Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Heidi Cullen, The Weather Channel and More Political Hype On Global Warming

Weather forecasting has become big business and Heidi Cullen and The Weather Channel are cashing in. This PhD. scientist turned television celebrity tries to make us believe that global warming is not a political issue. She wants us to believe she is purely a humble, honest scientist. Maybe she was, once upon a time, but no longer. How naive does she think people are?

When we watch the nightly weather news, or especially when watching The Weather Channel we could almost think we're watching the latest Hollywood thriller doomsday movie. Of course that is how they want it. It pulls in viewers, which means money in the bank to them. If you want the truth about global warming and climate change, don't watch The Weather Channel. It is sensationalist nonsense, and they even admit it.

from: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/31/science/earth/31conv.html?_r=1&th=&adxnnl=1&oref=login&emc=th&adxnnlx=1185908841-PnTr56P8IK2rG2Uk2vo1eQ

A Conversation With Heidi Cullen
Into the Limelight, and the Politics of Global Warming

Erik S. Lesser for The New York Times

Published: July 31, 2007
In June 2002, Heidi Cullen, a researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., received a telephone call from an executive at the Weather Channel. Would she audition for a program on climate and global warming that producers at the Atlanta-based cable television network were contemplating?

Dr. Cullen, a climatologist with a doctorate from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, was dubious. A specialist in droughts, she had no broadcast experience. Moreover, she rarely watched television. She had never even seen the Weather Channel.
“My interests were in trying to find new ways to make climate forecasts practical for engineers and farmers,” Ms. Cullen, 37, said on a recent visit to New York. She had, she said, just gotten a grant from the National Science Foundation, “and I didn’t want to leave what I was doing.”
But the lure of a national audience won out. After a successful tryout, Dr. Cullen packed her clothes, furniture and dog and moved to Atlanta. Today, she is the only climatologist with a Ph.D. in the country who has her own weekly show, “Forecast Earth,” a half-hour-long video-magazine focused on climate and the environment.

Q: What were you studying when you got that call from the Weather Channel?
A: I was trying to understand the large-scale mechanisms that had caused a drought in Afghanistan from 1999 to 2001. I was also working with engineers in Brazil and Paraguay to apply climate forecasts to optimize water resource management at Itaipu Binacional, the largest operational hydropower facility in the world.
I hesitated when I got that call. Television was a world I couldn’t imagine. No one I knew had ever done anything like that.

Q: How did the Weather Channel executives know of you?
A: I think they’d been asking around. They were hunting for a Ph.D. scientist who could explain the science behind climate news. As it happened, my doctoral thesis has a lot of relevance to current affairs. Part of it involved looking at how to use climate information to manage water resources in the Middle East. It’s often said that the next war in the Middle East will be fought over water.
For my thesis, I studied droughts and the collapse of the first Mesopotamian empire — the Akkadian civilization. I was able to show that a megadrought at roughly 2200 B.C. played a role in its demise. I found the proof by examining the sediment cores of ancient mud. When one looked at the mud from the period around the Akkadian collapse, one found a huge spike in the mineral dolomite. That substance is an indicator of drought.

Q: What’s the point of knowing this?
A: Because until recently, historians, anthropologists and archaeologists were reluctant to say that civilizations could collapse because of nature. The prevailing theories were that civilizations collapsed because of political, military or medical reasons — plagues. Climate was often factored out.
And yet, indifference to the power of nature is civilization’s Achilles’ heel. I think the events around Hurricane Katrina reminded us that Mother Nature is something we haven’t yet conquered.

Q: Did you have to take lessons in broadcasting techniques?
A: Not at first. I’ve since done some voice training and have become obsessed with the craft of television. It’s important, for instance, to be very still when you’re on camera. My coach says that if you move around wildly, it erodes people’s faith in you. It’s been said to me that 9 times out of 10, the visual trumps what you say on television. I was floored. I had grown up among the cops and firemen of New York’s Staten Island, a world where your word is everything. So when I heard that, it was like, ‘Oh my God, why did I consciously choose to get into this?’

Q: O.K., why did you?
A: Because they were giving a chance to cover things people need to know more about: global warming, El NiƱo, energy policy.

Q: It has to be hard to put together a weekly magazine show on one subject. Where do you find your stories?
A: I’ve become a media junkie. I read far more widely now than when I was a researcher. Also, I watch a lot of TV, which means all the news programs, “Frontline,” even ESPN, which I watch to learn how to write punchy leads. I also listen to NPR, check out Greenwire and troll the scientific journals like Science, Nature and Geophysical Research Letters.
My problem is that I think everything climate-related is interesting. In my four years on the job, I’ve learned that just because I think something is interesting doesn’t mean it’ll make for good television. It’s often a challenge to make climate issues visual. When I first began, all we had was a little stock video of droughts in the Sahara with dead animal carcasses, and glaciers falling into the sea. We ran them over and over again. My father, who’s a retired New York City policeman, kept phoning me: “Heidi, are those same glaciers falling again?”

Q: Your coverage of global warming has been controversial. Are you surprised?
A: In a way, yes. To me, global warming isn’t a political issue, it’s a scientific one. But a lot of people out there think you’re being an advocate when you talk climate science.
Last December, I wrote a blog about how reticent some broadcast meteorologists are about reporting on climate change. Meteorologists — they are the forecasters — have training in atmospheric science. Many are certified by the American Meteorological Society. I suggested there’s a disconnect when they use their A.M.S. seal for on-camera credibility and refuse to give viewers accurate information on climate. The society has a very clear statement saying that global warming is largely due to the burning of fossil fuels.
The next thing I knew, I was being denounced on the Web sites of Senator James Inhofe, Matt Drudge and Rush Limbaugh. The Weather Channel’s own Web site got about 4,000 e-mails in one day, mostly angry. Some went, ‘Listen here, weather girl, just give me my five-day forecast and shut up.’

Q: Rush Limbaugh accused you of Stalinism. Did you suggest that meteorologists who doubt global warming should be fired?
A: I didn’t exactly say that. I was talking about the American Meteorological Society’s seal of approval. I was saying the A.M.S. should test applicants on climate change as part of their certification process. They test on other aspects of weather science.
A lot of viewers want to know about climate change. They are experiencing events they perceive as unusual and they want to know if there’s a connection to global warming. Certainly when Katrina hit, they wanted to know if it was global warming or not. Most Americans get their daily dose of science through their televised weather report. Given that fact, I think it’s the responsibility of broadcast meteorologists to provide viewers with scientific answers.

Q: What do your ex-colleagues from academia think of your new career?
A: Oh, they’re so funny. Some of them claim that they haven’t seen me on television because they don’t own one. But when I was being denounced by Matt Drudge, they were all, ‘Hey, saw you on Drudge!’
Actually, a lot of my friends are relieved that there’s at least one scientist out there doing this.

Greenland, Melting Glaciers and Sen. Barbara Boxer

The following is an article about a trip to Greenland and its melting glaciers by Sen. Barbara Boxer and nine members of her committee. She is chairman (woman) of the Environment and Public Works Committee. She believes man is causing global warming and the melting of the glaciers by burning fossil fuels and emitting carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas into the atmosphere.

She is trying to gather support for legislation she is proposing to reduce these carbon dioxide emissions, and presumably control global warming with all of it's alleged undesirable effects. This is what it is all about. Is the science of man-caused global warming valid? Is legislation to control it capable of working? What is the "cap-and-trade" system for controlling carbon dioxide emissions? Is it simply a hidden tax, or a cost which will simply be passed on to consumers already burdened by higher energy costs.

These are the important questions we must be asking ourselves. I wish the authors of this article had included some scientific articles to support the statements being made. We'll have to find them ourselves.

Greenland Trip Stokes Boxer's Global Warming Fire
By Nathan Burchfiel CNSNews.com Staff Writer July 31, 2007(CNSNews.com) -

A fact-finding trip to Greenland has renewed Sen. Barbara Boxer's desire to pass legislation aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions, according to the senator who has been promising such legislation since early in her term as chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee.Boxer, a California Democrat, took nine members of her committee to Greenland July 27-29 to tour glaciers, ice shelves and fishing villages in the arctic nation which is home to 10 percent of the planet's ice. "It's one thing to hear about the Greenland ice sheet; it's another thing to see it," she told a news conference Monday. "It's one thing to read about the impacts of global warming on the native people there; it's another thing to have them look you in the eye and tell you."

Boxer said icebergs "are heading to the Atlantic Ocean at a speed twice as fast as in 1985; melting at a rate that will lead to sea-level rises with disastrous consequences unless we act to reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide that have already caused the temperature in Greenland to rise four degrees since 1988."She said increased temperatures are driving polar bears into villages where they are killed because they pose a risk to humans. She also said fishermen in the region are being forced to adapt to changes in fish habits as a result of the warming.

Boxer said the trip reminded her that "I have a responsibility to move now to lessen the impacts of severe global warming." Several bills have been drafted that would address carbon emissions through cap-and-trade systems. Boxer has promised since April that she will move legislation through her committee as soon as a bill exists that could pass the narrowly divided Senate. Most recently, she pledged to use the momentum created by former Vice President Al Gore's Live Earth concerts to push for action on climate change.

In June, Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and John Warner (R-Va.) announced plans for a bipartisan bill to establish an economy-wide cap-and-trade program. Their bill is expected to be unveiled before the August recess begins next week, and Boxer expressed her interest in addressing the bill when Congress returns in September. Even though no cap-and-trade legislation has passed in the seven months since Democrats took control of Congress, Boxer said Monday that she is pleased with her progress. Pursuing a bill in her committee is "all about the votes," and Warner's support for global warming legislation "was our breakthrough," she said.

Not everyone who went on the trip was convinced that what senators were looking at was the result of man-made global warming. In a blog posting on the Environment and Public Works Committee website Monday, Marc Morano, a spokesman for Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), pointed to several studies that question human contribution to global warming. Inhofe did not travel to Greenland with his committee colleagues, but Morano, a former reporter for Cybercast News Service, went as his representative.

"Recent research has found that Greenland has been warming since the 1880s, but since 1955, temperature averages at Greenland stations have been colder than the period between 1881-1955," Morano wrote. A 2006 study carried out by Denmark's Aarhus University found that Greenland's glaciers have been melting for the past century, since before man-made carbon emissions were a factor, he noted. A 2006 Los Alamos National Laboratory study found the rate of warming in Greenland was higher in the 1920s than the 1990s.

Other studies Morano cited found that while low elevation ice sheets are thinning, higher elevation interior ice sheets are thickening. A 2003 Harvard University study found that the Earth was warmer during the Medieval Warm Period (800-1300 AD) than it is today. "These studies suggest that the biggest perceived threat to Greenland's glaciers may be contained in unproven computer models predicting a future catastrophic melt," Morano wrote, noting that U.N. scientist Jim Renwick has acknowledged that "half of the variability in the climate system is not predictable, so we don't expect to do terrifically well [in forecasting what will happen]."

Boxer acknowledged Morano's presence on the trip, noting that he frequently challenged scientists with those and other studies, and said his objections were "really very illuminating." But she said she was confident that all senators ended the trip accepting that man-made global warming is responsible for Greenland's changes. Morano said he couldn't speak for the senators' views on the subject but told Cybercast News Service, "what all the senators and I saw was nothing more than natural climate variability and normal summer melt of Greenland's glaciers." "The senators were shown nothing alarming," he said. "They were shown Greenland during the summer during a melt ... that was still not as warm as the Greenland of the 1920s and 30s, according to the peer-reviewed research."

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Quotations From Environmentalists

The following comes from the MSNBC Discussion Board titled "Climate Change". These quotations are quite revealing and very chilling. What do you think? Are these the kinds of people we want running the country and the world?

Message #84 - 07/27/07 02:22 PM
Maybe you're right...maybe I'm wrong about the Enviromentalists. Let's just see what our "Green" friends actually have to say about Humanity, and Population control...

"Human beings, as a species, have no more value than slugs." - John Davis, editor of Earth First! Journal

"In order to stabilize world population, it is necessary to eliminate 350,000 people a day. It is a horrible thing to say, but it's just as bad not to say it." - Oceanographer Jacques Cousteau, as quoted in the Courier, a publication of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)

"A total population of 250-300 million people, a 95% decline from present levels, would be ideal." - Ted Turner (speaking about world population levels_- CNN founder and AGW supporter - quoted in the McAlvany Intelligence Advisor, June '96

"Childbearing [should be] a punishable crime against society, unless the parents hold a government license ... All potential parents [should be] required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing." - David Brower, first Executive Director of the Sierra Club; founder of Friends of the Earth; and founder of the Earth Island Institute - quoted by Dixie Lee Ray, Trashing the Planet, p.166

"The right to have children should be a marketable commodity, bought and traded by individuals but absolutely limited by the state." - Kenneth Boulding, originator of the "Spaceship Earth" concept (as quoted by William Tucker in Progress and Privilege, 1982)

"The only real good technology is no technology at all. Technology is taxation without representation, imposed by our elitist species (man) upon the rest of the natural world" -- John Shuttleworth, founder of The Mother Earth News magazine.

"The collective needs of non-human species must take precedence over the needs and desires of humans." -- Dr. Reed F. Noss, The Wildlands Project

"If I were reincarnated, I would wish to be returned to Earth as a killer virus to lower human population levels." -- Prince Phillip, World Wildlife Fund

"We, in the green movement, aspire to a cultural model in which killing a forest will be considered more contemptible and more criminal than the sale of 6-year-old children to Asian brothels." -- Carl Amery, Writer and celebrated environmental activist.

"To feed a starving child is to exacerbate the world population problem" -- Lamont Cole, an ecologist at Cornell University, reviewed Silent Spring in Scientific American. (There is now an award named after him for an outstanding paper by a graduate student in ecology at Cornell.)

" The only hope for the world is to make sure there is not another United States: We can't let other countries have the same number of cars, the amount of industrialization, we have in the U.S. We have to stop these Third World countries right where they are. And it is important to the rest of the world to make sure that they don't suffer economically by virtue of our stopping them." -- Michael Oppenheimer, Environmental Defense Fund

Found this... thought it was pretty interesting.
"No matter if the science is all phony, there are collateral environmental benefits…. climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world." - Christine Stewart, Canadian Environment Minister, Calgary Herald, December 14, 1998

See how EASY it was for me to connect the dots between the "Green" Movement and the killing of little children?? These are QUOTES from the leaders of the modern Eco/Enviro movement. They DON'T CARE ABOUT HUMANITY!!! It's everything else that matters to them. so, once again... their motto: "Save a tree, kill a child." Still don't believe that the CORE philosophy, the foundational belief of the Eco/Enviro movement is Pro-Earth, ANTI-Human?? Check THIS out.
PS: Sorry about that spittle. I was trying to work up enough to hawk a loogie at an Earth First! Protester.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Just The Beginning: The Global Warming Issue Getting Nasty

Actually, the process of bullying and intimidating global warming skeptics has been going on for a long time, with many examples, some published here on this blog. It is obvious to me that when those who claim man is causing global warming with his carbon dioxide emissions, can not support their theory with sound science, they resort to strong arm tactics.

This is always what tyrants do. They avoid open debate. They attack their opponents personally, question their motives, and affiliations. They use the tactics of mud-slinging politics at its worst. Read the following article and see what you think.

from: http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070727/NATION02/107270089

Inside the Beltway
John McCaslinJuly 27, 2007
Getting hotter

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency says he will investigate a threatening letter sent by the leader of an EPA-member group, vowing to "destroy" the career of a climate skeptic.
During a Capitol Hill hearing yesterday, Sen. James M. Inhofe, Oklahoma Republican and ranking member of the Environment and Public Works Committee, confronted EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson about the strongly-worded letter written July 13 by Michael T. Eckhart, president of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) that was sent to Marlo Lewis, senior fellow of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).

"It is my intention to destroy your career as a liar," Mr. Eckhart wrote. "If you produce one more editorial against climate change, I will launch a campaign against your professional integrity. I will call you a liar and charlatan to the Harvard community of which you and I are members. I will call you out as a man who has been bought by Corporate America. Go ahead, guy. Take me on."

CEI does not dispute climate change, however it differs with certain environmental groups, including ACORE, on the causes. After Mr. Inhofe read Mr. Eckhart's comments, which were first reported by Inside the Beltway two weeks ago, the EPA chief promised to probe the matter.

"Statements like this are of concern to me. I am a believer in cooperation and collaboration across all sectors," Mr. Johnson assured. "This is an area I will look into for the record."
When Mr. Johnson confirmed that EPA is a member of ACORE, Mr. Inhofe asked if "it is appropriate to be a part of an organization that is headed up by a person who makes this statement."

Late yesterday, Mr. Inhofe announced he will send letters to the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Energy, and EPA, urging them to "reconsider their membership of ACORE."

Based in Washington, ACORE's mission is to increase the use of renewable energy. Its 400-plus "paying" organizational members come from government, financial institutions, trade associations, academia, and other professional services.
Besides ACORE, Mr. Eckhart is co-chairman of the World Council for Renewable Energy and a member of the Clinton Global Initiative. Previously, he was CEO of United Power Systems; vice president of the venture capital firm Arete Ventures; a General Electric manager; and a principal of Booz Allen Hamilton's energy practice.

In a written response sent to Inside the Beltway last week, Mr. Eckhart apologized to "all the public who were offended" by his choice of words. He said he intended his letter to be a "private communication" in the context of "personal combat and jousting."

However, this column earlier this week published another letter Mr. Eckhart sent in September to CEI President Fred Smith, saying "my children will have a lesser life because you are being paid by oil companies to spread a false story."

He said he would give CEI, which advocates "sound science," 90 days to reverse its "position" on global warming, "or I will take every action I can think of to shut you down," including filing complaints with the Internal Revenue Service "on the basis that CEI is really a lobbyist for the energy industry."

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Sun's Effect On Earth: Scientists "Clueless"

This article comes from the online science site called LiveScience. The article discusses the subject of "albedo", or the reflectivity of the Earth. At question is what percentage of the Sun's energy is reflected from the Earth back into space. Obviously this plays a large role in global warming, since the vast majority of the heat in the Earth's atmosphere comes from the Sun. To illustrate what albedo means, on a hot sunny day, feel the temperature difference between a black object and a white one. The black absorbs, the white reflects.

When it comes to the Earth, the unfortunate conclusion of this report is that scientists really have very little idea about how much energy the Earth reflects, how this can change, and how it all relates to global warming. I'm not saying this, prominent scientists are. When you consider how this and all the other variables affecting climate must be factored into computer climate models, it should make everyone highly skeptical of the accuracy about what is being predicted for our future.

The article and related information can be found here:

Scientists Clueless over Sun's Effect on Earth
By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Senior Writer
posted: 05 May 2005 02:01 pm ET
While researchers argue whether Earth is getting warmer and if humans are contributing, a heated debate over the global effect of sunlight boiled to the surface today. And in this debate there is little data to go on.

A confusing array of new and recent studies reveals that scientists know very little about how much sunlight is absorbed by Earth versus how much the planet reflects, how all this alters temperatures, and why any of it changes from one decade to the next. Determining Earth's reflectance is crucial to understanding climate change, scientists agree.

Brighter outlook?
Reports in the late 1980s found the amount of sunlight reaching the planet's surface had declined by 4 to 6 percent since 1960. Suddenly, around 1990, that appears to have reversed.
"When we looked at the more recent data, lo and behold, the trend went the other way," said Charles Long, senior scientist at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Long participated in one of two studies that uncovered this recent trend using satellite data and ground-based monitoring. Both studies are detailed in the May 6 issue of the journal Science.
Thing is, nobody knows what caused the apparent shift. Could be changes in cloud cover, they say, or maybe reduced effects of volcanic activity, or a reduction in pollutants. This lack of understanding runs deeper.

A third study in the journal this week, tackling a related aspect of all this, finds that Earth has reflected more sunlight back into space from 2000 to 2004 than in years prior. However, a similar investigation last year found just the opposite. A lack of data suggests it's impossible to know which study is right.

The bottom line, according to a group of experts not involved in any of these studies: Scientists don't know much about how sunlight interacts with our planet, and until they understand it, they can't accurately predict any possible effects of human activity on climate change.

Reflecting on the problem
The percentage of sunlight reflected by back into space by Earth is called albedo. The planet's albedo, around 30 percent, is governed by cloud cover and the quantity of atmospheric particles called aerosols.

Amazingly, one of the best techniques for measuring Earth's albedo is to watch the Moon, which acts like a giant mirror. Sunlight that reflects of Earth in turn reflects off the Moon and can be measured from here. The phenomenon, called earthshine, was first noted by Leonardo da Vinci.
Albedo is a crucial factor in any climate change equation. But it is one of Earth's least-understood properties, says Robert Charlson, a University of Washington atmospheric scientist. "If we don't understand the albedo-related effects," Charlson said today, "then we can't understand the effects of greenhouse gases."

Charlson's co-authors in the analysis paper are Francisco Valero at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and John Seinfeld at the California Institute of Technology. Plans and missions designed to study the effects of clouds and aerosols have been delayed or cancelled, Charlson and his colleagues write.

To properly study albedo, scientists want to put a craft about 1 million miles out in space at a point were it would orbit the Sun while constantly monitoring Earth. The satellite, called Deep Space Climate Observatory, was once scheduled for launch from a space shuttle in 2000 but has never gotten off the ground. Two other Earth-orbiting satellites that would study the albedo have been built but don't have launch dates. And recent budget shifts at NASA and other agencies have meant some data that's available is not being analyzed, Charlson and his colleagues contend.

'Spurious argument'
While some scientists contend the global climate may not be warming or that there is no clear human contribution, most leading experts agree change is underway. Grasping the situation is crucial, because if the climate warms as many expect, seas could rise enough to swamp many coastal communities by the end of this century.

Charlson says scientists understand to within 10 percent the impact of human activity on the production of greenhouse gases, things like carbon dioxide and methane that act like blanket to trap heat and, in theory, contribute to global warming. Yet their grasp of the human impact on albedo could be off by as much as 100 percent, he fears.

One theory is that if humans pump out more aerosols, the small particles will work to reflect sunlight and offset global warming. Charlson calls that "a spurious argument, a red herring."
Greenhouse gases are at work trapping heat 24 hours a day, he notes, while sunlight reflection is only at work on the day side of the planet. Further, he said, greenhouse gases can stay in the atmosphere for centuries, while aerosols last only a week or so.

"There is no simplistic balance between these two effects," Charlson said. "It isn't heating versus cooling. It's scientific understanding versus not understanding."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

World Population: Is Controlling It The Key To All Our Problems?

Many people think reducing population is a key element in solving many of the world's problems. This is easily said, and the logic is simple: fewer people use fewer resources, pollute less, and do less damage to the environment. The harsh realities are a bit harder to deal with.

The following article addresses a few of the problems. Whose population do we reduce, mine, yours, or theirs?

Here's an idea. Those couples (gays included of course) who do not produce children would qualify for "children credits". Then couples who want to have more than two children would have to buy these "children credits". I'm guessing that a cost of about $50,000 per child would limit the population growth. I'm not sure who would enforce this fine law, but it sounds good in theory, right?

from: http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=/ForeignBureaus/archive/200707/INT20070719a.html

Restricting Family Size May Become Unavoidable, Says Environment Group

By Kevin McCandless CNSNews.com Correspondent July 19, 2007 London (CNSNews.com) -

A British advocacy group is warning that compulsory restrictions on family sizes may become "unavoidable" if the Earth is to be saved from disaster. The Optimum Population Trust, a group that advocates curbing global population growth because of humans' impact on the environment, says that over the next 50 years, the planet will have to deal with the largest generation of adolescents and teenagers in history.

Many of these, the organization says, will be unemployed young men who, in their frustration over their situation, may resort to violence. This will add to the already overwhelming burden developing countries are facing as a result of population growth. In a report released this month, OPT Co-Chairman John Guillebaud said that the United Nations projection of a world population of 9.2 billion in 2050 -- up from 6.7 billion today -- was a "highly optimistic" estimate and that the actual number may be "many more."

The population of the 50 poorest countries in the developing world will double in size, a shift that will wipe out gains in agriculture, education and health care faster than they can be made, said Guillebaud, who is a retired professor of family planning and reproductive health at University College in London. By 2050, OPT projects that the world's population will be using the biological capacity of two Earths. It says this will lead to a massive population crash through a combination of violence, disease and starvation.

To prevent this, the report advocates a mix of government policies to prevent women worldwide from having more than an average of two children. Recommendations for developing countries include funding to provide women much greater access to contraception and abortions. Despite the fact that fertility rates in nearly all European countries has dropped below two -- demographers say the generational replacement level is 2.1 -- the trust said fears of "a baby shortage" are misplaced.

Some European governments have started to offer citizens financial incentives to have children. The report criticized the policy, saying it would only postpone the day when there are more retired people than workers. China's communist government enforces a controversial population control policy that, with some exceptions for minorities and rural dwellers, limits couples to one child. Critics say family planning officials use coercive measures, including forced abortion and sterilization, to enforce the policy. The government insists that "only" punitive fines and financial incentives are used.

Guillebaud said the Chinese policy was "counterproductive" but argued that unless voluntary measures are brought in quickly, other countries may be forced to follow China's lead. "No one is in favor of governments dictating family size, but we need to act quickly to prevent it." he said. Donna Nicholson, a spokeswoman for the Scottish chapter of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, said that the problem facing many developing countries is not overpopulation but global inequality. The United States produces enough food annually to feed the entire world, she said. At the same time, the crippling debt facing many African countries drives them to cut back on education and health care. Citing her experience working in Liberia and Sierra Leone, Nicholson said the answer to solving poverty was not population control." You can't look at a woman in the Third World and say the problem is that she's pregnant," she said.

Josephine Quintavalle, head of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, another British pro-life group, said she found it frightening that the OPT report was getting attention. She said Europe was facing a situation in which in just a few years, more people would be over 60 years of age than under 60. Unless European countries took urgent measures to encourage more people to have babies, she said, the continent could skip an entire generation of children. "One wonders what planet this organization comes from when they come up with these conclusions," Quintavalle said.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Professor Carl Wunsch And "The Great Global Warming Swindle"

This is from Dr. Carl Wunsch, Professor at MIT in response to his appearance and statements in the British documentary film "The Great Global Warming Swindle." One can only wonder how much grief Dr. Wunsch received from opponents to his view. My personal opinion is that he sounds frightened and angry. He has obviously been severely chastised for daring to question how much faith we should put in predictions of future climate change. You would think he denied the existence of God, or Mom, The Flag, and apple pie.

I agree with much of what he says and I believe that his comments were taken out of context. However, he should have known better. It is unfortunate when people's public comments are taken out of context and "spun" for political reasons. A master at this distortion is that "great" documentary film-maker Michael Moore. Al Gore is pretty good at "spinning" a tall tale as well.

I also think we need to take these kinds of "documentaries" with a great deal of skepticism, whichever side of the political or ideological spectrum they originate from. I feel a bit sorry for Dr. Wunsch. You can be certain that in the future, if he speaks out at all, he will be very, very careful about what he says. One can only question global warming at great peril.

from: http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/CHANNEL4.html

Partial Response to the London Channel 4 Film "The Great Global Warming Swindle"
Carl Wunsch 11 March 2007

I believe that climate change is real, a major threat, and almost surely has a major human-induced component. But I have tried to stay out of the climate wars because all nuance tends to be lost, and the distinction between what we know firmly, as scientists, and what we suspect is happening, is so difficult to maintain in the presence of rhetorical excess. In the long run, our credibility as scientists rests on being very careful of, and protective of, our authority and expertise.

The science of climate change remains incomplete. Some elements are based so firmly on well-understood principles, or on such clear observational records, that most scientists would agree that they are almost surely true (adding CO2 to the atmosphere is dangerous; sea level will continue to rise,...). Other elements remain more uncertain, but we as scientists in our roles as informed citizens believe society should be deeply concerned about their possibility: a mid-western US megadrought in 100 years; melting of a large part of the Greenland ice sheet, among many other examples.

I am on record in a number of places as complaining about the over-dramatization and unwarranted extrapolation of scientific facts. Thus the notion that the Gulf Stream would or could "shut off" or that with global warming Britain would go into a "new ice age" are either scientifically impossible or so unlikely as to threaten our credibility as a scientific discipline if we proclaim their reality. They also are huge distractions from more immediate and realistic threats. I've focused more on the extreme claims in the literature warning of coming catastrophe, both because I regard the scientists there as more serious, and because I am very sympathetic to the goals of those who sometimes seem, however, to be confusing their specific scientific knowledge with their worries about the future.

When approached by WagTV, on behalf of Channel 4, known to me as one of the main UK independent broadcasters, I was led to believe that I would be given an opportunity to explain why I, like some others, find the statements at both extremes of the global change debate distasteful. I am, after all a teacher, and this seemed like a good opportunity to explain why, for example, I thought more attention should be paid to sea level rise, which is ongoing and unstoppable and carries a real threat of acceleration, than to the unsupportable claims that the ocean circulation was undergoing shutdown (Nature, December 2005).

I wanted to explain why observing the ocean was so difficult, and why it is so tricky to predict with any degree of confidence such important climate elements as its heat and carbon storage and transports in 10 or 100 years. I am distrustful of prediction scenarios for details of the ocean circulation that rely on extremely complicated coupled models that must run unconstrained by observations for decades to thousands of years. The science is not sufficiently mature to say which of the many complex elements of such forecasts are skillful.

Nonetheless, and contrary to the impression given in the film, I firmly believe there is a great deal about the mechanisms of climate to be learned from models. With effort, all of this ambiguity is explicable to the public.

In the part of the "Swindle" film where I am describing the fact that the ocean tends to expel carbon dioxide where it is warm, and to absorb it where it is cold, my intent was to explain that warming the ocean could be dangerous---because it is such a gigantic reservoir of carbon. By its placement in the film, it appears that I am saying that since carbon dioxide exists in the ocean in such large quantities, human influence must not be very important --- diametrically opposite to the point I was making---which is that global warming is both real and threatening.

Many of us feel an obligation to talk to the media---it's part of our role as scientists, citizens, and educators. The subjects are complicated, and it is easy to be misquoted or quoted out context. My experience in the past is that these things do happen, but usually inadvertently---most reporters really do want to get it right.

Channel 4 now says they were making a film in a series of "polemics". There is nothing in the communication we had (much of it on the telephone or with the film crew on the day they were in Boston) that suggested they were making a film that was one-sided, anti-educational, and misleading. I took them at face value---a great error. I knew I had no control over the actual content, but it never occurred to me that I was dealing with people who would deliberately distort my views.

The letter I sent them as soon as I heard about the actual program is below.

As a society, we need to take out insurance against catastrophe in the same way we take out homeowner's protection against fire. I buy fire insurance, but I also take the precaution of having the wiring in the house checked, keeping the heating system up to date, etc., all the while hoping that I won't need the insurance. Will any of these precautions work? Unexpected things still happen (lightning strike? plumber's torch igniting the woodwork?). How large a fire insurance premium is it worth paying? How much is it worth paying for rewiring the house? $10,000, but perhaps not $100,000? Answers, even at this mundane level, are not obvious.

How much is it worth to society to restrain CO2 emissions---will that guarantee protection against global warming? Is it sensible to subsidize insurance for people who wish to build in regions strongly susceptible to coastal flooding? These and others are truly complicated questions where often the science is not mature enough give definitive answers, much as we would like to be able to provide them. Scientifically, we can recognize the reality of the threat, and much of what society needs to insure against. Statements of concern do not need to imply that we have all the answers. Channel 4 had an opportunity to elucidate some of this ambiguity and complexity. The outcome is sad.

I am often asked about Al Gore and his film. I don't know Gore, but he strikes me as a very intelligent man who is seriously concerned about what global change will mean for the world. He is a lawyer/politician, not a scientist, who has clearly worked hard to master a very complicated subject and to convey his worries to the public. Some of the details in the film make me cringe, but I think the overall thrust is appropriate. To the extent that he has gotten some things wrong, I mainly fault his scientific advisers, who should know better, but not Al Gore.

In general, good scientists (unlike lawyers) are meant to keep in mind at all times that conceivably they are wrong. There is a very wide spectrum of scientific knowledge ranging from the almost certain, e.g. that the sun will indeed rise tomorrow, or that no physical object can move faster than the speed of light; to inferences that seem very plausible but for which one can more readily imagine ways in which they might prove incorrect (e.g., that melting of the Greenland ice cap means that sea level will rise); to fiercely disputed ideas (e.g., that variations in the North Atlantic circulation directly control the climate of the northern hemisphere). Most of us draw conclusions that seem to us the most compelling, but try hard to maintain an open mind about counter arguments or new observations that could prove us wrong. Reducing the extremely complicated discussion of future climate change to the cartoon level we see on both extremes is somewhat like making public policy on the basis of a Batman movie.

More Unintended Environmental Consequences

Is going green always good? This article from the Washington Post, (not noted for being paid stooges of the oil industry) points out one of the many negative consequences of taking a knee-jerk, poorly thought-out reaction to global warming.

There is so much pressure to limit carbon dioxide emissions and control global warming, that grave mistakes are bound to happen. Growing corn to produce ethanol, which supposedly produces less "greenhouse gas" than burning gasoline, is a prime example of global warming hysteria gone mad.

This example relates to the Chesapeake Bay, but the same consequences lie in store for every drainage area, river, and lake in areas where more corn is being grown. Of course this applies to almost every State in the lower 48 United States. Some farmers, mostly large corporate farmers are going to benefit, so too are the ethanol producers who already receive an approximate 50 cent per gallon subsidy to make the fuel competitive with gasoline.

Now we have laws, and we're locked in to spending billions on a scientifically and economically unsound attempt to curb global warming and "reduce our dependence" on foreign oil. This one action alone, producing fuel from corn, is going to cost everyone dearly. We have ourselves to blame for listening to the global warming alarmists. The cost in terms of money and damage to the environment will only worsen.

'Green' Fuel May Damage The Bay
Ethanol Study Has Dire Prediction for The Chesapeake

By David A. Fahrenthold Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, July 17, 2007; Page B01

A surge in the demand for ethanol -- touted as a greener alternative to gasoline -- could have a serious environmental downside for the Chesapeake Bay, because more farmers growing corn could mean more pollution washing off farm fields, a new study warned yesterday.
The study, whose sponsors included the U.S. government and an environmental group, predicted that farmers in the bay watershed will plant 500,000 or more new acres of corn in the next five years. Because fields of corn generally produce more polluted runoff than those of other crops, that's a problem.

"It's going in the opposite direction from where we want to go," said Jim Pease, a professor at Virginia Tech and one of the study's authors.
Ethanol, a fuel made from processed and fermented plant matter, is an old invention with enormous new cachet. Proponents say that it offers an alternative to oil imported from overseas and that it emits fewer greenhouse gases than fossil fuels. In his State of the Union address in January, President Bush called for its use in motor fuels to be increased sevenfold by 2017. Already, 15 ethanol facilities are either planned or under construction in the mid-Atlantic, according to yesterday's report.

But ethanol's boom has also produced a variety of unintended, and unwanted, consequences. Because the primary ingredient at U.S. ethanol plants is corn, the price of that grain has shot up, making everything from tortillas to beef to chocolate more expensive.
In the Chesapeake area, according to the study, the drawback to ethanol's boom is that more farmers have planted cornfields to take advantage of the prices. Corn harvests are expected to increase 12 percent in Maryland this year and 8 percent in Virginia, according to a forecast in March from the U.S. Agriculture Department.

Although the spike is expected to be greater in Mississippi, where forecasters predict a 179 percent jump, across the vast Chesapeake watershed -- extending from southern Virginia to Cooperstown, N.Y. -- smaller shifts can add up. The authors of the study released yesterday forecast that over the next five years, the area of land newly planted with corn could be as much as 1 million acres, four times the size of Fairfax County.

Those shifting to corn production included Craig Giese, a farmer with 600 acres on Virginia's Northern Neck. Giese said in a telephone interview yesterday that he planted 50 new acres of corn after prices climbed from about $2.30 per 56-pound bushel last year to about $3.40 this year.
But Giese said he left many of his acres planted with soybeans to ensure against a disaster if corn prices drop or a drought makes the plants wither.

"If you put in all corn, you could hit a home run, with the prices we have now," said Giese, whose farm is near Lancaster, about 120 miles from Washington. "But . . . you could also go belly up."
More cornfields could be trouble, the study warned, because corn generally requires more fertilizer than such crops as soybeans or hay. When it rains, some of this fertilizer washes downstream, and it brings such pollutants as nitrogen and phosphorus, which feed unnatural algae blooms in the bay. These algae consume the oxygen that fish, crabs and other creatures need to breathe, creating the Chesapeake's infamous dead zones.

Governments around the bay have pledged to cut their output of nitrogen by 110 million pounds by 2010. But the study estimated that an ethanol-driven increase in cornfields could add 8 million to 16 million pounds of pollution.
"We've made it that much harder to meet our bay restoration goals," said Beth McGee, a senior water quality specialist at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, an environmental group based in Annapolis. McGee helped compile the study released yesterday.

The impact could be lessened, McGee said, by measures that trap farm pollution before it can reach a stream. These include forested "buffers" along rivers, where plants can filter runoff, or "cover crops" that soak up fertilizer after the main harvest.
U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) has pushed for such measures to get federal funding from the 2007 farm bill, which is scheduled for a markup in a House committee this week. McGee said yesterday's report was timed to show the need for those funds.

On The Front Lines Of Global Warming: Measuring Melting Himalyan Glaciers

Here is an excellent article about work being done in India's Himalayan Mountains to study the effects of global warming on mountain glaciers. As we all know, the world's mountain glaciers and continental ice sheets have been melting and retreating for approximately the last 18,000 years, or since the end of the last ice age. The concern now is that the rate of melting is faster than "normal", or is increasing at an accelerating rate.
The whole idea of course, is that man's activities (mainly the burning of coal, oil, and gas) are adding carbon dioxide emissions to the atmosphere, increasing the greenhouse effect, causing more warming, and leading us down the road to global catastrophe.
This article clearly shows the difficulty of obtaining accurate data. The work detailed here is remarkably primitive, however well-intended. The glacier is retreating, but is this abnormal? There is much similar work being done in mountains all over the planet, reaching similar conclusions.
The article is simple but informative. I especially noted the official response from the Indian Government, blaming industrialized nations, (mainly the US) for causing global warming. It is not difficult to see why the issue of global warming is a political, social, economic, and even an emotional, and passionate issue. It has gone beyond science.
This article just illustrates how some of the scientific data is obtained. Do you want to assist in the fight against global warming? Take a trek to the Himalayas and help this glaciologist in his front line battle against global warming.

The Chorabari glacier sweeps down from the Kedarnath mountain peak. It has retreated 29.5 feet every year for the past three years.

from: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/17/science/earth/17glacier.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

Glaciers in Retreat

Published: July 17, 2007
ON CHORABARI GLACIER, India — This is how a glacier retreats.
Tomas Munita for The New York Times
Ramesh Bandhari, a worker with the Indian Institute of Himalayan Geology, uses a chronometer to clock water flow. At nearly 13,000 feet above sea level, in the shadow of a sharp Himalayan peak, a wall of black ice oozes in the sunshine. A tumbling stone breaks the silence of the mountains, or water gurgles under the ground, a sign that the glacier is melting from inside. Where it empties out — scientists call it the snout — a noisy, frothy stream rushes down to meet the river Ganges.

D.P. Dobhal, a glaciologist who has spent the last three years climbing and poking the Chorabari glacier, stands at the edge of the snout and points ahead. Three years ago, the snout was roughly 90 feet farther away. On a map drawn in 1962, it was plotted 860 feet from here. Mr. Dobhal marked the spot with a Stonehenge-like pile of rocks.

Mr. Dobhal’s steep and solitary quest — to measure the changes in the glacier’s size and volume — points to a looming worldwide concern, with particularly serious repercussions for India and its neighbors. The thousands of glaciers studded across 1,500 miles of the Himalayas make up the savings account of South Asia’s water supply, feeding more than a dozen major rivers and sustaining a billion people downstream. Their apparent retreat threatens to bear heavily on everything from the region’s drinking water supply to agricultural production to disease and floods.

Researchers led by glaciologist D.P. Dobhal of the Indian Institute of Himalayan Geology are measuring changes in the glacier's size and volume.

Indian glaciers are among the least studied in the world, lacking the decades of data that scientists need to deduce trends. Nevertheless, the nascent research offers a snapshot of the consequences of global warming for this country and raises vital questions about how India will respond to them.

According to Mr. Dobhal’s measurements, the Chorabari’s snout has retreated 29.5 feet every year for the last three years, and while that is too short a time to draw scientific conclusions about the glacier’s health, it conforms to a disquieting pattern of glacial retreat across the Himalayas.

A recent study by the Indian Space Research Organization, using satellite imaging to gauge the changes to 466 glaciers, has found more than a 20 percent reduction in size from 1962 to 2001, with bigger glaciers breaking into smaller pieces, each one retreating faster than its parent. A separate study found the Parbati glacier, one of the largest in the area, to be retreating by 170 feet a year during the 1990s. Another glacier that Mr. Dobhal has tracked, known as Dokriani, lost 20 percent of its size in three decades. Between 1991 and 1995, its snout inched back 55 feet each year.

Similar losses are being seen around the world. Lonnie G. Thompson, a glaciologist at Ohio State University, found a 22 percent loss of ice on the Qori Kalis glacier in Peru between 1963 and 2002. He called it “a repeating theme whether you are in tropical Andes, the Himalayas or Kilimanjaro in Africa.”

A thermometer at the foot of the Kedarnath glacier. The movement of glaciers worldwide serves as a barometer for global warming.
The Chorabari, sweeping down from Kedarnath peak across 2.3 square miles, is relatively lucky. It is blessed with a thick cover of rocks and boulders, which acts as a sort of insulation and slows the melting. Since Mr. Dobhal began collecting data here in 2003, the Chorabari has been shedding its weight — that is to say, melting faster than the rate at which snow and ice accumulates, and as a result, thinning out by roughly five feet each year. The snow line, in addition, is gradually moving higher.

A vast and ancient sheet of ice, a glacier is in effect the planet’s most sensitive organ, like an aging knee that feels the onset of winter. Its upper reaches accumulate snow and ice when it is cold; its lower reaches melt when it is warm. Its long-term survival depends on the balance between the buildup and the melting. Glaciers worldwide serve as a barometer for global warming, which has, according to a report this year by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, been spurred in recent decades by rising levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Even the Himalayas have grown measurably warmer. A recent study found that mean air temperature in the northwestern Himalayan range had risen by 2.2 degrees Celsius in the last two decades, a rate considerably higher than the rate of increase over the last 100 years.
In its report, the international panel predicted that as these glaciers melt, they would increase the likelihood of flooding over the next three decades and then, as they recede, dry up the rivers that they feed. “In the course of the century,” it warned darkly, “water supply stored in glaciers and snow cover are projected to decline, reducing water availability in regions supplied by meltwater from major mountain ranges, where more than one-sixth of the world population currently lives.”

The work of Mr. Dobhal and his team is lonely and time-consuming but the data will help scientists better deduce trends in what is happening to the glaciers.

India’s public response so far has been to blame the industrialized world for rising emissions and resist any mandatory caps of its own. India’s per capita share of emissions is one-twentieth that of industrialized countries, the government points out, going on to argue that any restrictions on emissions would stunt its economic growth.

And yet, as critics say, India’s rapid economic advance, combined with a population of more than a billion people, will soon make it a far bigger contributor to greenhouse gases. More to the point, India stands to bear some of the most devastating consequences of human-induced climate change.

The dearth of scientific knowledge adds to the alarm. River flow data is so scant and recent that it is impossible for scientists to predict how the current rates of glacial retreat will affect river volume.

To spend a couple of days with Mr. Dobhal, 44, a glaciologist with the Wadia Institute for Himalayan Geology, a government-sponsored research institution based in the North Indian city of Dehradun, is to understand why there is not more research on these glaciers. It is lonely, time-consuming work, equally demanding of body and mind.

Mr. Dobhal’s days begin inside a tent, not particularly well-suited for such chilly heights, usually around 5:30, with prayers and a cup of hot tea.
This morning’s journey is just above the base camp, to about 12,800 feet, where Mr. Dobhal must install a set of crude bamboo rulers to measure the undulations of the ice. The drilling machine in this case is a steady hiss of steam that comes out of a steam machine carried on the back and inserted into the glacier through a long, narrow pipe. Mr. Dobhal drives it slowly, expertly through the solid black ice, taking care to drill an absolutely straight 13-foot-long hole.
When it is done, the bamboo pole slides in effortlessly. When he is finished, there will be 40 such stakes up and down the Chorabari, in the upper reaches where the ice accumulates in winter, all the way down to where the snout spills its meltwaters. Over the next months, the stakes will record the rise and fall of the ice — in other words, changes in the glacier’s total mass.

Downstream, where the glacier’s meltwater becomes what is known as the Mandakini River, comes another set of crucial measurements. Six times a day, Mr. Dobhal and his aides, all ethnic gurkhas from Nepal, measure the depth of the water and the speed at which it flows. It is a remarkably simple experiment, like one you might do for a high school science fair. A square wooden paddle, attached to a string, is floated down the channel. A stopwatch measures how long it takes to travel 23 feet. “This will tell me how much water we are getting from one glacier and at different seasons — how much in summer, how much in winter, how much in the rainy season,” was Mr. Dobhal’s explanation.

Think of the glacier as a bank account, Mr. Dobhal offered. If its total volume — as measured by the stakes installed in the ice — is “how much we have in the bank,” then the flow of the Mandakini is like the dividends being released for everyday use.

Mr. Dobhal’s days follow a relentlessly measured pattern. Every day, he is back at the base camp no later than 2 p.m., which is when the risk of an avalanche grows. Even in summer, there are fluke snowstorms; one in late May kept Mr. Dobhal and his crew up all night, brushing snow off the tops of their tents. Tourists and trekkers rarely venture up to these heights. Every once in a while, a Hindu monk can be seen foraging for firewood. Mr. Dobhal met one last year, meditating inside a cave. Even the wildlife is limited to bears and mountain rats.

Most evenings are spent listening to a transistor radio broadcast around a campfire. Financing, too, is limited. This year, Mr. Dobhal said he dug in his own pockets to buy winter socks for his aides.

Over the coming months, barring an avalanche that could tear them down, the stakes will chronicle the changes in the glacier. At the end of summer, Mr. Dobhal will return to the base camp to see how far the ice has shrunk, and again, he will come when winter sets in, for another set of measurements. The fate of the Chorabari glacier will slowly, painstakingly be revealed.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Can Increasing Carbon Dioxide Cause Climate Change?

The following paper by Richard S. Lindzen, Professor and Climate Scientist at MIT quite clearly states that he sees no connection between increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and global warming. The article, although now ten years old, still reflects his current position on the subject.

Prof. Lindzen is denounced as a global warming "skeptic", but it is difficult to argue with his credentials and his experience.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
Vol. 94, pp. 8335–8342, August 1997
Colloquium Paper
This paper was presented at a colloquium entitled “Carbon Dioxide and Climate Change,” organized by Charles D.
Keeling, held November 13–15, 1995, at the National Academy of Sciences, Irvine, CA.

Can increasing carbon dioxide cause climate change?
Building 54, Room 1720, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139

The realistic physical functioning of the greenhouse effect is reviewed, and the role of dynamic transport and water vapor is identified. Model errors and uncertainties are quantitatively compared with the forcing due to doubling CO2, and they are shown to be too large for reliable
model evaluations of climate sensitivities.
The possibility of directly measuring climate sensitivity is reviewed.
A direct approach using satellite data to relate changes in globally averaged radiative flux changes at the top of the atmosphere to naturally occurring changes in global mean temperature is described. Indirect approaches to evaluating climate sensitivity involving the response to volcanic eruptions and Eocene climate change are also described. Finally, it is explained how,
in principle, a climate that is insensitive to gross radiative forcing as produced by doubling CO2 might still be able to undergo major changes of the sort associated with ice ages and
equable climates.

The title suggested for this paper (by Dave Keeling) is tantalizing for its ambiguity. At some level, the answer is philosophically trivial. After all, our knowledge is rarely so perfect
that we can say anything is absolutely impossible. In connection with this question we can go a bit further, and state that increasing CO2 is likely to cause some climate change, and that
the resulting change will involve average warming of the earth. However, this answer is almost as trivial as the first.
The climate is always undergoing change, and if the changes due to increasing CO2 are smaller than the natural variability, then these changes will be of only modest concern except as an
exercise in weak signal detection. The more serious question then is do we expect increasing CO2 to produce sufficiently large changes in climate so as to be clearly discernible and of
consequence for the affairs of humans and the ecosystem of which we are part. This is the question I propose to approach in this paper.
I will first consider the question of whether current model predictions are likely to be credible. We will see why this is unlikely at best. I will then show how we might estimate and bound climate sensitivity both directly and indirectly from existing data. Finally, I will consider the relationship of changes in mean temperature to changes in the structure of climate. It has been suggested that small changes in mean temperature are important because major changes in
past climate were associated with major changes in the equator-to-pole temperature difference, but only small changes in the mean temperature. I will argue that the changes in mean
temperature may be only residuals of the changes in the meridional temperature distribution rather than the cause.

The brief conclusion of this paper is that current GCMs are inadequate for the purpose of convincingly determining whether the small changes in TOA flux associated with an
increase in CO2 are capable of producing significant climate change.
However, we may not be dependent on uncertain models to ascertain climate sensitivity. Observations can potentially
directly and indirectly be used to evaluate climate sensitivity to forcing of the sort produced by increasing CO2 even without improved GCMs.
The observations needed for direct assessment are, indeed, observations that we are currently capable of making, and it is possible that the necessary observations may already be in hand, though the accuracy requirements may be greater than current data provide. Still,the importance of the question suggests that such avenues be adequately explored. Since the feedbacks involved in climate sensitivity are atmospheric, they are associated with short time scales. Oceanic delays are irrelevant, since observed surface temperatures are forcing the flux changes we are concerned with. The needed length of record must be determined empirically.
Indirect estimates, based on response to volcanos, suggest sensitivity may be as small as 0.3–0.5°C for a doubling of CO2, which is well within the range of natural variability. This is not to suggest that such change cannot be detected; rather, it is a statement that the anticipated change is well within the range of what the earth regularly deals with. It is further noted that the common assertion that even small changes in mean temperature can lead to major changes in climate distribution is ill-founded and, likely, wrong.

Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels For The Last 500 Million Years: No Correlation With Climate

In this article the author concludes that he can not detect any relationship between past atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and climate variations. Note that he attributes varying carbon dioxide levels to the completely natural geologic processes of weathering of rocks, magmatism (volcanism) and the burial of organic carbon.

This raises the obvious question, (again) if there is no correlation between atmospheric carbon dioxide levels and climate change for the past 500 million years of Earth history, how can a sudden, yet minor (the past 100 years), increase of man-caused carbon dioxide emissions be causing global warming?

Something tells me this scientist was not consulted by the United Nations, the IPCC, and of course not by Al Gore.

From: http://www.pnas.org/cgi/reprint/99/7/4167?maxtoshow=&HITS=10&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=carbon+dioxide&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&resourcetype=HWCIT

Atmospheric carbon dioxide levels for the last
500 million years
Daniel H. Rothman
Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139
Communicated by Paul F. Hoffman, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, January 30, 2002 (received for review October 9, 2001)

The last 500 million years of the strontium-isotope record are
shown to correlate significantly with the concurrent record of
isotopic fractionation between inorganic and organic carbon after
the effects of recycled sediment are removed from the strontium
signal. The correlation is shown to result from the common dependence
of both signals on weathering and magmatic processes.

Because the long-term evolution of carbon dioxide levels depends
similarly on weathering and magmatism, the relative fluctuations
of CO2 levels are inferred from the shared fluctuations of the
isotopic records.
The resulting CO2 signal exhibits no systematic
correspondence with the geologic record of climatic variations at
tectonic time scales.

The long-term carbon cycle is controlled by chemical weathering,
volcanic and metamorphic degassing, and the burial of
organic carbon (1, 2).
Ancient atmospheric carbon dioxide levels
are reflected in the isotopic content of organic carbon (3) and,
less directly, strontium (4) in marine sedimentary rocks; the
former because photosynthetic carbon isotope fractionation is
sensitive to CO2 levels, and the latter because weathering and
degassing are associated with extreme values of the abundance
ratio 87Sr86Sr.

However, attempts to use these geochemical
signals to estimate past CO2 levels (5–8) are hindered by the
signals’ additional relationships to various tectonic (9, 10) and
biological (11) effects. Moreover, the strontium signal has
proven especially difficult to parse (12–15).

Here, I attempt to resolve these ambiguities in the isotopic
signals of carbon and strontium. First, it is shown that the last
500 million years of the strontium signal, after transformation
to remove the effects of recycled sediment (16, 17), correlate
significantly with the concurrent record of isotopic fractionation
between inorganic and organic carbon (3). This empirical
result is supplemented by the theoretical deduction that the
two records are linked by their common dependence on rates
of continental weathering and magmatic activity.

The assumption that CO2 levels fall with the former and rise with the latter
then indicates that an appropriate average of the two records
should ref lect the long-term fluctuations of the partial pressure
of atmospheric CO2. The CO2 signal derived from this
analysis represents fluctuations at time scales greater than
about 10 million years (My). Comparison with the geologic
record of climatic variations (18) reveals no obvious


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It amazes me how Prof. Lindzen is ignored and effectively silenced by those who believe man is causing global warming. This article was in the Wall Street Journal, so some people are listening.

Don't Believe the Hype Al Gore is wrong. There's no "consensus" on global warming.

Sunday, July 2, 2006 12:01 a.m. EDT
According to Al Gore's new film "An Inconvenient Truth," we're in for "a planetary emergency": melting ice sheets, huge increases in sea levels, more and stronger hurricanes, and invasions of tropical disease, among other cataclysms--unless we change the way we live now.

Bill Clinton has become the latest evangelist for Mr. Gore's gospel, proclaiming that current weather events show that he and Mr. Gore were right about global warming, and we are all suffering the consequences of President Bush's obtuseness on the matter. And why not? Mr. Gore assures us that "the debate in the scientific community is over."

That statement, which Mr. Gore made in an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC, ought to have been followed by an asterisk. What exactly is this debate that Mr. Gore is referring to? Is there really a scientific community that is debating all these issues and then somehow agreeing in unison? Far from such a thing being over, it has never been clear to me what this "debate" actually is in the first place.

The media rarely help, of course. When Newsweek featured global warming in a 1988 issue, it was claimed that all scientists agreed. Periodically thereafter it was revealed that although there had been lingering doubts beforehand, now all scientists did indeed agree. Even Mr. Gore qualified his statement on ABC only a few minutes after he made it, clarifying things in an important way. When Mr. Stephanopoulos confronted Mr. Gore with the fact that the best estimates of rising sea levels are far less dire than he suggests in his movie, Mr. Gore defended his claims by noting that scientists "don't have any models that give them a high level of confidence" one way or the other and went on to claim--in his defense--that scientists "don't know. . . . They just don't know."

So, presumably, those scientists do not belong to the "consensus." Yet their research is forced, whether the evidence supports it or not, into Mr. Gore's preferred global-warming template--namely, shrill alarmism. To believe it requires that one ignore the truly inconvenient facts. To take the issue of rising sea levels, these include: that the Arctic was as warm or warmer in 1940; that icebergs have been known since time immemorial; that the evidence so far suggests that the Greenland ice sheet is actually growing on average. A likely result of all this is increased pressure pushing ice off the coastal perimeter of that country, which is depicted so ominously in Mr. Gore's movie.

In the absence of factual context, these images are perhaps dire or alarming.
They are less so otherwise. Alpine glaciers have been retreating since the early 19th century, and were advancing for several centuries before that. Since about 1970, many of the glaciers have stopped retreating and some are now advancing again. And, frankly, we don't know why.

The other elements of the global-warming scare scenario are predicated on similar oversights. Malaria, claimed as a byproduct of warming, was once common in Michigan and Siberia and remains common in Siberia--mosquitoes don't require tropical warmth. Hurricanes, too, vary on multidecadal time scales; sea-surface temperature is likely to be an important factor. This temperature, itself, varies on multidecadal time scales. However, questions concerning the origin of the relevant sea-surface temperatures and the nature of trends in hurricane intensity are being hotly argued within the profession.

Even among those arguing, there is general agreement that we can't attribute any particular hurricane to global warming. To be sure, there is one exception, Greg Holland of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., who argues that it must be global warming because he can't think of anything else. While arguments like these, based on lassitude, are becoming rather common in climate assessments, such claims, given the primitive state of weather and climate science, are hardly compelling.

A general characteristic of Mr. Gore's approach is to assiduously ignore the fact that the earth and its climate are dynamic; they are always changing even without any external forcing. To treat all change as something to fear is bad enough; to do so in order to exploit that fear is much worse. Regardless, these items are clearly not issues over which debate is ended--at least not in terms of the actual science.

A clearer claim as to what debate has ended is provided by the environmental journalist Gregg Easterbrook. He concludes that the scientific community now agrees that significant warming is occurring, and that there is clear evidence of human influences on the climate system. This is still a most peculiar claim. At some level, it has never been widely contested. Most of the climate community has agreed since 1988 that global mean temperatures have increased on the order of one degree Fahrenheit over the past century, having risen significantly from about 1919 to 1940, decreased between 1940 and the early '70s, increased again until the '90s, and remaining essentially flat since 1998.

There is also little disagreement that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have risen from about 280 parts per million by volume in the 19th century to about 387 ppmv today. Finally, there has been no question whatever that carbon dioxide is an infrared absorber (i.e., a greenhouse gas--albeit a minor one), and its increase should theoretically contribute to warming. Indeed, if all else were kept equal, the increase in carbon dioxide should have led to somewhat more warming than has been observed, assuming that the small observed increase was in fact due to increasing carbon dioxide rather than a natural fluctuation in the climate system. Although no cause for alarm rests on this issue, there has been an intense effort to claim that the theoretically expected contribution from additional carbon dioxide has actually been detected.

Given that we do not understand the natural internal variability of climate change, this task is currently impossible. Nevertheless there has been a persistent effort to suggest otherwise, and with surprising impact. Thus, although the conflicted state of the affair was accurately presented in the 1996 text of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the infamous "summary for policy makers" reported ambiguously that "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." This sufficed as the smoking gun for Kyoto.

The next IPCC report again described the problems surrounding what has become known as the attribution issue: that is, to explain what mechanisms are responsible for observed changes in climate. Some deployed the lassitude argument--e.g., we can't think of an alternative--to support human attribution. But the "summary for policy makers" claimed in a manner largely unrelated to the actual text of the report that "In the light of new evidence and taking into account the remaining uncertainties, most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations."

In a similar vein, the National Academy of Sciences issued a brief (15-page) report responding to questions from the White House. It again enumerated the difficulties with attribution, but again the report was preceded by a front end that ambiguously claimed that "The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability." This was sufficient for CNN's Michelle Mitchell to presciently declare that the report represented a "unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse and is due to man. There is no wiggle room." Well, no.

More recently, a study in the journal Science by the social scientist Nancy Oreskes claimed that a search of the ISI Web of Knowledge Database for the years 1993 to 2003 under the key words "global climate change" produced 928 articles, all of whose abstracts supported what she referred to as the consensus view. A British social scientist, Benny Peiser, checked her procedure and found that only 913 of the 928 articles had abstracts at all, and that only 13 of the remaining 913 explicitly endorsed the so-called consensus view. Several actually opposed it.

Even more recently, the Climate Change Science Program, the Bush administration's coordinating agency for global-warming research, declared it had found "clear evidence of human influences on the climate system." This, for Mr. Easterbrook, meant: "Case closed."

What exactly was this evidence? The models imply that greenhouse warming should impact atmospheric temperatures more than surface temperatures, and yet satellite data showed no warming in the atmosphere since 1979. The report showed that selective corrections to the atmospheric data could lead to some warming, thus reducing the conflict between observations and models descriptions of what greenhouse warming should look like. That, to me, means the case is still very much open.

So what, then, is one to make of this alleged debate? I would suggest at least three points.
First, nonscientists generally do not want to bother with understanding the science. Claims of consensus relieve policy types, environmental advocates and politicians of any need to do so. Such claims also serve to intimidate the public and even scientists--especially those outside the area of climate dynamics. Secondly, given that the question of human attribution largely cannot be resolved, its use in promoting visions of disaster constitutes nothing so much as a bait-and-switch scam. That is an inauspicious beginning to what Mr. Gore claims is not a political issue but a "moral" crusade.

Lastly, there is a clear attempt to establish truth not by scientific methods but by perpetual repetition. An earlier attempt at this was accompanied by tragedy. Perhaps Marx was right. This time around we may have farce--if we're lucky.
Mr. Lindzen is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT.