Pay no attention to global-warming alarmists

August 27, 2012 

  • At issue | July 11 commentary by a group of University of Kentucky scientists, "Humans contribute to climate change; we must accept the science to find solutions" and Aug. 10 Herald-Leader editorial, "Climate calamity and credibility; carbon tax most sensible approach"

With this newspaper arguing that our planet is in peril and that its remedies should be followed, global warming has again arisen as a hot political and pseudo-religious topic. Even professors from the University of Kentucky bear witness to their faith, professors who should know that science has nothing to do with faith or claims of consensus. Objective science is about logic and evidence only.

Albert Einstein understood this when his Theory of Relativity turned the classical physics world upside-down in 1905. He patiently waited decades for experimental confirmation, emphasizing that "one man can prove me wrong." What a contrast with global warming, where proponents offer popularity, authority and peer-review as definitive substitutes for real science.

What do we mean by "global warming?" It is not "climate change," "climate disruption" or whatever truism propagandists invent. We mean the theory that man-made carbon dioxide is catastrophically warming the Earth.

Nobel Laureate in physics Ivar Giaever says that the tiny observed increase of 0.8 degree Centigrade over the 20th century indicates remarkable stability and no cause for alarm.

Meteorologist and staunch Democrat Martin Hertzberg points out that we experimented with carbon reduction schemes in the 1930s. These reduced fossil fuel usage by 20 percent and went by the memorable name Great Depression. Mother Nature had the last laugh as temperatures and CO2 levels continued upward, proving that man is not as important as he thinks.

After World War II, the post-war boom saw an expansion of human CO2 emissions but a decline in the global temperature. After the Great Pacific Climate Shift of 1977, when the Pacific Ocean shifted to its warm phase, we finally saw temperatures rise in concert with man-made CO2.

What has especially confused climate alarmists has been the abrupt cessation of warming since 1998, as shown by NASA satellite measurements, the best global temperature measurements we have.

For advocates to prove that increasing carbon dioxide has any effect on temperature, they need to find a unique signature that would be expected only from carbon dioxide and not from ocean or solar cycles.

The notorious climate codes which erroneously forecast rapidly rising temperatures predict such a signature developing in the tropical troposphere. But the "hot spot" is not observed. This says that late 20th-century warming had at most a small greenhouse gas component.

Because the high quality temperature reconstructions from polar ice cores show far greater temperature variations in the past than seen recently, there is no way a rational person can argue that anything unusual is happening today. Previous warm periods (Minoan, Roman and Medieval) were all warmer than today and ramped up in similar fashion.

During this Holocene interglacial period, the overall temperature trend has been downward as the Earth's closest approach to the Sun has shifted from the Northern to Southern Hemisphere summer over 10,000 years. This is part of the Milankovitch Cycles known to dominate the Earth's climate for at least the last half million years.

The enormous shift of 85 watts/m2 of sunlight from July to January is what brings us to the brink of another Ice Age. But don't trade your swimsuit for a heavy winter parka just yet, because our oceans contain the vast majority of mobile heat on this planet and will prevent a precipitous plunge into another Ice Age.

With ocean cycles now negative or heading negative, and with the abrupt decrease in solar activity reminiscent of the cold Maunder Minimum of the 17th century, a cooler future appears inevitable.

The expected cooling should slow or slightly reverse in 50 to 100 years, according to Habibullo Abdussamatov, a top Russian astrophysicist. However another warm period happens only once every 1,000-plus years. If we plunge into an ice age first, you will have to wait about 100,000 years. Massive ice sheets reach south of Indianapolis during ice ages.

Will carbon-dioxide warming save us? Harvard-Smithsonian astrophysicist Willie Soon gives a blunt answer: "It's the sun, stupid."

While Kentuckians may seek supernatural explanations for their brutal summer weather, they should realize that many did not see a hot June and July. We in the Pacific Northwest and many in Europe were complaining of unusual cold.

The ancient Egyptians had it right 3,500 years before the dawn of modern science. The primary Climate God is Amon Ra, the God of the Sun. The God of Carbon Dioxide, Al Gore, is but a minor contender.

Reach the writer at gordonfulks@hotmail.com.

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