Frozen in Time
May 07, 2008
Global Warming and Cooling - The Reality

Stephen Wilde, Fellow of the Royal Meteorological Society

The heat from the sun varies over a number of interlinked and overlapping cycles but the main one is the cycle of 11 years or so. That solar cycle can last from about 9.5 years to about 13.6 years and appears to be linked to the gravitational effects of the planets of the solar system combining to affect the sun’s magnetic field which seems then to influence the amount of heat generated and incidentally affects the number of sunspots.

It is clear that temperatures have varied so much over the past 1000 years that there have been substantial effects on human societies so disruption caused by weather and climate is by no means unusual. Many civilisations have fallen as a result of entirely natural changes in climate. Interestingly, they often blamed themselves for offending the Gods, nature or the planet (that sounds familiar!). It is necessary to note that those disruptive changes have occurred quite quickly. A decade or two is quite enough to see changes that result in considerable hardship.

The point I need to make here is that on the basis of historical evidence from weather and solar cycle records the largest single factor influencing global temperature, whatever it might be at any time, is variations in the input of heat from the sun. It is clear from the historical record that warmer weather accompanies short solar cycles and cooler weather accompanies longer solar cycles. Although I refer to weather the fact is that weather over time constitutes climate so for present purposes they are the same. During the recent warming the cycle lengths were less than 10 years so that meant we were getting more heat from the sun whatever the alarmists say about Total Solar Irradiance (a flawed and incomplete concept).

So far, the current solar cycle (number 23) is into the 12th year in length and may go to the full 13.6 years for known astronomical reasons. The very fact that it is longer than the previous two cycles suggests we are getting less solar energy already and, surprise, surprise, it is now being accepted by alarmists that warming has stalled and the planet may be cooling for the next 10 years at least. All they can do now is bleat that the underlying man made warming signal is still there but they cannot prove that to be the case nor can they demonstrate the scale of it in relation to natural causes.  Read more on how Dr. Wilde believes the sun through ENSO and not CO2 produce the climate changes over the last millenium here.

May 07, 2008
Good Climate Model Talk

By Dr. William Briggs, Statistician

There are several global climate models (GCMs) produced by many different groups. There are a half dozen from the USA, some from the UK Met Office, a well known one from Australia, and so on. GCMs are a truly global effort. These GCMs are of course referenced by the IPCC, and each version is known to the creators of the other versions. Much is made of the fact that these various GCMs show rough agreement with each other. People have the sense that, since so many “different” GCMs agree, we should have more confidence that what they say is true. Today I will discuss why this view is false.

Now, each climate model, as a result of the many approximations that must be made, has, if you like, hundreds (even thousands) of knobs that can be dialed to and fro. Each twist of the dial produces a difference in the output. Tweaking these dials, then, is a necessary part of the model building process. The models are tuned so that they, as closely as possible, first are able to produce climate that looks like the past, already observed, climate. Much time is spent tuning and tweaking the models so that they can, at least roughly, reproduce past climate. Thus, the fact that all the GCMs can roughly represent the past climate is again not as interesting as it first seemed. They better had, or nobody would seriously consider the model as a contender.

Reproducing past data is a necessary but not sufficient condition that the models can predict future data. Thus, it is also not at all clear how these tweakings affect the accuracy in predicting new data, which is data that was not used in any way to build the models, that is, future data. Read more on Dr. Briggs discusssion on the climate models and then be sure to read through the comments where he gets into a lively ‘discussion’ with Gavin Schmidt, Craig Loehle and Dr. Douglass and others.

Dr. William M. Briggs specializes in the statistics of forecast evaluation, serves on the American Meteorological Society’s Probability and Statistics Committee and is an Associate Editor of Monthly Weather Review

May 04, 2008
Open Letter To Environmentalists

By John Coleman, KUSI Meteorologist and Founder of The Weather Channel

Thank you for your dedication to protecting our environment. Clean air and clean water are essential to preserving life on planet Earth. Protecting all species and natural lands and forests are admirable priorities. Recycling and a green lifestyle are wonderful. Making the environment the most important thing in your life is a good thing, not a problem. I support you.

But we do have a problem. You have vigorously embraced the Global Warming predictions of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and are using the warning of uncontrollable warming and a resulting environmental calamity to campaign for elimination of fossil fuels. Your environmentally conscious friends in politics and in the media have united with you to create a barrage of news reports, documentaries, TV feature reports, movies, books, concerts and protest events to build support for your goals. The war against fossil fuels has become a massive scare campaign that is giving children nightmares.

Here’s what’s wrong with that: the science is wrong. There is no significant man-made Global Warming underway and the science on which the computer projections of weather chaos are based is badly flawed. Here is what I am suggesting you do. Campaign for your environmental goals on the basis of their own merit. Let go of the global warming frenzy before it leaves you discredited and embarrassed. Stop screaming, “The sky is falling.” It is not.

Do your good work. Devote your lives to our environment. In many ways you will succeed. We are all grateful for your love of the planet. But, don’t use scare tactics. Most of all I urge you not to become extremists.  And, may I encourage you to live your lives in a loving way, love your fellow human beings and our wonderful advanced standard of living and way of life as much as you love the Earth. Read full letter here.

May 01, 2008
More Carbon Dioxide, Please: Raising a Scientific Question.

By Roy Spencer in National Review Online

There seems to be an unwritten assumption among environmentalists - and among the media - that any influence humans have on nature is, by definition, bad. I even see it in scientific papers written by climate researchers. For instance, if we can measure some minute amount of a trace gas in the atmosphere at the South Pole, well removed from its human source, we are astonished at the far-reaching effects of mankind’s “pollution.”

But if nature was left undisturbed, would it be any happier and more peaceful? Would the carnivores stop eating those poor, defenseless herbivores, as well as each other? Would fish and other kinds of sea life stop infringing on the rights of others by feasting on them? Would there be no more droughts, hurricanes, floods, heat waves, tornadoes, or glaciers flowing toward the sea?

In the case of global warming, the alleged culprit - carbon dioxide - just happens to be necessary for life on Earth. How can Al Gore say with a straight face that we are treating the atmosphere like an “open sewer” by dumping carbon dioxide into it? Would he say the same thing if we were dumping more oxygen into the atmosphere? Or more nitrogen?

As a climate researcher, I am increasingly convinced that most of our recent global warming has been natural, not manmade. If true, this would mean that global temperatures can be expected to peak in the coming years (if they haven’t already), and global cooling will eventually ensue.  Just for the sake of argument, let us assume that manmade global warming really is a false alarm. In that case, we would still need to ask: What are the other negative effects of pumping more CO2 into the atmosphere? Read what they are and why they may not be problems here.

May 01, 2008
La Nina and Pacific Decadal Oscillation Cool the Pacific

NASA Earth Observatory

A cool-water anomaly known as La Nina occupied the tropical Pacific Ocean throughout 2007 and early 2008. In April 2008, scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced that while the La Nina was weakening, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation-a larger-scale, slower-cycling ocean pattern-had shifted to its cool phase.


This image shows the sea surface temperature anomaly in the Pacific Ocean from April 14-21, 2008. The anomaly compares the recent temperatures measured by the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer for EOS (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite with an average of data collected by the NOAA Pathfinder satellites from 1985-1997. Places where the Pacific was cooler than normal are blue, places where temperatures were average are white, and places where the ocean was warmer than normal are red.

The cool water anomaly in the center of the image shows the lingering effect of the year-old La Nina. However, the much broader area of cooler-than-average water off the coast of North America from Alaska (top center) to the equator is a classic feature of the cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The cool waters wrap in a horseshoe shape around a core of warmer-than-average water. (In the warm phase, the pattern is reversed).

Unlike El Nino and La Nina, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. “This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Nina or diminish El Nino impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Nina occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

Icecap Note: We have been noting this shift in the Pacific as has Bill for a while. As he says it favors more of these cool La Ninas, more tornadoes, hurricanes, winter snow, spring flooding and summer heat waves and drought - and importantly a cooling of the global temperatures, which will be augmented if cycle 24 proves to be quiet and when the AMO cycles back into its cool mode. ALSO see Dr. Don Easterbrook’s take on what this means here

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