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Save Us, Al Gore!

Over the weekend, we got yet more snow here in New Hampshire. It's been a record winter, with more "snowfall events" than ever before. we've had an astonishing number of roofs collapse under the weight of snow, we're expecting record floods from the spring runoff, I've had to shove at least eight feet of snow off Mongo's roof this winter (thank heavens, not all at once), and I find myself thinking about global warming with a wistful attitude.

This is the point when the global warming alarmists argue (unconvincingly, at least to me) that "global warming" is an overly simplified term. The proper term should be "climate change" and extremes of weather are yet another symptom of the problem.

To this, I say "bushwah."

The more I hear about global warming, the more I think it's to climatology as astrology is to astronomy. It has more traits of a religion than a science. (And as someone who rejects all religions, that's an insult.) It requires "true belief," and "heresy!" is a fair description of the reactions of the true believers.

A little while ago, I asked two very simple questions that, I believe, cut to the core of the global warming argument. I never got an adequate answer, so I'm going to repeat them:

1) It seems that every single meteorological or climatological event is cited as evidence of global warming -- warmer winters, colder winters, strong hurricane seasons, mild hurricane seasons, droughts, massive rains, and absolutely nothing at all. What sort of event would the global warming advocates recognize as contradicting the theory of global warming?

2) If the earth is, indeed, getting warmer and that is a crisis, what would be the "normal" temperature of the earth? What is this magic "stable point" where everything will be just fine and dandy?

Until I hear some answers to those questions, I'll stand by Glenn Reynolds: "I'll believe it's a crisis when those who say it's a crisis start acting like it's a crisis."


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Comments (40)

1) It seems that every s... (Below threshold)
mantis:

1) It seems that every single meteorological or climatological event is cited as evidence of global warming -- warmer winters, colder winters, strong hurricane seasons, mild hurricane seasons, droughts, massive rains, and absolutely nothing at all. What sort of event would the global warming advocates recognize as contradicting the theory of global warming?

It seems that way because a lot of people don't know what they're talking about and tend to sensationalize what are, scientifically, individual data points. No specific event proves global warming and no specific event would contradict the theory (of anthropomorphic global warming. Global warming, whatever the cause, is happening, beyond doubt). Trends, not individual data points, are the evidence that supports that theory, and the reality of the current warming trend (which began in the mid-1970s).

2) If the earth is, indeed, getting warmer and that is a crisis, what would be the "normal" temperature of the earth? What is this magic "stable point" where everything will be just fine and dandy?

It's not a question of what is the "normal," global average temperature, as that does not exist. The questions is what will the impact be to the climate of the planet which has been relatively stable within known cycles throughout human civilization. The negative impact on local ecosystems, wildlife variety, and human communities will be felt far and wide if current trends continue, and will effect every person on the planet.

Did someone answer those tw... (Below threshold)
marc:

Did someone answer those two question JT?

If they did I must have missed it.

Another year of la Nina and... (Below threshold)
Gary Gulrud:

Another year of la Nina and all the warming of the last century will have reset to zero.
The bad news is politicians will require at least a decade to learn of this and then will embark on a new round of 'enlightened' legislation we all desperately need to get on in this world.
Government has fallen and can't get up.

Climate changes. Period! ... (Below threshold)
sshiell:

Climate changes. Period! To predict gloom and doom on that fact is fearmongering of the highest level. You may as well say "The sun creates heat - We're Doomed!

The Planet has endured temperatures far higher and far lower than is predicted for the next 100 years and beyond. A far more disturbing prediction would be if we were to endure another "mini ice age". Then you would get my attention. Look to your history and you will see entire years in the Northern Hemisphere that never saw a spring or summer. Where crops did not fail - they were never given a chance to start. A period of almost 200 years when the River Thames froze solid well past London and there existed an annual Winter festival on the ice under the London Bridge. Now you are talking about a problem that could doom billions to starvation because of massive and complete crop failure. but increasing temperatures lead to increasing land for cultivation - in Northern Canada, Alaska, Siberia, Scandinavia, etc.

The other aspect of all this is the idea that we have some control over the situation. That we can narrow the causation of all this "horror" down to a single effect and then fix it. Well, the day Man can alter the sun is the day we may be able to do something like that. CO2? Give me a break. A colorless, odorless, invisible gas that represents less that one quarter of one percent of the atmosphere is the causation of all this fearmongering? Again, CO2 levels have been far greater and lower in times when temperatures were far lower and higher than now. And there has yet to be a single solitary experiment that shows the causation by man through the increase of "greenhouse gases". I agree with you JT and Reynolds, "I'll believe it's a crisis when those who say it's a crisis start acting like it's a crisis."

Damn, mantis, you beat me t... (Below threshold)
max:

Damn, mantis, you beat me to it. The fact is, anybody who points to individual weather events as proof for or against climate change is either ignorant or disingenuous. And if you're genuinely asking these questions then you, Jay, are even more ignorant than I thought. Which is really saying something. But, of course, we all know you aren't really interested in the answers to those questions since your mind is already made up and you aren't interested in any facts that contradict your opinion. The fact is, we don't really know what we're doing to the environment or what might happen in the future, but since it's the only planet we have, for now, I'd prefer to err on the side of caution. Even if that means giving up some things.

Climate models are being us... (Below threshold)
sshiell:

Climate models are being used to predict the warming levels the AGW adherents would have us believe. I am an Environmental Analyst and I work in areas that require the use of analytical models (Noise, Air Quality and Transportation Analysis). I use these models on a daily basis to predict the result of various actions within the environment. Before a model can be used for predictive analysis, that model must first be validated. This is true within the scientific community and also within the court system. Lawsuits hinge on the validation of environmental models all the time. The validation process requires a series of demonstrable simulations, running the model, and then verifying the results as consistent with the real situation. In fact, that very process is used to build the models. Correcting the algorythms within the model as you go. Simulation, runtime, assessment - compare and revise the basic algorythm, then do it again. And you do it until it is reliably efficient regardless of the situation. The models currently in use for the prupose of predicting future climate assessments have yet to pass a single validation.

How can they, you ask. We can't know the future to see if they are correct. You are right - but we do know the past. For example: Take all the data we have for 1900-1950. Plug that into the model and see what you can predict for the year 1970, 1980, 2000. Not one single climatoloical model has been able to do that. Not one. Why? I don't know. But it seems to me that if CO2 and other "greenhouse" gases are the culprits the validation of these models should be easy. But they aren't and they have yet to be validated, verified, certified or anything else 'ied.

Now don't get me wrong - I am not a climate change "Denier" in any way. In fact, just the opposite - as I said before - climates change. Period. I just don't see the evidence as reliable that Man alone is the culprit. Has man injected harmful crap into the atmosphere - yes and I am all for "clean air" but to take it to the extreme that Man is the causation of Climate Change and all we gotta do is "fix man" has not been proven to my satisfaction in any way. And I don't believe it is a case of in being more safe than sorry if the cost of being safe is the draconian measures that have been put forward by the AGW folks.

Mantis - then you should st... (Below threshold)
Mycroft:

Mantis - then you should start re-thinking your ideas:

Trends, not individual data points, are the evidence that supports that theory, and the reality of the current warming trend (which began in the mid-1970s).

Well, guess what? The trend started back DOWNWARDS in 1998! That is why this year is the coldest winter on record since 1966 or thereabouts.

Global Warming my A$S.

I would add a corollary to ... (Below threshold)
Doug:

I would add a corollary to your #2 question, Jay Tea: "assuming that man CAN control earth's temperature, who is in charge of setting the thermostat?"

Max: I have a computer mode... (Below threshold)
Doug:

Max: I have a computer model that predicts sometime in the future you will have cancer. Don't tell me that you feel just fine today. To deny my diagnosis would be either ignorant or disingenuous of you, for I know what is best for you. My model is infallible. Trust me.

It would be best if we started an aggressive course of action today, starting with chemotherapy. You will become very sick from the treatment. In fact, you may die from it. Now I may be wrong, but since you only have one body, isn't it best to err on the side of caution? If I'm wrong, you'll still live.

Maybe.

"Well, guess what? The tren... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

"Well, guess what? The trend started back DOWNWARDS in 1998!" mycroft

The annual land/sea temperature anomaly has risen each year since 1998:
1998 .57
1999 .33
2000 .33
2001 .48
2002 .56
2003 .55
2004 .49
2005 .62
2006 .54
2007 .57

http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/graphs/Fig.A2.txt

Mantis - then you should... (Below threshold)
mantis:

Mantis - then you should start re-thinking your ideas:

No, you should stop reading cranks.

Well, guess what? The trend started back DOWNWARDS in 1998! That is why this year is the coldest winter on record since 1966 or thereabouts.

The problem with discussing climate change, especially on the internet, is that the same misunderstandings, distortions, and lies keep coming up time after time. This is why I love John Cook, who set up a site examining the claims of skeptics and deniers. So instead of responding yet again to the "global warming stopped in 1998" bullshit, I can just point you here.

If you don't like that site, though, see here, here, here, and here. There, enough time wasted on you.

Earth to BarneyG2000: The G... (Below threshold)
Gary Gulrud:

Earth to BarneyG2000: The GISS and GISTEMP is government sponsored fraud, check ClimateAudit lately, or Anthony Watts', etc.
If we all have to pay a price I say begin with the Climotards.

It's a government conspirac... (Below threshold)
mantis:

It's a government conspiracy, see!!1!

Ok, if NASA GISS is a fraud, are the NCDC and HadCRU also frauds?

They're all in on it, I tells ya!

For every person I find who actually knows what they're talking about, there are 50 gullible idiots. Loud, gullible idiots.

The fact is, we don't re... (Below threshold)
Matt:

The fact is, we don't really know what we're doing to the environment or what might happen in the future, but since it's the only planet we have, for now, I'd prefer to err on the side of caution. Even if that means giving up some things.

Max,

Just what exactly are YOU personally willing to give up in the name of erring on the side of caution? Electricity? Motor travel? Healthy, abundant food? Modern Medicine? Technological advances? Space travel, how about space travel?

max:I'd prefer to... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

max:
I'd prefer to err on the side of caution. Even if that means giving up some things.

I think most religions refer to this as 'fasting'.

Max, you said:<blockq... (Below threshold)

Max, you said:

The fact is, we don't really know what we're doing to the environment or what might happen in the future, but since it's the only planet we have, for now, I'd prefer to err on the side of caution. Even if that means giving up some things.

Then how the hell do we make sure that we aren't simply making our lives more difficult for nothing? Or, possibly, making things worse?

I have a simple philosophy: before making any big changes in things, I want to know two things: 1) that there is a genuine problem, and 2) the proposed changes are likely to make things better.

Right now, the global warming movement hasn't achieved either.

And I'm a little tired of being lectured on the problem by people whose global footprint is bigger than Sasquatch's.

J.

I propose they take the cli... (Below threshold)
Faith+1:

I propose they take the climate models that are used as religious totems of truth about all things climate related, input all the data up to 100 years ago, and then let them calculate what today's climate should be.

If they aren't even close. Throw out the model.

I'll worry about the climate in a 100 years once they can reliably tell me what it will be in 2 weeks.

Has anyone considered that ... (Below threshold)
Matt:

Has anyone considered that we might of made a good dent in "global warming," or CO2 emissions if the politicians of all stripes stayed home instead of flying/driving etc all over the country? A little virtual campaigning? Maybe Ralph Nader will be the first to give it a try.

Once again, Barney cites to... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Once again, Barney cites to the GISS series which we've already seen discredited last year.

That is how incompetent Barney is, he does not actually follow this debate enough to know what is going on. He just cut and pastes talking points from propagandists.

I'll believe in global warming when the climate scientists involved in its advocacy share data sets, and methodology in a completely open, transparent way - like the scientific process is supposed to be done.

Mantis, like people such as... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Mantis, like people such as Mann, Schmidt and Hanson you spend more time calling names than discussing science.

Its one of the reasons that AGW is becoming more disreputable.

I BELIEVE!!!! Nwhere is my ... (Below threshold)
David:

I BELIEVE!!!! Nwhere is my Gulf Stream II so I can fly to Davos next year (I promise I will only fly in it with just the pilot and no more than 5 times a week).

spqr, do you want to show m... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

spqr, do you want to show me the proof that annual land/see temps have dropped every year since 1998 as mycroft claimed, I disproved and you now seem to support?

sshiell |What are yo... (Below threshold)
Wayne:

sshiell |
What are you doing trying to bring scientific concepts into this? Whatever someone believes is the truth.

In case anyone can't tell, I am being sarcastic. Good post by sshiel.

Jay Tea,I've said it... (Below threshold)
North Country:

Jay Tea,
I've said it before and I'll say it again: your anti-global warming rants would have more validity if you would take the time to learn the difference between weather and climate. At least that way we could get past the first two paragraphs before breaking out in laughter. Wizbang never fails to entertain. Keep up the good work.

BarneyG:While it is ... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

BarneyG:
While it is an overstatement to say there is a declining trend since 1998, it is also obvious from the data you listed that the trend is not up. The trend is flat. A flat temperature trend is not a warming trend.

SPQR:
I agree the foxes have been in charge of the hen house for too long. Transparency would have allayed much suspicion if they had chosen to do so earlier in the game.

Here, conservatives, take a... (Below threshold)
Herman:

Here, conservatives, take a look at the damn graph (from NASA):

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/features/earth_temp.html

I know, I know, it would be less pleasant, but try to become a part of the reality-based world, conservatives. Living in fantasyland makes for a harsher tomorrow.

spqr, ricky and mycroft, no... (Below threshold)
BarneyG2000:

spqr, ricky and mycroft, now it is only flat? I love the way you guys play with the stats. Why did you pick 1998? 1998 was one of the hottest years in records. Why not pick 1997, 1996, 1995.... If you look at the trends (10, 20, 100 years) you will notice that the climate is warming. So spare me your lame attempt at presenting bias data.

Herman, frankly you should ... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Herman, frankly you should have been banned for your comments to Cassy. But you - like Barney - are too incompetent to realize how funny it is that you cite to NASA.

Barney, actually the cherry picking of starting date was a trick that people learned from Al Gore's fraudulent movie. You really have no idea what you are talking about.

As for biased data, you still haven't realized how NASA fumbled GISS have you? The GISS code was shown to have fundamental coding errors analogous to a Y2K error last year. NASA still has not fully explained the miscellaneous and undocumented adjustments that they do to the raw data. There is no reason to trust GISS series data until they do.

You really have no business commenting on topics you are so ill-informed upon.

BarneyG:Note again... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

BarneyG:

Note again: 'obvious from the data you listed'. You listed the data. The last 10 years is flat.

Sure, it's cherry picking when you choose a convenient start and end point, but the GISS does the same thing. Choosing the LAST 10 years (decade if you will) is more indicative of what is happening now than selecting 1978 or 1980 or 1900. Remember there is more CO2 now than then so the effect should be GREATER now, but it's not. Maybe it is a temporary trend due to the Pacific oscillation, but the data YOU LISTED has a flat trend. Flat trends are not warming.

<a href="http://www.dailyte... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

A discussion of the coding error found in GISS data last year - something Barney remains completely ignorant of.

Another coding error found in GISS as well which biases the data in favor of faux warming.

After Steve MacIntyre discovered how badly NASA had botched the GISS series, he discovered that the raw data sets starting changing on NASA websites without notice. Such cherry picking of data to obtain a desired result is just basic scientific fraud. That's the kind of manipulation that AGW advocates engage in.

This is a paper by McKitrick and Michaels discussing how temperature records such as those Barney ignorantly cites to fail to adequately correct for urban heat island effects and poor record keeping.

Here is a summary by one of the author that is almost simple enough for Barney to understand.

This however is far too complicated for Barney: NASA themselves publishing data that shows that warming measured in the Arctic during the '90's were the result not of global warming but of circulation cycles that have a period of a decade.

The bottom line Barney is that you are out of your depth in discussing the science of this issue. Indeed, you would be out of your depth in a wading pool.

Here in Northern Delaware, ... (Below threshold)
LenS:

Here in Northern Delaware, we've had almost no snow this year. Every time precipitation comes through this winter, our temperatures seem to be above freezing (we've had two nasty icy rain days). Once the precipitation goes away, the temps drop again. Not that I'm complaining. Zero shoveling and no fees to plow the neighborhood are very good things.

It is strange though. The heavy snow has either been to the north or to the south all winter.

The numbers Barney posted a... (Below threshold)

The numbers Barney posted are how far off the established baseline (the average of the temps from 1951 to 1980) the year was. If they were cumulative - you'd have had a 5 degree increase over the baseline. Instead, the worst year was 2005, at .62, and 1998 and 2007 at .57 off the baseline.

Now, your mileage may vary on this - but I can't see a rise of less than a degree as something to worry about. Especially seeing that (a) It's hard to say how much of the rise is due to US causes, and (b) You have to wonder if the warming (which is seen as a Very Bad Thing by some) is actually all that bad IF it's a solid trend.

Many times in the past the temperatures have been higher. A century - though it be long for a man and eternity for a cabbage - is not long at all for a Sequoia.

At some point you've got to ask yourself - would you rather have significant energy cutbacks (to save on greenhouse gas emissions) and the associated problems inherent to that (and good damn luck getting China to sign onto it...) or warming? Personally, I'm thinking that warming is not as much of a problem as the freezing - and the science either way isn't settled yet.

As sshiell says in #6 the models haven't matched up with reality. That means either the models are wrong, or reality's messed up. (I've thought the latter plenty of times... but how do you prove reality's messed up?)

JLawson, an interesting pro... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

JLawson, an interesting problem that AGW proponents deliberately ignore ( the recent IPCC paper omitted discussion entirely despite repeated entreaties by reviewers ) is that the temperature proxies that they argue tell us about historical temperatures do not themselves reflect recent warming.

Several papers of the Hockeystick clique cut off data of the last couple of decades to hide this.

As for biased data, you ... (Below threshold)
Brian:

As for biased data, you still haven't realized how NASA fumbled GISS have you?
...
A discussion of the coding error found in GISS data last year
...
Another coding error found in GISS as well

As you completely ignore mantis's #13 comment.

They certianly do need AL G... (Below threshold)
Spurwing Plover:

They certianly do need AL GORE they could use his HOT AIR

Sorry Mantis, if you had ac... (Below threshold)
Gary Gulrud:

Sorry Mantis, if you had actually done your homework the issue being discussed at those sites were the problems GISTEMP was having versus HadCRUT, RSS and UAH.
Even ally's like Atmoz have posted at CA confirming GISS pattern of data manipulation cannot be supported.
Wake up and smell the thorzine!

Oh, and Mantis darling, tod... (Below threshold)
Gary Gulrud:

Oh, and Mantis darling, today NASA replied to CA saying they were dropping the Hansen franchise! Straight USHCN data--with a few faulty site issue--but it is progress!

Brian, actually you ignored... (Below threshold)
SPQR:

Brian, actually you ignored the items in my comments that were responsive to mantis' comment such as the McKitrick / Michaels' paper.

Evidently you are no more capable of understanding the issues than Barney.

<a href="http://www.powerli... (Below threshold)
Comment #6 continued:... (Below threshold)
sshiell:

Comment #6 continued:

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established by the World meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and was tasked to evaluate the risk of climate change caused by human activity. Their 2001 report stated:

"In Climate Research and modelling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the ong-term prediction of future climate states is not possible." (IPCC-TAR, 2001, page 774)

This finding has not changed in the intervening years. And yet these very same climate models are used to this day for long term predictions.

Some of the major problems inherent in these models are:
They do not consider observed solar dimming and post-1985 brightening
They do not take account the existance of water vapor dimmers
They do not accurately model the role of clouds

In fact they do not deal with the one single major factor in climate change, water vapor, at all. And yet these models are cited with feverish regularity for their predictions of the gloom and doom of climate change.




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