As Joe Friday used to say: “The facts ma’am, just the facts”.
I first encountered the issue of a changing world climate sometime in the early 1970’s when I developed an interest in rocks and geology. It all started when one of my children picked up a rock and asked that simple question: “Daddy, what’s this rock?” Now, if you are a Dad, you just know that you are expected to know the answer to any and all such questions. So, I bought a book or 2 and then many dozens leading to such topics as plate tectonics, crystallography, cutting and polishing and a few other assorted topics. I collected, cut, polished, categorized and even bought a few specimens on my tight budget. While I no longer cut & polish due to the lack of a reasonable facility to work in, this remains one of my fondest memories as having great enjoyment and I would dearly love to be able to do it again.
I might add that my Mother was a registered gemologist and the first woman to pass the test from the Society in England that has the highest standards and reputation.
It may seem hard to believe at this time but back in the 1970’s the concern in the Scientific community was about Global Cooling. The most commonly referenced article related to this period is an article in Newsweek Magazine from Aril 28, 1975 titled “The Coming Ice Age” which is available below. The most significant part of the article is the chart it contains:
You will find no evidence of this in the charts and graphs issued by the current crop of folks alarmed about “Global Warming”, which is one of the key indicators of their dishonesty.
The following is an imaginary conversation I would imagine happening between myself and one of my children…..The facts are all correct.
M. You know, when we get together again with the family, you’re likely to get into another debate about Global Warming with someone like St***.
F. Well, its not going to happen again. I’ve run out of patience having those kind of debates with people who know nothing but what opinions they have read in some newspaper or internet site.
M. I’m not sure I understand.
F. Look, your father has some 40 years behind him of study related in one way or another to what was once called “Global Warming” and has since been rebranded as “Climate Change”. None of these folks, with one exception that I’ve encountered, have ever done a lick of actual investigation into the subject, have never looked at a single bit of the data and have not a clue as to what is behind the science involved. How do you have a conversation with someone like that. I give it up…it’s not worth the oxygen. I don’t mean to sound arrogant but it’s a waste of time and energy.
M. Wait a minute, how do you have that much experience with this? It’s only come up in the past couple decade or so.
F. Back in the 70’s, the world of science rediscovered what was once called “Continental Drift” and is now termed “Plate Tectonics”. It was a product of the Cold War. The US needed a lot of detailed information about the oceans and especially the floor of the oceans so that they could hide our submarines and the listening posts that they wanted to deploy to find the submarines of the Russians. So the government spent a lot of money doing soundings and measurements all over the globe. That data became public over time and it confirmed that the continents had moved around over millions of years.
M. Wait a minute – I remember those drawings and clay models you built. We thought you were a bit nuts.
F. For no particular reason, I was fascinated by the developments and as an observer, I got into the field in the beginnings. There were hundreds of drawings and models I did trying to make sense of the developments. It was a pretty exciting time. Every year brought more detailed maps and more precise measurements. It was also the time when I first heard noise about a changing world climate….except at that time, the concerns were that we were headed into an Ice Age. Do you remember that wall where I had all those cartoons and pictures and words? Well, one of them was a cutting from a scientific magazine that read “The Ice Age Comith”. There is a rather famous article in Newsweek magazine that gets referenced once in a while that spoke to it. A copy of the article is in one of our scrapbooks.
This is also when I first gained a rather critical or skeptical attitude about science when it is connected to politics. Remember that I said, “rediscovered” before? Well, somewhere along the way I encountered a book by a fellow named Wegner who positively proved the theory back in then1920’s. Only, this was in the 20’s and the world was just out of what they called “The Great War” which we call World War 1 and Germans were very unpopular and Wegner was a German. So his book was laughed at and ridiculed and ignored. Except that anyone reading it could see that he made a slam-dunk case for the migration of the planets. So I learned that whenever science is connected in any way to politics, you had better be very careful.
Remember the debates about “second hand smoke”? That taught me that if you throw a lot of money at an issue and hire a bunch of people to do research, they will most likely give you the results that they already know that you want to see.
M. But what about CO2? I thought that was the real issue?
The Coming Ice Age
The Cooling WorldBy Peter Gwynne
28 April 1975
There are ominous signs that the Earth’s weather patterns have begun to change dramatically and that these changes may portend a drastic decline in food production — with serious political implications for just about every nation on Earth. The drop in food output could begin quite soon, perhaps only 10 years from now. The regions destined to feel its impact are the great wheat-producing lands of Canada and the U.S.S.R. in the North, along with a number of marginally self-sufficient tropical areas — parts of India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indochina and Indonesia — where the growing season is dependent upon the rains brought by the monsoon.
The evidence in support of these predictions has now begun to accumulate so massively that meteorologists are hard-pressed to keep up with it. In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually.
During the same time, the average temperature around the equator has risen by a fraction of a degree — a fraction that in some areas can mean drought and desolation. Last April, in the most devastating outbreak of tornadoes ever recorded, 148 twisters killed more than 300 people and caused half a billion dollars’ worth of damage in 13 U.S. states.
To scientists, these seemingly disparate incidents represent the advance signs of fundamental changes in the world’s weather. Meteorologists disagree about the cause and extent of the trend, as well as over its specific impact on local weather conditions. But they are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the century. If the climatic change is as profound as some of the pessimists fear, the resulting famines could be catastrophic.
“A major climatic change would force economic and social adjustments on a worldwide scale,” warns a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences, “because the global patterns of food production and population that have evolved are implicitly dependent on the climate of the present century.”
A survey completed last year by Dr. Murray Mitchell of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reveals a drop of half a degree in average ground temperatures in the Northern Hemisphere between 1945 and 1968. According to George Kukla of Columbia University, satellite photos indicated a sudden, large increase in Northern Hemisphere snow cover in the winter of 1971-72. And a study released last month by two NOAA scientists notes that the amount of sunshine reaching the ground in the continental U.S. diminished by 1.3% between 1964 and 1972.
To the layman, the relatively small changes in temperature and sunshine can be highly misleading. Reid Bryson of the University of Wisconsin points out that the Earth’s average temperature during the great Ice Ages was only about seven degrees lower than during its warmest eras — and that the present decline has taken the planet about a sixth of the way toward the Ice Age average.
Others regard the cooling as a reversion to the “little ice age” conditions that brought bitter winters to much of Europe and northern America between 1600 and 1900 — years when the Thames used to freeze so solidly that Londoners roasted oxen on the ice and when iceboats sailed the Hudson River almost as far south as New York City.
Just what causes the onset of major and minor ice ages remains a mystery. “Our knowledge of the mechanisms of climatic change is at least as fragmentary as our data,” concedes the National Academy of Sciences report. “Not only are the basic scientific questions largely unanswered, but in many cases we do not yet know enough to pose the key questions.”
Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century. They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases — all of which have a direct impact on food supplies.
“The world’s food-producing system,” warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAA’s Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, “is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago.”
Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines.
Climatologists are pessimistic that political leaders will take any positive action to compensate for the climatic change, or even to allay its effects.
They concede that some of the more spectacular solutions proposed, such as melting the Arctic ice cap by covering it with black soot or diverting arctic rivers, might create problems far greater than those they solve. But the scientists see few signs that government leaders anywhere are even prepared to take the simple measures of stockpiling food or of introducing the variables of climatic uncertainty into economic projections of future food supplies. The longer the planners delay, the more difficult will they find it to cope with climatic change once the results become grim reality.
Myths and Facts
COMMON MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT GLOBAL WARMING
MYTH 1: Global temperatures are rising at a rapid, unprecedented rate.
FACT: The HadCRUT3 surface temperature index shows warming to 1878, cooling to 1911, warming to 1941, cooling to 1964, warming to 1998 and cooling through 2013. The warming rate from 1964 to 1998 was the same as the previous warming from 1911 to 1941. Satellites, weather balloons and ground stations all show cooling since 2001. The mild warming of 0.6 to 0.8 C over the 20th century is well within the natural variations recorded in the last millennium. The ground station network suffers from an uneven distribution across the globe; the stations are preferentially located in growing urban and industrial areas (“heat islands”), which show substantially higher readings than adjacent rural areas (“land use effects”). Two science teams have shown that correcting the surface temperature record for the effects of urban development would reduce the warming trend over land from 1980 by half.
There has been no catastrophic warming recorded.
MYTH 2: The “hockey stick” graph proves that the earth has experienced a steady, very gradual temperature decrease for 1000 years, then recently began a sudden increase.
FACT: Significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time. For instance, the Medieval Warm Period, from around 1000 to1200 AD (when the Vikings farmed on Greenland) was followed by a period known as the Little Ice Age. Since the end of the 17th Century the “average global temperature” has been rising at the low steady rate mentioned above; although from 1940 – 1970 temperatures actually dropped, leading to a Global Cooling scare.
The “hockey stick”, a poster boy of both the UN’s IPCC and Canada’s Environment Department, ignores historical recorded climatic swings, and has now also been proven to be flawed and statistically unreliable as well. It is a computer construct and a faulty one at that.
MYTH 3: Human produced carbon dioxide has increased over the last 100 years, adding to the Greenhouse effect, thus causing most of the earth’s warming of the last 100 years.
FACT: Carbon dioxide levels have indeed changed for various reasons, human and otherwise, just as they have throughout geologic time. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the CO2 content of the atmosphere has increased. The RATE of growth during this period has also increased from about 0.2% per year to the present rate of about 0.4% per year,which growth rate has now been constant for the past 25 years. However, there is no proof that CO2 is the main driver of global warming. As measured in ice cores dated over many thousands of years, CO2 levels move up and down AFTER the temperature has done so, and thus are the RESULT OF, NOT THE CAUSE of warming. Geological field work in recent sediments confirms this causal relationship. There is solid evidence that, as temperatures move up and down naturally and cyclically through solar radiation, orbital and galactic influences, the warming surface layers of the earth’s oceans expel more CO2 as a result.
MYTH 4: CO2 is the most common greenhouse gas.
FACT: Greenhouse gases form about 3% of the atmosphere by volume. They consist of varying amounts, (about 97%) of water vapour and clouds, with the remainder being gases like CO2, CH4, Ozone and N2O, of which carbon dioxide is the largest amount. Hence, CO2 constitutes about 0.039% of the atmosphere. While the minor gases are more effective as “greenhouse agents” than water vapour and clouds, the latter are overwhelming the effect by their sheer volume and – in the end – are thought to be responsible for 75% of the “Greenhouse effect”. (See here) At current concentrations, a 3% change of water vapour in the atmosphere would have the same effect as a 100% change in CO2.
Those attributing climate change to CO2 rarely mention these important facts.
MYTH 5: Computer models verify that CO2 increases will cause significant global warming.
FACT: The computer models assume that CO2 is the primary climate driver, and that the Sun has an insignificant effect on climate. You cannot use the output of a model to verify or prove its initial assumption – that is circular reasoning and is illogical. Computer models can be made to roughly match the 20th century temperature rise by adjusting many input parameters and using strong positive feedbacks. They do not “prove” anything. Also, computer models predicting global warming are incapable of properly including the effects of the sun, cosmic rays and the clouds. The sun is a major cause of temperature variation on the earth surface as its received radiation changes all the time, This happens largely in cyclical fashion. The number and the lengths in time of sunspots can be correlated very closely with average temperatures on earth, e.g. the Little Ice Age and the Medieval Warm Period. Varying intensity of solar heat radiation affects the surface temperature of the oceans and the currents. Warmer ocean water expels gases, some of which are CO2. Solar radiation interferes with the cosmic ray flux, thus influencing the amount ionized nuclei which control cloud cover.
MYTH 6: The UN proved that man–made CO2 causes global warming.
FACT: In a 1996 report by the UN on global warming, two statements were deleted from the final draft approved and accepted by a panel of scientists. Here they are:
1) “None of the studies cited above has shown clear evidence that we can attribute the observed climate changes to increases in greenhouse gases.”
2) “No study to date has positively attributed all or part of the climate change to man–made causes”
To the present day there is still no scientific proof that man-made CO2 causes significant global warming.
Frankly, the UN has proved nothing but that it is in favor of a gigantic wealth redistribution program to take money from the industrial countries and pass it to the rest.
MYTH 7: CO2 is a pollutant.
FACT: This is absolutely not true. Nitrogen forms 80% of our atmosphere. We could not live in 100% nitrogen either. Carbon dioxide is no more a pollutant than nitrogen is. CO2 is essential to life on earth. It is necessary for plant growth since increased CO2 intake as a result of increased atmospheric concentration causes many trees and other plants to grow more vigorously. Unfortunately, the Canadian Government has included CO2 with a number of truly toxic and noxious substances listed by the Environmental Protection Act, only as their means to politically control it.
MYTH 8: Global warming will cause more storms and other weather extremes.
FACT: There is no scientific or statistical evidence whatsoever that supports such claims on a global scale. Regional variations may occur. Growing insurance and infrastructure repair costs, particularly in coastal areas, are sometimes claimed to be the result of increasing frequency and severity of storms, whereas in reality they are a function of increasing population density, escalating development value, and ever more media reporting.
MYTH 9: Receding glaciers and the calving of ice shelves are proof of global warming.
FACT: Glaciers have been receding and growing cyclically for hundreds of years. Recent glacier melting is a consequence of coming out of the very cool period of the Little Ice Age. Ice shelves have been breaking off for centuries. Scientists know of at least 33 periods of glaciers growing and then retreating. It’s normal. Besides, glacier’s health is dependent as much on precipitation as on temperature.
MYTH 10: The earth’s poles are warming; polar ice caps are breaking up and melting and the sea level rising.
FACT: The earth is variable. The western Arctic may be getting somewhat warmer, due to cyclic events in the Pacific Ocean, but the Eastern Arctic and Greenland are getting colder. The small Palmer Peninsula of Antarctica is getting warmer, while the main Antarctic continent is actually cooling. Ice thicknesses are increasing both on Greenland and in Antarctica.
Sea level monitoring in the Pacific (Tuvalu) and Indian Oceans (Maldives) has shown no sign of any sea level rise.