Borenstein’s Fit Of Hysteria – Not What Global Warming Looks Like

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by Ed Caryl

Seth Borenstein’s recent article in the Associated Press claims that recent weather events are a result of global warming. They are not; they are clearly weather, local in nature and short-lived. Borenstein is another “Chicken Little”, a calamitologist, crying “Wolf”. Here are the facts.

If recent weather events were because of a global increase in temperature, we should be able to see a global increase in temperature. We don’t. We see quite normal local variations, but on a global basis, nothing… a slight cooling.

Figure 1: GHCN/GISS temperature trend from November 2011 to April 2012 (the most recent figures). In the upper right corner is the global trend, 0.03°C cooling.

The previous six months shows a quite different pattern of local trends, but, again, the global trend is cooling.

Figure 2: Trend for May to October 2011. In this six month period, the globe cooled by 0.07°C. The local trend pattern is completely different than in Figure 1.

Six months does not establish any kind of climate trend. Six month trends are Weather. Others have said that it takes 17, 30, or 60 years to establish a climate trend. These longer periods are simply climate cycles. What we experience from year to year is simply weather. We are now into 14 years of cooling according to satellite measurements.

Figure 3: RSS satellite global temperature anomaly. Where’s the warming?

In Figure 3, temperatures before 1998 were affected by the El Chichon and Mt. Pinatubo volcanic cooling events. 1998 was affected by a strong El Niño event, as was 2010. But the global trend over that last 14 years is cooling by about 0.1°C. But please note that I am not using that trend to claim a coming ice age.

There is another meme used in Mr. Borenstein’s story, that global warming is causing more wildfires.

Others have claimed that global warming is causing the Pine Bark Beetles to wildly expand, killing vast stretches of forest. One of the fires in Colorado was in a forest with 70% beetle-killed trees. The truth is that before the white man arrived, the forests were managed by nature using fire. The natural condition was that fires thinned out the forests keeping the tree population to about 100 per acre of mostly mature trees. The Forest Service has suppressed the natural fires, does not allow thinning, and now the tree density is up to 1000 per acre. The Pine Bark Beetles no longer need fly from tree to tree, they can walk,… without touching the ground.

Mr. Borenstein, you need to get over your fits of hysteria.

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2 responses to “Borenstein’s Fit Of Hysteria – Not What Global Warming Looks Like”

  1. DirkH

    O/T French Schneider Electric wants to ramp up R&D in Germany. Boss Tricoire says: Germany is a great laboratory to find out how a developing country manages under conditions of energy scarcity.
    http://www.ftd.de/wissen/technik/:energiewende-atomausstieg-lockt-franzoesische-forscher-an/70059484.html

  2. John F. Hultquist

    Ed,
    Good post. Thanks.

    I live in Washington State so am familiar with the forest versus beetle battle and with the fire hazard. The most recent reports by our local experts (this is in many papers but I’ll just link to one) say:
    http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2012/jul/03/region-faces-forest-health-hazard/
    “Many forests in Eastern Washington are overcrowded or dominated by trees that are more at risk for damage, . . .”

    I think a few years ago they also mentioned climate change but that was just part of the boiler plate that got tagged onto the end of everything. Now the advice is to thin, do controlled burns, and for home owners in danger zones — clearing around structures. Local conservation districts offer advice and sometimes arrange crews to do the brush and tree removal. Western Washington (aka Seattle) is a center of green/dem/progressive nonsense while here on the “dry side” (farms, ranches, orchards, vineyards) the folks are more into practical solutions.

    A second idea: Thinking “scale”, as in mass of the atmosphere versus mass of the ocean idea. In the 1998 El Niño the water gave up a lot of energy to the atmosphere and, having done so, has had less to give thereafter. This helps explain the temperature spike in the RSS graph and the lack of heating of the air after. Meanwhile the solar input to the ocean continues and another El Niño will likely cause another temperature spike. [Bob Tisdale — http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/ — has related posts.] It seems that many folks (Borenstein ??) are unaware of the size and timescale of these processes. Perhaps intentionally so.

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