Incredibly, in the face of all the evidence the denier brigade continues its incessant drumbeat to ignore what's happening all around us and regard climate change-global warming as a myth, or at least its predictions as sensationalized and exaggerated. Here in Colorado no one is stupid or ignorant enough to believe either of those tropes. The current drought has seen the least snowpack in almost ten years and all the signs are there for a severe fire season such as we last beheld in 2012-13, e.g.
Indeed, the "416 Fire" has already wrought massive destruction in La Plata County and it's only June. Recall for reference here that an NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) projection given in 2002 forecast the American West would see extended drought, hotter weather and fire conditions into the near and distant future ...on account of climate change-global warming. Right now seven Colorado counties classify as disaster areas because of the drought and things will only get worse as the summer progresses. Meanwhile, several rivers have reached peak flows, the Rio Grande - which originates in our state - is down to barely 250 cubic feet per second compared to over 1400 cfs several years ago.
But the global warming "exaggerations" nonsense keeps churning, the latest appearing June 22, WSJ, p. A15 by two lackeys from the Libertarian CATO Institute (Pat Michaels, and Ryan Maue). Of course, according to Libertarian ideology every manjack must cope on his or her own, such as in Puerto Rico after being flattened by Hurricane Maria. You are not supposed to "grovel" to the government for any "handouts", but do what Ayn Rand would have: do for yourself even if it means drinking toxic water out of waste dumps. Hey, at least you won't die of thirst!
According to the CATO pawns all of James Hansen's forecasts from 1988 were either wrong or overblown by the media. Hansen delivered three "scenario" forecasts, A, B and C with A based on "accelerating emissions" for CO2, B based on more moderate emissions, and C "the least likely" e.g. only constant emissions commencing in 2000. We now know the last was a pipedream - see top graphic- given the relentless increase in global mean temperatures. Despite this, Michaels and Maue insist: "scenario C is the winner" because:
"Global surface temperatures have not increased significantly since 2000, discounting the larger than usual El Nino of 2015-16."
But this bejabber flies in the face of the data during that time span and shown the top graphic. Thus, "14 of the 15 warmest years occurred since 2000." This was including 2014 which "broke all records".
What gives? Are the CATO authors ignorant or just low IQ dupes? Actually, mainly ignorant. A first clue appeared thanks to Thomas Karl, Director of the National Centers for Environmental Information of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, in a June 4, 2015 paper which appeared in the journal Science.
This concerned inconsistent data treatment, particularly in processing sea surface temperatures - especially as measured by buoys. This error was likely compounded in conjunction with the misinterpretation of Hadley UK Center future projections on climate that I've already discussed at length, e.g.
I would even venture to say that the preponderance of false judgment by too many (mainly conservatives like George Will, i.e. in his first and only recent appearance on Bill Maher's Real Time) is due to inadequate study of the climate backstory. That includes the role of changing carbon isotope ratios over geological time, e.g.
As Thomas Karl noted, quoted in Eos Transactions - Earth & Space Science (July 1, 2015):
"The biggest takeaway is there is no slowdown in global warming".
Indeed, he added that warming the past fifteen years is the "strongest it's been since the latter half of the 20th century". Putting an exclamation point on that, July that year (2015) was the hottest July since records were initiated.
A good summary of the paper may be accessed at:
Why the measurement difficulty? Well, because the data gathering and process of analysis are inherently complex. In order to achieve such a measurement as how Earth's average global temperature is increasing, there's a lot of "sausage making". First, scientists must combine thousands of measurements from Earth's surface, taken by land instruments, ships. buoys and orbital satellites.
Second, each of these has its own random errors, all of which must be identified. Not only must researchers comb through the data to eliminate these errors, they must also correct for any differences in how each type of instrument measures temperature.
Thus, the authors of the Science paper had to dig into NOAA's global surface temperature analysis data to examine how sea surface temperatures (SSTs) were being measured. SSTs are measured in various ways:
- collecting ocean water in a bucket and measuring its temperature directly
- measuring the temperature of water taken in by a ship engine as a coolant
- using floating buoys moored in the various oceans
Each technique records slightly different temperatures in the same region so scientists have to adjust the data. In the past couple decades the number of buoys has increased - adding 15% more coverage to the ocean. But because buoys tend to read colder temperatures than ships at the same locations, a measurement bias is introduced which must be corrected for. This was the primary task set out by Karl et al. They corrected for the bias by adding 0.12C to each buoy temperature.
By then combining the ocean data with improved calculations of air temperatures over land around the world, Karl and colleagues found that overall global surface warming over 2000-14 was 0.116C per decade or more than twice the estimated 0.039C starting in 1998 that the IPCC had reported.
Basically then the WSJ's CATO contributors are guilty mainly of rank ignorance in: a) not knowing how sea surface or other global temperatures are processed, and b) failing to appreciate the significance and why the rise in temperatures fully comports with Hansen's model.
All of this also comports with the latest data from the United Nation's World Meteorological Association that notes the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration has now reached 403 parts per million.
Note here that every increase in CO2 concentration by 2 ppm increases the radiative heating effect by 2 W/m2. Further, the increase has been by 3 ppm since 2015-16. So no surprise the UN Report concluded:
"Geological records show that the current levels of CO2 correspond to an equilibrium climate last observed in the mid-Pliocene (3 - 5 million years ago) , a climate that was 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer - where the Greenland West Antarctic Ice sheets melted - leading to sea levels that were 32- 64 feet higher than those today."
This, of course, torpedoes the CATO authors next claim e.g.
"In a 2007 case deposition Mr. Hansen stated that most of Greenland's ice would soon melt raising sea levels 23 feet over the course of 100 years."
Hmmm....looks like Hansen was pretty spot on to me, judging from the UN WMO report! Indeed, it looks like he was way too conservative, projecting only 23 feet increase in sea level vs. the 32- 64 feet from the WMO report based on now being in a Ploiocene climate (given the CO2 concentration at 403 pm).
Again, the two CATO clowns misjudge and misinterpret as when they cite a Nature paper which "found only modest ice loss after 6,000 years of much warmer temperatures than human activity could ever sustain".
Failing to note that the latest findings (June 13, Nature) disclose Antarctic ice melt has tripled since 2007. They use this to project a 15 cm sea level rise by 2100 - but this study takes no account of the Greenland melting rate - which is accelerating faster from Jokulhlaup (cf. Jokulhlaup Observed in Greenland ice sheet’, appearing in Eos: Transactions of the American Geophysical Union (Vol. 89, No. 35, 26 Aug. 2008, p. 221). The cited paper specifically noted an increased frequency in occurrence of “jokalhlaups”or sudden glacial bursts of melting runoff from glaciers. It was this phenomena that also played a role in the “unusual cracks" that set off the separation of a “chunk of ice the size of Manhattan” (19 sq. miles)from Ellesmere Island in Canada’s northern Arctic. In the case of the increasing Greenland Jokulhlaup we are looking not just at one massive breakoff, but the loss of perhaps 45% of the entire Greenland ice sheet on account of the underground splintering effects producing ever larger cracks in the ice and the inability of it to support the overlying permafrost and other ice. Thus, onset will be sudden and perhaps more like a "terror attack" from nature.
So again, the CATO authors did not do due diligence in the preparation of their article. Other missteps are also in evidence, e.g.
"Have hurricanes gotten stronger, as Mr. Hansen predicted in a 2016 study? No, satellite data from 1970 onward shows no evidence of this in relation to global surface temperature."
Again, wrong. According to SciCheck, a division of FactCheck.org:
"The most recent analysis of what’s known about the effect of climate change on hurricane activity comes from the June 28 draft of the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Climate Science Special Report. One of that report’s key findings said that human activities have “contributed to the observed increase in hurricane activity” in the North Atlantic Ocean since the 1970s. The Gulf of Mexico
, where Harvey formed
, is part of the North Atlantic Ocean
The draft report echoes the findings of the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s 2013 assessment report
, which found that scientists are “virtually certain” (99 percent to 100 percent confident) that there has been an “increase in the frequency and intensity of the strongest tropical cyclones since the 1970s” in the North Atlantic Ocean
Again, this follows logically from the current 403 ppm concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere which also must be tied to higher surface temperatures (see the graphic again) and also note he planet is currently subject to a radiative heating effect equivalent to 2.5 x 10 7 TJ injected each year into the atmosphere or roughly 400,000 Hiroshima size A-bombs. This in turn conforms to the observed addition of 2 ppm per year in CO2 concentrations and an associated heating increase per year of 2 W/m2.
Result? The temperature of the planet is currently out of balance by 0.6W/ m2 and this is almost entirely due to the annual rate of CO2 concentrations increasing. This is not due to any natural phenomenon but to human injection of carbon and other greenhouse gases into the planet's climate system. The end result of which is to RAISE global temperatures!.
The CATO clowns then dig themselves in deeper, asking:
"Have storms caused increasing amounts of damage to the U.S. Data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show no such damage measured as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product"
But that is because gross domestic product is an unreliable measure, given it omits so many "externalities" i.e. the loss in potable water, electric access after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico. And as noted in the WSJ :'The Hurricane Lull Couldn't Last', (Sept. 1, p. A15):
"The U.S. has seen 20 storms causing a billion dollars or more in damage since 2010, not including Harvey, compared with nine billion-dollar floods in the full decade of the 1980s."
This definitely shows an alarming increase in damage, never mind the bogus invocation of % of GDP As Financial Times contributor David Pilling explained in a TIME Viewpoint article ('Why GDP Is A Faulty Measure Of Success', Feb. 5, p. 41):
"Invented in the 1930s, the figure is a child of the manufacturing age - good at measuring physical production but not the services that dominate modern economies. How would GDP measure the quality of mental health care or the availability of day care centers and parks in your area? Even Simon Kuznets, the Belarussian economist who practically invented GDP, had doubts about his creation."
GDP is supposed to measure the total production and consumption of goods and services in the United States. But the numbers that make up the Gross Domestic Product by and large only capture the monetary transactions we can put a dollar value on. Almost everything else is left out: old growth forests that maintain cooling and act as CO2 repositories, watersheds, animal habitats, e.g. the Everglades, and costs of infrastructure maintenance. But ALL of these count toward the physical security and welfare of a society, and assume particular import after being majorly impacted in a monster hurricane - such as the type seen over the past decade.
Michaels and Maue claim next that the "list of what didn't happen is long and tedious" - but I could counter that by asserting the list of my subsequent demolitions of your arguments about Hansen's "failed" predictions is also long and tedious. For example, the dynamic duo argue:
"Hansen's models and the UN's don't consider more precise measures of how aerosols emissions counter warming caused by greenhouse gases"
Which is pure poppyock, because we've known for decades - from thermal physics - the effects of aerosols on global warming, and the former don't even make the cut of an ant fart in the wind. In this regard, .one can't forget or omit diffusive reflection and re-transmission of radiation, say arising from particulates . Chandrasekhar in Radiative Transfer, (Dover Publications) shows that for angles of incidence in the range : 0.5 < i < 0.8 radian, diffusive reflection allows the radiation reflected normal to the incidence direction to actually have higher intensity than the original. (E.g. for optical depths 1.0 < < 2.0).
In effect, if conditions in the lower atmosphere incorporate such optical depths (and angles of incidence for scattering, diffusive reflection), on account of increased presence of particulates, aerosols, then we will expect to find an "anomaly" say in the temperature. The most alarming aspect of global dimming in this regard - as made public by global dimming researchers (e.g. Dr Peter Cox) is that it has obviously deceived many (like the CATO clowns) into underestimating the true power of the greenhouse effect, including the role of CO2.
Hence, Michaels and Mauer's tripe is expected only if one hasn't properly reckoned the presence of dimming particulates- aerosols , especially their scattering, re-reflection (and hence false albedo effects) into global warming models!
The key clue to the REAL agenda of the authors and their persistent misdirection is embodied in this remark:
"Why should people world wide pay drastic costs to cut emissions when the global temperature is acting as if the cuts have already been made?"
Actually, my fine pair of CATO clowns, the global temperatures are NOT acting any such way other than in your fevered imaginations. Again, see the top graphic of continuous increases in worldwide temperatures. The point here is that Maue and Michaels have exposed their hand as primarily concerned with economic costs, hence they qualify as agnotologists - not climatologists. Stanford historian of science Robert Proctor has correctly tied this shtick to the trend of skeptic science sown deliberately and for political or economic ends . In other words, the supporters of agnotology - whoever they may be- are all committed to one end: destroying the science to enable economic profit and hence planetary ruin.
Michaels and Maue fit this profile to a tee, and is the biggest reason why their op-ed needs to be taken with a grain of salt, or ... with the gravitas of a solitary ant fart.