Sunday, June 27, 2010

...and another thing.

Since I am on the subject of the current global warming douchery, let me make a few things clear:
  1. "Climate" is caused by an extremely complex interaction of ocean and air currents that has only recently begun to be studied and is a long way from being understood with any degree of certainty.  With 6 billion people in the world dependent on intensive agriculture for survival, spending billions to perpetuate Al "Call me Mr. President, baby" Gore/Phil Jones/James Hansen pseudo-science instead of using that money to understand real climatic changes that have historically caused disruptions in human societies is truly criminal.
  2. Solar radiation is the source of energy that drives the ocean and air currents that cause "climate", but the details of this interaction are no more well understood than the connections between ocean and air movements and climate change...and causal effects are neither simple or obvious.  For example, shortly after the last Ice Age (about 11,000 BC), warming in the Arctic released massive amounts of fresh water into the Atlantic Ocean.  This influx of fresh water disrupted the Gulf Stream which caused cooling in Europe and northern Asia and essentially returned this part of the globe to Ice Age-like conditions for the next 1000 years (yes...1000 years as in "10 centuries").  This time span is referred to as the Younger Drydas Period.  At the end of this period, the Gulf Stream restarted -- no one knows how or why -- and Europe warmed up again.
  3. The UN IPCC report that Al "I think I'll go get a massage, Tipper" Gore claimed was the "nail in the coffin" for proving global warming is science practiced at the high school science fair level.  The "forcing model" that is the basis for all of the dire warming claims is almost embarrassingly rudimentary...a one-dimensional model that adds up things that trap heat in the atmosphere, subtracts things that reflect it back into space and comes up with a number that predicts how fast the earth will warm up.  Even if you assume that this simple-minded model reflects something remotely connected with reality, if you look at the margin of error assigned to all of the individual "forcing" factors, the margins on subtracting factors (variable albedo, airborne particulates, etc.) are so great that the model actually predicts cooling if these subtracting factors are higher than the IPCC "scientists" have assumed them to be.
  4. Something I was unaware of until a recent conversation with an actual climate scientist:  All attempts to use the "forcing model" to predict actual climate change have failed...and this has not been from lack of trying or shortage of supercomputer time.  In other words, if you take the temperature increases predicted by the forcing model and plug them into an actual climate model, the results have never reflected the reality.  For example, these climate models consistently predict that increased global temperatures will result in much dryer, hotter weather in the midwest United States and this obviously has not happened.
  5. Finally, how does one actually measure an average global temperature?  Using a strictly local phenomenon (temperature) to determine a global effect is an exercise fraught with peril.  So how do you do it to come up with a meaningful number?  Obviously, you take temperature readings all over the world and calculate an average.  However, to arrive at this average, you need to take into account things like variation of temperature with altitude, seasonal variations, variation of temperature with latitude (the farther north you go, the cooler it becomes), and environmental variations (a maritime climate will be warmer than a continental climate at the same altitude and latitude).  This can all be done, but you need to be extremely careful with how you sample temperatures to insure that you don't skew the results, especially since there are a lot of subtleties involved.  For example, suppose you have a sampling station that has been used to monitor temperature over 50 years or so.  If this station is in a location that has become increasingly urbanized over that time period, it will measure an average temperature increase purely due to the fact that vegetation is being gradually replaced by concrete.  James Hansen's models of temperature change in the United States in the 20th century embarrassingly ignored this issue.  Determining this average global temperature requires an enormous amount of processing of an enormous amount of data...and there is a lot of room for error -- or outright fraud -- in doing this calculation...and it is really the validity of these calculations that is the heart of the global warming controversy, as we have learned from the revelation of the flim-flam in Phil Jones' "research" group.
Rant over...

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