August 14, 2012

Hansen Is Wrong

Filed under: Droughts, Precipitation

In his recent press blitz, NASA’s James Hansen tries to tie extreme weather events, such the current drought affecting much of the central U.S., to anthropogenic global warming. But the real world argues otherwise.

Hansen is quite adept at timing global warming pronouncements with extreme weather events. Recall that it was during a similar hot, dry period back in the summer of 1988 that Hansen first testified to Congress that global warming from human greenhouse gas emissions was impacting current weather events—testimony which many credit as giving rise to the global-warming-is-going-to-be-bad movement. But then, as now, the tie-in between weather events and human changes to the atmospheric greenhouse effect is tenuous at best, and tie-ins to specific events are ill-supported and ill-advised. In the best case, the anthropogenic emissions-driven rise in global temperatures has a small ancillary impact on a specific extreme weather event, but in the vast majority of the cases, its role is nugatory and undetectable.

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July 22, 2009

Sea Level Rise: An Update Shows a Slowdown

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

Of all the potential woes bandied about with regards to “global warming,” the only one which really is in uncharted territory is a large and rapid rise in sea level. Otherwise we are rather routinely exposed to all nature of weather extremes as they are a part of the natural climate. Droughts, floods, heat waves, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. have impacted human societies in the past and they will continue to do so into the future—with or without “global warming.”

The degree to which we are affected by extreme weather depends on a number of factors, especially preparedness.

One of the driving forces motivating us to “be prepared” (aside from our scout leader), is the frequency with which extreme weather occurs. Generally, the more frequent something negative occurs, the more we act to prepare ourselves. So, in this sense, if weather extremes do be more common in the future, we’ll more than likely quickly become better prepared to deal with them—lessening their negative impacts and probably boosting the economy along the way as we build the necessary precautions into our way of life (consider the improved building codes in Florida after Hurricane Andrew, or the response in Chicago (and France) in the aftermath of killer heat waves). In truth, the impact of climate change is very low compared to the impact of climate itself.

However, one exception to this could be sea level rise. As an organized society, we have pretty much experienced the global ocean level being pretty close (within a couple of feet) to where they are now. True, the global sea level has been creeping upwards for the past 10,000 years (after the big jump up at the end of last ice age) and true, we have had to make some adjustments to a few of our particularly vulnerable coastal cities, but by and large the sea level hasn’t been rising at a rate so great as to cause large societal disruptions or reorganizations.

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May 6, 2008

Slower Sea Level Rise

Filed under: Sea Level Rise

One of the major pillars of the greenhouse scare is that sea level is rising due to global warming, coastlines will be inundated, and disasters will occur in coastal areas throughout the world. Who could ever forget Al Gore’s documentary showing us the World Trade Center Memorial under water due to sea level rise? A year ago, climate change hero James Hansen warned the world that non-linearities in the ocean-atmosphere system could lead to a whopping 5 meter or more sea level rise over this century.

As we have covered many times in the past, sea level is certainly rising – of course, it has been rising for the past 10,000 years. During the last glacial period, sea level dropped 400 feet as water was tied up in ice, and as we have moved out of the cold glacial period, sea level has recovered. The question for climate change experts is not “Is sea level rising” but rather “Is sea level rise accelerating?” In 2001, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) wrote “No significant acceleration in the rate of sea level rise during the 20th century has been detected”, while in 2007, IPCC wrote “Global average sea level rose at an average rate of 1.8 [1.3 to 2.3] mm per year over 1961 to 2003. The rate was faster over 1993 to 2003: about 3.1 [2.4 to 3.8] mm per year. Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear.” To say the least, the IPCC has been very cautious on the issue of accelerated sea level rise.

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November 28, 2006

Fires Dampen Warming Scare

Filed under: Climate History

This entire global warming – greenhouse effect crusade really got into high gear back in the summer of 1988. In case you have forgotten, that spring and early summer in the United States was unusually hot and dry, and on June 23rd, James Hansen (then director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies) reported at a Senate hearing that the world was warmer than at any time in the instrumental record and he was “99 percent certain” that some of that warming was related the buildup of greenhouse gases. Following that pronouncement, the issue seemed to gather traction, and the greenhouse train got rolling down the tracks. Once that train got out of the station in 1988, it has been gaining momentum, and with the recent election results in the United States, the train is moving faster than ever.

If anyone doubted global warming back in 1988, two other events of that summer put the nail in the coffin. Remember Hurricane Gilbert? As this storm approached the Yucatán, the central pressure fell to 885 millibars, the lowest ever recorded in a Western Hemisphere storm. Hypercanes became embraced as part of the greenhouse storyline. Meanwhile, Yellowstone Park went up in flames, as did millions of acres throughout the United States. Immediately, wildfires were claimed as further evidence of global warming, and since that time, every popular presentation of the horrors of global warming includes images of wildfires.

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August 24, 2006

A Sea Change in Global Warming?

For years now, we have been deluged with the news that the earth’s oceans are heating up as a result of changes in atmospheric composition resulting from the combustion of fossil fuels.

Typical of these was a 2005 story titled “Where’s The Heat? Think Deep Blue,” from United Press International, describing a recent paper in Science by NASA climate modeler James Hansen. UPI wrote that “Over the past ten years, the heat content of the ocean has grown dramatically.” This study covered more than just the ocean surface temperature, which can fluctuate considerably from year to year. Rather, by considering a much deeper layer (the top 2,500 feet), Hansen could actually calculate the increasing amount of heat that is being stored. According to UPI’s story, this provided “a match” with computer model projections of global warming.

The ocean is a huge flywheel that integrates and stores long-term climate changes. Consequently, when computer models are driven with ever-increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide, the deep oceans warm, warm, and warm. But it takes time to start up, just like a big pot of water heated by a small match. Once the process starts, though, nothing should be able to stop it.

That’s the current wisdom of our climate models, but like current wisdom on so many other aspects of life, nature has behaved differently.

Within weeks, a paper is going to appear in the refereed journal Geophysical Research Letters, by John Lyman of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, showing that, globally, the top 2500 feet of the ocean lost a tremendous amount of heat between from 2003 through 2005—about 20% of all the heat gained in the last half-century.

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June 30, 2006

Supreme Court Warms Up To Climate Change

Filed under: Climate Politics

The Supreme Court has agreed to review whether or not the federal government is currently required by law to limit emissions of carbon dioxide, the major human emission implicated in global warming.

How could they not do it? The public is being barraged daily by climate horror stories. Greenland is shedding ice at a fever pace. Antarctica isn’t far behind. Hurricanes are getting worse. Species are going extinct by the millions. And worst of all, it just rained a lot in Washington. All because of (ahem) global warming.

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February 10, 2006

A (Mis)informed Public

Filed under: Climate Politics

In the February 8 New York Times, NASA’s Jim Hansen again complained that his ideas on climate change are being suppressed by the Bush Administration, which is destroying our democracy by censoring climate science. According to the Times:

“On climate, the public has been misinformed and not informed,” he said. “The foundation of a democracy is an informed public, which obviously means an honestly informed public. That’s the big issue here.”

On the other hand, Hansen thinks that lying about climate change in order to get attention is just peachy.

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January 31, 2006

Hot Tip: Post Misses the Point!

Juliet Eilperin’s latest headline in the Washington Post (January 29, 2006) about how global warming is destroying the earth was “Debate on Climate Shifts to Issue of Irreparable Change.” The Post, which has been news-editorializing this story for a couple of years now, featured her article above the fold in the top-right corner of the Sunday paper. Obviously they are exercised. Our response: cool it.
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January 30, 2006

Hansen Revisited

Filed under: Climate Politics

We’ve been getting a bunch of hits from people searching on “James Hansen” since the New York Times and Washington Post have both run articles in which Hansen claimed he was being censored by the Administration.

So, to make everyone’s life a bit easier (and since there is really not much new here), we’ve provided the links below to a couple of particularly poignant World Climate Report articles in which we covered Hansen’s political activities, his recent findings, and his philosophy on the reporting on the global warming issue. If you want more stories like these, we invite you to use our “Search” feature located in the righthand sidebar to search recent articles or go here to search our back issues (e.g., enter, say, “Hansen” for best results!).

Blowing Your Own Whistle

Summary: Prominent scientist James Hansen criticizes President Bush’s climate change policy, despite the fact that the policy is in part based on Hansen’s own findings.

This is unheard of: A prominent scientist in the pay of the federal government attacks the President in a crucial state (Iowa) one week before the election. Not just any prominent scientist, either, but James Hansen, recipient of $250,000 in pocket change from the Heinz Foundation, run by Mrs. John Kerry. Don’t worry, though, he said he was speaking as a private citizen because he paid his own way. With Mrs. Kerry’s money, we might add, in his family nest egg.
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James Hansen Increasingly Insensitive

Summary: It seems that the longer NASA scientist Jim Hansen studies the climate, the more insensitive he, or should we say, his interpretation of the climate, becomes.
Climate “sensitivity” is the change in surface temperature expected for each additional Watt of energy that is re-radiated onto the earth’s surface and lower atmosphere by slight changes in the greenhouse effect. The main cause of these changes in the greenhouse effect, of course, is the increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide caused by the combustion of fossil fuels.
You would think that it would be big news when Hansen—the guy who started all this mess with his incendiary 1988 congressional testimony—lowers his estimate for the sensitivity to two-thirds of the value he used back then.

After all, he does get a lot of ink. That’s what happened in October, 2004, when he traveled to hotly contested and environmentally sensitive Iowa the weekend before the election, and publicly berated his Boss’ global warming policy. Talk about insensitive!
Hansen’s most recent figure, just published in Sciencexpress, is that the surface temperature ultimately changes 0.67˚C per Watt per square meter (W/m2). In 1988 he said it was a full degree, and in 2001 he lowered it to 0.75.

The lower the climate sensitivity, the less that the global temperature will rise in the future (given the same amount atmospheric carbon dioxide) and the lower the threat of catastrophic climate change.
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Observations Not Models

Summary: Urging caution regarding “implausible” and “unduly pessimistic” IPCC climate scenarios, NASA’s Hansen opts for observations to guide his forecasts of a 0.75ºC temperature rise by the year 2050.

NASA’s James Hansen, who is widely credited as being the “father of global warming” recently wrote that the climate change scenarios put forth in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) 2001 Third Assessment Report (TAR) “may be unduly pessimistic,” and that the IPCC extreme scenarios are “implausible.” In fact, he argues, the observed trends in atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane concentrations for the past several years fall below all IPCC scenarios, so consequently future temperature rise will most like be about 0.75ºC during the next 50 years.
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Is soot, not CO2, to blame for the loss of Arctic ice?

Summary: There are three primary tools that global warming alarmists use in their arguments that anthropogenic enhancements to the world’s naturally occurring greenhouse effect are causing the climate to behave as it never has before and this will ultimately be catastrophic. They are 1) the “hockey stick” temperature reconstruction for the past 1,000 years, which purports to show that left to its own devices, the global average temperature changes very little, yet it jumps at the slightest provocation from mankind; 2) the IPCC 21st century temperature projections which show a range of possible warming by century’s end that spans 1.4 to 5.8ºC (of course, the alarmist attention is given to the high end projection); and 3) the sea ice in the Arctic Ocean has been steadily declining for the past several decades and will be entirely gone in the summertime in the next 50 years as a result of rising levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases. With the latest publication by NASA scientists Dorothy Koch and James Hansen, the final of these arguments now joins the first two in being soundly repudiated.
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AAAS “all-stars” lead biased discussion

Summary: On June 15, 2004, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) convened what they described as an “all-star” panel of U.S. climate scientists to discuss climate change. Never before has such a biased look at the issue been put together by a group that supposedly represents the purest ideals of science.
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Joint Statement of the G8 National Academies: A Non Sequitur

Summary: On June 7, 2005, a joint statement on climate change was issued by the national science academies of the G8 countries (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, Japan, and the United States) along with China, India and Brazil. The statement emphasized two primary points, 1) that climate change (as caused by human-induced alterations of the composition of the atmosphere) is real, and 2) something needs to be done about it.

As has been the case in the climate change debate for years, the second point simply does not follow from the first.
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June 10, 2005

Joint Statement of the G8 National Academies: A Non Sequitur

Filed under: Climate Politics

On June 7, 2005, a joint statement on climate change was issued by the national science academies of the G8 countries (the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, Japan, and the United States) along with China, India and Brazil. The statement emphasized two primary points, 1) that climate change (as caused by human-induced alterations of the composition of the atmosphere) is real, and 2) something needs to be done about it.

As has been the case in the climate change debate for years, the second point simply does not follow from the first.
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