Friday, July 01, 2005

Carnaby Fudge on Global Warming

I used to be a global warming "skeptic" but now I'm not. Now I'm just a global warming skeptic. I have questions that have not been adequately answered. Part of the problem is that I don't have the time to read up on the current science involved, but my questions are straight forward and have received no answers (by which I mean nobody has come up to me and stapled a paper to my forehead that shows me the light. I admit I should look harder). That and I'm always uneasy about things strongly supported by so-called environmental groups, you know. I'm also especially skeptical about gloom and doom predictions over the 0.116 deg/C per decade warming that we might be seeing. So now, I'm taking the second easiest route to doing nothing, I'm appealing to people who might know something to tell me about it!

Anyway, one of my questions involves the following scenario:

  1. Global warming should lead to increased water vapor in the atmosphere, which should lead to more global warming, as water vapor is a green house gas (GHG). This in turn should lead to more warming which should lead to more water vapor which should lead to more warming which should lead to more water vapor which should lead to...

    A system that behaves in this way is termed unstable, which, from our known geographic history the earth's climate is not. So how does the earth respond, and on what time frame, to warming influences? This leads naturally to my second question.

  2. See all that water vapor being brought into the atmosphere by global warming? Doesn't it take energy to put it there? Shouldn't the energy transfer required for the phase transition lead to a reduction in global temperature?

  3. The work I see about climate change never seems to consider the funny climate dynamics we call weather. Why not? Does it rain more or less when the earth heats up and there's more water vapor, the phase transition of which consequently cools the earth?

What is it exactly about our climate system that maintains climate stability, and how does that figure into the figuring about global warming? I'd sure appreciate anyone in the know pointing me to some info that addresses these concerns, if any such info in fact exists.


Anonymous Rusticus said...

Sorry, I don't have answers. But I learned to ignore the Doom sayers sometime in the 80s, after the Population Bomb failed to go off, and we didn't run out of clean drinking water, or oil, and springs haven't been silent and when the global doomers went from crying about an Ice Age to Global Warming without some much of a blip and using 100 year projections based on bad data and no one keep predict a weeks worth of weather to begin with and now they are crying Ice Age because of Global Warming and the ozone hole started closing up and no one knows why and...

You got the idea. I think it is hogwash and horsefeathers.

7/01/2005 1:36 PM  
Blogger Mr. Completely said...

Excellent questions. I've linked to your post over at Mr. Completely so maybe we can scare up an expert on this....

7/02/2005 10:50 AM  
Blogger owlish said...

I'm no expert, but I have seen at least one forecast that had global warming leading to increased snow and snow deposits at the poles.

And I think the most doom-and-gloom predictions require a positive feedback loop.

7/02/2005 1:24 PM  
Blogger Grampapinhead said...

On Global warming:
you will find some amozing info if you search (google) 'hockeystick effect global warming'.
such as:

Check these out and you will be forever skeptic

7/02/2005 6:07 PM  
Blogger Grampapinhead said...

On Global warming:
you will find some amozing info if you search (google) 'hockeystick effect global warming'.
such as:

Check these out and you will be forever skeptic

7/02/2005 6:10 PM  
Anonymous LouG said...

Extremely long, but a good read & explains many of the questions we all have @ "GW" !

Extracted from the Chemical Engineer, September 2001

The Kyoto Protocol: Dangerous for both Science and Society?

Philip Stott wonders how we can possibly believe that changing the level of greenhouse gas emissions can have any significant impact on the earth’s climate.

(Philip Stott is professor of biogeography at the School of Oriental and African Studies in the University of London and editor of the Journal of Biogeography (Blackwell Science).

I recently received a thoughtful letter from a colleague. In this, he argued cogently that the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on climate change was not only bad for climatology as a subject but also for science as a whole.

Scientists, he argued, had allowed themselves to be used and manipulated by groups with strong political agendas so that science was becoming ‘legitimised’ by European political correctness and not by the cautious processes of science itself.

I would wish to go further. I believe the Kyoto Protocol is bad for science, for economics, for politics, and for society, in the widest sense. The idea that we can control, in any predictable manner, climate change through the management of one tiny set of variables, namely human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, is so fundamental a lie that it beggars belief.

Climate is the ultimate coupled non-­linear chaotic system. Unsurprisingly our general circulation models (GCMs) remain intrinsically simplistic, with even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) admitting publicly that it knows next-to-nothing about 75% of the major proxy variables involved. As good engineers, I wonder if the readers of this magazine would be happy to cross a bridge built on a partial knowledge of only 25% of the factors relating to its construction? And, in the case of climate, some of the missing variables are so blindingly obvious, including soot, clouds and waves, that it is embarrassing.

In approaching the Kyoto Protocol, and the recent political shenanigans last November in The Hague and this July in Bonn, it is therefore vital to distinguish between ‘global warming’ and the complex science of climate change. ‘Global warming’ is pure politics and myth. It is a grand narrative, invented in 1989, which carries with it both the language and the baggage of an obsessive, nearly fundamentalist, set of New Age religious beliefs. ‘Global warming’ has become the legitimising ‘science’ for stemming Neo-Malthusian population expansion, limiting economic growth, controlling the car, blocking all development, attacking the evil American Empire, and fighting capitalism and globalisatio n. The recent juxtaposition of the Genoa violent anti-capitalist protests and the Bonn pro-Kyoto/anti-Bush demonstrations says it all.

Thus, when Christine Todd Whitman, President Bush’s newly-appointed administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), announced last March that the United States had “no interest in implementing that treaty”, meaning the ‘global warming’ protocol, negotiated and signed in 1997 at Kyoto, Japan, the European ‘Green’ movement sensu lato, including European governments, went hysterical. It was far worse than not having had sex “with that woman.” ‘The Toxic Texan’ had not just rejected a treaty; he had blasphemed against a the new religion so that he was instantly transmogrified into what one German newspaper, Die Woche, has called the ‘Climate Killer’. His Fausian pact would bring the world to the very edge of ruin. He was Saur on of The Lord of the Rings wreaking havoc throughout the earth with his genetically modified orcs and spouting smokestack industrial volcanoes.

Belief in this powerful European myth demands allegiance to a number of strict articles of faith. First, climate change over the last decade must be faster and worse than at any time during the past 1000 years or more, despite the fact that we are rising out of a ‘Little Ice Age’ that ended around 1880. Secondly, the cause of this dramatic change has to be human greed and growth, not ‘natural’ climate drivers or forcings, so that, only by sacrificing ourselves to the Earth, can we atone for our sins and save the planet.

In this sense, the religion is hardly new, because it emulates so closely the sacrificial demands of many ancient religions. Moreover, the Kyoto targets for controlling the emissions of greenhouse gases must hurt economically and politically, especially the Americans; this is part of our self-flagellation. The dreadful political fudge achieved at Bonn therefore will not do for many. Religious purity demands that no treaty at all is better than one that opts for the easy road that leads to destruction. Finally, the prime sinner must be America, with its gas-guzzling, growth-orientated, polluted, Erin Brokovich world.

In the UK, these tenets of faith are now so powerful that, by contrast, the hard science of climate change barely gets a look in. Indeed, the work of a wide range of serious, but sceptical, climate scientists is totally excluded from public debate, particularly in bien pensant news outlets such as the Today programme on BBC radio 4, Channel 4 TV News, and The Guardian and Independent newspapers.

For those seeking ‘truth’, however, it is deeply alarming that a whole series of recently published heavyweight scientific papers questioning both the relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature and the data / modelling underlying the concept of ‘global warming’, have been basically ignored by the UK and the European media. These scientific papers are found in major journals such as Nature, Climate Research, and the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, and involve institutions of the highest scientific distinction, including NASA, the Goddard Space Flight Centre, the University of the Ruhr, Ottawa-Carlton Geoscience Centre, Harvard University, the Smithsonian, and Stanford University. Yet, despite their undoubted scientific legitimacy, the papers have received scant public attention, above all because they do not support and ‘legitimise’ the socially-constructed myth of ‘global warming’. I have myself tried to persuade environmental correspondents to report such work, only to be met with incredulity that such science might even exist.

One critical focus has been on the role of that most important ‘greenhouse’ gas of all, water vapour (not carbon dioxide), and on the palaeo-geological relationships between water vapour, carbon dioxide and temperature. Jan Veizer’s work, for example, is widely regarded as magisterial in its decoupling of temperature from CO2, so much so that one editorial commentary written for the Centre for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change regards his work as creating a crisis in the ‘global warming’ myth. The editorial summarises the importance of the work as follows: “In a revealing scientific paper recently published in Nature [December 2000], Veizer et aI present what could well be described as the beginning of the end for the theory of CO2-induced global warming.” The paper, of course, met with resounding silence in the European media. Yet it is strongly supported by another key paper from the prestigious Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, in which the authors have even gone so far as to warn that: “Our review of the literature has shown that GCMs [climate models] are not sufficiently robust to provide an understanding of the potential effects of CO2 on climate necessary for public discussion.” Now there’s an unusually cautious thought!

A second focus has been on the many missing, or little-known, variables in the IPCC and other climate models, including newly-discovered ‘Pacific’ vents by Richard Lindzen, Alfred Sloan — professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology — and others. If confirmed through further research, this effect alone, which is not recognised in current climate prediction models, could significantly reduce estimates of future climate warming. Another neglected variable is particulates, especially soot. Again, new work on black carbon (soot) and aerosols was reported in America, but hardly at all in Europe, yet soot may be responsible for 15% to 30% of ‘global warming’, although it is not even considered in any of the discussions about controlling climate change, according to Stanford University’s Mark Jacobson.

A third focus has been on the need to correct many temperature measurements, especially those taken over the oceans. Some of this work, at least, was reported fully by BBC Science / Technology Online, a creditable exception to the normal media failure in this field. Studies have demonstrated that, when scientists take proxy sea-surface temperatures out of the global temperature record for the past 20-plus years and replace them with air temperature data gathered more accurately by ships and buoys, the global warming trend at Earth’s surface drops markedly by about one-third — from 0.19 to about 0.l30Celsius per decade. Other scientists argue that land temperature measure ments and records are equally flawed, reflecting primarily the process of urbanisation and the well-documented ‘urban heat island’ effect rather than any significant rise in global temperatures.
I could go on, but it should now be patently clear that the myth of ‘global warming’ has little to do with the complex science of ‘climate change’. And the bottom-line truth is that we still know precious little about the latter. Moreover, it is always salutary to return to basic, primary school-level, science. Climate is governed by a billion variables and it is intrinsically chaotic. These variables range from the flip of a red admiral butterfly’s wing, through the changing albedo of the Earth’s surface, erupting volcanoes, shifting ocean currents, waves and salinity, the dynamic geometry and cycles of the earth and the sun, the ever-changing mix of gases, ‘natural’ and ‘human’, to planetary dust and meteors. The grand narrative that we can ultimately affect, or ‘control’, climate change in any meaningfully predictive way simply by playing about with just one or two politically-selected variables has to be challenged publicly. Only a mighty, all powerful, romantic myth could cover up such a basic piece of ‘non-science’.

Reality is surely about recognising climate change as the norm, about acknowledging climate as the most complex of systems about which we still know very little, and about humans remaining ever dynamically adaptable to whatever change comes — hot, wet, cold, or dry, or all at once. Kyoto is dangerous for science and society precisely because it fails to acknowledge these three points. Kyoto is fundamentally about a religious belief in ‘global warming’ and about authoritarian ‘command-and-control’ target economics that simply will not work.

Even if all 180 countries ratified the protocol and then actually met their greenhouse gas emission targets — a highly unlikely political scenario — we still might only affect temperature by between 0.07 and 0.20Celsius, and even this could be thrown out by a couple of erupting volcanoes or altering landscape albedos.

And what are the economics of this meaningless self-sacrifice demanded by Kyoto? According to recent models, implementing Kyoto will cost anywhere between $100b and $1000b, with a mean around $350b. Now that amount of money could pay off the public debt of the 49 poorest countries of the world and provide clean drinking water for all! Need one say more?

Taken from: "" LouG

7/03/2005 6:47 PM  

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