Ocean relevance was not an issue!

Post: 30th March 2018

Anthropogenic global warming (AGW) has reached the court room. A lawsuits by State of California vs BP, Chevron and others, charge that oil products are a public nuisance (court documents).  The Judge William Alsup ordered to held a Tutorial on 21st March 2018 , inter alias  concerning: “formation and melting of the ice ages, periods of historical cooling and warming, smog, ozone, nuclear winter, volcanoes, and global warming” for being introduced to “the best science now available on global warming.”

The Order did not request a tutorial on the role of the ocean. Water is what matters most in climate matters. The ocean hold 1000times more water than the atmosphere, but have only a mean temperature of about 4° Celsius (Fig. 2 & 3). 6  After a five hours hearing recorded in the page 189 long court-transcript, the court was merely introduced to the findings of IPCC since 1990, respectively AGW advocates. Even the defendants did not object but made the case: “that oil companies are not directly responsible for climate change. Rather humanity’s larger economic decisions are to blame.”

Is it worth to read the transcript? Actually: No! At best it is a summary of what IPCC and other AGW opponents are talking about. Ever since, for them is the ocean only a random issue. For example they tell the Court:

Excerpt from court-transcript: page 123f (concerning the last Century EARLY WARMING; see Fig. 5) 

BOUTROUS: So that’s that figure. And let me go into a little bit more recent period, 1850 to 2012. And, again, 1850 was the end of the little ice age. And this is really the point the Court was just making. The IPCC AR5 concludes that: “Since 1901 almost the whole world has experienced surface warming. Warming has not been linear; most warming occurred in two periods: Around 1900 to around 1940 and around 1970 onwards.” And so, again,…. (cont/)……
………..And since I knew you would ask me what caused that warming I thought I would just go with that quote because I think what they are basically saying is that in the early 20th century, while it’s unlikely that the climate was functioning – the warming was caused by the climate functioning in its natural course, internal variability, the IPCC couldn’t quantify any contributions to the warming from potential other causes, like changes in the sun or volcanos. That’s the natural forcing.
THE COURT: What does “internal variability” mean?
MR. BOUTROUS: That is their phrase for just describing the natural, natural variability in the climate without some event like a volcanic eruption, which is what they call a natural forcing sort of an event. (cont/)

That is an extreme superficial view, because the warming 1920-1940 was primarily an Arctic and Northern Hemisphere issue (see Fig. 4) and commenced together with the First World War (Fig. 5).

Another example of pure gossip one can find on page 183f:

THE COURT: Give us an example. Give us an example of a theoretical or plausible surprise out of the blue.
MR. WUEBBLES: Besides the permafrost melting?
THE COURT: Yes. Yes, that’s a good example, but give us another one.
MR. WUEBBLES: So another one would be the melting of Artic sea ice…..(cont/)
….page 184…
THE COURT: What kind?
MR. WUEBBLES: Biospheric production.
THE COURT: Oh, biosphere. Okay.
WUEBBLES: Yes. So the changes in El Niño events. You know, if we were to have a lot more El Niño events that would add to the overall warming. There’s a lot of other aspects that are surprises, things we don’t really expect but they are things we just don’t know about.

The ocean covers 71% of the globe; El Niño covers an ocean space that is a small fraction of 1%. Any ocean space has at any time a huge impact on the atmosphere and drives average air temperatures. The fact that an El Niño is a significant event, tells nothing about how the ocean contributes to warming and cooling.  Telling the Judge that “more El Niño events that would add to the overall warming”, is hardily helpful.

One should not expect that the court ruling will improve the climatic change controversy in any way. After all merely requested information and explained it at the hearing as it follows (From the transcript: Page  6 &  7):

THE COURT:
Okay. So let me just say to you two, as well as to the public, that I read in the paper a couple of weeks ago that this was going to be like the Scopes Monkey Trial. And I was — I couldn’t help but laugh. But this is not a trial. I want everyone out there, the newspaper people, please

don’t call this a trial. This is not a trial. In these technology cases, mainly the patent cases, but not just patent, we often have these tutorials so that the poor Judge can learn some science, and it helps to understand the science….. (cont/)….This is a serious proposition to try to educate the Judge. So that’s the purpose.