March 2004 (vol. 20, #3)
1601 N Tucson Blvd #9, Tucson AZ 85716
c 2001 Physicians for Civil Defense
Sir David King, the United Kingdom's chief scientific advisor, writes that Aclimate change is the most severe problem that we are facing todayCmore serious even than the threat of terrorism" (Climate change science: adapt, mitigate, or ignore? Science 2004;303:176-177).
Former U.N. chief weapons inspector Hans Blix agrees. And unlike weapons of mass destruction and terrorist plots, evidence of climate change is everywhereCas long as one defines any deviation from Anormal" as proof of the catastrophic theory of human-caused global warming.
Former Vice President Al Gore was not the least bothered that his talk railing against the Bush Administration and climate change skeptics happened to fall on one of the coldest days in New York City's history: AThe extreme conditions are actually the end result of the planet warming," he said. AThe Bush policies are leading to weather extremes."
Gore was unwittingly commemorating the 20th anniversary of George Orwell's novel 1984, on Jan. 15, 2004, to deliver this remarkable example of Newspeak, writes James Taylor of the Heartland Institute. Taylor is also reminded of a scene from Stanley Kubrick's classic 2001: a Space Odyssey. Any discrepancy between a human impression and a computer's computation Acan only be attributed to human error," asserts computer HAL. Likewise, if data differ from the predictions of a computer model, it is the human interpretation of the data that must be faulted.
Certain human interpretations, however, have more credence than others, as Duncan Maxwell Anderson points out. Selecting a small number of temperature record samples can create a dramatic trend line such as Mann's notorious Ahockey stick" (see CDP Jan. 2004), but the margin of error is so great that one could draw any number of lines through the chartCincluding a trend of global cooling.
AThey're showing incomplete data," stated Willie Soon. AIf you do that, it is easy to show the curve you want people to see. For explaining this, they called me a `right-wing extremist'" (The emperor's new climate: is global warming real? Crisis Magazine 2/11/04, www.crisismagazine.com).
Even if the computer model did fit the data after the fact, one must ask the question that Enrico Fermi asked Freeman Dyson concerning his theoretical graphs of meson-proton scattering: AHow many arbitrary parameters did you use in your calculations?" When Dyson said four, Fermi replied: AI remember my friend Johnny von Neumann used to say, with four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk" (Dyson F. A meeting with Enrico Fermi: how one intuitive physicist rescued a team from fruitless research. Nature 2004;427:297.)
The question is whether the model passes the umbrella test: will people carry cover when rain is predicted? By this criterion, climate models are in their infancy, stated Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, Jr., administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). He also stated that he could make a computer spit out any answer he desired (Wash Times 2/15/04).
Even James Hansen, one of the fathers of the global warming theory, has stated that Aemphasis on extreme scenarios may have been appropriate at one time, when the public and decision-makers were relatively unaware of the global warming issue... Now, however, the need is for demonstrably objective climate forcing scenarios consistent with what is realistic under current conditions." Nonetheless, extreme scenarios are still at the forefront of environmentalist tactics, writes Iain Murray (Extreme measures, Tech Central Station, 1/26/04). No mere yellow or orange alerts for them.
The Gulf Stream might shut down, turning Western Europe into Siberia. (Actually, the temperate climate in Europe is caused by the perturbation of atmospheric circulation induced by the Rocky Mountains.) Then Siberian peat bogs might thaw and release all the CO2 they have been accumulating for centuries. And the temperature might increase 10?F in the next century, under economic forecasts in which Libya, Algeria, and North Korea overtake the U.S.
According to a British tabloid, a secret APentagon report" tells Bush that climate change will destroy us, causing nuclear war and rioting. Actually, this was a contract study on Aimagining the unthinkable" by two Aexperts" lacking any credentials in atmospheric science.
The political charade will grow after May 28, when Hollywood releases a climate horror film The Day After Tomorrow, which shows the icy destruction of New York City, and will reach a crescendo before the presidential elections, warns S. Fred Singer (see www.sepp.org). The aim is to force the White House to implement the Kyoto protocol.
The Union of Concerned Scientists sent a letter to the Senate asserting that Athe main conclusions of the IPCC and NRC reports remain robust consensus positions supported by the vast majority of researchers in the fields of climate change and its impacts." The letter boasts 1,000 signatories, of whom about 40% appear to be physicists, geophysicists, climatologists, meteorologists, oceanographers, or environmental scientists. Nearly seven times as many scientists in such fields signed the anti-Kyoto petition posted at www.oism.org/pproject, which has more than 17,000 total signatories.
No scientist, of course, can expect to get a piece of the $10 billion recently thrown at climate modeling research by saying global warming isn't a problem, observes Patrick Michaels.
Sir David claims that the British will be able to reduce greenhouse gases 60% below 1990 levels by 2050Cwithout a serious impact on the UK's economy. He admits indirectly that the sacrifice will have little effect on the climate: Athe point of the Kyoto Protocol was to set up an international process whose scope could be ratcheted up."
What is the term for bringing about political change (such as global energy rationing) by inspiring fear? The forced economic decline of Kyoto could cause much greater social and political instability than current terrorist organizations can muster, writes Roy Spencer (Tech Central Station 2/12/04). AAl Qaeda would become a minor player in a chaotic world where political and social unrest are the norm."
Physicians for Civil Defense has decided to take advantage of the Community Civil Defense Program of KI4U, Inc., by purchasing 100 NukAlerts. This is a compact radiation monitoring and alarm system that can be attached to a key chain (see www.nukalert.com).
AIf the federal government were serious about homeland security, such devices would be everywhere that a terrorist could place a package of radioactive material," stated president Jane Orient, M.D.
PCD will start by offering a NukAlert to our 50 best donors and to newsletter readers who request them, and will distribute more as resources permit. It costs us about $50 each in the quantities we can now afford to buy. The regular price is $160; a small number of Acosmetically challenged" units are available for $80, as long as the offer is on the web site.
Having one at home to warn an individual family is good. Having one on your airplane, in your post office, on your FedEx delivery truck, or any place that crowds may gather, is better still. Put yours on your key chain or in your purse, carry it everywhere, and show it to others. Encourage other organizations to buy the devices in quantity.
Now. If you wait for a crisis, it will be too late.
Efforts to stop publication having failed, an analysis of the data purporting to show rapid recent warming has appeared (Soon W W-H, Legates DR, Baliunas SL. Estimation and representation of long-term (>40 year) trends of Northern-Hemisphere-gridded surface temperature: a note of caution. Geophys Res Lett 2004;31:L03209).
The paper concludes that Apublished results suggesting that the Northern Hemisphere surface air temperature has increased by the extremely rapid rate of about 1 to 2.5?C per decade during the last one year (2002-2003)... are most likely artefacts of methodology and procedure of trend smoothing. Accurate communication of methods and avoidance of data-padding procedures for smoothing and/or filtering of climatic time series should be incorporated in reporting data trends."
In other words, scientists shouldn't fudge the results to produce alarming, politically correct conclusions.
As Dr. Soon and others have shown, dramatic climate changes long predated the Industrial RevolutionCand the sun must surely play a major role. Solar variability is the subject of a new book by Willie Soon and Steven Yaskell, The Maunder Minimum and the Variable Sun-Earth Connection, World Scientific Publishing.
AI am still trying to disprove my theory, to see if it is correct," Dr. Soon told Duncan Maxwell Anderson.
To see how much damage you cause the planet, and how many tonnes of CO2 are your personal responsibility (some 22,000 pounds or 10 tonnes per year is about average), visit www.climatestar.org, brought to you by the Union of Concerned Scientists. See your portrait as a gas-emitting pawn-shaped monster that causes flowers to wilt and birds to drop out of the sky. If you fly on airplanes, drive much, or heat or cool your home, you are probably an above-average polluter.
According to the 2000 report Climate Change Impacts in the United States, known as the National AssessmentCwhich published the Ahockey stick" without error barsCApopulations in urban areas are most vulnerable to adverse heat-related health outcomes." The Second Assessment Report of the IPCC predicted that, based on data from several North American cities, Athe annual number of heat-related deaths would approximately double by 2020 and would increase several-fold by 2050."
As most major urban cores have warmed 1 to 2?C as a result of simple urbanization, the hypothesis has been tested. For a 28-city average, there were 53 excess heat-related deaths per year per standard million population in the 1960s-70s, 25 in the 1980s, and 15 in the 1990s (New perspectives in climate science: what the EPA isn't telling us. Independent Institute, 2003, see www.independent.org).
The warm period during the few centuries around 1000 A.D. was also manifested in China, as shown by peat, lake sediment, ice core, tree-ring, and other proxy data. Citrus trees grew in north China. There was also a Roman Warm Period during the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties 206 B.C.-220 A.D.), which may have been responsible for large-scale agricultural production and an economic boom. AWater and temperature conditions were suitable for rice production and much better than today." The evidence is summarized at www.co2science.org .
According to Bill Ruddiman of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, humans first began to affect the climate 8,000 years ago, by clear cutting forests for agriculture, releasing the CO2 stored in the trees. Then, about 5,000 years ago, southeast Asians began adding methane to the atmosphere when they flooded fields to grow rice, creating artificial wetlands. Ruddiman estimates the effect was to increase Earth's surface temperature by an average of 0.8?C, nearly twice the rise attributed by global warmers to human activity since 1850. This may have prevented an ice age.
There have also been substantial dips in CO2 concentration, too large to be explained by natural phenomena such as volcanoes, Ruddiman believes. These coincide with periods when plagues wiped out a substantial fraction of the human population, when farms were abandoned and forests grew back.
The theory awaits confirmation, and natural causes such as changes in the earth's orbit cannot be ruled out.
Nature magazine concludes its report with the politically correct caveat: AAs grateful as we might be to our ancestors for saving us from a mini ice ageCif, in fact, they didCclimate scientists warn that we shouldn't conclude that modern global warming is a good thing. We are now boosting the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere ten times faster [than] our ancestors did, and to levels outside the range of natural fluctuation. We may not miss winter fairs on the Thames, but no one really wants flooded coastal cities" (Nature 2004;427:582-583.)