Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Global Warming or the Hot Air rises

The hype of global warming as the forefront issue of the planet is somewhat overblown. Much of the statements about it are the results of politically correct thinking, over enthusiastic hyperbole and downright obscene grandstanding. If we peel away the quasi-scientists, politicians, media mavens and Hollywood "experts" we get to the meat of the issue. That there is pollution by humans is a given, we can see it, taste it and smell it. Is part of it causing global warming? This is the prime question and one that responsible scientists have been unable to answer yet.

If the hype is stripped away and sources of legitimate technical input examined, some interesting facts come to light. To start with, there are 4000 weather reporting stations worldwide and they have a difficult time predicting long term (one week) weather events. In comparison, there are 120 carbon dioxide monitoring surface stations worldwide and these data are being used to predict climate changes up to 100 years from now. There is only one carbon dioxide monitoring satellite and it's instrumentation cannot measure the entire atmospheric column to the earth's surface. From this unbelievable sparse data set, the predictions evolved.

Prof. David Douglas(Univ. of Rochester), Prof. John Christy(Univ. of Alabama), Profs. Benjamin Pearson and Fred Singer(Univ. of Virginia) wrote in the International Journal of Climatology of the Royal Meteorological Society a report that observed patterns of temperature changes over the last 30 years disagree with what the greenhouse gas models predict and can better be explained by natural factors, such as solar variability. Their conclusion goes thus: "our research demonstrates that the ongoing rise of atmospheric carbon dioxide has only a minor influence on climate change. We must conclude, therefore, that attempts to control carbon dioxide emissions are ineffective and pointless....but very costly."

So let's take another tack, Climatologist Cliff Harris and Meteorologist Randy Mann state that historically there have been at least 75 major temperature swings in the last 4,500 years. Many of these swings were driven or influenced by substantial volcanic activity, the latest of which was the mount Pinatubo eruption in1991 which resulted in a depressed worldwide temperature in what would have been our current heating spell. The current global warming began 18,000 years ago as the earth warmed out of the Pleistocene Ice Age. The earth's climate, incidentally, has been dominated by Ice Ages and Glaciers. Approximately every 100,000 years the earth warms up temporarily. These Interglacial periods last from 15,000 to 20,000 years before returning to a cold ice age climate. We are historically closer to the end of our warm period than it's beginning.

The sequence of conditions progressed as follows: About 15,000 years ago the earth warmed sufficiently to halt the advance of glaciers and the sea levels began to rise. About 8,000 years ago the land bridge across the Bering Straits was submerged and intercontinental migration ended. Since the end of the Ice Age, The Earth's temperature has risen approximately 16 degrees F and the sea levels have risen 300 feet. Then during the early 70's environmentalist suddenly claimed that the ice age was returning because atmospheric pollution was blocking solar heating, but the cooling effect ground to a halt about 1980 and small temperature increases began to be observed. Of course we now have the postulated global warming to be concerned about.

An interesting observation is that most of the "temperature increases" have been observed by ground based observations. Satellite observations, on the other hand, have not observed significant warming for the 18 years they have been continuously recording and returning data. Ice core data from the Soviet Station Vostok in the Antarctic show that both the temperature and carbon dioxide concentration move with temperature and both have been increasing for 18,000 years. The total human contribution to greenhouse gases account for about 0.28% of the greenhouse effect. This means that 99.72% of the greenhouse effect is due to natural causes about which we can do nothing. An interesting observation about measurements is that while it is possible to quite accurately estimate the carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere, 50% of it cannot be found in the atmosphere and the method by which it is sinked (absorbed) is not known and hasn't been identified.

So what are the major causes of climate change? Climate change is caused, primarily, by cyclical eccentricities in the earth's rotation and orbit as well as the sun's variable energy output. There are 11 year and 206 year cycles of solar variability called sunspot activity. There is a 21,000 year cycle attributable to the combined tilt and elliptical path of the earth's orbit around the sun. There is also a 41,000 year cycle of a +/- 1.5 degree wobble in the earth's orbit and a 100,000 year cycle that has to do with variations in the shape of the earth's elliptical orbit.

There are atmospheric causes such as heat retention due to atmospheric gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide, methane and a few other minor gases. Solar reflectivity due to white clouds, volcanic dust, polar ice caps are primary mechanisms. And then there are tectonic causes such as shifting continents which alter ocean currents and undersea ridge activity which causes continental spreading and varies the ocean displacement.

So what does all this mean? Primarily it means that enough real scientific data and theories have not been developed to substantiate any conclusions. What is required is not political hype or dogmatic lockstep solutions but verifiable, peer reviewed, theories substantiated by data and corroborated by multiple sources. If all this proves that humankind is responsible, then spend the trillions of dollars to save the earth. Until then, concentrate on reducing the other aspects of pollution.

An addendum:
The concern about global warming should include something not touched on in most global warming discussions. According to popular theory, the supposed cause of global warming is the presence of humans and their use of carbon based energy generating mechanisms. Now, if you subscribe to this theory the way to minimize these energy sources is to turn to "alternative" sources such as sunlight, geothermal, wind, tidal, nuclear and fuel cell technologies. Now let's say, just for arguments sake, that these changes reduced the carbon usage by 25%, a pretty impressive reduction. So with this implemented, let's look at another aspect of the problem, the world's population increase.

Using the UN's own figures, the earth's population will increase from the current 6,710,655,000 to 9,191,287,000 by the year 2050. This is a 37% increase in energy demand base on population numbers, not economic status. Of course, the warming pundits will then say, look where we would have been if we hadn't gone for the reductions. But, doesn't this really beg the question? By their estimates, we have already crossed the point at which carbon dioxide is causing the warming, holding the rate of increase down only prolongs the inevitable melting of the glaciers and icecaps. With the predicted increase in ocean depths, less land will be available for farming and the population density will increase beyond the mere increase in numbers. Higher density humanity will place disproportionate demands on energy availability and the situation will grow exponentially.

So what does this mean? Surely, one can see that the root cause of carbon based problems is the presence of overwhelming human population. So while alternative energy sources are very useful from a pollution viewpoint, they can't solve the energy demand problem which is based on headcount. Population control is what is needed to preserve the planet.

Another Addendum
While attempting to track down the mysterious global warming data, I found several internet sites that looked at the warming data and the interpretation of this data and came away with stronger doubts about global warming than ever. One issue raised was the locations of the surface sites measuring the earths surface temperature. One of the sites often mentioned was the one located in Hawaii on a volcano. This site is chosen most often because it is claimed that it measures the Pacific air and therefore is immune to pollution that would affect measurements. When this "fact" is closely examined another issue becomes apparent. The volcano itself is a source of carbon dioxide and during various periods of activity the measurement process is suspended. It is also known the the carbon dioxide content of the ocean varies with the water temperature and the El Nino and La Nina conditions will cause the measurements to vary.

Another monitoring site along the coast of Ireland has been directly measuring temperature since 1859 and it's data shows absence of global warming even though this location is free and has been free of civilization caused perturbations of the data. This internet information can be found at:


The further one attempts to examine the data at it's source, the greater the question of the validity of the interpretations become. Another internet site examines the method of carbon dioxide data collection around the earth and questions the accuracy of the data based on simple location issues. This site can be found at:


Another interesting fact that was uncovered indicated that even though the troposphere is considered to be part of the atmospheric mixing process, satellite temperature measurements taken of the troposphere do not show a temperature rise. This data was confirmed by independent temperature measurements taken using radiosonde balloons. From my elementary examination of the data, the whole issue becomes cloudier and buried in various agendas being hyped by many people.

When these people say that scientific consensus vindicates their position, I would counter by saying that scientific consensus is an oxymoron. Scientific facts are defined by theory, proof and subsequent confirmation by the scientific community, not by beating everyone over the head who objects to the conclusions.