Sunday, April 10, 2011

Betty McCollum Barking up the Wrong Tree-Rings

Betty McCollum has recently made news saying "Congress on wrong side of history in denying climate change" in the Hill news blog  
Multiple studies have shown that 97 percent of the most qualified climate scientists are in agreement that humans are causing the planet to warm. If this was an illness, and 97 percent of doctors recommended a certain treatment, we would take appropriate action.
The consequences of developing economic and political policy based on one view of this, a potentially incorrect view, could be disastrous for every individual in the United States. She wants to go down that road, regardless of what it could mean to the economic well being of all her constituents.

What Betty McCollum and others need to keep in mind is the phrase "correlation does not imply causation"   A correlation between CO2 and Temperature is necessary, but not sufficient to prove the case. Especially when the CO2 has been shown to have a 400 year lag after temperature.  There are a lot of very credible reasons to question going down that path.  I will try to show a few in the "Review of Temperature Data" section.  At the end of this article I show a recent study that does a much better job explaining the historical and recent data, and has actual experimental data to try to prove it.

Be aware that there is a cottage industry in attempting to discredit and smear those that the "climate alarmists" call the "climate deniers". So everyone I reference will be found to have some articles on the web "discrediting" them.  Judge for your self.

The first thing one must understand is that there are two issues.  First is what is called anthropomorphic global warming, the idea that CO2 changes [disregarding any natural causes of change, like Volcanos] are caused by man's use of fossil fuels and cause "significant" global temperature changes. Second is the study of natural variation of global temperatures. Forces and effects which would take place regardless of what we do.  There is a lot of very significant controversy between the two positions.
  • How significant is the man-made portion of CO2 versus all the "natural" effects?  
  • Does the global weather system compensate for the CO2 effect? 
  • Has it been warming since the little ice age 18-19th century?
The answer to the last question is an unequivocal YES! And that's where you get the huge "consensus" numbers.  But that may not mean anything really very dramatic.  This interview with George Taylor, Oregon State Climatologist, does a very good job explaining the issues.

If the natural effects, those completely outside our ability to affect, overwhelm the anthropomorphic effects, then wouldn't efforts on our part to correct be insignificant, and potentially a huge waste of resources?

Review of Temperature Data
Here is a chart of temperature since before the Holocene Warming.  This chart shows time frames where the data is even warmer than now.

Never heard of that?  That's because global warming advocates don't really want to talk about it.  It doesn't fit with their message very well.  They typically only show the last 100 years or so, to try to prove their point.  As this Wikipedia does in

Newly released FOIA’d emails from Hansen and GISS staffers show disagreement over 1998-1934 U.S. temperature ranking.  Was 1998 or 1934 the warmest year?  That doesn't seem to fit with the NASA plot from Wikipedia.

A Two-Thousand-Year Temperature History of the Extra-Tropical Northern Hemisphere

This new study of Ljungqvist is especially important in that it utilizes, in his words, "a larger number of proxy records than most previous reconstructions," and that it "substantiates an already established history of long-term temperature variability." All of these facts, taken together, clearly demonstrate that there is nothing unusual, nothing unnatural or nothing unprecedented about the planet's current level of warmth, seeing it was just as warm as, or even warmer than, it has been recently during both the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods, when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration was more than 100 ppm less than it is today. And this latter observation, together with the realization that earth's climate naturally transits back and forth between cooler and warmer conditions on a millennial timescale, demonstrates that there is absolutely no need to associate the planet's current level of warmth with its current higher atmospheric CO2 concentration, in clear contradiction of the worn-out climate-alarmist claim that the only way to explain earth's current warmth is to associate it with the greenhouse effect of CO2. That claim -- for which there is no supporting evidence, other than misplaced blind faith in climate models -- is totally bogus.

There have been a lot of articles written about the CRU Climategate and the apparent attempt to hide the MWP (Medieval Warming Period). As here in Yamal and Hide-the-Decline by Steve McIntyre
The controversy in October 2009 was actually the second major CA dispute involving tree ring chronologies from NW Siberia. The earlier criticism was of CRU’s failure to publish an amendment to the prominent Polar Urals chronology (Briffa et al Nature 1995) to show the impact of measurement data that became available subsequent to the original publication (the availability of new data and its value in firming up the Polar Urals chronology timing is referred to in a 1999 email). As reported here, the new data showed a prominent MWP, contradicting Briffa et al 1995 on a cold 11th century.

The "Harry ReadMe file" 
 -- 274 pages long -- describes the efforts of a climatologist/programmer at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia to update a huge statistical database (11,000 files) of important climate data between 2006 and 2009.

The computer coding, along with the programmer's apparently unsuccessful efforts to complete the project, involve data that are the foundation of the study of climate change --
"In global warming circles, the CRU wields outsize influence: It claims the world's largest temperature data set, and its work and mathematical models were incorporated into the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's 2007 report.
If you really want a fascinating read, go to the "Harry Readme File". One statement that I read in the file, but never saw mentioned elsewhere, was the appearance of numbers documented in the code comments as "fudge factor", that were critical to getting the results used in publications based on the programs and data, but were of complete unknown origin, i.e no one knew where they came from.  If you have an inquiring mind, you really should read this file

Other significant articles are:
Loehle averaged the data for the 18 sites and produced the plot below, with each point representing 30-year centered average temperature (Figure 2). Loehle notes “The data show the Medieval Warm Period (MWP) and Little Ice Age (LIA) quite clearly.” The plot also shows that 20th century warming is apparently dwarfed by events in the past.

China’s 2,000 Year Temperature History

Figure 2. Five regionally coherent temperature reconstructions with 100-year resolution; the dashed line is the part with fewer series used; and the solid line is the mean value. The shaded areas are the two coldest periods, during the 1620s–1710s and 1800s–1860s (from Ge et al., 2010).

David Evans consulted full-time for the Australian Greenhouse Office and writes:
The debate about global warming has reached ridiculous proportions and is full of micro-thin half-truths and misunderstandings. I am a scientist who was on the carbon gravy train, understands the evidence, was once an alarmist, but am now a skeptic. Watching this issue unfold has been amusing but, lately, worrying. This issue is tearing society apart, making fools out of our politicians.

Let's set a few things straight. The whole idea that carbon dioxide is the main cause of the recent global warming is based on a guess that was proved false by empirical evidence during the 1990s. But the gravy train was too big, with too many jobs, industries, trading profits, political careers, and the possibility of world government and total control riding on the outcome. So rather than admit they were wrong, the governments, and their tame climate scientists, now outrageously maintain the fiction that carbon dioxide is a dangerous pollutant.

Recent (last 10 years) research has repeatedly shown that the Climate Models are inexact and potentially very misleading.  They are based on assumptions that have been shown to be limited and flawed.  Key among them is the lack of inclusion of the effects of clouds.

Recent Studies in Alternative and Better Fitting Theories
Henrik Svensmark in a Telegraph article Cosmic rays blamed for global warming
Henrik Svensmark, a weather scientist at the Danish National Space Centre who led the team behind the research, believes that the planet is experiencing a natural period of low cloud cover due to fewer cosmic rays entering the atmosphere.

This, he says, is responsible for much of the global warming we are experiencing.
Henrik Svensmark on Global Warming (part 1) 

Here are links to the rest.  They are well worth watching.
part 2
part 3
part 4
part 5

Partial Bibliography
Archibald David. " The Past and Future of Climate" (pdf). A presentation to The Lavoisier Group’s 2007 Workshop, "Rehabilitating Carbon Dioxide" held in Melbourne, Australia, on 29-30 June 2007.

Plimer, Ian. "Heaven and Earth. Global Warming: The Missing Science". Conner Court Publishing. Ballan, Victoria, Australia, 2009.

Henrik Svensmark, Nigel Calder, The Chilling Stars A New Theory of Climate Change, 2007

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