The following is my response to an open letter published by the legal scholar Dan Farber on his blog. Farber’s letter says that global warming “denialists” are about as right as Neville Chamberlain was returning from Munich in 1938 and declaring “peace in our time.”
I was disappointed by the dearth of facts in the open letter.
If we are to debate, which you say is appropriate, would not facts be a good place to start?
First of all, the prognostications of computer models are not facts.
Here are few things that are:
1. Global sea ice extent is above the 1979-2000 mean as anyone can see by visiting Cryosphere Today (a site run by people who believe fervently in manmade global warming, by the way). Antarctic sea ice extent has increased at aboutthe same rate that Arctic sea ice has declined. That was most dramatically the case in 2007, the year in which maximum Arctic melting and maximum Antarctic sea ice extent were both attained within about six weeks of each other. Although carbon dioxide is known to be a well-mixed gas, it appears not to pack much of a punch in Antarctica. Here are the data: http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/
2. The Arctic has melted enough to create significant waves leaving erosion on the north coast of Greenland, most recently during the Medieval Warm Period.
3. Speaking of the Medieval Warm Period, Vikings colonized Greenland for a period of 350 years during same. Had alarmists been around at the time, they would have videotaped the melting ice that made colonization possible, distributed it to news outlets around the world, and scared the pants off people (like today) who didn’t know that such cyclical warming has gone on during all of human history.
4. The Eemian interglacial before our own Holocene interglacial saw temperatures far higher than today and sea levels 4 to 6 meters than today. Again, it is a shame that the melting that led to the higher sea levels could not have been captured in high-resolution videography in order to sway the credulous.
5. Ice shelves in Antarctica have melted cyclically, most recently during the Holocene Optimum 7,000 years ago. The great bulk of the melt of the shelves (as opposed to annually melting and reforming sea ice) that has been taking place during the past couple of decades is from below (meaning relatively warm ocean currents) rather than above.
6. Henrik Svensmark’s theory that galactic cosmic rays provide cloud condensation nuclei is about to get a real-world test. The current deep solar minimum continues to increase cosmic rays to the highest levels ever recorded, as can be seen here: http://cosmicrays.oulu.fi/webform/query.cgi?startdate=1964/05/17&starttime=00:00&enddate=2009/06/17&endtime=19:16&resolution=Automatic%20choice&picture=on (most will need to copy and paste the full url, either that or Google Oulu Neutron Monitor)
7. The principal reason for temperatures being at all elevated in 2009 is lingering heat in the system from the string of El Niños beginning in 1982, most spectacularly the Super El Niño of 1997. However, no global warming (averaging the four major temperature providers — Hadcrut, GISS, RSS, and UAH) has taken place since 1998. The ocean is a huge heat sink, but temperatures have nonetheless started to decline in the past five years, as can be seen here: http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/
8. The bitter winter in Canada and the northern tier of the United States is just a continuation of the unusually cold and snowy winter that occurred during June, July, and August of 2008 in Australia and New Zealand. Ski resorts have opened early again this year in the Southern Hemisphere. Just weather? Then why do warmists give themselves permission to set up video cameras at the scene of every flood, drought, and tropical cyclone that causes misery?
9. As for your moral high ground, you and many others in the privileged Western elite ignore the fact that getting electricity to the 1.5 billion to 2 billion people living in the cold and dark today is a human-rights issue of the highest order. Coercing the corrupt governments of weak nations to trade carbon credits to the West, so that we can continue with our fine lifestyle (Al Gore’s 20 x American average electric bill comes to mind) does not strike me as a Higher Morality. There are faith groups whose sole purpose is to oppose this kind of paternalistic — and finally colonial — nonsense.
10. We are always one volcanic eruption away from sudden, problematic cooling. That is among the reasons that NASA has spent money researching vulcanism during past solar minima (another arguably being to obfuscate the fact that the Sun largely drives Earth’s climate). Warmth has historically been good for Earth’s people. One reason that we are all here arguing about this today is that we live at what most consider to be the tail end of an interglacial. The Dark Ages were to a great degree begun by a single volcanic eruption in 535: Krakatoa.
11. Farmers in Canada and the Northern Plains of the USA are struggling due to the June frosts this year. Ice wine has been produced in Brazil for the first time this year.
12. The coldest temperature ever recorded in the state of Maine — -50 degrees Fahrenheit — was measured this year. Ask your friends in New England what winter has been like for the past two years.
13. The changeover of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation to its negative phase two years ago has ushered in a new climate regime. When the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation switches to its cool negative phase as well (anticipated in 2015, but it has flirted with negative values already this year), people will LAUGH about the time when so many feared global warming.
14. The game is changing, and that is the reason for the rise of alarmist claims. London’s first snow during the month of October since 1922 took place last fall. England had its snowiest winter in at least ten years. They skated on the Dutch canals this year for the first time in 12 years.
I could go on. The truth is that those of us who have been converted away from the cult of fear that is AGW need only wait. Ice-free Arctic by 2013?