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Climate Change News and Article Collection
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Global Warming:
A Chilling Perspective


[Image: bullet_black.gif]A Brief History of Ice Ages and Warming
[Image: bullet_black.gif]Causes of Global Climate Change
[Image: bullet_black.gif]Playing with Numbers
[Image: bullet_black.gif]A Matter of Opinion
[Image: bullet_black.gif]Unraveling the Earth's Temperature Record
[Image: bullet_black.gif]Stopping Climate Change

A Brief History of Ice Ages and Warming

Global warming started long before the "Industrial Revolution" and the invention of the internal combustion engine. Global warming began 18,000 years ago as the earth started warming its way out of the Pleistocene Ice Age-- a time when much of North America, Europe, and Asia lay buried beneath great sheets of glacial ice.
Earth's climate and the biosphere have been in constant flux, dominated by ice ages and glaciers for the past several million years. We are currently enjoying a temporary reprieve from the deep freeze.
Approximately every 100,000 years Earth's climate warms up temporarily. These warm periods, called interglacial periods, appear to last approximately 15,000 to 20,000 years before regressing back to a cold ice age climate. At year 18,000 and counting our current interglacial vacation from the Ice Age is much nearer its end than its beginning.
Global warming during Earth's current interglacial warm period has greatly altered our environment and the distribution and diversity of all life. For example:
[Image: bullet_red.gif] Approximately 15,000 years ago the earth had warmed sufficiently to halt the advance of glaciers, and sea levels worldwide began to rise.
[Image: bullet_red.gif] By 8,000 years ago the land bridge across the Bering Strait was drowned, cutting off the migration of men and animals to North America from Asia.
[Image: bullet_red.gif] Since the end of the Ice Age, Earth's temperature has risen approximately 16 degrees F and sea levels have risen a total of 300 feet! Forests have returned where once there was only ice.

[Image: image157.gif]Over the past 750,000 years of Earth's history, Ice Ages have occurred at regular intervals, of approximately 100,000 years each.
Courtesy of Illinois State Museum
During ice ages our planet is cold, dry, and inhospitable-- supporting few forests but plenty of glaciers and deserts. Like a spread of collosal bulldozers, glaciers have scraped and pulverized vast stretches of Earth's surface and completely destroyed entire regional ecosystems not once, but several times. During Ice Ages winters were longer and more severe and ice sheets grew to tremendous size, accumulating to thicknesses of up to 8,000 feet!. They moved slowly from higher elevations to lower-- driven by gravity and their tremendous weight. They left in their wake altered river courses, flattened landscapes, and along the margins of their farthest advance, great piles of glacial debris.
During the last 3 million years glaciers have at one time or another covered about 29% of Earth's land surface or about 17.14 million square miles (44.38 million sq. km.) . What did not lay beneath ice was a largely cold and desolate desert landscape, due in large part to the colder, less-humid atmospheric conditions that prevailed.
During the Ice Age summers were short and winters were brutal. Animal life and especially plant life had a very tough time of it. Thanks to global warming, that has all now changed, at least temporarily.

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[TD="width: 72%"]The World 18,000 Years AgoBefore "global warming" started 18,000 years ago most of the earth was a frozen and arid wasteland. Over half of earth 's surface was covered by glaciers or extreme desert. Forestswere rare.
Not a very fun place to live.
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[TD="width: 72%"]Our Present World"Global warming" over the last 15,000 years has changed our world from an ice box to agarden. Today extreme deserts and glaciershave largely given way to grasslands, woodlands, and forests.
Wish it could last forever, but . . . .
In the 1970s concerned environmentalists like Stephen Schneider of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado feared a return to another ice age due to manmade atmospheric pollution blocking out the sun.
Since about 1940 the global climate did in fact appear to be cooling. Then a funny thing happened-- sometime in the late 1970s temperature declines slowed to a halt and ground-based recording stations during the 1980s and 1990s began reading small but steady increases in near-surface temperatures. Fears of "global cooling" then changed suddenly to "global warming,"-- the cited cause:
manmade atmospheric pollution causing a runaway greenhouse effect. What does geologic history have to offer in sorting through the confusion?Quite a bit, actually.

[Image: bullet_pin1.gif]"If 'ice age' is used to refer to long, generally cool, intervals during which glaciers advance and retreat, we are still in one today. Our modern climate represents a very short, warm period between glacial advances." Illinois State Museum

Periods of Earth warming and cooling occur in cycles. This is well understood, as is the fact that small-scale cycles of about 40 years exist within larger-scale cycles of 400 years, which in turn exist inside still larger scale cycles of 20,000 years, and so on.
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Example of regional variations in surface air temperature for the last 1000 years, estimated from a variety of sources, including temperature-sensitive tree growth indices and written records of various kinds, largely from western Europe and eastern North America. Shown are changes in regional temperature in ° C, from the baseline value for 1900. Compiled by R. S. Bradley and J. A. Eddy based on J. T. Houghton et al., Climate Change: The IPCC Assessment, Cambridge UniversityPress, Cambridge, 1990 and published in EarthQuest, vol 5, no 1, 1991. Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record
Earth's climate was in a cool period from A.D. 1400 to about A.D. 1860, dubbed the "Little Ice Age." This period was characterized by harsh winters, shorter growing seasons, and a drier climate. The decline in global temperatures was a modest 1/2° C, but the effects of this global cooling cycle were more pronounced in the higher latitudes. The Little Ice Age has been blamed for a host of human suffering including crop failures like the "Irish Potato Famine" and the demise of the medieval Viking colonies in Greenland.
Today we enjoy global temperatures which have warmed back to levels of the so called "Medieval Warm Period," which existed from approximately A.D. 1000 to A.D. 1350.

[Image: bullet_pin1.gif]"...the Earth was evidently coming out of a relatively cold period in the 1800s so that warming in the past century may be part of this natural recovery."
Dr. John R. Christy
(leading climate and atmospheric science expert- U. of Alabama in Huntsville) (5)

[Image: smokestacks.gif]Global warming alarmists maintain that global temperatures have increased since about A.D. 1860 to the present as the result of the so-called "Industrial Revolution,"-- caused by releases of large amounts of greenhouse gases (principally carbon dioxide) from manmade sources into the atmosphere causing a runaway "Greenhouse Effect."
Was man really responsible for pulling the Earth out of the Little Ice Age with his industrial pollution? If so, this may be one of the greatest unheralded achievements of the Industrial Age!
Unfortunately, we tend to overestimate our actual impact on the planet. In this case the magnitude of the gas emissions involved, even by the most aggressive estimates of atmospheric warming by greenhouse gases, is inadequate to account for the magnitude of temperature increases. So what causes the up and down cycles of global climate change?

Causes of Global Climate Change

Climate change is controlled primarily by cyclical eccentricities in Earth's rotation and orbit, as well as variations in the sun's energy output.
"Greenhouse gases" in Earth's atmosphere also influence Earth's temperature, but in a much smaller way. Human additions to total greenhouse gases play a still smaller role, contributing about 0.2% - 0.3% to Earth's greenhouse effect.

Major Causes of Global Temperature Shifts
(1) Astronomical Causes
  • 11 year and 206 [Image: pdf_logo.gif]year cycles: Cycles of solar variability ( sunspot activity [Image: pdf_logo.gif])
  • 21,000 year cycle: Earth's combined tilt and elliptical orbit around the Sun ( precession of the equinoxes )
  • 41,000 year cycle: Cycle of the +/- 1.5° wobble in Earth's orbit ( tilt )
  • 100,000 year cycle: Variations in the shape of Earth's elliptical orbit ( cycle of eccentricity [Image: pdf_logo.gif])

(2) Atmospheric Causes
  • Heat retention: Due to atmospheric gases, mostly gaseous water vapor (not droplets), also carbon dioxide, methane, and a few other miscellaneous gases-- the "greenhouse effect"
  • Solar reflectivity: Due to white clouds, volcanic dust, polar ice caps

(3) Tectonic Causes
  • Landmass distribution: Shifting continents (continental drift) causing changes in circulatory patterns of ocean currents. It seems that whenever there is a large land mass at one of the Earth's poles, either the north pole or south pole, there are ice ages.
  • Undersea ridge activity: "Sea floor spreading" (associated with continental drift) causing variations in ocean displacement.

Playing with Numbers

Global climate and temperature cycles are the result of a complex interplay between a variety of causes. Because these cycles and events overlap, sometimes compounding one another, sometimes canceling one another out, it is inaccurate to imply a statistically significant trend in climate or temperature patterns from just a few years or a few decades of data.
Unfortunately, a lot of disinformation about where Earth's climate is heading is being propagated by "scientists" who use improper statistical methods, short-term temperature trends, or faulty computer models to make analytical and anecdotal projections about the significance of man-made influences to Earth's climate.
During the last 100 years there have been two general cycles of warming and cooling recorded in the U.S. We are currently in the second warming cycle. Overall, U.S. temperaturesshow no significant warming trend over the last 100 years (1). This has been well - established but not well - publicized.
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Each year Government press releases declare the previous year to be the "hottest year on record." The UN's executive summary on climate change, issued in January 2001, insists that the 20th century was the warmest in the last millennium. The news media distribute these stories and people generally believed them to be true. However, as most climatologists know, these reports generally are founded on ground-based temperature readings, which are misleading. The more meaningful and precise orbiting satellite data for the same period (which are generally not cited by the press) have year after year showed little or no warming.
Dr. Patrick Michaels has demonstrated this effect is a common problem with ground- based recording stations, many of which originally were located in predominantly rural areas, but over time have suffered background bias due to urban sprawl and the encroachment of concrete and asphalt ( the"urban heat island effect"). The result has been an upward distortion of increases in ground temperature over time(2). Satellite measurements are not limited in this way, and are accurate to within 0.1° C. They are widely recognized by scientists as the most accurate data available. Significantly, global temperature readings from orbiting satellites show no significant warming in the 18 years they have been continuously recording and returning data (1).

A Matter of Opinion

Has manmade pollution in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other gases caused a runaway Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming?
Before joining the mantra, consider the following:
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Compiled by R.S. Bradley and J.A. Eddy based on J.T. Houghton et al., Climate Change: The IPCC Assessment, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1990 and published in EarthQuest, vo. 1, 1991. Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record[/TD]
[TD="width: 43%"]1. The idea that man-made pollution is responsible for global warming is not supported by historical fact. The period known as the Holocene Maximum is a good example-- so-named because it was the hottest period in human history. The interesting thing is this period occurred approximately 7500 to 4000 years B.P. (before present)-- long before humans invented industrial pollution.[/TD]

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[TD="width: 78%"]2. CO2 in our atmosphere has been increasing steadily for the last 18,000 years-- long before humans invented smokestacks ( Figure 1). Unless you count campfires and intestinal gas, man played no role in the pre-industrial increases.
As illustrated in this chart of Ice Core data from the Soviet Station Vostok in Antarctica, CO2 concentrations in earth's atmosphere move with temperature. Both temperatures and CO2 have been on the increase for 18,000 years. Interestingly, CO2 lags an average of about 800 years behind the temperature changes-- confirming that CO2 is not a primary driver of the temperature changes (9).
Incidentally, earth's temperature and CO2 levels today have reached levels similar to a previous interglacial cycle of 120,000 - 140,000 years ago. From beginning to end this cycle lasted about 20,000 years. This is known as the Eemian Interglacial Period and the earth returned to a full-fledged ice age immediately afterward.

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Figure 2
[TD="width: 80%"]3. Total human contributions to greenhouse gases account for only about 0.28% of the "greenhouse effect" (Figure 2). Anthropogenic (man-made) carbon dioxide (CO2) comprises about 0.117% of this total, and man-made sources of other gases ( methane, nitrous oxide (NOX), other misc. gases) contributes another 0.163% .
Approximately 99.72% of the "greenhouse effect" is due to natural causes -- mostly water vapor and traces of other gases, which we can do nothing at all about. Eliminating human activity altogether would have little impact on climate change.

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[TD="width: 80%"]4. If global warming is caused by CO2 in the atmosphere then does CO2 also cause increased sun activity too?
This chart adapted after Nigel Calder (6) illustrates that variations in sun activity are generally proportional to both variations in atmospheric CO2 and atmospheric temperature (Figure 3).
Put another way, rising Earth temperatures and increasing CO2 may be "effects" and our own sun the "cause".

[Image: bullet_red.gif] Of the 186 billion tons of carbon from CO2 that enter earth's atmosphere each year from all sources, only 6 billion tons are from human activity. Approximately 90 billion tons come from biologic activity in earth's oceans and another 90 billion tons from such sources as volcanoes and decaying land plants.
[Image: bullet_red.gif] At 380 parts per million CO2 is a minor constituent of earth's atmosphere-- less than 4/100ths of 1% of all gases present. Compared to former geologic times, earth's current atmosphere is CO2- impoverished.
[Image: bullet_red.gif] CO2 is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Plants absorb CO2 and emit oxygen as a waste product. Humans and animals breathe oxygen and emit CO2 as a waste product. Carbon dioxide is a nutrient, not a pollutant, and all life-- plants and animals alike-- benefit from more of it. All life on earth is carbon-based and CO2 is an essential ingredient. When plant-growers want to stimulate plant growth, they introduce more carbon dioxide.
[Image: bullet_red.gif] CO2 that goes into the atmosphere does not stay there but is continually recycled by terrestrial plant life and earth's oceans-- the great retirement home for most terrestrial carbon dioxide.

[Image: bullet_red.gif] If we are in a global warming crisis today, even the most aggressive and costly proposals for limiting industrial carbon dioxide emissions would have a negligible effect on global climate!

The case for a "greenhouse problem" is made by environmentalists, news anchormen , and special interests who make inaccurate and misleading statements about global warming and climate change. Even though people may be skeptical of such rhetoric initially, after awhile people start believing it must be true because we hear it so often.

[Image: bullet_pin1.gif]"We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we may have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest."
Stephen Schneider (leading advocate of the global warming theory)
(in interview for Discover magazine, Oct 1989)
[Image: bullet_pin1.gif]"In the United States...we have to first convince the American People and the Congress that the climate problem is real."
former President Bill Clinton in a 1997 address to the United Nations [Image: bullet_pin1.gif]Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous (global warming) is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are...
former Vice President Al Gore
(now, chairman and co-founder of Generation Investment Management--
a London-based business that sells carbon credits)
(in interview with Grist Magazine [Image: pdf_logo.gif]May 9, 2006, concerning his book, An Inconvenient Truth) [Image: bullet_pin1.gif]"In the long run, the replacement of the precise and disciplined language of science by the misleading language of litigation and advocacy may be one of the more important sources of damage to society incurred in the current debate over global warming."
Dr. Richard S. Lindzen
(leading climate and atmospheric science expert- MIT) (3)
[Image: bullet_pin1.gif]"Researchers pound the global-warming drum because they know there is politics and, therefore, money behind it. . . I've been critical of global warming and am persona non grata."
Dr. William Gray
(Professor of Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado and leading expert of hurricane prediction )
(in an interview for the Denver Rocky Mountain News, November 28, 1999) [Image: bullet_pin1.gif]"Scientists who want to attract attention to themselves, who want to attract great funding to themselves, have to (find a) way to scare the public . . . and this you can achieve only by making things bigger and more dangerous than they really are."
Petr Chylek
(Professor of Physics and Atmospheric Science, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia)
Commenting on reports by other researchers that Greenland's glaciers are melting.
(Halifax Chronicle-Herald, August 22, 2001) (8) [Image: bullet_pin1.gif]"Even if the theory of global warming is wrong, we will be doing the right thing -- in terms of economic policy and environmental policy."
Tim Wirth , while U.S. Senator, Colorado.
After a short stint as United Nations Under-Secretary for Global Affairs (4)
he now serves as President, U.N. Foundation, created by Ted Turner and his $1 billion "gift" [Image: bullet_pin1.gif]"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, former Minister of the Environment of Canada
quote from the Calgary Herald, 1999

Unraveling the Earth's Temperature Record

[Image: image194a.gif]Because accumulating layers of glacial ice display annual bands which can be dated, similar to annual rings of a tree, the age of ice core samples can be determined. Continuous ice cores from borings as much as two miles long have been extracted from permanent glaciers in Greenland, Antarctica, and Siberia. Bubbles of entrapped air in the ice cores can be analyzed to determine not only carbon dioxide and methane concentrations, but also atmospheric temperatures can be determined from analysis of entrapped hydrogen and oxygen.
ice core photo by: Vin Morgan[Image: pdf_logo.gif]
Palaeo Environment (Ice Cores) Field Work
Based on historical air temperatures inferred from ice core analyses from the Antarctic Vostok station in 1987, relative to the average global temperature in 1900 it has been determined that from 160,000 years ago until about 18,000 years ago Earth temperatures were on average about 3° C cooler than today.
Except for two relatively brief interglacial episodes, one peaking about 125,000 years ago (Eemian Interglacial), and the other beginning about 18,000 years ago (Present Interglacial), the Earth has been under siege of ice for the last 160,000 years.

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Compiled by R.S. Bradley and J.A. Eddy based on J. Jouzel et al., Nature vol. 329. pp. 403-408, 1987 and published in EarthQuest, vol. 5, no. 1, 1991. Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record
As illustrated in this final graph, over the past 800,000 years the Earth has undergone major swings in warming and cooling at approximately 100,000 year intervals, interrupted by minor warming cycles at shorter intervals. This represents periods of glacial expansion, separated by distinct but relatively short-lived periods of glacial retreat.

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Temperature data inferred from measurements of the ratio of oxygen isotope ratios in fossil plankton that settled to the sea floor, and assumes that changes in global temperature approximately tracks changes in the global ice volume. Based on data from J. Imbrie, J.D. Hays, D.G. Martinson, A. McIntyre, A.C. Mix, J.J. Morley, N.G. Pisias, W.L. Prell, and N.J. Shackleton, in A. Berger, J. Imbrie, J. Hats, G. Kukla, and B. Saltzman, eds., Milankovitch and Climate, Dordrecht, Reidel, pp. 269-305, 1984.Courtesy of Thomas Crowley, Remembrance of Things Past: Greenhouse Lessons from the Geologic Record

The Polar Ice Cap Effect

[Image: image195.gif]As long as the continent of Antarctica exists at the southern pole of our planet we probably will be repeatedly pulled back into glacial ice ages. This occurs because ice caps, which cannot attain great thickness over open ocean, can and do achieve great thickness over a polar continent-- like Antarctica. Antarctica used to be located near the equator, but over geologic time has moved by continental drift to its present location at the south pole. Once established, continental polar ice caps act like huge cold sinks, taking over the climate and growing bigger during periods of reduced solar output. Part of the problem with shaking off the effects of an ice age is once ice caps are established, they cause solar radiation to be reflected back into space, which acts to perpetuate global cooling. This increases the size of ice caps which results in reflection of even more radiation, resulting in more cooling, and so on.
Continental polar ice caps seem to play a particularly important role in ice ages when the arrangement of continental land masses restrict the free global circulation of equatorial ocean currents. This is the case with the continents today, as it was during the Carboniferous Ice Age when the supercontinent Pangea stretched from pole to pole 300 million years ago.

Stopping Climate Change

Putting things in perspective, geologists tell us our present warm climate is a mere blip in the history of an otherwise cold Earth. Frigid Ice Age temperatures have been the rule, not the exception, for the last couple of million years. This kind of world is not totally inhospitable, but not a very fun place to live, unless you are a polar bear.
Some say we are "nearing the end of our minor interglacial period" , and may in fact be on the brink of another Ice Age. If this is true, the last thing we should be doing is limiting carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere, just in case they may have a positive effect in sustaining present temperatures. The smart money, however, is betting that there is some momentum left in our present warming cycle. Environmental advocates agree: resulting in a shift of tactics from the "global cooling" scare of the 1970s to the "global warming" threat of the 1980s and 1990s.
Now, as we begin the 21st century the terminology is morphing toward"climate change," whereby no matter the direction of temperature trends-- up or down-- the headlines can universally blame humans while avoiding the necessity of switching buzz-words with the periodicity of solar cycles. Such tactics may, however, backfire as peoples' common sensibilities are at last pushed over the brink.
Global climate cycles of warming and cooling have been a natural phenomena for hundreds of thousands of years, and it is unlikely that these cycles of dramatic climate change will stop anytime soon. We currently enjoy a warm Earth. Can we count on a warm Earth forever? The answer is most likely... no.
Since the climate has always been changing and will likely continue of its own accord to change in the future, instead of crippling the U.S. economy in order to achieve small reductions in global warming effects due to manmade additions to atmospheric carbon dioxide, our resources may be better spent making preparations to adapt to global cooling and global warming, and the inevitable consequences of fluctuating ocean levels, temperatures, and precipitation that accompany climatic change.
Supporting this view is British scientist Jane Francis, who maintains:
" What we are seeing really is just another interglacial phase within our big icehouse climate." Dismissing political calls for a global effort to reverse climate change, she said, " It's really farcical because the climate has been changing constantly... What we should do is be more aware of the fact that it is changing and that we should be ready to adapt to the change."

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Monte Hieb
This site last updated October 5, 2007[/TD]
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[Image: image38.gif]...EMAIL COMMENTS TO:

(1) A scientific Discussion of Climate Change, Sallie Baliunas, Ph.D., Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and Willie Soon, Ph.D., Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
(2) The Effects of Proposals for Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction; Testimony of Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of Virginia, before the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the Committee on Science, United States House of Representatives
(3) Statement Concerning Global Warming-- Presented to the Senate Committee on Environmental and Public Works, June 10, 1997, by Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
(4) Excerpts from,"Our Global Future: Climate Change", Remarks by Under Secretary for Global affairs, T. Wirth, 15 September 1997. Site maintained by The Globe - Climate Change Campaign
(5) Testimony of John R. Christy to the Committee on Environmental and Public Works, Department of Atmospheric Science and Earth System Science Laboratory, University of Alabama in Huntsville, July 10, 1997.
(6) The Carbon Dioxide Thermometer and the Cause of Global Warming; Nigel Calder,-- Presented at a seminar SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research), University of Sussex, Brighton, England, October 6, 1998.
(7) Variation in cosmic ray flux and global cloud coverage: a missing link in solar-climate relationships; H. Svensmark and E. Friis-Christiansen, Journal of Atmospheric and Solar- Terrestrial Physics, vol. 59, pp. 1225 - 1232 (1997).
(8) First International Conference on Global Warming and the Next Ice Age; Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, sponsored by the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society and the American Meteorological Society, August 21-24, 2001.
(9) Ice Core Studies Prove CO2 Is Not the Powerful Climate Driver Climate Alarmists Make It Out to Be; CO2 Science;
Volume 6, Number 26: 25 June 2003;[Image: pdf_logo.gif]

Additional Reading
Understanding Common Climate Claims: Dr. Richard S. Lindzen; Draft paper to appear in the Proceedings of the 2005 Erice Meeting of the World Federation of Scientists on Global Emergencies.
Geological Constraints on Global Climate Variability: Dr. Lee C. Gerhard-- A variety of natural climate drivers constantly change our climate. A slide format presentation. 8.5 MB.
Thoughts of Global Warming: "The bottom line is that climatic change is a given. It is inescapable, it happens. There is no reason to be very concerned about it or spend bazillions of dollars to try and even things out.
NOAA Paleoclimatology: An educational trip through earths distant and recent past. Also contains useful information and illustrations relating to the causes of climate change.
Cracking the Ice Age: From the PBS website-- NOVA online presents a brief tour of the causes of global warming.
Little Ice Age (Solar Influence - Temperature): From the online magazine, "CO2 Science."
Solar Variability and Climate Change: by Willie Soon, January 10, 2000
Earth's Fidgeting Climate: NASA Science News "It may surprise many people that science cannot deliver an unqualified, unanimous answer about something as important as climate change"



"It is difficult to abolish prejudice in those bereft of ideas. The more hatred is superficial, the more it runs deep."

James Hepburn -- Farewell America (1968)
Disinformation about Global Warming


David Morrison

Volume 34.2, March / April 2010

For the past decade I have followed the growing evidence for climate change and global warming, talking to colleagues who are atmospheric scientists and at*tend*ing presentations by leading scientists at professional meetings such as the American Association for the Advance*ment of Science (AAAS) and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Rarely in that time did I meet anyone who seriously disagreed with the growing consensus about global warming and the threats it imposes. This past October, however, I found these ideas disputed by both fellow skeptics and some in the audience we were speaking to. This was a shock, and it made me look again at the claims of the warming dissenters. I would like to share some of what I learned.

There is a lot of misinformation and disinformation about global warming on the Internet, driven in part by political and economic issues. These political and economic aspects are complex, and relatively few scientists understand them in detail. It is important to remember that climate is long term by definition; trends in climate require at least a decade to reveal themselves. Thus we can understand the climate trends in the 1990s pretty well but not yet in the 2000s.

One of the goals of the deniers seems to be to sow confusion and give the impression that the science behind global warming is weak. This disinformation campaign is at least partly successful; polls (for example, the 2009 Pew/AAAS poll, SI, November/December 2009) show that about half the people in the United States think there is substantial disagreement among scientists, when actually there has been a consensus on this topic for about a decade. The scientific case becomes stronger all the time, but public acceptance is lagging. Most of the counterarguments don't make scientific sense, or else they are based on information that is obsolete. It is fine to be skeptical, but we need to be concerned when skepticism drifts into denial.

This is not the place to make the case for global warming; that is done very well in the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. See especially the IPCC Summary for Policymakers and Frequently Asked Questions posted at Instead, I list below (in bold) some "red-flag" arguments from global warming deniers that can help you spot disinformation.

  1. We should not worry about carbon dioxide since the main greenhouse gas is water vapor. This statement misrepresents the heating process. It is the carbon dioxide (and methane) that controls the thermal structure of the atmosphere. Water vapor content is highly variable and essentially follows the carbon dioxide, providing a positive feedback that amplifies the effects of carbon dioxide.
  2. What we are seeing are "natural variations" caused primarily by variations in solar output. This is false; we have been monitoring solar energy for a quarter century, and the variations are taken into account in all the climate models. Most of the temperature variations up to the beginning of the twentieth century can be traced to small changes in solar output, plus long-term cyclical changes in Earth's orbit and short-term cooling associated with large volcanic eruptions. There are also heating and cooling events associated with El Nino and other shifts in the circulation of the ocean and atmosphere. Since mid-century, however, the rapid heating from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is overwhelming these "natural" cycles.
  3. The apparent increase in temperature is an artifact caused by the fact that much of the data are from cities, which are warmer than their surroundings. This is also wrong; the "heat island" effect has been corrected in plots of global temperatures. A great deal of scientific effort is going into understanding and combining the various measurements of temperature to produce a consistent data set, combining direct measurements on the ground and from space with indirect "proxy" information, for example from isotopic measurements that track temperature very closely. Also, of course, there are large-scale effects of rising temperature that are easily seen, such as retreat of glaciers, melting on the Greenland and Antarctic icecaps, and loss of sea ice in the Arctic.
  4. While temperatures seem to have been rising in the lower atmosphere (the troposphere), they are dropping in the stratosphere. People who say this don't realize that this is the expected signature of greenhouse warming (because greenhouse gases in the troposphere impede the flow of radiant heat from Earth's surface to the stratosphere). If there were an external cause, such as increased energy from the Sun, both troposphere and stratosphere would be heating. Today's computational models allow greenhouse warming to be distinguished from other causes and reveal the primacy of greenhouse warming over the past several decades.
  5. Human activity and volcanic eruptions both add to the cloud cover and cause more sunlight to be reflected from the atmosphere. This largely counteracts any heating from the greenhouse effect. Atmospheric pollution, both natural (from volcanoes) and human-caused (from smoke and other aerosols), does influence temperature, reflecting sunlight and reducing the warming we would have from increased greenhouse effect alone. Without these contributions to cooling, the added greenhouse heating would be significantly greater than what we measure. There are also temperature increases caused by darkening of the surface, because more sunlight is absorbed. As the ice melts in the Arctic Ocean, the dark water absorbs a great deal more sunlight, an effect that will accelerate future global warming. [Image: Morrison-fig-1.jpg]
  6. The warming trend during the 1990s is no big deal; temperatures are actually lower than they were in the medieval warm period. This is wrong; over at least the past few thousand years, temperatures have never been as high as they are today. By the middle of the twentieth century the temperature passed the record highs from about a thousand years ago, and they have been rising ever since, taking us into unknown climate territory. [Image: Morrison-fig-2.jpg]
  7. While there was warming in the 1990s, this has stopped and the world is now beginning what may be a long-term cooling cycle. This is a misinterpretation of the temperature measurements. There are always short-term fluctuations in global temperature superimposed on the the overall warming trend. Those who say the temperature has plateaued or is cooling over the past decade start with the anomalously high temperature in 1998, reflecting a major El Nino event that year. If you adopt such a high temperature excursion as your baseline, of course the values tend to be lower for the next several years (called the regression to the mean). But putting aside the temperature spike in 1998, temperatures during the past decade have continued the warming trend of the 1990s.
  8. More carbon dioxide is good, since it makes plants grow better. This might be true if we could increase carbon dioxide without greenhouse heating, but high temperatures are not good for most plants. In addition, the increase in carbon dioxide acidifies the oceans, which can destroy coral reefs or have deleterious effects on zooplankton, on which much ocean life depends. Over much of the Earth, localized long-term droughts caused by global warming will have a major negative effect on plants.
  9. There is no consensus; many scientists disagree about global warming. This is not true at all. Dissenters have published hardly any peer-reviewed scientific papers in the past decade. The dissenters are mostly not climate scientists, and they have offered no alternative models to explain the data. The national academies of science in all of the industrialized countries have endorsed the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which represents a strong scientific agreement on both the reality of global warming and the challenges it implies.
  10. How can we trust climate scientists when numerous e-mails from the U.K. climate scientists show that they have distorted their data and actively suppressed dissenting opinions? These stolen e-mails from a British climate center reveal how real scientists work, warts and all. People write things in personal e-mails that they would never want published. There is no evidence, however, of fudging or suppressing the climate data. There appear to have been efforts to influence editors of scientific journals not to publish papers by global-warming deniers. At one level this is exactly what scientists normally do: vet papers through the peer-review process to weed out poor science. If the actions go further and represent impropriety, that will be revealed by the current investigation. But there is nothing in this controversy that undercuts the overwhelming scientific consensus about human-caused global warming.
Finally, let me comment on the role of the skeptic. (See also Stuart Jordan, "The Global Warming Debate: Science and Scientists in a Democracy," SI, November/December 2007, and Jordan's response to several global warming disputers in "Response to Assessing the Credibility of CFI's Credibility Project,'" SI, January/February 2010.) Note that I have said nothing about future warming trends, rises in sea level, or warming-induced increases in the severity of storms. As the saying goes, it is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future. It is certain that warming will continue since temperatures are dominated by the increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. In spite of promises, there has been no reduction in the rate of CO[SUB]2[/SUB] production, and even if governments take drastic action we will continue to pump out lots of greenhouse gases at least through the middle of this century. In addition, the climate system itself has inertia, and the warming lags the CO[SUB]2[/SUB] concentration by ten to fifteen years. There are also major uncertainties about feedback effects, especially from warming in the polar regions, which might accelerate melting ice and contribute to release of CO[SUB]2[/SUB] and methane from the tundra. Scientists have tried to model these processes, and their simulations agree for the next ten to twenty years. Beyond that, the models diverge, however, due both to uncertainties in the computations and to differences in the assumptions made. It is reasonable to be skeptical about specific predictions, especially after 2030, but that should not blind us to what is happening to our planet now.

The IPCC reports and the peer-reviewed articles they reference are the basic resources for this article. In addition to the IPCC materials, I recommend two reliable Web sites: RealClimateClimate Science from Climate Scientists, available at, and SkepticalScienceExamining the Sci*ence of Global Warm*ing Skepticism, available at

David Morrison is a long-time NASA senior scientist and Committee for Skeptical Inquiry fellow. He now divides his time between the SETI Institute and the NASA Lunar Science Institute. He hosts the "Ask an Astrobiologist" column at NASA's website.
"We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

"We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl
We are on the cusp of a tipping point in the climate. If the global climate warms another few tenths of a degree, a large expanse of the Siberian permafrost will start to melt uncontrollably. The result: a significant amount of extra greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere, and a threat ironically to the infrastructure that carries natural gas from Russia to Europe.

The Arctic is warming faster than the rest of the planet, and climatologists have long warned that this will cause positive feedbacks that will speed up climate change further. The region is home to enormous stores of organic carbon, mostly in the form of permafrost soils and icy clathrates that trap methane a powerful greenhouse gas that could escape into the atmosphere.

The Siberian permafrost is a particular danger. A large region called the Yedoma could undergo runaway decomposition once it starts to melt, because microbes in the soil would eat the carbon and produce heat, melting more soil and releasing ever more greenhouse gases. In short, the melting of Yedoma is a tipping point: once it starts, there may be no stopping it.

For the first time, we have an indication of when this could start happening. Anton Vaks of the University of Oxford in the UK and colleagues have reconstructed the history of the Siberian permafrost going back 500,000 years. We already know how global temperatures have risen and fallen as ice sheets have advanced and retreated, so Vaks's team's record of changing permafrost gives an indication of how sensitive it is to changing temperatures.

Stalagmite record

But there is no direct record of how the permafrost has changed, so Vaks had to find an indirect method. His team visited six caves that run along a south-north line, with the two southernmost ones being under the Gobi desert. Further north, three caves sit beneath a landscape of sporadic patches of permafrost, and the northernmost cave is right at the edge of Siberia's continuous permafrost zone.

The team focused on the 500,000-year history of stalagmites and similar rock formations in the caves. "Stalagmites only grow when water flows into caves," Vaks says. "It cannot happen when the soil is frozen." The team used radiometric dating to determine how old the stalagmites were. By building up a record of when they grew, Vaks could figure out when the ground above the caves was frozen and when it wasn't.

As expected, in most of the caves, stalagmites formed during every warm interglacial period as the patchy permafrost melted overhead.

But it took a particularly warm interglacial, from 424,000 and 374,000 years ago, for the stalagmites in the northernmost cave to grow suggesting the continuous permafrost overhead melted just once in the last 500,000 years.

At the time, global temperatures were 1.5 °C warmer than they have been in the last 10,000 years. In other words, today's permafrost is likely to become vulnerable when we hit 1.5 °C of global warming, says Vaks.

"Up until this point, we didn't have direct evidence of how this happened in past warming periods," says Ted Schuur of the University of Florida in Gainesville.

It will be very hard to stop the permafrost degrading as a warming of 1.5 °C is not far off. Between 1850 and 2005, global temperatures rose 0.8 °C, according to the 2007 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Even if humanity stopped emitting greenhouse gases tomorrow, temperatures would rise another 0.2 °C over the next 20 years. That would leave a window of 0.5 °C but in fact our emissions are increasing. What's more, new fossil fuel power stations commit us to several decades of emissions.

Soggy permafrost

What are the consequences? The greatest concern, says Tim Lenton of the University of Exeter in the UK, is the regional landscape. Buildings and infrastructure are often built on hard permafrost, and will start subsiding. "Ice roads won't exist any more."

The increasingly soggy permafrost will also threaten the pipelines that transport Russian gas to Europe. "The maintenance and upkeep of that infrastructure is going to cost a lot more," says Schuur.

As for the methane that could be released into the atmosphere, Schuur estimates that emissions will be equivalent to between 160 and 290 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide.

That sounds like a lot, but is little compared to the vast amount humans are likely to emit, says Lenton. "The signal's going to be swamped by fossil fuel [emissions]."

He says the dangers of the permafrost greenhouse gases have been overhyped, particularly as much of the methane will be converted to carbon dioxide by microbes in the soil, leading to a slower warming effect.

Schuur agrees with Lenton that the methane emissions are "not a runaway effect but an additional source that is not accounted in current climate models".

Journal reference: Science, DOI: 10.1126/science.1228729
"We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

"We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl
By James Stafford, editor of OilPrice. Cross posted from [URL=""]OilPrice

At a time when extreme weather incidents are causing billions in damages, businesses, governments and the public need the right information to make the right decisions. The bad news is that nature of superstorms like Hurricane Sandy has a human fingerprint. The good news is that if man is harming the climate, man can also do something about it.

Dr. John Abraham is a thermal sciences researcher and professor at the University of St. Thomas, in Minnesota who has straddled many worlds in his quest for answers to climate change, from working with the US defense industry to pro-bono work creating low-cost energy solutions to Africa's remote areas.

Dr. Abrahams discusses:
What climate change REALLY means
How the Earth's warming bears a human fingerprint
How we can do something now about climate change, with today's technology
How and why the public remains ill-informed on the issue
How Hurricane Sandy can be viewed from the climate change spectrum
How the Earth's warming has a human fingerprint
Where the silver lining in all of this is
Why Keystone XL will probably (but shouldn't) be green-lighted
How micro-wind' may be a hot seller in our renewable future
How the future could see a merger of interests in the fossil fuel and alternative energy sectors

James Stafford: It is hard to imagine that our industrialization is NOT contributing to climate change in some significant way; still, this message meets with myriad roadblocks when attempting to portray it to a non-scientific public. And politics has hijacked the debate to an extent that has polarized the public. What should the message be, and how should it be delivered? Is the polarization irreversible?

John Abraham: First, the main message is:
1. Humans are causing climate change, we've know that for well over 100 years
2. We can do something about it now, with today's technology
3. If we make smart decisions, not only will we help the climate, we will create jobs, improve national security, and diversify our energy supply
4. Doing nothing about the problem is a choice, with tremendous costs

Now, you are right, what should be a scientific issue has become a political issue. There are a number of reasons for that. It is clear that a lot of money is spent by organizations that want to ensure we do not invest in clean renewable energy or conservation. But that isn't the entire story.

A major indicator of how people feel about climate science is how they view collective action. Persons who think working together on a shared problem (like energy and climate) can lead to exciting and profitable solutions are much more likely to accept the science. People who reject collective action or government intervention are much less likely to accept the science. The real tragedy is that many people in this latter category could develop the technologies to lead us into the energy future; instead they have held our country back. We are now at a technological disadvantage and every year we delay taking action increases the future costs to ourselves and our children.

James Stafford: Earlier this month, we conducted an interview with former TV meteorologist Anthony Watts, whose thoughts on climate change have been very controversial. Watts describes himself as a "pragmatic skeptic" on climate change. In your opinion, why is this "pragmatic skepticism" so controversial and how do you think it contributes to the dynamics of the climate change debate?

John Abraham: The fact is that Mr. Watts is not a pragmatic sceptic. Real scientists are sceptical by nature. We don't believe what our colleagues tell us until we verify it for ourselves. Scientists honestly develop views of how the world works and they test those views by experimentation. As a result of approximately 150 years of climate science, the vast majority of scientists are convinced that humans are a major cause of climate change. Mr. Watts, on the other hand, dismisses evidence that is counter to his viewpoint. That is not scepticismthat is plain denial.

Let me expand on this by going back to his interview. Mr. Watts's claimed that:
"Global warming" suggests a steady linear increase in temperature, but since that isn't happening, proponents have shifted to the more universal term "climate change," which can be liberally applied to just about anything observable in the atmosphere.

First, scientists have never predicted a linear increase in temperaturewe are not that naive. Things are much more complex than that.

Mr. Watts also argues that "proponents" have shifted from using the phrase global warming to "climate change". He didn't bother telling you that this was actually suggested by a conservative consultant, Frank Luntz, as a way to reduce public concern. Ironically, "climate change" is a better description of what is happening, and climate scientists use it to be more accurate. Let me give you some examples….
We are causing the ocean chemistry (pH) to changethat isn't warming or cooling.
We are causing some areas to become wetter and others to become drieragain, not warming.
We are increasing humidity in the atmosphere.
We are cooling the upper part of the atmosphere (the stratosphere).
We are making weather swings more severe.
We are losing polar ice at a rapid rate.
Warmer oceans make hurricanes more severe here and here.
In these areas, and others, the changes are not just "warming" but the far more complex reality: the climate is changing.

Mr. Watts and others who deny that humans are a major cause of climate change have helped to create an environment where scientists are attacked mercilessly for their science. I have been attacked numerous times on Mr. Watts's website, as have my colleagues. How can we encourage young scientists to go into this field when they are promised personal attacks and vilification? Fortunately, young bright scientists go into this field anyway and I am excited about the new crop of young minds that are rising through the ranks.

James Stafford: Watts spends a great deal of time discussing the "heat sink" effect in urban areas. Can you offer us an alternative view on what this means in terms of climate change?

John Abraham: This issue has been the calling card of Mr. Watts. Unfortunately, he did not disclose much in his comments.
He didn't tell you that he actually published a paper on this subject a few years ago where he concluded that temperature sensor siting had no impact on temperature trends.
He didn't tell you that other groups have looked at this issue and made similar conclusions.
He didn't tell you that recently a Koch-funded study looked at this issue and concluded that the real climate scientists were right: locations of temperature sensors didn't matter.
He didn't tell you that he initially supported the Koch-funded study until the results were made known.
He didn't tell you that measurements of the atmosphere made by weather balloons and satellites agree the Earth is warming.
He didn't tell you that measurements of the ocean show a significant and long-term increase in temperature.
He didn't tell you that the vast majority of glaciers are losing ice, as are Greenland and Antarctica.
Finally, he didn't tell you that in the last 30 years, approximately 75% of the Arctic ice which remains at the end of the melting season has disappeared.

It isn't surprising that Mr. Watts disagrees with all of these other researchers. What I was surprised by was the fact he seems to disagree with his own research.

James Stafford: Would you describe your own view as "pragmatic"?

John Abraham: I work mainly in the private sector, and I am strongly motivated by the belief that while we are causing climate change, we can do meaningful things right now to slow it down. I am also truly pragmatic.

One outcome of being pragmatic is that I search for efficient and low-cost solutions to our problems. If someone were to show me that adaptation would be cheaper than mitigation, I would support adaptation. If someone were to show me that the "solutions" to climate change are more expensive than just ignoring it, I would opt for ignoring it.

I have, however, come to a few conclusions on this topic. It is clear that climate change is happening, humans are a main cause, and the consequences will be expensive. It is also clear that the public is not well informed on this topic. When we are not well informed, we are likely to make poor decisions. It is also clear to me that many of the solutions to climate change involve wiser use of our energy supplies and, as a result, we will save money.

Much of my work is pro bono. I have travelled to Africa multiple times, bringing low cost energy to remote locations at my own expense. I do not want to be accused of using energy/environmental issues to my own benefit. A fact that would surprise my detractors is that I have also worked for many years for the defense industry.

James Stafford: Is there any way to remove the "camp" element from the issue of climate change? How far do disastrous weather eventslike Hurricane Sandygo towards reshaping the climate change debate.

John Abraham: It is a piece of irony that a few weeks before superstorm Sandy hit, Mr. Watts wrote to me, forwarding demeaning comments in response to an interview I had given about hurricanes becoming more powerful in a warming world. In his remarks to you he stated…
The idea that Hurricane Sandy, a minor class 1 storm, was somehow connected to CO2-driven climate change' is ludicrous.

Well, scientists studying this disagree with him. As the oceans warm, hurricanes become more severe. They have increased rainfall, more intense winds, and higher storm surges. We can even quantify some of the impacts. With respect to Sandy, the human impact was likely about 8-10 inches of the storm surge, about 15% of the precipitation, and the very warm oceans (partly human caused) off the Eastern Coast made Sandy larger and travel further north than it otherwise would have.

Finally, it is likely that Sandy took an unusual turn westward because of pressure zones caused by the loss of Arctic ice. So, were it not for humans, Sandy may never have hit the US at all! It isn't just me saying this, it is experts in the field. There are many articles that clearly show human emissions are increasing extreme weather events.

In your interview with Mr. Watts, he claimed that the IPCC reports no "trends at all" in severe weather. He must not have read the IPCC reports, which state otherwise. The next IPCC report, called the AR5 report was leaked to the public early, partially with the help of Mr. Watt's own website. Nevertheless, he must not have read the report. But it isn't only the IPCC report that discusses extreme weather, it is other scientific articles like this one, this one, or this one. There are many many other articles that clearly show human emissions are increasing extreme weather events.

I look at the price tag of Sandy, and the price tag of the devastating drought of 2012, and the similar Texas/Oklahoma heat waves of 2011 and I ask two questions: First, are humans partly to blame for these expensive disasters (over $100 billion)? Second, if we are, is there something we should do about it?

My answer to those two questions is yes. I believe we can solve this problem with today's technology. I think we can choose to use energy more wisely and efficiently. I think we can expand clean energy generation and power much of our country from the farm fields of the Midwest, create jobs, improve national security, and diversify our energy portfolio.

James Stafford: How is the issue of global warming, or climate change, being manipulated by the media in both directions?

John Abraham: No one wants to damage the environment and persons in the media don't want to report poorly. But many media people believe that their duty is to "show both sides equally" as if this were some debate about foreign policy or which soda tastes better. Climate science, as all climate scientists know, is complicated. It takes years of study to understand the interconnections within the climate. When faced with this complexity, it is much easier to just find two representatives of each side to tell their story. Unfortunately, this leads to public misunderstanding, and the belief there is more controversy or uncertainty than actually exists.

Perhaps more important though is the ideology problem. Many people, Mr. Watts included, are committed to an ideology that precludes the ability to objectively view the science. As a result, they convey incorrect information to their readers who then are not able to make informed decisions. The business community is left with an information vacuum and there will be financial consequences because of this. The business community deserves better information than they are getting. They deserve to be armed with real facts so that they can make good decisions to protect their investments and their society.

James Stafford: Ultimately, then, do we have the ability to accurately determine how much of global warming is attributed to man-made causes and how much is evolutionary climate change, so to speak?

John Abraham: Well the first science on greenhouse gases was performed in the mid 1800s. This isn't a "new" science. It is well tested. It isn't just that the Earth is warming that convinces scientists. It is warming in the way scientists have anticipated. It has the fingerprints of humans. It doesn't have the fingerprints of natural causes like the sun or changes to the Earth's orbit indeed, scientists have ruled out the possibility that natural causes can explain what we are observing worldwide. These two factors, more than anything else, have convinced scientists that humans are mainly responsible.

While that seems like bad news, there is a silver lining: it means we can take meaningful action to slow climate change. What would be more depressing, knowing that we are changing the climate but that we can do something about it or thinking the changes were natural and mistakenly thinking we were powerless?

James Stafford: Are there any genuine environmental concerns about the Keystone XL pipeline? Are there genuine long-term climate concerns over this pipelines dirty tar sands content?

John Abraham: In order to avoid the most serious and expensive consequences of climate change, we need to reduce carbon emissions. Expansion of Keystone is not consistent with that goal. The total amount of oil in the Alberta Tar sands is equivalent to six Saudi Arabia's. Mr. Watts and others have claimed that the oil will be burned regardless but just because this statement is uttered doesn't make it true. Approval of Keystone will increase production by about 35-40% and it will lock us into a long-term supply of the dirtiest of the dirty fossil fuels. Not only are Alberta tar sands dirtier than conventional oil, but their by-product (petroleum coke) is being used as a dirty replacement of coal.
Rather than approve this pipeline, and further contribute to driving society over the climate cliff, we should invest in long-term clean renewable energy production right here in the United States. If we did this, we would receive the economic benefits and the world's climate would improve at the same time.

James Stafford: Will Keystone XL eventually be green-lighted? Do we really need it?

John Abraham: We don't know what the Administration will decide: my personal belief is that it will be approved and the Obama Administration will propose a quid pro quo approach to the environmentapproving Keystone but enacting other policies to reduce emissions. The problem is that a quid pro quo doesn't help the climate. It changes a fast burn to a slow simmer. From a political standpoint, if the Obama Administration, with John Kerry as Secretary of State, cannot say "no" to the dirtiest of the dirty fuels, it would show that we cannot say no to anything. I hope I am wrong about this.

James Stafford: There is a lot of discussion right now about "Snowball Earth"an event 635 million years ago in which Earth was covered by ice and now this was apparently reversed by an ultra-high carbon dioxide atmosphere'. What can we learn from this and how can this contribute to the ongoing climate debate?

John Abraham: We have learned that the Earth's climate has shifted radically in the past for natural reasons. Indeed, we have a good understanding of these changes. These shifts have occurred over very long periods of time. Human society has developed very recently, in a remarkably stable climate, and our infrastructure is tailored to the present conditions. We need to be mindful of pushing the climate into one of its wild swings that would cause significant economic costs.

Interestingly, the Earth recovered from "snowball" conditions by the same greenhouse gases we are concerned about now. It is a testament to the power of carbon dioxide.

James Stafford: Is nuclear power dead? Should it be dead? There is much talk about the development of smaller, safer reactors. How far are we from developing and commercializing new nuclear technology?

John Abraham: Perhaps the only thing Mr. Watts and I agree upon. Nuclear power can produce energy without reliance upon sometimes unreliable wind or sunshine. It can provide a low carbon alternative to coal. I think we should invest in the development of the next generation nuclear reactors that can play an important role in supplying a clean-energy portfolio.

James Stafford: You have been involved in numerous alternative energy projects. Which alternative energy sector has the most potential over the next 5 years … over the next decade?

John Abraham: I am particularly interested to see where microwind power goes. I have numerous articles on this topic here, here, and here for examples. This technology has the potential of supplying energy at the production site: to businesses, homes, telecommunication equipment, and other infrastructure.

James Stafford: Did the US jump the gun on the ethanol mandate? There seems to be a consensus emerging that we weren't quite ready for this on a number of levels. There are two bills in Congress attempting to either delay or reverse this mandate and the commercialization of E15. What do you predict the outcome of this will be?

John Abraham: I wrote an important paper on this very topic in 2009. We looked at how viable corn ethanol is and compared it to other biofuel sources. We concluded that at best, corn-based ethanol is a bridge fuel that can help the development of the next generation of plant-based fuels which use less water and can be harvested on marginal lands.
James Stafford: Is there any room for a merger of interests here between the fossil fuels industry and the alternative energy industry?

John Abraham: When we can show that clean and renewable energy is the engine that will provide economic opportunity in the future, fossil fuel companies will, I hope, work to bring to market those technologies which not only produce energy, but create jobs and improve the climate. We aren't there yet but there is always hope.

"We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

"We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

Quote:The scientific agreement that climate change is happening, and that it's caused by human activity, is significant and growing, according to a new study published Thursday. The research, which is the most comprehensive analysis of climate research to date, found that 97.1% of the studies published between 1991 to 2011 that expressed a position on manmade climate change agreed that it was happening, and that it was due to human activity.

The study looked at peer reviewed research that mentioned climate change or global warming. Peer review is the way that scientific journals approve research papers that are submitted. In peer review, group of scientists that weren't involved in the study, but who are experts in the field, look at the research being submitted and have approved that it meets scientific process standards, and the standards of that journal.

In 2011, 521 of those peer reviewed papers agreed that climate change is real, and that human activity is the cause. Nine papers in 2011 disagreed.

John Cook, founder of and the lead author on the study, said the motivation for the analysis was the importance of scientific consensus in shaping public opinion, and therefore policy. "When people understand that climate scientists agree on human-caused global warming, they're more likely to support climate policy," Cook said. "But when the public are asked how many climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming, the average answer is around 50%."

This "consensus gap" is what Cook and the research team is trying to close. "Raising awareness of the scientific consensus is a key step towards meaningful climate action," Cook said.

This study is not the first to examine the overwhelming agreement among climate scientists. Surveys of actively publishing climate scientists as well as analyses of climate change papers have shown similar results.

In 2004 Naomi Oreskes, Professor of History and Science Studies at the University of California San Diego, published what many scientists consider the seminal study on climate change consensus. She also co-authored the book Merchants of Doubt, which identifies and examines the similarities between today's climate change conversation and previous controversies over tobacco smoking, acid rain, and the hole in the ozone layer.

Oreskes believes that the public isn't aware of the consensus because of deliberate efforts to cause confusion. "There has been a systematic attempt to create the impression that scientists did not have a consensus, as part of a broader strategy to prevent federal government action," Oreskes said. "The public have been confused because people have been trying to confuse us."

The study published Thursday is the first to take so many papers and authors into account. Doing a search on the popular science article website Web of Science for "climate change" or "global warming" produces over 12,000 results. Of these, 4,014 papers were identified to state a position on climate change. Among those, 3,896, or 97.1% endorsed the consensus that climate change was happening and that it was caused by human activity.

In an interesting result, Cook and his team found that over time, scientists tend to express a position on climate change less and less in their research papers. This is likely a result of consensus -- that if a scientific conclusion has been reached, there's no need to continue to state that conclusion in new research. "Scientists tend to take the consensus for granted," says Cook, "perhaps not realizing that the public still think it's a 50:50 debate."

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"We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

"We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl
2899 Record cold temps vs 667 record warm temps
from July 24 to August 19, 2013


UN Scientists Who Have Turned on the UN IPCC & Man-Made Climate Fears A Climate Depot Flashback Report

Warming fears are the "worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists." - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

By: Marc Morano - Climate DepotAugust 21, 2013 9:34 PM
Here is a very small sampling of what current and former UN scientists have to say about the UN's climate claims and its scientific methods.

Warming fears are the "worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists." - UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist.

"The IPCC has actually become a closed circuit; it doesn't listen to others. It doesn't have open minds… I am really amazed that the Nobel Peace Prize has been given on scientifically incorrect conclusions by people who are not geologists." Indian geologist Dr. Arun D. Ahluwalia at Punjab University and a board member of the UN-supported International Year of the Planet.

"Temperature measurements show that the [climate model-predicted mid-troposphere] hot zone is non-existent. This is more than sufficient to invalidate global climate models and projections made with them!"- UN IPCC Scientist Dr. Steven M. Japar, a PhD atmospheric chemist who was part of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Second (1995) and Third (2001) Assessment Reports, and has authored 83 peer-reviewed publications and in the areas of climate change, atmospheric chemistry, air pollutions and vehicle emissions.

UN IPCC Scientist Kenneth P. Green Declares A Death Spiral for Climate Alarmism' September 30, 2009 We can expect climate crisis industry to grow increasingly shrill, and increasingly hostile toward anyone who questions their authority' - Dr. Kenneth Green was a Working Group 1 expert reviewer for the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2001

The whole climate change issue is about to fall apart Heads will roll!' -South African UN Scientist Dr. Will Alexander, April 12, 2009 Professor Alexander, is Emeritus of the Department of Civil and Biosystems Engineering at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, and a former member of the United Nations Scientific and Technical Committee on Natural Disasters.

"I was at the table with three Europeans, and we were having lunch. And they were talking about their role as lead authors. And they were talking about how they were trying to make the report so dramatic that the United States would just have to sign that Kyoto Protocol," Christy told CNN on May 2, 2007. Alabama State Climatologist Dr. John Christy of the University of Alabama in Huntsville, served as a UN IPCC lead author in 2001 for the 3rd assessment report and detailed how he personally witnessed UN scientists attempting to distort the science for political purposes.

"Gore prompted me to start delving into the science again and I quickly found myself solidly in the skeptic camp…Climate models can at best be useful for explaining climate changes after the fact." Meteorologist Hajo Smit of Holland, who reversed his belief in man-made warming to become a skeptic, is a former member of the Dutch UN IPCC committee.

"The quantity of CO2 we produce is insignificant in terms of the natural circulation between air, water and soil… I am doing a detailed assessment of the UN IPCC reports and the Summaries for Policy Makers, identifying the way in which the Summaries have distorted the science." South African Nuclear Physicist and Chemical Engineer Dr. Philip Lloyd, a UN IPCC co-coordinating lead author who has authored over 150 refereed publications.

"The claims of the IPCC are dangerous unscientific nonsense" declared IPCC reviewer and climate researcher Dr Vincent Gray, of New Zealand in 2007. Gray was an expert reviewer on every single draft of the IPCC reports going back to 1990, author of more than 100 scientific publications. (LINK) & (LINK)

"After reading [UN IPCC chairman] Pachauri's asinine comment [comparing skeptics to] Flat Earthers, it's hard to remain quiet." Climate statistician Dr. William M. Briggs, who 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.

[URL=""]UN IPCC Lead Author Tom Tripp Dissents on man-made warming: We're not scientifically there yet' July 16, 2009

The UN IPCC's Kevin Trenberth's claim that the UN IPCC is an "very open" also needs examining. The IPCC summary for policymakers is used to scare politicians and goad the public into action. The UN is all about politics.

UN special climate envoy Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland declared "it's completely immoral, even, to question" the UN's alleged global warming "consensus," according to a May 10, 2007 article. Sounds scientific, doesn't it?

Dr. John Brignell, a UK Emeritus Engineering Professor at the University of Southampton who held the Chair in Industrial Instrumentation at Southampton, accused the UN of "censorship" on July 23, 2008. "Here was a purely political body posing as a scientific institution. Through the power of patronage it rapidly attracted acolytes. Peer review soon rapidly evolved from the old style refereeing to a much more sinister imposition of The Censorship. As Wegman demonstrated, new circles of like-minded propagandists formed, acting as judge and jury for each other. Above all, they acted in concert to keep out alien and hostile opinion. Peer review' developed into a mantra that was picked up by political activists who clearly had no idea of the procedures of science or its learned societies. It became an imprimatur of political acceptability, whose absence was equivalent to placement on the proscribed list," Brignell wrote.

Research by Australian climate data analyst John McLean revealed that the IPCC's peer-review process for the Summary for Policymakers leaves much to be desired. (LINK) (LINK) (LINK) & (LINK) McLean's research revealed that the UN IPCC peer-review process is "an illusion." McLean's study found that very few scientists are actively involved in the UN's peer-review process. The report contained devastating revelations to the central IPCC assertion that it is very highly likely that greenhouse gas forcing has been the dominant cause of the observed global warming over the last 50 years." The analysis by McLean states: "The IPCC leads us to believe that this statement is very much supported by the majority of reviewers. The reality is that there is surprisingly little explicit support for this key notion. Among the 23 independent reviewers just 4 explicitly endorsed the chapter with its hypothesis, and one other endorsed only a specific section. Moreover, only 62 of the IPCC's 308 reviewers commented on this chapter at all." Repeating: Only four UN scientists in the IPCC peer-review process explicitly endorsed the key chapter blaming mankind for warming the past 50 years, according to this recent analysis.

Here is a small sampling of what current and former UN scientists have to say about the UN IPCC's "very open" process.

(Below are excerpts from various U.S. Senate reports which Climate Depot's Morano authored during his years at the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee.)

One former UN IPCC scientist bluntly told the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) committee how the UN IPCC Summary for Policymakers "distorted" the scientists work. "I have found examples of a Summary saying precisely the opposite of what the scientists said," explained South African Nuclear Physicist and Chemical Engineer Dr. Philip Lloyd, a UN IPCC co-coordinating lead author who has authored over 150 refereed publications.

In an August 13, 2007 letter, UN IPCC Scientist Dr. Madhav Khandekar, a retired Environment Canada scientist, lashed out at those who "seem to naively believe that the climate change science espoused in the [UN's] Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) documents represents scientific consensus.'" Khandekar continued: "Nothing could be further than the truth! As one of the invited expert reviewers for the 2007 IPCC documents, I have pointed out the flawed review process used by the IPCC scientists in one of my letters. I have also pointed out in my letter that an increasing number of scientists are now questioning the hypothesis of Greenhouse gas induced warming of the earth's surface and suggesting a stronger impact of solar variability and large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns on the observed temperature increase than previously believed." "Unfortunately, the IPCC climate change documents do not provide an objective assessment of the earth's temperature trends and associated climate change," Khandekar concluded.

Paul Reiter, a malaria expert formerly of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, participated in a past UN IPCC process and now calls the concept of consensus on global warming a "sham." Reiter, a professor of entomology and tropical disease with the Pasteur Institute in Paris, had to threaten legal action to have his name removed from the IPCC. "That is how they make it seem that all the top scientists are agreed," he said on March 5, 2007. "It's not true," he added.

Hurricane expert Christopher W. Landsea of NOAA's National Hurricane Center, was both an author a reviewer for the IPCC's 2nd Assessment Report in 1995 and the 3rd Assessment Report in 2001, but resigned from the 4th Assessment Report after charging the UN with playing politics with Hurricane science. Landsea wrote a January 17, 2005 public letter detailing his experience with the UN: "I am withdrawing [from the UN] because I have come to view the part of the IPCC to which my expertise is relevant as having become politicized. In addition, when I have raised my concerns to the IPCC leadership, their response was simply to dismiss my concerns." "I personally cannot in good faith continue to contribute to a process that I view as both being motivated by pre-conceived agendas and being scientifically unsound," Landsea added.

In addition, a Greenpeace activist co-authored a key economic report in 2007. Left unreported by most of the media was the fact that Bill Hare, an advisor to Greenpeace, was a lead co- author of a key economic report in the IPCC's 4th Assessment. Not surprisingly, the Greenpeace co-authored report predicted a gloomy future for our planet unless we follow the UN's policy prescriptions.

The UN IPCC's own guidelines explicitly state that the scientific reports have to be "change[d]" to "ensure consistency with" the politically motivated Summary for Policymakers.

In addition, the IPCC more closely resembles a political party's convention platform battle not a scientific process. During an IPCC Summary for Policymakers process, political delegates and international bureaucrats squabble over the specific wording of a phrase or assertion.

Steve McIntyre of Climate Audit, one of the individuals responsible for debunking the infamous "Hockey Stick" temperature graph, slammed the IPCC Summary for Policymaker's process on January 24, 2007. McIntyre wrote: "So the purpose of the three-month delay between the publication of the (IPCC) Summary for Policy-Makers and the release of the actual WG1 (Working Group 1) is to enable them to make any necessary' adjustments to the technical report to match the policy summary. Unbelievable. Can you imagine what securities commissions would say if business promoters issued a big promotion and then the promoters made the necessary' adjustments to the qualifying reports and financial statements so that they matched the promotion. Words fail me."

Former Colorado State Climatologist Dr. Roger Pielke Sr. also detailed the corruption of the UN IPCC process on September 1, 2007: "The same individuals who are doing primary research in the role of humans on the climate system are then permitted to lead the [IPCC] assessment! There should be an outcry on this obvious conflict of interest, but to date either few recognize this conflict, or see that since the recommendations of the IPCC fit their policy and political agenda, they chose to ignore this conflict. In either case, scientific rigor has been sacrificed and poor policy and political decisions will inevitably follow," Pielke explained. He added: "We need recognition among the scientific community, the media, and policymakers that the IPCC process is obviously a real conflict of interest, and this has resulted in a significantly flawed report."

Andrei Kapitsa, a Russian geographer and Antarctic ice core researcher: "The Kyoto theorists have put the cart before the horse. It is global warming that triggers higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, not the other way round…A large number of critical documents submitted at the 1995 U.N. conference in Madrid vanished without a trace. As a result, the discussion was one-sided and heavily biased, and the U.N. declared global warming to be a scientific fact."

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"It is difficult to abolish prejudice in those bereft of ideas. The more hatred is superficial, the more it runs deep."

James Hepburn -- Farewell America (1968)
RE #46 regarding the record number of lows vs. highs: This phenomenon is what is called "weather" -- it is not "climate." It is not significant with regards to climate.
"We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

"We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl

Quote:The heat content of the oceans is growing and growing. That means that the greenhouse effect has not taken a pause and the
Quote:cold sun is not noticeably slowing global warming.
Quote:NOAA posts regularly updated measurements of the amount of heat stored in the bulk of the oceans. For the upper 2000 m (deeper than that not much happens) it looks like this:
[Image: heat_content2000m.png]

Change in the heat content in the upper 2000 m of the world's oceans. Source: NOAA

The amount of heat stored in the oceans is one of the most important diagnostics for global warming, because about 90% of the additional heat is stored there (you can read more about this in the last IPCC report from 2007). The atmosphere stores only about 2% because of its small heat capacity. The surface (including the continental ice masses) can only absorb heat slowly because it is a poor heat conductor. Thus, heat absorbed by the oceans accounts for almost all of the planet's radiative imbalance.

If the oceans are warming up, this implies that the Earth must absorb more solar energy than it emits longwave radiation into space. This is the only possible heat source. That's simply the first law of thermodynamics, conservation of energy. This conservation law is why physicists are so interested in looking at the energy balance of anything. Because we understand the energy balance of our Earth, we also know that global warming is caused by greenhouse gases which have caused the largest imbalance in the radiative energy budget over the last century.

If the greenhouse effect (that checks the exit of longwave radiation from Earth into space) or the amount of absorbed sunlight diminished, one would see a slowing in the heat uptake of the oceans. The measurements show that this is not the case.

The increase in the amount of heat in the oceans amounts to 17 x 10[SUP]22[/SUP] Joules over the last 30 years. That is so much energy it is equivalent to exploding a Hiroshima bomb every second in the ocean for thirty years.

The data in the graphs comes from the World Ocean Database. Wikipedia has a fine overview of this database. The data set includes nine million measured temperature profiles from all of the world's oceans. One of my personal heroes, the oceanographer Syd Levitus, has dedicated much of his life to making these oceanographic data freely available to everyone. During the Cold war that even landed him in a Russian jail for espionage for a while, as he was visiting Russia on his quest for oceanographic data (he once told me of that adventure over breakfast in a Beijing hotel).

How to deny data
Ideologically motivated "climate skeptics" know that these data contradict their claims, and respond … by rejecting the measurements. Millions of stations are dismissed as "negligible" the work of generations of oceanographers vanish with a journalist's stroke of a pen because what should not exist, cannot be. "Climate skeptics'" web sites even claim that the measurement uncertainty in the average of 3000 Argo probes is the same as that from each individual one. Thus not only are the results of climate research called into question, but even the elementary rules of uncertainty calculus that every science student learns in their first semester. Anything goes when you have to deny global warming. Even more bizarre is the Star Trek argument but let me save that for later.

Slowdown in the upper ocean
Let us look at the upper ocean (for historic reasons defined as the upper 700 m):
[Image: heat_content55-07.png]
Change in the heat content of the upper 700 m of the oceans. Source: NOAA
And here is the direct comparison since 1980:
[Image: Abraham_2013.png]
Changes in the heat content of the oceans. Source: Abraham et al., 2013. The 2-sigma uncertainty for 1980 is 2 x 10[SUP]22[/SUP] J and for recent years 0.5 x 10[SUP]22[/SUP] J
We see two very interesting things.

First: Roughly two thirds of the warming since 1980 occurred in the upper ocean. The heat content of the upper layer has gone up twice as much as in the lower layer (700 2000 m). The average temperature of the upper layer has increased more than three times as much as the lower (because the upper layer is only 700 m thick, and the lower one 1300 m). That is not surprising, as after all the ocean is heated from above and it takes time for the heat to penetrate deeper.

Second: In the last ten years the upper layer has warmed more slowly than before. In spite of this the temperature still is changing as rapidly there as in the lower layer. This recent slower warming in the upper ocean is closely related to the slower warming of the global surface temperature, because the temperature of the overlaying atmosphere is strongly coupled to the temperature of the ocean surface.

That the heat absorption of the ocean as a whole (at least to 2000 m) has not significantly slowed makes it clear that the reduced warming of the upper layer is not (at least not much) due to decreasing heating from above, but rather mostly due to greater heat loss to lower down: through the 700 m level, from the upper to the lower layer. (The transition from solar maximum to solar minimum probably also contributed a small part as planetary heat absorption decreased by about 15%, Abraham, et al., 2013). It is difficult to establish the exact mechanism for this stronger heat flux to deeper water, given the diverse internal variability in the oceans.

Association with El Niño
Completely independently of this oceanographic data, a simple correlation analysis (Foster and Rahmstorf ERL 2011) showed that the flatter warming trend of the last 10 years was mostly a result of natural variability, namely the recently more frequent appearance of cold La Niña events in the tropical Pacific and a small contribution from decreasing solar activity. The effect of La Niña can be seen directly in the following figure, without any statistical analysis. It shows the annual values of the global temperature with El Niño periods highlighted in red and La Niña periods in blue. (Weekly updates on the current El Niño situation can be found here.)
[Image: climcent_sat_enso.png]
Global surface temperature (average of the three series from NOAA, NASA and HadCRU). Years influenced by El Niño are shown in red, La Niña influenced years in blue. Source: Climate Central, updated figure from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) p. 15.

One finds that both the red El Niño years and the blue La Niña years are getting warmer, but given that we have lately experienced a cluster of La Niña years the overall warming trend over the last ten years is slower. This can be thought of as the "noise" associated with natural variability, not a change in the "signal" of global warming (as discussed many times before here at RealClimate).

This is consistent with the finding that reduced warming is not mainly a result of a change in radiation balance but due to oceanic heat storage. During La Niña events (with cold ocean surface) the ocean absorbs additional heat that it releases during El Niño events (when the ocean surface is warm). The next El Niño event (whenever it comes that is a stochastic process) is likely to produce a new global mean temperature record (as happened in 2010).

Kevin Trenberth, who has recently published a paper on this topic, explains the increased heat uptake in the deep ocean:

The reason for the change is a specific change in the winds, especially in the subtropical Pacific, where the trade winds have become noticeably stronger. That altered ocean currents, strengthening the subtropical sea water circulation thus providing a mechanism to transport heat into the deeper ocean. This is related to the decadal weather pattern in the Pacific associated with the La Niña phase of the El Niño phenomenon.

New results from climate modelling

A study by Kosaka and Xie recently published in Nature confirms that the slowing rise in global temperatures during recent years has been a result of prevalent La Niña periods in the tropical Pacific. The authors write in the abstract:

Our results show that the current hiatus is part of natural climate variability tied specifically to a La Niña like decadal cooling.
They show this with an elegant experiment, in which they "force" their global climate model to follow the observed history of sea surface temperatures in the eastern tropical Pacific. With this trick the model is made to replay the actual sequence of El Niño and La Niña events found in the real world, rather than producing its own events by chance. The result is that the model then also reproduces the observed global average temperature history with great accuracy.
There are then at least three independent lines of evidence that confirm we are not dealing with a slowdown in the global warming trend, but rather with progressive global warming with superimposed natural variability:

1. Our correlation analysis between global temperature and the El Niño Index.
2. The measurements of oceanic heat uptake.
3. The new model calculation of Kosaka and Xie.

Beam me up Scotty!

Now to the most amusing attempt of "climate skeptics" to wish these scientific results away. Their argument goes like this: It is not possible that warming of the deep ocean accelerates at the same time as warming of the upper ocean slows down, because the heat must pass through the upper layer to reach the depths. A German journalist put it this way:

Winds can do a lot, but can they beam warm surface waters heated by carbon dioxide 700 meters further down?

This argument reveals once again the shocking lack of understanding of basic physics in "climate skeptic" circles. First the alleged problem is lacking any factual basis after all, in the last decades the upper layer of the oceans has warmed faster than the deeper (even if recently not quite as fast as before). What is the problem with the heat first warming the upper layer before it penetrates deeper? That is entirely as expected.

Second, physically there is absolutely no problem for wind changes to cool the upper ocean at the same time as they warm the deeper layers. The following figure shows a simple example of how this can happen (there are also other possible mechanisms).

[Image: thermocline.png]

The ocean is known to be thermally stratified, with a warm layer, some hundreds of meters thick, lying on top of a cold deep ocean (a). In the real world the transition is more gradual, not a sharp boundary as in the simplified diagram. Panel (b) shows what happens if the wind is turned on. The surface layer (above the dashed depth level) becomes on average colder (less red), the deep layer warmer. The average temperature changes are not the same (because of the different thickness of the layers), but the changes in heat content are what the upper layer loses in heat, the lower gains. The First Law of Thermodynamics sends greetings.

Incidentally, that is the well-known mechanism of El Niño: (a) corresponds roughly to El Niño (with a warm eastern tropical Pacific) while (b) is like La Niña (cold eastern tropical Pacific). The winds are the trade winds. The figure greatly exaggerates the slope of the layer interface, because in reality the ocean is paper thin. Even a difference of 1000 m across the width of the Pacific (let's say 10,000 km) leads to a slope of only 1:10,000 which no one could distinguish from a perfectly horizontal line without massive vertical exaggeration.

Now if during the transition from (a) to (b) the upper layer is heated by the greenhouse effect, its temperature could remain constant while that of the lower one warmed. Simple classical physics without beaming.

Beam me up Scotty! There is no intelligent life on this planet.

Tamino provides his usual detailed analysis of the new study by Kosaka and Xie.
Dana Nuccitelli in the Guardian on the same paper with some further interesting aspects that I have not talked about here.
Another important point that is often forgotten in the discussion: The data hole in the Arctic that explains part of the reduced warming trend (maybe even more than previously thought).
And a reminder: The warming trend of the 15-year period up to 2006 was almost twice as fast as expected (0.3°C per decade, see Fig. 4 here), and (rightly) nobody cared. We published a paper in Science in 2007 where we noted this large trend, and as the first explanation for it we named "intrinsic variability within the climate system". Which it turned out to be.
Recent Literature:
Levitus et al. (Geophysical Research Letters 2012). Documentation of the heat increase in the world's oceans since 1955. Included are uncertainty analyses, maps of the measurement coverage and many illustrations of the regional and vertical distribution of the warming.
Balmaseda et al. (Geophysical Research Letters 2013) shows among other things that El Niño events are associated with a strong loss of heat from the oceans. As discussed above, during an El Niño the ocean loses heat to the surface because the surface of the ocean (see Fig. (a) above) is unusually warm. Further, during volcanic eruptions the ocean cools but for another reason: because volcanic aerosols shade the sun and thus the oceans are heated less than normal.
Guemas et al. (Nature Climate Change 2013) shows that the slower warming of the last ten years cannot be explained by a change in the radiative balance of our Earth, but rather by a change in the heat storage of the oceans, and that this can be at least partially reproduced by climate models, if one accounts for the natural fluctuations associated with El Niño in the initialization of the models.
Abraham et al. (Reviews of Geophysics 2013). Very recent, wide ranging review of temperature measurements in the oceans with a detailed discussion of the accuracy of the data, planetary energy balance and the effect of the warming on sea levels.
"We'll know our disinformation campaign is complete when everything the American public believes is false." --William J. Casey, D.C.I

"We will lead every revolution against us." --Theodore Herzl
To get back to the science and not the attacks, while there is acknowledged by the majority of environmental and climate scientists, worldwide that there is climate warming [and that it is due to changes in several things humans have caused], it is to be expected that the TREND will vary slightly year to year or even in wavering of a few years. It is the trend that is important. The North Polar ice is very drastically lessened in recent years - to the extent that Polar Bears are threatened and new shipping routes have opened up for the first time in memory, along with new polar sea oil rigs being placed, etc. Antarctica is a more complex situation, with ice loss in some areas and in the last two years some ice increase in others...but this doesn't represent any proof of anything. While the Earth overall is warming, in some places temporarily, it will be cooler [while most places, on average, will warm], warmer air and sea also change the conditions everywhere - producing stronger and more storms, greater rain and floods in most areas [a few will experience less rain]. This is my field - Environmental Science - which I studied up to the graduate level and have taught and keep up on. It has always saddened me that some great researchers on other things Deep Political are blind to this - a deep political conspiracy by Big Oil, Big Money, Big Chemical, et al. They can be in denial, but the climate will warm and change for the worse for most humans and most other living things - on land and in the sea and air. We are fouling our own 'bed' - we [humans] are a plague on the Planet unless we reduce our numbers and impact [called a footprint in Environmental Science] on Gaia. No one need or should be harmed or killed to reduce the numbers and Environmental Scientists do not believe in Eugenics or the like...just realizing that any finite resource cannot support infinite use [now becoming abuse!]. Yes, the Koch Bros. have funded a few scientists in secret to produce papers saying that climate change is part of a natural cycle in Earth/Sun...blah, is not. It is due to increased CO2, methane, other chemicals and aerosols in the atmosphere, cutting of forests and damage to other carbon sinks [absorbers], pollution of all kinds, overuse and/or overhunting of resources - non-living and living. The ways in which we are damaging the Planet and life on it - including ourselves - are many. Warming of the air and seas only one. If denied by a majority [gladly this is not so, at this time] it will mean the end of most life. Technology can NOT do more than provide a temporary patch - and then only for the wealthy. Physics and science, Nature, in the end will rebalance the system, as it must....this new balance will not favor humans nor most living things. We must stop our uncontrolled growth in numbers and use [abuse; overuse] of resources. At the same time, the poor and developing have every right to 'catch up' with the wealthy and developed. It is a very delicate balancing act and THERE technology can help....along with not being in denial about the problem; ultimately greater than the political ones we face, which are more immediate and obvious, but pale next to changing the Earth for the need and greed of one species, temporarily - and even there for a few.....already most humans are beginning to suffer from the double curse of imperialism/wars/financial manipulations/deep-political-shit and environmental destruction. Watch the floods, the stronger storms, droughts, rising sea-level, pollution, habitat destruction, resource exhaustion....and has been ongoing for some time, but all too obvious since the age of oil and modern technological [over]development. We can still have our computers and such, but must, overall, reduce and change our relationship with our Mother [Earth] and all who live on her....or perish rather sooner than later. The Native Americans [and most other Native People's had it correct - 'civilized' [sic] humans have long had it wrong [their relationship with their environment]. I would suggest people look at the books or lectures by Derrick Jensen and the many other voices calling for immediate change - especially by the most 'developed' peoples to a change toward the views of the Native Peoples who lived for hundreds of thousands of years in harmony with their environment. Below, one of many good films to awaken those still asleep to where we are headed - to the extinction of OUR species and most others......but before that a horrible period of decline, wars, shortages, suffering of the EVER GROWING numbers of poor, RAPID environmental degradation, etc. The film names and interviews most of the better writers, thinkers, speakers on the subject. Change or perish...we haven't long now. ::face.palm:: Nothing short of a total paradigm shift in our mode of thinking about the meaning of life well lived [personal and societal] is needed; our inter-relationship with the living and non-living world that sustain us and won't if we abuse or over-use it/change it into an unsustainable nightmare - these changes; these paradigm shifts, I am sure are paralleled in the Environmental / Social-Philosophical / and Deep Political spheres. The same forces and the same denial - the same allowance of a small group of would-be feudal overlords are destroying our environment; our polity; our philosophy and education - everything. Change your paradigm and the path to rectify all becomes OBVIOUS - then it is just a matter of action. When will you hammer in your picket pin?! [see the film for the context of that remark]. Please watch this film - show it to others. I cry every time I see it...and I have shown it in my environmental courses over 100 times. It touches me. I hope some part of it reaches you. Its message is real in a way - in the exact way - that most of human society [especially the 'advanced' cultures technologically] have become unreal and detached from the real human nature, human philosophy, and Nature itself. Be a part of the solution to all of our problems; not just some of them; and not just a cynical watcher. Act. Feel. Be. Fight. Hammer in your picket pins and stand our ground. Win....and we win the future. Loose and we have lost the Planet for ourselves and future generations - your children and those of others - not to mention the tens of millions of other species who have as much right [or more] to survive than we do. Join those who have decided to force a paradigm shift - first on themselves, then their friends, and then the World of Humans. Join Us.

"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass

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