Thursday, February 20, 2014

It's A Myth That Climate Science Is Settled

It's A Myth That Climate Science Is Settled

Charles Krauthammer
Charles Krauthammer
I repeat: I'm not a global warming believer. I'm not a global warming denier.
I've long believed that it cannot be good for humanity to be spewing tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. I also believe that those scientists who pretend to know exactly what this will cause in 20, 30 or 50 years are white-coated propagandists.
"The debate is settled," asserted propagandist-in-chief Barack Obama in his latest State of the Union address. "Climate change is a fact."
Really? There is nothing more anti-scientific than the very idea that science is settled, static, impervious to challenge.
Take a nonclimate example. It was long assumed that mammograms help reduce breast cancer deaths. This fact was so settled that ObamaCare requires every insurance plan to offer mammograms (for free, no less).
Now we learn from a massive randomized study — 90,000 women followed for 25 years — that mammograms may have no effect on breast cancer deaths. Indeed, one out of five of those diagnosed by mammogram receives unnecessary radiation, chemo or surgery.
So much for settledness. And climate is less well understood than breast cancer. If climate science is settled, why do its predictions keep changing? And how is it that the great physicist Freeman Dyson, who did some climate research in the late 1970s, thinks today's climate-change Cassandras are hopelessly mistaken?
They deal with the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, argues Dyson, ignoring the effect of biology, i.e., vegetation and topsoil.
Further, their predictions rest on models they fall in love with: "You sit in front of a computer screen for 10 years and you start to think of your model as being real."
Not surprisingly, these models have been "consistently and spectacularly wrong" in their predictions, write atmospheric scientists Richard McNider and John Christy — and always, amazingly, in the same direction.
Settled? Even the U.K.'s national weather service concedes there's been no change — delicately called a "pause" — in global temperature in 15 years. If even the raw data are recalcitrant, let alone the assumptions and underlying models, how settled is the science?
Last Friday, Obama ostentatiously visited drought-stricken California. Surprise! He blamed climate change. Here even the New York Times gagged, pointing out that far from being supported by the evidence, "the most recent computer projections suggest that as the world warms, California should get wetter, not drier, in the winter."
How inconvenient. But we've been here before. Hurricane Sandy was made the poster child for the alleged increased frequency and strength of "extreme weather events" like hurricanes?
Nonsense. Sandy wasn't even a hurricane when it hit the U.S. Indeed, in all of 2012, only a single hurricane made U.S. landfall. And 2013 saw the fewest Atlantic hurricanes in 30 years.
In fact, in the last half-century, one-third fewer major hurricanes have hit the U.S. than in the previous half-century.
Similarly tornadoes. Every time one hits, the climate-change commentary begins. Yet last year saw the fewest in a quarter-century. And the last 30 years — of presumed global warming — has seen a 30% decrease in extreme tornado activity (F3 and above) vs. the previous 30 years.
None of this is dispositive. It doesn't settle the issue. But that's the point. It mocks the very notion of settled science, which is nothing but a crude attempt to silence critics and delegitimize debate.
As does the term "denier" — an echo of Holocaust denial, contemptibly suggesting the malevolent rejection of an established historical truth.
Climate-change proponents have made their cause a matter of fealty and faith. For folks who pretend to be brave carriers of the scientific ethic, there's more than a tinge of religion in their jeremiads.
If you whore after other gods, the Bible tells us, "the Lord's wrath be kindled against you, and he shut up the heaven, that there be no rain, and that the land yield not her fruit" (Deuteronomy 11).
Sounds like California. Except that today there's a new god, the Earth Mother. And a new set of sins — burning coal and driving a fully equipped F-150.
But whoring is whoring, and the gods must be appeased. So if California burns, you send your high priest (in a carbon-belching Air Force One, but never mind) to the bone-dry land to offer up, on behalf of the repentant congregation, a $1 billion burnt offering called a "climate resilience fund."
Ah, settled science in action.


  1. And another thing that's way out with the radiative greenhouse calculations is well explained in a comment on WUWT which points out that a blackbody by definition absorbs all radiation and does not transmit any.

    But the surface of the oceans (say 1mm deep) obviously does transmit most of the radiation which then warms layers below. So the surface of the ocean is not a blackbody and it would require far more radiation than the SBL calculations indicate to raise its temperature to the observed level.

    As I have been saying, there is obviously nowhere near enough direct solar radiation reaching the Venus surface either. So obviously there is a non-radiative supply of energy as well as the direct radiation and these work together to raise the surface temperatures to what is observed. Remember, back radiation can only slow radiative cooling: it cannot actually add thermal energy (like the Sun does) or raise the surface temperature.

    The non-radiative supply of energy is actually energy that has been trapped over the life of the planet by the gravitationally induced temperature gradient, and more can always be added to the troposphere by the Sun.

    The key to understanding how this energy actually transfers from the colder atmosphere to the warmer surface lies in understanding thermodynamic equilibrium and the isentropic state, all of which is explained in my book "Why it's not carbon dioxide after all" available through Amazon late April.

  2. Just a comment on the much-hyped mammography article.
    1. It is using old data, not relevant today. Ask any radiologist about the image quality from the 80´s compared today.
    2. It is NOT a pure comparison between two groups, i.e mammograms and no-mammograms. One group is a mixture which makes it near impossible to untangle the effect of mammography.
    The article is a joke, probably influenced by forces wanting to reduce the short time costs of mammography. Nobody in the field I know of takes it seriously. These types of articles have been seen over over again. Do you also believe that CT-scan causes x thousands of cancer deaths per year? The linear model was never meant to be used for epidemiology. The science know that the response between radiation dose and cancer is NOT linear below 100 mSv.
    /JPC Lindstrom