

Climate change is an unverified hypothesis

Thursday 22 January 2009

Once again I must stress that my memos are not attacks on the integrity of individuals. They expose the unscientific practices that are misleading our government. These can cause incredible harm to our nation and its peoples. It is essential that they be brought to the attention of the authorities, the public, and the scientific profession. The forthcoming Midrand Summit is founded on false science. These are some examples.

In 2004 I was a member of a team of international experts appointed to advise the Japanese authorities on the establishment of an international water research institute. During a break, I asked the team what they thought of the climate change issue. The response was unanimous. It was nothing more than an unverified hypothesis.

This is the basic difference between pragmatic engineering approaches and theoretical climatological approaches. The fundamental requirement of all computer models in the engineering sciences is that the models must be developed using one or more datasets. The models then have to be verified using data not included in the development of the model. No engineer would consider using an unverified computer model.

Now compare this with a very recent example.

Alarmist predictions

I’m sure that it was a coincidence but the day after the distribution of my memo describing the SW Cape nonsense by 15 authors, the local Beeld newspaper carried an article on a paper published by Francois Engelbrecht and the others in the International Journal of Climatology. The headline of the newspaper article was that large parts of South Africa would be drier in future. The rainfall in the Limpopo region would decrease by up to 20% and in the SW Cape it would decrease by up to 30%.

These are dramatic decreases. But as in the case of the 15-authored SW Cape analyses, there are serious believability problems in the analyses.

Firstly, the predictions were based on the output of a single computer model. Secondly and most importantly, changes of this magnitude cannot occur suddenly. We are told that the emissions from burning fossil fuels have been increasing for at least the past 50 years. The decreases in rainfall should therefore be observable in the data. The first thing that the authors should have done was to verify their predictions by examining the long district rainfall records published by the South African Weather Service. This is what they would have found.

District 4 is in the extreme SW Cape that includes Cape Town. It is in the winter rainfall area. District 35 on the other hand, is in the Limpopo region. This is at the very opposite end of South Africa. It is deep in the summer rainfall region.

The histogram of the data for District 4 in the SW Cape region shows a steady increase in rainfall during the period of record. Trend analyses also show an increase in District 35. From this information alone it is clear that there are fundamental errors in the climate computer model used by Engelbrecht.

As a matter of interest, Districts 33 to 35 are in the Kruger National Park. The rainfall in the Kruger National Park also shows no decrease during the period of record. This exposes the fraudulent claims that the wildlife in our national park are at risk due to climate change. I will return to this in a later memo.

Now we can go one step further. I carried out comprehensive analyses that are described in my 474 page technical report Climate change and its consequences — an African perspective. I demonstrated that there was a 9% increase in South African rainfall during the period from 1921 to the end of the century. My report has 51 tables, 33 figures and 218 references.

Report of UK Met Office at Bali

The Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office was once an esteemed institution. At the Bali conference it produced a document titled New science for managing climate risks. In a section titled Water – drought and flooding, it produced a table postulating percentage changes in the flow of the major rivers of the world as a result of climate change. It claimed that there would be a 30.6% increase in the flow in the Congo River, while there would be a 34.9% decrease in the flow in the Zambezi River. How is this possible when these two rivers have adjacent headwater catchments?

This is pure alarmist nonsense. Once again these uninformed climatologists failed to calibrate their models with real-world data.

Publications like this distributed at an international conference on climate change are thoroughly unprofessional and misleading. This table does not contain information on a single river in Europe or North America. The obvious reason is that these fallacies could be easily checked by hydrologists in these continents. The Hadley Centre relied on the assumption that there are no intelligent hydrologists in the river catchments listed in their table.

Marion Island

The uninhabited Marion Island is located in the cold seas between South Africa and the Antarctic. A manned South African weather station is in operation on the island. In an article published in the South African Journal of Science, a climatologist discussed the influence of global warming on the single glacier on the island. He produced two photographs. One taken in 1966 showed a glacier prominently in the foreground. The other taken in 2005 showed that the glacier had disappeared. It was claimed that this was due to global warming.

However, a closer examination shows that the latter photograph was an enlargement of the barren background of the 1966 photograph. No subsequent apology was offered.

Other conscientious climatologists have also published papers on the climate of Marion Island. Now their conclusions are marred by this single example of unscientific opportunism.

Technology transfer

I watched President Obama’s inaugural address on TV while the writing this memo. It was very inspiring. I’m sure that all reasonable people of the world will wish him success in achieving his objectives.

On Wednesday, our local newspapers headlined his inauguration with lots of praise. One of the newspapers also carried an article on an inner page. Our Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism was in Washington. He informed the new administration of the ambitious plans that South Africa intends implementing to reduce our undesirable emissions. He ended up by informing his hosts that technology transfer and financial assistance from developed to developing nations is essential for addressing climate change on a global scale.

Our Minister obviously hopes to be able to inform the Midrand Summit that he was successful in obtaining technology transfer and financial assistance from the new American administration. Even if he is successful he is taking a huge risk. I have not seen a single report that predicts that all nations will commit themselves to undertake meaningful measures to reduce their emissions at the Copenhagen conference at the end of this year. Surely our nation has higher priorities.

Once again the Minister’s scientific advisers are misleading him. Firstly, carbon capture and storage technology does not exist. Secondly, and more importantly, the developing nations of Africa simply do not have the technological expertise to implement it. We discussed technology transfer at United Nations discussions on natural disaster mitigation. We decided that it was simply impractical in most African countries.

Let me give you an example.

One of our meetings was held at Gigiri outside Nairobi. It is the headquarters of the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP). A member of the UNEP staff addressed us. He complained that the nations of Africa were not implementing the recommended environmental conservation measures.

After he completed his presentation I stood up. I challenged him to walk out of the room and along the road towards Nairobi. On the way he would pass through a squatter settlement on the banks of a stream. I asked him to imagine what the reaction of the squatters would be if he requested them to stop cutting down the indigenous vegetation for firewood, and cease polluting the stream with sewage effluent. Would they heed his demands?

This is the embarrassing situation that our Minister is in. He has chosen to listen to the advice of climate alarmists. Their only source of information is unverified climate models and refereed papers in the literature. Their practical knowledge of the real-world situations is close to zero. Now the people of South Africa must suffer from their ignorance.

Summit questions

The Climate Change Summit invitation makes frequent references to the science of climate change and recent developments. It will be fascinating to see how the 15-authored SW Cape report that I discussed in my earlier memo, the examples in this memo, and my 474-page technical report will feature in the summit presentations.

Regards

Will Alexander

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