Mark Twain was right when he said, “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” Climate and weather ARE NOT the same thing…inasmuch as the global warming community (GWC) would like you to think they are sometimes (when it’s “convenient.”) When a city sets a record high temperature on a given day…that IS NOT THE CLIMATE, IT IS THE WEATHER! When a region or whole country is having a heat-wave…that IS NOT THE CLIMATE, IT IS THE WEATHER! When there are horrendous floods that take much in the way of property and lives…it’s a horrific thing to witness for sure, but it IS NOT THE CLIMATE, IT IS THE WEATHER. When hurricanes are headed your way this summer and fall, the regional climate is the reason that they tend form where they do every year and move around (or through) you – your choice to live where you do – but it is the weather, in the short run, that actually provides the dynamical forcing needed to get these big boys started. So, if you live along or near the Gulf or Atlantic coasts, you should expect hurricanes from time to time, and when you get one…blame it on the weather, not the climate – or global warming, or your neighbor that owns a 1978 gas guzzling Suburban, or the power company down the street.
A decent definition of the climate would go something like this, “The long-term average of sensible weather conditions that characterize the general conditions of the atmosphere over a period of time at any one place or region of the Earth’s surface.” Since we are talking global warming, the sensible weather element that will be addressed in this case will obviously be the temperature. The phrase from the definition,”The long-term average” is of key importance as we are usually talking at a minimum of about 30 years (or course more is better). Interesting how the GWC often talks about changes over a five to ten year period as being significant climatologically. (Think of Dr. Michael Mann’s climate “hockey stick” graph that has been so popular as of late. If you want to read a recent paper…written by statisticians…that completely destroys the climate “hockey stick”, go here: http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/articles/WegmanReport.pdf . If you want to look further into the fallacies of the climate hockey stick, as well as the tree ring proxy data that generated it, this article by the late John L. Daly titled “The ‘Hockey Stick’: A New Low in Climate Science” at http://www.john-daly.com/hockey/hockey.htm is a great primer. As a matter of fact, there are many people and articles, several with a climatology background, which discount Dr. Michael Mann’s derivation of the warming climate.) You would not want to characterize a given area on this earth by only using a 30 year average…as this is often (sometimes) only enough to capture a single trend (heating…cooling…drying…wetting…no trend…etc.). So, what of all those observation sites that have been newly added over the last 30 years or so…no use whatsoever climatologically! More importantly…all the satellite temperature data that is being used (and touted) has been garnered over just the past 30 years…again, no real use at all considering the time period (being too short that is). And then there is the question of the preciseness of the data itself…and the ability to actually find a statistically significant change in the temperature…to better than a tenth of a degree over any 20 year period. Obviously, going back a hundred or more years has its problems…the technology at the time was not what it is now and you just can’t ask somebody from that time period, “What was going on?” On the other hand, they tended to be more descriptive back then when it came to writing logs and describing situations (unlike today, in which everyone thinks everything is being capture by somebody’s video/audio camera). You have to have a way to correlate the data objectively from past to present and into the future or there is no way possible to accurately determine an average temperature change this small (yet somehow lethal). Bottom line: you have to have a large quantity of good data over a long period of time in order to come up with any kind of useful or relevant conclusions. We are not even close.
NOAA’s satellites 15, 16, 17, 18, and Aqua all have the relatively new Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit aboard (AMSU) to get the temperature data needed. These satellites were all launched between May 1998 and May 2005. For temperature, the best surface resolution is a 48 km circle (column) at the nadir, with a sensitivity of (+/-)0.25 deg C. If you are comparing relative temperature measurements, you may well be able to get accuracies to with a few hundredths of a degree because these microwave sensor units aboard these satellites are actually quite stable (better than the optical imagers anyway). However, for absolute measurements they over differing areas and differing times, you are only as good as the 0.25 deg C that I mentioned before. Something else to note: These satellites, as well as the TIROS-N series before them, were not made for climate studies…it’s just a sideline.
The Earth itself lives on time scales that are enormously different from our (human’s) own. We are just passing through a relatively microscopic portion of time. So in order to actually find out if a warm period (or cool period) is actually noteworthy, you have got to collect data over a much longer period of time (hundreds to thousands of years) before any definitive conclusions can be drawn. Instead, because we just can’t wait, climate models have been produced that are suppose to reproduce and predict what the climate will be like in the future…based largely on (bogus) climate data from the recent past. Right. But wait, you say that they are using data that goes back hundreds or thousands of years…you know, that tree ring stuff. It’s called proxy data…and includes tree rings, ice cores, glacial movements, etc. The problem is that this is “inferred data”…information computed about some historical quantity (temperature in this case) based upon the some measured quantity in the tree or ice or what have you. There is a great paper at: http://www.marshall.org/pdf/materials/136.pdf titled, “Lessons and Limits of Climate History: Was the 20th Century Climate Unusual?” by Willy Soon and Sallie Baliunas which goes into much more detail on this subject before concluding that (and their results showed that there has been some warming over the last 140 years) the twentieth century temperatures could not be considered unusual due to a lack of valid climate data for the last 1000 years and that any proxy data used to infer temperatures over the last 1000 years (looking at 50 year periods within the last 1000 years) only pointed out that any warming occurring in our own 20th century WAS NOT unusual. Even relating comparatively recent observations accurately (over the last 100 to 150 years) can be a challenge. Just how are changes to the technology (thermometers, for example) and the locality being handled over time? Are errors induced in the data when bias adjustments are made? Just what kind of bias adjustments are being made in the first place (if any) and what or who determines if they are correct (or correct enough)? Just how significant (and subjective) are these errors and what or who determines that?? Curious, do just these questions alone generate enough doubt about the scientific correctness of the global warming hypothesis? (Yes, it is a “hypothesis”…NOTHING has been proved one way or another…regardless of what the GWC/media tells you!) Do you think that a globally averaged (supposed) increase of 0.1 deg C in the last 20 years is real…or does it fall well within the “noise” of the data?
Let’s look at temperature with respect to location (location, location!). Globally, if we break the Earth into its northern and southern hemispheres, we find that about 39% of the surface area north of the equator is occupied by land, but only 19% of the southern hemisphere is covered by terra firma. Just based on this fact alone, you would guess that if there were temperature changes going on, the northern hemisphere would change quicker because of the increased land area and the ability of solid earth to change its temperature faster relatively than that of water (it takes more energy to heat up a given mass of water than it does the same mass of dirt…that’s called the specific heat of a substance). There are indeed several reports saying that the earth as a whole has warmed an average globally of “about” 0.1 deg C over the 20 years. Most of these 20 to 25 year studies tell us that over that time period, the northern hemisphere has warmed by about 0.2 deg C and that there has been no warming at all in the southern hemisphere (some of the studies in fact state that there has even been long term cooling going on in the southern oceans)…so, there’s the average 0.1 deg C for the entire globe. So, what does that mean (or, just So what?)? Nothing! Absolutely nothing (0.000%, if you have to put a number to it)! First of all, why should a warming (or cooling) trend be suspicious in any way? There is ALWAYS a warming or cooling trend going on with the climate depending upon which time period you happen to compare…it’s all relative. As a reminder, global climate (hemispheric, regional or local for that matter) IS NOT some given quantity that is never suppose to change its value…it is a moving average based upon other moving averages (averages in changes in the sensible weather at a group of different points around the earth) that are SUPPOSED to change.
Before I go on too long (too late?), let’s discuss the actual contribution of carbon dioxide (CO2) itself to greenhouse warming on Earth. First things first however: Make no mistake, the real driver of the greenhouse effect is water vapor (gas)…CO2 does not even come close. As a matter of fact, water accounts for about 95% of the greenhouse effect…a fact which is usually ignored or left out of the analyses by the GWC. Anthropogenic CO2 actually only contributes 0.116% (that’s right, slightly more than a tenth of one percent) to the total greenhouse effect (out of a 3.618% total CO2 contribution, of which 3.502% is naturally occurring/generating CO2). These numbers are about 4 to 5 years old, and will be slightly different – by a couple of thousandths or so. Going a bit further, the TOTAL contribution of ALL human caused greenhouse gases only adds up to around 0.28%…and that includes water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and a mix of other miscellaneous gases such as the chloro-fluoro-carbon (CFC) group. For more information, please go to: Global Warming: A closer Look at the Numbers at http://mysite.verizon.net/mhieb/WVFossils/greenhouse_data.html . Solar scientist David Archibald has also written a recent paper entitled, “The Past and Future of Climate” (May 2007) at: http://www.lavoisier.com.au/papers/Conf2007/Archibald2007.pdf which basically concludes that carbon dioxide has NO relevance to the Earth’s climate (changes) and that the Sun’s contribution to climate forcing is much, much larger.
Another bottom line is: that all of this written rhetoric concerning the opposite side of the global warming argument is fuel for doubt. There is so much more in the way of scientific as well as political and socio-economic (which I have tried to stay away from this time) issues that discount the ugly, hot side of this propaganda war. I mean, they (GWC) are talking about unverifiable, predicted, small changes in temperatures over relatively long periods of time. GWC calls them unnatural and tries to put the blame on someone because of some natural disaster. On top of that, the GWC are talking about ONLY dreadful consequences if indeed there was global warming going on. Why would this be the case?
Warming and cooling, when talking about either the weather or climate, is a completely natural thing…and so are the heat-waves, cold-snaps, droughts, and floods that kill thousands every year. There is no one (human related) to blame for these things; it is just the way of life on this planet. So please put your wallet back in your pocket or purse and don’t let anyone try to get you to buy carbon futures…or even worse, invest in another pro global warming motion picture. If you want to help in the short run, conserve gas, oil and water because it’s the right thing to do…not because someone is lying to you to get you to do it. And then buy coolers, coats, water or life preservers for those who are less fortunate this year or next. (for more information concerning the cooler side of this and other stories, please see: http://www.geocities.com/jbraun1984/ ).