Thursday, February 5, 2009

Global Warming: How Much Do We Really Know?

The following article comes from "The Professional Geologist", Vol. 44, No. 6, Nov/Dec 2007, pp 12-13, a bi-monthly publication of The American Institute of Professional Geologists. The article is the opinion of two Certified Professional Geologists (CPG), and I think it represents the thinking of the majority of the world's geologists, who are, after all Earth Scientists. Their observations are at odds with the current, claimed (and untrue) notion that the science supporting the concept of man-caused global warming is settled, and the "debate is over".

It is most unfortunate that more geologists don't speak out on the subject, because as the authors point out, geologists are in a uniquely qualified position to refute the cause and effect claims and the shrill cries of catastrophe coming from the global warming alarmists.
Peter


Causes of Global Warming,
Are We Certain?


Robert G. Corbett, CPG-04502 and Gary T. Dannemiller, CPG-05118


This paper is not a definitive scientific
treatise nor does it contain new data.
Rather it is a review of current thought
on the topic, and casts doubt on the
importance of CO2 generation in global
warming. Central to this discussion is
questioning the validity of the notion
that burning of fossil fuel significantly
increases global warming.

Before we get started, we need to
review some elements of argumentation.
In any argument, the several sentences
presented may be either premise or
conclusion. A significant error in an
argument is termed a fallacy. There are
patterns in arguments. For example, if
one set of measurements correlates to
another set (either both increasing or
both decreasing) we say there is a positive
correlation. If one variable increases
and the other decreases there is a negative
correlation. Mere correlation is not
enough to establish causation, unless
there are no other variables that can reasonably
explain the situation
(Heggie,
2002). We shall use this shortly.

As geologists, we are in a better
position than others to recognize that
the geologic record contains evidence
of past cyclical climate changes.
Earth
has warmed since the last interglacial
began about 19,000 years B.P., and
sea level has risen for the past 15,000
years (Gornitz, 2007) although in fits
and starts. We recognize that both the
science behind climate change and the
role of greenhouse gases are poorly
understood. In fact, many close to the
situation claim any relation between
global warming and CO2 is a prediction
approach and not a cause and effect
claim. To most persons, it has become a
cause and effect explanation.
If one goes back in time, CO2 is seen as only one
potential driver of global warming.
According to Utility and Income, an
investment advisory, “… virtually all
globally respected scientific organizations
have accepted the premise that CO2
regulation is needed.” On the other hand,
the Minority Page of the U.S. Senate
Committee on Environment and Public
Works of May 15, 2007 reports that some
“prominent scientists reverse belief in
man-made global warming….”

Nature of the Argument
Here is the widely promoted argument:
humankind is burning ever increasing
amounts of carbon-based fuels, and this
burning releases carbon dioxide. This
causes an increase in CO2 content in the
atmosphere. As CO2 slowly increases in
our atmosphere, it (being one of several
greenhouse gases) traps heat, preventing
some heat from re-radiating to space.
Conclusion: burning more fossil fuels
causes the Earth to become warmer.

Flaws in the Argument
This involves classic false cause and
effect argument. Why? No good reason
is presented that other causes for global
warming are not possible or likely.
All
we need to do is identify one plausible
alternate cause and we may invoke the
false cause and effect objection. This
does not prove or disprove one theory,
but it does invalidate the fast conclusion.

There are other theories to explain the
variations now and over the past years:
plate tectonics and its influence on patterns
of oceanic circulation, green house
gases other than CO2 (water vapor,
methane, tropospheric ozone, nitrous
oxide, CFCs, CO), the Milankovitch
Cycle (Cycles Research Institute), solar
radiation variations, cosmic ray flux,
and Earth position to the Sun.
Singer
and Avery (2007) present evidence from
others for a 1500 year-cycle for warming
and cooling of the atmosphere that
is independent of greenhouse gases. J.
Jousel and others (2007) extend the data
and interpretation for the Antarctica
Dome C ice core.

Solar Cycles, A Likely
Explanation
In their book Unstoppable Global
Warming, Singer and Avery (2007) refer
to Earth’s climate timeline, present
failures of the Greenhouse theory, and
cite the many world- and culture-wide
evidences that relate to climate, including
ice cores, tree rings, pollen, coral,
glaciers, boreholes, sea sediments, tree
lines, and agricultural crops. Singer
and Avery compile and present evidence,
direct and indirect, that follows
the Dansgaard-Oeschger cycle, an
irregular 1470 plus or minus 500 year
moderate warming and cooling cycle.
However, there is no 1470 year solar
cycle. The 1470 year cycle may be caused
by the interaction of other known Solar
cycles. Singer and Avery refer to the 87
year Gleissberg the 210 year Devries-
Suess cycles, and R. Timothy Patterson
mentions the 11 year Schwabe cycle
and the 1100-1500 year Bond cycle.

Patterson’s article Read the Sunspots
is found at Canada.com, dated June 21,
2007. Referring to the Little Ice Age,
Patterson points to the work of others
in noting that as our star’s solar output
and protective wind lessen, cosmic rays
from deep space enter and penetrate
our atmosphere. This allows enhancement
of cloud formation, which has a
cooling effect.
Interestingly, R. Timothy
Patterson has recently stated “Solar
scientists predict that, by 2020, the sun
will be starting into its weakest Schwabe
cycle of the past two centuries, potentially
leading to unusually cool conditions on
earth. Solar power has overpowered any
effect that CO2 has had before, and most
likely will again. And if we’re to have
even a medium-sized solar minimum, we
could be looking at climate change with
a lot more negative effects than “global
warming” would have had.”
We suggest that there is far too much
uncertainty in ascribing climate change
solely to anthropogenic CO2 production.

Federal Agency Setting
Policies
The U.S. E.P.A. climatechange/glossary.html#Sink> has
defined climate change as any significant
change in measures of climate (such
as temperature, precipitation, or wind)
lasting for an extended period (decades
or longer). The EPA relates that climate
change may result from:
• natural factors, such as changes in the
sun’s intensity or slow changes in the
Earth’s orbit around the sun;
• natural processes within the climate
system (e.g. changes in ocean circulation);
• human activities that change the
atmosphere’s composition (e.g.
through burning fossil fuels) and
the land surface (e.g. deforestation,
reforestation, urbanization, desertification,
etc.).
Further information (nearly verbatim)
comes from:
science/stateofknowledge.html>

What’s Known?
Scientists know with virtual certainty
that:
• Human activities are changing the
composition of Earth’s atmosphere.
Increasing levels of greenhouse gases
like carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere
since pre-industrial times are
well-documented;
• The atmospheric buildup of CO2 and
other greenhouse gases is largely the
result of human activities such as the
burning of fossil fuels;
• A warming trend of about 0.7 to
1.5°F occurred during the 20th century.
Warming occurred in both the
Northern and Southern Hemispheres,
and over the oceans;
• The major greenhouse gases emitted
by human activities remain in the
atmosphere for periods ranging from
decades to centuries. It is therefore
virtually certain that atmospheric
concentrations of greenhouse gases
will continue to rise over the next few
decades; and
• Increasing greenhouse gas concentrations
tend to warm the planet.

What’s Likely?
The Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC) has stated
“There is new and stronger evidence
that most of the warming observed
over the last 50 years is attributable to
human activities”. In short, a number of
scientific analyses indicate, but cannot
prove, that rising levels of greenhouse
gases in the atmosphere are contributing
to climate change (as theory predicts). In
the coming decades, scientists anticipate
that as atmospheric concentrations of
greenhouse gases continue to rise, average
global temperatures and sea levels
will continue to rise as a result and precipitation
patterns will change.

What’s Not Certain?
Important scientific questions remain
about how much warming will occur, how
fast it will occur, and how the warming
will affect the rest of the climate system
including precipitation patterns and
storms. Answering these questions will
require advances in scientific knowledge
in a number of areas, such as:
• improving understanding of natural
climatic variations, changes in the
sun’s energy, land-use changes, the
warming or cooling effects of pollutant
aerosols, and the impacts of changing
humidity and cloud cover;
• determining the relative contribution
to climate change of human activities
and natural causes;
• projecting future greenhouse emissions
and how the climate system will
respond within a narrow range; and
• improving understanding of the
potential for rapid or abrupt climate
change.
The writers wish to add a note to
What’s Not Certain. The role of water
vapor, a major greenhouse gas, is not
considered by the IPCC or USEPA even
though other greenhouse gases such as
CO2 may have a lesser impact compared
to water vapor.

1 comment:

tmkowal said...

What complete junk you post.