Thursday, March 04, 2010

A AGW discussion

Back in the 70's there were two major predictions of doom for humanity: the coming population explosion and the coming Ice Age. The issue with both items was the same - given the level of x and the trend, disaster was imminent. Obviously going from 3 billion to 6 billion people added significant demands on our resources (more about that in a moment) but the idea that we understood the dynamics of our climate based on literally .000000001 % of our planets history was just silly. By the time the mainstream media picked up on the Coming Ice Age, the temperature trend had shifted in the other direction.

Over the last 15 years, the increasing hysteria about global warming did nothing to persuade me that climatologists understood our climate any better than they did in the 70's. But of course the 'evidence' was mounting. But EFFECTS are not evidence unless you can conclusively show that the effect is caused by ONLY the evidence you have.

An example: reefs in Australia were showing bleaching. The reason given was warming water caused by global warming. Here is an interesting fact - back in January of this year, a severe frost pushed into deep south Florida, causing even islands down in the Keys being colder than they had been in decades - but it was not just one day, it went on for days. Fish began dying and when they looked at the reefs closer to the mainland, they were devastated by the findings: there were reefs that were DEAD, not the slow bleaching we saw in Australia, this was bleaching almost to the foundation of the reefs, bleaching that took hours not weeks. This isn't surface effects, this is deep water changes.

I don't use this example to say the world is actually cooling, but to say that a noticed effect can be explained by more than one type of evidence. We don't know enough about a planet's history to understand the mechanisms that drive our WEATHER. The climate is dramatically more complex. Our climate is not just dependent on the Earth! The Sun, our Solar System and our planet's interaction with them have effects that are barely understood, let alone having a significant historical record.

For climatologists to suggest that they have any understanding of our climate such that they can make 100 year, even 10 year predictions is hubris bordering on LYING. With that as MY point of view, I have 1) dismissed the doom and gloom predictions of people like Al Gore - and the 'stars' of climatology, 2) taken the evidence of global warming with great skepticism and 3) the CAUSES of any temperature change to be UNPROVEN hypothesis.

But my skepticism is not evidence contrary to reported 'science'. Finding contrary evidence has been difficult...and there was a reason.

Back in Nov 09, just a couple weeks prior to an international conference designed to complete an international treaty to address AGW a whistleblower at the East Anglican Climate Research Unit in England released thousands of emails, computer code and documents. Of all the items released, I found three to be particularly damaging. But it is important to understand the importance of CRU to the hypothesis of Anthropogenic Global Warming.

All over the world are temperature sensors. The data from those sensors, collected by agencies in the countries where the sensors are located is transmitted to CRU, the head of which for the last 20 years has been Peter Jones. So, the primary source of temperature readings for the entire planet over the last 30 years resides in one place, under the authority of one man. The emails released showed two things about Peter Jones and the CRU: 1) Mr. Jones actively worked to suppress research that showed either temperatures not climbing, or effects not caused by warming; 2) He considered the data to be private - it was not going to be released for other scientists to use and confirm or refute findings and worse, very much worse, if he was ordered to release the data by legal means, he would DESTROY the data. Over the last 3 months we have found out that in fact, the raw data is GONE. All that remains is data that was modified from the raw data. In many cases, even data that has been modified can still be used, as long as the modifications are well documented and subject to evaluation. Here we find out the modifications are NOT well documented and worse, not consistent.

An example. When a weather station is moved, or equipment is changed, the data shows specific variations. Modifications are made to the raw data to eliminate the variations. When the sensors are run in parallel for a period of time, the variation is easy to evaluate and the modification is clear. But when we have situations where a sensor is damaged and replaced some period of time later, in a slightly different location, the modification is more difficult to determine. One way is to take sensors in nearby areas and "relate" the data. If two stations are 50 miles apart and temperature varies between the stations by 1 degree, and one station is damaged, moved or equipment is replaced and the temperature variation is 1.2 degrees consistently, then the .2 difference is equipment/location related and the modification of the raw data is clear. But what happens when the nearest station is 1200 miles away and the station, at a small rural airport is moved close to a new asphalt runway? We expect a modification, but not modification year after year. Analysis of several stations have show modifications that can not be explained by changes in location, changes in equipment or even changes in environment.

The modifications made to the raw data appear spurious, but what they all show is a consistent UPWARD bias. There is one more really serious issue with the weather stations. In the 70's there were over 6,000 stations worldwide. Today, our temperature data is based on just 1,700 stations. But more important than the reduction is WHERE we have lost stations. There is exactly ONE temperature station in the Antarctic. There are only 10 in all of Russian Siberia. A review of stations here in the United States found dozens of temperature stations in locations that compromised their ability to provide unbiased readings. Sensors near equipment exhaust fans; sensors surrounded by asphalt surfaces; sensors designated rural surrounded by businesses and residences. And over and over again indications of regular, consistent, upward modifications of the data.

Another problem has been the attempt to EXPLAIN the rise in temperatures the data shows. Of course any indication of rise has been compromised by the inconsistency and manipulation of the ONE CONCRETE PIECE OF EVIDENCE we have - the temperature record. All the examples of global warming are in fact examples of changing climate - whether they are caused by warming or not is UNKNOWN. Why? Well, we know every glacier currently on the planet was at one time, either non-existent or considerably smaller AND they were larger, grander and more intrusive into our 'environment. Why? Because our climate temperatures were different. One of the most recent climate 'events' is called the Medieval Warming Period. From about 850AD to 1500AD the climate was considerably warmer than it is today. So much so that Greenland, currently covered by glacier, was in fact a significant agricultural area. What we know about that period is that CO2 - a normal and necessary ingredient in our atmosphere, required by every plant on the planet for LIFE - was at a different level than it is today. Whatever caused the planet to be significantly (3 degrees) warmer than today, it was NOT CO2.

So, where are we? From all indications we are about .24 degree warmer today than 100 years ago (but 3 degrees cooler than during MWP). There is no trend indicating a steep climb. If anything, the climb that has been apparent over the last century, has stopped and may in fact be trending LOWER. (In direct contradiction to climate models used to predict the coming doom.)

Of the examples offered by CRU and United Nations International Panel on Climate Change: glacial melt - has been shown to be a fraction of the claim just 2 years ago, a claim based not on science but on the recollections of guides working on just ONE Himalayan glacier. The IPCC had to withdraw the claim on glacial melt because there is NO EVIDENCE of large scale melting; sea level rising: the research showing less than 5 cm in sea level rise over the last 50 years was also withdrawn from the IPCC report when 'amateur' researchers reviewing the data and methodology found flaws in both. The researchers quoted by the IPCC, when confronted with the findings, withdrew their research and acknowledged the fatal flaws in their data and methodology; species extinction - a review of mammal and bird 'extinctions' has found exactly NO examples in the last 35 years. None. No examples of mammal or bird species known to exist prior to 1970 have been shown to be extinct since 1970.

Let's look at one more issue: We are in a solar minimum. What that means is that the number of sunspots (and therefore solar flares) has been in a period of practical non-existence for the last year. What impact has this had on our climate? Some research indicates that a higher amount of extra-solar particles are getting into our upper atmosphere - the impact on cloud cover and precipitation has been noted, but the effect is still being evaluated.

What is clear is that making significant changes in society to address the issues of global climate change is based on little or no science but lots of politics.

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