Despite predictions, sky is not falling
PAULA EASLEY COMMENT(Published: November 10, 2007)
The first key to wisdom is constant and frequent questioning, for by doubting we
are led to question and by questioning we arrive at the truth.
Abelard (A.D. 1079 - 1142)
Reading about the recent global warming rally at Kincaid Park, I wondered if the participants would be relieved if man's activities were proved not responsible for Alaska's warming weather.
An intriguing question.
They probably don't know ground-based warming stopped in 1998, according to Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change data. This temperature stability is occurring despite a four percent increase in atmospheric C02 over the last eight years. Lower atmosphere satellite data also show little, if any, warming since 1979, although atmospheric CO2 increased 17 percent.
In another surprising turn, NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies corrected data errors this September that required changing America's warmest year on record from 1998 to 1934, thus refuting the Gospel According to James Hansen, the Institute's director. The third hottest year is now 1921.
Canadian Stephen McIntyre (http://www.climateaudit.org/), concerned about the discontinuity of NASA's temperature record, identified the errors and contacted the Institute. The end result: Five of America's top 10 warmest years occurred in the 1930s, when only 10 percent of greenhouse gases emitted in the last century were in the atmosphere. Three of the top 10 remain 1998, 2006 and 1999. Natural variation or catastrophic warming?
McIntyre's widely-commended contribution to climate science also severely damaged Michael Mann's infamous "hockey stick" graph that is integral to climate scare mongering, and the 2007 IPCC report no longer includes it. This is fascinating stuff.
Ancient Chinese records have revealed historic warming from year one to about A.D. 240 (the Roman Warming); a cold period between years A.D. 240 and 800 (Dark Ages); warming between 800 and 1400 (Medieval Optimum); and cooling from 1400 to about 1900 (Little Ice Age). Where were man-made CO2 emissions then?
Contrary to today's predictions of catastrophic weather events, during China's warm periods it experienced fewer and milder storms, fewer droughts and floods, better crops and more prosperity. Here at home, researchers found serious droughts are becoming rare. According to http://www.co2science.org/, seven droughts occurred before 1920, seven from 1921-1940 (including the Dust Bowl disaster), eight from 1941-1960, five from 1961-1980 and just three during the next two decades.
But people are dying because of global warming, prominent climate alarmist Deborah Williams wrote (ADN, April 18, 2006), noting 31,000 Europeans died in the 2003 heat wave. Yet cold kills many times more people than heat (as Alaskans well know). Cold weather in England and Wales, 1998-2000, caused some 47,000 deaths each winter.
Because there are so many variables in climate, scientists have difficulty explaining the complex workings of solar energy levels, continental drift, changes in earth's orbit, clouds, cosmic rays, etc. Then, throw in water vapor, which constitutes 80 percent to 95 percent of greenhouse gases but is seldom mentioned or considered in computer models. Without factoring in water vapor, CO2 concentrations appear far more significant. Meteorologist Joseph D'Aleo helps clarify: "If the atmosphere was a 100-story building, our annual anthropogenic CO2 contribution today would be equivalent to the linoleum on the first floor."
Some scientists have found the courage to publicly denounce the prevailing Armageddon warnings, saying there's just too much at stake. (See: people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/climate.php.) From an Alaska perspective, it is heartening to see dedicated professionals leave their comfort zones to warn that an ill-informed public, elected officials and bureaucrats could literally transform the structure of society and its economic foundations. And for what?
Government-mandated punitive measures will do nothing to reverse warming impacts on Alaska. What will work is applying human ingenuity, mitigation and adaptation measures specifically where they are needed. Focusing attention on ways to benefit from warmer weather is also in order. Cold Alaskans' per capita energy consumption is three times the national average. Aren't energy cost savings and air quality improvements going to be significant? Extended growing seasons and warmer temperatures will also benefit agriculture and forestry, improving Alaskans' living standards.
Staging the nationwide rallies last Saturday must have cost the sponsoring organizations a fortune, along with the cost of sending 5,000 students to lobby Congress. You have to question why such fortunes are being spent, who's writing the checks, who stands to gain and lose. One thing should be clear: It's not about global warming.
So, would the rally participants be relieved to find humans and industry innocent of causing global warming? Probably not.
Paula Easley, an Anchorage public policy consultant, serves on the Resource Development Council's board of directors. E-mail, firstname.lastname@example.org.