Posted by: reformedmusings | December 26, 2009

White Christmas – Thanks Global Warming!

In fine Irving Berlin style, about 63% of the United States enjoyed a white Christmas (HT: Drudge Report), including your humble blogger:

Notice that even Dallas, TX, is in that snow band – their first white Christmas in 80 years. The mid-west got clobbered with new snowfall records, and it’s not over yet. Global warming/climate change takes another one on the chin in a continuous string of inconvenient reality checks. They use their erroneous models to fool themselves. It’s awfully chilly in this greenhouse!

Poor Al Gore. What inconvenient weather…

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Responses

  1. Personally, I think it distorts and you might say ‘cheapens’ the idea of global warming to associate it with individual weather systems. It’s like saying that a tenth of an inch of rain falling one time means a drought is over.

    These things must be measured by the preponderance of the evidence, not the weather in one location on one day. Christmas snow in the US is not on point. Global-scale loss of glacial and polar ice is on point.

    http://thecentersquare.wordpress.com/

  2. Thanks for you comment. If you followed this blog for a while, you’d see that argument basis is on the flawed models, the assumptions made in their boundary conditions, and also the lack of evidence that anything is caused by human activity. The earth goes through climate changes continually and has long before industrialization showed up. Volcanoes and solar activity are two major causes of global changes, not human activity.

    Also, if anthropological global warming were true and a greenhouse was in effect, then annual changes in the cooling direction would NEVER happen. That’s the nature of greenhouses – they never get cooler if the assumed boundary conditions never change. So, there should be no local or global activity that contradict the warming. That’s straightforward thermodynamics.

    All real evidence, i.e., evidence that isn’t doctored by “scientists” trying to obtain grant money at any expense, shows normal global climate variation. The AGW models are skewed by the initial and boundary conditions input plus the effects taken as dominant or negligible. I can take their same models and prove a coming ice age simply by changing those factors and making future assumptions about solar activity, etc.

    Don’t be fooled by the hype. All reading are nominal.

  3. It seems abundantly clear that we are experiencing global climate change. There is no disagreement that we are experiencing significant loss of glacial and polar ice, and sizable shifts in weather patterns. All readings are normal only in the sense that they are within the range of possibilities to be expected in terms of long term climate evolution. I am unaware of any scientist who disagrees with these data.

    That being said, I also understand your point that it being anthropogenic is highly debatable. It is very possible that these observations are related to naturally occurring cycles of the earth.

    What I don’t get is why that matters. We don’t fail to counteract the impacts of tornadoes, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, and droughts, merely because these are not anthropogenic phenomena. If this “normal climate variation” is going to cause great negative consequences, why would we not act to prevent that?

    If the proverbial Hollywood asteroid were bearing down on earth, would we shrug our shoulders and say, “Well, we didn’t cause that. Might as well let it blow the planet to smithereens”? Of course not.

    We should be asking the right question, not the irrelevant anthropogenic question.

    http://thecentersquare.wordpress.com/

  4. Hi Steve,

    Climate change on any planet is an ongoing and natural process. I don’t believe that the question should be “are we experiencing climate change?” Rather, the operant question should be “Can we or should we try to game or interfere with the natural system?”

    The earth has been around a very long time. We’ve only been tracking weather and geophysical info for about 100 years with any discipline. Satellite data has only been around since 1960. Our sample size of what’s normal on the planet is pitifully short and inadequate. Contrary to the notion common in the media, history does not begin the day we are born.

    We do know anecdotally from recorded history that the earth has been through much warmer periods, especially in the early middle ages – long before industrialization. That was a time of great prosperity, not disaster. Based on the historical record and plain logic, a warmer planet is better for life than a colder one. More CO2 is better for plant life and hence food sources. We don’t grow much food on the arctic ice.

    In my opinion, to think that humans can have any measurable effect on the planet’s climate (short of all-out nuclear war) is pure hubris. There’s zero evidence that anything that we could do would make any kind of difference. I don’t believe that even moving back into caves would make any change in the climate. What about all those cooking fires? Trees for shelter? All prior assertions of humans-caused climate effects have been discredited (global cooling in the 1970s, anyone?). I’d put the current scare in that category. Unfounded fear makes poor policy.

    As to the asteroid – again, warmer periods in history have been times of great prosperity. There’s no disaster in the making, but perhaps rich opportunity for increasing the world’s food production by opening current marginal areas in cold regions to more productive farming. Plants need CO2 for photosynthesis and the more the merrier. That’s if the earth is indeed warming, for which there’s no legitimate evidence.

    We can, however, examine the risks of debilitating the successful economies in the world with nonsense restrictions on natural gases like CO2. Less wealth in the top economies means less development in the 3rd world, condemning billions to poverty and hunger.

    Additionally, will we also cut down all the plants? Plants expire considerable CO2 at night. My guess is that the CO2 output of the world’s forests and jungles at night dwarfs whatever men produce. I don’t hear Al Gore discussing that.

    So, I’ve suggested the right question in my first paragraph. I’ve asked others in relation to the models upon which the doomsday predictions are based. What evidence does anyone have that anything we do makes a difference in relation to the global climate (short of nuclear war)?

  5. What is contained in your last comment here is the debate the world should be having. Unfortunately it is clouded behind all this “is the climate changing?” and “is the change anthropogenic?” sleight-of-hand.

    As for whether we can do anything, I think the science is relative clear that if we reduce the volume of CO2 introduced into the environment, the temperature acceleration will moderate. Even that seems to be arduously debated, although I am unaware of any science that contradicts that relationship.

    Underneath ALL of this is, I suspect, the same old crass politics that despoils most every public science debate. The debate is driven by ideology, not science. On the one side are those who oppose what they see as bad governmental actions — controls on business activities, loss of rights relative to the developing world, government-imposed taxes on energy consumption or production. On the other side are those who believe those very same things have great merit. Sadly, though, neither side seems to be willing to lay bare their real issues, and instead stir up this cloud of faux-science debate.

    http://thecentersquare.wordpress.com/

  6. Steve,

    I appreciate your first paragraph, but I have to disagree with your second paragraph. Sure, I can conduct lab experiments or write simple computer models that show facile relationships between CO2 produced and global temperature changes. However, the planet is way more complex than that. The oceans absorb CO2, plants both inspire and expire CO2. Animals expire CO2. Volcanoes expire massive quantities of CO2. The sun, lightening, etc., cause CO2 to react with various other compounds in the air. Etc., etc. Relationships in complex, open system are rarely obvious. Asserting them doesn’t make them true.

    Science apart from politics makes great press, but has never historically existed. It’s simply a great myth perpetuated by those who want influence without responsibility (the original The Day the Earth Stood Still is the poster child for that view). Politics is about people. People have needs and make decisions. The decisions people make have consequences for themselves and others. People hold each other accountable in one way or another. While scientific data should remain free of political influence (unlike the current global warming scare), actions must be include the consideration of larger realities.

    All issues ultimately come down to people. Scientists have been wrong more times than any of us can count. Do we really think that we’re more infallible than those who believed that the earth was flat, or that the sun revolved around the earth, or that bleeding cured diseases, or that fly larvae arose from rotting meat through spontaneous generation, or that the space in between the planets and starts was filled with ether? That would be extraordinarily arrogant. Those people were considered great men in their day. Men are all fallible, and their knowledge incomplete at best. We in the early 21st century are no different. We forget that to our peril.

  7. Good points all around, RM. You make a particularly profound, sensible statement: “Men are all fallible, and their knowledge incomplete at best.”

    Exactly so. That statement must be applied with great firmness to those who accept the current science of global climate change.

    And with equal firmness to those who do not. True?

  8. True. But the onus is on those who would impose radical changes to prove the necessity thereof.

  9. Ahh, but that’s the very heart of the dilemma. The scientists feel they have done that very thing, and all the physical evidence supports that contention. The only serious scientific debate going on is whether the changes are mainly anthropogenic or not.

    What is more, I disagree with the notion that the onus is entirely on those who would impose radical changes. There is no more rational basis for defending inaction as there is defending action.

    Rather, the onus is on the rest of us to make the best possible decicions in the face of imperfect science.

  10. But many would disagree that the data clearly points in only one direction. Over 31,000 U.S. scientists have dissented from the current politically correct assumptions. There are many questions about the veracity and integrity of the temperature data, the existence of any clear trend, multiple explanations for local variations, etc.

    Part of the problem is that research scientists are largely driven by grant money. To get money, they have to come up with a compelling problem. They sell that problem to governments and foundations. Then when governments and foundations buy off on the problem and are paying to find a global warming trend, then guess what? Other dutiful scientists will join the money train and find what the customer wants. It’s not primarily about science, but about money. And nothing attracts money like a crisis.

    The first thing to check when something new comes up isn’t the scientific papers or technical reports. The first stop has to be the underlying financial statements. Been there, done that, bought the t-shirt. I have actually seen scientists and engineers claim to be able to defy the laws of physics for millions dollars a year in congressional earmarks. That’s the nature of the game behind the scenes.

    As for who has the onus, I am reminded of the fable of the boy who cried wolf. The sky-is-falling crowd have manufactured crisis after crisis, none of which has ever come to pass. Rather than knee-jerking to end industrial society at every hue and cry, we should demand solid proof before taking the current or next wolf cry seriously. If these folks walked into my office and told me that the sky was blue, I’d look out the window before listening to another word. The onus is definitely on them. As I said before, history didn’t start the day we were born, or when Paul Erlich published his latest article.

  11. I think it is time to wrap this up. My summary of your position is that you believe the science of global climate change is insufficient to warrant intervention. I agree with you there. We do not have enough evidence at this point to drag the entire planet through wrenching changes.

    However, you further believe that there is sufficient evidence to dismiss global climate change. There, I must disagree with you. There is a lot of evidence that climate change has already begun in earnest. That seems to me to be a clarion call for more and better science, and at the very least a worldwide en guarde posture.

    I hope people of your persuasion do demand better science, not the absence of science. You must remember, these guys might be right.

    Likewise, I hope those of the, shall we say, Gore persuasion also demand better science, and acknowledge the limitations of what we know today. They must remember, these guys might be wrong.

    I have enjoyed that we can disagree and yet discuss this with civility and respect. I hope in this final comment that I have summarized your views fairly. Best wishes.

  12. Thank you for the discussion. I believe that you have fairly summarized my views. I am happy to agree to disagree at this point since I believe that we both understand each others views.

    Further, it seems that we both believe that better science is desirable. Knowledge must continue to advance, even as we recognize that each step may be imperfect.

    I too have enjoyed that we can respectfully disagree. All the best in the coming New Year to you and yours.

    Bob


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