Friday, November 14, 2008

Global Warming, Global Myth, Part 3 (conclusion)

Some scientists skillfully utilize the news media to promote a view of carbon dioxide and global warming that ignores contrary evidence or pretends it doesn't even exist. The media suck this up, puke it all over the airwaves and the newspapers, and the public, not knowing any better and awed by these scientists with Ph.D.s, believes it must be true. Here are a couple of examples. On June 25, 2007, Professor Raymond Bradley, in a discussion on KSTP-TV about carbon dioxide levels stated, “We cannot find any other period in the last 800,000 years when greenhouse gas levels were as high as they are today.” And on August 19, 2007, CBS featured a story about global warming with reporter Scott Pelley that focused on the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide. In an extensive interview with Pelley, Professor Paul Mayewski stated: “The level and speed of rise is significantly [he repeated 'SIGNIFICANTLY' with great emphasis] greater than anything in the last 850,000 years.” He indicated this portends serious problems from continued global warming. But Professor Tim Patterson, a paleoclimatologist who is director of the Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre of Canada's Carleton University, says that 10,000 years ago the carbon dioxide level was about the same as now and temperatures rose as much as 6 degrees Celsius in a decade—100 times faster than the past century!

The current level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which Bradley and Mayewski find so alarming, is about 380 parts per million. The 2007 IPCC Summary report states: “The global atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide has increased from a pre-industrial value of about 280 ppm to 379 ppm in 2005. The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide in 2005 exceeds by far the natural range over the last 650,000 years (180 to 300 ppm) as determined from ice cores [emphasis added].” Oh, yeah? The ice cores show measurements of over 400 ppm in 1700 A.D. and 200 A.D., as well as 10,000 years ago. Samples from Camp Century (Greenland) and Byrd Camp (Antarctica) range from 250 to nearly 500 ppm over the last 10,000 years.

Zbigniew Jaworowski, M.D., Ph.D., D.Sc., has studied climate for over 40 years and organized 11 glacier expeditions researching 17 glaciers in the Arctic, Antarctic, Alps, Norway, Himalayas, Peruvian Andes and other mountainous regions. He has also published about 20 papers on climate issues, most of them about ice cores. He writes that the ice core information in the 2007 IPCC Summary Report was “plagued with improper manipulation of data, an arbitrary rejection of high readings from old ice, and an arbitrary rejection of low readings from young ice, simply because they did not fit the preconceived idea of man-made global warming.”

Furthermore, how could scientists who believe carbon dioxide is causing global warming be unaware of the abundant direct (not from ice cores) measurements that give lie to their claim? More than 90,000 (!) measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide were made between the years 1812 and 1961 and published in 175 technical papers. Jaworowski says these measurements were ignored for three decades “not because they were wrong. Indeed, these measurements were made by top scientists, including two Nobel Prize winners, using techniques that are standard textbook procedures....The only reason for rejection was that these measurements did not fit the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming. I regard this as perhaps the greatest scientific scandal of our time.”

Ernst Georg Beck made a monumental compilation of these carbon dioxide measurements and graphed five-year averages, which smooth irregularities and show trends rather than an individual year that might be an anomaly. These further discredit the claims of the IPCC and others that today's carbon dioxide levels are the highest in thousands of years. Beck's work shows an average of 440 ppm carbon dioxide for the years 1820 and 1940, and 390 ppm for 1855. Can there be any doubt that the promoters of global warming are distorting science for political purposes?

Figure 1, above, is based on sediments from the Sargasso Sea. It shows the earth was much warmer 500 and 900 years ago and that there were even warmer times 500 BC and 1000 BC. All of these times had no factories or automobiles. They also had far smaller human populations, who devoted much less land to agriculture and cut far fewer trees. Note, too, that now we have barely reached the average temperature for the last 3,000 years. The chart also shows the current warming trend began more than 250 years ago, before the Industrial Revolution. It was a natural recovery from the Little Ice Age.

The widely publicized melting of ice sheets in the Arctic and Greenland in recent years was due to decadal oscillations in ocean and air currents that are unrelated to carbon dioxide or greenhouse warming. On July 17, 2008, the Science & Public Policy Institute stated: “Towards the end of the 20th century, the two most powerful of these oscillations, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation, were both in their warming phases. In 1998, their effect, combined with an exceptional but not unprecedented El Nino Southern Oscillation, caused a very strong upward spike in temperature.... [R]esearchers at NASA last year concluded that the reason for the record shrinkage of the Arctic ice-cap was an acceleration of pole-ward sea and air currents caused by the warming phase of the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation.” Those oscillations have now reversed. In October 2008 the extent of Arctic sea ice grew at the fastest pace ever recorded. It grew 3,481,575 square kilometers for the month, breaking the old record by 150,638 sq. km (58,161 sq. miles.)

The disappearance of Arctic ice is by no means something new. The areas where ice melted in recent years were, in fact, open water a century ago. We know this because Roald Amundsen and other explorers sailed their ships in these waters. This area has been freezing and thawing for millions of years, and at times the Arctic icecap completely disappeared. It always recovered, and Environment & Climate News recently reported “the 2005-2007 data confirm Greenland's ice melt has returned to normal.” Data from weather stations on the southern coast of Greenland show almost all decades between 1915 and 1965 were as warm or warmer than the 1995 to 2005 decade. In the 1920s, when mankind's emissions of carbon dioxide were nine times lower than now, Greenland's temperature increased 2 to 4 degrees Celsius in less than ten years, which is contrary to all the computer models that are the basis for predictions of global warming. (So why should anyone believe those predicitions?) Summer temperatures are the most relevant to Greenland's ice sheet melting rates, and summer temperatures at the summit of the ice sheet have declined 2.2 degrees C. per decade since 1987.

Figure 2, below, shows 4,000 years of temperatures from ice cores drilled into the Greenland ice sheet. Note that for most of this time temperatures were well above more recent times, and some periods were markedly warmer and show far larger swings than the latest uptrend.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that Antarctic ice in 2007 reached its largest extent in recorded history. In April 2008 climatologist Patrick Michaels wrote “the coverage of ice surrounding Antarctica is almost exactly 2 million square miles above where it is historically supposed to be at this time of year. It's farther above normal than it has ever been for any moth in climatological records.” James Taylor of the Heartland Institute noted that “photographs distributed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed penguins and other cold-weather creatures able to stand further north on Southern Hemisphere sea ice than has ever been recorded.”

There is nothing new or frightening about reports of ice chunks breaking off the Antarctic ice sheet. Nautical records show it's been happening for at least 2 centuries, even when the continent's ice mass has been increasing, as it has been over the past half century. Most of the Antarctic ice is above 4,000 feet. As the ice increases there from precipitation, it pushes the glaciers toward lower elevations at the edge of the continent, where they break off.

Most of the scare stories about warming in the Antarctic have focused on the peninsula, which has been warming for decades. What those stories don't tell you is that the peninsula comprises only 2 percent of Antarctica while the other 98 percent has been cooling, that there are both surface and subsurface volcanoes in the area, and that there is no basis for inferring that what is happening on the peninsula will determine the climate for the rest of the continent. That would be like the tail waging the dog.

Alarms have also been raised about glaciers disappearing worldwide, but the public is usually not told about the glaciers that are advancing. An article in 21st Century Science and Technology states: “Since 1980, there has been an advance of more than 55% of the 625 mountain glaciers under observation by the World Glacier Monitoring group in Zurich. (From 1926 to 1960, some 70-95% of these glaciers were in retreat.)” The CBS program mentioned above showed the extensive retreat of the O'Higgins glacier in Patagonia, the fastest-melting glacier in South America. The program did not tell you that the Perito Moreno Glacier—the largest glacier in Patagonia—is advancing at the rate of 7 feet per day. Nor did it mention that Chile's Pio XI Glacier, the largest glacier in the southern hemisphere, is also growing.

In Europe many glaciers have not retreated back to their positions in the Medieval Warm Period, when there was no industrial civilization producing greenhouse gases. The Aletsch and Grindelwald glaciers (Switzerland) were much smaller between 800 and 1000 AD than now. The latter glacier is still larger than it was in 1588. In Iceland today, the Vatnajokull glacier—the largest in Europe—and also the Drangajokull glacier are far more extensive than in the Middle Ages, and farms remain buried beneath their ice.

Figure 3, below, is an intriguing chart by J. Oerlemans of 169 glacier records. It shows glaciers have been receding since 1750, with the trend accelerating after about 1820. The electric light bulb and the telephone hadn't been invented yet. (Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell weren't even born.) The first commercial electric power plant was not built until 1881-82. Henry Ford began assembly line production in 1913, but by then half of the glacier loss from 1800 to 2000 had already occurred. And 70 percent of the glacier shortening occurred before 1940.

Siberia's Lake Baikal is the world's deepest lake. It contains more water than all five of North America's Great Lakes combined. Fed by over 300 rivers and far from the moderating effects of any ocean, it offers a pristine, uninterrupted sedimentary record that permits a highly accurate reconstruction of temperatures over a broad area. Environmental researcher Anson Mackay has found increased biogenic silica in sediments correlates with warmer temperatures, as shown in Figure 4 below:

Four things stand out about this graph: (1) As MacKay states, “Warming in the Lake Baikal region commenced before rapid increases in greenhouse gases;” he dates the warming from around 1750 A.D.,, long before industrial development led to the increase of greenhouse gases. (2) The warming trend began from one of the coldest periods in the last 800,000 years. (3) These coldest periods in the past were always followed by sharp, large temperature increases that couldn't possibly have been caused by human activity. (4) The latest warming is puny compared to the many much warmer periods in the past.

Mackay's findings are supported by similar research papers on other parts of the globe. These include Brauning's research in Turkey, Hallert's in Canada, and Vollweiler, et al, in Austria/Germany.

Why is it that the global warming advocates are unfazed by any contrary evidence, no matter how strong? All their claims of disasters from global warming have been debunked. All their computer models have been shown to be false, to be based on flawed assumptions, incapable of being reconciled with the observable facts. Vaclav Klaus, President of the Czech Republic and a university professor before he became president, is the author of a book on global warming and has spoken often on the subject. He says, “What frustrates me is the feeling that everything has already been said and published, that all rational argument has been used, yet it does not help.” It does not help because global warming alarmism is not based on rational argument. It is not based on science. It is not based on reality. It is based on political ideology. If rational argument doesn't fit, then phony arguments must be invented: the spread of malaria, the loss of biological diversity, polar bears disappearing, etc. If computer models can predict disaster scenarios only by programming unrealistic assumptions, then that will be done. If global warming does not fit the observable temperature measurements, then a new “reality” must be invented to fit the ideology: the actual temperature records must be altered or dismissed. Ditto for carbon dioxide measurements. The global warming advocates are not disturbed by all this because, in their view, ideology trumps reality!

Patrick Moore, a co-founder and director of Greenpeace, resigned because of its “trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas.” After the failure of communism, he says, there was little public support for collectivist ideology. In his view, a “reason environmental extremism emerged was because world communism failed, the [Berlin] wall came down, and a lot of peaceniks and political activists moved into the environmental movement bringing their neo-Marxism with them and learned to use green language in a very clever way to cloak agendas that actually have more to do with anti-capitalism and anti-globalism than they do anything with ecology or science.”

“I think if we don't overthrow capitalism, we don't have a chance of saving the world ecologically,” said Judi Bari, principal organizer of Earth First!

James Hansen revealed his hatred of capitalism in an impassioned e-mail denouncing the attention paid to errors in NASA temperature data: “The deceit behind the attempts to discredit evidence of climate change reveals matters of importance. This deceit has a clear purpose: to confuse the public about the status of knowledge of global climate change, thus delaying effective action to mitigate climate change. The danger is that delay will cause tipping points to be passed, such that large climate impacts become inevitable...[T]he ones who will live in infamy if we pass the tipping points, are the captains of industry, CEOs in fossil fuel companies such as EXXON/Mobil, automobile manufacturers, utilities, all of the leaders who have placed short-term profit above the fate of the planet and the well-being of our children.” On June 23, 2008, exactly twenty years to the day from his Senate testimony that he was 99% sure greenhouse warming was already underway, Hansen appeared before the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming. There he conjured up images of the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war criminals by claiming the CEOs of fossil fuel energy companies “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” He said earth’s atmosphere can only stay this loaded with man-made carbon dioxide for a couple more decades without changes such as mass extinction, ecosystem collapse and dramatic sea level rises.

Klaus states: "We succeeded in getting rid of communism, but along with many others, we erroneously assumed that attempts to suppress freedom, and to centrally organize, mastermind, and control society and the economy, were matters of the past, an almost-forgotten relic. Unfortunately, those centralizing urges are still with us.... Environmentalism only pretends to deal with environmental protection. Behind their people and nature friendly terminology, the adherents of environmentalism make ambitious attempts to radically reorganize and change the world, human society, our behavior and our values....

“The followers of the environmentalist ideology, however, keep presenting us with various catastrophic scenarios with the intention of persuading us to implement their ideas. That is not only unfair but also extremely dangerous. Even more dangerous, in my view, is the quasi-scientific guise that their oft-refuted forecasts have taken on....Their recommendations would take us back to an era of statism and restricted freedom....The ideology will be different. Its essence will, nevertheless, be identical—the attractive, pathetic, at first sight noble idea that transcends the individual in the name of the common good, and the enormous self-confidence on the side of the proponents about their right to sacrifice the man and his freedom in order to make this idea reality.... We have to restart the discussion about the very nature of government and about the relationship between the individual and society....It is not about climatology. It is about freedom.”

Do you ever wonder how communism could last for seventy years in Russia? Surely there was plenty of evidence for decades that the system was failing: food shortages, declining life expectancy, increased infant mortality, low standards of living, primitive hospitals and sanitation facilities lagging far behind those in Western Europe and America—not to mention pollution far worse than in the West. But to die-hard communists, the observable facts did not matter. All the observable negatives of collectivism were trumped by ideology. The same is true of the ideology behind global warming.

Additional information on global warming and the deception of the IPCC can be found on pages 224-234 of my book MAKERS AND TAKERS: How Wealth and Progress are Made and How They are Taken Away or Prevented. The book also covers many other environmental and economic issues. See