Tuesday, June 03, 2003

Computer Models vs. Reality

It is easy to become complacent about the "Global Warming" fiasco. After all, hasn't the real science won the day over those who would use junk science to impede the economies of the Western Powers, especially the U.S.A.? Well, the scientific argument would, indeed, appear to be won, but there are still powerful forces which continue to press for a unilateral economic disarmament by the West, led by many of the same people who acted like they were appalled at the so-called unilateral warfare proposed, and subsequently undertaken, by that same Western juggernaut, led by the U.S.A.

Recently, in the journal Science (sorry, no free online copy available... yet) there has appeared a scholarly article refuting atmospheric temperature measurements in favor of a reliance of reliance on atmospheric temperature models. This is the kind of easy reliance upon junk science that the Left has become used to in this war they are waging against the great American (and other Western) economies. Yet today, we can see signs that their effort has failed. The forces of reason and truth are now organized, and within a week of the appearance of this article, in testimony before a committee on the House of Representatives, Dr John Christy, Professor of Atmospheric Science and Director of the Earth System Science Center at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and also Alabama's State Climatologist, pointed out the absolute foolishness of that position. His brilliantly composed remarks are online here. Some quotes:
Will increases in CO2 affect the climate significantly? Are significant changes occurring now? Climate models suggest the answer is yes, real data suggest otherwise... If in testing models one finds conflict with even the observed large scale features, this would suggest that at least some fundamental processes, for example heat transfer, are not adequately described in the models.
That same week, with much less fanfare, my latest paper appeared in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology.[2] Unlike the paper in Science magazine, I performed several rigorous tests to estimate the potential error of our UAH satellite data. I used real observations from balloon datasets created by independent organizations, some with data from as many as 400 different balloon stations. Our UAH satellite data and the balloon data corroborated each other with remarkable consistency, showing only a slow warming of the bulk of the atmosphere. This evidence indicates that the projected warming of the climate model had little consistency with the real world.
Using a wider range of information from new sources these studies now indicate large temperature swings have been common in the past 1000 years and that temperatures warmer than today's were common in 50-year periods about 1000 years ago. These studies suggest that the climate we see today is not unusual at all.
I want to encourage the committee to be suspicious of media reports in which weather extremes are given as proof of human-induced climate change. Weather extremes occur somewhere all the time. For example, in the year 2000 in the 48 conterminous states, the U.S. experienced the coldest combined November and December in 106 years. We've just again witnessed a colder than average winter in the Eastern US with some record snowfalls here and there, while the California mountains had one of the coldest and snowiest April's ever. However, looking at these events does not prove the country is experiencing global cooling any more than a hot July represents global warming.
One century is a relatively short time in terms of climate time scales. When looking at proxy records of the last 2000 years for drought in the Southwest, the record suggests the worst droughts occurred prior to 1600. The dust bowl of the 1930's appears as a minor event on such a time scale. This should be a warning that with or without any human influence on climate we should be prepared for a significant, multi-year drought. (Low cost energy would help mitigate the costs of transporting water to the stricken areas.)

When considering information such as indicated above, one finds it difficult to conclude that climate change is occurring in the US and that it is exceedingly difficult to conclude that part of that change might have been caused by human factors.
There is a lot more there. This is really nothing new. What is new is the speed with which a response to the junk science attack was organized. If the other side in this war refuses to concede defeat, then our side must continue to fight, and fight well. Kudos to Dr. Christy.