My Turn: It’s time to take a hard look at climate hyperbole
I recently read the opinion piece by Ayn Whytemare on global warming (Monitor Forum, July 13) and my first reaction was one of concern for the students at NHTI who are not being taught but are being indoctrinated instead. The bold statements grounded in fiction and the lack of facts to substantiate her claims are a poor example for young adults.
Let’s start with some of the comments Whytemare made. For example, she stated that “there is no other time in documented history where the temperature has risen so quickly.”
That is just not true. As many readers know, global temperatures have flatlined for the last 17 years. More importantly, the increase in temperatures from the mid-1970s (when we hit the end of a cold period) until the late 1990s (when the temperatures rise stopped) is the same magnitude and duration as the global mean temperature change from around 1910 to 1940 (yes, I readily acknowledge that the earth does warm at times). That is not me just saying this, it is the data from NOAA/NCDC that shows how global temperatures have been going up since the mid-1800s – the end of the Little Ice Age.
During the first half of the 1900s, the temperature rose much the same way it did when the global warming alarmists started to come out of the woodwork, and it was driven by Mother Nature, not carbon dioxide.
As a sidenote, I do not deny that increased levels of CO2 may generate incremental warming in our atmosphere, but the science certainly has not quantified it in a way that is claimed by the alarmists or substantiated by the data. It certainly has not shown how any CO2-induced impacts are detectable beyond the natural variability of temperatures on the planet.
Whytemare also states that “we have been able to reliably track temperature since the 1860s and have seen with our own eyes how temperature is related to CO2 concentrations.”
As mentioned above, the record is clear about showing how natural temperature increases in the past match her assumed man-made CO2 induced temperature rise. The problem for her is that CO2 has steadily been rising on an annual basis since 1800, but during those 200 years, temperature has fluctuated.
We had dropping temperatures from 1880 to 1910 while CO2 increased. We had dropping temperatures from the 1930s to the 1970s while CO2 increased. We have had flat temperatures for the past 17 years while CO2 increased. Any first-year statistics student can do a simple correlation study on CO2 and temperature over the past 150 years, and the R-squared value will indicate a lower than statistically significant relationship. That is yet another uncomfortable fact that the alarmists don’t like to discuss.
As part of her diatribe, Whytemare likened the IPCC process to a bunch of “doctors who want to eradicate cancer by banding together and sharing research.”
This is a false narrative. We know cancer is real. We know how it effects lives and impairs health. There are many questions about what causes cancer and how to treat it, but the impact of cancer is firmly established through scientific study. The same cannot be said of carbon dioxide’s impact on our climate.
That is where the climate alarmists fail. They refuse to admit what they do not know. They refuse to admit that the models they use to base every forecast – change in sea level, change in temperature, impact on species, economic effect, policy decision, projection on agriculture – have failed miserably.
Whytemare doesn’t even discuss this elephant in the room when it comes to climate science – the absolute failure of the climate models. It has been pointed out in many circles that the climate models used to justify thousands of policies and programs throughout the United States and the world, can’t even come close to forecasting the past 15 years of temperature.
It is also now well known that the climate models do a terrible job predicting all kinds of critical climate elements. Besides being unable to forecast temperatures very well, they do not correctly model snow, ice, ocean circulation patterns, ENSO, stratospheric cooling, solar impacts, clouds and most recently (from a new study by Amato Evan, a climate scientist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography) dust – which has significant impacts on aerosols, particulate matter impact on solar radiation and hurricane systems in the Atlantic.
With the stabilization of arctic ice, the rapid increase in Antarctic ice, the lack of temperature increases over the past 17 years, the lack of their forecasted hurricane extremes, the lack of any real climate changes of note – the climate charlatans are now pushing sea level rise as the reason to keep sending them money and enacting green policies. But I have bad news for them; NOAA’s latest release of mean sea level data shows no change in the long-term sea level rise that we have seen for the past 100 years.
Stations in Hawaii, Alaska, the Pacific Coast, the Gulf Coast, the Atlantic Coast – dozens of them show no real change in the sea level rise despite alarmist claims to the contrary. NOAA’s data shows the same 1.5 to 2.0 millimeter per decade rise that has been going on for a century. No increasing rates in the past few decades. The sea level sky is not falling. The only question is that with this claim now disproved by that pesky data, what are they going to say? What Cassandra-esque forecasts will we get (apologies to Cassandra because she was actually a decent forecaster)?
Which leads us to the general fallacy propagated by the climate charlatans that “CO2 is driving extreme weather” – except it is not. When you look at the long-term variability of climate impacts, what we see today is not only not “extreme,” but in many cases it is as mild as it has been in decades.
Heat extremes – false. Most localized changes in temperature have been due to increases in nighttime lows, not the daily highs, which is indicative of urban heat island effects on the temperature record, not CO2 induced warming.
Hurricane extremes – false. We are in a quiet period with respect to global cyclone activity, and we have gone the longest period of time for a major hurricane to make landfall in the United States since records began about 100 years ago.
Tornado activity at an extreme level – false. We actually have seen several years near-record lows of tornado activity, despite having several major tornado events in localized areas.
Drought extremes – false. Anyone who reads the studies and data on droughts in the United States knows two things: Droughts in the 1930s and even in the 1950s were far more severe and long-lasting than the recent droughts (which are well within the norms we see in the United States), and the droughts in the West (and specifically the current California drought) are blips compared to the historic, century-long droughts that have occurred in the past several millennia there. None of which were CO2 induced.
Rainfall extremes – false. National, regional and global data shows that there are no extremes in precipitation that are not within the range of natural variability.
Extreme lack of snowfall – False. In fact we have seen the northern hemisphere snowfall amounts record 5 of the top 100 years just in the past decade, although all of them are still within the range of natural variability. Nothing extreme, and certainly winter is not going anywhere soon.
The only extreme when it comes to climate is the hyperbole. When will the climate racketeers admit they don’t know what is going on and apologize for all the economic damage they have done to the United States and the world?
(Michael Sununu is a consultant with Sununu Enterprises LLC and lives in Newfields.)