Friday, July 29, 2011

Study Finds "Huge Discrepancy" Between Hard Data and Warming Models

Hard data from NASA's Aqua satellite has shown that climate models have a "huge discrepancy" with reality, when it comes to the amount of heat escaping the atmosphere.  (Source: NASA)

The Earth has proven much less succeptible to runaway warming than previously believed. The so-called indirect trapping by evaporated water has been overstated by warming alarmists.  (Source: Alaska in Pictures)

Climate alarmists like Al Gore have profited in money and power at the expensive of the environment, the public's finances, and the public health. Sadly, precious few have been determined enough to overcome the barriers impeding studies on alternate conclusions.  (Source: AP Photo)

  (Source: New Scientist)

Alarmism and climate profiteering is dealt yet another serious blow

Many are still operating under the perception that current global warming models are "good enough" to make drastic economic decisions.  That party line has been pushed, in part, by certain individuals like ex-U.S. Vice President and Nobel Prize winner Al Gore, who have stood to gain tremendously in personal finances by promoting alarmist and sensationalist rhetoric.  Indeed, Mr. Gore's "documentary" An Inconvenient Truth painted a grim picture of a pending apocalypse and made Mr. Gore hundreds of millions in sales and speaking fees -- but its accuracy is hotly debated.

I. New Study Blasts a Hole in Current Models

In a new study, Roy Spencer, Ph.D -- a prestigious former National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) climatologist who currently works at the University of Alabama -- has examined data between 2001 and 2011 gathered by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer sensor housed aboard NASA's Aqua satellite.

The study was published [PDF] in the peer-reviewed journal Remote Sensing.

The data reveals yet another thorough analysis of atmospheric heat dissipation -- an important factor in heating or cooling.  And like past studies, it found that the Earth's atmosphere shed heat at a much faster rate than what's predicted in widely used global warming models.

The hard facts show that both the predictions of the amount of heat shed during a a full warming scenario, and the amount of heat shed as warming begins were understated.

As the data shows the Earth's atmosphere to be trapping less heat; that means the outcomes of any sort of human-based warming caused by the emission of carbon greenhouse gases and other compounds is likely overstated.  Thus the dire predictions of models used by the United Nation'sInternational Panel on Climate Change(IPCC) and researchers are likely flawed.

States Professor Spencer in a press releasefrom University of Alabama, "The satellite observations suggest there is much more energy lost to space during and after warming than the climate models show. There is a huge discrepancy between the data and the forecasts that is especially big over the oceans."

This is a critical conclusion as it shows that the secondary "indirect" trapping from atmospheric water may be far less than previously predicted.

II.  Supporting Evidence Builds Stronger Case

The new study isn't necessarily cause to abandon climate models altogether.  After all, understanding our planet's climate is the key to growing better crops and protecting people from natural disasters.  That said, the models likely will need a major overhaul, one which some leading climate alarmists may regret.

Supporting evidence strengthens the case that such an overhaul is needed.

Researchers at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) have been baffled by the fact that the widely used climate models were failing to properly predict atmospheric humidity and the rate of cirrus cloud formation -- phenomena driven by atmospheric heat.

Few public voiced such thoughts, likely for fear of persecution by their more sensationalist warming colleagues.  Still, despite the politics, the data crept silently into several studies.

Additionally, sensors aboard NASA's ERBS satellite collected long-wave radiation (resulting from escaping atmospheric heat) between 1985 and 1999 than was predicted by computer models.

Between the relatively comprehensive volume satellite and atmospheric data, the picture appears clear -- the climate models are badly flawed.

III. Indirect v. Direct Warming

So what's the difference between direct and indirect warming?  Well, direct warming is caused by substance like carbon dioxide, which trap a certain amount of heat when they're found in large quantities in the atmosphere.

While carbon dioxide has been vilified in the media, peer reviewed research states with relative certainty that it is actually a very weak greenhouse gas and a weak contributor to "direct" warming.

The fearful hypothesis, which alarmists have been pleased to promote, is that carbon's direct heating -- while small -- will somehow throw the environment out of whack, causing an increased abundance of atmospheric water.  As water is a far better greenhouse gas at trapping heat, this could lead to a domino effect -- or so they say.

But the new study shows that the predictions of runaway indirect heating are likely badly flawed.

IV. The New Climate Picture

The new study doesn't dismiss that warming will occur if man keeps burning fossil fuels.  Rather, it indicates that it will likely occur at a much gentler pace than previously predicted, and that the maximum temperature reached will likely be lower the predicted, as well.

This is significant as alarmists have tried to use the hypothesis of rapid runaway warming as a justification for sweeping economic changes.  Under a gentler warming scenario, slowly rises in sea levels would not be that big a deal as mankind would have plenty of time to adjust to them.  Plus the levels would not rise as fast as previously predicted.

Of course, this means some of the "good effects" of warming -- such as resource harvesting in an ice-free Arctic -- won't be realized either.  Thus the more temperate, data-based climate picture has both advantages and disadvantages versus the more fantastic past models.

V. A Brave Scientist

Professor Spencer deserves to be commended for his thorough analysis and outstanding work.  It takes a bold man to defy some of one's colleagues when they're clearly perpetrating a factual inaccuracy.

It's not hard to imagine how difficult it must have been for Professor Spencer to get his work funded and published in a field dominated by NASA, whose higher ranks are heavily dominated by pro-warming advocates like James Hansen.  The Nov. 2009 "climategate" email scandal at the University of East Anglia seemingly confirmed what many suspected -- it's hard for scientists to voice alternate opinions given the dogmatic state of climate research.

And yet it's tremendously important to do so.

For the most part, everyday environmentalists who have bought into the rhetoric of wealthy entrepreneurs like Mr. Gore, or powerful research chiefs like James Hansen did not personally profit off of the alarmism and approached the climatology debate with the best of intentions.

Sadly, in doing so pressing real environmental crises like the destruction of the Earth's rainforests faded into the background.  Further, the climate emphasis led, in some cases, to lesser cuts to toxic gases such as nitrogen and sulfur compounds produced in the burning of fossil fuels.  Regulators allowed greater levels of these gases, so they could focus on forcing industry to adopt stricter carbon standards.

These toxic gases have contributed tremendously, according to thorough peer review, to problems like asthma.  Thus the climate alarmism may have indirectly cost the public's money, the health of the environment, but the public's health, as well.


  1. MS,

    Dr. Spencer has provided his own link to the PDF version of the paper:

    If you experience, as I have, problems loading the paper using your current link, you might try that one.