The Grist Grifters, Part II

Here I go through a short section, contradictory evidence. I call it short simply because they take a lot of time to present allegorical evidence. Let’s take a look.

1. It’s cold today in ‘Wagga Wagga. It was way colder than normal today in Wagga Wagga, proof that there is no global warming. Coby rightly states “Does this even deserve an answer…? And he’s right, it doesn’t. Simply because it’s below average in Location A, doesn’t mean that the temperature as a whole is getting colder, or that there is no average temperature increase.

But that didn’t stop Global Warming maven Laurie David from saying something like it.

2. Antarctic ice is growing. The Antarctic ice sheets are actually growing, which wouldn’t be happening if global warming were real. Coby state the following:

First, any argument that tries to use a regional phenomenon to disprove a global trend is dead in the water.

Given that this is done many, many times with glacier pictures from Kilimanjaro, or South America, or Alaska to support a global warming argument shows a “we can do it, but you can’t do it” type of mentality. I agree that localized phenomena cannot be solely attributive to a global trend.

However, the fact the central ice sheets are thickening in Greenland and Antarctica while the exteriors melt is interesting, and, as Coby states, not contradictory to global warming theory. As there is more precipitation, there should also be thickening at the center of the ice sheet.

BUT.. and it’s a big but– the global warming disaster oracles are stating that droughts are going to result, as well as flood, severe weather, disasters, etc. So, what gives? What’s going to happen, and what big variable is being ignored?

I’ll tell you– clouds. The biggest generator of terrestrial reflectivity is cloud cover. Clouds are white and as we all know white surfaces have a high reflectivity. Another reflective source is ice, but given that the biggest ice masses are at the poles, the amount of light reflected by the icy regions pales in comparison to the surface area of clouds outside of the arctic and antarctic circles. Because cloud cover is so variable, it’s hard to put into modelling programs, but I will tell you this– greater water content in the air will lead to more clouds, especially with the increase in pollution from a larger population.

Another dirty little secret is that warmer planet means that there is more water vapor in the atmosphere. Water is a tricky chemical– it regulates temperature by absorbing heat and reflecting light (clouds, ice). What’s more, the warmer the planet, the wetter the planet and the greater the amount of CO2 scrubbed from the atmosphere by rain.

All of these influences act like buffers– even though there’s an increase in CO2 concentration, there are corresponding increases in the amounts of water vapor, clouds, and factors that decrease CO2 longevity in the atmosphere. Additionally, increases in water vapor increase the “greenhouse effect”, but they also blunt any impact of CO2, which will in turn regulate and CO2 mediate increase in temperature.

3. The satellites show cooling in the tropics. Satellite readings, which are much more accurate, show that the earth is in fact cooling. Of course, Coby throws in a snarky comment:

I wonder how long before this one stops coming up?

But the reality is it was a legitimate argument. Satellites sent into orbit to track average temperatures of the tropics kept reporting a decline in surface temperatures while other temperatures were not. It’s a simple case of satellite error– the data reported from the satellites were actually records at night because of an error in programming data collection times. As a result, temperatures recorded were significantly lower, and, low an behold, corrections do indeed show a warming (however, it is still a modest warming.)

What really surprises me about the Coby’s post here is that he starts off by attacking satellite measurements instead of just reporting the errors in the data processing.

The complications arise from many things, including decay of the satellite orbits, splicing together and calibrating records from different instruments, trying to separate the signals by the layer of atmosphere they originate from, etc. It is a little ironic that the same people who distrust the surface record so happily embrace this even-more-convoluted exercise in data processing!

Even stranger, he then goes on to lean on those satellite measurements as the gospel truth.

In short, this long-running debate turned out to be a great validation of the models and a real death blow to the “earth is not warming” crowd.

My problem here is not with the satellite data, which has confirmed what we already know (the Earth is warming). My problem is with the assault on technology if it says what you don’t want it to say and then embrace the very same technology if it says what you want it to say.

I’m sure George Tenet is getting lauds from his latest book attacking the Bu$$hitler, but he was vilified in 2002 for calling the Iraq data a “slam dunk”. It’s the same issue. Good if he supports us, bad if he’s against us.

4. What about mid-century cooling? There was global cooling in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s, even while human greenhouse-gas emissions were rising. Clearly, temperature is not being driven by CO2.

Sulfates are the prime culprit in the mid-century cooling. It is believed that man-made pollutants in the post-WWII economic boom contributed to the global cooling, and that government restrictions on those emissions resulted in a corresponding drop in temperature.

This opens an intriguing possibility: use sulfates as a counter to global warming.

Just don’t mind the acid rain.

5. Global warming stopped in 1998. Global temperatures have been trending down since 1998. Global warming is over. To use 1998 as a baseline is a little deceiving, mainly because it was such an anomalously hot year that it still dwarfs the temperature anomalies we’re currently seeing. But statistics says to beware outliers.

What is interesting is that 1998 was hot– very hot– and the world barely batted an eye at it. Current global averages are below what was seen in 1998– and that’s 10 years later. Why is this a problem for the AGW folks? They claim it’s not, but there’s a trend line that needs to be seen:

Notice that the anomaly heats for the past few years are pretty much the same and that the trend line seems to be “cresting”. Now that data is from 2005, and 2006 was reported as the “fifth warmest year on record”. Now, considering #2 was 2005, #3 was 2003, and #2 was 2002, having a 2006 at #5 seems to trend a drop in temperature anomaly. But that’s just data analysis. It is entirely possible 2006 is just lower on average than the other years. But it’s dangerous to take from 1990 on and ride that curve to an anomaly of +10 degrees and it screams of “chicken little”.

1998 is an outlier, but the 2000 years seem to have hit a maximum. Given that CO2 values are still rising as the Bu$$$hitler thumbs his nose at “consensus”, it would seem contraindicatory that the global average temperature should average out.

6. But the glaciers are not melting! Sure, some glaciers are melting. But if you look at the studies, most of those for which we have data are growing. Coby is now about to dazzle you with a little shell game. In statistics we call these “averages”. Let me relate a little story.

A man stands in a pot of boiling water, while his head is encased in ice. When asked how he felt, temperature-wise, he said “I feel about average.”

Averages are a tricky thing, and you have to understand a little bit of recent history in order to understand something about glaciers.

We were in a “Little Ice Age” from about 1050 to 1850, when the world began to warm up (with our help, some suggest). Glacier National Park had many glaciers. Glaciers blocked lakes in Alaska. Everywhere there were glaciers. But as the world warmed, the strangest thing happened– the glaciers began to recede!

Coby brings out the “global glacier mass balance” graph, a graph that shows overall mass in glacier changes, on average, around the globe. He suggests “sure there are some glaciers growing”, but he discards that data set and never bothers to ask “why”? Bear in mind that the glacier data set is also anomalous because it takes into effect other things besides heat on ice. Coby himself warns us that we should avoid using data from regional environments because the climate effects on those regional environments are affected by local climate just as much as global climate. (see point 1 above)

But here he points to the glacial mass loss as concrete evidence of warming!

Again, it’s a case of “I can use that evidence, you cannot”. Or, as Grist likes to say, the “balance of evidence.”

7. Antarctic sea ice is increasing. Sure, sea ice is shrinking in the Arctic, but it is growing in the Antarctic. Sounds like natural fluctuations that balance out in the end. Here we have a real thorn in the AGW theory. Antarctica continually defies predictions of global warming, probably due to its isolated nature. Coby states that we should see a greater influence on planetary temperatures in the north- and that makes sense, as there is more land mass and more arid climes in the north which would support the AGW theory. But the Southern Hemisphere doesn’t exhibit much warming, and the arid wastes of Antarctica are surely one locale that will show warming.

But it doesn’t. And the ice is thickening and growing in Antarctica.

One big, scary event was the ice shelf collapse. Coby brings it up in passing, coyly suggesting it was an event precipitated by warming. Unfortunately for him, ice sheets of that size regularly collapse under their own weight. Was a warmer current partially to blame? Possibly, but the ice shelf was quite big when it collapsed.

But again, we have to weigh the balance of evidence. And here is a little game the AGW supporters like to play– they equate global warming and anthropogenic (or man-made) global warming.

All of the “global warming” predictors that have everything “falling in line” do happen under warming conditions. However, the sourceof the warming is irrelevant in these cases. If the planet gets warmer, the north should heat faster than the south because of the ratios of land mass.

The most disturbing angle of the GW model is that it mustbe man that accounts for the warming. While I will concede a small portion of the warming is due to an increase in carbon dioxide, AGW proponents completely discard any impact the sun may play on the warming. As a skeptic I do not argue that the world is warming. I do, however, discount the idea that CO2 is only (or primary) culprit. I make a distinction between AGW and GW because the source of plain ol‘ global warming is likely to be multiple inputs, most notably of which would be the sun.

8 & 9. Sea level in the arctic is falling. Some sites show cooling. As it’s very late and I’m about to pass out, I will simply say that 8 is mostly dependent upon geological compressions. (Interesting that Coby posts a graph saying “the seas are rising!” then goes on to say “We really don’t know what’s causing the sea level rise, but it doesn’t mean AGW isn’t happening!”) For 9, again, local climate has an impact on temperature changes.

You’ll notice that I did skip one bullet point, “Observations show climate sensitivity is not very high.” I did this on purpose, because it really deserves a detailed examination of the chemistry behind CO2, water, and global warming.

Until then, goodnight.

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About Me

My name is Doc. Welcome to my blog. If you're visiting from another blog, add me to your blogroll (and I'll happily reciprocate). I have a Ph.D. in Chemistry and live in Wisconsin. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. My email is docattheautopsy at gmail. (No linking to deflate the incredible spam monsters).



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