Thursday, January 31, 2008

What Causes Ice Ages To Begin And End?

Here is an excellent summary of the causes of the beginnings and endings of ice ages. Since Ice Ages and their associated warming periods, or interglacials, are the most extreme climate changes the Earth goes through, it is important to note that there is NO mention of atmospheric carbon dioxide playing a role.

It seems the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere responds to changes in temperature. When the oceans warm, they release CO2 and it increases in the atmosphere. When the oceans cool, they absorb more CO2. Mankind's miniscule contribution of CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels seems to literally have no affect at all on climate change. The author of this short essay is a very accomplished glacial scientist and ecologist and author. I wonder why he isn't speaking out about the myth of man-caused global warming?


What causes ice-ages?
Fluctuations in the amount of insolation (incoming solar radiation) are the most likely cause of large-scale changes in Earth's climate during the Quaternary. In other words, variations in the intensity and timing of heat from the sun are the most likely cause of the glacial/interglacial cycles. This solar variable was neatly described by the Serbian scientist, Milutin Milankovitch, in 1938. There are three major components of the Earth's orbit about the sun that contribute to changes in our climate. First, the Earth's spin on its axis is wobbly, much like a spinning top that starts to wobble after it slows down. This wobble amounts to a variation of up to 23.5 degrees to either side of the axis. The amount of tilt in the Earth's rotation affects the amount of sunlight striking the different parts of the globe. The greater the tilt, the stronger the difference in seasons (i.e., more tilt equals sharper differences between summer and winter temperatures). The range of motion in the tilt (from left-of-center to right-of-center and back again) takes place over a period of 41,000 years. As a result of a wobble in the Earth's spin, the position of the Earth on its elliptical path changes, relative to the time of year. This phenomenon is called the precession of equinoxes. The cycle of equinox precession takes 23,000 years to complete. In the growth of continental ice sheets, summer temperatures are probably more important than winter.

How does the ice build up?
Throughout the Quaternary period, high latitude winters have been cold enough to allow snow to accumulate. It is when the summers are cold, (i.e., summers that occur when the sun is at its farthest point in Earth's orbit), that the snows of previous winters do not melt completely. When this process continues for centuries, ice sheets begin to form. Finally, the shape of Earth's orbit also changes. At one extreme, the orbit is more circular, so that each season receives about the same amount of insolation. At the other extreme, the orbital ellipse is stretched longer, exaggerating the differences between seasons. The eccentricity of Earth's orbit also proceeds through a long cycle, which takes 100,000 years. Major glacial events in the Quaternary have coincided when the phases of axial tilt, precession of equinoxes and eccentricity of orbit are all lined up to give the northern hemisphere the least amount of summer insolation.
What makes the ice melt when the glaciation is over?

Major interglacial periods have occurred when the three factors line up to give the northern hemisphere the greatest amount of summer insolation. The last major convergence of factors giving us maximum summer warmth occurred 11,000 years ago, at the transition between the last glaciation and the current interglacial, the Holocene. During the late Pleistocene, the Rocky Mountain regions of Canada and the regions farther west were almost engulfed in the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, while most of Canada east of the Rockies and the north-central and northeastern United States were covered by the Laurentide Ice Sheet. The divide between the two ice sheets lay east of the Rockies, with the two ice bodies meeting near the U.S.-Canadian border in eastern Montana. The Laurentide ice sheet is thought to have been as much as two miles thick at the center.
Click here to return to Scott Elias' home page

Scott A. Elias is a fellow of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, and a research associate of the University of Alaska Museum. He is the author of Ice-Age History of Alaskan National Parks (1995) and Quaternary Insects and their Environments (1994), published by Smithsonian Institution Press.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How Dinosaurs Got So Big....Warming In The Cretaceous Put More CO2 Into The Atmosphere

While reading about the massive amounts of coal in the Powder River Basin of Wyoming, I considered how much plant material it must take to produce a 200 foot thick bed of coal. This led me to the following article about how very high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide during the Cretaceous time period, (when many of these coal beds were formed) almost certainly enhanced the growth of plants.

The article relates the prolific plant growth to the huge size of the herbivorous (plant eating) dinosaurs of the Cretaceous and the carnivorous beasts who preyed on them. It makes sense.

What intriques me however, is what caused these very high levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide? Estimates are as great as 500% greater than they are today? (As much as 2000 ppm (parts per million) versus today's approximate 350 ppm.) Some say this was caused by increased volcanic activity. I don't think so.

It is well known that as water warms, its ability to hold dissolved CO2 decreases. Since the world's oceans contain approximately 97% of all the CO2 on Earth, any warming of the oceans would release great amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. This would of course increase plant growth, enable dinosaurs to grow to enormous sizes, and create these extremely thick coal beds.

What caused the warming? It sure wasn't man's burning of fossil fuels over one hundred million years ago. The warming was probably primarily caused by changes in solar activity. Later, the climate cooled, the oceans absorbed more CO2, limiting plant growth, starving the dinosaurs, and ending the massive deposition of plant material making up the thick coal beds. This is a simplified summary, but the idea is supported by geologic evidence from all around the world. This is a "working hypothesis". What do you think?


Media Contacts:Sara M. Decherd, 919/606-0676 Paul K. Mueller, News Services, 919/515-3470
Jan. 21, 2004
A Lot of Hot Air: How the Dinosaurs Grew So Monstrous
The dinosaur skeletons and fleshed-out reconstructions we see in museums tower over their viewers. How and why did these massive creatures grow so monstrous?
The answer is probably a lot of hot air. At least, that’s what the research of Sara Decherd, a doctoral student in marine, earth and atmospheric sciences at North Carolina State University, suggests.

Decherd studies the ecology of the Cretaceous period, some 160 million years ago, when Earth’s atmosphere contained more oxygen and more carbon dioxide and was, in her words, “a hothouse.” She believes, and is working to demonstrate, that this richer atmosphere helped plants grow bigger and faster. With lots of food, herbivorous dinosaurs thrived -- and became lumbering prey for their carnivorous cousins.

Both plant-eaters and meat-eaters grew fearsome, in effect, because food was plentiful.

Decherd’s research doesn’t focus on the dinosaurs, though, but on the role of Earth’s atmosphere on plant life. She’s using one of the most ancient plants, the Ginko biloba tree, to test her hypothesis.

“Research has shown that elevated carbon dioxide levels result in higher productivity, faster photosynthetic and growth rates, and greater rates of carbohydrate synthesis,” she says. “My work involves measuring how modern ginko trees react to Cretaceous-like atmospheres, and how the higher levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide affect the leaves’ nutritive value and digestibility. We’re also comparing these experimental ginko leaves with fossilized ginko leaves from the Cretaceous period to help verify our work.”

Like many scientists, the doctoral student is working with a multidisciplinary team, all specialists in some aspect of the research. Her committee includes Dr. Barry Goldfarb, associate professor of forestry and a plant physiologist; Dr. Reese Barrick, adjunct professor in the Department of Marine, Earth and Atmospheric sciences and a dinosaur paleontologist; Dr. Dale Russell, visiting professor in the College of Physical and Mathematical Sciences, another dinosaur paleontologist; and Dr. Elisabeth Wheeler, professor of wood and paper science, a fossil woods expert. Experiments are performed at the Duke University Medical Center in collaboration with Dr. Claude Piantadosi of the Center for Hyperbaric Medicine and Environmental Physiology.

Decherd hopes her research can resolve a scientific conundrum: How could the limited North American land area of the Cretaceous period – when water in the east and mountains in the west left only a relatively narrow band of arable land – grow enough plants to support the numerous, diverse and very hungry herbivores of the time?

“I hope to demonstrate that the enriched atmosphere of that time had a profound impact on plant productivity,” Decherd says. “Others have shown that oxygen was 50 percent higher and carbon dioxide was 500 percent higher in the Cretaceous atmosphere. Both of these gases affect the growth of plants, which are very sensitive to changes in oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.”

The experimental ginko seedlings she’s grown in Cretaceous-like atmospheres, for example, have triple the photosynthesis rates of seedlings grown in today’s atmosphere. And Decherd points to other plant responses – such as carbohydrate and lignin content – that result from the richer prehistoric gases.

“Given these data and results,” she says, “we think it highly probable that plant growth was substantially increased during the Cretaceous period.”

Does that explain the massive size of the dinosaurs? It might, but Decherd prefers to focus on the plant-growth aspects of her research. “The larger issues my work could help illumine aren’t the dinosaurs,” she says, “but rather the ecology of the Cretaceous period, the addition of our data to environmental and climatic models, and perhaps some insight into current concerns about greenhouse gases and global warming.”

Monday, January 28, 2008

Global Warming And Nature's Thermostat, by Dr. Roy Spencer

The following lengthy post is what I think is an excellent explanation of how the Earth's atmosphere and oceans interact to maintain a temperature balance. The key is the evaporation of water, the formation of clouds, and then precipitation. These processes are and have always been taking place; of that we are certain. The role of carbon dioxide and man's activities are minuscule.

Dr. Roy Spencer, a highly accomplished and esteemed climatologist and researcher, explains how these mechanisms work, the proof they exist, and why he is highly skeptical of claims that global warming is being caused by man's burning of fossil fuels. I hope everyone will take the time to read this. He likes to claim he is a climate "optimist", in that he thinks the Earth's precipitation system keeps our climate under control and that we have little need to worry about our climate future


Global Warming and Nature's Thermostat
by Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D.Updated January 12, 2008 with minor revisions. (This page is frequently updated with a variety of improvements, many of which won't be mentioned here.)

We live in an invisible atmospheric sea of water vapor, Earth's primary greenhouse gas. Our atmosphere could hold much more water vapor than it does, which would then lead to a much warmer Earth -- but it doesn't. So, why is the greenhouse effect limited to its current value? We don't know; scientists simply "assume" that it magically stays that way. Current computerized climate models that predict large amounts of global warming only do so after making very crude and uncertain assumptions about how the Earth's natural greenhouse effect is maintained.

In the following article I will explain why I believe that modern science can not say with any level of confidence how much of our current global warmth is caused by mankind without knowing why the Earth's greenhouse effect is limited to its current value. In the following article I will explain why the answer to this question must be through the operation of precipitation systems, for only they can remove water vapor from the atmosphere. Even though all climate models DO contain the "average effects" of precipitation systems -- this is NOT the same as knowing how precipitation systems interactively regulate the climate system.

Al Gore likes to say that mankind puts 70 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every day. What he probably doesn't know is that mother nature puts 24,000 times that amount of our main greenhouse gas -- water vapor -- into the atmosphere every day, and removes about the same amount every day. While this does not 'prove' that global warming is not manmade, it shows that weather systems have by far the greatest control over the Earth's greenhouse effect, which is dominated by water vapor and clouds.

START HERE! Global Warming 101: Global warming theory in a nutshell.
Preface: How Could So Many Climate Modelers Be Wrong?
Warming Over the Last Century
Temperatures Over the Last 2,000 Years
If We Can't Explain It, It Must Be Human-Induced
Climate Prediction and Weather Forecasting Are Not The Same
The Earth's Natural Greenhouse Effect
Mankind's Enhancement of the Greenhouse Effect
Positive or Negative Feedbacks?
How Sensitive Is the Climate System?
What Determines the Earth's Natural Greenhouse Effect?
Precipitation Systems: Nature's Air Conditioner?
Precipitation In Climate Models
A Summary, and the Future
Bio and Full Disclosure
New book release March 27, 2008: CLIMATE CONFUSION - How Global Warming Hysteria Leads to Bad Science, Pandering Politicians, and Misguided Policies that Hurt the Poor
Why Shouldn't We Act Now?:A Critique of "Most Terrifying Video You Will Ever See"

Global Warming 101:

Global Warming Theory in a Nutshell
Global warming theory starts with the assumption that the Earth's relatively constant average temperature is due to a balance between (1) the amount of absorbed sunlight, and (2) the amount of emitted infrared ("IR") radiation which is continuously being lost to outer space. In other words, energy in equals energy out. Averaged over the whole planet for 1 year, those energy flows in and out of the climate system are estimated to be about 235 watts per square meter. Greenhouse components in the atmosphere (mostly water vapor, clouds, carbon dioxide, and methane) extert strong controls over how warm the surface of the Earth gets. Mankind's burning of fossil fuels creates more atmospheric carbon dioxide. As we add more CO2, more infrared energy is trapped, strengthing the Earth's greenhouse effect, causing a warming tendency in the lower atmosphere and at the surface.

Global warming theory says that the lower atmosphere must then increase in temperature {which causes an increase in the IR escaping to space) until the emitted IR radiation once again equals the amount of absorbed sunlight. That is, the Earth must warm until global energy balance is once again restored. THIS IS THE BASIC EXPLANATION OF GLOBAL WARMING THEORY. Now, you might be surprised to learn that the warming from the extra CO2 is, by itself, relatively weak. It has been calculated theoretically that, if there are no other changes in the climate system, a doubling of the atmospheric CO2 concentration would cause less than 1 deg C of warming (about 1 deg. F). This is NOT a controversial is well understood by climate scientists. (We are currently about 40% of the way toward a doubling of atmospheric CO2.) BUT...everything this else in the climate system probably WON'T stay the same!

For instance, clouds, water vapor, and precipition systems can all be expected to respond to the warming tendency in some way, which could either amplify or reduce the manmade warming. These other changes are called "feedbacks", and they determine whether manmade global warming will be catastrophic, or barely noticiable. Feedbacks are the source of almost ALL SCIENTIFIC DISAGREEMENTS over global warming.

December, 2007 RESEARCH UPDATE: We have received back from peer review our article showing how natural climate variability has probably been misinterpreted, at least partially, by researchers who claim to see evidence of positive feedback (which would make global warming worse) in the climate system. Our article was carefully reviewed by two of the world's leading climate model experts who both agreed that we have raised a legitimate issue that has been previously ignored. Those reviewers even developed their own simple climate models to demonstrate the effect to themselves. It is still not known how much of an effect this is, but accounting for it would logically reduce estimates of how much global warming can be blamed on mankind.

Preface: How Could So Many Climate Modelers Be Wrong?
This is a question that fascinates me, not just from a science perspective, but a sociological perspective as well. I thought it might be good to address this question first since many of you are probably wondering, "Why should I waste my time with this web page when most the worlds experts agree that mankind causes global warming?":

1. INCOMPLETE UNDERSTANDING OF A COMPLEX PROBLEM: All climate modelers must build their models based upon our current understanding of how the climate system works. Therefore, if there is some important - but as yet poorly understood - process that they are missing, they will all tend to make the same error. Past evidence for this is the tendency for climate models to drift away from a realistic climate over time. This suggests that it takes a higher level of understanding to capture the intricate processes that stabilize the climate system. The most important example of this lack of understanding is, in my view, how precipitation systems control the Earth's natural greenhouse effect, over 90% of which is due to water vapor and clouds. The Earth's total greenhouse effect is not some passive quantity that can be easily modified by mankind adding a little carbon dioxide -- it is instead being constantly limited by precipitation systems, which remove water vapor and adjust cloud amounts to keep the total greenhouse effect consistent with the amount of available sunlight. Our understanding of this limiting process is still quite poor, and likely not represented in climate models.

2. PEER PRESSURE TO CONFORM: The vast majority of climate scientists are not climate modelers, and they will tend to go along with what the modelers say. After all, it is the modelers who are supposed to gather all of the specialized knowledge of how weather processes operate, and then represent them in a computer program (model) of how the whole climate system behaves. Thus, there is an element of "group think" that keeps scientific biases entrenched in the research community as a whole. Proof that this indeed happens is the recent medical theory that stomach ulcers are caused by bacteria. Two Australian medical researchers were scoffed at by the medical community for 20 years before the bacterial basis explanation was finally accepted.

Global Warming and Nature's Thermostat:Precipitation Systems
Before I can explain the central role that precipitation systems must play in global warming, I will first present a simplified explanation of the basics of global warming - call it a global warming primer. I will address the issue of how warm we are today, and some possible explanations for that warmth. Next, I'll briefly describe the Earth's natural greenhouse effect and global warming theory. Finally, I will explain the "thermostatic control" mechanism that I believe stabilizes the climate system against substantial global warming from mankind's greenhouse gas emissions. Some of what I will present is an extension of Richard Lindzen's "Infrared Iris" hypothesis, observational support for which we published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal on August 9, 2007. The bottom line of what I will present is this: Precipitation systems ultimately control the magnitude of the Earth's total greenhouse effect -- which is mostly due to water vapor and clouds -- and I believe that those systems will likely offset the small warming tendency from mankind's greenhouse gas emissions. Oh, and if you think that we should "do something" about global warming anyway as an insurance policy -- no matter what the science says -- please read this.

Warming Over the Last Century
There is little doubt that globally averaged temperatures are unusually warm today (at this writing, 2008). While a majority of climate researchers believe that this warmth is mostly (or completely) due to the activities of mankind, this is as much a statement of faith as it is of science. For in order to come to such a conclusion, we would need to know how much of the temperature increase we've seen since the 1800's is natural. There has not yet been a single peer-reviewed scientific study which has ruled out natural climate variability as the cause of most of our recent warmth -- for instance, a small change in globally averaged cloud cover. So let's first examine current temperatures in their historical context. Over the last 100 years or so (see Fig.1) globally-averaged surface temperature trends have exhibited three distinct phases.
Fig. 1 Globally averaged temperature variations between 1850 and 2007 show the emergence from the "Little Ice Age" in the early 1900's, slight cooling from the 1940's to the 1970's, and then warming again since the 1970's. (HadCRUT3 temperature dataset from the UK Met Office and Univ. of E. Anglia)

The warming up until 1940 represents the end of the multi-century cool period known as the "Little Ice Age", a time that was particularly harsh for humanity. This warming must have been natural because mankind had not yet emitted substantial amounts of greenhouse gases. Then, the slight cooling between 1940 and the 1970's occurred in spite of rapid increases in manmade greenhouse gas emissions. One theory is that this cooling is also manmade -- from particulate pollution. Finally, fairly steady warming has occurred since the 1970's. This recent warming has no doubt played a central role in current fears of a climate catastrophe.There is some controversy over whether the upward temperature trend seen in Fig. 1 still contains some spurious warming from the urban heat island effect, which is due to a replacement of natural vegetation with manmade structures (buildings, parking lots, etc.) around thermometer sites. In December of 2007, a paper published in the Journal of Geophysical Research showed evidence that about 50% of global warming measured by land-based thermometers since 1980 was simply due to local influences such as the urban heat island effect (press release here).

Temperatures Over the Last 2,000 Years
When was the last time that the Earth was this warm?. You might have heard claims in the news that we are warmer now than anytime in the last 1,000 years. This claim was based upon the "Hockey Stick" temperature curve (Fig. 2) which used temperature 'proxies', mostly tree rings, to reconstruct a multi-century temperature record.

That "warmest in 1,000 years" claim lost much of its support, however, when a National Academy of Science review panel concluded in 2006 that the Hockey Stick study used faulty statistical techniques, and that the most that can be said with any confidence is that the Earth is warmer now than anytime in the last 400 years. Note that this is a good thing, since most of those 400 years occurred during the Little Ice Age.
Fig. 2. The Mann et al. (1998) proxy (mostly tree ring) reconstruction of global temperature over the last 1,000 years is believed to have erroneously minimized the warmth of the Medieval Warm Period (MWP).

A more recent study has averaged 2,000 years of temperature estimates from a total of 18 previously-published temperature proxy datasets, and the resulting temperature record is shown in Fig. 3. No tree ring datasets were used by the author (himself a tree growth expert) because he believes that those datasets are too contaminated by rainfall variations and other problems to be used as temperature proxies. To that reconstruction I added the global thermometer record covering the period 1850 to 2007.
Fig. 3. Global average temperature reconstruction based upon 18 temperature proxies for the period 1 A.D. to 1995, combined with the thermometer-based dataset from the UK Met Office and University of East Anglia, covering the period 1850 to 2007. Note that for both datasets each data point represents a 30-year average.

In support of the view that today's warmth is not unprecedented is the historical fact that Vikings arriving in Greenland established farms, until a cooling trend caused them to abandon farming in Greenland.
Thus, we see that substantial natural variations in climate can, and do, occur -- which should be of no great surprise. So, is it possible that much of the warming we have seen since the 1970's is due to natural processes that we do not yet fully understand? I believe so. To believe that all of today's warmth can be blamed on manmade pollution is a statement of faith that assumes the role of natural variations in the climate system is small or nonexistent.

If We Can't Explain It, It Must Be Human-Induced
The fact is, science doesn't understand why these natural climate variations occur, and can not reliably distinguish between natural and possible human influences on global temperatures. So, if scientists have no other natural explanation for a warming trend, they tend to assume that it is manmade. For instance, you might have heard claims to the effect that no peer-reviewed scientific study has refuted the claim that global warming is manmade. Well, there have indeed been some papers that have at least questioned the theory that our current warmth is manmade....but the publishing of alternative explanations is hindered by the fact that our long-term global climate observations (e.g. of cloud characteristics) are not good enough to measure the small changes that might offer an alternative explanation for our current warmth.

Science can not deal with what we can not measure. But scientists could at least admit to incomplete knowledge -- unfortunately, most of them do not. I can not overemphasize this -- the theory that our current warmth is manmade is largely the result of not having good enough global observations over a long enough period of time to rule out natural causes. Therefore, the current widespread support for the theory of manmade global warming is NOT because the alternative explanations have been ruled out. It is because our poor understanding of natural climate variability does not yet permit alternative explanations to be investigated thoroughly. Thus, while it is indeed possible to explain much of the warming over the last 100 years with manmade greenhouse gas increases, this is only one possible explanation -- one that necessarily ignores or minimizes any natural sources of temperature variability.

As a result, our worries that global warming is manmade are directly related to how much faith we have that natural climate variations (for instance, a small decrease in low-level cloudiness) are not substantially contributing to our current warmth. Some scientists who believe in manmade global warming have asked me, "But what else could be causing the warmth?" Note that this is arguing, not from the evidence, but from a lack of evidence. There is an old saying, "When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail." Well, manmade global warming is our hammer, and so every change (nail) we see in the climate system gets attributed to mankind.

Climate Prediction and Weather Forecasting Are Not the Same
Before describing the greenhouse effect and climate models, we first need to clear up a common misconception about forecasts of global warming. There are two quite different kinds of forecasting of atmospheric behavior: weather prediction, and climate prediction. Weather prediction involves measuring the state of the atmosphere at a given time and then using a computer program containing equations (a 'numerical weather prediction model') to predict how the weather will evolve in the coming days. Simply stated, these 'initial condition' models extrapolate the measured atmospheric behavior of the atmosphere out into the future. They have been quite successful at short ranges (a few days), and their skill is slowly improving over time, but that skill drops to close to zero after about 10 days.

In contrast, the purpose of climate models is not to get a good 3 day or 10 day forecast. Climate models are instead run for much longer periods of simulated time - many years to centuries. Their purpose is to determine how the model's climate (average weather) is affected when one of the rules -- 'boundary conditions' -- by which the atmosphere operates is changed in the model.
In the case of global warming, that rule change is mankind's addition of greenhouse gases, mainly carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels, which then affects the model's 'greenhouse effect' -- the way in which the model atmosphere processes infrared (radiant heat) energy.

The Earth's Natural Greenhouse Effect
The theory that mankind is causing recent global warming is based upon the fact that our greenhouse gas emissions (mainly carbon dioxide) are causing a very small enhancement (about 1%) of the Earth's natural 'greenhouse effect'. The greenhouse effect refers to the trapping of infrared (heat) radiation by water vapor, clouds, carbon dioxide, methane, and a few other minor greenhouse gases (see Fig. 4). You can think of the greenhouse effect as a sort of 'blanket' -- a radiative blanket. The natural greenhouse effect makes the lower atmosphere warmer, and the upper atmosphere cooler, than it would otherwise be without the greenhouse effect. The role of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere's greenhouse effect is relatively small, due to the fact that CO2 is a 'trace gas' -- only 38 out of every 100,000 molecules of air are carbon dioxide. It takes a full five years of human greenhouse gas emissions to add 1 molecule of CO2 to every 100,000 molecules of air.

Fig. 4. The Earth's natural 'greenhouse' effect is due to the trapping of infrared (heat) radiation by water vapor, clouds, carbon dioxide, methane, and other greenhouse gases.

Mankind's Enhancement of the Greenhouse Effect
The most common explanation for global warming goes like this: Mankind's addition of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere disrupts the Earth's radiative energy balance (see Fig. 5) by reducing its ability to radiatively cool to outer space. Energy balance refers to the theory that all of the Earth's absorbed sunlight (the energy input) is balanced by an equal amount of infrared radiation that the Earth emits back to outer space (the energy output). It is estimated that this input and output, averaged over the whole Earth over several years, is naturally maintained at a value of around 235 Watts per square meter (W/m2).

Fig. 5. The Earth's radiative energy balance is fundamental to understanding global warming theory, which says that mankind's greenhouse gas emissions is disrupting that approximate 235 W/m2 balance between solar input & infrared output.

So, mankind's emissions of greenhouse gases are believed to have disrupted that balance. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, it is estimated that the normal infrared cooling rate of 235 W/m2 has been reduced by about 1.6 W/m2. Taking into account the warming that has already occurred (supposedly) in response to that imbalance, one estimate is that a 0.8 W/m2 imbalance still exists today. A continuing imbalance represents further warming that needs to occur to restore energy balance -- even if mankind stopped producing greenhouse gases today. This is the current explanation of the theory of manmade global warming.

How do we know there is such a radiative imbalance? In reality, we don't. The Earth-orbiting instruments for measuring the Earth's radiative components are not quite accurate to measure the small radiative imbalance that is presumed to exist. That imbalance is, instead, a theoretical calculation.

You might also be surprised to find out that the direct effect of this imbalance from mankind's greenhouse gas emissions (often called a 'radiative forcing') on global temperatures is quite small. If everything else in the climate system remained the same, a doubling of the atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration (probably late in this century) would cause little more than 1 deg. F of surface warming. Remember, mankind's addition of more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere is only one molecule of CO2 for every 100,000 molecules of air every 5 years; do we really believe that such a small influence will have catastrophic effects? A few high-profile scientists, like NASA's James Hansen, indeed do believe that.

Obviously, a 1 deg. F warming by late in this century would cause little concern - if that was the whole story. The problem is that everything else probably doesn't remain the same. The atmosphere will undoubtedly respond in some way to the extra CO2 in terms of changes in clouds, water vapor, precipitation etc.; the question is, how?

Positive or Negative Feedbacks?
Almost all of the scientific uncertainty about the size of manmade global warming is related to how the climate system will respond the small (1 deg. F) warming tendency. The atmosphere could dampen the warming tendency through 'negative feedbacks'-- for instance by increasing low-level cloudiness. Or, it could amplify the warming tendency through 'positive feedbacks', for instance by increasing the water vapor content of the atmosphere (our main greenhouse gas), or by increasing high-altitude cloudiness.

Almost all computerized climate models exhibit positive feedbacks, amplifying the initial CO2-only warming by anywhere from a little bit, to a frightening amount (over 10 deg. F by 2100). So, you can see it is critical for scientists to determine how sensitive the climate system is (how the atmosphere will respond) to the radiative forcing from the extra greenhouse gases we are putting into the atmosphere.

How Sensitive is the Climate System?
The net effect of all of these feedbacks together determines what is called the 'climate sensitivity'. Climate sensitivity, as the name implies, quantifies how much surface warming would result from a given amount of radiative forcing - usually expressed in terms of a doubling of the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Thus, to be able to predict how much warming there will be, what we really need to know is the kind of negative and positive feedbacks that exist in the climate system.

It would be very helpful if we could do a laboratory experiment to determine how the Earth will respond to mankind's addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere - but we can't. There is only one 'experiment' going on, and we are all part of it.

If we can't do a laboratory experiment, another way to estimate climate sensitivity would be to find some previous example of climate change in response to radiative forcing. For instance, there are pretty good estimates of how much the Earth cooled after the major eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines in June, 1991 (see Fig. 6). The millions of tons of sulfur dioxide that was injected into the stratosphere by Mt. Pinatubo spread around the Northern Hemisphere, reducing the amount of incoming sunlight by as much as 2% to 4% The resulting cooling effects lasted two or three years, until the sulfuric acid aerosols finally dissipated.

Fig. 6. The explosive 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in the Philippines injected millions of tons of sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere. The resulting 2%-4% reduction in sunlight offered a natural test of the Earth's climate sensitivity to changes in solar radiation.

Most climate researchers believe that previous events like the Pinatubo eruption can be used to determine the climate's sensitivity to greenhouse gas emissions. I do not. Mt. Pinatubo reduced the amount of incoming sunlight, and while sunlight is the source of energy for the climate system, the total greenhouse effect of the atmosphere is under the control of weather systems responding to the sunlight. Very simply put, sunlight causes weather, but the greenhouse effect is the result of weather. I believe that weather processes actively limit the total greenhouse effect in proportion to the amount of available sunlight.

So, are there any good examples of infrared (greenhouse) climate forcings from the past? Probably not. There are ice core measurements from Antarctica which suggest that, hundreds of thousands of years ago, carbon dioxide levels and temperatures went up and down. This was a prominent argument in Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth. But what Mr. Gore didn't mention was that all published scientific research of those relationships has shown that the carbon dioxide followed the temperature changes, by hundreds of years. Thus, the ice core evidence suggests that the temperature changes caused the carbon dioxide changes -- not the other way around, as is claimed by some scientists and politicians. So, we can't use the ice core evidence as an analog to what is happening today, where humans are causing the CO2 content of the atmosphere to rise, because very different mechanisms were obviously operating during those past climate events.

Therefore, in contrast to volcanic eruptions and their effect on solar heating of the Earth, we are possibly left without a natural example of infrared radiative forcing, which is what modern global warming theory is all about.

What Determines the Earth's Natural Greenhouse Effect?
Now we come to an issue I believe to be of fundamental importance: What determines the Earth's natural greenhouse effect? I don't mean in a qualitative sense, for all climate researchers know that water vapor and clouds together dominate the greenhouse effect. What I mean is: Why is the greenhouse effect maintained at its current strength? The atmosphere could hold much more water vapor than it does -- which would result in a warmer climate -- but instead, much of the depth of the troposphere is usually at a fairly low relative humidity.

Oh, we can build climate models and tune them to replicate the average amount of greenhouse effect we see in nature, but what I hope to convince you of is that we don't really understand the processes that limit the greenhouse effect to its current value. Let's start at the beginning. Sunlight is the source of energy for our weather, and so it makes sense that more (or less) sunlight will make the Earth warmer (or cooler). But the greenhouse effect (trapping if infrared heat) is the result of weather processes. Remember, most of the Earth's greenhouse effect (over 90%) is due to water vapor and clouds, and so it is under direct control of weather processes -- winds, evaporation, precipitation, etc.

This cause-versus-effect role of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect is an important distinction. I mentioned above the common explanation that the Earth's "energy balance results in a roughly constant globally-averaged temperature". But I believe that this has cause and effect turned around: It is more accurate to say that "Heating by the sun causes weather, which in turn generates a greenhouse effect that is in proportion to the available sunlight". Unless we understand the processes that limit the Earth's natural greenhouse effect to its present value, we can't hope to understand how mankind's small, 1% enhancement of the greenhouse effect will change global climate.

Precipitation Systems: Nature's Air Conditioner?
It is well known that precipitation is an important process in the atmosphere. Besides being necessary for life on Earth, all of the rain and snow that falls to the ground represents excess heat that has been removed from the Earth's surface during the evaporation of water. On average, all of the water evaporated from the surface must at some point condense and fall back to the surface as precipitation. The heat that is released during that condensation is deposited in the middle and upper troposphere when the water vapor condenses into clouds, some of which then produce precipitation that falls to the surface. After it reaches the surface, the water is once again available to remove more heat through evaporation, starting the cycle all over again.

I believe it can be demonstrated that precipitation systems ultimately control most of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect. The air in our atmosphere is continuously being recycled through precipitation systems (see Fig. 7), on a time scale of days to weeks. Winds pick up water vapor that has been evaporated from the surface, and then transport this vapor to precipitation systems. Those systems then remove some of that vapor in the form of rain or snow. This qualitative view is well known and understood by climate researchers. But what is NOT understood (yet is critical to understanding feedbacks and climate sensitivity) are the myriad 'microphysical' processes within clouds -- the behavior of water drops and ice crystals.

These microphysical processes determine just how much water substance will be removed as precipitation, and thus how much will be left over to be exhausted out of the weather systems as water vapor and clouds. For it is the moisture properties of the air flowing out of precipitation systems that then determine most of the Earth's greenhouse effect, since that air slowly fills in the huge areas between the relatively small precipitation systems

Fig. 7. Atmospheric air gets continuously recycled through precipitation systems, which then directly or indirectly control the water vapor and cloud properties, and thus the Earth's natural greenhouse effect.

Partly because precipitation systems cover only several percent of the Earth's surface at any given time, even most climate researchers do not appreciate the controlling influence these systems have on the climate system. So I can not emphasize this enough: All of the humid air flowing into precipitation systems in the lower atmosphere ends up flowing out of those same systems, mostly in the middle and upper atmosphere. That air flowing out has moisture (water vapor and cloud) amounts that are directly controlled by precipitation processes within the systems.
As one example of the global influence of these systems on the Earth's greenhouse effect, the low-humidity air that is slowly sinking over the world's deserts was dried out by precipitation systems, possibly thousands of miles away. Eventually, that air will leave the desert, pick up moisture evaporated from the land or ocean, and be cycled once again through a rain or snow system. Remember, this recycling of air by precipitation systems is continuously occurring, all over the Earth.

Similarly, the cold air masses that form over continental areas in the wintertime are extremely dry because the air within them came from the upper troposphere after it had been exhausted out of a rain or snow system. If this were not the case, wintertime high pressure systems would not be clear and dry as is observed. They would instead become saturated with water vapor as they cooled in response to the lack of sunlight, and would become filled with clouds.

Thus, we begin to see that much of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect is under the control of precipitation systems. It doesn't matter whether they are tropical thunderstorms, or high latitude snowstorms, it is still the air flowing out of them in the middle and upper troposphere that determines the humidity characteristics of the cloud-free regions everywhere else.

I want to make it clear that the average effects of precipitation systems are indeed contained in today's computerized climate models. But for global warming, a model mimicking their average behavior isn't sufficient, for it is too easy to get the right answer for the wrong reason. Instead, we need to answer the question: How do precipitation systems change in response to mankind's small addition of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere? This is where I believe the models are wrong. Models tend to amplify the Earth's natural greenhouse effect in response to mankind's small addition of greenhouse gases; but I believe that real precipitation systems do just the opposite...they slightly reduce the total greenhouse effect by adjusting water vapor and cloud amounts, to keep it in proportion to the amount of available sunlight.

But the influence of precipitation systems on the global climate doesn't end there. They also indirectly control cloud amounts in remote regions, even thousands of miles away from any precipitation system. This is because the convective (vertical) overturning of the global atmosphere being forced by precipitation processes largely determines the vertical temperature profile of the atmosphere. That temperature profile, in turn, exerts a strong influence on cloud systems.

For instance, there are vast areas of marine stratus clouds in the lower troposphere that form over the eastern ends of the subtropical oceans where cold water wells up from below (see Fig. 8). Those clouds form because the moist air from ocean evaporation gets trapped below a temperature inversion (warm air layer). And guess what causes that warm air inversion? Precipitation systems! The air is unusually warm because it is being forced to sink by warm, moist air rising in precipitation systems. That rising air is being fueled by condensing water vapor, which releases the heat that was absorbed when the water originally evaporated from the Earth's surface.

Fig. 8. Marine stratocumulus clouds, which cool the climate system by reflecting sunlight, are partly under the control of precipitation systems far away.

[NOTE: Some scientists will claim that the sinking air forming the warm inversion is "caused" by radiative cooling, but this is incorrect. The only way for air to sink in a statically stable environment is for it to be forced to sink -- which only happens in response to warm, moist rising air in precipitation systems. Radiative cooling no more 'causes air to sink' than the exhaust coming from a car's tailpipe causes the car's engine to run.]

It should now be increasingly clear to you that we can not know how sensitive the climate system is to mankind's small enhancement of the Earth's natural greenhouse effect without understanding how the greenhouse effect (water vapor + clouds) is controlled by precipitation systems. Unfortunately, precipitation is probably the least understood of all atmospheric processes.

In a little-appreciated research publication, Renno, Emanuel, and Stone (1994, "Radiative-convective model with an explicit hydrologic cycle, 1: Formulation and sensitivity to model parameters", J. Geophys. Res., 99, 14429-14441) demonstrated that if precipitation systems were to become more efficient at converting atmospheric water vapor into precipitation, the result would be a cooler climate with less precipitation. Thus, precipitation systems have the potential to be, in effect, the Earth's 'air conditioner', switching on when things get too warm.
The big question is, do they behave this way or not? I believe they do.

Precipitation in Climate Models
Climate model representations of precipitation processes are very crude. In fact, for warm air masses, the models don't actually grow precipitation systems. They instead use simple 'parameterizations' that are meant to represent the net effects of precipitation on the atmosphere in some statistical sense. There is nothing inherently wrong with using parameterizations to replace more complex physical processes - as long as they accurately represent what controls those processes.

What we really need to know is how the efficiency of precipitation systems changes with temperature. Unfortunately, this critical understanding is still lacking. Most of the emphasis has been on getting the models to behave realistically in how they reproduce average rainfall amounts and their geographic distribution -- not in how the model handles changes in rainfall efficiency with warming.

Fortunately, we now have new satellite evidence which sheds light on this question. Our recently published, peer-reviewed research shows that when the middle and upper tropical troposphere temporarily warms from enhanced rainfall activity, the precipitation systems there produce less high-altitude cirroform (ice) clouds. This, in turn, reduces the natural greenhouse effect of the atmosphere, allowing enhanced infrared cooling to outer space, which in turn causes falling temperatures. (Our news release describing the study is here.)

This is a natural, negative feedback process that is counter-intuitive for climate scientists, most of whom believe that more tropical rainfall activity would cause more high-level cloudiness, not less. Whether this process also operates on the long time scale involved with global warming is not yet known for sure. Nevertheless, climate models are supposedly built based upon observed atmospheric behavior, and so I challenge the modelers to include this natural cooling process in their models, and then see how much global warming those models produce.

A Summary, and the Future
Climate modelers and researchers generally believe that an increase in the greenhouse effect from manmade greenhouse gases causes a warming effect that is similar to that from an increase in sunlight.I believe that this is incorrect. It is now reasonably certain that changes in solar radiation cause temperature changes on Earth.

For instance, the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo caused a 2% to 4% reduction in sunlight, resulting in two years of below normal temperatures, especially over Northern Hemisphere land areas. But the Earth's natural greenhouse effect (again, mostly from water vapor and clouds) is under the control of weather systems -- especially precipitation systems -- which are generated in response to solar heating. Either directly or indirectly, those precipitation systems determine the moisture (water vapor and cloud) characteristics for most of the rest of the atmosphere. Precipitation systems could, theoretically, cause a much warmer climate on Earth than is currently observed. They could allow more water vapor to build up in the atmosphere, but they don't. Why not?

The reason must ultimately be related to precipitation processes. I believe that precipitation systems act as a thermostat, reducing the Earth's greenhouse effect (and thus causing enhanced cooling) when temperatures get too high, and warming when temperatures get too low. It is amazing to think that the ways in which tiny water droplets and ice particles combine in clouds to form rain and snow could determine the course of global warming, but this might well be the case.

I believe that it is the inadequate handling of precipitation systems -- specifically, how they adjust atmospheric moisture contents during changes in temperature -- that is the reason for climate model predictions of excessive warming from increasing greenhouse gas emissions. To believe otherwise is to have faith that climate models are sufficiently advanced to contain all of the important processes that control the Earth's natural greenhouse effect.

I predict that further research will reveal some other cause for most of the warming we have experienced since the 1970's -- for instance, a change in some feature of the sun's activity; or, a small change in cloudiness resulting from a small change in the general circulation of the atmosphere (such as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, 'PDO'). In the meantime, a high priority research effort should be the study of changes in precipitation systems with changes in temperature -- especially how they control global water vapor and cloud amounts.

Fortunately, we now have several NASA satellites in Earth orbit that are gathering information that will be immensely valuable for determining how the Earth's climate system adjusts during natural temperature fluctuations. It is through these satellite measurements of temperature, solar and infrared radiation, clouds, and precipitation that we will be able to test and improve the climate models, which will then hopefully lead to more confident predictions of global temperatures.

And what do the satellites tell us about recent global temperature variations? In Fig. 9, I have arbitrarily picked the period since 1990 to show that there has been recent warming, but that warming certainly would not be characterized as 'gradual'. When one takes into consideration that the cooling from the Mt. Pinatubo eruption and the warming from the 1997-98 El Nino event were not part of any underlying long-term trend, we can imagine that globally-averaged temperatures were flat from 1990 until 2000, then there was a brief warming until about 2002, after which temperatures have once again remained flat. Note that the longer temperatures remain flat the greater the warming that will be required to put us back 'on track' to match the climate model projections used by the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The coming months and years should be interesting.

Fig. 9. Satellite-measured monthly globally averaged lower atmospheric temperature variations since 1990. When one considers that the cooling from the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo and the warming from the 1997-98 El Nino were not part of any underlying trend, one can imagine a period of roughly steady temperatures from 1990 to 2000, then warming until 2002, then roughly steady temperatures again from 2002 through 2007.

Roy W. Spencer received his Ph.D. in meteorology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1981. Before becoming a Principal Research Scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 2001, he was a Senior Scientist for Climate Studies at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, where he and Dr. John Christy received NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for their global temperature monitoring work with satellites. Dr. Spencer is the U.S. Science Team leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer flying on NASA's Aqua satellite. His research has been entirely supported by U.S. government agencies: NASA, NOAA, and DOE.Dr. Spencer's first popular book on global warming, Climate Confusion (Encounter Books), will be available in bookstores March 27, 2008.

FULL DISCLOSURE(updated October 27, 2007)It has become commonplace for scientists like me who are skeptical of mankind's role in global warming to be branded as shills for "Big Oil". As a result of misinformation posted at (and other web sites that spread that misinformation), I would like to set the record straight concerning my financial interests. notes that I have given talks on global warming at conservative think tanks like the Marshall Institute, implying that I have some sort of financial relationship with them. In truth, I received no speaking fee for these talks -- but I HAVE been paid for giving talks for environmental organizations in several states. I wonder why doesn't mention this connection to "Big Environmentalism"? After all, they are the ones who have paid me speaking fees -- not the Marshall Institute. After 12 years of receiving no compensation for my writings, I was eventually asked to write global warming related articles for (now That website advocated science, technology, and free markets, and was indeed partially funded by Exxon Mobil. While I no longer write for that web site, over a three year period I augmented my "day job" salary by an average of 5% by writing articles. The views expressed in those articles were consistent with the views I had expressed for twelve years for no compensation. (Quite frankly, since I supported the ideals promoted on, I really didn't care who funded it).

The dirty little secret is that environmental organizations and global warming pessimists receive far more money from Big Oil than do global warming optimists such as myself. While professional environmental lobbyists are totally dependent upon environmental crises for their continued existence, atmospheric researchers and meteorologists have day jobs which are not. Some outspoken global warming pessimists have received large cash awards (hundreds of thousands of dollars) for the positions they have taken; (Jim Hansen of NASA from the Heinz/Kerry Foundation) there are no such monetary awards for global warming optimists.

Instead, we have to endure scorn from several outspoken peers in the scientific community, some of whom are successful at thwarting our publication of scientific articles and government funding of our research proposals. As long as the global warming pessimists can convince the public that we skeptics are simply shills for Big Oil, they do not have to address our scientific arguments. The claims that there are no peer-reviewed scientific articles that oppose a manmade source of global warming are, quite simply, wrong. Fortunately, the tide is slowly turning, and increasing numbers of scientists are now speaking out about their doubts concerning mankind's role in recent global warmth.

Why Shouldn't We Act Now?
A Critique of "Most Terrifying Video You'll Ever See"
Many people believe that we should act now on global warming, as a sort of "insurance policy", just in case it ends up being a serious threat. For instance, there has been quite a bit of buzz lately about a YouTube video in which an Oregon high school teacher, Greg Craven, uses logic to convince viewers that the only responsible course of action on global warming is to act as if it is manmade and catastrophic. In other words, the potential risk of doing nothing is so high that we must act, no matter what the science says.

Unfortunately, as in all exercises of logic (as well as of scientific investigation), your conclusions are only as good as your assumptions. The bad assumptions that Mr. Craven makes that end up invalidating his conclusions are these:

1. That there are actions we can take now that will greatly alleviate the global warming problem if it is manmade, and 2. That the cost of those actions to the world will, at worst, be only economic. Both of these assumptions are false. Humanity's need for energy is so vast that, until a new energy technology is developed, fossil fuels will continue to dominate our energy mix. The only way to substantially reduce the risk of catastrophic manmade warming in the near-term (the next 20-30 years) would be to bring the daily activities of mankind to a virtual standstill.

Using Mr. Craven's logic, I could argue that people should stop eating because, no matter how small the risk, people can (and do) die from choking on food. Paraphrasing Mr. Craven, not eating is the only responsible course of action to prevent choking to death. The only problem with this, of course, is that we would all die of starvation if we quit eating. While this is admittedly an extreme example, in the case of reducing mankind's greenhouse gas emissions it is much closer to the truth than what Mr. Craven portrays. People tend to forget that every decision we make in life, whether we know it or not, involves weighing risks against benefits. Mr. Craven incorrectly assumes that the benefits of immediate action on global warming will outweigh the risks.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Follow The Money....It Stinks Of Global Warming

And if you wonder where your money is going....this article may provide a clue. If you think doctors rake you over the coals......taking your last cent....consider lawyers.....

Lawyers Embrace U.S. Global-Warming
Practice at $700 an Hour
Lawyers are becoming some of the best-paid environmentalists. Twenty of the 100 highest-grossing U.S. law firms have started practices advising companies on climate change, according to a Bloomberg survey of the firms' Web sites. The attorneys help clients finance clean-energy projects and lobby Congress, typically billing $500 to $700 an hour.

Firms including Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Heller Ehrman and Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton joined the global warming cause as real-estate and structured-finance attorneys lost jobs to the worst U.S. housing slump in 27 years. The move into climate-change law is gaining traction as Congress considers a mandatory carbon market to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

``Since the elections last November, climate change has had a higher profile as a political issue,'' said Paul Gutermann, co- leader of Washington-based Akin Gump's group, which comprises 50 of the firm's 1,023 attorneys. Gutermann's team is helping clients including PG&E Corp. push U.S. lawmakers to establish a market that uses so-called carbon credits to penalize heavy polluters financially.

Senators John Warner and Joseph Lieberman introduced a bill inspired by Europe's carbon market, and attorneys predict some legislation will pass after President George W. Bush, who opposes mandatory caps on emissions, leaves office in a year. Global warming, driven by heat-trapping gases, is causing Arctic ice to melt and sea levels to rise, a United Nations panel of scientists said last year. International reaction has sparked interest in reducing carbon dioxide emissions, making energy use more efficient and adding to non-polluting power sources.

Baker & McKenzie, a Chicago-based firm with 3,335 lawyers, was a pioneer, creating a climate-change group a decade ago. It became profitable after two years, said Richard Saines, who heads the U.S. part of the practice. The 60-lawyer team brought in estimated revenue of $15 million to $20 million in 2007, Saines said. The firm's total revenue in 2006 was $1.52 billion, according to the trade magazine American Lawyer. ``We saw this as one of the key international-law issues that would affect U.S.-based multinationals,'' Saines said. ``And that is now the case.'' ....Climate-change attorneys also advise private-equity firms and hedge funds on clean-energy projects.

Worldwide investments in sustainable energy sources such as wind, solar and water power rose 43 percent to $70.9 billion in 2006, according to a UN report. Wind Projects In the U.S., more than $4 billion was invested in wind projects alone, according to Chadbourne's Zaelke, who specializes in financing and developing wind farms.

One of Zaelke's clients, John Deere Renewables, has invested more than $500 million since 2005 in community wind farms in seven states. The company, part of the financial services arm of Des Moines, Iowa-based Deere & Co., gets advice on supply agreements, project development and tax structures, said David Drescher, general manager of John Deere Wind Energy. "They've been to a lot of wind farms", Drescher said.More


Barry Mcquire, Green Green, On The Eve Of Destruction

Wow, I was listening to a YouTube music video by the New Christy Minstrels, a song titled "Green Green" and came across this. I must save it, "On The Eve Of Destruction" by Barry Mcguire.


New Christy Minstrels "Green Green"

Another good video compilation with "On The Eve Of Destruction" (Adults Only)

Graphic Depiction Of The Deception And Distortion Of The IPCC And Al Gore

The following are graphics included in the article highlighting the distortions and deceptions presented by the IPCC and Al Gore. These are extremely gross errors on a vastly important subject of global warming and climate change. If we can not trust the United Nations and a former Vice-President and Nobel Prize winner, what can we do? Speak up!


Gore predicts an imminent 20ft sea-level rise: but …

Gore does not believe his own prediction. He has bought a $4 million condo near Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco (marked “A” above).

The UK High Court judge’s verdict on sea level.

Zonal mean predicted atmospheric temperature change (ÂșC/century, 1890-1999), from two natural causes, three anthropogenic causes and a combined cause, simulated by the IPCC’s PCM model. The “hot-spot” signature of greenhouse warming is visible in (c) and (f) (IPCC, 2007, p. 675, based on Santer et al., 2003, & see IPCC, 2007, Appendix 9C).

Tropical mid-troposphere “hot-spot”: predicted (CCSP, 2006), but not observed (HadAT, in IPCC (2007).

Left panel: Surface global temperature data, 1979-2004 (HadCRUt). Centre panel: Satellite global microwave sounding unit data for 0 to 400 hPa (surface to 5 miles up), 1979-2004. (Christy et al., 2000, updated). Right panel: Radiosonde global temperature data for 850 to 300 hPa (1 mile to 6 miles up), 1979-2004 (Angell et al., 1999, updated). The UN’s computer models do not predict this steep real-world decline in the rate of global temperature change with altitude. Five miles above the tropics, temperature has actually been falling for 25 years.
Christopher Monckton of Brenchley is an international business consultant specializing in the investigation of scientific frauds. He is a former adviser to UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and is presenter of the 90-minute climate movie Apocalypse? NO! He wrote this oped for Hawaii Reporter. He can be reached at and more of his studies and reports can be found at

Rise In Sea Level Grossly Exxagerated By IPCC And Al Gore....and IT GETS WORSE

To fully comprehend the grossness of the "error" that the IPCC and Al Gore have made over their predictions of impending sea level rise, because of man-caused global warming, read my previous blog entry about The Earth's Hydrologic (Water) Cycle.

I said that because approximately 97% of all the water on the Earth is in the oceans, and only about 2% is stored as ice, even if much of this were to melt, (which is extremely unlikely anytime soon), it can only have a very minor affect on sea level.

But other deceptions remain.
Article below by Christopher Monckton
I earned my Nobel Peace Prize by making the United Nations fix a deliberate error in its latest climate assessment. After the scientists had finalized the draft, UN bureaucrats inserted a new table, but with four decimal points right-shifted. The bureaucrats had multiplied tenfold the true contribution of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea-level rise. Were they trying to support Al Gore's fantasy that these two ice-sheets would imminently cause sea level to rise 20ft, displacing tens of millions worldwide? How do we know the UN's error was deliberate?

The table, as it first appeared, said the units for sea-level rise were being changed. But the table was new. There was nothing to change from. I wrote to the UN that this misconduct was unacceptable. Two days later, the bureaucracy corrected, relabeled and moved the table, and quietly posted the new version on its Web site. The two ice sheets will contribute, between them, over 100 years, just two and a half inches to sea-level rise. Gore had exaggerated a hundredfold; the UN tenfold. Hawaii is not about to disappear beneath the waves.

The High Court in London recently ordered the British Government to correct nine of the 36 serious errors in Al Gore’s climate movie before innocent pupils were exposed to it. It was Gore who, in 1994, announced that Mars was covered in canals full of water. This notion had been disproved before his birth. It was Gore who recently spent $4 million of the profits from his sci-fi comedy horror movie on a luxury condo just feet from the supposedly rising ocean at Fisherman’s Wharf, San Francisco. No surprise that he and the mad scientists with whom he has close financial and political links are under investigation for racketeering -- peddling a false prospectus to investors in his “green” investment corporation by distorting climate science even after the UK judge’s ruling.

It is not so well known that the UN’s climate reports are also error-packed and misleading. To begin with, the UN denies that global temperatures were warmer than today in the medieval warm period. It overlooks the dozens of peer-reviewed papers that establish this fact, and continues to rely on the bogus and now-discredited “hockey-stick” graph by which its previous assessment in 2001 had tried to rewrite history.

It was also warmer than today in Roman times, and in the Minoan warm period or Holocene climate optimum, when temperatures were warmer than today for 2000 years in the Bronze Age, firing the emergence of great civilizations worldwide. In each of the four previous interglacial periods, temperatures were 10F warmer than today’s. For most of the past half billion years, temperatures were nearly always 12.5F warmer than the present. So the warming that has now stopped (there has been no statistically significant warming since 1998) was well within the natural variability of the climate.

The only chapters in the UN’s 1,600-page ramblings that are worth close analysis are those which consider “climate sensitivity” -- how big is the effect of greenhouse gases on temperature? The scientific debate centers not, as the Greens try to suggest, on whether adding CO2 to the atmosphere will cause warmer weather (it will), but instead on how much warmer the weather will be. So the only variable that truly matters in this debate is lambda -- the “climate sensitivity parameter.”

Here are just some of the UN’s errors and exaggerations in calculating lambda. First and foremost, the UN’s crafty definition of lambda allows it to overlook the fact that the oceans -- 1,100 times denser than the atmosphere at the surface, and many times denser still at depth -- soak up a good proportion of any additional radiant energy in the atmosphere (see papers by Lyman et al., 2006; Schwartz, 2007). The oceans cancel a great deal of “global warming,” because the next Ice Age will arrive long before the oceans lose their capacity to take up heat from the atmosphere.

Next, the UN has unwisely repealed the Stefan-Boltzmann radiative-transfer equation, the fundamental astrophysical law that relates changes in radiant energy to changes in temperature. The entire debate is about exactly that matter. Yet in 1,600 pages the UN does not mention this crucial equation once. Result: the UN’s “no-feedbacks” value of lambda is way too high. As an eminent physics professor pointed out to me recently, if the UN were correct, global surface temperature would now be 20F higher than it is.

It gets worse. The UN’s computer models predict that in the tropics the rate of increase in temperature five miles above the surface will be three times the rate of increase down here. But 50 years of atmospheric measurement, first by balloon-borne radiosondes and then by satellites, show that the air above the tropics is not merely failing to warm at three times the surface rate: for 25 years it has been cooling. The absence of the tropical mid-troposphere “hot-spot” indicates that the computer models -- expensive guesswork -- on which the UN’s rickety case is founded are, in a fundamental way, misunderstanding the way the atmosphere behaves (Douglass & Knox, 2004; Douglass et al., 2007).

On top of the “radiative forcings” from greenhouse gases, the UN says the mere fact of temperature change will cause more change still, through what it calls “feedbacks.” The UN has hiked the feedback multiplier by more than 52 percent since its 1995 report, without quite saying why. Shaviv (2006) and Schwartz (2007) calculate that the sum total of all feedbacks is either nil or very small; Wentz et al. (2007) report that the UN has missed out two-thirds of the cooling effect of evaporation in its assessment of the water-vapor feedback; Spencer (2007) finds that the cloud albedo feedback, which the UN says is strongly positive, is in fact negative; Ahlbeck (2004, 2005) says the CO2 feedback has been enormously exaggerated.

I have mentioned a dozen scientific papers. I could have mentioned hundreds more that challenge the UN “consensus.” There has never been and can never be a scientific consensus on climate change. Lorenz (1963), in the landmark climate paper that founded chaos theory, stated and proved his famous theorem that the long-run evolution of mathematically chaotic objects like the climate cannot be predicted unless one knows the initial state of the object to a degree of precision that is in practice unattainable.

Whenever you hear anyone recite the propaganda mantra “The Science Is Settled,” laugh at his redneck scientific illiteracy. The science can never be settled. Schulte (2008: in press) reviewed 539 papers on “global climate change” in the scientific journals. Only one paper mentioned that “global warming” might be catastrophic, and even that paper offered not a shred of evidence for the supposed apocalypse.

Bottom line: a recent peer-reviewed paper (Lindzen, December 2007) says all the UN’s climate sensitivity estimates should be divided by three. We don’t have a climate problem. The correct policy to deal with a non-problem is to have the courage to do nothing. Don’t let your legislators in Hawaii waste time on this non-problem. The real problem of the 21st century will not be “global warming” but resource depletion, starting with oil. Let your lawmakers do some real work, and get to grips with that.


Thursday, January 24, 2008

The Earth's Hydrologic (Water) Cycle

There is much talk and "reporting" going on about the melting of Antarctica, the Arctic and the ice caps of Greenland. Of course directly stated, or implied, this melting is invariably attributed to man-caused global warming. The big scare that follows (of course) is this melting will cause sea level to rise, flooding all of the world's low-lying coastal areas.

Of course this is nonsense at best, at a worst a concerted effort to lie and deceive. It seems a refresher course in the basics of the Earth's hydrologic cycle is in order. First of all, it needs to be understood that there is a finite, or relatively fixed amount of water on or in the Earth. This does not, has not, and can not change much. It can not escape the Earth's atmosphere because of the force of gravity. Essentially all of the water on the Earth now has been here for millions, if not hundreds of millions of years.

This water is continually being recycled. It is evaporated from the oceans, moved by clouds over land masses (and oceans) where it falls as rain and snow. This water can be stored temporarily in the form of snow, ice and in underground reservoirs. However, eventually and inevitably all of this water is recycled.

The main point here is that as glaciers and ice caps melt in the summers, they are added to with snow in the colder times, thus maintaining an approximate balance. There have been numerous ice ages, where the amount of ice increases and sea level drops. Conversely, during the shorter inter-glacial warm periods, such as the Earth is experiencing now, the amount of ice decreases and sea levels rise. These are all very natural processes than have gone on for millions of years before man even appeared.

Once the basic hydrologic or water cycle is understood, here is a look at how that water is distributed:

Volume of water stored inthe water cycle's reservoirs[9] (source: )

Reservoir Volume of water (10 to 6th km3) Percent of Total
Oceans 1370 97.25 %
Ice caps & glaciers 29 2.o5%
Groundwater 9.5 .068%
Lakes 0.125 0.01%
Atmosphere 0.013 0.001%

Ok, lets' do some simple math. Note that 97.25% of all the Earth's water is stored in the oceans, while just 2.05 % is locked up in ice caps and glaciers. Now if 10% of this snow and ice were to melt, that would equal (.10 X 2.05) just .205 % of all the water on Earth. In terms of volume, (2.9/1370) this would be just .00211 % of the water in the oceans. Does this equate to a catastrophic rise in sea level? No, that is not possible.

In fact, if all of the snow and ice on Earth were to melt, it would still add only approximately 2.1% of the ocean's volume. So even if all the ice were to melt, sea level would barely rise. Al Gore and the IPCC are using inaccurate scare tactics to influence people's thinking about global warming. The sad, or evil fact is that they know better.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Environmental Group Strives To Stifle Debate On Global Warming At Colleges

Here is a prime example of the ongoing effort to stifle the scientific inquiry into the real causes of global warming. This time an "environmental advocacy group" called Focus the Nation is taking their totally unscientific, biased message to college campuses across the country. They say, again, that the "debate is over". They insist now is the time to act, to limit "greenhouse gas" emissions.

Well, what nonsense! This is all based on the UN's flawed IPCC report and the political machinations of Al Gore's true believers. "Focus The Nation" is basing their efforts on what some experts call the biggest scam, or swindle, in history.......promoting the MYTH of man-caused global warming. Now they're trying to brainwash our eager, but naive youth.

We will try to reveal the truth. The articles, comments, essays, and science reproduced here on this blog reveal some of the truth. Spread the word.

Global Warming Teach-In Coming to Campuses Nationwide
By Evan Moore Correspondent January 23, 2008(

- On Jan. 31, the environmental advocacy group Focus the Nation will hold a teach-in on more than 1,000 college campuses nationwide to discuss solutions for global warming. The event is based on the premise that scientific debate about the existence of global warming is "over." Many critics, however, say the teach-in is an attempt to end debate and advance "draconian" public policies.

In an interview with Cybercast News Service, Alex Tinker, public relations director for Focus the Nation, said the idea behind the teach-in model is inclusion: It "engages students across all disciplines on a campus, not just the usual suspects who would come to a special environmentally oriented event, so that you can actually reach an audience big enough to reach that critical mass to get real legislation passed in Washington."The teach-in, as defined by Focus the Nation's Web site, "is a day when an entire school turns its attention to a single issue -- when faculty, students, and staff put aside business as usual, and focus the full weight of campus engagement on one topic."

Tinker noted that the majority of hosting universities are not planning on halting classes altogether, but many are planning on incorporating the message of the teach-in into the content of regularly scheduled classes."The premise behind Focus the Nation is that 'The science is in. Global warming is real," said Tinker. "There's no longer a meaningful scientific debate about whether or not global warming is caused by human kind - the debate should be about what policy solutions we need to enact to address it."

Tinker said Focus the Nation is encouraging students to adopt policy solutions they deem prescriptive and to lobby their congressmen on global warming. Some of the solutions that Focus the Nation offers include a tax on emissions, increased support for biofuels, and the creation of 1 million new "green jobs" - workers who would service America's infrastructure to be more ecologically friendly.

Critics blast George C. Landrith, president of Frontiers of Freedom, a conservative think tank, criticized Tinker and Focus the Nation. "I've talked to way too many scientists - many of whom are on the IPCC [the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] - who look at the data and don't see a human footprint," Landrith told Cybercast News Service. "They don't see this as something that we're causing, and they don't see this as catastrophic. They see it as natural and largely benign. We definitely and absolutely disagree with the idea that 'science is certain, the debate is over, blah blah blah.'"

"If the debate were over, there wouldn't be literally hundreds of scientists stepping up and saying 'No, this is wrong,' and people like Al Gore and his ilk wouldn't be working so hard to make sure that they cut off discussion," said Landrith. "The truth is that they're engaging in polemics, not science."Fluctuations in climate have always occurred throughout history, he said. In the latter part of the 20th century there was a "modest, one degree warming," said Landrith, which is "well within the natural norms." Before Congress adopts "draconian regulatory regimes" to supposedly fight global warming - killing thousands of jobs in the process - we need to ensure "we have our science right," he said.

Some reaction
George Mason University, in Fairfax, Va., will host another Focus the Nation teach-in on Jan. 29. In an interview with Cybercast News Service, the university's press secretary, Dan Walsch, said, "This is an issue that a number of faculty members are heavily interested in, on a professional and personal level," and after a series of meetings, the school decided to hold the teach-in.Walsch added that the school does not have a policy position on global warming.

Dane Styler, managing director of Connect2Mason, a Web site focusing on the GMU community, told Cybercast News Service that students had just returned to school on Tuesday and there was not much campus buzz on the teach-in. He noted, however, that GMU has devoted itself to eco-friendly measures for the past few years. These include developing a sustainability office to highlight measures on campus to improve the college's environmental impact. Styler said he thinks global warming is real, manmade, and poses a threat to civilization. "The data's there," he said.

"We're producing enough gasses and chemicals that there's actually been a change in the [atmospheric] temperature." Celia Taylor, a GMU alumna, disagreed with Styler but told Cybercast News Service that she was nonetheless pleased with her alma mater. "Even if I disagree on the stance on the issue, I have always applauded Mason for being involved," she said. "Doing so not only makes the institution a national name but also involves, engages, and encourages its students to think critically, even to disagree," Taylor said."I will continue to vocalize my support of the school and its involvement in current issues at the same time that I vocalize my disagreement on this particular issue," she added.