Does This Really Blow a Gaping Hole in Global Warming?

A longtime reader of this blog sent me a blog post from Forbes entitled, “New NASA Data Blow Gaping Hole In Global Warming Alarmism.” With such a provocative title, of course, I had to read it.

The blog post makes some amazing claims. It says that the data, published in the Journal Remote Sensing, demonstrate that global climate models do not agree with what happens in the real world when it comes to how much heat the earth is radiating into space. It then says:

The new findings are extremely important and should dramatically alter the global warming debate.

Now this bothered me a bit, because we’ve known for a while that the global climate models don’t work very well. Back in 2009, for example, Richard Lindzen showed that global climate models don’t conform to the data when it comes to how the earth reacts to rising sea surface temperatures. Why should a paper that reaches essentially the same conclusion suddenly change the global warming debate?

The blog post concludes with this statement:

When objective NASA satellite data, reported in a peer-reviewed scientific journal, show a “huge discrepancy” between alarmist climate models and real-world facts, climate scientists, the media and our elected officials would be wise to take notice. Whether or not they do so will tell us a great deal about how honest the purveyors of global warming alarmism truly are.

The way the author of the blog post, James Taylor, wrote about these data made me want to read the scientific paper that contained them. When I read it, however, I found that the “data” were significantly less dramatic than what Mr. Taylor indicates.

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Richard A. Muller on Global Temperatures

The video above is an excerpt from a much longer lecture, which you can find here. I find it interesting because the man giving the lecture is Dr. Richard A. Muller, a professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley. What makes this video so interesting is that Dr. Muller believes that global warming is real. In a paper published in Technology Review back in 2003, he said:

Let me be clear. My own reading of the literature and study of paleoclimate suggests strongly that carbon dioxide from burning of fossil fuels will prove to be the greatest pollutant of human history. It is likely to have severe and detrimental effects on global climate

Thus, he is a “true believer” in global warming. He actually goes on to talk about what he would LOVE to believe, and then he shudders at the idea that as a scientist, he has a desire to believe in anything. He wants his views to be completely data-driven.

Of course, this lies at the heart of his problem, because as he so clearly shows in the video above, the data that have been used to promote global warming are severely flawed. They have been manipulated. Indeed, he says that he cannot even believe the surface temperature data that show a slight increase in global temperature, because the same scientists who botched the famous “hockey stick” graph are the ones who did the analysis of surface temperature data to produce that graph.

As a result, Dr. Muller is doing his own statistical analysis of the surface temperature data to see for himself whether or not surface temperatures are increasing. His analysis will be reported here. I personally think that satellite data are more important in the analysis of global warming, and they still show no significant warming trend. Nevertheless, it should be interesting to see what Dr. Muller reports on his analysis of surface temperatures.

***UPDATE*** The LA Times has run a story indicating that based on 2% of the data being analyzed, Muller says his surface temperature data agree with the surface temperature data linked above. If the agreement remains after the other 98% has been analyzed, this will give us significantly more confidence that surface temperatures are actually warming. (Thanks to Singring for linking this article in a comment!)

It’s Too Bad The APS Won’t Learn from This

Dr. Harold Lewis is a giant in physics. At one time, he was the chairman of the physics department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is now an Emeritus professor at the same institution. He served in the Navy during World War II, was chairman of the technology panel on the Defense Science Board, chaired that same board’s study on nuclear winter, was on the Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards, was a part of the President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee, chaired the American Physical Society’s study on Nuclear Reactor Safety, and was a member of the United States Air Force Scientific Advisory Board. As if that’s not enough, he is a co-founder of JASON, a group of scientists who advise the United States Government on scientific and technological issues.

This giant recently resigned from the American Physical Society (APS). Why? Because he was sick and tired of the APS supporting pseudoscience when it comes to global warming. In his resignation letter, which I urge everyone to read, he specifically says:

…the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist.

Even though I doubt that the APS will learn from this action, I applaud Dr. Lewis for publicly separating himself from an organization that claims to be scientific but seems happy to throw science under the bus in order to jump onto a politically fashionable and incredibly lucrative bandwagon.

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Cool It!

Bjorn Lomborg is the Skeptical Environmentalist
(Click image for credit)
Because I have written extensively on the topic of global warming and have appeared in a documentary that addresses it from a Christian viewpoint, I was invited to pre-screen Ondi Timoner’s documentary, Cool It. This excellent film is based on a book with the same title, which was written by Dr. Bjorn Lomborg. It also stars Dr. Lomborg himself. Even though I am not a fan of documentaries because it is hard to check their facts, this one is definitely worth watching. If nothing else, it fills the gap between Vice President Gore’s nearly science-free, fear-filled documentary An Inconvenient Truth and the more scientific The Great Global Warming Swindle, which lacks a “take home” message on what should be done when it comes to sane environmental policy.

Dr. Lomborg is an associate professor of statistics in the Department of Political Science at the University of Aarhus in Denmark. He claims to have been a member of Greenpeace who got tired of the hyperbole that is inherent in most radical environmentalist materials. After scientifically investigating a few of the more ridiculous claims of the modern environmentalist movement, he officially left Greenpeace and embarked on a quest for sane environmentalism. Greenpeace, however, says it has no record of Lomborg being an active member. In any event, his scientific investigations led him to author a book called The Skeptical Environmentalist. While Lomborg took a lot of heat for that book, the criticism was often based on falsehoods, and that is the subject of the opening parts of the documentary.

After setting the stage with cute little children explaining the doom that will befall the earth because of global warming, Dr. Lomborg tries to set the record straight regarding the message of his book, The Skeptical Environmentalist. Using old talk-show footage, he shows that unlike many of his critics claim, he never questioned the reality of global warming. He shows that he has always held to the idea that global warming is real and is caused, at least in part, by human activities. The points he stressed in his book (and since then) are that (a) the costs of cutting carbon emissions to stop global warming are astronomical and will do very little good, and (b) there are significantly greater problems that the world faces, and we can do something about some of them.

While I disagree with him on the “global warming is real” issue, I have always appreciated his pragmatic approach and his pursuit of sane environmental policy. Both of these qualities are on full display in Cool It.

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Climate Heretic Dr. Judith Curry

Dr. Judith Curry is the latest scientist to be branded a heretic by the climate community.
(Image from Wikipedia)
Dr. Judith A. Curry is the chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology. She is a member of the National Research Council’s Climate Research Committee, and she currently has 144 refereed publications to her credit. An active climate researcher, Curry is considered an expert on hurricanes, atmospheric modeling, polar climates, and air-sea interactions. She is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and has won awards from both NASA and the American Meteorological Society for her excellent climate research. She has also been officially branded a heretic by Scientific American.. What horrible offense has caused her to be labeled this way? She actually started thinking for herself rather than blindly following the reports of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Curry’s story is a classic one and is very similar to my own in many ways. She says that when she reviewed the parts of the IPCC’s third report that were related to her expertise:

I told them that their perspective was far too simplistic and that they didn’t even mention the issue of aerosol impacts on the nucleation of ice clouds. So it’s not so much as finding things that were wrong, but rather ignorance that was unrecognized and confidence that was overstated.

In other words, she had doubts about the IPCC’s report when it came to the areas in which she had serious expertise. However, when push came to shove, she says:

I had decided that the responsible thing to do in making public statements on the subject of global warming was to adopt the position of the IPCC. My decision was based on two reasons: 1) the subject was very complex and I had personally investigated a relatively small subset of the topic; 2) I bought into the meme of “don’t trust what one scientists says, trust what thousands of IPCC scientists say.”

As time went on, however, she began to question her supposedly “responsible” position.

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Global Climate Models Fail AGAIN

Dry earth in Mexico (Click for credit)
Much of the hysteria related to global warming comes from the predictions of computer models. As I mentioned previously, even the father of global warming admits that the currently-available data are not sufficient evidence for the hysteria surrounding global warming, but if you look at the “physics” (i.e., the computer programs that attempt to model climate physics), you see that more carbon dioxide means rising global temperatures. Indeed, much of the famous IPCC report that concludes “it is extremely likely that human activities have exerted a substantial net warming influence on climate since 1750” is based on global climate models. That report further states:

Climate models are based on well-established physical principles and have been demonstrated to reproduce observed features of recent climate and past climate changes.

The problem is, when you test the models’ predictions, they generally fail. As I have already noted, model predictions regarding increasing global temperatures have failed spectacularly, and a lot of that has to do with how poorly those models take into account the negative feedback mechanisms that are a part of earth’s design.

Well, the global climate models have been tested again, and once again, they have failed miserably.

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Speculation Above Data – Standard Fare for “Global Warming”

Wallace Smith Broecker, known to friends and colleagues as “Wally Broecker,” has an earned PhD in geology from Columbia University. He is a professor in Columbia’s Earth and Environmental Sciences department and has published more than 450 journal articles in various earth science disciplines. He also has 10 books to his credit, including Fixing Climate: What Past Climate Changes Reveal About the Current Threat–and How to Counter It.

While Dr. Broecker’s list of academic accomplishments is very impressive, he is best known among earth and atmospheric scientists as the man who coined the phrase “Global Warming.” In 1975, he authored a paper entitled, “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” 1 In that paper, he predicted how temperatures would rise due to increased carbon dioxide emissions.

Interestingly enough, he doesn’t like being called the “father of global warming.” In a recent interview in the journal Science, he says he offered a $200 reward to anyone in his class who could find an earlier reference to “global warming” so that someone else can be given that title. Unfortunately for him, no one could find an earlier reference.2

What I found fascinating about the interview, however, was his admission that the data really don’t support the idea that “global warming” will be a catastrophe.

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Imagine That – The Sun Is Important!

The dark spots on the sun's disk are sunspots.

It seems simple enough. The sun warms our planet. Thus, if one is wondering what is happening to the temperature of our planet, one should look for changes that are occurring in the sun. Sure, there are a lot of other things one must investigate as well, but the sun should be a major priority, right?

Well, not according to the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change (IPCC). In their 2007 report,1 which claims that “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal” and that there is a “very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming,” they state:

Solar irradiance contributions to global average radiative forcing are considerably smaller than the contribution of increases in greenhouse gases over the industrial period.

So the IPCC says that the huge ball of thermonuclear reactions upon which the earth depends isn’t nearly as important when it comes to climate change as the relatively recent 35% increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide.

Fortunately, not everyone thinks the IPCC is serious about science. As a result, some climate researchers are actually trying to figure out how important changes in the sun’s activity are when it comes to the overall temperature of the earth. Not surprisingly, current research is showing that the conclusions of the IPCC are wrong.

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Once again, Global Warming Alarmists Were Wrong

The golden toad, Bufo periglenes was a cute little animal:

An Extinct Toad
Image in the public domain.

Unfortunately, it is now extinct. Why is it extinct? Well, in 2006, the journal Nature published an article that claimed it was the result of global warming:

“Here we show that a recent mass extinction associated with pathogen outbreaks is tied to global warming. Seventeen years ago, in the mountains of Costa Rica, the Monteverde harlequin frog (Atelopus sp.) vanished along with the golden toad (Bufo periglenes)…Analysing the timing of losses in relation to changes in sea surface and air temperatures, we conclude with ‘very high confidence’ (> 99%, following the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC) that large-scale warming is a key factor in the disappearances…With climate change promoting infectious disease and eroding biodiversity, the urgency of reducing greenhouse-gas concentrations is now undeniable.1

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Going Green…And Causing Accidents

I ran across an old news story yesterday, and I decided I had to comment on it, because it is a great example of what happens when people rush to “go green” without thinking of the consequences.

The story reports on several communities that have changed the incandescent light bulbs in their traffic lights to LED lights. The LED lights produce a lot of light without producing much heat. Thus, for the same light output, they don’t use nearly as much energy. As a result, they cost less to run, and they are promoted as a green alternative to the old-style incandescent traffic lights.

Of course…there is only one problem. In snowy conditions, these LED traffic lights are responsible for causing traffic accidents and, according to the news story, at least one death. Why? Specifically because they don’t produce much heat. When it snows, the snow can cover up the lights on a traffic light. However, since the old-style incandescent lights produce a lot of heat, they melt the snow. That way, the snow doesn’t cover up the traffic lights. The LED lights don’t produce much heat, so the snow doesn’t melt. Instead, it covers up the light, making it impossible to see whether the traffic light is telling you to stop or go.

What’s to be done about this? According to Lt. Jim Runge of the Green Bay, Wisconsin police:

as far as I’m aware, all that can be done is to have crews clean off the snow by hand…It’s a bit labor-intensive.

Now the article says that Wisconsin saves a LOT of money by putting in the LED lights, and even though they have to hire crews to clean them off during snowstorms, there is still a net savings. That might be true, but I would have to see the actual numbers to be certain. Also, if you add in all the carbon dioxide emissions required to take crews from traffic light to traffic light in order to clean them all, it is not clear that this is reducing Wisconsin’s “carbon footprint.”

Of course, even if there is a net savings in both cost and emissions for Wisconsin, it is done at the expense of people’s safety. I expect some “environmentalists” have no problem with that. However, this environmentalist thinks that people are a part of the environment, and they should be protected as well.