Beck, Hannity falsely claim IPCC's Latif has "pulled the rug out" from under climate change consensus

››› ››› JOCELYN FONG

On their radio shows, both Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity seized on a World Climate Conference presentation on short-term natural climate variability by Mojib Latif, a prominent climate modeler, to suggest that, in Beck's words, Latif has "backed out now and said, 'We were wrong,' " about global warming because, according to Hannity, Latif stated that global temperatures are actually "cooling." In fact, Latif asserted that contrary to common "media" misperceptions of global warming as a "monotonic process" in which "each year is warmer than the preceding year," there are significant natural climate variations within the decadal timescale that do not change the "long-term warming trend."

Beck, Hannity falsely suggested Latif's presentation damages case for action against climate change

Beck: "[O]ne of the leading guys for the IPCC" has "just backed out and said, 'I was wrong.' " On his radio show, Beck falsely asserted that "the biggest guy they had to the IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] has just backed out and said, 'I was wrong.' ... This is the leading climate modeling guy for the IPCC." Beck further claimed that Latif "has backed out now and said, 'We were wrong. We're going into 30 years of cooling right now.' " Contributing editor Pat Gray added: "[H]e says that he's conceded that the Earth has not warmed for nearly a decade and that we are likely entering one or even two decades or more during which temperatures cool. I mean -- and then you couple that with the sunspot report that you were just talking about, and it's madness what they're trying to shove down our throats." Gray concluded: "And so, they know there's very little time and they've got this Copenhagen thing coming up, and they thought they'd have it all wrapped up by now." [Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program, 9/22/09]

Hannity: Ally in "global warming hysterical movement" "pulled the rug out." On his radio program, Hannity stated that "one of Al Gore's most prominent allies in this global warming hysterical movement has just pulled off -- pulled the rug out from the former vice president and now says the world more likely faces decades of global cooling." Citing Latif's World Climate Conference presentation, Hannity said Latif "argued that the Earth has not warmed for nearly a decade, and that we are likely entering one or even two decades during which temperatures actually cool." Hannity later added: "The science is not unchallenged; it is challenged. And even leading environmental extremists that have been, you know -- you know, sending out these dire warnings, they're now contradicting themselves." [Premiere Radio Networks' and ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show, 9/22/09]

Latif: There are "fluctuations" within years and decades, but clear "long-term warming trend" is "manmade"

Presentation addressed "decadal variability," noting "we all believe that this long-term warming trend ... is manmade." Latif opened his presentation by stating: "What you see here is just the globally averaged temperature during the 20th century. And you can clearly identify the long-term warming trend, and we all believe that this long-term warming trend is anthropogenic in nature, is manmade. However, you see also a lot of fluctuations superimposed on this trend, interannual, as Tim has pointed out, but also decadal scale variations." Latif went on to discuss the "mechanisms" of decadal variability and the potential for predicting climate at the decadal timescale. [UN World Climate Conference -- 3, 8/31/09]

Latif chart suggests temperatures are "cooling" in the short term, but that these temperatures are still indicative of a long-term warming trend. Additionally, the chart, shows the "cooling" period as coming following the hottest decade on record last century.

From Latif's World Climate Conference PowerPoint presentation:

Latif: "It may well happen that you enter a decade, or maybe even two ... when the temperature cools ... relative to the present level." Latif stated that due to natural climate variability over the decade-long timescale, "it may well happen that you enter a decade, or maybe even two, you know, when the temperature cools, all right, relative to the present level." Latif added: "And then, you know, I know what's going to happen. You know, I will get, you know, millions of phone calls, you know -- 'What's going on?' 'So is global warming disappearing, you know?' 'Have you lied on us, you know?' So, and, therefore, this is the reason why we need to address this decadal prediction issue." [UN World Climate Conference -- 3, 8/31/09]

Latif: Media mistakenly think of global warming as "a monotonic process," in which "each year is warmer than the preceding year." During his presentation, Latif stated: "All right, so, first point: Why decadal prediction? Now, people who know me, at least my German colleagues, know that I do a lot of media work, OK. There is almost no day in the year when I'm not called by some media person, OK. And so, they basically think about global warming as a kind of slowly evolving process and a monotonic process, OK -- so each year is warmer than the preceding year." He added: "However, we all know there is variability." [UN World Climate Conference -- 3, 8/31/09]

Latif: "[I]f my name was not Mojib Latif, my name would be global warming." Latif stated, "Everybody who knows me is aware of the fact that I am definitely not one of the skeptics, OK. And if my name was not Mojib Latif, my name would be global warming, all right." Latif then stated of decadal variability within the long-term warming trend, "[W]e have to ask the nasty questions ourselves, all right, or some other people will do it." [UN World Climate Conference -- 3, 8/31/09]

Greater natural variability in shorter-term modeling of climate than in longer-term trend

Latif: "[I]nternal variability" is "dominating uncertainty" on "interannual and decadal timescales." During his presentation, Latif stated, "If we look at the next 100 years, there are different uncertainties, OK. So AR-4, the last IPCC report, basically was the boundary force problem, so, it -- the uncertainty arose mostly from the scenario uncertainty and from the model bias, OK." Latif continued: "However, if you look at short lead times, right, then you see that the internal variability is really the dominating uncertainty in the climate change forecasts or, slash, projections. And especially on interannual and decadal timescales, this is true." Internal variability is defined as "climate variability not forced by external agents."

IPCC Report: "[N]atural climate variability" is larger factor on time scales of less than 50 years. In its Fourth Assessment Report, the IPCC concluded that "[m]ost of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations." The report further noted that "[d]ifficulties remain in reliably simulating and attributing observed temperature changes at smaller scales. On these scales, natural climate variability is relatively larger making it harder to distinguish changes expected due to external forcings." [IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report]

From the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report:

UNDERSTANDING AND ATTRIBUTING CLIMATE CHANGE

Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations12. This is an advance since the TAR's [Third Assessment Report] conclusion that "most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations". Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns.

[...]

Difficulties remain in reliably simulating and attributing observed temperature changes at smaller scales. On these scales, natural climate variability is relatively larger making it harder to distinguish changes expected due to external forcings. Uncertainties in local forcings and feedbacks also make it difficult to estimate the contribution of greenhouse gas increases to observed small-scale temperature changes.

Vicky Pope, Met Office: "In many ways we know more about what will happen in the 2050s than next year." Vicky Pope, the head of Climate Change for Government at the U.K. Met Office Hadley Centre, has reportedly said that when predicting climate conditions over the next few years, "natural variability was as important as the long term warming trend." She further stated, "In many ways we know more about what will happen in the 2050s than next year." [The UK Daily Mail, 9/10/09]

Met Office: Climate shows "continued variability, but an underlying trend of warming in the previously steady long-term averages." The Met Office states: "In 1998 the world experienced the warmest year since records began. In the decade since, however, this high point has not been surpassed. Some have seized on this as evidence that global warming has stopped, or even that we have entered a period of 'global cooling'. This is far from the truth and climate scientists have, in fact, recognised that a temporary slowdown in warming is possible even under increasing levels of greenhouse gas emissions." [Met Office, accessed 9/22/09]

The Met Office further notes:

After three decades of warming caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions, why would there suddenly be a period of relative temperature stability -- despite more greenhouse gases being emitted than ever before? This is because of what is known as internal climate variability. In the same way that our weather can be warm and sunny one day, cool and wet the next, so our climate naturally varies from year to year, and decade to decade.

Before the twentieth century, when man-made greenhouse gas emissions really took off, there was an underlying stability to global climate. The temperature varied from year to year, or decade to decade, but stayed within a certain range and averaged out to an approximately steady level.

In the twentieth century we have had continued variability, but an underlying trend of warming in the previously steady long-term averages. This is what we observed in the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. Now we have seen a decade of little change in the average global temperature -- but that doesn't mean climate change has stopped, it's just another part of natural variability.

Transcripts

From the September 22 edition of Premiere Radio Networks' The Glenn Beck Program:

BECK: The president is discussing climate change at the United Nations.

GRAY: Well, there's a big push on that right now because --

BECK: Oh, it's --

STU BURGUIERE (executive producer): -- they know they're in trouble on that, too.

BECK: Oh, the biggest --

BURGUIERE: They know they're in trouble.

BECK: -- the biggest guy they had to the IPCC --

GRAY: Yeah. Yeah.

BECK: -- has just backed out and said, "I was wrong."

PAT GRAY: I forget his name, but he now is predicting --

BECK: Stu will know it.

GRAY: He's been the leading -- he's their leading climate model guy.

BECK: Stu, the leading climate model guy -- the guy that has just backed out and said, "Yeah, sure, I was wrong."

GRAY: He's from Germany?

BURGUIERE: Do you have any more details than this?

BECK: Oh, you don't know this story?

BURGUIERE: Is this the sunspot one?

BECK: No, no.

GRAY: No, no, but that's good, too.

BECK: This is the leading climate modeling guy for the IPCC.

GRAY: I got -- I got his name here --

BECK: Get his name -- Stu will know it.

GRAY: -- in just a second.

BECK: And he has backed out now and said, "We were wrong. We're going into 30 years of cooling right now."

GRAY: At least.

BECK: Yeah, at least. And that's not -- that's not the sunspot guy. The sunspot is the other -- that the -- that the Earth is now in its cooling period because the sunspot activity. Do you remember we were with that sunspot guy --

BURGUIERE: Yeah.

BECK: -- and had dinner, and do you remember his look in his eyes? He was just was like, my life is over --

BURGUIERE: Yeah.

BECK: -- because I -- he's like, I'm the leading --

BURGUIERE: Astrophysicist.

BECK: -- astrophysicist. I'm one of the leading astrophysicists in the world, and he said I can't get tenure anywhere.

GRAY: Because he was saying it was sunspots.

BECK: Didn't he have a Nobel Prize coming his way or something -- he was up for a Nobel Prize?

BURGUIERE: I'm not sure about that, but he's at -- he's at Harvard.

GRAY: Well, you'd have to be crazy to say that the sun has something to do with the warming of this planet when you -- when we all know it's CO2.

BECK: He said to us -- this was like four years ago, five years ago -- he's like, it is sunspots, it is solar activity, that's what it is. And he said we're, in a few years, we're gonna go into a relative quiet period of the sun. He said and then it's over.

BURGUIERE: He did say that. That's amazing, you're right.

GRAY: It's Mojib Latif of Germany's Leibniz Institute.

BECK: Mojib Latif.

BURGUIERE: It's my favorite Latif --

GRAY: Mojib Latif.

BECK: You don't know him?

BURGUIERE: -- of the Latif brothers.

GRAY: You don't know him?

BECK: He's one of the leading guys for the IPCC.

GRAY: Big proponent. Yeah. Yeah.

BECK: And look him up, Stu. I'm surprised you didn't know him.

BURGUIERE: Off the top of my head the name kind of sounds familiar, but --

GRAY: He says -- he says that he's conceded that the Earth has not warmed for nearly a decade and that we are likely entering one or even two decades or more during which temperatures cool. I mean -- and then you couple that with the sunspot report that you were just talking about, and it's madness what they're trying to shove down our throats.

And so, they know there's very little time and they've got this Copenhagen thing coming up, and they thought they'd have it all wrapped up by now -- if they just had one more searing hot summer.

BECK: They're going to, they're going to, they're going to, they're going to, they're going to, they're going to.

From the September 22 edition of ABC Radio Networks' The Sean Hannity Show:

HANNITY: As a matter of fact, one of Obama -- one of Al Gore's most prominent allies in this global warming hysterical movement has just pulled off -- pulled the rug out from the former vice president and now says the world more likely faces decades of global cooling. I guess Gore didn't see this little tidbit that was printed.

Professor Mojib Latif is one of the leading climate modelers in the world, and he's a recipient of several international climate study prizes, lead author of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He's now contributed -- he's contributed over the years significantly to these reports that have stated unequivocally that manmade greenhouse emissions are causing the planet to warm dangerously.

Last week in Geneva at the UN's World Climate Conference, an annual gathering of the so-called scientific consensus on manmade global warming climate change -- oops. He argued that the Earth has not warmed for nearly a decade, and that we are likely entering one or even two decades during which temperatures actually cool. He pointed out that the Atlantic, particularly the North Atlantic, has been cooling in recent years, and it looks set to continue a cooling phase for 24 years.

[...]

HANNITY: The science is not unchallenged; it is challenged. And even leading environmental extremists that have been, you know -- you know, sending out these dire warnings, they're now contradicting themselves.

From Latif's August 31 presentation at the World Climate Conference -- 3:

LATIF: What you see here is just the globally averaged temperature during the 20th century. And you can clearly identify the long-term warming trend, and we all believe that this long-term warming trend is anthropogenic in nature, is manmade. However, you see also a lot of fluctuations superimposed on this trend, interannual, as Tim has pointed out, but also decadal scale variations.

For instance, from the '40s to the '70s, the temperatures dropped and some discussion was going on whether or not we are heading towards a new ice age. And most recently, in the recent decades, we had quite a strong increase in temperature. And now the discussion is basically going on whether this reflects some kind of acceleration of global warming.

Now, I have four points I would like to discuss. First of all, why decadal prediction? Second, the mechanisms of decadal variability. Third -- oops -- what is the potential? What is the decadal predictability potential? And finally, the challenges. What does it need to realize the decadal predictability potential that actually exists?

All right, so, first point: Why decadal prediction? Now, people who know me, at least my German colleagues, know that I do a lot of media work, OK. There is almost no day in the year when I'm not called by some media person, OK. And so, they basically think about global warming as a kind of slowly evolving process and a monotonic process, OK -- so each year is warmer than the preceding year.

However, we all know there is variability, OK, and this variability may look like this. This has been actually derived from the 20th century by just removing some exponential fit, and the two, of course, superimposed, OK, and then, the real evolution of the globally averaged temperatures would look like this. And then, you see right away, OK, it may well happen that you enter a decade, or maybe even two, you know, when the temperature cools, all right, relative to the present level, all right.

And then, you know, I know what's going to happen. You know, I will get, you know, millions of phone calls, you know -- "What's going on?" "So is global warming disappearing, you know?" "Have you lied on us, you know?" So, and, therefore, this is the reason why we need to address this decadal prediction issue.

[...]

LATIF: If we look at the next 100 years, there are different uncertainties, OK. So AR-4, the last IPCC report, basically was the boundary force problem, so, it -- the uncertainty arose mostly from the scenario uncertainty and from the model bias, OK. However, if you look at short lead times, right, then you see that the internal variability is really the dominating uncertainty in the climate change forecasts or, slash, projections. And especially on interannual and decadal timescales, this is true.

Now, however, we should also keep in mind that it may happen some unexpected events like volcanic eruptions or anomalous solar radiation, so there is another uncertainty, OK, however, which we probably cannot predict. ... We all believe that the long-term trend is anthropogenic in nature.

[...]

LATIF: Everybody who knows me is aware of the fact that I am definitely not one of the skeptics, OK. And if my name was not Mojib Latif, my name would be global warming, all right. However, you know, we have to ask the nasty questions ourselves, all right, or some other people will do it.

We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.