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Doug Hoffman: Climate Science’s Tangled Web

Recent days have seen a number of announcements about our changing climate. As it turns out Arctic ice is rebounding, sea levels are dropping and things just are not going according to the IPCC’s plan for catastrophic global warming. Faced with reversal after reversal, it might seem logical for mainstream climate scientists to admit that they are wrong, that global warming is not taking place at a breakneck pace, but this has not happened. Instead, climate change apologists are weaving a tangled web of excuses—hot is cold, wet is dry, up is down. No matter what happens to the world we live in, the root cause according to the doomsayers is always the same: it’s always global warming’s fault.

Sea level rise due to global warming has been a topic of intense debate for years. While the miniscule rise of the world’s oceans has been fairly steady for most of the last 20 years, every once in a while sea levels do something unexpected. In the past two decades global sea levels increased at a rate of roughly 0.12 inches a year, compared to 0.07 inches from 1961 to 2003, according to satellite data. A recent study of sea levels, as measured by tide gauges, suggested the rate of ocean rise has declined in the past decade around Australia and New Zealand.

“The 20-year moving average water level time series through to 2000 clearly depict relative water level changes that are increasing over time, though at a reducing rate,” writes Phil Watson in his study which appeared in the Journal of Coastal Research. Scientists admit that, between last summer and this one, global sea level actually fell by about 6mm. “This decelerating trend was also evident in the detailed analysis of 25 US tide gauge records longer than 80 years in length,” the author states.

This has been verified by NASA, who attributes the drop to greater precipitation around the world. Supposedly, heavy rainfall in inland areas has removed large amounts of water from the oceans that has not yet found its way back to the sea. The search for missing water has joined the search formissing heat.

Climate scientist Josh Willis of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, says the blame rests with the cycle of El Niño and La Niña in the Pacific. Of course, the true believers would argue that the enhanced El Niño cycle is caused by global warming so global warming caused sea levels to drop. So it doesn’t matter: if sea levels rise it is global warming; if sea levels drop it is global warming.

Sea levels dropped by 6mm last year.

Sea level change is not the only area where climate catastrophists claim global warming works both ways. The recent resurgence of arctic ice has also been explained away as just part of the normal cyclic pattern of pack ice coverage. Never mind that it has been discovered that pack ice north of Greenland was much diminished 6,000 years ago, when its southernmost extent lay 1000 km farther north and temperatures were as much as 4°C higher than today. Warmist claims regarding Arctic conditions have been shown to be a pack of lies (please forgive the pun).

Another example of the amazing causal flexibility behind global warming is the recent explanation of why the climate is cooling. Remember back a decade ago when all that CO2 being released by nasty coal plants was going to accelerate global warming? Well temperatures have gone down and a new report in PNAS blames the cooling on, you guessed it, all those nasty coal plants. Only this time it is sulfur emissions at the root of the change.

“People normally just focus on the warming effect of CO2 (carbon dioxide), but during the Chinese economic expansion there was a huge increase in sulfur emissions,” which have a cooling effect, explained Robert K. Kaufmann of Boston University. He’s the lead author of the study “Reconciling anthropogenic climate change with observed temperature 1998–2008.” When the IPCC said they were unsure about the effect of aerosols and particulates on climate in the AR4 report, they were not kidding. Of course, if you are a believer, the coal plants will still eventually cause global warming, right after they stop causing global cooling.

In fact, a whole raft of climate alarmist claims and predictions have been debunked. Here is a partial list of some of the warnings proved false.

  • Hurricanes will worsen – the US has just been hit with a category 1 hurricane and the alarmists are out in force. What they do not mention is that Irene was the first storm to hit the continental US in almost three years. It should also be noted that all but one of the ten deadliest US hurricanes occurred with “safe” CO2 levels below 350 ppm.
  • Himalayan glaciers are melting – once again, new studies reaffirm past results that say most glaciers are stable. As it turns out, the alarmist backed studies were only based on a few low altitude glaciers that were melting, not the multitude of other stable or growing glaciers. Similar results have been found inAlaska.
  • Climate is near or past a tipping point – studies by real climate scientists have shown that the current crop of climate models are incapable of predicting well documented bouts of rapid climate change in the past. They cannot get the past correct, there is no way they can predict the future.
  • Ice caps are melting underneath – it turns out that the ice caps are actually growing underneath through a process called basal freezing.
  • Earth’s atmosphere is rapidly heating up – actually, NASA has discovered that Earth’s upper atmosphere is radiating more heat back into outer spacethan predicted. As a consequence, all of the computer models used for the past 30 years are wrong.
  • Ocean waters are warming rapidly – evidently not during the last ten or so years.
  • Sea levels will rise catastrophically – as mentioned above, sea levels dropped last year.
  • Arctic pack ice is melting like never before – these myopic chicken littles have obviously never heard of the Holocene Climate Optimum, when temperatures were warmer and consequently pack ice sparser than today.
  • It’s hotter now than any time in the last 10,000 years – see the previous answer. Today is not the hottest period since the end of the last glacial period.
  • The ocean will stop absorbing CO2 – sorry, but according to actual data, sequestration by the oceans had not diminished significantly and land plants have greatly increased their absorption of the gas.
  • Temperatures are going to rise ever faster in the future – funny, they said that 10 years ago but temperatures have not risen over the last decade.

These are only a few of the bogus claims made by climate change alarmists that have been shown to be false. Yet the idiots in the news media cannot help but link every spell of hot or cold weather, every storm, every flood, every drought as proof of global warming. Global warming has become the monster under the bed, used to frighten children and the uneducated. Politicians spend their nations into penury, all the while claiming they are creating “green jobs” to help fight global warming.

In the process of trying to make the observed, moderate and gradual changes in Earth’s climate seem more dramatic, a host of nattering “experts” have woven a tangled web of half truths and lies. For example, it is true that temperatures have risen over the past century, by a modest 0.8°C. Yet somehow the climate alarmists have turned that slow, moderate change into predictions of drastic rapid change.

The same with changes in weather and precipitation. And from those changes, species are supposed to drop like flies. A decade ago, animals like the polar bear were headed, irreversibly towardextinction. Unfortunately for the warmists, nobody bothered to tell the polar bears.

The alarmist web of lies is unraveling, one untruth at a time, and there is a hint of desperation in the air. From recent outburst by warmist prophets like Al Gore and James Hansen, the level of panic spreading through the climate change community can be gauged. They could ease their consciences and quiet their anxiety by simply admitting that the theory of anthropogenic global warming is wrong—know the truth and the truth will set you free.

It is not wrong or unusual for scientists to make mistakes, what is wrong is to cling to erroneous ideas and refuse to admit past mistakes. Faced with literally hundreds of corrections and new findings, the rational thing for a scientist to do would be to reevaluate his theory and its conclusions.

Instead, the climate alarmists stubbornly insist that the incorrect predictions made by their erroneous models over the past three decades somehow remain valid. Using tortuous arguments they have tied themselves in knots of illogic defending a theory that is indefensible. Climate science has not learned a lesson most mother’s try to teach their children: you cannot lie your way out of being wrong.

Be safe, enjoy the interglacial and stay skeptical.