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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Credibility

Last week, Tony Hake of the Denver Weather Examiner published three articles commenting about a letter written by Dr. William Gray, Professor Emeritus of Colorado State University, to the American Meteorology Society regarding its choice of Dr. James Hansen from NASA as recipient of its highest award.

The three articles are linked below. I titled this post "Credibility" because I feel that it is the key aspect that is lacking in the Anthropogenic Global Warming debate.


Battle of the climate scientists and the 'Hijacking of the American Meteorological Society'


Bill Gray has long been warning that the threat of man made climate change is not real. In his own words, “I am of the opinion that this is one of the greatest hoaxes ever perpetrated on the American people. I've been in meteorology over 50 years. I've worked damn hard, and I've been around. My feeling is some of us older guys who've been around have not been asked about this. It's sort of a baby boomer, yuppie thing.”

On the other side James Hansen has become Al Gore's best friend thanks to his sometimes outlandish claims about the effects of global warming. He recently warned that President Obama has 'four years to save the world' and was quoted as saying, "We cannot afford to put off change any longer. We have to get on a new path within this new administration. We have only four years left for Obama to set an example to the rest of the world. America must take the lead.”



Battle of the climate scientists - Gray versus Hansen part 2



In the letter he points out that Dr. Hansen, head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), is not a trained climatologist nor a meteorologist. His formal background is actually in astronomy which does make one wonder how he has become one of the primary mouthpieces for anthropogenic global warming (AGW), or manmade climate change.

It is clear that Dr. Gray does not only not believe Hansen’s theories, he also believes that the man himself is unqualified to be held in such high esteem. Certainly Hansen has become a divisive figure in the AGW debate, particularly with rather inflammatory and hard to believe proclamations like he recently made saying that President Obama had ‘four years to save the world.’

Global warming - Is it a dire emergency or just a hoax?
In the end, I do think we have to stop and think about the debate over manmade climate change. Is it truly ‘settled’ science as the AGW advocates would have us believe? Or are there many more like Dr. Gray that simply have not had their voices heard? And if we have not had an open an honest debate, what are we to believe?

I can accept that Dr. Hansen is not a trained meteorologist or climatologist, yet his own arguments discount or ignore scientifically proven facts that disprove or cast doubt on the entire theory of AGW. These include:

  • The Earth's atmosphere does not act as a true greenhouse.
  • Carbon dioxide levels on Venus far exceed that which could ever be possible on Earth based solely on the mix of atmospheric gases on this planet.
  • The Sun is the primary driver of climate on all of the planets yet changes in the Sun's output are routinely ignored in the discussion of global warming drivers.
  • Built up urban areas skew temperature data upward by creating an urban heat island effect (Notice how it is always hotter in the city than the surrounding suburbs and rural areas?)

Al Gore on the other hand was not even a science major of any kind during school. His major was in business, his career has been politics. Suddenly after retiring from politics, he is to be considered an authority on the climate? What in his published background presents the credibility that Al Gore's dire warnings should be heeded?

Dr. Gray has a career in meteorology and climatology. He is an AMS fellow, has been awarded its second highest award and has been active in his field for over 50 years. Yet instead of debating the theory and facts with him, Dr. Gray is cast aside as a skeptic and a doubter along with hundreds of other qualified scientists who do not accept the current theories without proof. A good reason why no proof has been offered is because there is none.

The UN's IPCC has effectively stifled any debate on the issue claiming that the science is settled. The science is not settled. Trends can be found in many technical journals and posted on line that show much tighter agreement between the Sun's output and the rise and fall of average atmospheric temperatures that can be shown between temperatures and CO2.

Analysis of the graph used by Vice President Gore in his presentation "An Inconvenient Truth" actually shows that CO2 emissions follow the temperature rise. In high school chemistry class, we learn that the solubility of most gases in water decreases with increasing temperature. As the temperature goes up, CO2 is released from the ocean thereby increasing the amount to CO2 in the atmosphere - not the other way around.

Battle of the climate scientists - Gray versus Hansen part 3


Perhaps one of the biggest issues Dr. Gray sees is with the computer modeling used by Dr. Hansen and other AGW advocates. The computer models show a situation where the accumulating carbon dioxide (CO2) in our atmosphere will continue to warm our planet, possibly to the point of being irreversible in the foreseeable future. However, if the data being used or the assumptions being made are faulty, the conclusions in the end will be wrong and that is what Dr. Gray sees.

To put it in its simplest terms, computer models are fine but the saying, “garbage in, garbage out” certainly applies to these as well as any other computer model.

The problem that some see with the Global Climate Model’s (GCM) is that while they forecast these increases in CO2 and temperature, when they are fed historical data they are unable to replicate the warming that has already occurred. Further, they have not been able to even accurately forecast short term climate of a year or two. If these models cannot even see what has already happened or on a short term, how accurate can they be at predicting the long term future? Dr. Gray believes that Hansen’s models use invalid water vapor assumptions, do not accurately reflect the effect of rainfall, and fails to properly take into account ocean circulation. In essence, the garbage in, garbage out system.

The entire man-made global warming argument is based on the result of computer models. Computer models are valuable tools in predicting how a system is going to respond to an upset or an change in inputs BUT for any model to be valid it has to:

1. Be capable of replicating past performance.

2. Be reasonably accurate over short time periods.

Climate models used to predict global warming fail on both cases. This is where the AGW crowd loses its credibility. There is no data to back up the model predictions. Every time temperature increases have been predicted, the actual temperature rise is a fraction of the predicted amount. Since 1999, average temperatures have essentially levelled out or even decreased - has anyone noticed how cold this winter has been or how the past few summers have been much more mild than in the past? The models can not explain this reduction in temperature.

In contrast, Dr. Gray issues a prediction every year of the number of tropical systems that will form in the Atlantic basin during that year's hurricane season. He estimates how many will be named storms, how many will become hurricanes and how many will be serious hurricanes (Cat 3 or higher). His predictions are in the form of ranges for each category. He and Dr. Philip Klotzbloch explains why they think the storm levels will be what they predict. Throughout the year they issue corrections based on the changing weather patterns and climates trends. At the end of the year they discuss what was predicted correctly and where they missed the mark. Their success in predicting how severe a given season will be is exceptionally high and the few years where their prediction did not match reality, they discussed what changed and how the missed the signals. This is credibility.

The AGW crowd borrows the line from the Wizard of Oz: "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain."

The day that a model can be developed that accurately predicts the climate in the short term will be the day when we see a great achievement but that day has not come. Western governments are making public policy decisions based on bad science, unconfirmable theories and emotional reactions.

In my opinion, Dr Gray's credibility far outweighs anything the AGW crowd has to offer.


Original letter from Dr. William Gray to the AMS (pdf)


Combating AGW hysteria with: Rosemary's Thoughts, DragonLady's World, Shadowscope, Cao's Blog, Democrat=Socialist, Conservative Cat, Nuke's, Political Byline, Allie is Wired, Woman Honor Thyself, The World According to Carl, Walls of the City, The Pink Flamingo, Wingless, CORSARI D'ITALIA, Wingless - Octuplet Case Raises Ethics Issue, and Gone Hollywood, thanks to Linkfest Haven Deluxe.

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