Friday, October 24, 2008

Global Warming, Global Myth, Part 2

The global warming advocates make all sorts of false claims about dire consequences of global warming. They claim it will result in the spread of malaria, food shortages, more human deaths, more violent weather, and a loss of biological diversity through the extinction of species. All untrue. The largest number of species — the greatest biological diversity — is in the tropics. As you move away from the equator, you find fewer and fewer species, until you reach the earth’s poles, where there is zero diversity because nothing can live there.

Agricultural productivity is also reduced by cold climate, not a warmer one. That’s why Siberia and Alaska are not noted for agricultural abundance. A warmer climate would mean longer growing seasons and would make agriculture possible in areas where it isn’t today. And there are at least 300 studies showing plants and forests grow faster and more luxuriantly under conditions of increased carbon dioxide.

Our bodies require heat. We are warm-blooded and have no fur. We wear clothes, build homes, and heat them with fires, all as protection against the cold. Far more people move to Florida, California or Arizona because of warm climate than move to Alaska, North Dakota, or Montana. Canada is the world’s second largest country, lots of space for people to live, but 90% of the population lives within 100 miles of its southern border. Worldwide, far more people die every year from cold than from heat. So why should global warming be bad for us?

Global warming will not result in the spread of malaria. Paul Reiter, of the Pasteur Institute in Paris, is one of the world's foremost experts on insect borne diseases. He says, “The global warming alarm is dressed up as science, but it is not science. It is propaganda. I was horrified to read the [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] 2nd and 3rd Assessment Reports because there was so much misinformation.” For example, the IPCC states “mosquito species that transmit malaria do not usually survive where the mean winter temperature drops below 16–18 degrees C.” This is “clearly untrue,” says Reiter. “In fact, mosquitoes are extremely abundant in the Arctic. The most devastating epidemic of malaria was in the Soviet Union in the 1920s. There were something like 13 million cases a year and something like 600,000 deaths, a tremendous catastrophe that reached up to the Arctic Circle. Arkhangel [a city 300 miles further north than Helsinki, Finland] had 30,000 cases and about 10,000 deaths. So it’s not a tropical disease. Yet these people in the global warming fraternity invent the idea that malaria will move northward.”

New York City and Boston had long histories of malaria. In 1933, when President Roosevelt authorized the Tennessee Valley Authority, a third of the population in the area had malaria. Malaria was not eliminated in the U.S. until 1951. It was done through the use of DDT — which the environmentalists prevailed upon the United States to ban, resulting in 40–50 million unnecessary deaths from malaria since 1972.

The environmentalists have also invented the idea that the polar bear is threatened by global warming. Today there are 22–25 thousand polar bears, compared to 8–10 thousand 40 years ago and only 5 thousand in 1940, before the big rise in carbon dioxide. Eleven of the 13 polar bear groups in Canada today are stable or increasing. The two that are decreasing are in an area where the climate has gotten colder! Furthermore, the polar bears survived many periods of much warmer temperatures, some lasting thousands of years. They survived the Medieval Warm Period a thousand years ago, when the Vikings settled both Iceland and Greenland. Greenland actually was green then and could support agriculture; but when the cold returned a few centuries later, the people there all starved to death. Today Greenland is covered by a sheet of ice. Six thousand years ago the earth’s climate was much warmer than now, and the polar bears survived. Ten thousand years ago the earth’s climate was a whopping six degrees C.(11 degrees F) warmer than now, and the bears survived. Polar bears have been a distinct species for 125 thousand years (they descended from grizzly bears) and they’ve survived far warmer climates than anything they face today or in the foreseeable future. A Canadian polar bear expert, Mitch Taylor, says, “They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected.”

The argument that a warmer climate will bring more violent weather can only be made by people who have no knowledge of climate history or simply dismiss it because it contradicts their propaganda. And they rely on the public — and the media — being uninformed enough and gullible enough to believe them. There is abundant historical evidence that the earth had far more violent weather in times of colder climate, such as the Little Ice Age, than in warmer times. It is well known, too, that what determines violent weather is the temperature differential between the equator and the poles. All the computer models predict the greatest warming from the greenhouse effect will be at the poles, which will reduce that differential and violent weather.

There are four sources of global temperature measurements: NASA, The UK Meteorological Office’s Hadley Center for Climate Studies, the University of Alabama at Huntsville, and RSS (Remote Sensing Systems). NASA is out of step with the other three. The others show global temperatures declining since 1998 while NASA shows them increasing at a record pace. How can that be? Statistician Steve McIntyre tracks climate data closely at Recently he ran an article titled “NASA is Rewriting History, Time and Time Again.” It explains that NASA has “adjusted” recent temperatures upward and older temperatures downward, which creates the appearance of warming. The man behind these changes is James Hansen, the scientist who started the whole global warming hysteria by testifying before a Senate committee in June 1988 that he was 99% sure greenhouse warming was already under way. The same media which scarcely a decade earlier were touting a coming ice age now seized upon Hansen’s unsupported testimony and began touting global warming. Hansen has been trying ever since to come up with evidence to support his claims, now even tampering with the actual temperature record. Steven Goddard asks, “How could it be determined that so many thermometers were wrong by an average of 0.5 degrees in one particular year several decades ago, and an accurate retrofit be made? Why is the adjustment 0.5 degrees one year, and 0.1 degrees the next?” Statistically, the odds are 50/50 of an error being either up or down. But Hansen adds an upward correction to the average of thousands of temperature measurements annually across the globe in more than 55 years out of 70. That's like flipping a coin 70 times and having it turn up heads 55 times. The odds of that happening are about one in a million.

Nor is that the only example of phony manipulation of data for the good of the cause. The centerpiece of the IPCC Third Assessment Report was the “hockey stick” graph by Michael Mann, et al. It showed a thousand years of “reconstructed” global temperatures as a long horizontal trend looking like the long handle of a hockey stick — with a sharp rise since 1900 looking like the blade of the hockey stick, due to global warming. This work has now been thoroughly discredited. It was the product of multiple inaccuracies from errors, omissions, obsolete data, and manipulations in “reconstructing” data, all of which was then processed through an invalid statistical procedure. That procedure was found to produce a “hockey stick” even from random inputs, and Mann himself later admitted it would find a “hockey stick” where there wasn't one. The National Academy of Sciences found a “validation skill not significantly different from zero.” The issue was presented to the National Academy of Sciences by the Wegman Panel, consisting of three independent statisticians chaired by an eminent statistics professor, Edward Wegman, who also testified about it at a congressional investigation. After explaining the incorrect mathematics in Mann’s procedure, Wegman stated: “I am baffled by the [Mann] claim that incorrect mathematics doesn’t matter because the answer is correct anyway[!]” Ideology trumps mathematics! (Incidentally, this graph is still being used on TV programs on global warming. I was on one such program less than a year ago that displayed this graph four or five times in an hour and allowed Mann plenty of airtime to tout it, and the program provided no rebuttal. And I have been told by students and parents that the “hockey stick” graph is still being used in schools.)

To be continued.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Global Warming, Global Myth, Part 1

“Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen.”—Sir John Houghton, first chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and lead editor of its first three reports.”

During the 20th century, the earth warmed 0.6 degree Celsius (1 degree Farhenheit), but that warming was wiped out in a single year when January 2008 showed an annual drop of 0.63 degree C. (1.13 F.). A single year does not constitute a trend reversal, but the magnitude of that temperature drop—equal to 100 years of warming—is noteworthy. Of course, it can also be argued that a mere 0.6 degree warming in a century is so tiny it should never have been considered a cause for alarm in the first place. But then how could the idea of global warming be sold to the public? In any case, global cooling has been evident for more than a single year. Global temperature has declined since 1998. Meanwhile, atmospheric carbon dioxide has gone in the other direction, increasing 15 - 20%. This divergence casts doubt on the validity of the greenhouse hypothesis, but that hasn't discouraged the global warming advocates. They have long been ignoring far greater evidence that the basic assumption of greenhouse warming from increases in carbon dioxide is false.

Man-made emissions of carbon dioxide were not significant before worldwide industrialization began in the 1940s. They have increased steadily since. Over 80% of the 20th century's carbon dioxide increase occurred after 1940—but most of the century's temperature increase occurred before 1940! From 1940 until the mid-1970s, the climate also failed to behave according to the greenhouse hypothesis, as carbon dioxide was strongly increasing while global temperatures cooled. This cooling led to countless scare stories in the media about a new ice age commencing.

In the last 1.6 million years there have been 63 alternations between warm and cold climates and no indication that any of them were caused by changes in carbon dioxide levels. A recent study of a much longer period (600 million years) shows—without exception—that temperature changes precede changes in carbon dioxide levels, not the other way around. As the earth warms, the oceans yield more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, because warmer water cannot hold as much carbon dioxide as colder water.

The public has been led to believe that increased carbon dioxide from human activities is causing a greenhouse effect that is heating the planet. But carbon dioxide comprises only 0.035% of our atmosphere and is a very weak greenhouse gas. Although it is widely blamed for greenhouse warming, it is not the only greenhouse gas or even the most important. Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas and accounts for at least 95 percent of any greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide accounts for only about 3 percent, with the remainder due to methane and several other gases.

Not only is carbon dioxide's total greenhouse effect puny, mankind's contribution to it is minuscule. The overwhelming majority (97%) of carbon dioxide in the earth's atmosphere is due to nature, not man. Volcanoes, swamps, rice paddies, fallen leaves, and even insects and bacteria produce carbon dioxide, as well as methane. According to the journal Science, Nov. 5, 1982, termites alone emit ten times more carbon dioxide than all the factories and automobiles in the world. Natural wetlands emit more greenhouse gases than all human activities combined. (If greenhouse warming is such a problem, why are we trying to save all the wetlands?) Geothermal activity in Yellowstone National Park emits 10 times the carbon dioxide of a mid-sized coal-burning power plant, and volcanoes emit hundreds of times more. In fact, our atmosphere is primarily the result of volcanic activity. There are about 100 active volcanoes today, mostly in remote locations, and we're living in a period of relatively low volcanic activity. There have been times when volcanic activity was ten times greater than in modern times. But by far the largest source of carbon dioxide emissions is the equatorial Pacific Ocean. It produces 72 percent of the earth's emissions of carbon dioxide, and the rest of the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, and other waters also contribute. The human contribution is so puny it is far overshadowed by these far larger sources of carbon dioxide. Combining the factors of water vapor and nature's production of carbon dioxide, we see that 99.8 percent of any greenhouse effect has nothing to do with carbon dioxide emissions from human activity. So how much effect could regulating the tiny remainder have upon world climate? That is, if climate was determined by changes in carbon dioxide, which is not the case.

Since carbon dioxide is a very weak greenhouse gas, computer models predicting environmental catastrophe depend on the small amount of warming from carbon dioxide being amplified by increased evaporation of water. But in the many documented periods of higher carbon dioxide, even during much warmer climate periods, that never happened. During the time of the dinosaurs, the carbon dioxide levels were 300 – 500% greater than today. Five hundred million years ago, the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 15 - 20 times what it is today. Yet the catastrophic water-vapor amplification of carbon dioxide warming never occurred. Today we're told catastrophic warming will result if carbon dioxide doubles. But during the Ordovician Period, the carbon dioxide level was 12 times what it is today, and the earth was in an Ice Age. That's exactly opposite to the “runaway” warming that computer models predict should occur. Clearly the models are wrong; they depend upon an assumption of amplification that is contrary to the climate record of millions of years. So there is no reason to fear the computer predictions—or base public policies on them. Reid Bryson, founding chairman of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Wisconsin, has stated, "You can go outside and spit and have the same effect as doubling carbon dioxide."

There are other examples where the computer models fail to agree with reality. According to the greenhouse hypothesis, the warming should occur equally during day and night. But most of the warming that has been observed has occurred at night, thus falsifying the models.

All of the models agree—for sound theoretical reasons—that warming from a greenhouse effect must be 2-3 times greater in the lower atmosphere than at the earth's surface. This is not happening. Both satellites and weather balloons show slightly greater warming at the surface. These atmospheric temperature measurements furnish direct, unequivocal evidence that whatever warming has occurred is not due to the greenhouse effect.

Everyone knows the sun heats the earth, but the public is generally unaware that the sun’s heat is not uniform. Solar radiation is affected by disturbances on the surface of the sun, called “sunspots,” which correspond to the sun's 11-year magnetic cycle. There are also several solar cycles of longer duration. Superimposed, these cycles might augment or cancel each other. There are also periods when sunspots “crash” or almost disappear, which can lead to dramatic cooling of the earth for several decades. This is what happened 400 years ago during the Maunder Minimum, which was the coldest part of the Little Ice Age. During one 30-year period within the Maunder Minimum, only about 50 sunspots were observed, compared to a typical 40 – 50 thousand.

Sunspots have now virtually vanished. You can check out pictures of the sun day after day after day for the last few years at Very few show more than one sunspot and many show none. We are currently at a solar minimum, awaiting the start of the next solar cycle. If sunspot activity does not pick up soon, we could be in for some seriously cold climate. The jury is still out on sunspot numbers.

In any case, some climate scientists believe the length of past solar cycles points to a cool phase early in this century. Professor Habibullo Abdussamatov, head of the Pulkovo Observatory in Russia, believes a slow decline in temperatures will begin as early as 2012-2015 and will lead to a deep freeze in 2050-2060 that will last about fifty years. Climatologist Tim Patterson thinks by 2020 the sun will be starting into its weakest 11-year sunspot cycle of the past two centuries, likely leading to unusually cool conditions on earth. He says, “If we're to have even a medium-sized solar minimum, we could be looking at a lot more bad effects than 'global warming' would have had.”

To be continued.