Saturday, September 29, 2007

New NASA Temperature Data; Re-Assessing the Global Warming Scare

Have you been watching the weather reports that have been tracking the current crop of hurricane season storms? If you have, you’ve probably noticed that they use computer models to predict where there storms will go and at what intensity. Watching these scary scenarios, we go to bed with a prayer on our lips for those in the path of this week’s storm. In the morning we get up, turn on the news, and check out what happened. It seems that about 50% of the time the storm does not do what the computer models proposed. Where your prayers answered, or were the computers wrong? The answer is probably some of each—but surely the computer models have faults and prayers have strengths. When we extrapolate this out to global warming, might the computer models have faults—and prayers have strengths? Is it possible that like this seasons storms, global warming might not be as scary as predicted? Could the models be wrong? Could the data be faulty?

Here we offer an interesting perspective from one of our favorite sources: the Business and Media Institute. Does this make sense to you?

Faulty data abounds in the foundational arguments of climate change zealots.
Imagine basing a country’s energy and economic policy on an incomplete, unproven theory – a theory based entirely on computer models in which one minor variable is considered the sole driver for the entire global climate system.

This is precisely what Al Gore, Senate Environment Committee Chairman Barbara Boxer and others want their nation to do.

They expect Americans to accept on blind faith the thesis that human carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are causing catastrophic climate change. Boxer, Gore and their allies readily resort to emotional bullying against anyone who dares question this dogma.

Their pronouncements – Boxer’s juvenile “the American people have the will to slow, stop and reverse global warming” is a prime example – are merely displays of arrogance that expose their lack of basic science understanding (and their complete disrespect for public intelligence). The policies they advocate are wholly unjustified scientifically and have extraordinarily damaging economic implications for the developed world.

The scientific method, which even grade-schoolers know, provides that science advances through hypotheses based on a set of assumptions. Other scientists challenge and test those assumptions in what philosopher Karl Popper called the practice of “falsibility.” Trying to disprove hypotheses is what real science is all about.

Yet the hypothesis that human addition of CO2 would lead to significantly enhanced greenhouse warming was quickly accepted without this normal scientific challenge.

As Dr. Richard S. Lindzen, Professor of Meteorology in MIT’s Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences said, consensus was reached before the research had even begun. Adherents to the hypothesis began defending the increasingly indefensible by launching personal attacks, essentially trying to frighten scientific opponents into silence.

Much to the frustration of alarmists, however, solid scientific evidence continues to mount against the flawed notion that human CO2 emissions are a problem.

For instance, NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) just made significant changes to its temperature records, downgrading the magnitude of recent rises.

This was precipitated by discovery of errors in NASA methodologies by Canadian researcher Steve McIntyre, already well-known for his debunking of the now-infamous “hockey stick” temperature graph that was a fundamental pillar of the 2001 United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report.

Dr. James Hansen, as director of GISS, is responsible for NASA temperature records. An ardent Gore supporter, Hansen often plays conflicting roles simultaneously. Within one week of the change to the NASA record, he posted a blog diatribe – not officially through his employer’s channels, but as a private citizen.

In his blog post, he claimed the temperature changes were insignificant (in reality, they are highly significant) and likened climate warming skeptics to “court jesters” paid by industry.

Hansen also played this duplicitous game when he made a sensationalist climate change presentation to Congress – also as a private citizen. Such strongly held and outspoken views likely influence, and so are inconsistent with, his activities as a scientist/executive at NASA.

Before McIntyre’s discovery, NASA considered 1998 the warmest year in the continental U.S.; now it is 1934, with 1998 second and 1921 third.

Four of the 10 warmest years on record are now acknowledged to have occurred when human production of CO2 was minimal, in the 1930s. The past decade now includes only three of the 10 warmest years. Will Gore withdraw “An Inconvenient Truth” pending necessary corrections?

A second “proof” of human CO2-caused warming, according to the U.N.’s IPCC, was a claimed increase in global temperatures of about 1°F over 130 years. This was asserted to be outside natural variability. But the uncertainty in the measurements was more than ±0.3°F, meaning possible values could vary by as much as 66 percent of the total change.

The source of this temperature calculation, University of East Anglia’s Professor Phil Jones, has refused to disclose which temperature records were used and how he “adjusted” them. Clearly, the IPCC’s conclusions must be viewed with considerable suspicion until they provide full disclosure on the Jones data.

The meaning of these revelations is clear: computer models are the basis of all forecasts used by alarmists. These models used temperature data that is now known to be suspect or completely wrong. Will Gore, Boxer and the IPCC call for a rational re-evaluation of the global warming scare?

Don’t bet on it – accurate science was never a hallmark of this crusade.

Dr. Timothy Ball, Chairman of the Natural Resources Stewardship Project (, is a Victoria-based environmental consultant and former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg. Tom Harris is an Ottawa-based mechanical engineer and NRSP Executive Director. Ball and Harris serve as guest columnists for the Media Research Center’s Business & Media Institute.

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