Skip to comments.THE END OF THE CLIMATE DEBATE?
Posted on 09/26/2002 9:56:06 AM PDT by Mike Darancette
THE END OF THE CLIMATE DEBATE?
>From SEPP.org, 28 September 2002
By Lee C. Gerhard, Principal Geologist, Kansas Geological Survey, Lawrence, KS 66047 Letter to The Professional Geologist
The climate change debate appears to be rapidly reaching its end. New credible scientific evidence has demonstrated very strong correlations of solar and orbital variability with climate change. Advances in correlation of proxy information with natural processes of climate change, and better understanding of climate history, trends, and rates of change, have all merged to provide a much clearer picture of climate change than has been available before.
Despite the data and information, many have been unwilling to discard the simplistic hypothesis that human beings in general and those who live in industrialized countries in particular can control climate. Raymond Bradley (Bradley, 2002) continues the rhetoric of anthropogenic-driven climate change by arguing that the breakup of Antarctic coastal ice is indicative of anthropogenic induced global warming.
It is quite possible, even likely, that the climate is warming, but the natural drivers, particularly incident solar energy, are the primary cause, not people.
The emerging scientific picture is one of primary orbital and solar forcing of Earth's climate on both long and short time scales, ranging from 11 years to 100,000 years, with possible greenhouse gas overprint. No greenhouse overprint has yet been measured, although it is theoretically likely that there is some effect.
The critical issue facing scientists, engineers, elected officials and voters today is reliance on academic projections from computer models in the face of contradictory evidence from actual observations and measurements in the real world. We have failed to explain clearly to the public and the media that computer climate models are approximations derived from assumptions, and that they are, at best, only primitive representations of the natural systems they purport to replicate.
As petrophysicist Alan Byrnes (pers. comm., 2002) argues: "In multivariate phenomena many variables do not exert independent influence. Observations made of multivariate phenomena are usually correct but present information about the phenomena from different perspectives, that is, they each test different hypotheses, make different assumptions, and hold different variables or boundary values constant."
"As with the three blind men describing an elephant, each is telling the truth but each provides a completely different view. It is common to construct models that are internally consistent within the boundaries of a defined problem but which are not required to be externally consistent, where the model results may not explain but are not in conflict with observations outside the model. Fully accurate models must be able to explain, or at minimum not conflict with, ALL data or there must be a valid reason for rejecting or ignoring data that are inconsistent with the model."
The greenhouse model requires climate change to progress in an orderly sequence, with early lower troposphere heating, and warming first at the poles. The latest measurements of Antarctic climate show that the main part of the continent is cooling, and has been for some time (Doran et al, 2002). Changes in Antarctic ice that we do observe are part of the normal post-Wisconsin interglacial process, not a recent artifact of human influence on climate (Conway et al, 1999).
Not even the National Academy of Science could find significant warming in the lower troposphere (NRC, 2000). These problems alone should have suggested to modelers that there are serious problems with the assumptions upon which the models are based, and that alternative explanations for global warming exist that actually fit data and observations.
There are additional problems with the theory that primary human activity and its associated greenhouse effect is responsible for modern climate change. Recorded human history has documented global climate over the last several thousand years. The detail is better in the more recent documents (Lamb, 1995). One of the biggest problems that modelers face is duplicating past climates. Perhaps their most apparent and best known failure is the coupled Medieval Climate Optimum (MCO) and the following Little Ice Age (LIA), ending about 1850.
The most recent IPCC report summary (IPCC, 2001) states that human intervention is clearly discernible. However, that conclusion is based on a curve of past climate that shows no MCO, but turns abruptly up at about 1875 (Mann et al, 1999). Co-authored by Bradley, this curve is based on tree-ring data and directly contradicts human observations (Lamb, 1995), in arguing that the MCO did not exist.
Since that publication (IPCC, 2001), the Mann et al (1999) paper has been superceded by Esper et al (2002), who developed a climate curve based on tree ring data that correlates with human historical data, demonstrates the existence of the MCO, and essentially negates the IPCC conclusion.
A long-term synthesis of geological history shows natural variability well in excess of any valid projected anthropogenic changes (Bluemle et al (2001). Fischer et al (1999) demonstrate that atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration lags climate change throughout the last three glacial terminations, thus de-linking carbon dioxide concentration from past climate change. Arguments that global warming is increasing the frequency of severe storms abound, but have been neutralized by new studies showing that there is no increase in severe weather phenomena (Starkel, 2002).
While recognizing that climate change is regional in expression, based on the data of Lamb (1995), it appears that earth's climate has not yet warmed to that of the 11th century. In the United States, at least, the heat and dryness of the 1930's dustbowl are still greater than we are experiencing today.
Without full understanding of the heat island effects of the global temperature measurement system, it is difficult to assess the accuracy of the computer models that purport to define the global temperature and its trends. "The hottest year ever" must be defined in terms of the time series records used.
All these criticisms, however, mean little without an alternative hypothesis about the major drivers of climate change. The advancing hypothesis is that orbital and solar variability are the most significant drivers of climate, and that greenhouse gases, while important for maintaining the stability of climate and moderating external forcing, are not responsible for most climate variability. This hypothesis encompasses all observed climate change data.
Demonstrations of the correlation of climate change with solar variability, inextricably linked to orbital variations, has been provided by Hoyt and Schatten (1997) and more recently by Bond et al (2001). In a stunning paper, Bond illustrates close correlation between climate change and solar variability.
Additional documentation of the role of orbital and solar processes in climate change is afforded by the work of Alley and Clark (1999), Zahn (2002), and Sharma (2002). The predictability of solar variability has led to better prediction of La Nina and El Nino events, and validates statistical projections for climate (Davis and Bohling, 2001). It is interesting that the Martian climate change is attributed to solar heating that is driven by orbital variations (Bell, 2002).
Climate is changing, as it always does, in both directions and at all time scales. Humans must adapt to the changes. While warming may accentuate sea level rise, human beings cannot alter the outcome, only mitigate the effects upon human society and civilization. If climate turns cold, as it surely will, effects on agriculture and food availability will be significant. Feeding the growing global population will become a major problem, just as rising sea levels will inexorably inundate low-lying land.
The political convenience of the anthropogenic greenhouse theory of climate control lies in its simplistic and unscientific belief that changing human use of greenhouse-gas-generating materials will stop or reverse global climate change. Yet, even if there were a significant greenhouse effect, no proposal now before the public, especially the "Kyoto Protocol," can stop the inexorable progress of natural forces.
Climate change is occurring. Among the rapidly expanding global population clustered along the shorelines of the world, there will be substantial damage during the warming phases if we don't prepare to mitigate the effects of our inappropriate land use and begin to "design with nature" (McHarg, 1969). Climate change is a natural process and global warming is inevitable during some periods. We must adapt to the changing climate, just as we adapt to daily changes in local weather. We must adapt, not fight the changes in climate as they occur. We must worry about how we will feed the people of the world over the next millennia.
If people understand the solar/orbital hypothesis, the world will not be lulled into thinking that the problems associated with global climate change will all go away if the people of the United States transfer their wealth to third world countries. The use of inaccurate computer models of climate change to advance social agendas is over.
The original debate is over. The new debate has opened. The issues are joined: how to manage population growth and mitigate the effects of natural climate change on people.
Climate changes naturally, all the time, warmer or colder, at all time scales, and at varying amplitudes. Now that we understand that we cannot control global climate, we can start helping people adapt to natural variability.
Alley, Richard B., and Peter U. Clark, 1999, The Deglaciation of the Northern Hemisphere: A Global Perspective: Annual Reviews, Earth and Planetary Science, v. 27, p. 149-182.
Bell, Jim, 2002, Tip of the Martian Iceberg?: Science, v. 297, p. 60-61.
Bluemle, John P., Joseph Sable, and Wibjorn Karlen, 2001, Rate and Magnitude of Past Global Climate Changes: in, Gerhard, Lee C., William E. Harrison, and Bernold M. Hanson, eds., 2001, Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Studies in Geology #47, Tulsa, OK, p. 193-212.
Bond, Gerard, Bernd Kromer, Juerg Beer, Raimund Muscheler, Michael N. Evans, William Showers, Sharon Hoffmann, RustyLotti-Bond, Irka Hajdas, Georges Bonani, 2001, Persistent Solar Influence on North Atlantic Climate During the Holocene: Science, Vol. 294, Issue 5549, 2130-2136.
Bradley, Raymond S., 2002, Letter to the Editor: The Professional Geologist, August/September 2002, p. 27.
Conway, H., B. L. Hall, G. H. Denton, A. M. Gades, and E. D. Waddington, 1999, Past and Future Grounding-Line Retreat of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Science, v. 286, p. 280-283.
Daly, John L., 2000, The 'Hockey Stick': A New Low in Climate Science: http://www.microtech.com.au/daly/hockey/hockey.htm
Davis, John C., and Geoffrey Bohling, 2001, The Search for Patterns in Ice-Core Temperature Curves: in Gerhard, Lee C., William E. Harrison, and Bernold M. Hanson, eds.,2001, Geological Perspectives of Global Climate Change: American Association of Petroleum Geologists Studies in Geology #47, Tulsa, OK, p. 213-230.
Doran, Peter T., John C. Priscu, W. Berry Lyons, John E. Walsh, Andrew G. Fountain, Diane M. McKnight, Daryl L. Moorhead, Ross A. Virginia, Diana H. Wall, Gary D. Clow, Christian H. Fritsen, Christopher P. McKay, and Andrew N. Parsons, 2002, Antarctic climate cooling and terrestrial ecosystem response: Nature, v. 415, p. 517-520.
Esper, Jan, Edward R. Cook, Fritz h. Schweingruber, 2002, Low-Frequency Signals in Long Tree-Ring Chronologies for Reconstructing Past Temperature Variability:Science, v. 295, p. 2250-2253. (See also: Mann and Hughes' critique and Cook and Esper's response, Science, v. 296, p. 848-849.)
Fischer, H., M. Wahlen, J. Smith, D. Mastoianni, and B. Deck, 1999, Ice Core Records of Atmospheric CO2 Around the Last Three Glacial Terminations: Science, v. 283, p.1712-1714.
Hoyt, D. V., and K.H. Schatten, 1997, The Role of the Sun in Climate Change: Oxford University Press, New York, 279 p.
IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), 2001, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis: Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Lamb, H. H., 1995, Climate, History, and the Modern World: 2nd Ed., Routledge, NY, 433 p.
Mann, M. E., R. S. Bradley, and M. K. Hughes, 1999, Northern Hemisphere Temperatures During the Past Millennium: Inferences, Uncertainties, and Limitations: Geophysical Research Letters, v. 26, n. 6, p. 759-762.
McHarg, Ian, 1969, Design With Nature: Natural History Press, 197 p.
National Research Council, 2000, Reconciling Observations of Global Temperature Change: National Academy Press, Washington D.C., 85 p.
Sharma, Mukul, 2002, Variations in solar magnetic activity during the last 200,000 years: is there a Sun-climate connection?: Earth and Planetary Science Letters, v. 199, p. 459-472.
Starkel, L., 2002, Change in the Frequency of Extreme Events as the Indicator of Climatic Change in the Holocene (in Fluvial Systems). Quaternary International 91:25-32.
Zahn, Rainer, 2002, Milankovitch and Climate: The Orbital Code of Climate Change: JOIDES Journal, v. 28, n. 1, p. 17-22.
However, if it's true that solar output and the Earth's orbit are the predominant factors (how could they not be?), then human activity would at most change the time of onset of major climactic change, and only by a percent or two.
But really, it shouldn't have been that much of a surprise:
The advancing hypothesis is that orbital and solar variability are the most significant drivers of climate, and that greenhouse gases, while important for maintaining the stability of climate and moderating external forcing, are not responsible for most climate variability. This hypothesis encompasses all observed climate change data.In view of the often repeated fact that an hour's worth of the solar energy hitting our planet could provide us with all the energy we need, this shouldn't surprise anyone. Almost all the energy used on this planet comes from the sun's rays; a puny percentage comes from the burning of fuels; so it's a truly human conceit to think the latter's going to make more than a tiny difference to the temperature of Planet Earth.
You're correct. A giant like Milutin Milankovitch doesn't stand a chance against the political pygmies of modern science.
Thank-you for posting this excellent article.
However, with all the stuff that's ever been published about climate change, I'm still left with one very puzzling question: Just what are the approximate correlation factors???
Are we talking 80% natural fluctuation and 20% man-made????
Or is it 99.44% natural and 0.56% man-made???
Too many big words and complex ideas for dummycraps to understand.
Yep. Man-made contributions are within the error limits which makes them effectively zero.
That's always been my presumption,
yet I've never seen the simple statistics presented...
Neither supporting that presumption, nor refuting it.
Nada. One way or the other.
If people understand the solar/orbital hypothesis, the world will not be lulled into thinking that the problems associated with global climate change will all go away if the people of the United States transfer their wealth to third world countries.
The Little Ice Age:
How Climate Made History 1300-1850
by Brian M. Fagan
Floods, Famines, and Emperors:
El Nino and the Fate of Civilizations
by Brian M. Fagan
The Long Summer:
How Climate Changed Civilization
by Brian M. Fagan
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