Global Cooling update

It’s been unusually warm in most of the U.S. this year, so of course the warming alarmists are out predicting apocalyptic futures. It should be no surprise, however, the alarmists are out of touch with scientific reality. In fact, global temperatures, measured the most accurate way, ie by satellite, are below normal.

In fact, the Eastern half of the U.S. was one of the few places in the world this year with above-normal temperatures. Most of the rest of the world had near-normal or below normal temperatures.

This of course explains why Arctic ice extent is higher than it has been in a long time. Take a look here:

Or here:

But the facts never get in the away of a good carbon-burning junket by Al Gore, who went to the Antarctic in February along with other alarmists. Only one problem: Antarctic ice is actually doing quite well and has been for many years, so Gore’s ignorant trip only served to highlight that nothing he says or does has any connection with reality. Let’s take a look at Antarctic sea ice.

Yes, you read the graph correctly. Sea ice in the Antarctic has been above normal for most of the last two decades. What, you never read that in the newspapers? How could that be? Could it be that the same people who are ignoring global temperatures below normal (while the East swelters) are also a bit short-sighted on the entire global climate? Could it be that there is a lot of money to be made promoting global warming alarmism?

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About Geoff B.

Geoff B has had three main careers. Some of them have overlapped. After attending Stanford University (class of 1985), he worked in journalism for several years until about 1992, when he took up his second career in telecommunications sales. In 1995, he took up his favorite and third career as father. Soon thereafter, Heavenly Father hit him over the head with a two-by-four (wielded by the Holy Ghost) and he woke up from a long sleep. Since then, he's been learning a lot about the Gospel. He still has a lot to learn. Geoff's held several Church callings: young men's president, high priest group leader, member of the bishopric, stake director of public affairs, media specialist for church public affairs, high councilman. He tries his best in his callings but usually falls short. Geoff has five children and lives in Colorado.

24 thoughts on “Global Cooling update

  1. HERE is the view out my front door today….great global warming we’re enjoying this fine April morning. Love it!

  2. How does one define “scientific reality,” when one claims that the 95% of scientists who believe that global warming is human caused are wrong? Is an opinion shared by less than 5% of scientists “scientific reality?”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Climate_science_opinion2.png

    I guess the question I am asking is: is science truth, or is it rather a particular way of understanding and interpreting data at a particular time, which may change over time? For example, can pre-Newtonian physics be considered a science, even if it was wrong and incomplete? Would it be considered the “scientific reality” of the day?

    Are the small minority of anti-global warming scientists the Newtons and Galileos of our day, whose superior genius and insight will usher in great new strides in science in the decades and centuries to come?

  3. Nate, the most important factors from the surveys you mention are:

    “The study found, in part, that 96.4% of “climatologists who are active publishers on climate change” agree that mean global temperatures have risen “compared with pre-1800s levels”, and that 97.4% (75 of 77) agree that human activity “is a significant contributing factor” in temperature change.”

    The answers should have been 100 percent. Nobody with any knowledge on the subject (including me) doubts that temperatures have increased since the 1800s, and nobody also doubts that humans have been a significant factor if you consider reality, not the hype.

    All temperature records show that temperatures are higher since the 1800s because we were at the tail end of a mini ice age in the 1800s, so clearly temperatures will increase. Check. There are several completely uncontroversial aspects to an increase in human activity. More humans means more humans breathing and expelling CO2. Check. More humans means more concrete being built to create cities, and cities create urban heat islands and are generally warmer than the countryside. Check.

    So, this survey is really meaningless when it comes to the main contentions of global warming, which is that increased CO2 will necessarily cause disaster (that is NOT certain) and that the economic costs of controlling CO2 are worth trying to do it (that is definitely doubtful).

    When you add in the actual scientific reality that none of the major claims made by Al Gore, Hansen and others have come true, you come to the completely reasonable realization that the earth has warmed slightly (yes, it has) and that there are more humans, so we are having some effect on the earth (yes, this is true), but that the warming is not anything close to the disaster predicted. Therefore, you arrive at the conclusion that everybody should calm down about this issue and go find something else to worry about.

  4. Interesting graphs, Geoff. I share your concerns with the global warming hype. While I admit that carbon emissions may be contributing somewhat to warming, my biggest concern is that runaway ideas of manmade global warming will lead to cap and trade-ish legislation while the main culprit may be natural. Your graphs seem to suggest that the cause may be due to cyclical natural cycles of cooling and warming.

    Something I can get on board with are efforts to minimize pollution that is harmful to human health, including carbon emissions. You see, I think the global warming community should have jumped on the “let’s reduce harmful pollution” bandwagon which is something most people can agree with, including myself. To go around calling for crap and trade legislation in the name of rampant global warming that may be more natural than manmade was bound to fail, and so it has.

  5. Geoff, so you do believe in global warming, and that humans contribute to it. However, you believe that both the warming and the human contribution are over-hyped.

    Would you acknowledge however that there is another side that is over-hyping the other extreme, that global warming is a myth and that humans do not contribute to it at all? Would you say that a complete denial of global warming and it’s human component might also be a negative?

    It’s natural that something that has so many political implications would become polarized and exaggerated. Global warming alarmists are really not so much alarmed about global warming as they are alarmed at the apparent anti-intellectual, anti-science strain in American society that completely denies that global warming exists. They know that Americans are anti-intellectual and will only respond to fear. So they exaggerate the fears like all good politicians.

    And likewise, those who perceive that global warming alarmists are using that alarm to try to ram through left-leaning legislation are using the opposite tactic. They cry that the myth of global warming is part of a grand socialist conspiracy which has seduced all but a few noble scientists, setting off alarm bells all across the communist hating heartland.

    Me, I’m partial to left-leaning energy legislation so I’m cool with politicians over-hyping global warming to try to get it done. Politics is all about using fear to garner electoral power.

    And I suppose I can’t blaming you for wanting to under-hype global warming because you are partial to less government energy legislation. Isn’t that what all this is really about?

  6. Nate:

    “Me, I’m partial to left-leaning energy legislation so I’m cool with politicians over-hyping global warming to try to get it done. Politics is all about using fear to garner electoral power.”

    Exactly my point. Thanks.

  7. Those looking for a factual balance on this issue, you might want to read Superfreakonomics. It does a good job of demonstrating that those that think the world is split between Al-Gore-lovers and Al-Gore-skeptics are off base. Al Gore is a straw man by this point.

    And I like the true-skeptic (as opposed to psuedo-skeptic) approach it took with AGW in general and also its hard look at geo-engineering as a possible response. For those looking for some real balance on this issue, it’s a good place to start.

  8. You are always welcome Geoff. And thanks for the tip on Superfreakonomics Bruce. I loved the first book, and I always enjoy their NPR show. Unfortunately, I think Freakonomics sometimes deceives themselves in their quest for provocation. I believe they probably start with a provocative idea, and then find the research to support it, leading to sometimes unbalanced conclusions. Often, it’s very revealing, but sometimes, as in the case of abortion legalization being the reason for the drop in crime in the 90s, I think they are misrepresenting data just to make a point. But I would like to read their argument about global warming.

  9. Bruce, regarding you #11, I am definitely not willing to get into another endless debate, but I would like to point out that Al Gore is NOT a straw man for the point I am trying to make. As I have written probably a dozen times now, I could care less about the science of climate if it did not affect me and my future (and my kids’ future and society’s future) directly. Just to give another example, I have no dog in the fight over evolution *because it is absolutely meaningless to me and is a purely scientific exercise*. If biologists want to believe in evolution, it’s OK by me, precisely because biologists (for the most part, there are some exceptions) do not turn evolution into a political cause involving world government and control of what kind of car I drive, how I heat my home, what kind of job I can get, etc. It is the political nature of the global warming movement that causes alarm, and Al Gore is the symbol of this and is therefore central to my point. It is also central to my point that left-leaners like Nate have no problem with the exaggeration of the science as long as it encourages people to institute political controls he favors.

  10. Just to be clear, I’m only cool with politicians distorting and bending the truth, because politics is a kind of dirty war that cannot be one without appealing to emotion over reason. Voter behavior is not rational so appealing to voter’s reason would be ineffective. But science cannot be this way as it is supposed to rely exclusively on reason. So I would expect scientists not to have a political agenda or they lose credibility in my book. But I have nothing but respect for Al Gore as a political power broker, as that is his profession, and he does a terrific job of mobilizing capital for his goals.

    Additionally, I think that global warming is the least important reason why society should move away from it’s addiction to fossil fuels. But if the most scary reason, so be it.

  11. Geoff, nice post and great responses. I like the way you lay out your arguments on this point.

  12. Gosh, if only God could see things the way Nate does, Satan would not have been cast out of heaven into outer darkness. After all, I am sure Satan only saw himself as a politician trying to persuade everyone that he was correct, and therefore, morally justified in lying, cheating and stealing to make his point.

    Nate, I wrote the above this morning, and just now got back to it. It sounds mean/not very nice, so I apologize if it comes across that way to you. But, you hit a nerve, and I have a hard time believing someone as smart as you are, thinks it is okay to lie, cheat and steal to get what you want. And saying it applies only to politicians, just does not help.

  13. CEF, thank you for your response. I believe politics is definitely a moral “gray area.” It’s all about “dig a pit for your neighbor.” But part of the game is that you could very well “fall in the pit which you dug for your neighbor yourself.”

    The best way I can think of to view it is that in politics, “the ends often justify the means.” A politician can have extremely upright, just, and moral desires for his country. Yet he finds himself at the mercy of representative democracy, wherein he is accountable to a large body of people who may not be very bright, educated, reasonable, and who may also be completely wrong headed in his estimation. How is he to be true to his moral convictions while representing such a populace? The answer lies in being a political magician, a master of spin, romance, and fear-mongering (calling it lying is a bit too strong usually). Frank Lutz is the ultimate master of this game on the conservative side, as is Al Gore on the liberal side. I believe both Lutz and Gore are probably very moral people, true idealists with only the best of intentions for America, yet they are masters of deception, which is what makes them both power brokers and influencers, doing a great amount of good (depending on how you define good).

  14. Nate @14:
    “Just to be clear, I’m only cool with politicians distorting and bending the truth…. I would expect scientists not to have a political agenda or they lose credibility in my book. But I have nothing but respect for Al Gore as a political power broker, as that is his profession, and he does a terrific job of mobilizing capital for his goals.

    Nate, that is just an astounding statement. Lying to the public to get one’s political objectives is contrary to every requirement of ethical, honest, trustworthy, and legitimate discourse required in a democracy. It is a morally bankrupt position to advocate. It undermines the very foundation of democratic institutions and results in precisely the gridlock we have now as no one trusts anyone in government. Furthermore, it encourages civil unrest and rebellion. It furthers no agenda except that of further misinforming an electorate.

    The problem is when the scientists themselves engage in the very same dishonest practices. As just one example:

    Kuhn notes that what he calls “personal biases” enter into the paradigm process. What happens in environmental science is no different than what happens in another field of applied science, medicine. People become doctors out of (among other reasons) concern for others’ well-being. People become environmental scientists because (among other reasons) they are concerned about what they perceive to be the well-being of the environment. Consequently, the oft-pilloried statement by Stanford University’s Stephen Schneider is completely logical for a paradigm-supporting scientist:

    “…We are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but…. On the other hand, we are not just scientists, but human beings as well. And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change. To do that we have to get some broad-based public support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This ‘double ethical bind’ that we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both.” [interview quoted in "Discover", pp. 45-48, Oct. 1989]

    Other major climate scientists have adopted precisely this attitude as revealed in the leaked Climategate e-mails.

    —————————————————

    Dave C. @ #7:
    “Something I can get on board with are efforts to minimize pollution that is harmful to human health, including carbon emissions.”

    Do you understand what is being referred to when climate alarmists refer to carbon emissions. ALL life on the planet emit “carbon”. Humans are “carbon-based organisms”. The carbon plants and humans incorporate into their bodies are essential to turning metabolic processes into energy. The deliberately distorted presentation of the only carbon emitted by power generation and other processes: i.e., carbon dioxide. IOW, they are referring to the non-polluting carbon of CO2, which is actually a beneficial fertilizer to plant life and a colorless, odorless, non-toxic gas essential to life on the planet. Earth with be a barren waste without it. Oceans emit huge amounts of CO2 (the warmer they get, the more they emit). It’s a natural part of the carbon cycle. Other carbons sources (such as soot) are already captured with current pollution control requirements.

    —————————————————

    Finally, I have a small quibble with the title of the current post. The recent cooling has tracked two back-to-back La Ninas (and was preceded by a strong El Nino which warmed global temperatures). Climate is certainly not cooling, and even the cooling that has taken place cannot be considered statistically significant. At best we can state there has been no warming for about 15 years. Temperatures will no doubt begin to increase in the near (close to immediate) future as the La Nina subsides. What is clear is that there is no correlation to present CO2 trends in the atmosphere.

  15. John M, there has been a slight cooling, as reflected in the satellite records and in the Arctic and Antarctic ice recovery. But I would agree with you that it is not statistically significant. The HADCRUT temperature record shows completely flat global temperatures for the last 15 years, as you say.

  16. The media (on both sides of the political spectrum) loves to conflate weather and climate. Record temperatures this year have less to do with climate change and more to do with a confluence of large scale atmospheric trends.

    The data for this post is a bit cherry picked, and in the past Geoff has gotten excited over temporary peaks in ice coverage charts, only to become silent as the coverage crashes below averages later. It can be argued that great arctic ice coverage at this point this year is due in part to the arctic oscillation that kept the eastern US so warm this winter.

    But Geoff is right that scientists are scratching their heads over where all the heat has gone for the last decade. This is bigger than a few La Ninas. A good source of relatively unbiased temperature data is the Berkley BEST project, started by a climate change skeptic. They make their datasets and methodologies available. They also make a pretty movie:

    http://berkeleyearth.org/movies/

    I agree with Nate that getting off of oil would be great, for all sorts of reasons. The problem is that oil is incredibly energy dense and we have a huge worldwide infrastructure dedicated to it.

  17. I meant to reply to “a random John”‘s post above for some time. First, Geoff did not cherry pick anything. He included the entire satellite record of global temperature (the only truly global measure of temperature we have).

    Also, past losses of Arctic ice have actually been linked to ocean currents (related to wind patterns which are driven by cyclical oceanic & atmospheric patterns (e.g., the Arctic Oscillation (AO), the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation(PDO)) that have tended to push sea ice into warmer waters; i.e., it was not global warming except as ocean cycles tend to warm and cool the earth (and the ice on top of it). [Some sources: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2007-131 and http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2009GL038777.shtml ]. It was even warmer in the Arctic in the 1940s.

    Finally, Berkeley professor Richard Muller, who began the BEST temperature data program, was never a global warming skeptic–he was a firm believer in anthropogenic global warming. He started BEST as a result of his contempt for Dr. Michael Mann et al.’s duplicity (including the “hide the decline” episode which included the perveyor of the main global dataset, Dr. Phil Jones of East Anglia CRU/HadCRUT fame) and his distrust of NASA GISS’s temperature dataset headed by environmental radical Dr. James Hansen. His data still show the lack of recent warming. Additionally, his methods have not been received uncritically and still suffer from the same problems as all the other temperature datasets (lack of global coverage, etc.).

    It’s also important to note that their “pretty good movie” is of land-based temperatures only and are the very temperatures subject to land-use changes, the urban heat island effect, etc. (that artificially inflate temperatures) whereas ocean temps are not. That’s why the satellite record used by Geoff is preferable.

  18. John M,

    I agree that Geoff’s charts show pretty complete data. My cherry picking comment is in regards to when he decides to trot out the Arctic ice coverage charts. Anyone can see that recent years have had lower than average coverage for most of the year. Geoff likes to post them (he’s done it more than once) at moments when they look good. But if he were to pick moments at random they generally wouldn’t look so great. That said, kudos to him for posting the full graph, which gives us some context.

    I also agree (and thought I stated it above) that there hasn’t been significant warming for the last ten years.

  19. arJ, you may want to compare total worldwide ice coverage today to what was claimed by global warming alarmists 30, 20 and 10 years ago. You then may get a better picture of why I continue to harp on this issue.

    Total sea ice is now higher than it was in the 1980s. See here:

    http://www.real-science.com/global-sea-ice-area-greater-than-the-1980s

    But of course ice cover has always gone up and down. Take a look here:

    http://www.real-science.com/arctic-meltdown

    In the 1980s, AGW alarmists claimed the Arctic would be ice-free during the summer by 2000. Then they claimed it would be ice free by 2013. They still are moving the goal posts and claiming no ice by 2020. The reality is none of their predictions have come true, so there is no reason to take them seriously.

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