March 31, 2005

Ups and Downs: Redux

About a year ago, the newswires were ablaze about a report from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that the year-over-year change in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels had reached an all-time high. This was reported to be an indication that the atmospheric CO2 concentration was accelerating and that the worst climate change scenarios were being borne out.

At the time, however, we urged everyone not to get too exercised about a year or two’s worth of data because there is a large degree of variation in the annual CO2 levels as measured at the observatory atop Hawaii’s Mauna Loa volcano. Now, comes this year’s NOAA report on CO2 concentration levels , which begins:

A spike in the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere between 2001 and 2003 appears to be a temporary phenomenon and apparently does not indicate a quickening build-up of the gas in the atmosphere, according to an analysis by NOAA climate experts.

We hate to say ‘we told you so,” but we did. To see what had to say a year ago, click here.

With each passing year, the trend in atmospheric carbon dioxide levels better establishes itself at about 1.5 ppm/yr. If this trend continues, by the year 2050, the atmospheric CO2 level will be about 446ppm—below nearly all of the projections made by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in the 2001 Third Assessment Report. Consequently, the temperature rise, over the same period, will also likely be at or below the lowest IPCC forecast.

The specter of catastrophic climate change is rapidly fading.

March 30, 2005

La Niñas and climate warming

This winter, relentless coastal rains and mountain snows pummeled the Pacific Southwest. Given that the target zone was green Southern California, it’s shocking that the storms were accompanied by little hype about global warming. The reason? Unlike 1998, the last stormy winter, there was no big El Niño in the central Pacific to conflate with global warming. And everyone knows (just ask Dr. Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research) there’s got to be a connection between global warming and more frequent and severe El Niños (For Kevin’s philosophy on this, look here).

But is there really a connection between warming and El Niño?

March 24, 2005

Reviewer Comments: Extracting a Climate Signal from 169 Glacier Records

A new paper that is soon to appear in the print version of Science magazine reconstructs the temperature history of the earth for the past 400 years using data gathered from 169 glaciers from around the world. Problems with this publication again lead us to wonder what is happening to the peer-review process at our major scientific journals. Here, we offer our comments, had we been one of the reviewers of the paper.

March 17, 2005

The Great Himalayan Snow Job

Filed under: Glaciers/Sea Ice

On March 14, Reuters shipped a story about rapid recession of the Himalayan glaciers—the largest nonpolar ice mass in the world. They quoted from a World Wildlife Fund press release stating “Himalayan glaciers are among the fastest retreating glaciers globally due to the effects of global warming.

WWF timed its press release before a two-day “Energy and Environmental Ministerial Conference” in London. At this meeting the United States was (predictably) blasted because it won’t commit economic suicide by adopting the Kyoto Protocol on global warming.

This is one of those repeating news stories, like “Strife in Haiti” or “Irish Unrest.” It goes like this. To wit: “The (glaciers, polar bears, butterflies) of (anywhere) are in dramatic decline because of global warming. Unless the (US, US, US) signs on to the Kyoto Protocol, their continued decline is assured.”

Well, here at World Climate Report we have our own repeating news story. To wit: “It appears that the (UN, World Wildlife Fund, Sierra Club) forgot to check the temperature histories where the (glaciers, polar bears, butterflies) are in decline, and the (US, US, US) isn’t going along with counterfactual nonsense produced by agenda-driven environmentalists.”

March 16, 2005

Comments on the New England Climate Change Report

Filed under: Climate History

In its report entitled “Indicators of Climate Change in the Northeast 2005,” the environmental advocacy group Clean Air-Cool Planet, in association with the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New Hampshire, claimed that recent climate changes in New England were caused by human activity. However, while evidence abounds showing considerable climate variability and change in the region, there’s little if any relation to human influence from a changed greenhouse effect.

March 11, 2005

Less Cooling, Less Warming

Filed under: Climate Models

Newly published results show that the degree to which sulfate aerosols lead to surface cooling is overestimated in current climate models. This result further undermines what little support remains for the IPCC’s high-end warming projections.

March 3, 2005

Hockey Stick, 1998-2005, R.I.P.

The “hockey stick” representation of the temperature behavior of the past 1,000 years is broken, dead. Although already reeling from earlier analyses aimed at its midsection, the knockout punch was just delivered by Nature magazine. Thus the end of this palooka: that the climate of the past millennium was marked by about 900 years of nothing and then 100 years of dramatic temperature rise caused by people. The saga of the “hockey stick” will be remembered as a remarkable lesson in how fanaticism can temporarily blind a large part of the scientific community and allow unproven results to become “mainstream” thought overnight.

March 2, 2005

Snowjobs About Weather and Climate

Filed under: Climate Models

Want to raise the blood pressure of an entire region? If you’re within a few hundred miles of Washington DC, just say “snow” to a TV camera. But if you’re more interested in planetary hypertension, simply substitute the words “global warming”.

It turns out that the forecasting methods for both snow and global warming are quite similar. And what happened with the Mid-Atlantic snowstorm of February 28 tells us much about the climate of the next 100 years.

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