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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Climate Confusion

The L.A. Times reports on the latest climate assessment from the Obama administration:
The paper tackles in plain English and swift strokes the arguments that climate contrarians generally use to deny that man-made climate change is occurring. The report states, for example, that satellite data show that the warming has not been caused by greater solar activity or by volcanic eruptions. A so-called pause in recent global average land temperatures “appears to be related to cyclic changes in the oceans and in the sun’s energy output,” the report said.
 So, it the Earth warms, it is due to CO2 levels, but if it cools, it is because of oceanic and solar energy output? Convenient.

Of course, even those who profess faith in global warming are forced to recognize that global warming is not uniform.
‘Global warming was not as understood as we thought,’ said Zhaohua Wu, an assistant professor of meteorology at Florida State University.

Professor Wu used a newly-developed analysis method on historical temperature records to examine land surface temperature trends from 1900 onward for the entire globe, minus Antarctica.
 
Previous work by scientists on global warming could not provide information of non-uniform warming in location and time due to limitations of analysis methods.

The research team found that noticeable warming first started around the regions circling the Arctic and subtropical regions in both hemispheres.
 
But the largest warming to date has been at the northern mid-latitudes. The research team also found that in some areas of the world, cooling had occurred.
‘The global warming is not uniform,’ Professor Eric Chassignet said. ‘You have areas that have cooled and areas that have warmed.’ 
For example, from about 1910 to 1980, while the rest of the world was warming up, some areas south of the Equator, such as those near the Andes, were cooling down, and then had no change at all until the mid-1990s. 
Other areas near and south of the Equator didn't see significant changes comparable to the rest of the world at all.
In other words, those areas most isolated from the ocean and its mitigation of weather saw the greatest temperature variability, and have seen record cold over the past several years.

The real concern, in any event, may be global cooling.
Study of the orbital mechanics of the solar system in the 1970s led Russians to believe the Earth was about to cool and we should prepare quickly because it will be catastrophic. Their arguments were lost in the rush to warming group-think in the 1990s, but the arguments for impending cold are well founded and still believed by many good scientists. As the sun goes even quieter and January, 2008 saw the greatest year to year temperature drop ever (128 years ofNASA GISS data) and thru the end of 2008 remains relatively cool, it is clear cooling needs to be considered as a very plausible future. This is highlighted by 2 papers published in March 2008. Scafetta and West showed that up to 69% of observed warming is from the sun and remind us that the sun is projected to cool andRamanathan and Carmichael show that soot has 60% of the warming power of CO2. Both papers state that these factors are underappreciated by IPCC. The soot may well explain the Arctic melting, as it has recently for Asian glaciers. Many scientists believe the temperature changes are more dependent on the sun than CO2, similar to the relationship in your home with your furnace. With the Sun's face nearly quiet, the monthly patterns over the last 12 months are most similar to those of 1797 preceding the Dalton Minimum of 1798-1823 during the little ice age (Timo Niroma).
The southern hemisphere has been cooling over the last 10 years, just about as much as the north has been warming. There is no proof within observational data of warming outside of natural variation.
When 3 of the highest 5 or 6 years in the temperature record (since 1890) occurred over 70 years ago and 1900 was warmer than recent years in the USA (where the best data are), we are nowhere near statistical proof, nor even evidence of warming. Modelers are still unable to include important variables and no one is able to predict the future. At least Hadley Centre have tried (below). While CO2 continues to rise, the temperature has stabilized at a warm level, but not unusually so. Which way will it go? The world seems to be betting on warming. However, the probability of cooling may be equally valid and we must be prepared for both. Cooling presents the real danger. Things that go up and down only go so high. It has always been this way. Image of current northern sea ice (latest). Check the S. hemisphere sea ice (latest). 
Virtually all scientists agree that the Earth has warmed a small amount since the year 1000 or, if you choose, since 1850, when instrumented temperature records became reasonably accurate and distributed in key areas of the world. An alternative view, is that the Earth has been cooling since the 1930s when we had 3 of the 5 warmest years since 1860 in the US, and probably globally if the world environmental data base were cleaned up as is happening in the US.
And don't forget--all the warming that is attributed to human emissions is since the end of the Little Ice Age--that is, global warming fanatics are using a cold period, not the "normal" or "average", as their base line.

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