You Want Me To Believe What?
By Ed Caryl
The proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming claim that man’s use of fossil fuels has released extra carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere, and that the extra CO2 is warming the earth catastrophically due to greenhouse effects, causing great “disruption” in climate.
There are many parts to this hypothesis. The statement starts out with a truth, and then gets hazier as it progresses, each step suggesting an increasing level of calamity, but a decreasing level of believability. So let us look at the claims one by one:
- Man’s use of fossil fuels has released extra CO2 into the atmosphere.
Stipulated. The increase since the dawn of the industrial age is nearly 100 ppm.
- The earth is warming in a catastrophic way.
Since the Maunder Minimum, the earth has warmed by perhaps 1°C. There is good evidence that any measurement of more warming than that has been tampered with or subject to confirmation bias. Only warming in the last 100 years, and in particular, in the last 50, can possibly be due to greenhouse effects. Supposedly, any AGW will be seen first in the Arctic. Yet, many Arctic weather stations show no warming.
The warming is due to greenhouse effects
There are nearly as many numbers cited for what a doubling of CO2 will do as there are scientists working in the field. The most often cited expert on the subject is Svante Arrhenius, even though he was a physical chemist, not an atmospheric scientist, lived and worked a hundred years ago, and considered atmospheric science a hobby. He published the first numbers in 1896, 4.7 to 6°C. These numbers were criticized by Knut Ångstrom (one of the first true atmospheric scientists) in 1900 as being much too high. Later, in 1906, Arrhenius adjusted that number downward to 1.6°C. A hundred years ago, there was no consensus, even in one man’s head. Yet today, Arrhenius’ first numbers are the ones most often cited, and Ångstrom’s criticism is forgotten.
The value is estimated by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) as likely to be in the range 2 to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, but is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded, but agreement of models with observations is not as good for those values.
Other estimates range from 0.4°C to as high as 10°C. The later number seems obviously too high, given the current lack of warming, and even the IPCC seems to agree. Another, more complete list of estimates is here. Given the amount of confirmation bias among the workers in this field, it is surprising that the average estimate is still less than 3°C. Arrhenius’ 1906 number, 1.6°C, may end up closest to the truth.
The point here is that there is wide disagreement on what the affect of doubling CO2 will do. The numbers cover a range of more than 20. None of these numbers can be more than guesses, and they could all be wrong.
Oh, and other tiny points: Who says CO2 is going to double? And why?
And what is the role of water? Water vapor is a greenhouse gas also. And water, unlike CO2, exists in all three phases. As water changes phase, it takes up and gives up heat. I suspect that Dr. Michael Mann has never seen a southwest desert thunderstorm. Under those towering thunderheads, the temperature can drop from 40°C to 10°C, in just a few minutes, accompanied by heavy rain and hail. Cubic miles of hot air rise in those clouds, expanding and cooling as it rises. The rising air gives up heat to condensing water droplets, and then more heat to fusing hailstones. All that heat is transferred ultimately to the top of the clouds to be radiated to space. This goes on 24/7, all around the world. Is this factored into the climate models?
AGW will cause great climate disruption
Here, the proof is in. It’s not happening! This is the core of the whole debate. James Hansen predicted in 1988 that the West Side Highway in New York City would be under water by 2008. The Battery tide gauge shows a two-inch rise, and the rise has been linear since the gauge was installed in 1856. Worldwide sea levels show the same modest rise at the same linear rate. If Michael Mann’s “hockey stick” temperature rise was true, we should see the same sharp rise in sea level. We do not.
Tornados – also not happening. The peak years were in the early 1970’s, and it has been downhill since.
Hurricanes? This is a bit tricky. Before the satellite era, hurricanes had to have been spotted by ship or plane. The Hurricane Hunter aircraft beginning in WWII covered ocean areas of interest to the military, but the Hurricane formation regions off the African coast were not watched until later. So we don’t have accurate counts until satellites watched everywhere, consistently. We do have some records of hurricanes that made landfall. Here is one long-term record for the Apalachee Bay, Florida. It shows a hurricane frequency peak 2500 years ago and another during the Medieval Warm Period. But it shows no increase in the present. Tropical cyclone formation is driven by sea-surface temperature, so it is reasonable to assume that tropical cyclone formation will be a function of ocean temperature cycles, such as the AMO and the Southern Oscillation. Currently, the Tropical Cyclone Energy is near the 30-year low. This is a point that Al Gore has given up, and he has removed this slide from his presentation.
What about drought, floods, heat waves, cold snaps, insect infestations and other Biblical plagues? All (except the first-born son one, unless you count the 10:10 video) have been mentioned, and all blamed on AGW. The problem is that at any given moment, somewhere in the world, a record is being broken. This is just statistics in action. Any noisy phenomenon, given enough time and space to act, will produce the occasional exceptional spike, but the record phenomenon have no pattern in time.
For a branch of science to have any validity, it must be testable. Tests of a science include: Does it make predictions that can be verified? Do those predictions match observations? So far, the predictions have not come to fruition.
- The North Pole has not become ice-free
- The South Pole ice is expanding
- The icecaps at the poles are not collapsing. One iceberg doesn’t make a collapse.
- The oceans are not flooding land anywhere.
- The deserts are not expanding
- The polar bears are doing just fine, thank you
- So are the penguins, (except in South Africa, where they froze last winter).
So what is it again we’re supposed to believe?