Key Uncertainties in IPCC Climate Science – Buried in Back Pages of Technical Summary

Governments, policy-makers and eco-activists rely on the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers (SPM) as their reference point for ‘what the science says’ – but this is a fallacy.  As Dave McGruer explains, the science lies buried in the back pages of the Technical Summary, and it is far from catastrophic in nature. Why doesn’t anyone report on that? Uncertainty won’t make headlines…won’t scare people into funding eco-charities to save the planet…won’t make people say ‘yes’ to public policies on renewables and carbon taxes that will make them poor.  Catastrophic predictions will.

Contributed by David McGruer, Ottawa @2016

For anyone who still believes man’s activities are causing a dangerous rise in global temperature that warrants a dismantling of civilization, please do some reading. The IPCC reports are highly biased due to the very mandate of the IPCC, which is to to focus on man-made changes and almost ignores powerful, nay, dominant natural cycles, and is politically driven and politically funded. The IPCC Summary For Policymakers (SPM) documents are patently ridiculous and contradict the Technical Summaries (TS) on which they are supposed to be based. The policy wonks who have their minds made up before they start writing the SPM documents massively distort the already distorted IPCC technical work.  To have a chance of understanding what the IPCC science report itself is saying, you have to read the technical documents and then go to the “Key Uncertainties” section – see page 114-115 in the 2013 Fifth Assessment Report, Technical Summary. There, you will read statements such as:

“There is only medium to low confidence in the rate of change of tropospheric warming and its vertical structure. Estimates of tropospheric warming rates encompass surface temperature warming rate estimates. There is low confidence in the rate and vertical structure of the stratospheric cooling.”

“Substantial ambiguity and therefore low confidence remains in the observations of global-scale cloud variability and trends.”

“There is low confidence in an observed global-scale trend in drought or dryness (lack of rainfall), due to lack of direct observations, methodological uncertainties and choice and geographical inconsistencies in the trends.”

“There is low confidence that any reported long-term (centennial) changes in tropical cyclone characteristics are robust, after accounting for past changes in observing capabilities.”

“Robust conclusions on long-term changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation are presently not possible because of large variability on interannual to decadal time scales and remaining differences between data sets.”

“Different global estimates of sub-surface ocean temperatures have variations at different times and for different periods, suggesting that sub-decadal variability in the temperature and upper heat content (0 to to 700 m) is still poorly characterized in the historical record.”

“In Antarctica, available data are inadequate to assess the status of change of many characteristics of sea ice (e.g., thickness and volume).”

“On a global scale the mass loss from melting at calving fronts and iceberg calving are not yet comprehensively assessed. The largest uncertainty in estimated mass loss from glaciers comes from the Antarctic, and the observational record of ice–ocean interactions around both ice sheets remains poor.”

“In some aspects of the climate system, including changes in drought, changes in tropical cyclone activity, Antarctic warming, Antarctic sea ice extent, and Antarctic mass balance, confidence in attribution to human influence remains low due to modelling uncertainties and low agreement between scientific studies.”

“Based on model results there is limited confidence in the predictability of yearly to decadal averages of temperature both for the global average and for some geographical regions. Multi-model results for precipitation indicate a generally low predictability. Short-term climate projection is also limited by the uncertainty in projections of natural forcing.”

“There is low confidence in projections of many aspects of climate phenomena that influence regional climate change, including changes in amplitude and spatial pattern of modes of climate variability.”

To summarize:
Low confidence in atmospheric temperature change
Low confidence in the understanding of clouds
Low confidence in drought cycle trends
Low confidence in storm cycle changes
Low confidence in atmospheric circulation modeling
Poor characterization of ocean temperature cycles
Inadequate data to assess Antarctic ice changes
Low confidence in attribution of climate change to human activities
Low confidence in predictive value of models.

Surely you can see that even the IPPC itself has no basis to claim there is an urgent need for massive government force of any kind, never mind the many scientists whose work contradicts much of what the IPCC claims as factual.

Rats, now that we see their true nature, we will have to label the IPCC and all its supporters as an evil climate denier organization, attack their spokespersons, attack them for refusing to conform to the consensus of the so-called smart people, vilify their professional work, prevent them from achieving tenure, prevent them from receiving research grants, try to keep them from being able to publish in scientific journals, refuse to debate them in public and suppress their right to free speech.


David McGruer is a financial advisor who has taken a passionate interest in philosophy and climate science. He is an advocate for freedom/capitalism, reason and rational self-interest.

1 Comment

  1. jackrodwell

    Great piece deserving much more of an airing but unfortunately the entire media and political rats nest have strayed so far out on the CAGW limb they can’t get back.

Leave a Reply! Please be courteous and respectful; profanity will not be tolerated.

Privacy Policy Cookies Policy
©2002-2023 Friends of Science Society
Friends of Science Calgary