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August 17, 2007

Debunking the gullible warming Gorons

(EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a talking-point summary of developments regarding global-climate trends that have been collected since we published a comprehensive essay on the topic, “Global Warming: Fact, Fiction and Political Endgame”, in February of this year. That original essay has been revised and updated to include the new information in this summary.)

Correcting the record

Most of the evidence concerning U.S. temperature trends is collected by NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center, which gathers information from about 1,200 weather observation stations across the nation. These stations are small wooden sheds with thermometers, which are read at intervals, mostly by volunteers. Many are located in sprawling urban and industrial centers, known as “heat islands,” and are subject to higher readings than stations in rural areas where temperatures are subject mostly to “land use effects.”

Most of the recent global-warming alarmists use 1998 as the benchmark for the hottest year on record, but it turns out that their reporting is flawed, the result of a math blunder.

In fact, 1934 was the hottest year on record, and four of the ten hottest years in the U.S. were recorded in the 1930s. The second hottest year on record was 1998, but the third hottest was 1921, not 2006. Notably, six of the ten hottest years occurred prior to 90 percent of the economic growth associated with increased greenhouse-gas emissions.

H. Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Policy Analysis, reports, “Much of the current global-warming fear has been driven by [NASA scientist James] Hansen’s pronouncements, and he routinely claims to have been censored by the Bush administration for his views on warming. Now that NASA, without fanfare, has cleaned up his mess, Hansen has been silent – I guess we can chalk this up to self-censorship.”

New climate reports

In the winter of 06-07, NASA satellites indicated that water temperatures in the Gulf of Alaska were dropping, suggesting that cooling Pacific waters may be a precursor to the reversal of a 30-year warming trend. The cooling resulted in the coldest season of Arctic air the lower 48 have seen in more than three decades.

Additionally, Reuters “News” Service reports, “Australian scientists have discovered a giant underwater current that is one of the last missing links of a system that connects the world’s oceans and helps govern global climate. New research shows that a current sweeping past Australia’s southern island of Tasmania toward the South Atlantic is a previously undetected part of the world climate system’s engine-room.”

This, of course, raises an all-important question: How can the climate debate be “settled” if we still don’t know what we don’t know?

Climate modeling

The computer models cited by Albert Gore and company are outcome-based, depending on how a programmer varies some of the five million input parameters or the multitude of negative and positive feedbacks in the program.

Scott Armstrong is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and one of the world’s foremost experts on long-range forecasting. He is author of “Long-Range Forecasting,” the most frequently cited book on forecasting methodology.

Armstrong and Kesten Green of New Zealand’s Monash University examined the IPCC’s report, and, at the 27th Annual International Symposium on Forecasting, they concluded, “Claims that the Earth will get warmer have no more credence than saying that it will get colder.”

Armstrong bet Gore $10,000 that he could provide a better climate forecast than that of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which Gore cites regularly. “The methodology was so poor that I thought a bet based on complete ignorance of the climate could do better,” said Armstrong. “We call it ‘the naive model’.”

Gore’s office replied, “Please understand that Mr. Gore is not taking on any new projects at this time.”

The warming Solar System

As it turns out, there are some other planets in our solar system which are experiencing global warming – and these planets don’t have SUVs.

Mars is getting hotter. NASA scientist Lori Fenton reports that the Red Planet has warmed by around one-half degree Celsius in the last three decades, which likely contributes to the retreat of Mars’s southern polar ice cap.

According to Habibullo Abdussamatov, director of space research at St. Petersburg’s Pulkovo Astronomical Observatory in Russia, “The long-term increase in solar irradiance is heating both Earth and Mars. Man-made greenhouse warming has made a small contribution to the warming seen on Earth in recent years, but it cannot compete with the increase in solar irradiance.”

On Neptune, MIT researchers say that planet’s largest moon, Triton, has heated up significantly since 1989, when the Voyager space probe sent back readings from the planet. Astronomer James Elliot and colleagues from MIT, Lowell Observatory and Williams College report, “At least since 1989, Triton has been undergoing a period of global warming. Percentage-wise, it’s a very large increase.”

Imke de Pater and Philip Marcus of the University of California, Berkeley, report that Jupiter is growing a new red spot. “The storm is growing in altitude,” de Pater says, which indicates a temperature increase in that region. The researchers think that, near term, the temperature on Jupiter may increase six degrees Celsius in large areas.

University of Hawaii astronomer David Tholen and his colleagues report that even though Pluto was closer to the Sun in 1989, they are not surprised by a warming that began this year. “It takes time for materials to warm up and cool off, which is why the hottest part of the day on Earth is usually around 2 or 3 p.m. rather than local noon,” Tholen said. “This warming trend on Pluto could easily last for another 13 years.” They predict Pluto’s temperature will rise two degrees Celsius before its next cooling trend.

The Climate Inquisitors

If you are a scientist, politician or journalist, and refuse to comport with Albert Gore’s eco-theological orthodoxy, you’d best put on some body armor.

Speaking to Al Gore’s minions during “Live Earth: The Concerts for a Climate in Crisis,” Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., said of political leaders who suggest global warming is not predominantly manmade, “This is treason and we need to start treating them as traitors.” Junior added, “Get rid of all those rotten politicians we have in Washington, DC.” We presume his bloated uncle is excluded?

The University of Oregon’s George Taylor is that state’s official climatologist, but Gov. Ted Kulongoski wants to strip Taylor of that title because his skepticism about CO2 as a primary factor in global warming interferes with Oregon’s goals to reduce CO2.

Elsewhere, the Weather Channel’s Dr. Heidi Cullen is demanding decertification of weather reporters who dare question global-warming orthodoxy.

Academicians who express their skepticism about global-warming causes are at high risk of losing research grants. Conversely, those who advocate for CO2 causation are in line for some big-money handouts. Thus, when academicians say “green,” they aren’t necessarily referring to the environment.

“Journalist” David Roberts is setting his sights on the “denial industry,” proclaiming, “When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards [read: ‘skeptics’] – some sort of climate Nuremberg.”

Nonetheless, some of the most ardent global alarmists are starting to change their tune. In 2005, Chris Mooney wrote “The Republican War on Science,” a thorough indictment of the GOP’s attempt to discredit scientific work on climate change. When he started research for his latest book, “Storm World: Hurricanes, Politics, and the Battle over Global Warming,” he assumed it would be more of the same. Then, after meeting with leading climatologists, he concluded, “There’s a wide range of respectable positions here. In the end, I had to write a completely different book.”

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