The Week That Was
May 27, 2006


New on the Web: Robert Balling reviews Al Gore's documentary film "An Inconvenient Truth" and points to inconvenient untruths. For an additional critique see Roy Spencer's discussion at
Further comments at

Did you feel sorry for Al Gore's synthetic polar bear searching for an ice floe? Then see

Comedian Andy Borowitz reveals that Hillary has produced a cautionary documentary about the former Veep:
The election of former vice president Al Gore to the White House could result in a disastrous phenomenon called "global boring" in which millions of people around the world would fall asleep in an unprecedented narcoleptic pandemic. That is the message of a new documentary about the 2000 Democratic Party standard-bearer that has been produced and narrated by Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and is being released in selected cities today. The documentary, entitled "An Incoherent Truth," collects moments from some of Mr. Gore's most mind-numbing speeches to make a persuasive case that a Gore presidency would set off a doomsday scenario of global tedium.

For more satire about Global Warming, see Item #1.

But there are also those who really WORRY about GW, read books by Ross Gelbspan, and think that Al Gore and Environmental Defense are not providing enough "leadership":
And there is Bill McKibben, "scholar-in-residence" at Middlebury College, VT, bewailing the fate of the Earth in
BTW, if you want to write, it is <> I know they'd love to hear from you. Pls send me a Bcc. We will publish the best letters next week.

But if you are the worrying kind, take this Quiz about Radiation (translated by the Rekenmeester - from Dutch)

Study shows major media have hyped climate change for over a century--switching back and forth between warming and cooling.
The Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC is due in 2007. But Volume 1 (by the Science panel) has been widely available. We list some major critiques in Item #2. They relate to evidence for human influences, sea-level rise, and the Hockeystick.
India says it and other developing nations should tackle poverty first, not fight global warming.

The Hill Times (Ottawa), (May 15) reports on progress in Canada:
Natural Resources Canada is now using the phrase "responsible development" in place of "sustainable development,"

Is this the beginning of the end in Europe?

1. How a Global Warming Satirist Breaks the Ice

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post, May 21, 2006;

Witness the headlines: "Pristine Alaskan Glacier Turns Into Tropical Wasteland." "More Polar Bears Suffering Heat Exhaustion." And "Dolphins Discovered Fleeing Warming Tropical Waters." Global warming warnings intended to give you the shivers.
But upon further clicking and reading, visitors to might think, hmm: Is the Smithsonian Institution really buying up virgin arctic sea ice on the black market? Did attention-weary penguins actually chase bewildered researchers back onto their ships? And what's this about the EPA mandating a reduction in emissions from . . . volcanoes?
Somewhere in an office about 600 miles southwest of here, former NASA scientist Roy W. Spencer is laughing. The 50-year-old, white-haired PhD dreamed up the spoof site -- sort of the Onion meets the Weather Channel -- because he thinks people are overreacting to the threat of climate change.
Now a principal research scientist at the University of Alabama at Huntsville, Spencer says human activities have "likely" contributed to climate change, but he argues that "since we do not understand natural climate fluctuations, we don't really know how much, quantitatively, of the present warmth is man-made versus natural."
Spencer describes his Web site as "a spur-of-the moment effort that resulted from the increasing number of news stories that quoted people who blamed global warming for events such as tsunamis and the latest flood, drought or hurricane. . . . Also, I have a somewhat twisted sense of humor, and the Web site gives me an additional creative outlet." His other creative outlet: He's lead guitarist in a contemporary Christian rock band at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Huntsville. (His environmentalist-mocking alternative lyrics to Supertramp's "Give a Little Bit": "I'll take a little bit, I'll take a little bit of your wealth from you/So give a little bit, oh, give a little more than a dime to me.")
It's all a way of keeping his sanity, Spencer explains.
"Being in the minority is difficult," he says, adding that while he now earns a small amount of money writing for TCS Daily, a Web site funded in part by ExxonMobil, "I have always said, if you want to make money in this business, the skeptics' side is not the side you want to work on."
His Web site has maintained a relatively low profile. Spencer was on two nationally syndicated AM talk radio shows in early March, leading to 150,000 page views that month, but things have trailed off; EcoEnquirer got about 43,000 page views the first three weeks of this month.
So it's just a fun thing. Well, mostly. "I was surprised at the number of people that thought the EcoEnquirer stories were real."


Signs of the Times, a leftist Web forum, mistakenly published the article from EcoEnquirer on March 6 about dolphins fleeing the warming tropics. (The "news" item includes this quote from a Dr. Fisherman: "If you had hot water poured on you, you would flee, wouldn't you?") Signs of the Times issued an editorial two days later calling Spencer's Web site "a waste of cyberspace."
Spencer's serious academic work has sparked controversy. While at NASA -- between 1984 and 2001 -- he and University of Alabama at Huntsville professor John Christy pioneered satellite monitoring that indicated the Earth was warming more slowly than surface temperature readings would indicate. In 1991 the two researchers won NASA's Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal for that work, but this month a government study concluded there was no statistical difference between the two climate records.
Spencer acknowledged that other satellite experts have found two errors in how he and Christy processed their data. Christy, who has known Spencer for nearly two decades, called his colleague "one of those traditional weather nerds" who get excited every time there's a big storm.
Naturally, Spencer is less than popular with scientists who believe that industrialized nations need to take swift action to curb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.
"It tends to cloud the issue by playing media attention to the uncertainties," said Drew Shindell, a research scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York. "In fact, we know a lot more about this issue than a lot of things we take action on."
But has its fans, too. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee counsel John Shanahan, whose boss, James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), has called global warming "a hoax," likes Spencer for his research as well as his wit.
"It wasn't until I first saw his Web site that I realized that he's an amazingly funny guy," says Shanahan. "It's refreshing to see a scientist keep his sense of humor in a highly polarized debate."
© 2006 The Washington Post Company

2. Preliminary Analysis of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report AR4 (2007)

On the whole. IPCC-AR4 seems more restrained than some of its predecessors (influence of IPCC chair Susan Solomon?). But there are exceptions:

1] A shift in the base line exaggerates the effect:
Fig1 of the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) shows forcing ( rather than GHG levels) of the order of 1-2 W/m2. But the average GH forcing is about 300 W/m2 (88% of the ave solar constant of 340 W/m2). [This is standard textbook stuff]

2] The current warming trend is represented as anthropogenic. There is no mention that the pattern of warming does not match what GH models predict. See also

3] AR4 no longer supports the Hockeystick -- even though the IPCC has not formally retracted its use in the (2001) Third Assessment Report (TAR), where it was presented as "evidence" for anthropogenic warming .

I quote from the SPM, AR4 Draft, Working Group-1 (p.9);

"Some recent studies indicate greater variability in NH temperatures over the last 1000 years than reported in TAR ... "
As you may recognize, this re-establishes the Little Ice Age, which the Hockeystick had abolished.

But the SPM also suggests: "Average NH temperatures during the second half of the 20th century were ... likely the warmest in the past 1000 years."
This claim, based only on poorly calibrated tree-ring data, goes against actual data with thermometers in ice-core boreholes (Dahl-Jensen) and isotope data of ice cores (Cuffey); both show the Medieval Warm Period much warmer than the present. IPCC-AR4 also ignores the abundant historical evidence (e.g., farming in southern Greenland). See also

4] Sea-Level Rise:
Fig. 3b of the SPM shows sea levels rising during the 20 century. But they don't tell you that this rate (about 18 cm per century) has been ongoing for several 1000 years.
There has been no acceleration of SL rise.
I further note that the undisputed strong warming of 1920-40 did not accelerate SL rise (see also my discussion in Hot Talk Cold Science , p.18)



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