Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Spinning Scare Stories

Here is a bit about Greenland which should puzzle those who are convinced that the world is going to hell in a handbasket by anthropogenic (i.e. "man made") global warming. This is a bit from a post by S Jay Porter on the Watts Up With That? blog:
In 1991, two caribou hunters stumbled over a log on a snowy Greenland riverbank, an unusual event because Greenland is now above the treeline. (1) Over the past century, further archaeological investigations found frozen sheep droppings, a cow barn, bones from pigs, sheep and goats and remains of rye, barley and wheat all of which indicate that the Vikings had large farmsteads with ample pastures. The Greenlanders obviously prospered, because from the number of farms in both settlements, whose 400 or so stone ruins still dot the landscape, archaeologists guess that the population may have risen to a peak of about five thousand. They also built a cathedral and churches with graves which means that the soil must have been soft enough to dig, but these graves are now well below the permafrost (2).

There is also a story in ‘Landnamabok, the Icelandic Book of Settlement, which tells of a man who swam across his local fjord to fetch a sheep for a feast in honour of his cousin, the founder of Greenland, Erick the Red. Studies of Channel swimmers show that 10C would be the lowest temperature that a man would be able to endure for such a swim, but the average August temperature of water in the fjords along the southern Greenland coast now rarely exceeds 6C. The water at that time must therefore have been at least 4C warmer and probably more than that which means that the summer temperatures (for the air) in the fjords in southern Greenland would then have been 13C-14C, (3) as compared with the present temperatures mentioned above.

It follows that temperatures must have been higher than those of today’s during that first settlement of Greenland which lasted from approximately 900 until the mid-1400s AD, when these settlements died out. There is no written explanation for this sudden demise but climate scientists have discovered that Iceland, like the rest of Europe, was gripped by a rapid and centuries-long drop in temperature, known as the Little Ice Age. And in a recent study, William D’Andrea and Yongsong Huang of Brown University, Providence RI (4) have traced the variability of the Greenland climate over a period of 5,600 years when previous inhabitants were also subjected to rapid warm and cold swings in temperatures

Yet the whole reason for the existence of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) is to thrust upon the world’s population the idea that industrialisation in the West over the last 100 years and our profligate use of fossil fuels is producing a run-away heating of the planet through the emission of greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, which unless checked will lead to its — and humanity’s — death.
There is much more. Go read the whole post.

I find it funny that for 30 years IPCC has been telling us that the world is in a runaway global warming, but I sure as heck can't see the results. I bought a house behind a dike in 1983 and worried -- because of IPCC projections -- that I might have to abandon it by 2000 because of rising sea levels. The sea didn't rise. The house is still quite safe. Here in the Pacific Northwest we've had an unusually cold wet winter and no spring (a typical La NiƱa pattern). I see that the Antarctic ice sheet has a greater extent this summer than its 30 year average and there is no obvious pattern of a runaway "melting" of that ice cap. There is a slight melting in the arctic ice cap, but as the above story about Greenland should make clear, and this postings on ice-free conditions and submarine observations shows, it has melted in the past.

I've got no beef with the idea that humans can be affecting the climate. I just don't think that the modeling is convincing. And I do believe there is a witch hunt going on forcing climatologists to "toe the line" on global warming or lose their funding (see this and read it all very carefully because Roger Pielke Sr. is a solid climatologist).

I'm OK on environmentalism and conservation. I'm not OK with fanaticism. I trust science but I don't trust modeling (since I did computer modeling during my career and know how much of an "art" it is and how little of a "science"). What bugs me the most is that guys like Al Gore are selling global warming while in the business of making money off the global warming scare (via cap & trade) and while living a very wasteful, CO2 spewing lifestyle with multiple mansions with lots of floodlights and heating for next to no occupants in the homes:
Utility records show the Gore family paid an average monthly electric bill of about $1,200 last year for its 10,000-square-foot home.

The Gores used about 191,000 kilowatt hours in 2006, according to bills reviewed by The Associated Press spanning the period from Feb. 3, 2006, to Jan. 5. That is far more than the typical Nashville household, which uses about 15,600 kilowatt-hours per year.
How many houses can you live in at one time? (see this Business Insider report on his other mansion on the West Coast).

If I'm going to be lectured about CO2 and global warming, it had better be from somebody who is "holier than thou". Sadly, Al Gore doesn't pass the sniff test.

And fanatics like Al Gore stampede people into "solutions" which create more problems, e.g. this story about biodegradable products that create more problems than they solve by releasing even more powerful greenhouse gases than the "problem" waste they are trying to replace.

Here's the kind of "global warming" that I can buy into...

Click to Enlarge

The above graph shows oscillations which are well known in climatology. It shows an upward trend which I can buy as something to be understood (is a mix of forces on a larger scale including human infusion of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere), and a clear demonstration of the alarmism of the IPCC with their runaway global heat death prediction which diverges from reality (see the dot marking 2009).

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