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  • 14-Aug-10 The State of Earth's Climate 2009: How can so many people be so wrong?
  • SEPP SCIENCE EDITORIAL #25-2010
    (in TWTW Aug 14, 2010)

    Guest Editorial by Sherwood Idso, Keith Idso, and Craig Idso

    The State of Earth's Climate 2009: How can so many people be so wrong?

    Aug 14, 2010

    The State of Earth's Climate 2009 [BAMS vol 13, no 31: 4 August 2010]

    In a "Highlights" report of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's State of the Climate in 2009 document, which was prepared under the direction of the U.S. National Climatic Data Center, we can read the principal findings of what the document describes as the work of "more than 300 scientists from 48 countries." Their primary conclusion, as stated in the Report's first paragraph, is that "global warming is undeniable," and the Report goes on from there to describe "how we know the world has warmed." But this, and all that follows, tells us next to nothing about what has caused the warming, which is the crux of the whole contentious matter.

    The Report next states, for example, that "recent studies show the world's oceans are heating up," which is fine; but then -- as if hoping no one will question them -- the Report says the oceans are warming, "as they absorb most of the extra heat being added to the climate system from the build-up of heat-trapping gases," which contention is far from a proven fact, and is -- in fact -- merely an hypothesis .... and a bad one at that, as we shall soon see.

    Another fault of the Report is its hyping of "melting Arctic sea ice," while it remains silent on the state of Antarctic sea ice, which has been doing just the opposite as it has grown in extent. Likewise, a major inconsistency of the Report is its stating, with respect to temperature, that "a particular year can experience record-breaking highs and lows in any given location," while, "as a whole, global climate continues to warm." This is very true; and it can also do so while, as a whole, global climate cools or remains unchanged. And it implies the same thing for all types of weather phenomena (such as droughts, floods, hurricanes, etc.), which means that the occurrence of any unusually dramatic weather phenomenon in any "particular year" should imply nothing about the long-term trend of that phenomenon or the presumed trajectory of the global climate within which it is embedded. Yet the Report goes on to describe six such extreme events that occurred in the "particular year" of 2009, which would have to have been done for no other reason than to imply that these weather extremes were caused by global warming, which flies in the face of their earlier contention that record-breaking low temperatures in any year say nothing about the long-term thermal tendency of the planet.

    Last of all, the Report states that "people have spent thousands of years building society for one climate and now a new one is being created -- one that's warmer and more extreme," which leads us to wonder ....

    How could more than 300 scientists from 48 countries possibly be so wrong? Any student of history and palaeoclimate well knows that earth's climate has changed dramatically over the past "thousands of years." During the central portion of the current interglacial period, for example, many parts of the planet were a few to several degrees Centigrade warmer than they currently are. And only a thousand years ago, the Medieval Warm Period was holding sway. Although many of the scientists of Climategate infamy tried mightily to make that period of warmth "go away," the Center for the Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change has for quite some time now posted a review of a different research project every single week that testifies to the reality of the Medieval Warm Period. And that ever-growing body of research is demonstrating beyond any doubt that there was a several-hundred-year interval of warmth back then that was at many different times (stretching from decades to centuries), and in numerous places (throughout the entire world), significantly warmer than the Report's highly-touted first decade of the 21st century, and at a time when the atmosphere's CO2 concentration was far less than it is today.

    What makes this particular failure of the Report so doubly damning is the fact that it claims that each of the "more than 30 different climate indicators" it has analyzed "is placed into historical context." That is obviously not true. And for a parameter so central to the core of the global warming discussion as temperature to not be put into proper long-term context is inexcusable, although quite understandable, especially when one realizes the implications it would hold for the Report's unfounded contentions about the present state of earth's climate.

    View The Week That Was in which this editorial appeared.

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