Saturday, April 7, 2007

10 Questions for Consensus - Global warming devotees are most conspicuous for their singular habit of framing any any conversation on the subject as beyond reasonable debate; they brandish the word "consensus" as a mace, so ready are they to smite anyone who would doubt their collective wisdom. But beyond the well-rehearsed refrains from elements of the scientific community regarding a unanimity of opinion, there is much that climate change adherents have yet to understand or explain. To wit:

1) If anthropogenic greenhouse gases are responsible for global warming, why is there melting of ice caps on Mars, Triton and Pluto similar to that recorded on Earth?

2) If atmospheric levels of man-made CO2 have been increasing steadily since record keeping began in the late 1950s, what accounts for the decades-long period of global cooling that occurred between the 1940s and the 1970s? (Is it that temperature increases precede rises in CO2 by decades or even centuries?)

3) Global warming theory would predict that temperatures in the upper atmosphere would be higher than lower atmospheric temperatures. If that is the case, why have temperature observations recorded exactly the opposite of what would be predicted by way of computerized climate modeling, particularly in the tropics?

4) Proponents of anthropogenic global warming aver that rising atmospheric temperatures result in increased ocean temperatures, especially at the surface. Why has the average temperature of the oceans decreased in recent years?

5) What is the impact of cosmic radiation on global climate, and how are these effects accounted for in global warming models?

6) If increasing levels of atmospheric CO2 are a primary driver of global warming, what accounts for the fact that CO2 levels were 8 to 20 times higher than presently during the Late Ordovician Period ice age
?

7) What is the level of scientific understanding of the impacts of airborne aerosols, land use and clouds on atmospheric temperatures?

8) What effects do water vapor and precipitation have on atmospheric temperatures?

9) How do variations in the earth's rotation and orbit affect temperature of the atmosphere?

10) What is the role of the ocean in moderating CO2 levels?

Now some of the more enlightened (or more correctly, more indoctrinated) global warming frightmongers will have seemingly coherent answers to a few of these questions, but certainly not all of them, as mature, robust data that addresses most areas of controversy is not yet to be found. To be sure, they will not have a good answer to this last question.

11) What is the ideal global climate for human habitation?

Indeed, this is the question upon which all else hangs. For if we cannot determine an "ideal" global climate - as opposed to a climate that we have all gotten used to, then we certainly will not know how far to go in our efforts to preserve our current climate. Unfortunately for all of us, the global warming crowd is wholly unable to provide a good answer, as that would require some sort of cost-benefit analysis to determine what global temperature range would most positively impact human survival and quality of life. (Never mind the fact that
the whole notion of man trying avert global warming is like trying to turn up the air conditioner in a house made of chicken wire.)

As you contemplate these questions, it will hopefully become clear that man's knowledge of the Earth's climate is incomplete at best; to presume otherwise requires a staggering amount of scientific self-assurance. And to conclude that we can do anything to change the climate in any meaningful way is nothing short of a colossal hubris. As mentioned elsewhere, any notion of scientific consensus is nothing short of "shared ignorance."

1 comment:

austinwiltshire said...

I'm a pretty big skeptic myself, however, most of your questions have answers.

1. Pluto has an incredibly eccentric orbit and we really shouldn't derive any conclusions from it's changing 'climate'. Mars, like Earth, has a much less eccentric orbit, but it still goes through climate cycles that are based on it's slowly changing orbit(much like our own, more predictable, cyclical changes in climate) which it is going through now.

2. Aerosols. Since the 1970's, we've been cleaning up particulates in the atmosphere, reducing the cooling effect they have had and realizing more of the muted warming due to CO2 buildup that we weren't experiencing.

3. No it doesn't. Global warming theory predicts slightly lower temperatures in the upper stratosphere.

4. Melting ice caps will do that to an ocean.

5. Unknown. This is a big if, but at the same time, skeptics still have much to prove on just how much cosmic radiation affects cloud cover. Currently, it's a very weak theory worth investigating but does not stand up against the current CO2 explanation at all.

6. CO2 is not the primary driver. Water vapor is. CO2 is a secondary or tiertiary driver. However, it's the one we've been having the most influence on.

7. See no. 2. Generally they are thought of as a cooling factor. In fact, some geoengineering solutions to global warming involve putting more particulates in the atmosphere.

8. Unknown. But it's admitted it's the biggest unknown among climate scientists. The fact that this is unknown is probably a double edged sword for skeptics, as it's just as likely to make warming worse as to mute it. Clouds reflect sunlight, but water vapor(that is diffuse and hasn't formed clouds) is a much greater greenhouse gas than CO2. Warming itself should release more water vapor. Whether this forms clouds or not is unknown.

9. Rotation and orbit are well understood, well predicted. Much of the cyclical warming and cooling in the past can be attributed to them(much, but not all). Refer to 1., as this is the reason Mars is experiencing warming.

10. The ocean is the largest mediator in the CO2 cycle. As I understand it, a combination of absorbtion via the algea and diffusion into the ocean water itself takes account for a large sink in CO2. Currently, it is thought to be reaching it's 'limit' though, and some are worried it may begin changing the Ph of the ocean. Don't ask me how CO2 changes the Ph, I'm no chemist. I thought you needed hydrogen for that.

11. Historical record for Europe shows that warmer weather tends to be better. However we have mixed records from elsewhere.

However, it'd be much safer to speculate and look for evidence in the historical record as to the 'ideal' temperature for human existance rather than simply taking a devil may care attitude towards climate change and hoping for the best, if you really wanted to know the 'ideal' temperature.

Sorry to be a skeptic's skeptic, and while I agree with you that consensus science is a pretty stupid way to go about anything, the evidence is on Global warming's side.