February 27, 2008

Antarctica Ain’t Cooperating!

Filed under: Antarctic, Polar, Sea Level Rise

We have kidded from time to time about renaming World Climate Report to World Hurricane Report given all the evidence we encounter in the professional literature discrediting the claim of more frequent and intense hurricanes. If we decided to never again report on hurricanes, our next most popular topic would be Antarctica.

Literally thousands of websites on global warming claim that the icecaps are melting at an unprecedented rate due to emissions of greenhouse gases (particularly from the United States), and in case you cannot picture what that looks like, the sites feature an endless number of pictures of blocks of ice floating away from Antarctica (the really effective pictures have a few penguins floating away as well). National Geographic magazine featured a cover story entitled “The Big Thaw,” and based on what you would see in that issue, you would think there is absolutely no debate about rapid and undesirable changes occurring in Antarctica all due to the dreaded global warming phenomenon. As we have shown over and over, nothing could be further from the truth!

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February 25, 2008

More on the Hurricane Hysteria

Filed under: Climate Extremes, Hurricanes

Our hurricane dialog never seems to end, and hardly a week goes by without another article appearing in a major journal on the subject of global warming and hurricane activity. In recent weeks, two more major articles have been published adding to the overwhelming evidence that the hurricane – global warming link cannot be supported on theoretical or empirical grounds. These two articles represent more nails for the coffin containing the popularized link between global warming and hurricanes!

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February 21, 2008

Global Warming: Not So Fast

For more than 100 years, climate scientists have fully understood that if all else were held constant, an increase in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) would lead to an increase in the near-surface air temperatures. The problem becomes a lot more complicated in the real world when we consider that “all else” cannot be held constant and there are a lot more changes occurring at any one time than just the concentration of CO2. Once the temperature of the Earth starts inching upward, changes immediately occur to atmospheric moisture levels, cloud patterns, surface properties, and on and on. Some of these changes, like the additional moisture, amplify the warming and represent positive feedback mechanisms. Other consequences, like the development of more low clouds, would act to retard or even reverse the warming and represent negative feedbacks. Getting all the feedbacks correct is critical to predicting future conditions, and these feedbacks are simulated numerically in global climate general circulation models (GCMs). Herein lies a central component of the great debate — some GCMs predict relatively little warming for a doubling of CO2, and others predict substantial warming for the same change in atmospheric composition.

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February 20, 2008

More “Bad for Good and Good For Bad”

Just in case you don’t believe our original contention that reports about the impacts of global warming almost always say that ‘bad’ things will happen ‘good’ species and ‘good’ things will happen to ‘bad’ ones, we’ve recently come across perhaps the best example of this phenomenon to date.

A symposium titled “Under Thin Ice: Global Warming and Predatory Invasion of the Antarctic Seas” was held at the 2008 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) during which several researchers discussed the probability that in the near future, anthropogenic global warming is going to elevate the temperatures in the sea off the coast of Antarctica such that sharks and crabs (read ‘bad things’) are going to invade the ecosystem there (where it has thus far been too cold for them to venture) and wreak havoc, or rather find a “smorgasbord” among all the innocent and unprepared creatures (i.e. the ‘good’ things) that currently inhabit those waters.

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February 14, 2008

Few French Fried in 2006

In the history of global warming scare stories, the 2003 European heat wave was a landmark event—it was the first time that a rash of human deaths were specifically linked to global warming. Many of you probably recall that a widespread exceptionally hot and dry spell hit Western Europe in August, 2003. Depending on how you count the bodies, up to 35,000 people suffered premature death during this heat wave with the lions-share occurring in France, which happened to be heat wave ground zero. Subsequent research demonstrated that this kind of extreme heat event must surely have been caused by increased greenhouse gas levels (Schår et al., 2004), despite the fact that, when examined from a global perspective, this heat wave was very Euro-centric (Chase et al., 2006), and the last time we checked a map, western Europe doesn’t cover much of the globe (which of course is the reason for centuries of European colonialism).

Well, we bet you didn’t know that there was a very comparable heat wave in France in summer, 2006. Why no headlines about global warming’s increasing death toll? In the category of “all the news that’s apparently not fit to print,” you guessed it, many fewer people died. The 2006 heat wave is the subject of a recent paper in the International Journal of Epidemiology by a group of French researchers led by A. Fouillet entitled, “Has the impact of heat waves on mortality changed in France since the European heat wave of summer 2003? A study of the 2006 heat wave.”

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February 11, 2008

A 2,000-Year Global Temperature Record

Over the past decade, considerable debate existed regarding the temperature history of the Earth on the time scale of millennia. If you followed our discussion on the subject, you know that one camp would like you believe that the highly-publicized warming of the planet over the past century is absolutely unprecedented over the past few thousand years. This group seems to fixate on the “hockey stick” representation of the temperature history of the past 1,000 years, and they hold on to the stick in spite of evidence to the contrary. Many others have argued based on proxy evidence throughout the world that the past few thousand years include a very warm period 1,000 years ago and a cold period 500 years ago; in their eyes, the warming of the past century is not at all unusual. These folks even go on to suggest that the Earth today may not be yet as warm as conditions 1,000 years ago, despite the 100 ppm increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past century.

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February 7, 2008

More Satellite Musings

About a month ago, we ran a piece reflecting back on the behavior of the satellite-derived temperature history of the earth’s lower atmosphere for the past 10 years of so. We commented that the two major realizations of the temperature history of the lower atmosphere—one derived by researchers at the University of Alabama-Huntsville (UAH) and the other by researchers at Remote Sensing Systems (RSS)—seemed to be drifting apart in recent months. Well, it has since been determined that a slight computational error involving the data for 2007 had been introduced in the RSS routines, and this error has now been corrected (see here for more detail) so all is now well again in the world of satellite-derived global temperatures—or it is?

Yes and no.

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February 4, 2008

1,500 Years of Cooling in the Arctic

The Arctic is melting, right? There is simply no questioning this pillar of the greenhouse scare, and images of ice melting, polar bears struggling, and indigenous people crying the blues are all part of any self-respecting presentation of global warming. Imagine a study published in a major journal showing that a location in the Arctic has “a trend of -0.3°C over the last 1,500 years.” Of course, you would never have learned of such a result had you not discovered World Climate Report.

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