Tuesday, February 28, 2012

New paper finds climate of northeastern US is highly sensitive to solar activity

A paper published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters examines climate proxies over the past 6800 years and finds that the hydroclimate (droughts & floods) of the Northeastern U.S. is "highly sensitive" to solar activity ("solar forcing"). The paper states, "The Sun may be entering a weak phase, analogous to the Maunder minimum, which could lead to more frequent flooding in the northeastern US at this multidecadal timescale." No doubt, the IPCC will ignore this paper and many others demonstrating the importance of solar activity upon climate change.

Top graph shows proxy of wet/dry conditions; the higher the Great Heath SVR, the wetter the conditions. Bottom two graphs show proxies of solar activity.

Key Points
  • Holocene northeast US hydrological change is consistent with solar forcing
  • Small changes in solar forcing are amplified in our region by Arctic Oscillation
  • Leaf-wax abundances in peatlands provide high-resolution climate information
Jonathan E. Nichols
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, New York, USA
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Earth Institute at Columbia University, Palisades, New York, USA
Yongsong Huang
Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA
Dramatic hydrological fluctuations strongly impact human society, but the driving mechanisms for these changes are unclear. One suggested driver is solar variability, but supporting paleoclimate evidence is lacking. Therefore, long, continuous, high-resolution records from strategic locations are crucial for resolving the scientific debate regarding sensitivity of climate to solar forcing. We present a 6800–year, decadally-resolved biomarker and multidecadally-resolved hydrogen isotope record of hydroclimate from a coastal Maine peatland, The Great Heath (TGH). Regional moisture balance responds strongly and consistently to solar forcing at centennial to millennial timescales, with solar minima concurrent with wet conditions. We propose that the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation (AO/NAO) can amplify small solar fluctuations, producing the reconstructed hydrological variations. The Sun may be entering a weak phase, analogous to the Maunder minimum, which could lead to more frequent flooding in the northeastern US at this multidecadal timescale.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

'Obama's Forrest Gump analysis of rising gas prices; Obama has deliberately sought to raise the price of energy via cap-and-trade'

'Stupid' and Oil Prices

Obama's Forrest Gump analysis of rising gas prices.

WSJ.com 2/24/12
'The American people aren't stupid," thundered President Obama yesterday in Miami, ridiculing Republicans who are blaming him for rising gasoline prices. Let's hope he's right, because not even Forrest Gump could believe the logic of what Mr. Obama is trying to sell.
To wit, that a) gasoline prices are beyond his control, but b) to the extent oil and gas production is rising in America, his energy policies deserve all the credit, and c) higher prices are one more reason to raise taxes on oil and gas drillers while handing even more subsidies to his friends in green energy. Where to begin?
It's true enough that oil prices can't be commanded from the Oval Office, so in that sense Mr. Obama's disavowal of blame is a rare show of humility in the face of market forces. Would that he showed similar modesty in trying to command the tides of home prices, car sales ("cash for clunkers"), or the production of electric batteries.
The oil price surge has several likely sources. One is the turmoil in the Middle East, especially new fears of a supply shock from a conflict with Iran. But it's worth recalling that Mr. Obama also blamed the last oil-price surge, in spring 2011, on the Libyan uprising. Moammar Gadhafi is now gone and Libyan oil production is coming back on stream, yet oil prices dipped only briefly below $90 a barrel and have been rising since October. Something else must be going on.
Mr. Obama yesterday blamed rising demand from the likes of Brazil and China, and there is something to that as well. But this energy demand is also not new, and if anything Chinese and Brazilian economic growth has been slowing in recent months.
Another suspect—one Mr. Obama doesn't like to mention—is U.S. monetary policy. Oil is traded in dollars, and its price therefore rises when the value of the dollar falls, all else being equal. The Federal Reserve throughout Mr. Obama's term has pursued the easiest monetary policy in modern times, expressly to revive the housing market. It has done so with the private support and urging of the White House and through Mr. Obama's appointees who are now a majority on the Fed's Board of Governors.
Associated Press
Oil staged its last price surge along with other commodity prices when the Fed revved up its second burst of "quantitative easing" in 2010-2011. Prices stabilized when QE2 ended. But in recent months the Fed has again signaled its commitment to near-zero interest rates first through 2013, and recently through 2014. Commodity prices, including oil, have since begun another surge, and hedge funds have begun to bet on commodity plays again. John Paulson says he's betting on gold, the ultimate hedge against a falling dollar.
Fed officials and Mr. Obama want to take credit for easy money if stock-market and housing prices rise, but then deny any responsibility if commodity prices rise too, causing food and energy prices to soar for consumers. They can't have it both ways, as not-so-stupid Americans intuitively understand when they buy groceries or gas. This is the double-edged sword of an economic recovery "built to last" on easy money rather than on sound fiscal and regulatory policies.
As for domestic energy, Mr. Obama rightly points to the rising share of U.S. oil consumption now produced at home. But this trend began in the late Bush Administration, which opened up large new areas on and offshore for oil and gas drilling that are now coming on stream. Mr. Obama sneered at expanded drilling as a candidate in 2008 and for most of his term has done little to expand it.
In early 2010, he proposed to open some new areas to drilling but shut that down after the Gulf oil spill. According to the Greater New Orleans Gulf Permits Index for January 31, over the previous three months the feds issued an average of three deep-water drilling permits a month compared to the historical average of seven. Over the same three months, the feds approved an average of 4.7 shallow-water permits a month, compared to the historical average of 14.7.
Approval of an offshore drilling plan now takes 92 days, 31 more than the historical average. And so far in 2012, an average of 23% of all drilling plans have been approved, compared to the average of 73.4%.
Oh, and don't forget the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have increased the delivery of oil from Canada and North Dakota's Bakken Shale to Gulf Coast refineries, replacing oil from Venezuela.

The reality is that most of the increase in U.S. oil and gas production has come despite the Obama Administration. It is flowing from the shale boom, which is the result of private technological advances and investment. Mr. Obama has seen the energy sun rise and is crowing like a rooster that he made it happen.
Mr. Obama yesterday also repeated his proposal that now is the time to raise taxes on oil and gas companies, as if doing so will make them more likely to drill. He must not believe the economic truism that when you tax something you get less of it, including fewer of the new jobs they've created.


We'd almost feel sorry for Mr. Obama's gas-price predicament if it weren't a case of rough justice. The President has deliberately sought to raise the price of energy throughout the economy via his cap-and-trade agenda. He is now getting his wish, albeit a little too overtly for political comfort. Mr. Obama has also spent three years blaming George W. Bush for every economic ill. If Mr. Obama now feels frustrated by economic events beyond his control, perhaps he should call Mr. Bush for consolation.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I Am a Nigerian Scientist. I Need Your Help Processing a $9,500,000 Climate Research Grant

WSJ.com Best of the Web Today 2/21/12:

If the Puffington Host requires a clean criminal record as a prerequisite for its writers, Peter Gleick, president of the global-warmist Pacific Institute, would qualify. He hasn't been convicted of anything. But on the pages of the PuffHo, he admits to what sounds like a serious crime:
At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute's climate program strategy. . . . I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else's name.
Why did he do it? Things got a little out of hand. It's just this war and that lying son of a bitch, Johnson:
My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts -- often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated -- to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved.
We always knew global warming was a scam, but we didn't realize till now that it's an identity-theft scam.

Another Climate Scandal

The Purloined Climate Papers
2/21/2012 6:48:27 PM WSJ.com
Heartland Institute President Joe Bast on why global warming activist Peter Gleick stole and forged documents from his organization

The Not-So-Vast Conspiracy

Note this Wall Street Journal editorial was published before the stunning admission from climate fraudster Peter Gleick that he obtained Heartland's stolen documents by identity theft...

WSJ.com 2/20/12

The Not-So-Vast Conspiracy

Stolen documents show the tiny budget of global warming skeptics.

When did it become received media wisdom that global warming skepticism was all the work of shadowy right-wing groups lavishly funded by oil companies? As best we can tell, it started with a 1995 Harper's magazine article claiming to expose this "high-powered engine of disinformation." Today anyone who raises a doubt about the causes of global warming is accused of fronting for, say, Exxon, whatever the facts.

Now comes a rare glimpse inside the allegedly antiscience behemoth, with the online publication last week of documents purloined from the conservative Heartland Institute. The files appear to contain detailed financial, donor and personnel information and outline the think-tank's projects. Chicago-based Heartland says one of the documents is fake and warns that others may have been altered.

Given the coverage the story has generated, you'd think some vast conspiracy had been uncovered. Heartland is, according to the Associated Press, "one of the loudest voices denying human-caused global warming, hosting the largest international scientific conference of skeptics on climate change." The Vancouver Sun reports that it is "heavily funded by right-wing industrialist Charles Koch," while the Virginian-Pilot dubs it "the ideological center of the denial movement."

So how flush is Heartland? The documents show the group is expecting revenues of $7.7 million this year, mostly from private donations and grants. Mr. Koch's "heavy" funding came to $25,000 in 2011, though the Heartland "Fundraising Plan" has it hoping for an increase in 2012. To put those numbers in not-for-profit perspective, last year the Natural Resources Defense Council reported $95.4 million in operating revenues, while the World Wildlife Fund took in $238.5 million.

Press coverage has focused in particular on Heartland's plans to produce and distribute "educational material suitable for K-12 students on global warming that isn't alarmist or overtly political." Heartland is budgeting $200,000 this year for the effort, which in the past has "had only limited success," per one of the documents. Little wonder if teachers aren't returning Heartland's calls: Last year the World Wildlife Fund spent $68.5 million on "public education" alone.

As for "the largest international scientific conference of skeptics," Heartland will, according to the documents, spend all of $388,000 this year on the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change. That's against the $6.5 million that the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change costs Western taxpayers annually, and the $2.6 billion the White House wants to spend next year on research into "the global changes that have resulted primarily from global over-dependence on fossil fuels."

In the pages of Rolling Stone last summer, Al Gore warned of the "Polluters and Ideologues [sic] . . . . spending hundreds of millions of dollars each year on misleading advertisements in the mass media." He had the wrong spenders.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Time Mag struggles to explain why Europe's record cold is natural & 'climate change not (entirely) to blame'

The usual warmist pathetic mantra is employed:

1. If there's record cold, it's due to a confluence of natural circulation patterns and weather

2. If there's heat, it's due to man-made climate change

3. Even if there's record cold, it's really also due to man-made climate change, because you see, melting ice "releases huge amounts of heat." Never mind that it's the other way around: heat is absorbed by the phase change of solid ice melting to liquid water. Hence, when ice cubes melt in my Mai Tai, it doesn't boil.

Europe's Deep Freeze: Why Climate Change Is Not (Entirely) to Blame
Back at the beginning of January, I wrote that this season was already shaping up to be season that winter forgot in the U.S. About a month later, that prediction is coming true. The average temperature in the continental U.S. in January was 5.5°F above the 20th century norm, and snow was almost nonexistent — the National Weather Service reported that 157 out of 166 American cities had below-average amounts of the white stuff. The groundhog Punxsutawney Phil may have predicted six more weeks of winter when he popped up from his hole on Feb. 2, but for most of the U.S. winter never really began — and the unusually mild days seemed like a coming attraction for global warming.
Across the Atlantic, much of Europe is suffering through a winter of historic — and deadly — proportions. Over 600 people have died from the intense cold that has gripped the continent over the past few weeks, with the most severe toll recorded in Eastern Europe. Over 5,000 Russians have suffered from hypothermia or frostbite while the country has seen 20 days of unusually cold weather when temperatures fell 13°F to 25°F below normal and Moscow on Feb. 13 endured temperatures of -4°F. (It could be worse though — temperatures in the northern Russian city of Toko fell to -63°F.) In Central Europe, the commercially vital Danube River froze for hundreds of miles, from Austria to its mouth in the Black Sea, forcing officials to take chain saws to the ice. Things are so bad in Hungary that the central bank has been compressing billions of old notes into briquettes that can be burned for heat. If the climate's still warming — and it is — word didn't get to Europe. (See photos of Europe gripped by a deadly cold.)
So how can two parts of the world be experiencing such radically different winters? It's not climate change — or at least, mostly not. The weather pattern that's bringing all of that frigid air to Europe — and holding it in place — is largely due to a naturally occurring climatic pattern called the Arctic Oscillation (AO), which describes how air pressure is distributed over the Arctic regions and the mid-latitudes of the northern hemisphere. The pattern comes in two phases: a negative one where there is high air pressure over the North Pole and low pressure at the mid-latitudes, and a positive phase when the pressure systems has reversed. Essentially, the AO describes how the winds are blowing — and as the AO changes, it can bring warmer or colder wintertime weather to the U.S. and Europe.
At the start of winter, the AO was in a positive phase, which kept cold Arctic air from bleeding south. That helps explain why temperatures were so warm in January in the U.S. — the cold never had a chance to make it very far south. But over the past several weeks the AO turned negative, which moved the jet stream south and brought extreme cold weather to Europe and much of Asia. The effect was amplified by a strong and persistent high-pressure system that has remained stuck across Russia, which brings more cold Siberian air into Western Europe. The result has been a freezing February for most of the continent. (See photos of disappearing flows and glaciers.)
Why hasn't the shift to a negative AO brought cold weather back to most of the continental U.S.? Thank — or blame, if you like to ski — another pressure pattern, the North Atlantic Oscillation. The pattern has remained positive, which tends to keep winters in the eastern U.S. mild and wet. La NiƱa is still in effect as well, which tends to shift storms away from the American Southeast. That's one more reason why there's been so little snow this season in the U.S. — quite unlike the past two winters, when a strongly negative AO led to record-breaking Snowpocalypses.
The extreme cold in Europe — and the balminess in the U.S. — should serve as a reminder that as powerful as climate change is, our daily weather tends to be driven by short-term meteorological phenomena. But global warming isn't completely blameless — some scientists believe that the rapid melting of Arctic sea ice might actually be influencing winter-weather patterns in the northern hemisphere. As the cap of sea ice melts — and Arctic sea ice hit its second lowest level on record this summer — huge amounts of heat are released from the sea into the colder air above, causing the air to rise. That can alter air pressure between the Arctic and the mid-latitudes, changing wind patterns. It's the Arctic paradox: as the top of the world warms rapidly, it could actually create conditions that favor negative AO, which could in turn lead to cold winters in the U.S. and Europe even as the climate as a whole continues to heat up. (See "Rain Forest for Ransom.")
The precise effects of climate change and melting Arctic sea ice on winter weather is still far from clear, however. We'll need more research and more winters. But in the meantime, the human cost of Europe's deep freeze shouldn't be forgotten. Environmentalists write a lot about the need to adapt to a warmer future, but that still goes for extreme cold as well. It's little surprise that the death toll was highest in poorer nations like Ukraine and Romania, but there's still no reason that hundreds of people — most of them homeless — should be dying from the cold in present-day Europe. Even in a warmer world, winter can still be deadly.

Monday, February 13, 2012

New book 'Marketing for Scientists' bashes Marc Morano, calls for 'scientists' to take marketing photos with polar bear cubs

Attention alarmist "scientists": A new book "Marketing for Scientists: How to Shine in Tough Times" provides marketing tips to help "scientists" avoid a "career death knell" by being "savvier about promoting their work and themselves" with the use of sales techniques "to land a good job, win funding, and shape the public debate." Helpful tips include "posing for pictures with polar bear cubs as WWF scientist Geoff York has done" or maybe "starting charities to help people or animals suffering from hurricane damage or from [unidentified] diseases made widespread by climate change." The post-normal science guide advises that "The more real [like what, specifically?] issues related to climate change we can raise, market, and brand, the bigger the portion of the American psyche we will occupy."

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Obama's green energy scorecard: $2.7 billion in losses

The U.S. government could lose $2.7 billion as a result of the loans and loan guarantees it offered to clean-energy companies, according to a White House-commissioned study carried out in the wake of Solyndra LLC's bankruptcy.

The Obama administration, which has defended its aid for clean energy in the wake of the solar-panel maker's demise, said the estimate was in line with its own projections.

Republicans have attacked President Barack Obama over the Department of Energy loan program, saying it wasted taxpayer dollars and put too much faith in unproven technologies. Solyndra closed in September after receiving $528 million in U.S. government loans.

The White House in October acknowledged the need to review the program and ordered an independent analysis by Herb Allison, a former Merrill Lynch & Co. president who had served in the Bush and Obama administrations.

Mr. Allison's review depicted the Energy Department's process of making and monitoring loans as sometimes poorly organized and lacking in oversight, though he didn't discuss any specific decisions regarding Solyndra.

To improve the odds that taxpayers get paid back, the department should create a new position of chief risk officer and make sure individual managers, not committees, are held accountable for decisions, the report said.

The Energy Department has committed to provide more than $23 billion in loans or loan guarantees to companies in solar, wind and other clean-energy areas, but it has dispersed only $8.3 billion so far. A loss of nearly $3 billion would represent 12% of the total program at the department.

The government should be prepared for many of the companies to seek relief from their loan-guarantee requirements, and officials need to clarify the conditions for granting it, the review said.

Actual losses in the Energy Department's loan-guarantee portfolio will depend on market conditions and other factors, but "more important to the ultimate performance of the portfolio will be DOE's management of it going forward," the review said.

It called for creating an "early warning system" to track the status of borrowers and loans, and said the department needs more professionals with private-sector experience to monitor risks.

Republicans stepped up their criticism of the program following Mr. Allison's report. "When taxpayers are the ones paying the price, this sort of managerial soul-searching should take place before billions of dollars are doled out, not after," said Rep. Fred Upton (R., Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, which is investigating Solyndra's loan guarantee and the broader program.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a statement Friday that it was "very likely" other companies backed by the government would fail, given the inherent risk of backing new technologies, but "the vast majority of companies are expected to pay the loans back in full, on time, and with about $8 billion in interest."

Mr. Chu said the report's estimate of $2.7 billion in losses was lower than the Energy Department's own projection of $2.9 billion.

"While the portfolio includes loans to a range of projects that carry different levels of risk, today's report finds that the Department of Energy has been judicious in balancing these risks," White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Suggested reading for Michael Mann, Phil Jones, et al

Science 2 December 2011: 
Vol. 334 no. 6060 p. 1182 
DOI: 10.1126/science.1216775

Addressing Scientific Fraud

  1. Jennifer Crocker1
  2. M. Lynne Cooper2
  1. 1Jennifer Crocker is Ohio Eminent Scholar in Social Psychology at the Ohio State University, past president of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, and chair of the Publications and Communications Board of the American Psychological Association.
  2. 2M. Lynne Cooper is Curators' Distinguished Professor at the University of Missouri, co-chair of the Board of Scientific Affairs of the American Psychological Association, associate editor of American Psychologist, and former editor-in-chief of the Journal of Research in Personality.
An interim report released in October 2011 by Tilburg University, Netherlands, concluded that one of its faculty members, social psychologist Diederik Stapel, fabricated data for numerous studies conducted over a period of 15 to 20 years.* The good news, of course, is that the fraud was eventually uncovered. The bad news is that it went undetected for so long and involved so many scientific articles—over 100 publications are now under investigation. The costs of the fraud for the careers of young scientists and others who worked with him, for science, and for public trust in science are devastating. As the investigation unfolds, the moment is opportune to reflect on what can be done to protect science and the public from fraud in the future.

New paper supports Miskolczi's theory of saturated greenhouse effect

Surface Water Vapor Pressure and Temperature Trends in North America during 1948-2010

V. Isaac and W. A. van Wijngaarden*
Physics Dept., Petrie Bldg., York University, 4700 Keele St., Toronto, ON Canada, M3J 1P3; e-mail: wlaser@yorku.ca

Over 1/4 billion hourly values of temperature and relative humidity observed at 309 stations located across North America during 1948-2010 were studied. The water vapor pressure was determined and seasonal averages were computed. Data were first examined for inhomogeneities using a statistical test to determine whether the data was fit better to a straight line or a straight line plus an abrupt step which may arise from changes in instruments and/or procedure. Trends were then found for data not having discontinuities. Statistically significant warming trends affecting the Midwestern U.S., Canadian prairies and the western Arctic are evident in winter and to a lesser extent in spring while statistically significant increases in water vapor pressure occur primarily in summer for some stations in the eastern half of the U.S. The temperature (water vapor pressure) trends averaged over all stations were 0.30 (0.07), 0.24 (0.06), 0.13 (0.11), 0.11 (0.07) C/decade (hPa/decade) in the winter, spring, summer and autumn seasons, respectively. The averages of these seasonal trends are 0.20 C/decade and 0.07 hPa/decade which correspond to a specific humidity increase of 0.04 g/kg per decade and a relative humidity reduction of 0.5%/decade.

UPDATE: Dr. Miskolczi has reviewed the paper and comments on it:

I am sorry to say it gives little bearing on what the global average h2o column amount is doing with respect the greenhouse effect (or the global average IR optical depth of the atmosphere). 

First, let me remind you that the greenhouse effect (caused by the true absorbed surface upward LW flux density by greenhouse gases ) mutually depends on the total column amount of the IR absorbers and the spectral distribution of the surface upward radiation. There is a long way to go from a regional (USA, Canada) average surface h2o partial pressure trend to the trend in the true global average IR optical depth of the atmosphere. However, if you assume, that the published trends in the surface specific humidity and temperature is a representative global average, then the slight increase in temperature and h2o content really supports my theory of constant global average IR optical depth. The reason is that the increased surface temperature shifts the distribution of the spectral flux density towards the windows region and therefore reduces the flux absorption, while the increasing specific humidity tends to increase the IR absorption. The combined effect may be a constant greenhouse effect (as predicted theoretically by the constant IR optical depth of 1.87). 

Further, I have serious reservations with respect the methodology of the computations. 

1 - Equation 1. is incorrect, the specific humidity depends on the actual surface pressure. Looking for very small variations this dependence might not be negligible 

2 - Equation 2 (a version of the Bolton equation) is for the computation of saturated h2o pressure over water. I assume, that in winter time large areas are snow and ice covered and the temperature is well below freezing, therefore the use of the saturation pressure formula over ice is justified. (ei = 6.112 exp(22.46 t/(272.62 + t)) , WMO, CIMO 2008).  

3 - The argument that the positive h2o pressure trend and the negative relative humidity trend comes from Equation 7 is not quite true. The h2o pressure was computed from the saturation pressure, therefore the h2o partial pressure should have the same dependence on the ambient temperature as the saturation h2o pressure. The relative humidity is a true stochastic variable depending only on the instantaneous movement of the water vapor in the air. 

4. - The h2o partial pressure (or h2o number density) has a strong constraint with respect the actual total pressure (and number density), ie. the partial pressures of all atmospheric constituents should add up to the total pressure. The trends in the observed surface pressure were not presented, therefore one may not know where the excess h2o was coming.  

This paper by no means is a proof of the existence of some kind of positive h2o feedback working in the global greenhouse effect.

Ferenc Miskolczi

'The Trenberth letter is little more than an appeal to authority masquerading as a scientific argument'

Letters to the editor published today in the print edition of the Wall Street Journal:
Sixteen scientists claim that there is "No Need to Panic About Global Warming" (op-ed, Jan. 27). This prompted Kevin Trenberth and 37 other scientists to respond with a letter (Feb. 1) claiming that the skeptics are unqualified to have an opinion about global warming because they are not climate specialists. After all, Mr. Trenberth writes, if you have a heart condition, you should consult a heart surgeon, not a dentist.
The group of skeptics does in fact include climate scientists like Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric sciences, MIT, and William Kininmonth, former head of climate research at the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. More significantly, Mr. Trenberth makes an argument from authority, rather than addressing the valid claims in the op-ed. Arguments about climate should appeal to science and not the academic pedigrees of those involved.
As for Mr. Trenberth's heart-surgeon analogy: You might be better off consulting an intelligent generalist, probably not a dentist, but a primary-care physician who could recommend exercise and diet change before undergoing unnecessary and potentially dangerous surgery. Heart surgeons tend to recommend surgery more often than nonsurgeons because specialists are easily biased by their specialization. When you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
The political decision to undertake a massive and destructive decarbonization of the world's economy isn't something that should be left to climate scientists who stand to gain power, money and prestige.
Peter Wilson
Cambridge, Mass.

The letter from Kevin Trenberth and his colleagues is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook: Marginalize your opponents by demeaning them ("dentists practicing cardiology"); state your position without definitive support ("observations show unequivocally" and computer models show); explain away statements that compromise your position by claiming they were taken out of context; restate your position in such a manner that it looks as if the issue is settled, even when it isn't ("the science is clear: The world is heating up and humans are primarily responsible") and then restate it again because if you say it often enough, people just might believe it ("climate change is real and human caused"); and, finally; call for federal funding to remedy the apparent impending crisis ("investing in the transition to a low-carbon economy . . . [is] just what the doctor ordered"). No thanks. I'm glad we got a second opinion, even if it was from a dentist.
David W. Preston
Kansas City, Mo.

Kevin Trenberth writes that climate change is real and human caused. Even if this were true, the global-warming argument rests and falls on a much broader set of assumptions: quantitatively serious global warming is in fact taking place and will continue to take place; global warming is a bad thing; it is entirely or mostly human caused; it is within "our" (the U.S. and Western Europe but not India or China's) technological capabilities to substantially fix the problem; and, it can be fixed cost-effectively. Every one of these assumptions is very much open to questio, and if any one of them is answered in the negative, the whole global-warming enterprise falls apart.
Irwin Romaner
Suffern, N.Y.

We are told once again that we must suspend critical reasoning and defer to the high priests of climate science. Only those whose careers, grants, tenure, opportunities to publish, etc., depend on the looming climate catastrophe can be trusted to opine on the subject. You'd think we'd learned something from Climategate but, sadly, arrogant orthodoxy has been with us forever. Ask Galileo. But Mr. Trenberth gives the game away when he pronounces that a transition to a low-carbon economy will drive decades of economic growth. Only climate scientists are qualified to opine on climate, but somehow they are also qualified to explain global economics and political strategy.
Thomas H. Lauer
Wellesley, Mass.

Kevin Trenberth and 37 other scientists miss the point well made by Claude Allegre and 15 others in the Journal, which is that the rise in surface temperature is clearly below the values first forecast by the United Nations in 1990. The core (unsettled) issue in climate science is the "sensitivity" of temperature to carbon dioxide, and there are several independent lines of evidence, including the surface temperature history, that argue that it has been substantially overestimated.
In global warming, it isn't the heat, it's the sensitivity.
Patrick J. Michaels, Ph.D.
Cato Institute

The Trenberth letter is little more than an appeal to authority masquerading as a scientific argument. It casts no light, therefore, on the actual substance of the issues, particularly given the corruption of the peer-review process made clear by the East Anglia University emails. The most revealing sentence in the Trenberth letter is the statement that computer models show that smaller increases in surface temperatures are accompanied by warming "elsewhere in the climate system." Sorry, computer models do not "show" anything. They make predictions that must be tested against the evidence, which in the global-warming context is deeply problematic. Mr. Trenberth's models may be a magnet for government grants, but their usefulness for policy is far from clear.
Benjamin Zycher
American Enterprise Institute

Whatever their views about climate change, few economists (outside the Obama administration) believe that constraining the use of fossil fuels will promote economic growth.
Fred S. Hoffman
Los Angeles