By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent, Reuters
After the coldest start to a year in more than a decade, spring will bring relief to the northern hemisphere from Thursday. Bucking the trend of global warming, the start of 2008 saw icy weather around the world from China to Greece. But despite its chilly start, 2008 is expected to end up among the top 10 warmest years since records began in the 1860s. This winter, ski resorts from the United States to Scandinavia have deep snow. Last year, after a string of mild winters, some feared climate change might put them out of business.
In many countries crops and plants are back on a more “normal” schedule. Cherry trees in Washington are on target to blossom during a March 29-April 13 festival that has sometimes mistimed the peak blooms. “So far 2008, for the globe, has been quite cold, only just above the 1961-90 average,” said Phil Jones, head of the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia which supplies global temperature data to the United Nations. “This is just January and February, so two coolish months comparable to what happened in 1994 and 1996,” he told Reuters. The northern spring formally begins on March 20 this year.
And an underlying warming trend, blamed by the U.N. Climate Panel on human use of fossil fuels, is likely to reassert itself after the end of a La Nina cooling of the Pacific in the coming months. Read more here.
Icecap Note: Because as Ross Mckitrick and Pat Micheals, Roger Pielke Sr. and others have shown the station data shows 50% more warming than it should because of improper accounting for land use changes and urbanization, it virtually ensures a high ranking. If this La Nina continues through the year and the sun remains quiet however, it may rank the coldest in a decade or more, especially with the southern hemisphere winter getting off to a strong start and forecast by the seasonal climate and statistical models to again be very cold. Also recall last year early in January, Phil Jones predicted 2007 would be the warmest year on record but still claimed victory when it finished 7th. I don’t bet the horses, but if I did and my horse came in 7th, I would tear up my ticket not boast about it. Finally that underlying warming trend has little to do with CO2 but was related to warm oceans and for the late 20th century an active sun. With the oceans cooling and the sun still in a deep sleep, the next inevitable bounce is likely to disappoint the good doctor and his friends.
By Dr. Roy W. Spencer, University of Alabama, Hunstville
As a climate scientist, I would like to see some answers to a few basic global warming science questions which I’m sure the U.N.’s Ministry of Global Warming Truth (also known as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, IPCC) can handle. After all, since they are 90% confident that recent global warming is manmade, they surely must have already addressed these issues,
Read the questions Roy feels the IPCC need to provide answers for here in this short hard hitting piece. He concludes:
I fear that the sloppy science that too many climate researchers have lapsed into could, in the end, hurt our scientific discipline beyond repair. The very high level of certainty (90%) claimed by the IPCC for their manmade explanation for warming can not be justified based upon the scientific evidence, and is little more than an expression of their faith that they understand the causes of climate variability - which they clearly don’t.
For those scientists who value their scientific reputations, I would advise that they distance themselves from politically-motivated claims of a “scientific consensus” on the causes of global warming—before it is too late. Don’t let five Norwegians on the Nobel Prize committee be the arbiters of what is good science.
By Christopher Booker, UK Telegraph
One of the fond delusions of our age is that scientists are a breed apart from ordinary mortals, white-coated custodians of a mystery with authority to pronounce on any scientific issue, however remote it may be from their own field of expertise. A shining example was the status given to Sir David King, who has just retired after seven years as the government Chief Scientist. In 2001, when he was appointed by Tony Blair at the height of the foot-and-mouth crisis, Professor King’s speciality was ‘surface chemistry’.
The big issue to put King in the headlines was global warming, which in 2004 he described as ‘a far greater threat to the world than international terrorism’. At a press conference with Blair, he claimed that global temperatures were higher than they had been for 60 million years, predicting that by the end of the 21st century Antarctica would be the only habitable continent left on earth.
Top of the politicians’ global warming agenda at that time was the need to win ratification of the Kyoto Protocol by Russia, which would at last bring the treaty into force. On behalf of the EU, King led a team to a key international conference in Moscow, where their behaviour astonished those present. They demanded that scientists critical of Kyoto should not be allowed to speak. They frequently interrupted other speakers, or overran their own time at the rostrum. When King was floored by evidence from the tropical disease expert Professor Paul Reiter that the melting of the ice on Kilimanjaro was not caused by global warming, he stormed out. Read more here.