To the President…my congressman(woman)…the editor…whomever…,
Concerning global warming: I have been “doing battle” down here in the lower echelons for a while now and I am tired of being labeled a bad guy. I have a feeling that this note and my remarks will never really” get to “you”, but at least I’ll have some of this off my chest.
You’re probably wondering on which side of this heated fence I am standing. Well, I’ll tell you, if I wanted the easy way out, I’d stand on the “pro anthropogenic global warming” side. It’s too easy of a subject (ironically, because of its complexity) to manipulate to look as though Armageddon is one step from the doorway (or, for some — the foot is in the door!). And, if you haven’t already come to learn to believe in it and/or combat it, you are a terrible human being on several levels. The truth is, I stand on the side of level headed caution — where “cooler” heads prevail.
By trade, I am a meteorologist — an atmospheric scientist. I have worked for the federal government in both research and operational positions (currently research) so at least I have some educational and professional qualifications. Truth is, with this topic, I could probably use an MBA or a degree in marketing/advertising since real science has truly taken a back seat to the world wide economic force that has been manipulated to the max through (by) the media! Have we really come so far as to let the media (as well as all of those who have a monetary stake in the “selling” of global warming) script what will happen, just as you would a motion picture or television show, and present the images and information in such a way that the issue of global warming becomes eminent, here and now! Is the general population so dumb that we have to be lead with lies and deceit just in order to do what’s right because it’s the right thing to do (like less pollution because — do we really have to have a “because” anymore — or like less oil so that we don’t rely so much on the volatile whims of the middle east). I could probably use an advanced degree in political science too, come to think of it. In the end though, when you peel back the layers of propaganda that completely encase the “hypothesis” ‘” that’s right, it’s ONLY a hypothesis ‘” of global warming (or, as the global warmers have now changed it to ‘” “climate change”), you find a kind of “scientific truth” based on political, economical, and philosophical information — not scientific fact based on hard verifiable data! I have just recently read and watched some excerpts from the Senate committee hearing held a few months back concerning global climate change (or more specifically in this case, “global warming”). What struck me more than anything was the typical rudeness and lack of consideration Senator Barbara Boxer showed for both guests, Dr. William Gray and Dr. Michael Crichton. Again, and unfortunately “typically”, Boxer showed her true colors — politician first, Democrat second and economic major third. In other words, she knows NOTHING whatsoever about the topic that was supposedly being discussed other than what she wanted to know (already knew) that could be used to further your own party’s agenda. Ms. Boxer (and many others within her party or with the same agenda) DOESN”T LISTEN! She just hears what she wants to hear. The very fact that Ms. Boxer, et al, want to affect policy change with this kind of attitude and lack of listening and reasoning is appalling — by any standards.
In the world of global warming, and to some extent, science in general, hype and hyperbole have nearly become the norms. Many scientists lack a good source of cash flow and are constantly scrounging for money in order to stay in “business.” Yes, “business” is the word — every bit as much as what goes on in those cooperate towers downtown. And it’s become big business too. So much so that people are willing to sacrifice the so-called ‘˜good’ name of science in pursuit of the almighty dollar. Gone are the days of the of the poor but righteous scientist — the lone beacon in the quest for facts and the use of logical reasoning to find conclusions — the last “go to guy” when you really needed to know what the hell was going on! Unfortunately, as happens most frequently nowadays, people (including scientists) have figured out a way to “cash in” on nearly any idea — or in this case ‘” hypotheses. It also seems that more and more of these people are in search of their fifteen minutes of fame — with some trying to stretch those fifteen minutes into an hour.
And then there is the political side of things. Right now — this very minute — the all knowing and all powerful state of California has pushed legislation through the state congress to cut CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions put into the air by local industry, by 25% through the year 2020. Now, if you stop right there and instead change the wording to “cut all emissions” or to something that targets a wider group than just “greenhouse gases” — that’s alright. However, it’s being sold that since California is both the most populous state in the country and supposedly the world’s 12th largest emitter of greenhouse gases, as a resident one could suffer dire consequences if global (regional) temperatures increase only a few degrees. And, it’s “your” (mine and ours) fault! Mother nature would never be this devious! So in the classic California mindset, global warming is a done deal — it’s real — it’s here — it’s now. And of course, when there is big money on the line, only bad things to come of it — otherwise, why fight it — right?
Now, I get asked by all sorts of people if there is truth to global warming. Actually, most just tell me that they know it’s true and ask me either why it’s happening or what I’m (as an atmospheric scientist) going to do about it. Sure there is truth to global warming — just as there is to global cooling! One or the other is ALWAYS happening. The Earth and the atmosphere are dynamic — not static! Warming or cooling is all relative and completely depends on what time period (range) you are looking at. Why anyone should think that today should be like yesterday — or tomorrow will be like a month from now — much less the longer geologic time periods that mark many of the historical climate eras — is beyond me. However, when you tack the word “anthropogenic” on to the front of “global warming” — this is a completely different (and most unfounded) story. It’s interesting though — the hard truth is that we (or life in general) survives and thrives in a warm (warmer) climate. Life dies and major extinctions occur when it gets cold! And so far, the historical geologic cold (cool) periods last far longer than the warm periods. As a matter of fact, we are due for a return to the ice ages “relatively” soon (just ask your own experts). So, a little warmth before hand may not be a bad thing. Funny how no one ever talks about the up side of global warming — it’s ALWAYS dire straights! Where is the definitive proof that, even if there was an iota of truth to anthropogenic global warming, global warming wouldn’t be beneficial? Another truth is that this scenario is just not marketable. Apparently, you have to scare the money and/or sense out of them! You need good stuff for the media to feast on and great stuff for the movies or the Discovery Channel to latch on to in order to be able to successfully market such a scenario! And, just to help bolster the situation, the global warmers of the world are changing the name of their cause from “global warming” to “global climate change.” This way, regardless of what climatic or weather related natural disaster occurs — they can take credit for it (i.e. Hurricane Katrina, heat wave in the western USA, record cold winter in South Africa, Europe and Asia, etc)! In the end, the song always remains the same — any extreme form of climate or weather “change” can only be coming from one possible source — anthropogenic increasing of carbon dioxide…duh! What a joke. This is like basing the earth’s climate average on a coastal city where extremes are severely tempered by ocean nearby and then looking at weekly, monthly, yearly (or longer) changes in weather and climate at a city located in the interior of a continent where extremes are the norm!
There is a saying in business/economic world that applies quite well to the global warming movement; “Before companies have something to sell, news flow drives valuations.” For science this then becomes, “Before science has something to sell, news flow drives the worth of the work — and valuations too” Therefore headlines (hypothesis or proposed theories), even if the claims prove to be groundless, fruitless, or out and out lies, can push up the “stock price” of the global warming movement and supporting cast (scientists, activists, politicians, etc.). Recently, hurricane Katrina was one such “news flow” (and has flowed on now for more than a year) that has been appropriately milked, bilked, and abused by the “global warmers” to such an extent that even among their own, no one knows what to really believe — except what is good for their own political “reality.” If you really want to point fingers at whom to blame for the aftermath of Katrina — blame first the “people” for building a city below sea level in one of the most hurricane prone areas in this country in the first place( I know it is strategically located for shipping purposes — it’s all economic, as usual) — then blame the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana second. Interesting why the North Atlantic Ocean is targeted most often when it comes to statistics concerning hurricane activity and (related to) global warming. The three primary reasons are: Some actual increased annual tropical cyclone activity over the last thirty or so years, money, and politics (which ultimately means economics and thus, MONEY!). This scenario plays out, of course, due to the (unfortunate) geographic location of the money and politics (USA) lying in the path of or adjacent to the region of the increased hurricane activity.
Just in the last year as you very well know, ten states and two large cities (I’ll bet you can guess who they are) in addition to the environmental watchdog groups of Environmental Defense, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Sierra Club, brought a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency (federal government) for not regulating CO2 emissions (pollution) close enough and directly causing global warming. I believe that a similar lawsuit was filed back in 2003 (supposedly settled in 2005 ‘” in favor of the EPA) in response to a 2002 ruling stating that the EPA doesn’t have the authority to control greenhouse gas emissions under the clean air act. The Sierra Club, which supported both of these lawsuits, somehow came to the absolute conclusion that CO2 emissions have already caused the world to “warm up”, leading to unstable weather patterns, floods, droughts, and outbreaks of tropical diseases and that extreme weather events initiated by global warming cost Americans nearly $20 billion in 2002. The Sierra club and their cohorts and lawyers like to draw a lot of conclusions by proxy and through the use of the transitive property. They had no definitive verifiable proof then (2002 ‘” 2005), and still have none, except that there is a renewed interest with the help of a certain hurricane that came on shore in August 2005. Again, looking to make a buck. Can you see ANY other country in the world being held hostage with such ludicrous lawsuits except for the USA? The global warmers and their lawyers need to find someone or group (not really something) to blame it on. So, the easiest thing to do is to say that it is human induced (anthropogenic) global warming that is responsible for the increase in global temperatures — .now let the suits begin! To do this, you use a rather complex subject (global climate change) that is based largely on a non-verifiable set of data — proxy data — nad/or suspect data compiled under extremely poor observational standards in the first place (not to mention standards which have changed by a large amount over time). Data with extreme bias in many cases. This manipulated and largely suspect data is then put into global climate models with overall results that can range up to 500 percent in differences in some cases. When you are talking about world geography and climatology together, you need to be looking at hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of years (or more depending upon the subject and the size of the data grid) of verifiable data in order to be statistically significant. While 30 to 50 years may work for local statistics, the same is not true when you apply it to a global system. And, you cannot simply extrapolate or interpolate the results from smaller sets (local/regional) of data to get what you want. You need time and coverage — two things that you and the global warmers do not have at the moment — at least not if they want to get funding NOW — or make headlines NOW — or whatever NOW — etc!
Let’s look at a few quick statistics just for fun. These statistics will deal with tropical cyclones (hurricanes, typhoons, tropical storms) since they often seem to be used as one of the “indicators” for global warming (by proxy) — and because they are big, nasty, at times destructive — almost always headline worthy. For this quick look at the relationship between tropical cyclone activity and the world, I broke the Earth “globally” into five different geographic regions of tropical cyclone (TC) production; the Atlantic, the Eastern Pacific, the Central Pacific, the Western Pacific, and Southern Hemisphere. The most recent 35 year period between 1970 and 2004 was selected due to the fact that much has been made of the “extreme” and/or “unusual” weather and climate (Since about 1970 – when we started our last micro-warming period) that is now apparently a direct result of global warming. The table below shows the average annual number of tropical cyclones (tropical storm intensity or greater – i.e. sustained winds greater than or equal to 39 mph) for each decade as well as the 35 year average.
Average Annual TCs by decade 1970-1979 1980-1989 1990-1999 2000-2004 35yr. Annual Average
Atlantic 9.5 9.3 11.0 14.6 10.6
Northeastern Pacific 15.0 18.6 14.7 14.4 15.6
North Central Pacific 3.0 3.8 3.1 2.6 3.2
Northwestern Pacific 25.9 26.0 28.3 25.8 26.6
Southern Hemisphere 32.9 27.8 29.1 25.0 29.2
Notice the last five years between 2000 and 2004. This is suppose to be a time of maximum warming over the last 30 to 40 years, yet with the exception of the Atlantic basin, all the rest of the regions are well below the 35 year annual average. Do the global warmers ever let you know about this? No, they tend to cherry pick what they want you to see and hear (or, at the very least, don’t voluntarily divulge the rest of the story). This “trick” is particularly easy to do when dealing with a relatively complicated issue (or at least one that is presented as being complicated). It’s not really lying, but it’s the next best thing. You and the rest of the global warmers count on this — confusing the topic enough to induce ignorance or ambivalence.
Interestingly, if you keep the same relationship but look only at the southern hemisphere (instead of the Atlantic Basin), you could conclude that there must be global cooling going on since there has been somewhat of a downward trend in tropical cyclone production over the last 35 years. As a matter of fact, you can draw more conclusions from this data that doesn’t support global warming from the full data set, than you can supporting it! And, at the very least (or most, depending on your outlook on this matter), no matter how you manipulate the data, you cannot definitively conclude that global warming, anthropogenic or natural, is necessarily occurring according to the data. In other words, there is NO direct, statistically significant, correlation between this set of numbers and global warming of any kind! So, obviously, your cannot interpolate , extrapolate, or find through regression analysis any sort of relationship, past or present, to global warming — much less anthropogenic global warming. And, this is just one example — the list goes on and on.
One of the worst scientific things to come to light out of all this “hot” propaganda has to do with research availability being driven by what the scientific journals will publish (instead of the opposite). Lately, you’d think that some of the so-called peer reviewed science journals were vying for ratings and advertising dollars as they have begun to publish virtual opinion piece editorials under the guise of refereed article. The journal (hesitate to call it this) slash magazine “Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society” (BAMS) has actually gone so far as to literally declare its allegiance to the pro-global warming issue (fall/winter issues 2005)! And this is from an organization (The American Meteorological Society) that is suppose to uphold the scientific process and remain as close being totally objective as possible. I guess that it’s really not possible anymore as BAMS just published a paper entitled, “Mixing Politics and Science in Testing the Hypothesis That Greenhouse Warming Is Causing a Global Increase in Hurricane Intensity” which is more of and editorial opinion piece than any sound piece of peer reviewed science. The truth is, headlines drive (money for) research, and the research must support the headlines in order to keep getting the money. So the marketing (or lobbying) of global warming has accomplished its task. Anymore, if you are on the anti-global warming side of this argument, there is virtually no way to obtain research money — because there are so many economical and political reasons to keep you out of “the pie.” So the issue (lie) becomes widely lopsided and starts being sold as fact, by virtue of the “anti-global warming” side just fading away. If you don’t hear that much about the opposite side of global warming, then global warming (climate change) can only be true — right? Now who’s the “bad guy”? Who is keeping who from making informative decisions?
Finally, there’s the issue of the name of “science” that is being sacrificed. If you really want to control CO2 emissions (and all other types of pollution) because you are compelled to do so — or just because it’s the right and thoughtful thing to do — then have at and do it! Even do it for political reasons if you must (because we just can’t get enough government control you know). And, if you have moral and/or religious reasons to lower the amount of carbon dioxide that gets into the air — then by all means, give it hell! (Although, there’s probably more CO2 breathed out during a good long sermon than there is for a commute to work.) Do it for all those reasons, but please don’t let the “good” name of science to continue to be dragged down by using falsehood and deception just to get what some person, group or entity wants (money, fame, fortune, etc.). The issue of global warming and its cost not only affects the people of the world politically and economically, but also directly affects the “good” name of science and undermines everything science has tried to build and live up to in the past. Who will we go to in the end when all else fails — to give us the facts — or even the truth. Above all, LISTEN to both sides before you try to change or initiate policy. I truly wish that Ms. Boxer would offer both Dr. Gray and Dr. Crichton an apology — as they were trying offer us those facts — but alas, nobody was there to listen — only to make them look bad.
Save the people of the world now from all the awful consequences of “real life” and don’t let these environmental terrorists (they really are terrorists in their own right) hold us all hostage over a hypothesis that will not be proved or disproved for many centuries or millennia. Life goes on, one way or another. The earth was not put here just for us egocentric human beings — it will be here long after we are gone. It’s ironic, but if we don’t take care of ourselves now — help those that we can help NOW — we may never get to prove or disprove global warming down the road. When the Earth decides it’s time to change — it’ll change, regardless of what we do — for good or bad. That’s the way it has been, it will be — it must be.
Sincerely and with best regards, JB (Meteorologist/Atmospheric Scientist) 1/29/2007