Right Opinion

The Future of Global Warming Is Unknown

James Wanliss · Mar. 7, 2016

Most people agree that earth’s climate probably experienced modest warming during the twentieth century.

Politicians and not a few scientists say that the direct cause of rapidly rising temperatures is increasing concentrations of CO2 — the gas of life — which rose because of the European and American economic boom post World War II. They warn that warming will become catastrophic as CO2 concentrations escalate with the Chinese and Indian nations increasingly turning away from communist, and towards more free economic, policies.

But the modest warming has stopped.

There has been no warming since 1997 to the present and scientists are scrambling to explain why.

One idea is that it has something to do with the sun.

At just shy of 100 million miles away, our solar dance partner might seem too distant for relatively small events within it to have much impact on the earth. But the sun constantly blows a blistering ionized “plasma” gas toward our planet, its temperatures approaching 200,000°F.

Sometimes the wind blows hot, dense, and fast enough to cause problems on the earth — along with glorious auroral light shows. The solar wind is invisible to the eye, but one can get an idea of what is going on by looking at the sun, because sunspots influence the solar wind. One can sometimes see large sunspots (which may be 12 times the diameter of the earth) with the naked eye, but it is not advisable to try, because the sun blows off not only plasma but also a large amount of electromagnetic radiation similar to the light from a welding torch.

Over 400 years of sunspot numbers show how sunspots usually oscillate over a period of about eleven years. There are other times when sunspot numbers stay relatively low, or high, for decades. For five decades through the twentieth century solar activity rose steadily to rare heights. But now, in a new millennium, we encounter a weaker sun than ever in living history. If the current pitiful solar activity continues, it may signal a future low period for the sun like that associated with the “Little Ice Age,” with its coldest periods characterized by the Maunder (about 1645–1715) and Dalton (about 1790–1830) minima.

Global cooling could replace the modest warming prevailing from the mid-1970s through the mid-1990s and the relatively stable global temperatures since 1997 to the present.

The global warming hypothesis is worthy of scientific investigation, but it seems to have metastasized into an ideology whose followers tolerate no alternatives. The primary hypothesis — human produced CO2 will produce catastrophic global warming — now so dominates discourse that to question it sounds like heresy.

This sad state of affairs results in a Repetition Crisis in publishing, in which the only explanations for serious phenomena that researchers are allowed to offer is the same old same old: climate change caused by global warming. Whether breeding habits of squirrels, increasing or decreasing snowfall, even reduced business at Bulgarian brothels: global warming caused it.

The problem is that the primary hypothesis is falsified by the data.

In the final analysis, this is what we know. First, the modest warming, and cooling, of the twentieth century does not appear to be related much, if at all, to CO2 from human economic activity.

Second, we have had an interesting experiment for decades with accelerating human economic activity (mainly China and India) resulting in massive increases in atmospheric CO2. But the global temperatures stubbornly refuse to follow the forecasts of billion-dollar climate models.

Just when theory and computer models said global warming must escalate because of CO2 emissions, the global temperature stopped rising.  In other words, the theory and modeling, so prejudiced by the primary hypothesis, have hopelessly failed to match up with the real experimental data.

In the words of Richard Feynman, “It doesn’t matter how beautiful your theory is, it doesn’t matter how smart you are. If it doesn’t agree with experiment, it’s wrong.”

If it is not CO2 from human economic activity, then what drives climate? Right now the sun is in a period of anomalously low activity. Could solar activity play a role in cyclical climate changes? We just don’t know.

Theory predicts CO2 plays a role, but the data teach us that it is not a primary one. What we’re learning is that the climate system is much more complex than the media, politicians, and some scientists pretend. The fixation on the CO2 hypothesis means that climate modelers have entirely missed the possibility of cooling coming soon.

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