Tuesday, July 30, 2013
by dennis T. avery
Churchville, VA—Senator Boxer recently held a hearing entitled, “Climate Change: It’s Happening Now.” To honor historic truth, the title “It’s Happening Again” would have suited better.
Heidi Cullen, formerly the alarmist voice at the Weather Channel, was one of Boxer’s key witnesses. In her testimony, Dr. Cullen said that “heavy downpours” have increased by 73 percent over recent decades due to global warming. The U.S. Geological Survey data show no such increase over the past 60 years, though there may have been some increase in rainfall variability. She once was too good a scientist to make a misstatement such as that.
In fact, her side has not been able to give her much alarmist ammunition beyond the never-verified and now-failing computer models. At one point, Senator Vitter (R-LA) asked the panel of experts “Can any witnesses say they agree with Obama’s statement that warming has accelerated during the past 10 years?” After a deafening silence, Dr. Cullen said our focus should be on longer time-periods, rather than the ten years mentioned by Obama. When pressed, however, she admitted that global warming has slowed, not accelerated.
Dr. Cullen knows about longer climate cycling. She is an expert on the long, natural 1,500-year climate cycle that gave us the Little Ice Age, the Medieval Warming, and more than 600 previous warming/cooling cycles over the past 1 million years.
In fact, Dr. Cullen studied the sediments that accumulated downwind of Akkadia, in the Persian Gulf. She discovered that the first impact of a “little ice age” on the Akkadian Empire (in today’s Iraq) at 2200 BC was a 300-year drought! The drought caused mass starvation and abandoned towns; then for another 200 years, shepherds wandered the semi-arid wasteland. Eventually, a return of global warming brought back stable and favorable cropping conditions to Iraq, new immigrants recreated the irrigated farming that had supported the Akkadians, and the urbanization of human cultures resumed. (This has happened seven times in the last 6000 years.)
Her science career was looking good; but, she chose to become a TV star and author of a book entitled The Weather of the Future. The book, unfortunately, abandons everything she learned about the documented 1,500-year climate cycle. If Dr. Cullen had remained true to her scientific training and experience, she would have told us that the global climate is constantly cycling, but within natural parameters.
The Modern Warming has followed the long and intensely cold Little Ice Age. We cannot predict how long the Modern Warming will last, but it is virtually certain to last another 200–400 years, with a maximum temperature about the same as the highly beneficial Medieval and Roman Warmings. Then, inevitably, the warming will shift abruptly into another “little ice age,” or even into a full Ice Age. What will the successors of Dr. Cullen have us do then?
In the short term, the weather will obey the dictates of the Pacific Ocean, our biggest heat sink. The Pacific’s 60-year warm/cool cycle, superimposed on the 1,500-year cycle, currently predicts continued global cooling—until long after the current crop of politicians has retired or been defeated.
Dr. Cullen tried becoming famous with honest science, and hardly anyone noticed her. Now, her current celebrity is likely to fade with the declining temperatures.
Dennis T. Avery, a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C., is an environmental economist. He was formerly a senior analyst for the Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years. Readers may write to him at PO Box 202 Churchville, VA 2442; email to email@example.com. Visit our website at www. cgfi.org