Extreme weather & superstition

Extreme weather & superstition

New York Post, December 9, 2012

Superstorm Sandy. Parching drought across North America. A scorching midsummer heat wave in the Midwest. All these weather extremes are telltale signs that CO2 causes climate change, according to global warmists.

Indeed, the global climate-change nomenklatura gathered last week in Doha, Qatar eagerly (if grimly) cited Typhoon Bopha, which had just wreaked carnage in the Philippines, as the latest proof.

But it’s not. The link between extreme weather and global warming has as much scientific basis as the pagan rite of human sacrifice to ensure a good harvest.

Yes, the supposed connection between unusual weather events and global warming is often taken as self-evident.

It’s even been propounded in scientific papers — but not persuasively. A recent paper from Goddard Institute for Space Science chief James Hansen, for example, was quickly debunked by climate scientists on both sides of the global-warming debate.

No, the main fodder for the claim is its repetition by climate amateurs, such as New York Times columnist Paul Krugman.

The fact is that anomalous weather events, such as hurricanes, heat waves, floods, droughts and killer tornadoes, show no long-term trend whatsoever over more than a century of reliable data. Weather extremes have occurred from time immemorial, long before industrialization boosted the CO2 level in the atmosphere.

For that matter, even if there had been an uptick in extreme weather, the claim that global warming’s the cause would have to contend with the inconvenient truth that global temperatures haven’t risen for the last decade or more.

Extremes are a natural part of our climate, which constantly changes and is rarely stable for extended periods. In fact, weather extremes are the “old normal,” not a “new normal,” as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon proclaimed in Qatar.

Why can’t so many rational, well-educated people understand this simple fact? The answer may be superstition.

Superstition, which is rooted in fear and thought to emanate from the reptilian portion of our brains, has been part of the human psyche ever since the emergence of self-awareness in early mankind. Since then, we humans have learned to speak, write, read and live together in comparative peace. But we’re still superstitious.

Superstition about the weather in particular is hardly surprising, given the awesome power of nature. Witnessing storms, lightning and even the daily rising and setting of the sun surely induced fear and wonder in primitive cultures. The same fear and wonder are what warmists exploit today in linking weather extremes to global warming.

Scholars tell us that weather superstition often found expression in ritual human sacrifice. The Mayans, for instance, tossed victims into a limestone sinkhole to appease the rain god Chaac.

And it’s only a few centuries since superstition over the climate led to intensive witch hunts and widespread executions, usually by burning, for witchcraft.

University of Chicago economist Emily Oster demonstrated in 2004 that the most active era of witchcraft trials in Europe coincided with the Little Ice Age. Since then, other researchers have argued that chilly weather may have precipitated the Salem witch trials in the 1690s — one of the coldest periods of that epoch.

It was widely believed during the late Middle Ages that witches were capable of controlling the weather with their magic powers, and thus cause storms that could destroy harvests and hobble food production.

Things aren’t so different now. The same predisposition for superstition that caused medieval populations to fear and hunt witches can explain today’s hysteria over extreme weather. The present temperature trend is a good example. Global warmists constantly ignore the trend, labeling the flattening or even slight decline in global temperatures since 2001 or earlier as a “hiatus.”

Our obsession with weather extremes has reached such heights that it has become a knee-jerk reaction for climate-change alarmists to ascribe any unusual weather event at all to global warming. So they tell us that heat waves, floods, harsh winters, dust storms — even wildfires — are all the result of man-made CO2. But a check of records from, say, the 1930s or the 1950s, when the CO2 level was much lower than now, reveals that such events are nothing new.

Climate-change skeptics might be regarded as modern-day witches because they think that global warming comes from natural forces. However, it’s superstitious alarmists, who believe that extreme weather originates in our CO2 emissions and who have a dread of impending disaster, who are really the witches.

Ralph B. Alexander is a physicist and the author of “Global Warming False Alarm.”

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Politics Above All Else — Guest Post by Marita Noon

Politics above science; politics above economics—together these two philosophies have created “true sustainability.”

We first saw the impact in the science world. Global warming was touted as a catastrophic threat to life on earth. Modern life was deemed to be the cause. More specifically, the blame fell to the burning of hydrocarbons—which are the source of the abundant, affordable, and available energy that has given the developed world its many advantages and luxuries. Carbon footprint guilt was heaped upon big energy-consuming countries. After all, we were ruining the planet.

Change was needed to slow the rise of the oceans.

This opened the door for a whole host of policies aimed at reducing the use of fossil fuels. A Renewable Portfolio Standard—which mandates a set percentage of electricity be from renewable sources (mainly wind and solar)—is law in more than half the states. Cap and trade was proposed and passed by the House. Because it didn’t make it through the Senate, the EPA has been successfully bringing about the end goal through regulation. On a global scale, oil and coal have been demonized and natural gas is next. Untold billions have been poured into wind and solar subsidies.

The supposed “science” behind global warming—which morphed into climate change, paved the way for politics above economics.

The Obama Administration’s stimulus allocated $80-90 billion for green energy—even though the economics didn’t add up. Companies like Solyndra and A123 Systems (the first and the most recent domino to fall) received loans, grants, and, tax incentives to produce “green energy,” despite the junk-bond ratings that prevented private equity from jumping in until taxpayer dollars were committed. The majority of the recipients of the funds had favored status—they had connections to high-ranking Democrats such as President Obama, Vice President Biden, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, or Senator Diane Feinstein (just to name a few)—politics above economics.

Interestingly, a series of emails exposed global warming, er, climate change, and the funding of green energy to be the scams that they are. Together they are “sustainable.”

On global warming, the “climategate” emails revealed that data had been manipulated and suppressed to produce the desired results.

On green energy, emails that came to light in the hearings held by the House Committee on Government Reform and Oversight showed how political connections were used to push loan guarantees through and expedite permits.

Within the past week some interesting details came to light on both scams.

On October 13, The UK Daily Mail newspaper brought out some new data. The Met Office, a British government agency described on its website as “a world leader in providing weather and climate services,” released some new data on climate change that seem to conflict with the generally accepted view of catastrophic manmade global warming. Back in March, the Met Office promoted data from 1998-2010 that supported the idea that the world had warmed even more than expected in the past ten years. They sent out a press release and held briefings for journalists. However, when the full dataset—up through August 2012—was released, showing that “the world stopped getting warmer almost 16 years ago,” the Met Office issued the new data “quietly on the internet without any fanfare.” The Daily Mail quotes Professor Phil Jones, of the climategate scandal fame, as admitting that “the climate models are imperfect,” and quotes Professor Judith Curry, head of the climate science department at Georgia Tech as agreeing that the computer models used to predict future warming were “deeply flawed.”

The new data “poses a fundamental challenge to the assumptions underlying every aspect of energy and climate change policy.”

On October 12, the Denver Post featured a guest commentary from Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Titled “Climate spin is rampant,” Pielke addresses the “willing media” “spreading misinformation.” He states: “The logic behind such tactics is apparently that a sufficiently scared public will support the political program of those doing the scaring.”

While not directly referencing the Met Office’s quiet data release, Pielke cites Andrew Revkin, “who has covered the climate issue for decades for the New York Times.” Revkin explains that “the media tend to pay outsize attention to research developments that support a ‘hot’ conclusion … and glaze over on research of equivalent quality that does not.” Surely this is what happened with the Met’s report.

Pielke concludes his commentary with these words: “There is one group that should be very concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation: the scientific community. It is, of course, thrilling to appear in the media and get caught up in highly politicized debates. But leading scientists and scientific organizations that contribute to a campaign of misinformation—even in pursuit of a worthy goal like responding effectively to climate change—may find that the credibility of science itself is put at risk by supporting scientifically unsupportable claims in pursuit of a political agenda.”

Politics above science. But this politically driven “science” is needed to support politics above economics.

On October 15, the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial discussing the special treatment Solyndra, the bankrupt solar manufacturer, received from the Department of Energy: “Solyndra’s investors could be rewarded for their failures.” The WSJ claims that “Solyndra’s only real assets are what the IRS calls ‘tax attributes.’”

The short version is that Solyndra’s investors, who finagled a deal to subordinate taxpayer repayment rights to private investors, could emerge from bankruptcy with the ability to apply the net operating losses (NOL) against the profits of a profitable company owned by the same investors. What is interesting is who the “investors” are. WSJ states that Argonaut Ventures I LLC is “Solyndra’s largest shareholder and the primary investment arm of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. Mr. Kaiser is a Tulsa oil billionaire who bundled campaign checks for Mr. Obama in 2008.”

Emails revealed through the Solyndra bankruptcy show that Steve Mitchell, Argonaut’s managing director, wrote these words to Kaiser: “The DOE thinks politically before it thinks economically”—politics above economics. After Obama called Solyndra a “testament to American ingenuity and dynamism,” apparently the DOE wanted to “delay the Solyndra crack-up that was fast becoming inevitable.” Solyndra needed the “loan’s remaining $95 million immediately, instead of in monthly drawdowns, and to restructure its terms.” For Kaiser, the NOLs were the “consolation prize.”

The “true sustainability?” Government funds climate change research that supports the “catastrophic” messaging. Science and media willingly cooperate. Catastrophic reports provide the foundation for “green energy” investments that go to Obama—and other high-ranking Democrats—campaign donors. Investors get special favors—like the Solyndra taxpayer subordination—and come out on top. They, then, donate to the campaigns—getting their “friends” re-elected. The perpetual motion machine keeps running at the taxpayers’ expense—all to “evade political accountability.”

We know the story with Solyndra. Last week, A123 Systems filed for bankruptcy. Who knows what special deals they got? We won’t know before the election. There are 14 other stimulus-funded green-energy companies that have gone bankrupt—though the number could be higher. It will likely take years for the details of each deal to be exposed.

This is what happens when politics take precedence above all else. Obama’s economic model picks winners and losers and misallocates capital, while sticking it to the taxpayers.

Perhaps this is why Obama’s crony rich friends are willing to agree to higher taxes for millionaires and billionaires—they have their “tax attributes” in their NOLs (paid for by the average, middle-class taxpayer).

The author of Energy Freedom, Marita Noon serves as the executive director for Energy Makes America Great Inc. and the companion educational organization, the Citizens’ Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE). Together they work to educate the public and influence policy makers regarding energy, its role in freedom, and the American way of life. Combining energy, news, politics, and, the environment through public events, speaking engagements, and media, the organizations’ combined efforts serve as America’s voice for energy.

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For Washington Winemakers, 2012 Could Be a Year for the Record Books

Record Wine Harvest in Washington


WOODINVILLE -– Washington winemakers believe the 2012 vintage could be one of their best, thanks to this year’s long growing season filled with plenty of hot weather in the daytime and cool nights.

The weather has helped produce what’s expected to be a record-setting grape crop — 200,000 tons above earlier forecasts.

“This is the type of year that can really make a big difference. A pinnacle year for Washington,” said Ted Baseler, CEO of Chateau Ste.

Michelle, the state’s largest winery, which will handle over half the crop.

There are nearly 750 wineries in Washington state, a number that continues to grow. A new five-year plan from the The Washington Wine Commission envisions boosting vineyard acreage by a third, from the current 43,000 in wine production to more than 62,000 by 2017.

Baseler said he believes the industry will top 200,000 acres in 20 years, making it roughly half the size as the California industry is now.

“There’s high potential in the next 20 years. If we continue to see growth in the industry and focus and world demand on Washington,” he said.

A report published in April by the Washington State Wine Commission estimated the state’s wine industry was responsible for

$8.6-billion in direct and indirect economic activity and employed nearly 30,000 people.

Washington wines are currently exported to 100 countries and are sold all over the United States. And per capita wine consumption in the U.S. is only about a third of the amount in Europe.  That leaves a lot of room for growth in the American market, and awards are bringing more notice to Washington wine.”

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Columbus Day Storm — a Look Back

Last week we celebrated Columbus Day. The national holiday was Monday the 8th, but the traditional date is October 12. That was also the date of the deadly “Columbus Day Storm” of 1962.

Among significant wind storms in Oregon, the Columbus Day storm stands alone. Nothing before nor since has matched the intensity and damage of that storm, although a few have come close. The “storm” was actually three storms in quick succession. The first formed as a trough off the coast of Oregon on the 11th; it moved northward, and then northwestward, and began to taper off on the 12th. The second (and most destructive) storm formed from the remnants of Typhoon Freda, which moved northeastward from the Philippines, nearing the west coast early on the 12th. As it neared California, the storm nearly stopped moving, intensified, and began to slowly move northward just off the coast. As it moved, it wreaked havoc from northern California to British Columbia.

The storm reached the Oregon coast on the afternoon of the 12th. The central pressure of the storm dropped lower and lower, finally reaching 28.42 inches. Winds were strong along the coast, but even stronger inland. At Mt. Hebo in the Coast Range west of Salem, measured wind speeds reached 131 mph before the anemometer was destroyed by the winds. On the Morrison Street bridge in Portland, winds gusted to 116 mph (in Naselle, Washington they reached 160 mph). Trees, houses, and power lines were destroyed throughout the state; in some cases residents were without power for 2 to 3 weeks. Giant towers holding the main power lines into Portland (over 500 feet high) were knocked down. The Red Cross estimated that 84 homes were completely destroyed, 5000 severely damaged, and 50,000 moderately damaged. 23 people died in Oregon alone, and damages were estimated at $170 million.

Locally, something remarkable happened. Corvallis Airport collected hourly observations at that time, via a human observer (weather data are now collected on an automated station). On October 12, the wind speeds got higher and higher, finally peaking at 110 knots (127 mph) at 4 p.m. Just below that, where the next several observations would go, are several blank lines and the words “Abandoned Station” noted at 4:15. A few lines farther down, just before observations began again, the observer wrote that several readings were “unreported due to power failure and instruments demolished.”

That brings to mind several questions: (1) how much stronger did the winds get after the anemometer was destroyed? (2) where did the observers go?

To (1), my guess is that it didn’t get much stronger, since most Valley sites seemed to observe their maximum winds at about that time.

Question (2) is a different matter, and I’m clueless. I wonder if there was a cellar to hide in. Surely they wouldn’t go outside and drive away, would they?

I may never know. But I do know this: the Columbus Day Storm was by far the biggest and most significant wind storm the Northwest ever had. My friend Wolf Read, the Northwest’s premier wind expert, told it this way:

In the Willamette Valley on Columbus Day, the lowest of reported maximum wind gusts was Eugene at 86 mph (Salem was 90, Portland 116 and Troutdale 106). No other storm has had a SINGLE location that reached 86 mph in the Valley.

Finally, I’ll throw our an idea Wolf Read shared with me some years ago. Noting that the period from the late 1950s through the early 1960s had a surprisingly large number of big wind storms, Wolf discovered that those years were the heyday of above-ground nuclear tests, including a Russian detonation of 100 megatons (October 30, 1961). The “Partial Test Ban Treaty” signed in November, 1962 (a month after the Columbus Day Storm) ended the massive nuclear tests.

But Wolf’s question still haunts me: could nuclear testing have been responsible for the observed increase in wind storms at that time? We may never know.

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Columbus Day Symposium

Portland, Oregon (Wednesday, September 19th 2012) – “The Oregon Chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) is proud to announce the Pacific Northwest’s premier public commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Columbus Day Storm. Held at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI), the commemoration will feature presentations, videos, television broadcasts, audio recordings, historical photographs and memorabilia. Attendees can also enter to win a $300 Davis home weather station raffle. The free event is open to all ages of the general public and will take place in OMSI’s main auditorium beginning at 10 AM on Saturday, October 13th. OMSI is located at: 1945 S.E. Water Avenue in Portland.”

“The Columbus Day Storm is the benchmark storm for which all other storms are compared to across the Pacific Northwest. The violent and deadly storm struck on October 12th 1962 with winds gusting as high as 130 MPH in the Willamette Valley and 170 MPH along the Oregon coast. Nearly 50 people perished in the storm.” Chapter President Steve Pierce says, “we have gathered together leading experts from across the Pacific Northwest to offer the public an event that will be remembered for years to come. We will take a look deep inside the storm, as seen through the eyes of the public and the Meteorologists who tracked it. We will present rare audio and video recordings from the night of the storm featuring late KGW Meteorologist Jack Capell and those who were present when the 600ft tall KGW transmitter tower fell to the ground. We will also feature several survivor stories and plenty of photographs, some of which have rarely been seen publicly. Finally, we will take a look at the chances of seeing a similar storm in the future. The public is encouraged to attend this event and bring along anyone who may have a harrowing personal story to share or memorabilia item to display. The demographic of folks who are old enough to remember this tragic storm is shrinking with time and it would be great if these folks would attend this event and share a memory with younger generations.”

Formal Commemoration Ceremony Lineup

Welcome & Opening Remarks
Steve Pierce, Oregon AMS President

Headline Technical Presentation
National Weather Service, Portland
“How the storm formed and where it tracked”

Supporting Presentations
Jim Little, Meteorologist – Oregon Department Forestry
“Broadcast media coverage of the storm”

George Miller, Meteorologist Retired – National Weather Service
“Photographic retrospective of storm damage”

Brian MacMillan, Meteorologist / Reporter  – KPTV Ch. 12 Portland
“The damage, the survivor stories (video)”

Wolf Read, Windstorm Expert / PhD Candidate (University of British Columbia)
“A climatological perspective – return cycles of powerful storms to strike the Pacific NW.”

Audience Question/Answer Session with Presenters

Raffle – Davis Weather Station & More

Please note — OMSI’s main auditorium will hold approximately 300 guests. Please arrive early in order to be assured a seat. Once standing room capacity has been met, the only additional viewing area will be from the hallway outside. For complete meeting details, including overnight accommodations in and around Portland, please see the Oregon AMS web site at: http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon/.

Who is the Oregon AMS? The Oregon chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) was founded in 1947 and is the single largest local chapter of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in the country, with 170 members. The national headquarters of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) has approximately 130 active local chapters across the country. The Oregon AMS chapter normally hosts eight monthly meetings from September to June that are free and open to all ages of the general public. The Oregon AMS welcomes the public to become chapter members for just $10 per year. The Oregon AMS chapter mission statement reads, “The purpose of this society shall be to advance professional ideals in the science of meteorology and to promote the development, exchange, and application of meteorological knowledge.” Our meetings are always found on our web site: http://www.ametsoc.org/chapters/oregon 


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Fall-Winter Forecast 2012-13

September 17, 2012

It’s been quite a year! Summer began late but seems to be persisting. But let me break the news to you: winter is coming soon!

Below is my forecast for “home” — the Willamette Valley. But overall conditions will be similar for most of northwestern Oregon and southwest Washington.

Every year for the last 20 I have issued a fall-winter “climate” forecast at this time. I don’t predict day-to-day conditions (“weather”) but rather overall averages (“climate”). Here’s what I predicted last year, and what happened:


What I said: continued warm and dry for most of the month — above-average temperatures and below-average precipitation..

What happened: nailed it! The month was hotter than an average August, and very dry.


What I said: dry, mild first half, cooler and wetter second half, but all told a mild and relatively dry month.

What happened: the month was mild, but not dry. Almost three inches of rain fell – slightly below average, but not exactly “dry.”


What I said: a quiet November with considerable valley fog, with active weather beginning in December and continuing into February. Low elevation snow most likely in late January and early February.

What happened: November didn’t have much fog, but was “quiet.” December was quiet and foggy. The real active weather began in January, when we had almost twice the rain of an average January, plus some snow in mid-month. February was “dull,” but March got crazy, with lots of rain and wind.


What I said: drier than average but rather cool.

What happened: Cool, yes, but wet, wet, wet!

Summary: all in all, I did okay. Nailed some, missed some.

This year’s forecast:

This year we are watching the tropical Pacific (as always) and see weak El Niño conditions occurring. El Niño conditions tend to bring us drier- and warmer-than-average winters. The Climate Prediction Center (NOAA) is predicting the following for our area:

September-November: average temperatures, below-average precipitation.

December – February: above-average temperatures, average precipitation

March-May: average temperatures, below-average precipitation

My forecast is based largely on the tropical Pacific, but I also look at similar years in the past, since “history tends to repeat itself.” Here’s what I predict:

September: continued warmer and drier than average

October: mild and dry first half but stormy second half

November: just the opposite of October: stormy mild first half but and dry second half

December: relatively dry and mild but with valley fog

January: similar to December

February: active month, with considerable rain; 50-50 chance of snow

March: wet, windy and wild

April: a dry and mild second half

May: dry and mild

We’ll see who’s right!

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Statement on Climate Change by AMS

The American Meteorological Society, of which I am a member, has issued a revised statement on climate change. See

Comments from:

Judith Curry

Fred Singer:

Winning the AGW science debate: Here’s how

The upcoming election battles may be unique in offering for the first time a debate about Global Warming. Neither Bush-Gore nor McCain-Obama chose to discuss the issue – maybe because they were not that far apart. By contrast, Barack Obama has already announced that, if re-elected, climate change will be an important priority — while Paul Ryan is an assertive skeptic on AGW (anthropogenic global warming).

The science of climate change is not only of academic interest but has been leading to proposals that advocate large-scale changes in energy use and supply — with important economic consequences. The burden of proof for AGW therefore falls on those who call for such policies. They must demonstrate with reasonable certainty that human activities are causing global warming, that a future warming will cause significant global economic and ecological damage, and that it would be more cost-effective to mitigate now than to adapt later. They must also be ready to respond to any critique of the underlying science.

I would start by asking AGW supporters the following question “What is your single most important piece of evidence for AGW?” I have received many answers to this question but most of them can be disposed of in a trivial way. Some examples are:

  • ”Man-made CO2 is increasing in the atmosphere.” True, but is warming increasing as a result?
  • ”Climate models predict rising climate temperatures in the future.” True, but models are not evidence.
  • ”Glaciers are melting, sea ice is shrinking, storms are increasing, droughts and floods are increasing.” Even if any of these were true, they don’t reveal the cause and certainly cannot furnish temperature data, like thermometers.
  • ”Sea Levels are rising.” But they have been rising for 18,000 years, and there is no evidence that the current rate of rise is affected by temperature; 20th century data show no acceleration.
  • A common misleading reply by AGW supporters: “The past decade is the warmest in X years”
    This may be true, provided X is chosen appropriately, but the current trend over the past decade has been approximately zero. [One must not confuse Trend (measured in degrees C/decade) with temperature (measured in degrees C). According to climate models, it is an increased temperature trend that should relate to any increasing trend in greenhouse gases.]

But note also that climate seems to follow long-term cycles of about 1500 years [Singer and Avery “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 years” 2007]. If the ‘Bond-cycle’ is active now, we may expect further, irregular, warming in the present century and beyond – entirely due to natural causes, likely related to the Sun.

Finally, a common response simply appeals to the report of the UN-IPCC. To which one should say: “OK, then let’s see if it holds up to scrutiny.” [Note that the “evidence” presented as crucial has been different in all of the past four IPCC assessment reports.] The latest IPCC claim for AGW is laid out simply in the Summary for Policymakers on page 10 of the 2007 report: “Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid 20th century is very likely [i.e., 90-99% sure] due to observed anthropogenic increase of greenhouse gases.”

  • This claim is advanced in the SPM and eventually backed up by fig. 9.5 on page 684 of the report. The models are “fitted” to the observed temperature record from 1900 up to about 1970 by choosing suitable sensitivities and model parameters, using “expert judgment.” But the figure shows a large gap after 1970 between reported temperatures and unforced models (i.e., models that do not incorporate an increase in GH (greenhouse) gases).


[Heavy Black line: Global Ave Surface Temp Blue: Superposition of models without GH gases]

The IPCC, claiming that they completely understand all natural forcings, now asserts that only AGW (i.e., forcing by anthropogenic GH gases) can explain the gap between the reported global average surface temperature (GAST) and models that do not include GH-gas forcing. (This is an instance of the common logical fallacy of ‘argument from ignorance.’ Even if the warming since 1970 were exceptional, and even if science were unaware of any natural explanation for it, that unawareness would not constitute certain evidence that GH gases are responsible.)

Even if we were to accept the IPCC’s assertion for the sake of argument, note that the temperature curve refers to global surface average temperature and that the models are retro-fitted to the temperature data by a suitable choice of climate sensitivities and parameters of the models.

Fair enough, but can the same sensitivities and parameters also explain temperature data that are non-global: e.g., the mean for the northern hemisphere (NH) and the mean for the SH? Can they explain ocean temperature data? Can they explain atmospheric temperature trends? And finally, can they explain temperature trends derived from non-thermometer data of various proxies (tree rings, lake sediments, stalagmites, ice cores, etc.)?

Note that the sensitivities and parameters are chosen with great care in order to reach agreement with the reported GAST data; yet the same IPCC report admits to very large uncertainties about most forcings (in fact, 11 out of 16), particularly from aerosols and clouds. But the greatest uncertainty arises from implicit feedbacks that the models assume will amplify direct warming from GH gases. In particular, there is uncertainty about the feedback from water vapor and clouds: the IPCC claims a positive feedback, i.e., an amplification of GH forcing of nearly threefold — while others adduce evidence for a negative feedback, i.e., opposing GH warming. This is a matter that needs to be resolved urgently; and, until it is, the science underlying the “official” IPCC claim cannot seriously be regarded as “settled.”

The models are largely unable to represent or capture important natural forcings, for example, well-documented climate oscillations involving the oceans, such as the North Atlantic Oscillation or Pacific Decadal Oscillation. Also omitted from the models are the effects of solar-activity changes– in spite of excellent evidence, supported by a growing body of published results, that solar-caused cosmic-ray variations strongly correlate with terrestrial climate changes.

Turning next to climate observations, there are many questions about the reliability of the reported land-surface temperature data reported by weather stations. Mid-troposphere temperatures do not agree with surface trends — a disparity that a National Academy of Sciences climate panel tried unsuccessfully to resolve in 2000. It seems that mid-troposphere temperature trends derived from radiosondes in weather balloons and from microwave instruments in satellites both show negligible tropical warming in the last decades of the 20th century. Data are never perfect and there may be corrections necessary. However, for the time being, these two independent datasets show remarkable agreement with one another, and remarkable disagreement with what the IPCC models would expect as a result of anthropogenic warming.

Ocean data have been notoriously difficult to reconcile, since they employ so many different types of instrumentation. These include buckets, buoys, ship-engine cooling-water inlet temperatures, and both infrared and microwave satellite observations. Unfortunately, there are problems with each of the datasets; their coherence is often different from what one might expect. One example: inlet temperatures seem to be warmer than bucket and drifter buoys that measure temperatures close to the surface– just opposite to what would be expected.

Additional ocean datasets do not show the warming observed by land weather stations; for example, night-time marine air temperatures (NMAT) confirm the strong warming up to 1940 and cooling to 1975, but show only a small recovery, with maximum temperatures in the 1990s no greater than 1940. Similarly, data of ocean heat content (OHC) do not show a warming trend from 1978 to 2000 — although it should be noted that 20th-century OHC data is of poor quality and has been subject to frequent corrections.

Finally, we have non-thermometer proxy data, which mostly show no warming from 1978 to 1997. Most confirm the 1910-40 warming from weather stations — but also show no post-1940 warming. It would be interesting to examine the large dataset assembled by the authors of the “hockeystick” to see what temperatures are observed after 1978; unfortunately, their publication stops at just at that point and their underlying data have not been made accessible.

It should be clear by now that the strong AGW claims of the IPCC are based on rather flimsy evidence. We look forward to the next IPCC report due in 2013-14 to see if additional data and model results show better support for their claim. I serve as an “expert reviewer” of this report but have not seen any such evidence in the first draft.


In the meantime we can post certain question to the AGW supporters and await their answers:

**Why did climate warm between 1910 and 1940?

**Why did climate cool from 1940-1975? If the cause is assumed to be aerosols, also please explain the separate trends observed in the northern and southern hemispheres and compare with climate models. This asymmetry has been a puzzle for some time.

**Why is there a step increase (temperature “jump”) in 1976-77 — and again in 2001-2002? Such jumps are not in accord with the slow steady increase calculated by climate models.

**Why is there no pronounced warming trend since 2002?

**And finally, why no warming for night-time marine air temperatures, troposphere, and proxies in the last two decades of the 20th century — in conflict with reported land-surface temperatures? Could one admit the possibility that there might be something wrong with the land-surface data used by IPCC as ‘evidence’ for AGW?

For these and many similar reasons, scientific debate about the extent and implications of the anthropogenic contribution to past and future global warming is essential for formulating a rational energy policy as the keystone for economic prosperity. The upcoming election battles may provide such an opportunity.


S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the University of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project.  His specialty is atmospheric and space physics.   An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere. He is a Senior Fellow of the Heartland Institute and the Independent Institute. He has also held several government positions and served as an energy adviser to Treasury Secretary Wm. Simon. He co-authored the NY Times best-seller “Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 years.” In 2007, he founded and has chaired the NIPCC (Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change), which has released several scientific reports [See http://www.NIPCC.org]. He is the founding chairman of Virginia Scientists & Engineers for Energy & Environment (VA-SEEE). For recent writings see http://www.americanthinker.com/s_fred_singer/ and also Google Scholar.



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