Even Revkin, below, does not like Warmists to be OBVIOUS crooks
Peter H. Gleick, a water and climate analyst who has been studying aspects of global warming for more than two decades, in recent years became an aggressive critic of organizations and individuals casting doubt on the seriousness of greenhouse-driven climate change. He used blogs, congressional testimony, group letters and other means to make his case.
Now, Gleick has admitted to an act that leaves his reputation in ruins and threatens to undercut the cause he spent so much time pursuing. His summary, just published on his blog at Huffington Post, speaks for itself. You can read his short statement below with a couple of thoughts from me:
The Origin of the Heartland Documents
Since the release in mid-February of a series of documents related to the internal strategy of the Heartland Institute to cast doubt on climate science, there has been extensive speculation about the origin of the documents and intense discussion about what they reveal. Given the need for reliance on facts in the public climate debate, I am issuing the following statement.
At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute’s apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it.
Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name. The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget. I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues. I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication.
I will not comment on the substance or implications of the materials; others have and are doing so. I only note that the scientific understanding of the reality and risks of climate change is strong, compelling, and increasingly disturbing, and a rational public debate is desperately needed. My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved. Nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case. I offer my personal apologies to all those affected.
The Heartland Institute had already signaled that it plans to seek charges and civil action against the person who extracted its documents under a false identity. Foreshadowing today’s events, on Friday, Ross Kaminsky, a senior fellow and former board member at Heartland, posted a piece on the American Spectator site naming Gleick as an “obvious suspect.” Now they have their man.
I won’t speculate on how the legal aspects of this story might play out.
Another question, of course, is who wrote the climate strategy document that Gleick now says was mailed to him. His admitted acts of deception in acquiring the cache of authentic Heartland documents surely will sustain suspicion that he created the summary, which Heartland’s leadership insists is fake.
One way or the other, Gleick’s use of deception in pursuit of his cause after years of calling out climate deception has destroyed his credibility and harmed others. (Some of the released documents contain information about Heartland employees that has no bearing on the climate fight.) That is his personal tragedy and shame (and I’m sure devastating for his colleagues, friends and family).
The broader tragedy is that his decision to go to such extremes in his fight with Heartland has greatly set back any prospects of the country having the “rational public debate” that he wrote — correctly — is so desperately needed.
Warmist desperation ratchets up a notch further
Rather amusing, actually. In their desperation to attack Heartland (a libertarian organization to whom Nazism is anathema), the LA Times cites ‘Mein Kampf’ as an authority! Will they next be saying: "Widerstaende sind nicht da, dass man vor ihnen kapituliert, sondern dass man sie bricht"? Given their obvious interest in Hitler's thoughts, I would not be surprised
The Los Angeles Times editorializes:
Leaked documents from the Heartland Institute in Chicago, one of many nonprofits that spread disinformation about climate science in hopes of stalling government action to combat global warming, reveal that the organization is working on a curriculum for public schools that casts doubt on the work of climatologists worldwide.
Heartland officials say one of the documents was a fake, but the curriculum plans were reportedly discussed in more than one. According to the New York Times, the curriculum would claim, among other things, that “whether humans are changing the climate is a major scientific controversy.”
That is a lie so big that, to quote from “Mein Kampf,” it would be hard for most people to believe that anyone “could have the impudence to distort the truth so infamously”…
SOURCE (See the original for links)
Climate change science is junk science
Martin Hertzberg, Ph.D, wrote the following in response to an article by an alleged physicist who was taken in by "ad hominem" arguments :
The following commentary is submitted for your consideration in response to today’s guest commentary in the SDN by Dave Yost.
It is tragic that what should have been a respectful and objective evaluation of the available data on weather and climate by qualified, independent scientists, has instead degenerated into a partisan diatribe among journalists, environmentalists, historians and politicians: none of whom is qualified in either meteorology or climatology. Weather and climate are controlled by natural laws on a scale that is enormous compared to the scale of human activity. Those natural laws engender forces and motions in the Earth's atmosphere, its oceans, and its surface that are beyond human control. Weather and climate existed long before humans appeared on Earth, and they will continue to exist in the same way long after we are gone, either individually or collectively as the human race.
Those forces and motions are driven by the following phenomena. First, there is the motion of the Earth relative to the Sun: the periodic changes in its elliptical orbit, the rotation of the Earth about its axis, the periodic changes in the tilt of that axis, and the periodic precession of that axis. Second, there is the variation in solar activity, which causes changes in the amount of radiant energy that reaches the Earth and also causes variations in the cosmic ray input into its atmosphere, which affects the Earth's cloudiness. Third, there is the distribution of land and water on the Earth's surface, which controls the temperature distribution of the atmosphere, the availability of moisture, monsoon effects and the paths and intensities of hurricanes, typhoons and other storms. Fourth, there is the topography of the Earth's land mass, which causes copious precipitation on the windward side of mountains and aridity on the leeward side. Fifth, there are the motions within the Earth's oceans that determine moisture availability and its surface temperature distribution (El Nino and La Nina cycles).
The determinant of weather is mainly water in all of its forms: as vapor in the atmosphere; in its heat transport by evaporation and condensation, as the enormous circulating mass of liquid ocean whose heat capacity and mass/energy transport dominate the motions of our atmosphere and the precipitation from it, and finally as cloud, snow, and ice cover which influence the radiative balance between the Sun, the Earth, and free space. In comparison, the human emission of CO2 is totally insignificant for the Earth's weather and climate and there is not one iota of reliable evidence that proves otherwise.
Most of this was learned by me when I served as a research and forecasting meteorologist while on active duty in the U. S. Navy. That was long before the ersatz field now called “Climate Science” was fabricated out of thin air for the main purpose of promoting the theory that human emission of CO2 was causing “global warming/climate change/extreme weather phenomena.” Note that since it stopped warming about a decade ago, “global warming” morphed into “climate change,” but since climate has always changed, it morphed into “extreme weather phenomena.” Although the theory has become a moving target over the last decade, it is still relatively easy to track it and to shoot it down on the basis of the real data that is available.
Dave Yost's column claims that “it is now warmer than it has ever been.” That claim is false. Climatologists have long known that the Medieval Warm Period and dozens of other periods in the Earth's history were much warmer than today because of the factors enumerated above and long before any significant human emission of CO2. The data (see www.climate4you.com) show significant cooling in the Earth's average temperature over the last decade, no significant change in Arctic ice area coverage, and a significant decline in sea level over the last two years.
While I disagree strongly with most of the political positions of the Heartland Institute, they deserve considerable credit for sponsoring a series of conferences of the world's leading meteorologists and climatologists whose papers show clearly that the theory that human emission is causing “global warming/climate change/extreme weather phenomena” is without merit. The attempt in Orestes and Conway's “Merchants of Doubt” to defame and to cast doubt on the integrity of those distinguished scientists, is a disservice to both science and history. For the record, I have not received one cent of financial support from either the CATO or the Heartland Institutes, and I think they are wrong in most of their other political positions.
Greener Than Thou
By Alan Caruba
The most obnoxious and hypocritical people are those who are always preaching a “greener” way of life, insisting that anything that constitutes our modern lifestyles are destroying the Earth and depleting its natural resources. Never mind that we depend upon oil, natural gas, coal, and a host of minerals and chemicals for that lifestyle, the absence of which caused people in earlier eras to live shorter, far more unpleasant lives.
Oil, other than ust an energy source is also a component in countless products, starting with plastic, and is so vital to modern life that its value goes far beyond just being able to drive our cars to visit grandma.
Greener than thou has replaced holier than thou ever since Rachel Carson penned her pernicious and seriously flawed attack on DDT and other chemicals, fertilizers and pesticides in 1962. The result has been the needless deaths of millions from malaria in Africa and subtropical nations after the U.S. banned DDT and other nations followed suit. If there was a comparable pesticide available today, the U.S. would not be suffering a biblical plague of bed bugs.
A bone fide environmentalist, David Owen, has written a book that quite literally filets environmentalism, “The Conundrum: How Scientific Innovation, Increased Efficiency, and Good Intentions can Make Our Energy and Climate Problems Worse.” ($14.00, Riverhead Press, softcover).
Owen, who has authored 14 previous books, examines the way environmentalism frequently makes no sense at all. This is not to be confused with conservation, the earlier movement that led to the preservation of some of the nation’s natural wonders.
To live an environmentally acceptable way of life is the same as striving to be a saint, avoiding “sin” in order to secure a place in heaven. It is not only virtually impossible, but to be human is to consume what Nature provides. If you think about, all of Earth's creatures are consumers, depending on where they are on the food chain.
For example, when environmentalists convinced Congress to reduce the amount of water in toilet tanks, the only thing they accomplished was to require that the newer, smaller tanks had be flushed twice to rid he toilet of feces and urine, i.e., more use of water, not less. The EPA has just issued a ruling they claim is necessary to reduce mercury emissions despite the fact that your average volcanic eruption puts more into the atmosphere than any human imposed restrictions could ever achieve. Congress, however, passed a law banning 100-watt incandescent light bulbs, thus requiring people to purchase mercury-filled ones that, if broken, require a hazmat team to clean up after.
Environmentalism is essentially irrational.
It believes that humans actually have anything to do with “saving the Earth” when the natural forces of the Earth are so far beyond any “control” that it routinely reminds us of this fact. We have zero impact on the climate and, as for carbon dioxide, the villain of all “global warming” claims, humans exhale about six pounds of it every day. And there are seven billion of us. Even so, it constitutes barely 0.033 percent of the atmosphere.
Owen begins by posing the question, “How do we truly begin to think about less—less fossil fuel, less carbon, less water, less waste, less habitat destruction, less population stress—when our sense of economic, cultural, and personal well-being is based on more?”
The real question at the heart of all environmentalism is what do we do when there are seven billion humans using the resources of the Earth and the real answer for environmentalists is how do we reduce the Earth’s population and how do they grow rich in the process? That is what lies at the heart of all the “solutions” put forth by the United Nations environmental program; an enemy of the human race if there ever was one.
What environmentalists want is “a vast, unprecedented transformation of human behavior in our relationship with energy and consumption.” The next time you hear anyone call for a “transformation” know also that they are a charlatan seeking control over your life.
The environmental assumption is that the Earth is running out of the sources of energy and that consumption is bad. Both are equally wrong because the Earth is not running out of the sources of energy and consumption is what humans and all other species on Earth do every day.
Owen believes that humans are “the world’s main emitter of manmade greenhouse gases” and this is utterly false. The so-called greenhouse gases are the ones in the atmosphere that not only keep the Sun from turning the Earth into a desiccated version of Mars or the Moon, but in the case of carbon dioxide, it is responsible for every single element of vegetation upon which all life depends.
Owen and many environmentalists would prefer that all of humanity live packed side-by-side in crowded cities, using mass transit or bicycling to work to save the Earth, but anyone who gives two thoughts to the amount of energy consumed to maintain a city knows this too is yet another idiotic environmental conceit.
Indeed, Owen notes that “There are many downsides to density, including the fact that squeezing people and their destinations close together makes diseases, wars, and natural disasters more efficient, too.”
That, says Owen, is a conundrum. Indeed, his book is filled with environmental conundrums that he tries to resolve while overtly and inadvertently exposing the idiocy of environmentalism.
Simply put, farmers are the world’s natural environmentalists, relying on the weather—which they cannot control—and the stewardship of their land to feed themselves and others. They must, however, have a means to move their crops to places where other humans can acquire them and that requires a massive system of transportation which, in turn, requires the affordable use of energy.
Environmentalism’s goals, clean air and water, are laudable, but a massive governmental bureaucracy to require that people use less energy and consume less is not.
Time and time again we see examples of environmentalism that only manage to kill people, whether it is the banning of beneficial chemicals or the use of the least efficient forms of electrical power, wind and solar energy.
The least reported story out of Europe these days is the extreme cold that is literally killing people because it puts the lie to all the environmental “solutions” advanced since the 1960s. Environmentalism has been decried as a religion and, for those who want to deny a greater power, Nature or God, it remains their holy grail.
Fatal Error: Believing the Vacuum of Space has a Temperature
by John O'Sullivan
Astrophysicists will tell you that the vast emptiness of outer space has no temperature. Space is empty, thus it is temperature-less. But ask a climatologist and you’ll be told space is 'cold.' Such fallacy spawned the fatal error in the junk science known as 'greenhouse gas theory,' also called the 'greenhouse effect' (GHE).
Alberto Miatello has now published his own stunning debunk of Dr. Roy Spencer’s‘Yes, Virginia, Cooler Objects Can Make Warmer Objects Even Warmer Still’ (July 23, 2010) dissecting how the fallacy of 'cold' outer space allowed climatologists to believe Earths’ atmosphere acted like a ‘blanket’ to help keep our planet ‘warmer than it otherwise would be.’
Miatello’s paper adroitly affirms a prior compelling evisceration of Spencer’s errors by Dr. Pierre R. Latour in Latour’s masterful, 'No, Virginia, Cooler Objects Cannot Make Warmer Objects Even Warmer Still.'
The Miatello and Latour papers utterly vindicate the groundbreaking analysis of the ‘Slaying the Sky Dragon’ book - the world’s first full-volume refutation of the greenhouse gas hypothesis - a publication that some critics have tried and failed to discredit. Miatello’s exposure of the 'cold' space fallacy is further compelling affirmation that fudged numbers were fed into the bogus ‘greenhouse gas theory’ equations.
Miatello’s new paper, ‘Roy Spencer and the Vacuum Bottle Flask’ (February, 2012), not only refutes Spencer’s errors but also once again affirms the damning analysis of savvy climatologist, Dr. Tim Ball who points out, “Climatology is a generalist discipline in a world of specialization.”
Generalists, we find, often need specialist help. We can forgive principled experts such as doctors Roy Spencer and Richard Lindzen because they are not specialists. As Miatello points out,
“The vacuum space is neither cold nor hot, being void of all molecules/atoms (or almost void) and as such has no temperature. Then, you can clearly see the aftermath of Spencer's wrong idea of ‘cold’ vacuum outer space.”
What did the 'Cold Space' Fallacy do for Greenhouse Gas Believers?
Anyone who reads Roy Spencer’s ‘Yes, Virginia...’ can adduce that Spencer truly believes that vacuum space is cold, because unlike Pierre Latour’s ‘No, Virginia…’ debunk, Spencer did not feel the need to add quotation marks on the word ‘cold.’
Miatello observes, “I saw that Pierre understood that the cosmic vacuum is not cold, and so did not devote much attention to the point. However, I saw that it was important to identify Spencer’s error that vacuum space is NOT cold.”
But how significant is this?
“IF the vacuum of space were cold - then it would be true what Spencer (and many GHE supporters) maintain, namely: the colder body reduces the rate of the heat loss by the hotter body, etc.”
But because we know that vacuum space is neither cold nor hot (being almost void of matter and thus having no temperature) we can clearly see the aftermath of Spencer's wrong idea of a 'cold' vacuum of outer space.
No ‘Heat Loss Blanket Effect’ because Vacuum Space is ‘Neutral’ not ‘Cold’
This then has a fatal knock on effect for GHE calculations. We can better understand the root of the big mistake by GHE promoters because they actually believe that our 'colder' atmosphere is reducing the rate of heat loss, as a blanket with our body, just because (in my opinion) they believe that vacuum space is ‘cold.’
Of course, they would be right if the vacuum of outer space were truly ‘cold.’
But unfortunately for them, vacuum space is neutral (neither cold nor hot), and so the rate of heat loss by our 'hotter body' (earth's surface at +15° C), surrounded by a colder body (atmosphere at - 18°C) is much larger than what they believe!
There is no greenhouse effect, our atmosphere is not surrounded by a ‘colder’ vacuum space and thus our atmosphere is not a blanket reducing the rate of heat loss. On the contrary, our gaseous and 'wet' atmosphere is acting to cool our planet's surface by convection and conduction while constrained within the energy neutral zone of the 'thermos flask' of vacuum space.
Such reasoning is faultless and demands the immediate cessation of all further reliance on spurious GHE numbers. It’s now all exposed as pure GIGO: ‘garbage in - garbage out.’
Paging James Hansen: NASA’s Errant Evangelist of Climate Fraud
The crass notion of ‘cold’ outer space is but one of several gross misunderstandings built into the calculations of the increasingly discredited ‘theory’ that is the cornerstone of the $100 billion man-made global warming industry.
Although we can justly forgive Spencer for his errors, we cannot forgive the ultimate instigator of the GHE fraud: NASA’s Dr. James Hansen. Hansen has stubbornly refused to listen to fellow NASA veterans like Dr. Pierre Latour and others - experts who actually put Neil Armstrong on the moon.
And Hansen is not alone within NASA for sustaining this fraud. Since the glory days of the Apollo Mission, the once great U.S. space agency has lost its way. It abandoned its place at the cutting-edge of space science to descend into political advocacy; recently being caught out faking sea level rises and surface temperature records.
In 1969 when Armstrong took his ‘giant leap’ to walk on the moon no one at Mission Control was confused about whether space was 'cold’ or not. Everyone understood that in the airless void outside Earth there was neither ‘hot’ nor ‘cold’ - just emptiness. The reason: Back then, NASA applied the traditional scientific method rather than post-normal science.
One of the greatest dangers to the astronauts was not freezing in their suits but getting the excess body heat away from their skin. This is because in a vacuum, with the absence of any molecules, the free exchange of temperature is virtually impossible.
NASA Literature Contradictory and Confused on “Cold” Outer Space
After pulling out of the ‘space race’ a politicized NASA applied a self-contradictory double-speak to maintain the illusion that space is ‘cold’ when describing the need for huge radiators on the International Space Station (ISS). NASA spin doctors now crassly state: "MLI insulation does a double-duty job: keeping solar radiation out, and keeping the bitter cold of space from penetrating the Station's metal skin."
NASA then admits, in its ‘Staying Cool in Space’ web page that the "ISS needs huge radiators to get rid of its excess heat." So much for the ‘cold’ of space!
So deadly is the risk of astronauts being cooked alive in the ‘cold’ tin can of the ISS that the vehicle requires 14 honeycombed aluminum panels each measuring 6 by 10 feet (1.8 by 3 meters), for a total of 1680 square feet (156 square meters) of ammonia-tubing-filled heat exchange area just to stay cool.
Our Planet: the Air Conditioning Chiller
Firmly shoulder-to-shoulder with the ‘Slayers’ is yet another compelling voice in a growing cacophony of specialist voices demonstrating that the time has come for a full re-examination, then abandonment of the false GHE paradigm.
For too long highly educated scientists have imagined our atmosphere as a ‘blanket,’ instead of a ‘refrigerator,’ or at least an ‘air conditioning chiller’ surrounding our planet, as it is in reality.
With the myth that space is ‘cold’ now firmly debunked Miatello calls on Spencer and other principled climatologists to work with us to promote a new ‘Copernican revolution’ throughout the blogosphere.
Once climate scientists understand that the concept of a ‘blanket’ trapping effect is false then they will grasp the fact that the very foundation of the greenhouse gas effect itself is also proven to be false. As such, the necessary scientific proof is now in hand to bring a swift end to the needless and grossly expensive restriction on human emissions of the benign trace gas, carbon dioxide.
What if They are Wrong?
by Mike Stopa
Because the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) depends on a feedback mechanism between an increase in CO2 and an increase in atmospheric water – a mechanism about which there is considerable, scientifically justified doubt – it is possible that CO2 has effectively no influence on global climate.
There is now considerable data collected, and being collected, that gives a fairly accurate view of the global temperature, insofar as such a thing can be defined. And the temperature record shows reasonably clearly that a heating took place from around the beginning of the industrial age in the early 20th century until around 1940, followed by 30-40 years of cooling, followed again by 20 years of warming until ~1998. In an interesting admission the (British) Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit have now admitted that the global temperature has ceased rising for the last 15 years. Don Surber has done a nice little riff on this report here.
The main point is that there are other potential mechanism to account for the warming trend of 1980-1998 than CO2. Notably, ocean climates and interactions between solar wind and cosmic rays relating to earth’s cloud formation are scientifically established mechanisms for the change.
Here I ask this. Suppose it turns out that CO2 has essentially nothing to do with the earth’s climate. How will the history of this colossal mistake be written?
They will say that a mechanism called the “greenhouse effect,” was postulated long ago (~1824 by Joseph Fourier) and gained adherents in the late 20th century. They will say that the theory was seemingly invalidated by the decrease in global temperatures from 1940-1975, but that the adherents patched this up by explaining the cooling with pollution, specifically sulfur, from industry
They will say that the theory was challenged by the noted vast gap between the amount of CO2 produced by civilization and the substantially smaller increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, but that the theory was patched up by examining the increased CO2 uptake by the hydrosphere and the biosphere.
They will say the theory was seemingly invalidated by the evidence that the atmosphere was already nearly opaque in the wavelengths that are absorbed by CO2 and so the additional CO2 could have, on its own, little effect, but that the theory was patched up by positing a feedback mechanism between the small temperature increases directly due to CO2 and the production of water vapor which is the main greenhouse gas.
They will note that the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) proceeded much like any scientific theory (cf. Thomas Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions) in that it was modified and patched up and adjusted to fit empirical challenges until it finally collapsed altogether under the weight of incontrovertible evidence. But, the scientific historians will have a new phenomenon to consider, and that is the social and political context of this particular scientific theory.
Kuhn describes very well the build-up of evidence that ultimately leads to the over-turning of accepted orthodoxy within the scientific community, of some particular theory. But AGW is intrinsically wrapped up with political ideology and, increasingly, with economics and government (cf. “Solyndra”). The only apt comparison I can think of is Lysenkoism, the anti-genetics theory of Trofim Lysenko that was bought wholesale by Stalin and ultimately hobbled the entire Soviet biological establishment for generations (to say nothing of its role in leading to the starvation of people who followed its tenets in regard to things like agriculture).
Scientific revolutions are difficult and traumatic enough without the added inertia of government sponsorship. To put it more bluntly, scientists have difficulty enough admitting that they have egg on their faces. Throw in the Solyndras of the world and the United Nations and the entire anti-capitalist Global Left and the backing out of this theory will be nothing short of a fiasco.
If someone were, for instance, to come up with indisputable evidence tomorrow that CO2 has essentially no impact on earth’s climate, could the world accept it? With the development of frakking and the concomitant extension of carbon based energy resources hundreds of years into the future, what would they do with all the windmills?
Well, the truth of this issue should be apparent within about 15 years…at which point we may be allowed to buy incandescent light bulbs again.
My recent post, “What if They Are Wrong,” explored the possibility that human-generated CO2 will be determined, after all is said and done, to have no appreciable affect on climate. The post generated a lot of discussion. I want to follow up on some of that discussion with this brief post.
CO2 is, after all, a trace gas and humanity has added to it a trace amount. An essential requirement that it have a major influence on our climate is a set of feedback mechanisms that magnify its effect. Most notably, for CO2 increase to have any seriously dangerous ramifications for human life it is necessary that a positive and significant feedback exist between the CO2 abundance in the atmosphere and the water abundance. This feedback loop, its sign and its magnitude, are seriously in question.
To take one example, it is well-established that water vapor in the upper troposhpere and lower stratosphere (the region known as the “tropopause”) has been decreasing for the last ten years. This was not only not predicted by climatological computer models, it has not yet been explained by those models. Speculations as to the origin of this drying out include an unexpectedly large rise from the 1998 El Nino (which is only now drying out) to a decrease in the atmospheric content of methane, another greenhouse gas, over the past decade or more. Alas, the decrease of the methane is also not explained.
A short but well-presented description of this discrepancy was given almost exactly two years ago in Scientific American (hardly a global warming skeptic publication!). Sci. Am. quotes one of the authors of the original (Science Magazine) study thusly:
“We found that there was a surface temperature impact due to changes in water vapor in a fairly narrow region of the stratosphere,” explains research meteorologist Karen Rosenlof of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Aeronomy Laboratory, one of the authors of the study. “The reason for the water vapor change is the temperature drop at the interface between the troposphere and the stratosphere over the tropics. What we don’t know is why the temperature dropped.”
Note that the researchers in this publication are by no means heretics in the scientific establishment. They make genuine efforts to explain these findings. But the results are still a mystery.
All told, stratospheric water vapor declined by 10 percent since 2000, based on satellite and balloon measurements, yet that was enough to appreciably affect temperatures at ground level according to climate models. “Reduce the water vapor and you have less long-wave radiation coming back down to warm the troposphere,” Rosenlof says. Conversely, an apparent increase in water vapor in this region in the 1980s and 1990s exacerbated global warming.
And, as noted above, the authors considered the influence of methane on the atmospheric water:
Of course, the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere is also affected by another potent greenhouse gas—methane—which has unexpectedly failed to increase in recent years. “The other influence is methane, which breaks down into two water molecules and CO2 in the stratosphere,” explains climate scientist Drew Shindell of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). “Methane’s growth rate has dropped, so it’ll have become a weaker source of stratospheric water, but we don’t fully understand why its concentrations have not increased as rapidly in recent years as they did for the previous several decades.”
As a producer of greenhouse heating, methane is typically considered to be about twenty times as effective, molecule-for-molecule, as CO2.
The main issue I am raising is not that the scientists who are at the front line of this research are blind or bellicose – not that they are unscrupulous or fraudulent. Most of the scientists working in the field are not trying to push an ideological position but are genuinely trying to get at the truth. If they can be accused of any moral failing, it is simply the tendencey to go with the flow when it comes to writing grant proposals and alluding to the possibility of global warming as a justification for supporting their research. Nothing horrible about that.
That does not say that there are not a few at the top and at the edges who are true believers – who think that behaving as deceivers is ethically the right thing to do given the gravity of the threat (that they perceive) and the ignorance of the masses to that threat (as they perceive).
Sound science will, unimpeded by the hysterics, lead to sensible public policy. It is my belief that the final conclusion will be that CO2 produced by humanity will be found to be of only minor importance for global climate and that it will be heavily outweighed by exchange of heat with oceans of evolving temperature and other factors such as solar-determined cloud formation. But I am open to evidence and, alas, a lot of global warming hysterics in the scientific community (and especially in the non-scientific, political community) have their ears stopped with gobs of wax.
I want to finish this post with a reference to a significant letter that appeared in the Wall Street Journal a few days ago. Signed by sixteen (sober) scientists, this letter lays out the case against hysteria better than I can and I urge the worshipers in the Church of the Green to read it and ponder it deeply. They make reference to Yale economist William Nordhaus who, while simply accepting the scientific conclusions of the IPCC uncritically, nevertheless concludes that the radical policies of the Kyoto accord, which calls for dramatic limitations on CO2 emissions in the west, are counter-productive to the extent that they undermine the health of our economy and its capacity to deal with climate problems in the future. The WSJ article states:
A recent study of a wide variety of policy options by Yale economist William Nordhaus showed that nearly the highest benefit-to-cost ratio is achieved for a policy that allows 50 more years of economic growth unimpeded by greenhouse gas controls.
In conclusion, global warming is an unchallengeable “consensus” only among those who deeply yearn to save the planet. The conviction of those politicians and activists and (few) scientists that debate is destructive is itself destructive. It arises from the dungeons and dragons psychodrama going on in the minds of those deluded saints – where they embody themselves as the White Wizards and the skeptics as the Morlocks.
The appropriate role for conservatives is to oppose the bias of hysteria and the “cautionary principle;” to demand every essential cost-benefit analysis and, understanding the daydreams of the holy, to insist that progress comes by first placing our feet upon the ground.
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