Sunday, March 23, 2008

Greenie pseudoscience

A paper by Arthur Roersch. Dr Arthur Roersch has a degree in chemical engineering from the University of Delft (1957), and a PhD from the University of Leiden (1963). As chairman of the National (Dutch) Council for Agricultural research he worked for four years (1995-1999) on the development of scenarios and forecasting projections from the theoretical and applied point of view. His current main interest is in the maintenance of rules for Good Scientific Practice in a variety of disciplines and how they may be violated.


Alarming statements from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concerning global warming are being challenged by a considerable number of scientists from different disciplines with a variety of arguments. The disputes comprise the collection and interpretation of data, the validation of hypotheses and climate models, the use of those models for scientific decision making, and the quality of the scientific discourse on these matters.

Many of the critical scientists are not directly involved in climate research. This brings into focus the weight to be given to views of experts relative to that of non-experts when the use of the scientific method is discussed in general, and a critique on the use of the peer review system in scientific journals that is supposed to safeguard the quality of science.

The concern of some climatologists and scientists from other disciplines is that the supposed dangerous warming seems to be exaggerated.

The possible causes of exaggerated conclusions are investigated. It is concluded that the general practice of parameterization of computer models in climate change research shows an element of pseudo science because it leads to self-confirmation of input hypotheses (dogmas) and insufficient challenge of theories.

The theory of the enhanced greenhouse effect of increasing CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere - the very basis for alarming messages concerning future climate change - is itself largely a modelling concept. It is suggested, that for the sake of the progress of science, this theory requires reinvestigation.


Interview with Weather channel founder

Many believe that global warming is one of the most critical challenges that face our planet today. According to the United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, many scientists and most environmentalists and their allies in the media and academia, uncontrolled rising temperatures will cause more frequent droughts, food shortages, melting polar ice caps and coastal flooding, and the extinction of polar bears and many other species. They claim that modern, industrialized society is causing global warming, and they predict climatic calamity including frequent category five and numerous other severe storms resulting in great suffering.

After years of study, John Coleman is convinced that none of this is true. And thousands of scientists and other meteorologists hold this same dissenting view. Currently, John Coleman is a TV weatherman for KUSI News in San Diego. But Coleman is most famous for being founder of the Weather Channel. He has had a long career in predicting the weather, working for the first time as a TV weatherman during his freshman year in college in 1953. With this extensive background, we might take John Coleman seriously when he states bluntly that global warming "is the greatest scam in history."

THE NEW AMERICAN: As someone who has been in weather broadcasting for pretty much its whole history, are you concerned about global warming?

John Coleman: I'm only concerned about people who are going hysterical about it. How many billions of dollars is our government going to spend to combat something that isn't real? That has my attention.

TNA: Are you saying there hasn't been any warming?

Coleman: Well, there are absolutely normal climate fluctuations - little ice ages, then warm-ups. Historically the Earth has vacillated through all of these. Solar cycles change dramatically. Ocean currents change. They all have a significant impact on climate.

TNA: Al Gore and others claim that science has spoken and that there is a universal consensus among scientists.

Coleman: Was there a consensus of 2,500 scientists at the Bali meeting of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change? Heavens no. The key paragraphs or chapters of their report and the research documents behind it, which are very voluminous, were not widely read by these scientists. If you look at the history of the IPCC, its mission and existence was to prove that there is climate change. So they start hiring scientists and giving them research money to go out and prove that its mission is valid. But 19,000 scientists signed a petition against the Kyoto Protocol, and 400-plus scientists spoke out against global warming in 2007, along with at least four dozen TV meteorologists. There is no consensus.

TNA: In the middle of your career in broadcasting, 30 years or so ago, we were told in similar panic terms that we were going to face global cooling and a new ice age.

Coleman: Time magazine came out with a picture of the skyscrapers of Chicago trapped in a huge glacier, creeping down over the Midwest.

TNA: So, you're still waiting for the ice cap?

Coleman: I never believed it was coming, nor do I believe global warming is coming. Are you aware that officials of both the Canadian and Russian governments in the past six weeks have warned of a coming ice age? Climatologists are constantly reacting to swings in the climate.

TNA: Yes, could you address that?

Coleman: It has to do with what's known as a "Maunder Minimum," where the number of solar flares diminishes to zero and the sun lays quiet. Clearly the sun is the source of all energy on Earth. And so, how brightly the sun shines is the key element. It burns irregularly, throwing off huge amounts of radioactive materials at times, and other times it lays quiet. And which side of the sun that is facing Earth at the time of these events has a lot to do with the energy received on Earth. All of these factors control the climate on Earth.

TNA: Are there many scientists who view the temperature increase we have seen - the very minor increase - not with alarm, but as a benefit?

Coleman: Well, if you live in Canada or Minnesota, you might feel a little global warming would be a wonderful thing. I would tend to think a few degrees warmer might be a very good thing. The preponderance of evidence suggests that we might have had 0.2ΓΈ Celsius of warming over the last 30 or 40 years. But that's hard to pin down because during this period of time these great cities have built up. Urban heat islands are very real. If you have a thermometer in the city, its temperature has definitely climbed. But the thermometers in the countryside around that city haven't increased significantly, if at all. What is the right temperature for planet Earth? What is our ideal climate regime? Is it what we have had for the last 50 years?

TNA: Compared with other periods in history, we've had larger increases, haven't we?

Coleman: Around 1900, the Northwest Passage was clear of ice - we had a warm spell. We had the little ice age that preceded that by about 400 years. Remember that the coast of Greenland was fertile, clear, and beautiful farming country. There were farms that operated there for 100 years on those same coasts that are now covered in ice and where the ice is reported melting now. Yet now the global-warming alarmists scream.

TNA: In previous warming periods, do we have any evidence of species extinction?

Coleman: Take the polar bear, about which there is so much talk. Polar bears made it through all of the climate changes in the last 5,000 years. But, on the other hand, ancient climate change clearly did in the dinosaurs. Al Gore stood in front of a picture of a polar bear on a piece of ice floating by and decried the poor polar bear's situation. No polar bear died in that, and I think it is horrible fraud to take that picture and turn it into an emotional plea to people implying the polar bear died.

TNA: What about the concerns many people have about tsunamis and hurricanes as a result of all this?

Coleman: How about the hurricane of 1900 that wiped out Galveston, Texas? Global warming didn't cause that. In 1969, I was in Hurricane Camille, the most powerful hurricane to ever hit the United States. Was that part of global warming, back in '69? We were still talking about the coming ice age then. To blame Katrina on global warming is another one of these emotional frauds. Katrina, when it made landfall, was a category three hurricane that happened to produce a very heavy rainfall over a city built below sea level, protected by inferior dikes because, while science makes the world great, government screws it up. The government hadn't built decent dikes and hadn't taken care of its business.

TNA: Are you concerned about the increasing political impact of government on science?

Coleman: I have had some TV weathermen say, "I'm afraid. I can't say anything because of my job." The mayor of New York has just declared the threat of global warming worse than the threat of terrorism. Because of all of this incredible grandstanding by politicians, supposedly 80 percent of Americans believe global warming is a threat. The politicians have clearly trumped the science in molding public opinion.

TNA: If weathermen on television networks are worried about saying anything to refute global warming, how come you're speaking out?

Coleman: I'm in my retirement job. If I get fired here today, I'm fine, thank you. I only work because it's fun. I happen to work for a company that is very supportive of me.

TNA: If we were to go forward with Kyoto or any variation of Kyoto, would this impose vast restrictions on all human activity?

Coleman: Well, all of this is predicated on carbon being a dirty word. And the carbon we're talking about is carbon dioxide. Now, it's the last remaining cornerstone of global warming. The hockey-stick chart, that ridiculous scientific fraud, got shot down. The pronouncements by NASA about global temperature averages going up have been corrected, and now we know the warmest U.S. decade was the 1930s not the '90s.

All that's left is carbon. Imagine a box my hands are defining about 9 inches square. Let's say there are a 100,000 molecules of atmosphere. Thirty-eight of those are carbon dioxide. Even after all the fossil fuel we burn, there are only 38. When you and I breathe, we breathe out carbon dioxide. It's not a pollutant, but a natural component. Our crops and our forests are thriving because of increased carbon dioxide. But when fossil fuels burn to power cars or plants, they emit carbon dioxide, and that's supposedly a very bad thing according to the global-warming crowd.

The environmentalists are making this whole "carbon as the enemy of mankind thing," as they try to orchestrate the elimination of fossil fuels. Well, fossil fuels have powered our civilization - are powering civilization. Environmentalists have built this whole fictitious case that this carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which has doubled in the last 50 years because of these emissions, is what is driving global warming. Without carbon to blame, the global-warming advocates don't have anything left - their whole case is destroyed scientifically. But they still have the media and the government.

TNA: What about just relying on solar and wind power?

Coleman: Solar power might work great in San Diego where I live, but it doesn't work worth a hoot in Antarctica or Alaska. And it's not very good in Seattle. And wind power is only good in a few limited places. It's a very expensive technology still.

TNA: Is it true that since 2000 or 2001, we haven't seen any rise in the temperature?

Coleman: We're in a cooling trend. The sun has gone quiet. Those guys in Canada and Russia are talking about an ice age; they've probably gone over the edge, but they have a point. The sun is in a very quiet phase. A cooling trend is under way. South America has had the worst winter in 50 years. China has had the worst winter in 50 years. The United States is having a real old-fashioned winter. Alaska just finished one of the worst cold spells in a couple of decades - I didn't see any press on it at all, but it was 40 below for seven days straight in Fairbanks. Another Alaskan community had 72 below, some of the coldest weather they've ever seen in modern times in Alaska. The Arctic ice cap that we heard all about melting last summer is frozen up.

TNA: Are you hopeful that you and many of the other scientists may be able to head this off before a Kyoto-style political solution is put in place?

Coleman: What things can we hope for through your efforts, mine, and those of thousands of others who know the truth? We can hope that we can begin to change some public opinion and calm the fears, so that maybe our government won't spend billions and billions and billions of dollars on silliness. And we can hope to all live for another 20 years so we can look back and have the last laugh.


How pollution can help to clean the air

Hydroxyl radicals, nature's atmospheric scrubbers, are produced by nitrogen pollution too

Some types of air pollution might be doing a good turn by creating extra doses of atmospheric cleaner, according to new research. A lab study has shown how nitrogen oxides, a largely agricultural pollutant, can help to make hydroxyl radicals - the natural cleaner-upper of our dirty atmosphere. But in doing so they can also produce more ozone, the major component of smog. The work should help to improve models of atmospheric chemistry, and suggest better ways to control air pollution in big cities.

The hydroxyl radical is a very reactive and short-lived molecule that contains one hydrogen atom and one oxygen atom. It is known as the detergent of the lower atmosphere (troposphere), because it is involved in most reactions that break down volatile organic compounds (VOCs) - the hydrocarbon pollutants from urban life. In the atmosphere, sunlight breaks up ozone to produce excited oxygen atoms, which then attack water to make hydroxyl radicals. These go on to react with hydrocarbons or carbon monoxide molecules, and break them up - scrubbing the atmosphere clean.

Hydroxyl isn't all good, however. In polluted skies with high levels of nitrogen oxides (NOx), a byproduct of the hydroxyl-scrubbing reaction can go on to create more ozone, a major component of smog. So it might seem that policies aiming to reduce NOx pollution are very important, leaving nature's hydroxyl radicals to scrub up the VOCs. But things aren't so simple.

Amitabha Sinha and colleagues at the University of San Diego, California, have found a previously overlooked but important part of hydroxyl chemistry: NOx pollution can help to make more atmospheric cleaner.

They recreated atmospheric reactions in the lab, and found that nitrogen dioxide, when excited by wavelengths of light similar to those seen when the Sun is low on the horizon, can split water in the same way that ozone does to produce the hydroxyl radical. "This is an important reaction," says Sinha. At these certain times of day, this process could boost concentrations of the atmospheric scrubber by 50%, he says. His work is published in Science.

This also means that NOx pollution produces more ozone than thought, however. "In cities with large amounts of biogenic hydrocarbons, such as Atlanta, ozone concentrations will increase more quickly," says Paul Wennberg, an atmospheric chemist from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. "If you include this [reaction] in models it does profoundly change the way you view control measures for pollution," says Wennberg. Policy makers need good models to determine what to do in different cities with different dominant pollutants, he says.

"This is a very unexpected result," says Dwayne Heard, an atmospheric chemist from the University of Leeds, UK. Heard notes that Sinha's result is based only on times when the Sun is near the horizon. This makes it hard to assess how levels of hydroxyl radicals and ozone will change in a city over the course of a day. "You need to look over 24 hours," says Heard. "When the Sun is low in the sky, this process can produce a significant fraction of OH . at noon this process would have a very small contribution."

But the result is very applicable to polar regions, where the Sun spends a long time hanging on the horizon. The new-found reaction could help explain discrepancies between models and measurements, says Heard, who has just returned from the Arctic.

The new reaction had been suggested previously, but dismissed as unimportant. In 1997, a group from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, also suggested that this reaction might be happening, but at a much slower and therefore much less significant rate than Sinha is now suggesting. Atmospheric models, which already have to take thousands of reactions into account, will be further complicated by this finding.


Baptist Press on global warming:

TIME magazine warned that scientists had observed "bizarre and unpredictable weather patterns" which led them to believe the world was headed for "a global climatic upheaval." Fluctuations in temperature, rainfall and sea ice were all described as signs of impending doom. But the scientists interviewed by TIME weren't talking about global warming, and the magazine wasn't issued in the 21st century. The June 1974 report in TIME warned of a new ice age, touching off other articles in respected publications about expanding glaciers, crop failures and killer tornados.

Newsweek, for example, published its own story within a year, claiming that the evidence in support of the dire predictions "has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard pressed to keep up with it." The New York Times followed in 1975, noting that "a major cooling is widely considered to be inevitable." For more than a century, American scientists and newspapers have been predicting catastrophic climate changes. So far, none of the climate predictions has proven true.

On Feb. 24, 1895, The New York Times warned of the next Ice Age, and in 1923, the Chicago Tribune warned that ice would soon make Canada uninhabitable. But by 1933, the same papers were warning of the greatest rise in temperatures since 1776. Reports two decades later also spoke of a spike in global temperatures. Even TIME magazine reported on global warming in 1951, just two decades before the article on a new Ice Age.

Scientists then were more likely to attribute changes in the global climate to natural forces, but today scientists refer to the warming experienced at the end of the 20th century as "anthropogenic global warming," or that caused by man. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued successive reports that predict a rise in sea levels of 8 to 17 inches over the next century as a result of the human impact on the environment.

The cause of warming, the reports contend, is an increase in greenhouse gases -- chiefly carbon dioxide -- caused by the burning of fossil fuels, humanity's primary fuel for transportation, manufacturing, cooking and heating. A warming atmosphere leads to melting sea ice and glaciers, according to the U.N.'s IPCC report.

The IPCC's viewpoints were popularized by former Vice President Al Gore in his documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." Gore, however, claimed sea levels would rise by 18 to 20 feet if governments around the world failed to address CO2 emissions. His documentary, although it won an Academy Award, is now challenged by multiple sources, even by various IPCC findings.


The contradictions between reports of yesteryear and those of today were illustrated March 18 in a New York Times story on melting glaciers. According to a report from the World Glacier Monitoring Service at the University of Zurich, the melting of glaciers has accelerated since 2006. The paper noted, however, that temperatures worldwide had actually decreased in recent months.

"The global average temperature dropped from its seasonal norm in recent months, and the Northern Hemisphere has had unusually extensive snow," The Times report claimed. "But many experts have said those developments are almost assuredly a short-term wiggle on the way to more warming and melting from the influence of long-lived greenhouse gases produced mainly by burning fossil fuels and forests."

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) issued a report March 13 that confirmed global temperatures were at their coolest levels since 2001. Pacific storms dumped record snowfalls in the American West, in the Northeast and in Canada. China experienced its harshest winter in a century. Snow cover in Siberia and Mongolia is greater than at any time since the mid-1960s, and even Iraq saw snow this year for the first time in recent memory.

One of the most telling signs invalidating the predictions of catastrophic global warming is the expansion of Arctic sea ice. After a supposed record thaw, the ice has returned. A report from the Canadian Ice Service, which has kept records on sea ice since 1972, noted above-average coverage of the Arctic. Gilles Langis, a forecaster with the Ice Service, said the ice also is 10 to 20 cm thicker in most places. The report from the Ice Service was corroborated by the Denmark Meteorological Institute, which said the sea ice between Greenland and Canada was at its most expansive in 15 years.

"The nice thing about sea ice is that there is no analysis needed," Stan Goldenberg, a meteorologist with NOAA's hurricane research division, told Baptist Press in an interview. "This is raw data. You can look at the levels and see that it is colder. "It is a lot more difficult to dispute that than it is a variable like global temperatures."

In his service with NOAA, Goldenberg has flown through the eye walls of hurricanes more than 100 times, including the eye wall of Hurricane Katrina. And he also has been the victim of nature's devastation. Hurricane Andrew destroyed his Florida home with him and his family inside. Fluctuations in climate, he said, are natural phenomena.

"With hurricanes, for example, there are high activity periods and low activity periods because of what is called 'Atlantic Mutlidecadal Oscillation' or 'AMO,' a sort of see-saw, up and down of surface temperatures in the Atlantic. Wind, solar activity and a number of other factors cause the seas to sometimes warm for decades at a time. They sometimes cool for decades at a time and there is a lower level of activity. We are now in a high activity period."

The fluctuation of the earth's temperatures and storm patterns over decades is a relatively new scientific concept. Only recently, with the advent of satellite imagery and other technological advances, have scientists been able to make a wide range of calculations of worldwide trends. That is why scientists shouldn't claim that the previous 10 or 20 years are the hottest years on record or that they have produced more hurricanes than ever before, Goldenberg said. "We simply don't know because no one was able to measure the information before. There's no possible way someone in the 1930s could know about the formation of a hurricane in the mid-Atlantic that never made landfall -- not before satellites."

Cal Beisner, national spokesman for the Cornwall Alliance for the Stewardship of Creation, a group of evangelical scholars and scientists challenging the idea of human-induced global warming, also told Baptist Press in an e-mail that climate changes for five to 10 years do not constitute a trend or an imminent threat to human existence. "Nothing is ever conclusive in science, but I think the evidence on climate change points increasingly toward natural cycles of warming and cooling," Beisner wrote, noting that the changes are driven primarily by changes in solar energy and solar magnetic wind output, secondarily by a variety of ocean and atmospheric cycles, such as El Nino and La Nina, and thirdly by the natural, random fluctuations of the environment.

For Roy Spencer, principal research scientist at the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, periods of warming and cooling are not matters for mere speculation. They are matters of history which lend further credence to the idea of a constantly changing climate. While he notes that the world's average surface temperature is warmer in the past 100 years, he asks the question, "Why is it warmer?" "It was at least as warm during the Medieval Warm Period, when the Vikings farmed Greenland," Spencer told Baptist Press in an e-mail. "Also, about one-half of the recent warming occurred before 1940, which is before mankind emitted much in the way of greenhouse gases. The rest of the warming occurred since the 1970s, and that warming is now widely blamed on human greenhouse gas emissions. But the recent warming also just happens to coincide with a shift in the natural climate cycle called the Pacific Decadal Oscillation in 1977."

Spencer also wrote that if the change in 1977 caused a 1 percent change in global cloud cover, that in and of itself would explain all of the recent warming. "But our cloud observations are not nearly good enough to document such a change," he noted.


The Chicago-based Heartland Institute, a free-market think tank, hosted a conference on global climate change in New York March 2-4. While the hundreds of scientists, economists, business leaders and public policy analysts in attendance did not dispute the claims of a warming earth in the final decades of the 20th century, they did question its cause.

The group issued "The Manhattan Declaration," which claimed that human-caused climate change is "not a global crisis." The statement also said world leaders should "reject the views expressed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, as well as popular, but misguided works such as 'An Inconvenient Truth.'"

This latest salvo in the growing debate about the certainty of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming largely was dismissed in newspapers such as The Washington Post and the International Herald Tribune. The Post claimed the meeting in New York was "a sort of global warming doppelganger conference, where everything was reversed." The Tribune claimed that conference participants displayed a "dizzying range of ideas on what was, or was not, influencing climate," and the paper hinted that only a handful of real scientists participated in the gathering.

Beisner rejects those assertions. He told Baptist Press that the statement issued from the conference was written by a team of scientists led by S. Fred Singer, "one of the most accomplished American scientists of the past half century and an expert on atmospheric physics."

Goldenberg also said he was not surprised the media thought of the meeting as "a gathering of the Flat Earth Society." "As a scientist who has dealt with the media extensively, who has been interviewed dozens of times locally, nationally and by international media, I believe that one of the things affecting public perception of this subject is that the media has total censorship of quality scientific data from the other side," he said, adding that the media have created the notion of a scientific consensus on global warming. "That couldn't be further from the truth," Goldenberg said. "There is no consensus."

Joseph L. Bast, president of the Heartland Institute, said in his opening remarks at the conference that no scientific theory is true because a majority of scientists say it to be true. "Scientific theories are only provisionally true until they are falsified by data that can be better explained by different theory. And it is by falsifying current theories that scientific knowledge advances, not by consensus," Bast said. "The claim that global warming is a 'crisis' is itself a theory."


Limbaugh on "Climate confusion"

RUSH: As you know, the official climatologist of this program is Dr. Roy Spencer at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and he has just completed a book. The book is now orderable at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. It's called Climate Confusion. I'm holding it right here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers. There it is for those of you watching on the Dittocam: Climate Confusion, How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians, and Misguided Policies That Hurt the Poor.

It's not a large book, but it's one of these scientific books written for the average person who is not a trained scientist, to be able to understand it. Dr. Roy Spencer, Climate Confusion. That's all you need to remember of the title, and I heartily recommend it, because both parties are participating in this hoax. Our guy, McCain, is all in for roundabout ways to get to Kyoto, and of course the Democrats are as well, and it is destructive, it is going to lead to much more regulation on freedom and movement and liberty, and it's going to raise the cost of living, all based on a hoax.

Even the polar bear population has been documented to be increasing. Now there's a big move on the part of the a bunch of environmental groups to have the polar bear placed on the endangered species list, which is going to cause all kinds of havoc, more than anybody can possibly imagine, and all of this is the environmental movement.

The modern environmental movement is simply a refuge for displaced Soviets and communists who have at the heart of their existence an anti-capitalist desire, a desire for huge government managing and controlling as much of people's lives as possible. This global warming business uses every bit of guilt that they can ladle out to people in order to succeed and get it done.

They don't even talk about global warming since everything is getting colder. Now they talk about climate change. Of course, it's not gonna manifest itself for another 50 years, maybe, meaning anything that happens between now and 49 years is not conclusive proof of anything. Anyway, Dr. Spencer's book is excellent on the science of this, Climate Confusion is the title.


Australia hears some climate facts for a change

All Australia usually gets is speculative forecasts. The article below is by popular columnist Christopher Pearson

Catastrophic predictions of global warming usually conjure with the notion of a tipping point, a point of no return. Last Monday - on ABC Radio National, of all places - there was a tipping point of a different kind in the debate on climate change. It was a remarkable interview involving the co-host of Counterpoint, Michael Duffy and Jennifer Marohasy, a biologist and senior fellow of Melbourne-based think tank the Institute of Public Affairs. Anyone in public life who takes a position on the greenhouse gas hypothesis will ignore it at their peril.

Duffy asked Marohasy: "Is the Earth stillwarming?" She replied: "No, actually, there has been cooling, if you take 1998 as your point of reference. If you take 2002 as your point of reference, then temperatures have plateaued. This is certainly not what you'd expect if carbon dioxide is driving temperature because carbon dioxide levels have been increasing but temperatures have actually been coming down over the last 10 years."

Duffy: "Is this a matter of any controversy?" Marohasy: "Actually, no. The head of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has actually acknowledged it. He talks about the apparent plateau in temperatures so far this century. So he recognises that in this century, over the past eight years, temperatures have plateaued ... This is not what you'd expect, as I said, because if carbon dioxide is driving temperature then you'd expect that, given carbon dioxide levels have been continuing to increase, temperatures should be going up ... So (it's) very unexpected, not something that's being discussed. It should be being discussed, though, because it's very significant."

Duffy: "It's not only that it's not discussed. We never hear it, do we? Whenever there's any sort of weather event that can be linked into the global warming orthodoxy, it's put on the front page. But a fact like that, which is that global warming stopped a decade ago, is virtually never reported, which is extraordinary."

Duffy then turned to the question of how the proponents of the greenhouse gas hypothesis deal with data that doesn't support their case. "People like Kevin Rudd and Ross Garnaut are speaking as though the Earth is still warming at an alarming rate, but what is the argument from the other side? What would people associated with the IPCC say to explain the (temperature) dip?"

Marohasy: "Well, the head of the IPCC has suggested natural factors are compensating for the increasing carbon dioxide levels and I guess, to some extent, that's what sceptics have been saying for some time: that, yes, carbon dioxide will give you some warming but there are a whole lot of other factors that may compensate or that may augment the warming from elevated levels of carbon dioxide. "There's been a lot of talk about the impact of the sun and that maybe we're going to go through or are entering a period of less intense solar activity and this could be contributing to the current cooling."

Duffy: "Can you tell us about NASA's Aqua satellite, because I understand some of the data we're now getting is quite important in our understanding of how climate works?" Marohasy: "That's right. The satellite was only launched in 2002 and it enabled the collection of data, not just on temperature but also on cloud formation and water vapour. What all the climate models suggest is that, when you've got warming from additional carbon dioxide, this will result in increased water vapour, so you're going to get a positive feedback. That's what the models have been indicating. What this great data from the NASA Aqua satellite ... (is) actually showing is just the opposite, that with a little bit of warming, weather processes are compensating, so they're actually limiting the greenhouse effect and you're getting a negative rather than a positive feedback."

Duffy: "The climate is actually, in one way anyway, more robust than was assumed in the climate models?" Marohasy: "That's right ... These findings actually aren't being disputed by the meteorological community. They're having trouble digesting the findings, they're acknowledging the findings, they're acknowledging that the data from NASA's Aqua satellite is not how the models predict, and I think they're about to recognise that the models really do need to be overhauled and that when they are overhauled they will probably show greatly reduced future warming projected as a consequence of carbon dioxide."

Duffy: "From what you're saying, it sounds like the implications of this could beconsiderable ..." Marohasy: "That's right, very much so. The policy implications are enormous. The meteorological community at the moment is really just coming to terms with the output from this NASA Aqua satellite and (climate scientist) Roy Spencer's interpretation of them. His work is published, his work is accepted, but I think people are still in shock at this point."

If Marohasy is anywhere near right about the impending collapse of the global warming paradigm, life will suddenly become a whole lot more interesting. A great many founts of authority, from the Royal Society to the UN, most heads of government along with countless captains of industry, learned professors, commentators and journalists will be profoundly embarrassed. Let us hope it is a prolonged and chastening experience.

With catastrophe off the agenda, for most people the fog of millennial gloom will lift, at least until attention turns to the prospect of the next ice age. Among the better educated, the sceptical cast of mind that is the basis of empiricism will once again be back in fashion. The delusion that by recycling and catching public transport we can help save the planet will quickly come to be seen for the childish nonsense it was all along.

The poorest Indians and Chinese will be left in peace to work their way towards prosperity, without being badgered about the size of their carbon footprint, a concept that for most of us will soon be one with Nineveh and Tyre, clean forgotten in six months. The scores of town planners in Australia building empires out of regulating what can and can't be built on low-lying shorelines will have to come to terms with the fact inundation no longer impends and find something more plausible to do. The same is true of the bureaucrats planning to accommodate "climate refugees".

Penny Wong's climate mega-portfolio will suddenly be as ephemeral as the ministries for the year 2000 that state governments used to entrust to junior ministers. Malcolm Turnbull will have to reinvent himself at vast speed as a climate change sceptic and the Prime Minister will have to kiss goodbye what he likes to call the great moral issue and policy challenge of our times. It will all be vastly entertaining to watch.

THE Age published an essay with an environmental theme by Ian McEwan on March 8 and its stablemate, The Sydney Morning Herald, also carried a slightly longer version of the same piece. The Australian's Cut & Paste column two days later reproduced a telling paragraph from the Herald's version, which suggested that McEwan was a climate change sceptic and which The Age had excised. He was expanding on the proposition that "we need not only reliable data but their expression in the rigorous use of statistics".

What The Age decided to spare its readers was the following: "Well-meaning intellectual movements, from communism to post-structuralism, have a poor history of absorbing inconvenient fact or challenges to fundamental precepts. We should not ignore or suppress good indicators on the environment, though they have become extremely rare now. It is tempting to the layman to embrace with enthusiasm the latest bleak scenario because it fits the darkness of our soul, the prevailing cultural pessimism. The imagination, as Wallace Stevens once said, is always at the end of an era. But we should be asking, or expecting others to ask, for the provenance of the data, the assumptions fed into the computer model, the response of the peer review community, and so on. Pessimism is intellectually delicious, even thrilling, but the matter before us is too serious for mere self-pleasuring. It would be self-defeating if the environmental movement degenerated into a religion of gloomy faith. (Faith, ungrounded certainty, is no virtue.)"

The missing sentences do not appear anywhere else in The Age's version of the essay. The attribution reads: "Copyright Ian McEwan 2008" and there is no acknowledgment of editing by The Age. Why did the paper decide to offer its readers McEwan lite? Was he, I wonder, consulted on the matter? And isn't there a nice irony that The Age chose to delete the line about ideologues not being very good at "absorbing inconvenient fact"?



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm a chemist, by training. My best friend from high school, who I went to college with was a physics major, who then did Ph.D. work at Cornell, working for Carl Sagan, one of the original "Save the Planet" scare-mongering types, who did so much media work that his scientific laboratory work suffered in quality. I mention this because you mention ozone.

My friend never did get his PhD because Sagan died suddenly of a very rare type of cancer. My friend tried to carry on, via other professors, but eventually dropped out and tried to get an MA out of it, but Carl's secretaries, being trained to field media calls, stonewalled him, as a few existing students finished their work under other professors' guidance, within the Sagan lab.

So Carl died. Want to know why? Ozone poisoning! Ozone smells like almonds. How do we know that? Because a few people who got a good whiff of it in concentrated form said so, before they dropped dead.

Well, Sagan, an astronomer, has as a major project: the grand old idea of sending an electric spark through a mixture of gasses, trying to recreate the red soil of Mars. But it didn't work. Why? Because they had retards working there who had no experience actually putting together a high vacuum apparatus. So it leaked all sorts of toxic gasses over the years, and let Earth atmosphere in. Each student got a few years of it, but old Carl got decades worth of this and other expensively leaky experimental setups.

So my friend, having done high vacuum work as an undergraduate, took out a hand-held Tesla coil and found all the leaks, and used a torque wrench and new gaskets to seal the thing. Boom. Red dust!!!

They also had mercury spilled all over the place. I know because when one of the girl student's engagement ring became half dull-silver-colored due to being amalgamated by mercury, she screamed bloody murder, and blamed my friend. He was not genius himself though, since he once splashed hydrofluoric acid on his neck, and still has the scars, HF being one of the most toxic skin-contact poisons known. Besides it's property of quickly dissolving any type of glass, if you get a drop on your finger it becomes three times the width, as the HF penetrates down and turns your bones to putty by extracting the calcium from them.