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The Great Global Warming Blunder: How Mother Nature Fooled the World's Top Climate Scientists [Hardcover]

Roy W Spencer
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 13 2010
The Great Global Warming Blunder unveils new evidence from major scientific findings that explode the conventional wisdom on climate change and reshape the global warming debate as we know it. Roy W. Spencer, a former senior NASA climatologist, reveals how climate researchers have mistaken cause and effect when analyzing cloud behavior and have been duped by Mother Nature into believing the Earth’s climate system is far more sensitive to human activities and carbon dioxide than it really is.

In fact, Spencer presents astonishing new evidence that recent warming is not the fault of humans, but the result of chaotic, internal natural cycles that have been causing periods of warming and cooling for millennia. More carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not necessarily to be feared; The Great Global Warming Blunder explains that burning of fossil fuels may actually be beneficial for life on Earth.

As group-think behavior and misguided global warming policy proposals threaten the lives of millions of the world’s poorest, most vulnerable citizens, The Great Global Warming Blunder is a scintillating exposé and much-needed call for debate.

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About the Author

Roy W. Spencer is a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. He was formerly a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA. He is co-developer of the original satellite method for precise monitoring of global temperatures from Earth-orbiting satellites. He has provided congressional testimony several times on the subject of global warming and authored the 2008 New York Times bestseller, Climate Confusion.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Facts Behind the Spin Nov. 28 2011
By Harrison Koehli TOP 500 REVIEWER
With Climategate scandals making the headlines again, it's great to have a book dealing with the actual science behind the global warming fraud, by someone who actually studies the data for a living. Spencer covers pretty much all the bases: the problems with temperature recording stations, tweaked data to give an impression matching policy, historical readings showing common trends and reversals, the importance of negative feedback on climate (completely ignored by warmists), the problems inherent in the computer models that predict more warming, and perhaps most significantly, the temperature data from the last 10+ years that have shown no warming. In fact, if his theory about cloud feedback on climate is correct (and a recent paper he has published suggests he is), we've probably entered a 30-year period of cooling. In sum, Spencer's book is easy to read and highly informative. Highly recommended.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Global Warming Blunder Sept. 15 2010
As an engineer with over 40 years experience in the design and development of power generation and environmental control systems, I had just completed a chapter in my next book, to be called "Global Warming Trounced", when I received from Amazon Roy Spencer's "The Great Global Warming Blunder", followed by their invitation to review it.

It was gratifying to note that Dr. Spencer's book confirmed much of what I had said and written about the subject, ever since declaring war on it, when it first appeared some twenty years ago, and I have no hesitation in recommending the book as a "must read" for anyone who cares about the future of civilization.

The book abounds with passages which I could have written myself: "The climate policy of most of the world's leading industrial nations is based on a total lie" ---- "The junk science that has led to these policy disasters is the greatest scientific blunder in history" - - - - "At some point in the future we will realize that the fear of climate change was the worst case of mass hysteria the world has ever known".

The whole thing appears to have been invented by Steve Schneider, a brash young physics graduate of the 60's, who was determined to make a name for himself, and chose as his topic "What were humans doing to the climate?" In other words, he invented the fatuous notion that our piddling activities could have an effect on the climate, which strikes me as hubris of the worst kind. Taking advantage of the newly available computer technology, he was able to devise his computer models of climate change, and in 1972 he gave a lecture to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, at which he first advanced his Theory of Global Warming. With amazing rapidity the nonsense spread.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very Important Book. May 27 2010
If you have ever wondered how the Global Warming hypothesis due to CO2 came about, this book will explain just what happened. Dr. Spencer, the lead scientist for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer, flying on the Aqua satellite for the last decade, shows conclusively that that the atmospheric feedback is negative, not positive. This is based on real measurements not computer models! Dr. Spencer shows how the global warmers mixed up cause and effect. An excellent read and a display of real science. Highly recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars GW Lies and Fear Tactics March 14 2013
By Janine
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
You can't believe in GW is 90% mans fault adter reading this book. It's the other side of the story written by a climatologist.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.8 out of 5 stars  67 reviews
280 of 337 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clouds, Feedbacks, Exposing Overstated Sensitivity, and Perhaps the PDO April 17 2010
By B. Hutchins - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A truly excellent book. Spencer calls attention to three things we all SHOULD HAVE figured out for ourselves. And it is a book about the science, not at all about the leaked emails (which other books have handled very well).

First, Spencer makes a powerful case for the heretofore largely understated role of clouds. Second, his presentation of material on the feedbacks was outstanding. I had never seen the distinction between amplification of forcings, and true positive feedbacks (in the run-away sense), made. Thirdly, his notion that choosing the wrong (weaker) forcing element for a given warming can result in a large overestimation of sensitivity is clearly right. Every physicist or engineer KNOWS these things, but we may not THINK about them. Luckily we have Spencer to remind us that we do know them.

As for the PDO as a major driver, the evidence Spencer shows is very interesting and well-presented, and is clearly much much better that a CO2 explanation. (To just say it is a better explanation that CO2 would do it an injustice.) The book makes the point that there are indeed many strong sources of internal variability. The so-called "consensus" in concentrating on a flawed, politically popular view (man-made CO2), is certainly effectively impeding progress toward a more rational understanding of the scientific puzzle.

A second excellent book by Dr. Spencer - for the layman (or scientist!) who still thinks.
170 of 214 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarifying the Role of Clouds April 20 2010
By D. W. MacKenzie - Published on
Roy Spencer brings clarity to a debate that has been clouded by ideology (pun intended). It used to be that the only alternatives to the anthropogenic global warming theory were solar and volcanic activity. This book provides another alterative explanation of climate change. Roy Spencer is known primarily for his work on how climate systems are not as sensitive to C02 as many think. Spencer argues that clouds are a major factor. His idea that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation is a major driver of climate change seems more than plausible. This book makes it obvious, even to a layman (or as Spencer puts it, to an 8th grader), that the AGW theory was never proven beyond doubt, and is now under serious challenge.

This book is important now that Cap and Trade legislation is coming under serious consideration. Proponents of cap and trade tend to assume that the AGW theory is proven beyond any shadow of doubt. Spencer raises more than just doubt over the AGW theory. As Spencer notes, there are larg potential costs associated with cap and trade, and with efforts to restrict the use of fossil fuels in general. We should think very carefully about restructuring tax and regulatory policies according to the unproven AGW theory. Hopefully this book will stimulate thoughtful debate over the causes of climate change. Keep up this excellent work Dr Spencer!
165 of 210 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Book I Have Been Waiting For April 20 2010
By Mel Gerst - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have done a fair amount of reading during the last 10 years to learn about how our planets climate operates. I now feel as though the missing "key" pieces have been found to the "climate change" puzzle. For ANYONE interested in our climate this book is a "must read". I would not be surprised if Roy W. Spencer is not the scientist that breaks the hold that the IPCC has on politicians and the media. However we are down to the wire, large sums of money are already being spent world-wide on "fighting climate change". Let's give the climate experts about 30 days to review Spencer's work and provide their feed-back. If this book indeed does get blessed, then I think there should be an all out effort to "educate" the politicians and the "media" regarding the contents of this book. This is a not a general book of information on climate, there are already several excellent books on the market. This book is focused on Roy Spencer's new research results that literally destroy the IPCC's computer models that are predicting climate change disaster as the result of mans greenhouse gas contributions to the earths atmosphere. Thank you Mr. Spencer!
69 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book asks questions that need to be asked. April 24 2010
By Daimion - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Whether you are a believer in man-made climate change, or a skeptic, Roy Spencer presents some intriguing questions in "The Great Global Warming Blunder". Chief among them - is man really the only explanation for the changes we have seen in the climate over the last 100 years? The real question, however, - and the reason he wrote the book in the first place - is will the scientific "establishment" give his research a fair hearing?

Spencer fully lays out his research and theories in the book. He's clearly a scientist, not a writer; but what he lacks in style, he makes up for in substance. At its core this book asks a question so elegantly simple that it's hard to believe it's never truly been explored before. A question that goes to one of the basic tenets held by most man-made climate change evangelists on the cause and effect nature of temperature change and clouds. How do we know that global warming is causing fewer clouds, rather than fewer clouds causing the global warming?

Think about that for a moment. Spencer postulates that the increase and decrease in cloud cover is not a reaction to the changes in temperature; rather they are contributing factors to the change in the first place. By taking that in to account, his models show that the earth's climate is rather insensitive to man's CO2 emissions. Instead, what he sees is a global climate that is mostly indifferent to man. One that responds more to global variations in cloud cover as driven by things like the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), El Nino, and La Nina. As he puts it in the book - Earth's climate "does not particularly care how much we drive SUVs or how much coal we burn for electricity".

Spencer's theory will not be without detractors - and that's okay. All Spencer is really after is a fair hearing in the scientific community, and an objective testing of his research. All too often, however, the global climate change debate has been charged with politics and decisions based on faith, instead of fact. (In fact, British courts recently held that environmental beliefs have the same weight under the law as religious beliefs). We owe it to ourselves to look at all possible explanations for climate change. After all, there have been demonstrable changes in our climate for thousands of years - long before man industrialized. To think that we are the only explanation for what we see now, smacks of hubris.

Read the book and take an objective view of the science Spencer presents. It's a compelling case. Ask yourself - does the data support what Spencer is claiming? Is Man truly to blame for global warming? Most importantly - make up your mind for yourself. Don't just accept manmade global warming because there is a "consensus". Ask questions. Gather information. After all - there used to be a consensus that the Earth was an immovable object at the center of the Universe - until Copernicus showed that it wasn't. That consensus was vigorously defended by the establishment of the day, and played in to Man's ego and hubris about his place in the cosmos. Sound familiar?
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Blunderbuss June 13 2014
By William C. Mead - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Please note: This is a book review. I will neither address the larger issues of global warming nor attempt to defend a position on the issue as a whole. Please read this review as one experienced PhD physicist's evaluation of this particular book.

This book was first published in 2010, and the second edition was published in 2012. The author's central thesis, in his own words, is "that natural cloud variations cause temperature variations, which give the illusion that the climate system is very sensitive to humanity's greenhouse gas emissions." [Preface, Kindle Locations 86-87]. It's at least arguable that this book has played a role in influencing the popular discussion of anthropogenic global warming versus natural climate change. Therefore, the author's ideas are worth consideration.

CONVINCING POINTS. Spencer's book makes some convincing points about the physical processes, data, and calculations related to climate change. Not all of these ideas are original, but they are adequately presented. 1) Climate changes have occurred over the whole of Earth's history through natural processes, that is, over long timescales and without mankind's influence. 2) The most detailed data available for climate study covers the period since modern monitoring methods and satellites have been deployed, a period of 50-100 years. Data at earlier times is less direct and less complete. Even the best modern data cannot measure all aspects of the processes involved in climate change. 3) The most widely used climate modeling employs very large, complex computer models. These computer simulation models are still "models"; they fall short of including all the physical processes involved in determining the climate, and they represent but do not duplicate even those processes that are included in the computer program. The treatment of the behavior and effects of clouds is uncertain in current models. In general, large computer models are not infallible. The models must be constrained by careful comparisons with good, relevant data. 4) In analyzing satellite data, it is inadequate (and can be misleading) to perform a single-variable linear fit to data from a non-linear, complex phenomena such as the amount of cloud cover. Although this is obvious, Spencer spends a great deal of effort making this point and succeeds. 5) The natural processes involved in climate change are not well understood and should receive greater research funding and effort than has been the case. 6) Predicting the future of something as complicated as the climate is difficult and prone to error.

However, as you can tell by my overall rating, I found this book seriously deficient. Here, I will discuss some areas where the book fails, in my opinion.

CONSPIRACY THEORIST. Spencer embeds his scientific insights within a suffocating blanket comprising his conspiracy theory. Climate scientists, journal editors, the IPCC, the media, and politicians are all conspiring, for various reasons against poor Dr. Spencer. Lest you think I am exaggerating, here are a few excerpts expressing his allegations. The IPCC is probably Spencer's primary nemesis, but everybody gets some notice:
"Our most recent paper supporting the theme of this book was peer-reviewed and accepted by top experts in our field, and published in the journal Remote Sensing in 2011. Astonishingly, as a result of that paper being published, the chief editor of Remote Sensing was forced to resign after apparent pressure by an influential "gatekeeper" for the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)-even though our paper was never retracted by the journal." [Preface, Kindle Locations 94-97].
"The Keepers of All Climate Knowledge have erected a nearly impenetrable barrier to any new science that does not support the current paradigm of anthropogenic global warming, as defined and guided by those controlling the IPCC process. Published research that should be causing the climate modeling community to sit up and listen is instead being ignored. Groupthink has taken over." [Ch. 5, Intro, Kindle Locations 1363-1365].
"The House of Representatives has already passed cap-and-trade legislation to regulate carbon dioxide emissions by businesses. The EPA may regulate CO2 production now that the Supreme Court has told them to consider it a 'pollutant.'" [Ch. 5, Intro, Kindle Locations 1367-1369].
"I do believe that there is a conspiracy among some politicians and some of the IPCC leaders to get international agreements to regulate greenhouse gas emissions no matter what the science says." [Ch. 5, Sec. 1, Kindle Locations 1387-1389].
Spencer goes completely off the rails in speculating that a clever (hypothetical) whistleblower might meet a sad (and nefarious?) end:
"The story ends with a small obituary in the local newspaper for the prominent, Nobel Peace Prize-sharing scientist who died in a freak accident while filling his hybrid with gas." [Ch. 8, Sec. 3, Kindle Locations 2451-2452].
By this time, Spencer has lost all credibility with me on the subject of how the world (in and beyond physics) works. It was hard to plow through all this muck in the book.

VALID, IMPORTANT SCIENCE? Now, I will put aside the muck and discuss Spencer's main scientific ideas and defense of them.

Spencer goes to considerable length to demonstrate point (4) above, regarding the analysis of satellite data. I am easily convinced on this subject. One glance at Figure 14 is enough to convince me that the data cannot be used to extract a single, linear characterization of the processes involved. However, in case you are too inexpert to understand this point, the author goes on to demonstrate it using a simple model.

Spencer calls his model a "simple climate model". However, I think the "climate" connection is very tenuous. I would characterize it as a simple, ad hoc, non-linear model constructed to show that extracting a physical parameter from the output of a nonlinear process or model can be misleading. His demonstration of this point is technically correct and convincing, if you follow the details.

However, in his next step, he tries to use his simple model to tie together satellite observations and the index for the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). Here he commits the very blunder he accuses other climate scientists of making: circular reasoning. His simple model contains four parameters; Spencer treats these as arbitrary, curve-fitting parameters. He uses a computer to explore the parameter space covered by his model and selects the solutions he "likes". Let Spencer describe his error in his own words:
"It took only a few minutes to run the 100,000 different combinations of knob settings. Out of all these model simulations, I saved the ones that came close to the observed temperature variations between 1900 and 2000. Then, I averaged all of those thousands of temperature simulations together, which produced the curve labeled 'PDO' in Fig. 25." [Ch. 6, Sec. 3, Kindle Locations 2058-2061].
In short, he chooses, then averages, the results that fit the data and, low and behold, he obtains a (not-very-good) fit to the data. This is just a lot of hand-waving, considering that the observations in Fig. 25 are nearly a straight line, aside from short-time scale fluctuations (which he does not address).

There are other parts of Spencer's technical arguments that I consider questionable. However, the assessment above is sufficient, I think, to discredit the author's science.

MY BOTTOM LINE. "Blunder" is a book that mixes a few interesting thoughts into a mish-mash comprised of paranoia and weak, sloppy (or just plain bad) science. Spencer's book does not convince me of either the conspiracy or the so-called scientific blunder of the IPCC (and most of the rest of the world's "foolish" scientists). Balancing the limited positive content against the extensive negative, I find the balance strongly tipped to the negative. Readers, beware (or skip it).
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