It is often said that non-scientists must rely on “expert opinion” to determine whether claims on alleged “catastrophic man-made global warming” are true. Putting aside the fact that there is no global-warming “consensus” among experts, one does not have to be a scientist, or even proficient in science, to be able to review past predictions, and then form an informed opinion regarding the accuracy of those predictions.
Suppose, for example, you regularly watch a local TV weatherman forecast the weather for your area. Would you need a degree in meteorology in order to decide for yourself how reliable, or unreliable, the weatherman’s forecasts are?
Warnings have been issued for many decades now regarding catastrophic climate change that forecasted certain trends or occurrences that we should already have witnessed. Yet such predictions have turned out to be very, very wrong. This was certainly the case with the alarmist predictions of the 1960s and ‘70s that man’s activities on Earth were causing a catastrophic cooling trend that would bring on another ice age. And it is also the case with the more recent claims about catastrophic global warming.
What follows is a very brief review of these predictions compared to what actually happened.
Americans who lived through the 1960s and ‘70s may remember the dire global-cooling predictions that were hyped and given great credibility by Newsweek, Time, Life, National Geographic, and numerous other mainstream media outlets. According to the man-made global-cooling theories of the time, billions of people should be dead by now owing to cooling-linked crop failures and starvation.
“If present trends continue, the world will be about four degrees colder for the global mean temperature in 1990, but 11 degrees colder by the year 2000,” claimed ecology professor Kenneth E.F. Watt at the University of California in 1970. “This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age.” Of course, 2000 came and went, and the world did not get 11 degrees colder. No ice age arrived, either.
In 1971, another global-cooling alarmist, Stanford University professor Paul Ehrlich, who is perhaps best known for his 1968 book The Population Bomb, made similarly wild forecasts for the end of the millennium in a speech at the British Institute for Biology. “By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people,” he claimed. “If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000 and give ten to one that the life of the average Briton would be of distinctly lower quality than it is today.” Of course, England still exists, and its population was doing much better in 2000 than when Ehrlich made his kooky claims. But long before 2000, Ehrlich had abandoned global-cooling alarmism in favor of warning that the Earth faced catastrophic global warming. Now he is warning that humans may soon be forced to resort to cannibalism.
To combat the alleged man-made cooling, “experts” suggested all sorts of grandiose schemes, including some that in retrospect appear almost too comical to be real. “Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climate change, or even to allay its effects,” reported Newsweek in its 1975 article “The Cooling World,” which claimed that Earth’s temperature had been plunging for decades due to humanity’s activities. Some of the “more spectacular solutions” proposed by the cooling theorists at the time included “melting the arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers,” Newsweek reported.
Of course, the big alleged threat hyped in recent decades has been global warming, not global cooling. But the accuracy of the climate-change predictions since the cooling fears melted away has hardly improved.
United Nations “Climate Refugees”
In 2005, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) warned that imminent sea-level rises, increased hurricanes, and desertification caused by “man-made global warming” would lead to massive population disruptions. In a handy map, the organization highlighted areas that were supposed to be particularly vulnerable in terms of producing “climate refugees.” Especially at risk were regions such as the Caribbean and low-lying Pacific islands, along with coastal areas.
The 2005 UNEP predictions claimed that, by 2010, some 50 million “climate refugees” would be frantically fleeing from those regions of the globe. However, not only did the areas in question fail to produce a single “climate refugee,” by 2010, population levels for those regions were actually still soaring. In many cases, the areas that were supposed to be producing waves of “climate refugees” and becoming uninhabitable turned out to be some of the fastest-growing places on Earth.
In the Bahamas, for example, according to the 2010 census, there was a major increase in population, going from around 300,000 in 2000 to more than 350,000 by 2010. The population of St. Lucia, meanwhile, grew by five percent during the same period. The Seychelles grew by about 10 percent. The Solomon Islands also witnessed a major population boom during that time frame, gaining another 100,000 people, or an increase of about 25 percent.
In China, meanwhile, the top six fastest growing cities were all within the areas highlighted by the UN as likely sources of “climate refugees.” Many of the fastest-growing U.S. cities were also within or close to “climate refugee” danger zones touted by the UN
Rather than apologizing for its undisputable mistake after being first exposed by reporter Gavin Atkins at Asian Correspondent, the global body responded in typical alarmist fashion: with an Orwellian coverup seeking to erase all evidence of its ridiculous predictions. First, the UNEP took its “climate refugees” map down from the Web. That failed, of course, because the content was archived online prior to its disappearance down the UN “memory hole.
Then the UNEP tried and failed to distance itself from the outlandish claims, despite the fact that the map was created by a UNEP cartographer, released by UNEP, and repeatedly hyped by the outfit in its scaremongering campaigns. Eventually, as more and more media around the world began picking up the story, a spokesperson for the UN agency claimed the map was removed because it was “causing confusion.”
It was hardly the first time UN bureaucrats had made such dire predictions, only to be proven wrong. On June 30, 1989, the Associated Press ran an article headlined: “UN Official Predicts Disaster, Says Greenhouse Effect Could Wipe Some Nations Off Map.” In the piece, the director of the UNEP’s New York office was quoted as claiming that “entire nations could be wiped off the face of the earth by rising sea levels if global warming is not reversed by the year 2000.” He also predicted “coastal flooding and crop failures” that “would create an exodus of ‘eco-refugees,’ threatening political chaos.”
Other UN predictions were so ridiculous that they were retracted before they could even be proven wrong. Consider, as just one example, the scandal that came to be known as “Glaciergate.” In its final 2007 report, widely considered the “gospel” of “settled” climate “science,” the UN IPCC suggested that Himalayan glaciers could melt by 2035 or sooner. It turns out the wild assertion was lifted from World Wildlife Fund propaganda literature. The IPCC recanted the claim after initially defending it.
Pentagon Climate Forecasts
Like the UN, the Pentagon commissioned a report on “climate change” that also offered some highly alarming visions of the future under “global warming.” The 2003 document, entitled “An Abrupt Climate Change Scenario and Its Implications for United States National Security,” was widely cited by global-warming theorists, bureaucrats, and the establishment press as evidence that humanity was facing certain doom. It also served as the foundation for the claim that alleged man-made “climate change” was actually a “national security concern.” However, fortunately for the taxpayers forced to pay for the study, the Pentagon report turned out to be just as ridiculous as the UN “climate refugees” forecasts.
By now, according to the “not implausible” scaremongering outlined in the report for a 10-year time period, the world should be a post-apocalyptic disaster zone. Among other outlandish scenarios envisioned in the report over the preceding decade: California flooded with inland seas, parts of the Netherlands “unlivable,” polar ice all but gone in the summers, and surging temperatures. Mass increases in hurricanes, tornadoes, and other natural disasters were supposed to be wreaking havoc across the globe, too. All of that would supposedly spark resource wars and all sorts of other horrors. But none of it actually happened.
The Pentagon report even claimed there was “general agreement in the scientific community” that the extreme scenarios it envisioned could come to pass, and reporters treated it as if it were a prophecy delivered to climate sinners by God Himself. However, when interviewed by the Washington Times for a June 1, 2014 article, consultant and report co-author Doug Randall expressed surprise at how often the now-debunked forecasts were parroted. Yet he still defended the hysterical fear peddling. “When you are looking at worst-case 10 years out, you are not trying to predict precisely what’s going to happen but instead trying to get people to understand what could happen to motivate strategic decision-making and wake people up,” Randall said. “But whether the actual specifics came true, of course not. That never was the main intent.”
The first article about the climate report appeared in early 2004, when the report was leaked to the U.K. Observer, under the sensationalistic title: “Pentagon tells Bush: climate change will destroy us.” In a bullet-point summary at the top of the Observer article, journalists Mark Townsend and Paul Harris added: “Secret report warns of rioting and nuclear war” and “Britain will be ‘Siberian’ in less than 20 years.” The rest of the article was just as outlandish, going even beyond what the now-discredited Pentagon report claimed. Other reporters took their cue from the Observer article, which in retrospect would have been a hilarious piece of writing if it had not been taken so seriously at the time.
No More Snow?
For well over a decade now, climate alarmists have been claiming that snow would soon become a thing of the past. In March 2000, for example, “senior research scientist” David Viner, working at the time for the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, told the U.K. Independent that within “a few years,” snowfall would become “a very rare and exciting event” in Britain. “Children just aren’t going to know what snow is,” he was quoted as claiming in the article, headlined “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past.”
The very next year, snowfall across the United Kingdom increased by more than 50 percent. In 2008, perfectly timed for a “global warming” legislation debate in Parliament, London saw its first October snow since 1934 — or possibly even 1922, according to the U.K. Register. “It is unusual to have snow this early,” a spokesperson for the alarmist U.K. Met office admitted to The Guardian newspaper. By December of 2009, London saw its heaviest levels of snowfall in two decades. In 2010, the coldest U.K. winter since records began a century ago blanketed the islands with snow.
In early 2004, the CRU’s Viner and other self-styled “experts” warned that skiing in Scotland would soon become just a memory, thanks to alleged global warming. “Unfortunately, it’s just getting too hot for the Scottish ski industry,” Viner told The Guardian. Another “expert,” Adam Watson with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, told the paper that the skiing industry in Scotland had less than two decades left to go. Yet in 2013, too much snow kept many Scottish resorts closed. “Nevis Range, The Lecht, Cairngorm, Glenshee and Glencoe all remain closed today due to the heavy snow,” reported OnTheSnow.com on January 4, 2013. Ironically, by 2014, the BBC, citing experts, reported that the Scottish hills had more snow than at any point in seven decades. It also reported that the Nevis Range ski resort could not operate some of its lifts because they were “still buried under unprecedented amounts of snow.”
The IPCC has also been relentlessly hyping the snowless winter scare, along with gullible or agenda-driven politicians. In its 2001 Third Assessment Report, for example, the IPCC claimed “milder winter temperatures will decrease heavy snowstorms.” Again, though, the climate refused to cooperate. The year 2013, the last year for which complete data is available, featured the fourth-highest levels on record, according to data from Rutgers University’s Global Snow Lab. Spring snow cover was the highest in a decade, while data for the fall indicate that it was the fifth highest ever recorded. Last December, meanwhile, brought with it a new high record in Northern Hemisphere snow cover, Global Snow Lab data show.
Blame Global Warming?
After the outlandish predictions of snowless winters failed to materialize, the CRU dramatically changed its tune on snowfall. All across Britain, in fact, global-warming alarmists rushed to blame the record cold and heavy snow experienced in recent years on - you guessed it! - global warming. Less snow: global warming. More snow: global warming. Get it? Good.
The same phenomenon took place in the United States just last winter. As record cold and snowfall was pummeling much of North America, warming theorists contradicted all of their previous forecasts and claimed that global warming was somehow to blame. Among them: White House Science “Czar” John Holdren. “A growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern we can expect to see with increasing frequency, as global warming continues,” he claimed.
That assertion, of course, is exactly the opposite of what the UN “settled science” IPCC predicted in its 2001 global-warming report, which claimed that the planet would see “warmer winters and fewer cold spells, because of climate change.” Ironically, perhaps, Holdren warned decades ago that human CO2 emissions would lead to a billion deaths due to global warming-fueled global cooling - yes, cooling, which he said would lead to a new ice age by 2020.
Ridiculous forecasts have been made by other “climate scientists” who, like Holdren, continue to reap huge amounts of U.S. taxpayer dollars in salaries, grants, and benefits despite being consistently wrong. James Hansen, for instance, who headed NASA’s Goddard Institute for three decades before taking a post at Columbia University, is one of the best known “climatologists” in the world - despite his long and embarrassing record of bad forecasting spanning decades.
In 1988, Hansen was asked by journalist and author Rob Reiss how the “greenhouse effect’ would affect the neighborhood outside his window within 20 years (by 2008). “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water,” Hansen claimed. “And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change...There will be more police cars .... [since] you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.” In 1986, Hansen also predicted in congressional testimony that the Earth would be some two degrees warmer within 20 years. In recent years, after the anticipated warming failed to materialize, alarmists have cooled on predicting such a dramatic jump in temperature over such a short period of time.
Separately, another prominent alarmist, Princeton professor and lead UN IPCC author Michael Oppenheimer, made some dramatic predictions in 1990 while working as “chief scientist” for the Environmental Defense Fund. By 1995, he said then, the “greenhouse effect” would be “desolating the heartlands of North America and Eurasia with horrific drought, causing crop failures and food riots.” By 1996, he added, the Platte River of Nebraska “would be dry, while a continent-wide black blizzard of prairie topsoil will stop traffic on interstates, strip paint from houses and shut down computers.” The situation would get so bad that “Mexican police will round up illegal American migrants surging into Mexico seeking work as field hands.”
When confronted on his failed predictions, Oppenheimer, who also served as former Vice President Al Gore’s advisor, refused to apologize. “On the whole I would stand by these predictions - not predictions, sorry, scenarios - as having at least in a general way actually come true,” he claimed. “There’s been extensive drought, devastating drought, in significant parts of the world. The fraction of the world that’s in drought has increased over that period.” Unfortunately for Oppenheimer, even his fellow alarmists debunked that claim in a 2012 study for Nature, pointing out that there has been “little change in global drought over the past 60 years.”
Perhaps nowhere have the alarmists’ predictions been proven as wrong as at the Earth’s poles. In 2007, 2008, and 2009, Al Gore, the high priest for a movement described by critics as the “climate cult,’ publicly warned that the North Pole would be “ice-free” in the summer by around 2013 because of alleged “man-made global warming.”
Speaking to an audience in Germany five years ago, Gore - sometimes ridiculed as “The Goracle” - alleged that “the entire North Polarized [sic] cap will disappear in five years.” “Five years,” Gore said again, in case anybody missed it the first time, is “the period of time during which it is now expected to disappear.”
The following year, Gore made similar claims at a UN “climate” summit in Copenhagen. “Some of the models… suggest that there is a 75 percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years,” Gore claimed in 2009. “We will find out.”
Yes, we have found out. Contrary to the predictions by Gore and fellow alarmists, satellite data showed that Arctic ice volume as of summer of 2013 had actually expanded more than 50 percent over 2012 levels. In fact, during October 2013, sea-ice levels grew at the fastest pace since records began in 1979. Many experts now predict the ongoing expansion of Arctic ice to continue in the years to come, leaving global-warming alarmists scrambling for explanations to save face - and to revive the rapidly melting climate hysteria.
Gore, though, was hardly alone in making the ridiculous and now thoroughly discredited predictions about Arctic ice. Citing climate experts, the British government-funded BBC, for example, also hyped the mass hysteria, running a now-embarrassing article on December 12, 2007, under the headline: “Arctic summers ice-free ‘by 2013"." In that piece, which was still online as of July 2014, the BBC highlighted alleged “modeling studies” that supposedly “indicate northern polar waters could be ice-free in summers within just 5-6 years.” Incredibly, some of the supposed “experts” even claimed it could happen before then, citing calculations performed by “super computers” that the BBC noted have “become a standard part of climate science in recent years.”
“Our projection of 2013 for the removal of ice in summer is not accounting for the last two minima, in 2005 and 2007,” claimed Professor Wieslaw Maslowski, described as a researcher from the Naval Postgraduate School who was working with co-workers at NASA to come up with the now-thoroughly discredited forecasts about polar ice. “So given that fact, you can argue that may be [sic] our projection of 2013 is already too conservative.” (Emphasis added.) Other “experts” quoted in the BBC article agreed with the hysteria.
In the real world, however, the scientific evidence demolishing the global-warming theories advanced by Gore, the UN, and government-funded “climate scientists” continues to grow, along with the ice cover in both hemispheres. In the Arctic, for example, data collected by Europe’s Cryosat spacecraft pointed to about 9,000 cubic kilometers of ice volume at the end of the 2013 melt season. In 2012, which was admittedly a low year, the total volume was about 6,000 cubic kilometers.
Indeed, in 2007, when Gore and others started making their predictions about imminent “ice-free” Arctic summers, the average sea-ice area extent after the summer melt for the month of September was 4.28 million square kilometers. By 2013, even on September 13, the minimum ice-cover day for the whole year, ice levels were way above the 2007 average for the month - by an area almost the size of California. The lowest level recorded on a single day during 2013 was 5.1 million square kilometers. By late July 2014, Arctic sea-ice extent was almost at its highest level in a decade, and scientists expect even less melting this summer than last year.
Despite parroting the wild claims five years ago, the establishment press has, unsurprisingly, refused to report that Gore and his fellow alarmists were proven embarrassingly wrong. No apologies from Gore have been forthcoming, either, and none of the “scientists” who made the ridiculous predictions quoted by the BBC has apologized or lost his taxpayer-funded job. In fact, almost unbelievably, the establishment press is now parroting new claims from the same discredited “experts” suggesting that the Arctic will be “ice-free” by 2016.
Even more embarrassing for the warmists have been trends in the Southern Hemisphere. Of course, all of the “climate models” and “climate experts” and “scientists” predicted that rising CO2 emissions would increase global temperatures, which would melt the ice in Antarctica - by far the largest mass of frozen H2O on the planet. Indeed, the forecasts were crucial to many of the other predictions about surging sea levels and related gloom and doom.
The problem for global-warming theorists is that the opposite happened. Indeed, sea ice in Antarctica is off the charts, consistently smashing previous record highs on a near-daily basis. Sea-ice area in the south is now at the highest point since records began by a lot and the warmists are searching frantically for an explanation. Some are, incredibly, considering their past forecasts, trying to blame global warming. But the fact remains: Their predictions for Antarctica were as wrong as they possibly could be. Instead of melting as forecasted, ice levels are surging to new and unprecedented heights. As of early July, an area of the southern oceans the size of Greenland is frozen that, based on the average, should currently be open waters. If both poles are considered together, there is about one million square kilometers of frozen area above and beyond the long-term average.
Even UN warmists have been forced to concede that they do not know what is going on or why their “climate models” that predicted melting have been proven so wildly off the mark. “There is low confidence in the scientific understanding of the observed increase in Antarctic sea ice extent since 1979, due to...incomplete and competing scientific explanations for the causes of change,” the IPCC admitted in its latest report. For now, the warmists have simply been trying their best to keep the public from noticing or examining the phenomenal growth in Antarctic ice.
As The New American reported earlier this year, the desperation and denial among warmists was illustrated perfectly in December. A ship full of global-warming alarmists led by a “climate scientist” went on a mission to study how “global warming” was melting Antarctic ice. Instead of completing their mission, they ended up getting their vessel trapped in record-setting levels of sea ice.
In his second-term inaugural address, Obama also made some climate claims, saying: “Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires and crippling drought and powerful storms.” Ironically, all three of the examples he provided of what he called the “threat of climate change” actually discredit his argument.
As Forbes magazine pointed out last year, the number of wildfires has plummeted 15 percent since 1950, and according the National Academy of Sciences, that trend is likely to continue for decades. On “droughts,” a 2012 study published in the alarmist journal Nature noted that there has been “little change in global drought over the past 60 years.” The UN’s own climate alarmists were even forced to conclude last year that in many regions of the world, “droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter.”
Regarding hurricanes and tornadoes, it probably would have been hard for Obama to choose a worse example to illustrate the alleged threat of man-made warming. Contrary to predictions by global warmists, hurricanes and tornadoes have been hitting in record-setting low numbers. “When the 2014 hurricane season starts it will have been 3,142 days since the last Category 3+ storm made landfall in the U.S., shattering the record for the longest stretch between U.S. intense hurricanes since 1900,” noted professor of environmental studies Roger Pielke, Jr. at the University of Colorado, who last year left alarmists who had predicted more extreme weather linked to alleged global warming silent after pointing out the facts in a Senate hearing. “The five-year period ending 2013 has seen two hurricane landfalls. That is a record low since 1900.” After adjusting the data for trends such as population growth and better reporting, it appears that 2013 also featured the lowest number of tornadoes in the long-term record.
In June 2008, Obama declared: “I am absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children… this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.” He was referring, of course, to his own election, as if he were some sort of savior here to save humanity from its carbon-climate sins. In the real world, though, despite his grandiose and bombastic view of himself as global climate messiah, Obama has no more power to stop the “climate” from changing than his legions of discredited “experts” have demonstrated to successfully predict it.
Also ironically, perhaps, is that there had been no global warming since long before he took office. Worldwide, the disastrous forecasts by climate alarmists have proven to be similarly embarrassing. By now, anybody who follows “climate” news knows that “global warming” has been on what alarmists call “pause” for 18 years and counting, despite ongoing increases in CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. The stubborn refusal of temperatures to rise (and accelerate) as forecasted by all of the UN’s 73 “climate models” has discredited the models, the UN, and the alleged “science” behind the computer forecasts. Every single model predicted more warming than has occurred, an atrocious record that defies explanation. Even a monkey rolling the dice or a scam artist pretending to read the future from a crystal ball would have a better record, based only on the laws of probability.
Of course, alarmists have come up with at least a dozen excuses for the failure of temperatures to rise in accordance with their debunked models. The Obama administration’s favorite: the theory of “The Ocean Ate My Global Warming.” Last year, the Associated Press, citing leaked documents, reported that the U.S. government had pressured the UN IPCC to incorporate that excuse, for which there is not a scintilla of observable evidence, into its most recent global-warming report.
The website Watts Up With That (WUWT), run by meteorologist and climate researcher Anthony Watts, highlighted the embarrassing record in late 2013 following a particularly devastating year for “climate” predictions. “It seems like every major CAGW [Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming] prediction has failed in 2013,” the article explains, citing a vast trove of scientific data debunking alarmist forecasts. “Regardless of efforts to nebulize CAGW to explain all forms of climatic and weather variation, in 2013 every loosely falsifiable prediction of the CAGW narrative seems to have failed. The apparent complete failure of the CAGW narrative in 2013 could make the most fundamentalist agnostic wonder if Mother Nature sometimes takes sides, aka the Gore Effect.” Perhaps the Almighty has a sense of humor.
Few people would make an important decision based on next week’s weather forecast. When it comes to “climate,” though, the $360 billion-per-year climate establishment is telling humanity that civilization must be reorganized from top to bottom based on failed models purporting to make predictions decades and even centuries in advance. Flawed predictions aside, a great deal of evidence suggests accuracy or truth was never the intent - generating fear to seize more money and power was (and is). Many top alarmists have admitted as much, with some responding to the implosion of their theories with calls for censorship or, more extreme still, the imprisonment, re-education, and even execution of “climate deniers.”
The Earth’s climate has always changed, and very likely will continue to change, regardless of what humans do. What is now clear, though, is that the establishment has no idea what those changes will be - much less what drives the changes or how to control them.
UPDATE: See this important New peer review paper finds no significant 20th century warming for New Zealand despite the official manipulated record.
A storm of sorts has been brewing in Australia, a tempest caused by anthropogenic global warming activism. Scientist Jennifer Marohasy and environment editor Graham Lloyd, among others have been reporting on the fact the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has been “fudging” historical temperature records to fit a warming narrative.
On her blog, Marohasy reported,"[T]emperatures have been diligently recorded at places like Bourke in outback New South Wales since 1871. Then there’s the Bureau’s official record that takes a revisionist approach: first truncating the data and then passing it through complex mathematical algorithms.”
“[BOM] has constructed a synthetic climate record whose relevance to climate change is not scientifically defensible,” said William Kininmonth, a retired meteorologist and former head of the National Climate Centre (NCC) at BOM.
Prof. Bob Carter, science policy advisor at the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), said, “Official correction of the temperature records by national agencies was first detected in the USA for NASA, and shortly thereafter the release of the Climategate emails revealed similar procedures were in use by the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, which prepares the UKs temperature records.”
Changed Cooling to Warming
Marohasy reported she had “analysed the raw data from dozens of locations across Australia and matched it against the new data used by BOM showing that temperatures were progressively warming.”
“In many cases,” Marohasy added, “temperature trends had changed from slight cooling to dramatic warming over 100 years.”
BOM said the agency had used global best practices and a peer-reviewed process to modify the physical temperature records from weather stations across the country. The data from some of weather stations underwent a process known as “homogenization,” allegedly to correct for anomalies. Historical data was altered to account for a wide range of non-climate-related influences such as the type of instrument used, choice of calibration or enclosure, and where it was located.
However, Kininmonth noted, “There is no justifiable basis to modify actual observations without evidence of changed instrumentation or environmental factors; where there is evidence of such changes the adjustments can only be considered speculative, especially if the adjustments are made on the basis of statistical links to independent observations from tens of kilometres away.” According to former television meteorologist Anthony Watts, “[e]ssentially all the homogenization does is spread the warm bias around.”
Specific Data Manipulation Revealed
The Australian and Weekend Australian have been closely following and reporting on this developing story through environment editor Lloyd. In the August 23, 2014 Australian, Lloyd wrote, “It goes to heart of the climate change debate, in particular, whether computer models are better than real data and whether temperature records are being manipulated in a bid to make each year hotter than the last.”
In a statement to Environment & Climate News, Lloyd emphasized, “The Australian responded to legitimate concerns that were being widely raised. It is the media’s job to ask questions with the aim of making people better informed. I will leave judgement about who is right to others.”
On her website, Marohasy cited a problematic example of the BOM’s temperature alterations: “[T]he unhomogenised/raw mean annual minimum temperature trend for Rutherglen for the 100-year period from January 1913 through to December last year shows a slight cooling trend of 0.35C per 100 years. After homogenisation there is a warming trend of 1.73C per 100 years. [T]his warming trend essentially was achieved by progressively dropping down the temperatures from 1973 back through to 1913.”
Greenpeace cofounder Patrick Moore blasted the process as “institutional lying.” “Firstly, ‘homogenization’ of temperature readings is a new and contrived concept. It is a pure rationalization to fake the actual record. Secondly, the motivation for this institutional lying is the continued flow of taxpayer money to support the fiction that we are responsible for the natural change in climate that has been going on since life began,” Moore said.
‘Reason for National Shame’
A 2011 independent review panel told BOM “to be more transparent and make public all details of the computer models used to adjust historic temperature… [and] to clearly explain any changes that were made between raw and homogenised data.”
Lloyd said, “Transparency is always important. This was clearly recognized by the bureau’s own independent peer review panel, which called for greater openness. Publication of all adjustments made and the decision making process is good practice.”
Marohasy has covered this story extensively on her blog. At the outset of the controversy, Marohasy wrote, “the adjusted records resemble propaganda rather than science.” More recently she wrote, “That the Minister has not yet intervened, and that many within the Australian scientific community attempt to justify the practice of homogenisation that creates these adjustments that changes cooling trends to warming trends at a whim, is reason for national shame.”
D. Brady Nelson is a Washington DC-based neo-Austrian economist, writer, and speaker from Brisbane, Australia and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and is a regulation expert with The Heartland Institute.
Graham Lloyd, The Australian, August 23, 2014.
Guest lecturer met with disagreement
Guest speakers are a common occurance at Towson University and, for the most part, they attend without stirring up controversy. Things changed, however, when David Legates, a professor of geography from the University of Delaware and a skeptic of human-caused, or anthropogenic, climate change, was invited to speak on campus Thursday.
“I think it was unfortunate to bring in only one speaker and have it be such a minority view,” said Brian Fath, a professor in the department of biological sciences.
Fath was at the lecture Thursday night and was one of a handful of TU faculty who challenged what Legates was saying at the end of his talk.
Legates shared data and other evidence that, according to him, show that the scientific community is wrong and misguided about anthropogenic climate change.
“My concern is that carbon dioxide is not the main player in climate change,” Legates said. “It’s probably only a bit [of a] player.” During his talk, he went through examples that he said did not see a strong relationship between human activity and a changing climate.
However, as was pointed out by members of the audience after Legates’ lecture, he mostly stands alone in his view.
“Doctor Legates does not represent what the majority of the scientific community who study climate change thinks,” Joel Moore, an assistant professor in the department of geosciences, said.
Legates came to campus as a part of the What Matters Speaker Series, which has been put on by the Department of Geography and Environmental Planning. He came because of a grant from William Murray, a member of the board of directors of the TU Foundation.
Yet, according to Virginia Thompson, chair of the department, Legates would not take any compensation for lecturing at the University.
“Although Doctor Legates’ views do not reflect my own, I wanted to give him a venue to express his opinions so that we could have a conversation about it,” Thompson said.
Thompson said that she was met with pushback from Towson faculty when she announced that Legates would be coming to campus. Some of the immediate reaction she received was concern that there would be no rebuttal to what Legates was saying.
Both Fath and Moore said in interviews that they would have liked to see some sort of panel or rebuttal during the event. Moore suggested a panel that accurately represented the scientific community.
“So maybe four or five people who study different aspects of climate change, and then Legates,” Moore said.
Legates said that he had no problem with investing in clean technology and embracing conservation methods. His qualm, however, is how climate change is presented to the public. He does not believe that the issue is presented honestly or without bias. He said that he thinks scientists “overstating” the dangers of climate change is “disingenuous.”
Legates also said that he thought that the focus should be more on how to reduce human vulnerability to a changing climate, rather than trying to keep the climate from changing.
“The point is that climate is going to change. Climate is always variable,” Legates said. “So as a result, we need to figure out how we live with these things.”
Some Towson faculty thought his message was potentially harmful because of the viewpoint it presented.
Fath said he thought that without “perspective and context” Legates’ message could potentially misinform students.
Fath was not alone in his concern.
Moore said that Legates’ message could be a “disservice” to students and members of the community who don’t have a strong background in and an understanding of Earth’s climate.
Despite the controversy, Legates was not met entirely with disagreement.
Moore, for example, said that what Legates said about human activity increasing floods by creating non-permeable surfaces was “absolutely true.”
“That in of itself was fine, I agree with him on that,” Moore said. “But I don’t agree with how it connects to the bigger picture.”
Thompson said that she agreed with Legates in his view that humans are putting themselves in a dangerous position.
“Almost every climate scientist can agree that human behavior is increasing human vulnerability to climate,” she said. “Some will also include greenhouse gasses, [Legates] won’t.”