Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Defending Climate Science Against the Star Tribune

To: Editorial Department, The Star Tribune

Climate: Inconvenient truths

Truth is an inconvenient stranger to James Lenfestey's editorial (7/19). His claim of a “dramatic increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide” is contrary to abundant scientific data. The latest IPCC report says current atmospheric carbon dioxide (375 ppm) “exceeds the 'natural range' over the last 650,000 years(180 to 300 ppm) as determined by ice cores.” Nonsense! The ice cores show measurements of over 400 ppm in 1700 A.D. and 200 A.D. Samples from Camp Century (Greenland) and Byrd Camp (Antartica) range from 250 to nearly 500 ppm over the last 10,000 years. The carbon dioxide level was about the same 10,000 years ago as today, and temperatures rose as much as 6 degrees Celsius in a decade—100 times faster than in the past century!

Furthermore, more than 90,000(!) direct (not from ice cores) measurements were made between the years 1812 and 1961 and published in 175 technical papers. These were made by top scientists, including two Nobel Prize winners, using techniques that are standard textbook procedures. They show average carbon dioxide measurements of 440 ppm in 1820 and 1940, and 390ppm in 1855. But these have been ignored because they don't fit the hypothesis of man-made global warming.

The two charts below show the current warming trend began 250 years ago—before the Industrial Revolution began burning fossil fuels—and that there have been five periods in just the last 3,000 years that were warmer than now. We have just now barely gotten back to the average temp for the last 3,000 years. The second chart shows the current warming is puny compared to many much warmer periods in the last 800,000 years.

Lenfestey also states the current warming is “outside the range of the sun's variable radiation.” But these charts shows a strong correlation between global temperature and solar cycles for 250 years—and far stronger correlation than temperature to carbon dioxide.

Lenfestey is also
abysmally ignorant of some basic facts. All of the computer models predicting dangerous global warming agree—for sound theoretical reasons—that greenhouse warming must be 2 to 3 times greater in the lower atmosphere than at the surface. But this is not happening; surface temps are actually warmer. This is direct, unequivocal evidence that whatever warming has occurred is not due to the greenhouse effect.

Water vapor is a strong greenhouse gas, accounting for at least 95 percent of any greenhouse effect. Since CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas, computer models predicting significant CO2 warming depend on it being amplified by increased evaporation of water. But in all the many documented periods of much higher carbon dioxide, that never happened. During the Ordovician Period, for example, the carbon dioxide level was 12 times what it is today, and the earth was in an Ice Age.

The British panel that Lenfesey cites defended Michael Mann's “rigor and honesty,” not his science. Too bad you didn't quote the National Academy of Sciences which found his work had a “validation skill not significantly different from zero.” Or the refutation of his work by McIntyre and McKitrick in the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Geophysical Research Letters, VOL. 32, L03710, 5 PP., 2005 doi:10.1029/2004GL021750. Or the panel of statisticians led by the distinguished statistics professor Edward Wegman, which found McIntyre and McKitrick's criticisms “valid and compelling.” Or the 34-page analysis by David Holland in Energy & Environment, Vol. 18, No. 7,8, 2007, which found the Mann study “a sloppy, poorly documented paper riddled with simple mistakes, unjustified assumptions, collation errors and incorrect methodology. Data, for instance, reported to be from near Boston, Massachusetts actually came from Paris. Central England Temperature data were selectively truncated eliminating the coldest period.” Mann's statistical method was found to produce a “hockey stick” even with random inputs, and Mann himself later admitted it would “find” a hockey stock where there wasn't one. Professor Wegman stated, “I am baffled by the [Mann] claim that incorrect mathematics doesn't matter because the answer is correct anyway[!]” Ideology trumps science!
Yours truly,

Edmund Contoski,
Retired environmental consultant