London, 23 September – A prominent climate scientist has warned that the picture of climate change presented in the IPCC’s narrative is simplistic, ill-conceived, and undermined by observational evidence.
In a new discussion paper Professor Richard Lindzen of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) points out that the official picture, focusing narrowly on carbon dioxide as a warming agent, becomes implausible when applied to the details of the climate system.
According to Lindzen,
“If you are going to blame everything on carbon dioxide, you have to explain why, on all timescales, temperatures in the tropics are extremely stable while those in high latitudes are much more variable. The IPCC’s story is that small amounts of greenhouse warming near the equator are ‘amplified’ at high latitudes. But neither theory nor data support the idea of amplification.”
Instead, says Lindzen, this pattern – of stable tropical temperatures and fluctuating ones in high latitudes – is mostly a function of natural processes in the atmosphere and oceans; in other words, changes in oceanic and atmospheric currents that transport heat poleward while drawing varying amounts of heat out of the tropics. These changes in transport affect the tropics, but they are not determined by the tropics.
“The changes in the earth’s so-called temperature are mainly due to changes in the temperature difference between the tropics and the poles – at least for major changes. The changes in tropical temperature, which are influenced by greenhouse processes, are a minor contribution.”
Richard Lindzen: An assessment of the conventional global warming narrative (pdf)